Taking Care of Your Bite
The practice of orthodontics involves more than just teeth. Although straight teeth and better smiles are what most people think orthodontics is, orthodontists mostly fix bites. Malocclusion, or bad bite, is the reason most braces are prescribed.
Malocclusion is mostly genetic. But there are ways to damage your bite yourself. Your teeth are some of the strongest bones in the body, but they’re not indestructible. The wrong kind of bite can break a tooth. This includes biting into any of the following:
- Raw fruits and vegetables
- Hard breads
- Hard candy
- Taco shells
When we say “bite into” we mean “bite directly into”. Otherwise, chew slowly and carefully both to maintain equal bite forces in the mouth and to aid digestion. If you’re wearing braces, the list of foods to avoid can get long. Check with your dentist for a full list.
Bite care is especially important if you have a history of TMJ symptoms. With this condition, the jaw is a persistent pain source. Taking oversized bites, for instance, can make things worse.
But how do you know if a bite is oversized? If it feels uncomfortable, you might be overextending your jaw capacity. Many foods should be cut up into smaller bites—not just because they’re choking hazards. These may include everything from croutons to corn on the cob.
Never crush ice with your teeth, and try to avoid chewing fingernails or on pens or other random objects. In addition to being germ-spreaders, oral fixations cause wear and tear your teeth weren’t meant to tolerate.
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