Monday, 16 February 2015 00:00

Say No to Nail Biting!

Nail BiterDr. Chou cautions her patients about the dangers of nail biting. Nail biting is one of the so-called "nervous habits" that can be triggered by stress, excitement or boredom. Experts say that about thirty percent of children and fifteen percent of adults are nail biters. However most will stop chewing their nails by the time they turn thirty.

Here are four dental and general reasons to stop biting your nails:

  1. It's unsanitary. Your nails harbor bacteria and germs, and they are almost twice as dirty as your fingers. Moreover, swallowing dirty nails can lead to stomach problems.
  2. It wears down your teeth. Biting your nails can put added stress on your pearly whites, which can lead to crooked teeth.
  3. It can prolong your orthodontic treatment. For those wearing braces, nail biting puts additional pressure on teeth and weakens roots.
  4. It can cost you, literally. Our friends at the Academy of General Dentistry estimate up to $4,000 in extra dental bills over a lifetime.
Dr. Chou recommends the following to kick your nail biting habit:

  1. Keep your nails trimmed short; you'll have less of a nail to bite.
  2. Coat your nails with a bitter-tasting nail polish.
  3. Ask us about obtaining a mouth guard, which can help prevent nail biting.
  4. Put a rubber band around your wrist and snap it whenever you get the urge to bite on your nails.
  5. Think about when and why you chew your nails. Whether you are nervous or just bored, understanding the triggers can help you find a solution and stop the habit.
  6. If you can't stop, behavioural therapy may be an effective option to stop nail biting.

If you are interested in more information about nail biting or would like to assess your oral health, please contact Dr. Chou at 416.532.3041 or stop by her office in Toronto, ON.
Published in Blog
Monday, 08 September 2014 14:52

Toronto Orthodontist encourages Healthy Diet

Did you know that good oral health is linked to your diet? Dr. Norma Chou in Toronto says that to prevent cavities and maintain good oral health examine your diet:  what you eat and how often you eat are important factors. Dr. Chou says that changes in your mouth start the minute you eat certain foods. Bacteria in the mouth convert sugars and carbohydrates from the foods you eat to acids, and it's the acids that begin to attack the enamel on teeth, starting the decay process. Dr. Chou warns that  the more often you eat and snack, the more frequently you are exposing your teeth to the cycle of decay or cavities.

Dr. Chou recommends certain foods that will keep your mouth healthy. Some of the best food choices for the health of your mouth include cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts, and milk. These foods are thought to protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth (a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids).  Just remember to cut meat off the bone and to avoid really large fir nuts like Brazil nuts if you are wearing orthodontic "braces".

Other food choices that Dr. Chou includes are firm/crunchy fruits (for example, apples and pears) and vegetables. Dr. Chou tells us that these foods have a high water content, which dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain, and stimulate the flow of saliva (which helps protect against decay by washing away food particles and buffering acid). All of  these food items should be readily available in or near Toronto.  They should, however, be cut into bite-sized pieces to avoid damaging your "braces" or hurting teeth that may be sore from tooth movement.   Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and lemons, should be eaten as part of a larger meal to minimize the acid from them.

Dr. Chou says that it is common sense that some poor food choices include candy -- such as lollipops, hard candies, and mints -- cookies, cakes, pies, breads, muffins, potato chips, pretzels, french fries, bananas, raisins, and other dried fruits when you cannot brush your teeth right after eating them. Dr. Chou warns that these foods contain large amounts of sugar and/or can stick to teeth, providing a fuel source for bacteria. In addition, cough drops should be used only when necessary as they, like sugary candy, contribute to tooth decay.  If you chew gum, be sure to chew sugarless gum,  However, if you wear "braces", gum chewing is not advised.

If you are looking for good beverage choices, the best choice is water (especially fluoridated water).  Dr. Chou says that milk (not chocolate milk) and unsweetened tea are also good but limit your consumption of sugar-containing drinks, including soft drinks, lemonade, energy drinks and coffee or tea with added sugar. Rinsing with clean water after drinking them will help to limit the exposure of sugary substances to your teeth.

The team at Dr. Norma Chou's office is always available to answer questions regarding your oral health.  Contact us at our Toronto office at  to get oral advice. We work hard to give you the best smile!

Published in Blog
 
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