Most of us have certain habits that help us cope with stressful situations. In most cases, we even don’t notice that we start to grind our teeth or bite our nails. However, many of these habits can actually cause problems with health. In this article, we gathered seven seemingly harmless habits that affect your health.
1. Biting nails
It can be considered normal if you nervously bite your nails only while watching scary movies. But when it becomes a habit, you can damage your nails and the skin around them as well. Microbes from the mouth are transferred to the skin, and vice versa. Bacteria under the nails can also enter the mouth, causing gum and throat infections. Painting your nails may prevent you from chewing or you can try tape in order to get rid of the habit.
2. Twirling and pulling hair
Twisting a piece of hair around the finger over time can damage the root. This can lead to temporary or permanent hair loss and infection. Hair pulling can be a sign of a psychiatric condition called trichotillomania, which should be treated.
3. Cracking neck
With a strong turn of the head to the side, gases are generated that form in the joints between the vertebrae and it produces a sound. Despite the fact that this may feel good, repeated cracking of the neck can make the surrounding ligaments hypermobile and more susceptible to injury. Moreover, this excessive movement on the facet joints themselves can cause wear within the joints and can lead to arthritis. In rare cases, neck cracking can cause a stroke.
4. Teeth grinding
Compression and grinding the teeth (bruxism) when you are under stress can damage your oral health. Due to grinding, the teeth may crack or break. These conditions may require repair with dental crowns or root canals. It can also damage the jaw joint and lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). There is a lot of people that grit or grind their teeth in response to stress. In most cases, this is the result of pathologies such as displacement or absence of teeth and a “bad bite”. Treatment options include orthodontics to improve occlusion and even Botox injections into muscles, which can reduce strength and, therefore, the damage that can be caused to your teeth.
5. Gnawing on the inside of the cheek
Like biting nails, chewing your cheeks can also become a nervous habit. Often the inside of the cheek is swollen and then it becomes easier to continue to bite the same place. Even after it heals, the habit remains. This can lead to chronic inflammation, possible bleeding and scarring of the area over time.
6. Licking or biting lips
Licking the lips when you are stressed exposes them to the digestive enzymes of the mouth. These enzymes thin the skin and can lead to dermatitis and cheilitis (inflammation), which make lips dry and chapped. Lip biting in a stressful situation can lead to the development of fibroids, dense growths of flesh-colored, which may require surgical removal.
7. Nibbling the ends of pencils and pens
Microbes can hide at the ends of pens and nibbling them can expose you to dangerous pathogens, including the common cold viruses. An infected person probably has a virus on his or her fingers and spreads it with the help of pens, as well as from a computer keyboard and phone. In addition to the ink on the lips from an exploding pen, chewing on writing instruments can damage the teeth and dental restorations. Moreover, it can also hurt soft tissues and gums in your mouth.