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The 12 Common Habits That Undermine Your Health

 Bad habits are easily gained and inherited from our family and parents, but some of these bad habits are sneaky culprits that seem harmless at first sight. For example, what is the harm in replacing a newspaper with a smartphone during a bathroom break? Or why would holding in a sneeze be dangerous to your health?
 
Well, it turns out that all of these and more seemingly harmless habits can pose a serious risk to your health and wellbeing. To see our list of harmful everyday habits, continue reading. 
 

1. Postponing a bathroom break

What are the health dangers?

  • Bladder and kidney disease.
  • Intestinal problems, particularly fissures.
woman crossing her hands in front of her body
Holding it in is very harmful to your health. The bladder muscles can become constrained and it can lead to not being able to empty your bladder completely or not being able to control your bladder at all. These problems, in turn, create a habitat for bacteria, which cause bladder and kidney infection.

On the digestive side of things, postponing that bathroom break can lead to constipation and tears in the intestines called fissures. These are very painful and prone to bleeding. They form when you’re straining too much as a result of constipation.

2. Holding in a sneeze

What are the health dangers?

  • Can cause ear infections.
  • You can tear your throat or esophagus.
2 women sneezing
While it may seem like a polite thing to do in certain situations, you should never hold in a sneeze because it is very dangerous, especially for people prone to ear infections and problems with blood pressure.
Not only can it lead to nosebleeds, headaches, and dizziness, but also to painful inner ear infections, sinusitis or worse. For example, in 2016 a 34-year-old British man was admitted to a hospital after stifled his sneeze, which led to a tear in his throat.

3. Taking hot showers

What are the health dangers?
  • Headaches and dizziness.
  • Irritates your skin and scalp.
woman taking a shower
I know that a hot shower feels amazing, but it is actually very bad for your skin and hair. Taking a hot shower worsens whatever skin or hair condition you have. If your hair gets greasy fast, washing it with hot water will make it dirty even faster.
People with dry and sensitive skin, on the other hand, will see that their skin becomes even redder and more sensitive after the hot shower, stripping it of the much-needed moisture. Finally, people with high blood pressure should stay away from a hot shower because it can make them dizzy and cause headaches.

4. Using toothpicks

What are the health dangers?
  • Gum disease.
toothpicks and floss
When something gets stuck in your teeth, it’s much safer to use dental floss and not toothpicks, as the latter can potentially ruin the tooth enamel at the base of the tooth and irritate the gums, leading to gum disease. Toothpicks are not as effective as brushes and floss at cleaning the teeth either and the often worsen the problem by pushing the particles that are stuck even further in the gums or in-between teeth. 

5. Chewing on hard objects

What are the health dangers?
  • Infection.
  • Dental problems.
a chewed on pencil on a notebook
Very much like the previous habit, chewing on hard objects can harm your enamel and cause fractures. However, if you chew on different objects, such as pens, it can also introduce different bacteria to your mouth and cause infection.

6. Sleeping face down

What are the health dangers?
  • Neck pain.
  • Blood circulation.
  • Aging skin.

woman sleeping face down
When you sleep on your stomach, it constrains your neck muscles and compresses the already-vulnerable vertebrae. Over time, it can irritate your spinal cord and cause neck pain.
The unnatural position of your spine when sleeping face down also worsens the blood supply to the neck and head, which causes problems with blood circulation.
Finally, some dermatologists claim that sleeping on your face can make your face age faster because of the wrinkles caused during sleep.

7. Shelling seeds with your teeth

What are the health dangers?

  • Tooth decay
peeled and unpeeled seeds
Shelling sunflower or pumpkin seeds with your teeth is a terrible way to treat your teeth. Dentists report that it can cause fractures and loss of enamel. So, buy the seeds without the shells or use your hands to shell them instead.

8. Chewing a lot of gum

What are the health dangers?
  • Tooth decay.
  • Stomach issues.
different kinds of chewing gum
You will need to sacrifice the freshness and fun of chewing gum to your overall health, as it turns out that chewing it frequently may affect your stomach and teeth. When you chew gum, it stimulates the production of saliva and digestive juices in the stomach, which can lead to everything from acid reflux to peptic ulcers.
Higher production of saliva also affects how long your fillings will last and wears down the enamel, so it’s not even beneficial for the teeth.

9. Constantly touching your eyes and face

What are the health dangers?
  • Conjunctivitis.
  • Skin problems.
girl rubbing her eyes
Touching your skin with dirty hands is a known cause of acne and herpes, especially if you already have those conditions and keep picking on your skin.
Similarly, rubbing your eyes can irritate them, make them watery and bring bacteria into your eye area. Worst-case scenario, you can get conjunctivitis, an eye infection that is very unpleasant and painful.

10. Reading while lying down

What are the health dangers?
  • Neck pain.
  • Eye strain.
  • Back problems.
2 women reading books on the bed
I think there is no need to repeat how your posture is very important to your health, but it is crucial for you to know that reading or using a device while lying down can deform the natural curvature of the spine. It can also shift your neck forwards, which in turn strains and shortens the neck muscles, and that’s how you get neck pain. 
 
To read in bed safely just follow these tips:

1. Use a pillow to sit up instead of lying down.
2. Keep the book at least 30 cm away from your eyes to prevent eye strain.
3. Don’t read while lying down on your side or on your stomach, it’s even worse than simply lying down on your back because it curves the spine in an unnatural way and also causes eye strain.

11. Licking or blowing on a scratch or wound

What are the health dangers?
  • Hinders the healing.
  • Infection.
woman blowing on a scratch and girl covering a wound with a bandaid
It is a myth that licking or blowing on a fresh wound will make it heal faster. Though most mammals, such as dogs, have some antibacterial compounds in their saliva, people have only trace amounts of those compounds in their saliva.
Instead, you have a lot of different bacteria in your mouth, which will slow down the healing process and in rare cases, it can even cause infection. So it's a better idea to use some antibacterial ointment on the wound and cover it up with a band-aid.

12. Using devices during a bathroom break

What are the health dangers?
  • Hemorrhoids.
  • Spreading bacteria.
This harmful habit makes you spread bacteria all over your home and body without even knowing it. Reserve your smartphone to the living room.
Also, when you sit on the toilet for extended periods of time, you weaken your intestinal muscles and strain your intestinal blood vessels. So, don’t stay on the toilet for more than 5 minutes, or else you risk getting hemorrhoids.
woman sitting on the toilet with a smartphone
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