We use our teeth for a plethora of things every day. Brushing, eating, grinding, opening things, often our teeth get a lot of unnecessary use as a result of stress or laziness. Unfortunately whenever we use our teeth for things like opening bottles or ripping off cello tape, we can be doing damage to our teeth. We forget that we shouldn’t chew on pencils or even forget that we chew on pencils to begin with!
Good dental health is incredibly important as once you lose your milk teeth you won’t be getting another set to replace your old teeth, so they have to last you the rest of your life! If you don’t fancy having to attend regular dental sessions for teeth pulling, replacements, fillings, dentures, implants and more, it is important to take an active stance into protecting your teeth when it comes to chips and day to day wear.
Chewing pencils, pens or nails
When you’re having a long or a stressful day, it can be easy to forget that you’re chewing on your favourite pen or you’ve taken to nibbling at your nails between meetings. Although a fairly easy habit to pick up, it can be a pain to get rid of, but it is also doing lasting damage to your teeth.
Teeth are made for tearing and chewing on food and are generally not good for much else. When you chew on pencils the hard, brittle surface of the pencil or pen grinds against your tooth, leaving scratches and can even chip your teeth over time.
Nails are made of the same substance as bone and teeth are, so biting your nails is a lot like grinding your teeth, it wears down the surface and can crack your teeth. Plus nail biting is certainly not doing your nails any good and the bacteria present underneath your nails can lead to mouth ulcers and fungal infections.
Are you a fan of ice cold water? Slushies? It is great to have a cool refreshing drink but if you’re a fan of crunching the ice that comes with these drinks you can actually be harming your teeth. The hard surface of the ice combined with the cold temperature makes your teeth more vulnerable to damage.
It may seem like an easy enough and innocent enough thing to do but your teeth are not designed to crunch against hard surfaces, otherwise we would be eating bones too! It is good to keep in mind that although we have the capability to crush ice with our teeth, blending ice in a blender needs special blades in order to cut through ice, imagine what it might be doing to your teeth!
Using Teeth to open packages, envelopes, etc.
We’ve all done it at least once. The scissors are too far away or you haven’t yet gotten a pair and we just rip a quick bit of cello tape off with our teeth. Teeth are designed for ripping organic matter, not for tape or plastic (when gnawing through a clothing tag) and bottle tops are the worst offenders as they can also rip up your gums.
By using your teeth as a tool it can cause your teeth to crack and will require serious dental work to remedy it. Although it may look impressive to be able to easily open a bottle with your teeth, for the sake of your dental health it is better to play it safe by using a bottle opener and always keep a pair of scissors ready to hand when taping things or opening letters.
It is more common than you think. Often seen in only very young children and babies, if not stopped at an early age, thumb sucking can actually continue well into teenage years and some people even continue sucking their thumb into their twenties!
The placement of the thumb in the mouth and the angle can cause teeth to warp and grow crooked and teeth can even be pushed together, making eating uncomfortable. If you have young children who are fans of the thumb, try to wean them off as soon as possible. With older children and even adult children, it is more of a mind over matter concept!
Citrus and Soda
Although not directly related to ways in which we might use our teeth without knowing, juices that are high in citrus and carbonated drinks can quickly wear away at the tooth enamel and can leave lasting damage if left unchecked.
If you absolutely must have that freshly squeezed orange juice or you can’t live without your Pepsi Max, try drinking it through a straw as it minimises contact with the teeth. You can also help to protect your teeth by chewing gum afterwards which helps get rid of the residue left in the mouth after drinking.
It can be easy to forget that your teeth are not designed for opening packages or that on occasion you may grind them a little too hard, but good dental care will help keep your teeth healthier and younger for longer. After all, you only get one set in your lifetime, why risk them?
Mike James knows all too well that regular visits to the dentist are needed to give the best preventative measures against problems in the future. He is a regular visitor to a Dental Healthcare Practice for his dental hygiene needs.