Teeth are meant for chewing and processing food, yet children can find some interesting ways to use their teeth outside of eating. The problem is that teeth can crack or fracture when used improperly, which can lead to tooth loss. Here’s 3 of the grossest – and riskiest – ways children use their teeth.
Holding and Cutting Non-Food Items
When teeth hold or cut things other than food, they are exposed to harder surfaces that aren’t found in food. Additionally, the pressure needed to cut some of these objects is far greater than the amount needed to chew. This puts unnecessary stress on teeth, and can cause them to crack or fracture, which results in a painful dental emergency that needs to be treated by a dental professional. Holding items in teeth is particularly dangerous, because one can easily trip and fall and sustain serious oral and facial injuries.
Warn your child not to use their teeth as an extra set of hands, and explain to them the potential harms of using their teeth as scissors.
Believe it or not, it’s still trendy among some teenagers (and a few adults) to open glass bottles with their teeth. Bottles should never be opened with teeth. This is one of the worst, most traumatic things someone could do to their own teeth, and will likely result in a cracked tooth. Furthermore, metal bottle caps can scrape enamel away from teeth, and leave them more susceptible to cavities. If your child must have a drink from a glass bottle, just go ahead and open it for them.
But, this isn’t just a rule for glass bottles – teeth should not be used to open plastic bottles with twist tops, either.
Using your teeth to crack nuts is a bad idea. Trying to crack open a nut with teeth often leaves teeth fractured or cracked, rather than the nut. Tell your kids to stay away from nuts that have the shells on them, or teach them how to use a metal nutcracker. Most nuts come pre-shelled, and don’t contain the hard–outer coating that needs to be cracked off. But, there are plenty of people that fracture their teeth each year from trying to crack a nut.
Teeth are Meant for Chewing
Did you know that cracked and fractured teeth are the third leading cause of tooth loss? It’s incredibly risky to use teeth as tools, and can lead to an emergency trip to the dentist. Teach your child that the only things they should use their teeth for are chewing, and smiling, and stress to them that teeth are not tools.