Sometimes it’s just too easy to rip that stubborn bag of chips open with your teeth, even when it says to “Tear Here,” yet somehow, you can’t seem to do it. There are a lot of ways both kids and parents use their teeth as tools. Your Spring orthodontist knows way too much about this subject, as we’ve seen the aftermath of trying to open things or remove tags with your teeth. It’s especially important for patients wearing braces not to bite down on something they should probably avoid, as you could end up with a broken bracket or two.
Let’s look at some of the most common ways your kids (and some parents) use teeth as tools and why it’s so dangerous!
1) Popping That Bottle Top
There’s a pretty good chance that most parents and possibly teens or kids reading this blog have done this before. It’s probably the most common issue we see at our pediatric dental and orthodontic office in Spring when tiny teeth get chipped or break. Just thinking about it makes our teeth hurt, but there are some adults out there who feel that it’s a good or ‘cool’ idea to open a glass bottle using not their hands but their poor teeth. In doing so, there’s a high likelihood that you’re going to break or chip a tooth. Our teeth are durable, but not necessarily THAT strong to withstand something like this. But this isn’t just a lesson for grown-ups. Toddlers and teens alike have been known to try and open stubborn plastic bottle tops with their teeth. This is also a big no-no. You don’t want them hurting their mouth, scraping enamel from their teeth, or causing breakage or crack.
2) Substituting Teeth for Scissors
If your kiddo is too young to use scissors, they may think it’s A-OK just to go ahead and trust that their teeth will get the job done. It’s way safer to help them out with a pair of scissors instead of letting kids rip a food wrapper or pesky clothing tag with their teeth. Your Spring orthodontist will tell you that when we use our teeth as tools, it can put unnecessary strain on them, leading to painful cracks or dental fractures.
3) Gaining An Extra Set of Hands
Kind of along the same lines as substituting teeth for a pair of scissors, it’s also a not-so-good idea to use them as an extra pair of hands when yours are full. When your mouth is in charge of holding stuff other than the food you eat, it can cause severe damage to your teeth and even your jaw, just like the other issues we’ve discussed. It’s important to remember – especially if your kids are young – putting or holding items in our mouths can be super dangerous if someone trips or falls. This could spell big T-R-O-U-B-L-E for tiny and adult teeth alike.
4) Chewing on Stuff That’s Not Food
What do you think the biggest culprit is here? Fingernails followed closely by pens and pencils. Everyone from toddlers to seniors has been known to bite their fingernails from time to time. It’s usually something when we’re stressed, and sometimes we do it without even realizing it. Breaking up ice with your teeth is also a bad idea for little ones and grown-ups. It can also cause bad chips or breakage to your teeth that can be painful and require immediate attention. Chewing on non-food items over a long period is never, ever good for your teeth or overall oral health.
We hope you’ve learned a little something here today about avoiding using our precious teeth as tools to do stuff other than breakdown our food, talk, etc. If you have any questions about this blog or other topics you want to discuss with your orthodontist in Spring, please feel free to reach out to us on our website or by phone. We’re happy to help you and your family!