HUMAN TEETH ARE SPECTACULAR. If we didn’t believe it, we wouldn’t have devoted our entire professional careers to working with them. They are capable of so many tasks, like chewing food, supporting the structure of our faces, promoting crystal-clear speaking, and contributing to our attractive grins. Unfortunately, many people attempt to use their teeth in ways they were not intended for, which can have catastrophic consequences.
Just Use Scissors or Nail Clippers
We could go on at length about how damaging a habit like biting your nails is to both your teeth and your nails, but we’ll keep it brief for now. Because it’s so difficult to clean under fingernails and because we often chew them, our hands’ fingernails are the least hygienic areas of our bodies. Additionally, nail biting puts a lot of strain on the teeth, perhaps moving them out of alignment.
We know it’s quick and easy, but resist the impulse to bite through packing tape. It takes a lot more biting pressure to cut through a non-food item like tape than it does to chew actual food. Cutting through tape requires you to grind your teeth, which wears down the chewing surfaces and poses a risk of chipping or fracturing a tooth. It’s bad enough chewing through tape, though; definitely don’t try to cut wire with your teeth.
Just Use a Nutcracker
Trying to crack open nuts with hard shells like walnuts, pecans, or pistachios — or even cracking popcorn kernels — carries a major risk of accidentally cracking or chipping a tooth instead. Teeth that have already had dental work done or have untreated cavities are especially vulnerable to damage. Just use a nutcracker!
Just Use a Bottle Opener
Just because tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body doesn’t mean it’s up to the task of popping a metal lid off a bottle. Enamel might be hard, but it’s also very brittle. Using our teeth to open bottles is a great way to damage them, and if we slip, we could also damage the soft tissues of our lips or gums. It’s just not worth it.
Just Set It Down
It might seem convenient to hold a pencil, some nails, or a few sewing pins in your mouth until your hands are free, but this can have some scary unintended consequences. What if you trip? What if you get caught off-guard by a sudden hiccup or yawn? There are cases of people choking on or swallowing things they only meant to hold in their mouths for a few seconds. But even if an accident never happens, these objects can still wear down the teeth.
Use Your Teeth for Teeth Things Only!
The third-highest cause of tooth loss is cracking and fracturing, so don’t put your teeth at risk by using them for things they weren’t designed to do! You’ll save yourself an emergency dental visit and expensive repairs by sticking to using your teeth for chewing and talking. Also make sure to keep up the daily flossing, twice-daily brushing with a soft-bristled brush, and twice-yearly dental visits!