teeth as tools

Why Using Your Teeth As Tools Is A Bad Idea

October 17, 2022

Our teeth provide structural support for the lower third of our face, help us to speak clearly, and make our smiles beautiful, and it is essential to care for them properly.

Many people don’t give much thought when they use their teeth as a tool. However, teeth are not tools, and using them for things other than eating could make you need an extra dentist trip.

Using your teeth as a tool may seem like an easy, time-saving solution for simple tasks; however, doing so can lead to long-term damage. Let’s look at common ways people use their teeth as tools and why it is a bad idea.

Using Your Teeth To Tear Things Open

Many people commonly use their teeth as a tool to open plastic packaging. We get it while plastic is often soft and thin, and the material may not directly threaten your teeth, but using your teeth as a tool can cause you to chip a tooth.

Pulling on the plastic to tear it requires you to line up your teeth unnaturally. If the plastic slips, your teeth could accidentally clash, causing them to fracture or chip.

Plastic can also scrap against your gums, leaving a scratch or injury and increasing your risk of infection.

Popping Bottle Caps

This famous “bar trick” of opening a bottle top that some adults practice using only their teeth is dangerous. Even the thought of it makes our teeth hurt! Bottle tops can be hard to open, and tooth enamel isn’t hard; it’s brittle and not designed to hold up against metal and glass. Doing it often will make your teeth shift out of their proper alignment. 

Whether you are just trying to show off your trick or can’t open it with your hand, biting down on the cap and twisting it puts unnatural pressure on your teeth, causing them to chip, crack or break. The next thing you will be doing is making an appointment to seek treatment from your dentist.

Cutting Tags and Using Your Teeth As Scissors

Have you ever cut tags off your new clothes with your teeth to get it done quickly? Using your teeth as scissors to cut labels, fishing lines, or even wire requires you to grind them together, causing them to become worn down, chipped, or broken.

It may save you a few seconds to cut the tag with your teeth instead of finding a pair of scissors but doing so could end up with you doing permanent damage to your teeth.

Carrying Things In Your Teeth When Your Hands Are Full

You shove that last item in your teeth to save time by bringing as many things as possible in one trip. Many of us are guilty of using our mouth as another hand; however, our teeth aren’t made to grip and hold onto things. Even worse, if the item you put in your teeth is small, it may catch you by surprise if you hiccup or trip, and you may end up choking or swallowing it. 

When you use your teeth as a tool, it can result in damaging your teeth or even your jaw. So go ahead and make an extra trip and save yourself a trip to the dentist.

Chewing Or Nibbling On Non-Food Items

Our teeth are made for chewing and breaking down food but aren’t designed for chewing on other things like pens, plastic, and pencils. Chewing on non-food items can cause tooth damage and unnecessary stress on the jaw and joints. 

Using Your Teeth As Nail Clippers

One of the most common ways people use their teeth is to bite their nails. It is damaging to both the nails and teeth. Germs may increase the risk of tooth decay, and your teeth may become worn down over time and shift out of alignment. Pieces of the fingernail can also damage the gum tissue.

The nails are left ragged, and the nail bed is exposed, making your fingers more susceptible to bacteria. 

Take Good Care Of Your Teeth

Your teeth are an essential tool and a valuable asset when you use them as intended. Regular dental visits to check for damage and signs of wear will help maintain your oral care and keep your smile beautiful.

For Expert Dental Care, Carrie Muzny DDS

At Carrie Muzny DDS, our highly skilled team is here to help. We offer dental care for the entire family, from preventative care to cosmetics and maintaining your beautiful white smile. Helping you to maintain your oral health is our top priority. Let our highly trained team take care of you and your teeth. Contact us today to book an appointment.

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