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Teeth are for Chewing and Smiling, Not Opening Bottles

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People use their teeth in surprising – and sometimes destructive – ways. We’ve all used our teeth as tools at some point in our lives, but did you know that you can crack or fracture your teeth if you use them improperly? In fact, cracked and fractured teeth are the third leading cause of tooth loss. This is why it’s important that you instruct your child not to hold things (other than food) in their teeth. Below, we discuss some ways that you can help you child avoid cracking their teeth.

Teeth Are Not…

Nutcrackers

Surprisingly enough, teeth are not designed to crush the hard outer shell of nuts. Pecans, walnuts, almonds, and hazelnuts all have a protective shell encasing the edible nut. Trying to break open a shell is a great way to crack a tooth.

Our tip: Buy a metal nutcracker, or shelled nuts so that you can avoid shells altogether. And crack any unshelled nuts for your child so that they don’t try to open them with their teeth.

Scissors

Using teeth to try to tear or cut something is another process that can lead to a cracked tooth. When you try to cut something with your teeth, you are often exposing your teeth to harder surfaces than you would encounter when eating. In addition to chewing on something that’s harder than food, you’ll also be applying an unnatural amount of pressure on your teeth that can cause them to crack or break.

Our tip: Instruct your child on how to safely use scissors, and teach them not to tear anything with their teeth.

Hands

Ok, your hands are full and you just need to hold that one final item in your mouth for a few steps before you can release it and get on with your day, that’s not so bad, right? Wrong. Carrying items in your mouth can lead to cracked teeth or worse – serious oral and facial injuries. This is unsafe because if  trip or stumble while your hands and mouth are full, you have no way to brace yourself and you risk suffering a serious facial injury.

Our tip: Tell your kid to practice patience and teach them not to carry things in their mouths.

Bottle Openers

This should be an obvious no-no, yet people continue to use their teeth to pry off metal bottle caps. You should never bite metal, or chew on metallic objects because they are much harder than your teeth and can seriously damage them.

Our tip: Teach your child how to open bottles with a bottle opener. Better yet, open the bottle before serving your child that mineral water or soda.

Remind Your Children that Teeth Aren’t Tools

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget that our teeth are meant for chewing, and not to lend us an extra hand or tool in a given situation. It’s especially easy for children to forget this. Talk to your children about why it is unsafe to use their teeth as tools, and remind them that cracking a tooth can hurt! If your child has fractured or chipped a tooth, then bring them into our office as soon as possible. If you can, retrieve the broken piece of tooth and store it in a cup of milk and bring it along for your visit. Oftentimes, we’ll be able to fix their tooth using the broken piece.