Although a set of pearly whites can be one of our greatest assets, teeth play a deeper role than just appearance. They help in chewing, pronunciation, and act as structural support to other teeth, lips, and face. Unfortunately, many people have discovered other uses for their teeth. Teeth are not tools! They are not a set of scissors, pliers or your personal bottle-opener. Unlike bone and the skin on your body, teeth do not repair themselves. Ripping off price tags, cracking open nuts, and opening bottles – although these are all die-hard habits we practice, it’s not too late to teach our children right from wrong.

Here are a few things that you need to avoid doing with your teeth so you can keep them healthy and strong:

1.  Do Not Use Your Teeth to Open Things

It doesn’t matter if it’s a beer bottle, candy bar, or a waterproof delivery envelope-do not use your teeth to help you open it. Using your teeth on objects like these, especially bottle caps, can crack and chip your teeth, cause malocclusion (poor law alignment), and wear down your teeth unevenly. Malocclusion can lead to a type of jaw pain known as TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). This action is a quick way to crack or chip a tooth, leading to pain and a trip to the dentist for repairs.  

2. Do Not Use Your Teeth as WireCutters or Scissors

A lot of people try to use their teeth to cut through packing tape instead of using scissors. Others try to use their teeth like wire cutters, to remove insulation from copper wiring person could have broken or cracked his teeth. Biting on foreign objects can weaken or crack your teeth, chip them, and cause you to lose tooth structure.  

3. Do Not Use Your Teeth to Crack Open Nuts or Shellfish 

Sure, nuts and shellfish are edible but do not use your teeth to crack open the shells to get to the good stuff inside. Over time, the shells are like sandpaper on your teeth and you will eventually be able to see where you have worn away your enamel. You must use a nutcracker or shell cracker to open your nuts and shells. It’s the only way to save your teeth from damage.  

4. Do you use your teeth to rip tags off clothing?

If so, you’re putting yourself at risk for severe dental damage and infection.   

5. They’re definetely not nail clippers

Biting your nails is one of the worst things you can do for your teeth. The pressure from pulling your fingers away from your teeth can cause misalignment, cracking, chipping, and damage to existing dental work. Also, your sharp nails(which are covered in bacteria, by the way) can scratch and cut your gums, causing an open sore in your mouth for bacteria to infect. While these may seem like extreme cases and you may have been biting your nails for years and not had any visible issues, there’s never a better time to bite the habit. 

6.  Keep Pencils Behind Your Ear, Not Between your teeth

The basic rule here is to keep things out of your mouth that don’t belong there. This includes pencils, pens, eyeglasses, and anything else you may have a habit of chewing on. These items, unlike most foods, are hard and apply a large amount of pressure to your teeth when you bite down on them. Additionally, items that you use daily, in school and at the office, are covered in bacteria. Exposing your mouth to bacteria increases your chance of oral infection and viruses.  

7. Chewing on Ice

We’re all guilty of crushing some ice with our teeth, whether out of an awkward habit or maybe because we love it so much (There are even pages on Facebook for IceLovers). Craving and chewing ice may even be a sign of iron deficiency anemia. The cold temperature of the cube mixed with the hardness is a perfect storm for cracking your teeth. Need more convincing? Remember your blender requires special metal blades to crush ice…and those don’t even always do the trick. 

8. Lay Off the Lemons

People who suck lemons may be putting their dental health in jeopardy. Lemons are very acidic. "The acidity corrodes the enamel [of the teeth]." Repeated exposure to acidic substances can cause tooth enamel to erode, One of the main causes of enamel erosion are acids found in the foods and liquids you consume. Saliva constantly neutralizes acid in your mouth to protect your teeth. But if you eat too much acidic food and drink and don’t properly brush your teeth, the outer layer of enamel will degrade over time. It also creates a rough texture on the surface of your teeth which are the favorable conditions for plaque to accumulate and get gingivitis.  

  • These 8 tips can save you physical pain, costly dental bills, and protect your great smile. 
  • If you want your teeth to serve their intended purpose, you must protect them and take care of them. We can show you the proper way to care for and protect your teeth. You’ll be able to keep your smile working well for your lifetime.