Our mouth and teeth play important roles in our bodies and serve vital functions. Not only do they help us tear and chew our food, but they aid digestion, help support our facial shape, and play a large part in our speech and in our overall health. However, there are some functions that teeth shouldn’t be used to perform. We’ve put together a list of three common misuses:
- Using your teeth as tools – One recent study indicated that about sixty-five percent of people frequently use their teeth for tasks other than their intended roles. We have heard of nearly everything from tearing tape, opening beer bottles and condiment packets, taking tags off of clothing, raising zippers, and many, many more. Yet, as your mother may have told you, “don’t use your teeth!” unless you want to risk tooth cracking, chipping or wear, damaging existing dental work, jaw pain and jaw misalignment. The best tool for the job is an actual tool such as scissors, a bottle opener or pliers.
- Using your teeth to carry items – Sure, there are times when your hands are full and it may seem like a great idea to use your mouth. In fact, about twenty-two percent of us admit to doing it sometimes. Holding nails between your teeth when you’re doing a construction project, or putting pins in your mouth during a sewing task may appear harmless, but teeth are not additional hands. Aside from the above-mentioned issues, there is also the choking hazard if you were to sneeze or hiccup.
- Using your teeth to relieve boredom or stress by chewing items other than food – Habits such as biting on fingernails (over a fourth of us) and chewing pencils are two of the most common examples. While it might seem inconsequential, prolonged chewing can lead to a loss of the tooth structure, wearing down the edges of the teeth and increasing the risks for sensitivity, chipping, and breaking, while exposing your mouth to the bacteria found on fingernails and other objects. So, don’t chew on non-food items. Break the habit by substituting carrot sticks or other healthy food choices instead, and then remember to brush afterward.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, young adults are the most likely to use their teeth in improper ways. Staying away from these common bad dental practices can help you to avoid invasive and expensive emergency dental work, and reminding your children can help them to form better habits also. Exchange these three bad habits for three terrific ones – brushing, flossing and regular dental visits.
If you would like more information about forming good dental habits, Dr. Heidi Finkelstein and her caring staff at My Plantation Dentist can help. To schedule your appointment, please contact us today at 954-584-1030.