Your Teeth Aren’t Tools: Why You Shouldn’t Open Things with Your Teeth

From broken teeth to oral infections, using your teeth as tools can result in dental emergencies and other serious issues.

Your teeth are marvels of nature, designed for the primary purpose of chewing and breaking down food. However, some individuals use their teeth for tasks they were never intended for, treating them as makeshift tools for opening packages or bottles, tearing tape, or even cracking nuts. This seemingly convenient habit can have severe consequences for your oral health.

If you’ve injured your mouth or have a dental emergency, schedule an appointment with one of our dentists at The Dental Anesthesia Center.

Risk of Fractures and Chips

Your teeth are strong, but they are not indestructible. Using them to perform tasks other than chewing can lead to fractures and chips. Biting down on hard objects, such as bottle caps or pens, can cause immediate damage. Even seemingly harmless actions, like tearing open a bag of chips, can result in micro-fractures over time, weakening the tooth structure.

Potential for Tooth Displacement

Using your teeth as tools can also lead to tooth displacement. Applying excessive force in the wrong direction may cause your teeth to shift or move out of their proper alignment. This not only affects the appearance of your smile but can also impact your bite and overall oral function.

Increased Sensitivity

The enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in your body, but it can still wear down over time. Using your teeth for tasks like tearing or gripping can accelerate this process, increasing tooth sensitivity. Exposed dentin can make hot or cold foods and beverages uncomfortable, impacting oral well-being.

Risk of Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Disorders

The temporomandibular joint connects your jaw to your skull and facilitates essential functions like speaking and chewing. Misusing your teeth as tools can contribute to the development of TMJ disorders. The excessive strain on the jaw joint and surrounding muscles can result in pain, clicking sounds, and difficulty opening or closing your mouth.

Potential for Oral Infections

Breaking the protective barrier of your teeth by using them for non-chewing activities increases the risk of oral infections. Bacteria can enter through cracks or chips in the enamel, leading to cavities and other dental issues. These infections may require extensive dental procedures, including root canals or extractions.

Contact The Dental Anesthesia Center

While using your teeth as tools for various tasks may seem convenient, the potential risks far outweigh the momentary convenience. The Dental Anesthesia Center team strongly advises against this habit to maintain optimal oral health. Instead, use the appropriate tools to protect your teeth from wear and tear. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings are essential to catch and address potential issues early, ensuring a healthy and beautiful smile for years to come.

Call Us Today

The Only Board Certified Dental Anesthesiologist in Missouri, including the St. Louis Metro Area.

Call (314) 862-7844
Updated: February 2, 2024

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