Why Your Kids (And You) Should Never Use Teeth as Tools

girl opening bottle with teethIn honor of February being National Children’s Dental Health Month, we’re going to take the opportunity with this blog to talk about something that ARCH’s pediatric dentist in Stoughton sees a lot of… kids (and parents too) are using their teeth as tools. Your ARCH orthodontist in Greater Boston and Cape Cod knows a lot about this too as we see patients quite often who were biting down on something they maybe should have avoided and BOOM – they break a bracket or two.

Let’s look at some of the most common ways your kids use teeth as tools and why it’s so dangerous!

1) Opening A Stubborn Bottle Top

There’s a pretty good chance that most of the parents and possibly teens or kids reading this blog have done this before. It’s probably the most common issue we see at our pediatric dental office in Stoughton when tiny teeth get chipped or break. Just thinking about it makes our teeth hurt, but there are actually some adults out there who feel that it’s a good or ‘cool’ idea to open a glass bottle using not their hands but their poor teeth. In doing so, there’s an extremely high likelihood that you’re going to break or chip a tooth. Our teeth are durable, but not necessarily THAT strong to withstand something like this. But this isn’t just a lesson for grown-ups. Toddlers and teens alike have been known to try and open stubborn plastic bottle tops with their teeth. This is also a big no-no. You don’t want them hurting their mouth, scraping enamel from their teeth, or causing breakage or crack.

2) Substituting Teeth for Scissors

If your kiddo is too young to use scissors, they may think it’s A-OK just to go ahead and trust that their teeth will get the job done. It’s way safer to help them out with a pair of scissors instead of letting kids rip a food wrapper or pesky clothing tag with their teeth. Your Stoughton pediatric dentist will tell you that when we use our teeth as tools in can put unnecessary strain on them leading to painful cracks or dental fractures.

3) Gaining An Extra Set of Hands

Kind of along the same lines as substituting teeth for a pair of scissors, it’s also a not-so-good idea to use them as an extra pair of hands when yours are full. When your mouth is in charge of holding stuff other than the food you eat, it can cause severe damage to your teeth and even your jaw, just like the other issues we’ve discussed. Also, it’s important to remember – especially if your kids are young – putting or holding items in our mouths can be super dangerous if someone trips or falls down. This could spell big T-R-O-U-B-L-E for tiny and adult teeth alike.

4) Chewing on Stuff That’s Not Food

What do you think the biggest culprit is here? It’s fingernails followed closely by pens and pencils. Everyone from toddlers to seniors has been known to bite their fingernails from time to time. It’s usually something when we’re stressed, and sometimes we do it without even realizing it. Breaking up ice with your teeth is also a bad idea for little ones and grown-ups. It can also cause bad chips or breakage to your teeth that can be painful and require immediate attention. Chewing on non-food items over a long period is never, ever good for your teeth or overall oral health.

We hope you’ve learned a little something here today about avoiding using our precious teeth as tools to do stuff other than breakdown our food, talk, etc. At ARCH’s pediatric dental office in Stoughton, we always like to friendly remind younger patients and their parents about the downfalls of chewing and biting bad stuff with our teeth. If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please don’t hesitate to call our pediatric dentist in Stoughton, Dr. Karissa Koster, at 781-436-8201.