Breaking bad habits: Teeth are not tools

Everyone has done it at one time or another. You’re away from your scissors and you need something to cut with. Why not use your pearly whites? 

Because your teeth are not tools!

The enamel on your teeth is one of the hardest substances in your body. But that doesn’t mean you should use it as your own personal Swiss Army knife. We’ve heard of people doing wild things with their teeth. This includes biting off price tags, ripping open containers, chomping off pieces of tape, or even opening bottles!

Your tooth enamel is a protective coating in place to protect the tools you need to eat food. While enamel may be tough, your teeth are not abuse-resistant. They can crack and break just like anything else. Tooth damage is painful, so don’t put your smile at risk by using your teeth as tools.

Be kind to your pearly whites! Here are some things you can do to protect your teeth from irreparable damage:

Stop chewing ice

  • It’s easy to do, especially when it’s hot outside and you’re thirsting for every drop of your icy beverage. If you feel like you need the water, opt for a glass of it instead of chowing down on that hard ice.

No more cutting

  • Avoid using your teeth to cut or pull on anything, like tape, bags of chips, fishing line, or even shopping tags. This can wear your enamel down unnecessarily, which could lead to cavities, sensitivity to temperatures, or worse. Use an actual tool instead.

Don’t be a show-off

  • Don’t try to pop off a bottle cap with your teeth. It may seem like a fun party trick, but it’s dangerous. Not only can the cap cut your tongue or gums, but it can also crack or break a tooth. Learn some cool card tricks instead.

Your teeth should be used for three tasks:

  • Cutting and chewing food
  • Helping you pronounce words
  • Smiling

Teeth are not scissors, rock hammers, bottle openers, or even nail clippers. Chips and cracks on your teeth can be painful and may lead to permanent damage or even require them to be pulled. For some people, chewing on objects like pencils or fingernails is a hard-to-break habit. However, you can stop. It just takes patience and practice.