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Opening Stuff with my Teeth: Yay or Nay?

cracked toothIt’s been a habit since we were kids. No scissors handy? Just rip the candy wrapper open with your teeth. As we get older, sometimes the habit sticks. No bottle opener? Just open your beer with your teeth. You’ll be considered the toughest guy in the bar.. And you’ll have the worst teeth. We do this, because our teeth are always handy, but at some point, you may learn this lesson the hard way, and crack or break a tooth when using them as tools for something other than chewing.

So the answer is a resounding “Nay” unless the thought of costly dental work is somehow appealing to you. Essentially, teeth are designed to withstand vertical forces, like chewing food, not lateral forces, such as using your teeth to strip speaker wire while hooking up your new stereo system. When you damage a tooth like this, you’ll need to see your dentist for a filling or a crown to repair the damage, and your tooth will never be as strong as it once was.

Even smaller tasks, such as cutting thread with your teeth, can cause damage if you do it continually for years. Eventually, you’ll develop a groove in your teeth. Even though that won’t wear away your tooth enamel, it will change the appearance of your tooth. Many of us learn our lesson and get up and walk to grab the scissors or pliers before it’s too late, but others never learn. We’re definitely creatures of habit, sometimes, and this one can be hard to break, but breaking this habit can ensure that the teeth you’ve worked so hard to protect stay healthy.

Remember that your teeth are there for chewing, and that’s all they should ever do. Also, be sure to brush and floss daily and if it’s time for a dental checkup, make an appointment today!

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