Your Teeth are not Tools

I certainly do not intend to be a hypocrite so I will be up front about my reasons for writing this post. Over the Christmas period while unwrapping my daughters toys the challenge was parting the toy from the packaging. Just when you think you have done it you discover more elastic bands and pieces of plastic. I found the process very challenging! I must admit that on more than one occasion I chose to break through the packaging with my teeth. I am also guilty of breaking open numerous crisp packets with my gnashers!

At one point or another we are all guilty of it. Putting objects in our mouth is a natural reaction that stems from our childhood. We all know that most babies put objects in their mouth to explore the taste and texture as a way of discovery.

As adults many of us also have the bad habit of using our teeth as tools. I have summarised the most common habits and described the damage it can cause to our dental health…


On a hot summers day it often feels appropriate to crunch ice cubes or crushed ice. It may seem harmless but the temperature of the ice along with its hardness will cause serious damage to our teeth. Teeth were constructed to crush through things, not against things. If you have a habit of crushing on ice, you need to cool it!


Biting your nails will ruin the presentation of your hands but more importantly it can also destroy your teeth and is an oral hygiene problem. Biting your nails on a daily basis can cause your teeth to move into a different position and can also cause your teeth to break. With regards to hygiene any bacteria trapped on or under your nails can be transferred to your mouth and cause acids that can erode your tooth enamel.


It may seem like a harmless habit, chewing a pen or a pencil and it is a habit I can confess to myself but chewing pens and pencils will harm your teeth. Plastic pens can damage your tooth enamel and if the pen slips it can also cut your gums allowing harmful bacteria to cause infection and not forgetting that it hurts! As this is a common problem, in the classroom if you are chewing a pen or a pencil it is also likely that someone else has been there before you, bacteria & viruses along with other diseases can be passed from person to person! Not a nice thought is it?


I literally cringe when I see someone using their teeth as a bottle opener. I am waiting for their teeth to break. Make no mistake, there is a high percentage that it can actually happen. If you drink better or other drinks with bottle tops invest in a bottle opener, it will be a lot cheaper than replacing your broken tooth with cosmetic dentistry


Many of us have removed a clothing tag with our teeth or used our teeth to rip or tear open a bag on some of us find untying a knot with our teeth makes the job very easy. Easy it may be but it can cause damage to your teeth, especially if we do so over a long period of time. It can crack your teeth or a small amount of tooth can chip off.


The above is applicable to all of us, that said, healthy, natural teeth are stronger than Veneers, Crowns and other Cosmetic Dentistry. No matter what your dental situation is, a loss of a tooth be it natural or cosmetic is a loss of money and this is something none of us want to loose.


Today is the 2nd of January and one of my New Years Resolutions is to stop using my teeth as tools for my daily convience. No matter how hard it is to remove the toys from the packaging, next time I promise I will choose the scissors and preserve my smile for another year!


Our teeth are not scissors, pliers or any other type of tool. They were designed to chew and of course to smile J Using your teeth for anything else is a bad idea. The next time you want to show off by opening a beer can with your teeth or you are unable to open the bag, remember the problems that could arise and choose a better option…

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