All of us know what it’s like to struggle with some kind of packaging, usually plastic, that we just can’t seem to get open. Without a knife or scissors handy, you may feel the temptation to just use your teeth. That temptation is all the more pronounced when you’re not thinking very clearly about oral health or the long-term effect misusing your teeth on objects can have.
The simple reality, though, is that your teeth aren’t tools, and using them as such can create long-term damage. As parents, it’s important to reiterate to your children that the teeth are there for chewing food, not for tearing off tags, opening packages, or carrying items around the house.
The Problem with Using Teeth as Tools
It may help to have some clarity on exactly what can happen when you use your teeth as tools, or when you allow your kids to do likewise.
The most obvious issue is that using your teeth as tools can damage them. Using teeth to open packaging is one of the leading causes of chipped teeth. In some cases, using teeth to open packaging can break the teeth, requiring them to be replaced with artificial teeth or potentially even dental implants. Misusing your teeth can also wear out tooth enamel, leading to your teeth becoming more sensitive and prone to harmful damage.
There are other oral health risks, too. For example, using the teeth to open packaging can cause cuts to the lips, gums, or inside of the mouth.
In some cases, using the teeth to open a package may even injure the jaw, causing ongoing pain or impeding proper functionality. Don’t forget that placing any non-food item in your mouth can potentially be a choking hazard, a risk that’s even more serious for kids.
The bottom line? Using the teeth as tools is tempting, but also very dangerous. Always take the extra step of seeking scissors, instead. Depending on their age, kids should be encouraged to do likewise, or to come to a grown-up for help.
Find a Pediatric Dentist Near Me
With any questions about ensuring proper oral health and hygiene for your kids, feel free to schedule an appointment with our pediatric dentistry team. Reach out to Wilson Pediatric Dentistry at your convenience.