Why to Avoid Letting Your Children Use Their Teeth as Tools
Allowing your child to use his or her teeth improperly may cause the teeth to become cracked or fractured. Cracked or fractures in teeth are the third leading cause of tooth loss in the US. If your child is using his or her teeth for anything other than eating, they encounter an increased risk of tooth damage, which could lead to dental disease, tooth loss, and costly dental repairs. You can help your child avoid these problems by teaching them not to use their teeth as tools.
Why Teeth Should Never be Used as Tools
Below are a few activities that can cause damage to your child’s teeth. Never let your children use their teeth to:
Hold Items – Using your teeth as an extra set of hands to hold that last item can be tempting. However, using your teeth to hold items can be dangerous, especially if you trip or fall. This makes you vulnerable to sustaining serious facial and oral injuries, including the loss of teeth. It may require more patience to make an extra trip to carry that one last thing, but it’s much safer for your child’s oral health.
Cut Anything Other Than Food – It can be tempting and easy to use your teeth to open a bag, cut string, or tear tape. However, these substances can be damaging to your teeth, and the pressure needed to perform these tasks is often more intense than that needed to chew food. Because children follow your example, we recommend avoiding this habit for yourself as well as your kids.
Crack Nuts – Nuts are healthy and delicious, but your teeth are not meant to crack the shells they come in. Attempting to crack a nutshell can cause the teeth to become fractured or cracked. Instead, give your child nuts without shells or teach him or her to use a nut-cracker.
The bottom line is that teeth were made for chewing food, allowing us to speak properly, and nothing else! Teeth are not indestructible and allowing your child to use his or her teeth as tools will make them vulnerable to unnecessary dental damage, which can cause pain and expensive procedures to fix.