Your teeth are an essential part of your body, and their primary role is to help you eat and speak properly. However, some people use their teeth for various purposes, such as opening packages or holding objects in their mouths. While it might seem convenient at the time, using your teeth as tools can be dangerous and lead to long-term dental problems.
Not only can you damage your teeth or gums, but you can also introduce harmful bacteria to your system. If you are aware of the potential damage this behavior can cause, you may be more likely to avoid it.
Chipped or cracked teeth
One of the most common dangers of using your teeth as tools are chipping or cracking your teeth. Teeth can handle the force of biting and chewing food, but they cannot take the pressure of opening packages, ripping off tags, or crunching on non-food items. Using your teeth as tools can cause chips or cracks in your teeth, which can be painful. Additionally, you may need costly dental treatments to repair it.
Using your teeth as tools exposes them to extreme temperatures, pressure, and friction. Over time, this can cause tooth sensitivity, potentially limiting your enjoyment of certain foods and drinks. Unfortunately, sensitivity can also make brushing and flossing uncomfortable, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Broken or dislodged fillings
If you have dental fillings, misusing your teeth can cause them to break or become dislodged. Fillings should protect and strengthen your teeth. However, they cannot withstand the pressure of biting on hard objects or performing tasks like opening packages. If your filling breaks or dislodges, it can cause severe pain and discomfort. Additionally, it can increase your risk of tooth decay because bacteria can infect the inner portion of your tooth. Broken or dislodged fillings can cause pain and discomfort and increase the risk of tooth decay.
Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ)
Using your teeth as tools can also cause problems with your temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This joint connects your jawbone to your skull and moves your jaw when you speak, chew, and yawn. Using your teeth as tools can cause stress and strain on the TMJ, leading to TMJ disorder. This condition can cause pain, stiffness, and difficulty opening and closing your mouth.
When you use your teeth as tools, you can also damage your gums. For example, biting on a pen or pencil can cause cuts and scratches on your gums, increasing the risk of infection. Using your teeth to open packages or rip off tags can also damage your gums. Not to mention, getting cuts on your gums can be painful!