Your Child's Teeth Are Not Tools
Everyone is tempted to use their teeth as tools from time to time. However, using teeth for tasks like opening containers or carrying things is dangerous for the overall health of your teeth. This goes doubly for children, whose teeth are not as strong as adult teeth and who can pick up bad habits easily by seeing examples at home or school.
Our pediatric dentists at Children’s Dental Care have seen many cases of damaged teeth due to patients using them as tools. Here are just a few to watch out for in your child.
Teeth are Not Tools
Cracking Nuts, Chewing Ice
Teeth aren’t strong enough to crack nuts without damaging your child’s smile. If your child likes to snack on nuts, make sure that they aren’t using their teeth to break through the hard shells. Un-popped kernels at the bottom of the popcorn bag are also tough enough to crack or chip teeth. Likewise,can increase your child’s risk for a chipped tooth.
As a parent, the last thing you want is to schedule chipped tooth repair or other emergency dental care for something that could have been prevented. That’s why it’s important to intervene as soon as you see your child use their teeth as tools. Otherwise, you may have to call our emergency pediatric dentists to repair a chipped or cracked tooth.
When your child has their hands full, they may be tempted to carry something in their mouth. For example, your teenage daughter might be tempted to hold her purse strap by her teeth while carrying groceries.
Not only is it unhygienic to use teeth to hold things, but it also increases your child’s risk for injury. If that same daughter were to trip, the purse strap could exert enough pressure to fracture or knock out teeth. If you see your child using their teeth as tools, speak up before they need an emergency dentist.
Most glass bottles contain adult beverages. However, some brands offer pop or fruit juice in glass bottles. If this is the case, you’ll want to make sure your child doesn’t open bottles with their teeth. The metal caps can scrape tooth enamel, increasing your child’s risk for tooth decay. Over time, your child’s teeth will weaken from being used to open things.
If you think a paper cut on your finger is painful, just imagine slicing your gums. Don’t let your child use their teeth to open envelopes, bags, or similar items. Opening things with their teeth also increases their risk of accidentally swallowing pieces of plastic.
If you see your child using their teeth as tools, the best thing to do is speak up. Taking the time to talk with your child is much better than trying to schedule urgent dental care because your child cracked a tooth on an un-popped kernel. It’s also much less traumatic for your child to avoid a broken tooth altogether, rather than needing a dental crown, veneers, or other type of restorative dentistry. If you have any questions about your child’s oral health, don’t hesitate to ask our pediatric dentists.
To learn more about our preventive pediatric dentistsat Children’s Dental Care and the pediatric dental services we offer, please contact either our Livonia, Canton or Dearborn pediatric dentist’s office.