When people think of their children’s dental health, they only think of brushing and flossing. However, protecting teeth from damage is an important part of dental health. Many people do not realize that using teeth as tools can severely damage their teeth.
Using Teeth as Tools
Kids discover early that their teeth can also be used as a tool. Tough-to-open potato chip bags, hanging pieces of string, hard-to-open caps, and even stubborn yogurt containers can quickly be addressed by kids using their teeth. Their teeth are always accessible and convenient. However, teeth should never be used as tools. Unfortunately, once kids begin using their teeth as a tool, it becomes a habit and the practice is hard to stop.
Potential for Damage
Using teeth as tools can have painful consequences for children. In fact, using teeth in the wrong way as a child can cause issues that will plague them into adulthood.
- Chips and Cracks: When used incorrectly, teeth can easily become chipped, requiring repair by your kids’ dentist
- Grooves: If teeth are frequently used as tools, grooves may develop in the enamel
- Breaks: In severe circumstances, teeth can break when used incorrectly, resulting in pain and/or a costly repair
- TMJ (Temporal Mandibular Joint): Using teeth as tools can cause them to wear incorrectly and harm the alignment of the jaw. This poor alignment can cause issues with a person’s Temporal Mandibular Joint (TMJ) and result in Temporal Mandibular Dysfunction (TMD), a serious jaw disorder that can result in tightness, pain, and headaches.
If your children frequently use their teeth as tools, ask your kids’ dentist to look for signs of damage.
Lead by Example
Children mirror their parents’ behavior. Chances are that if you use your teeth as tools, your children will too. Lead by example and take time to get the correct tool to complete your tasks instead of your teeth.
For additional information on dental health and how to protect the health of your children’s teeth, come talk to us at Playtime Dental.