Our teeth are amazing. Not only is tooth enamel the hardest substance in the body (even stronger than bone!), they have evolved over millions of years to be the perfect tools for breaking down our food into more manageable and digestible chunks. Teeth are also a staggering 96% mineral, which not only accounts for their durability, but means that our teeth can last hundreds, if not thousands of years! Our teeth are such useful tools for eating that many people assume they can be equally useful for other, non-food related tasks.
In fact, in a recent study the Oral Health Foundation found that over 65% of us frequently use our teeth for tasks other than eating or drinking. In addition to this, 40% of us have admitted to tearing Sellotape with our teeth, whilst a quarter of those surveyed said they use their teeth to bite nails, and a fifth use their teeth to carry things when their hands are full. The stats don’t end here, however, as 20% also revealed they use their teeth to take tags out of clothing, 16% chew pens and pencils, and nearly 10% said they regularly open bottles with their pearly whites.
These are quite some statistics, and while these alternative uses may seem trivial, using your teeth for anything other than eating and drinking poses a considerable risk to your oral health. Anything from opening bottles to chewing foreign objects can damage existing dental work or cause our teeth to crack.
There are also examples of teeth shifting out of place, chipping, and in some cases breaking due to the pressure and strain. Accidents are also more likely to happen which could result in invasive and expensive emergency dental work.
Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation has stated: “we should stick to using our teeth for what they were designed to do – chewing our food so that its more easily digestible. Our teeth also help us to talk and make sounds. They also give our face its shape. Because of this, we shouldn’t be doing anything that could unnecessarily jeopardise them.”
Interestingly, young adults are the biggest culprits when it comes to using teeth in improper ways. More than four in five (85%) 18-35-year-olds admit to abusing their teeth by performing unusual tasks with them. This is significantly higher than 35-54-year-olds (70%) and the over-55s (54%). So next time you want to perform your party trick of opening a bottle with nothing but your teeth, take a moment to consider the risk this can have on your oral health- and remember that we literally invented a tool for this task 125 years ago! Here at London Holistic Dental Centre, we care about your teeth, so if you feel you might have damaged your teeth by using them improperly, or would like to chat about any aspect of your oral health, simply call us and book an appointment with our fantastic team on 020 7487 5221.