Kids put all kinds of objects in their mouths. While germs might be your main concern, you should also be worried about the damage that certain items can do to your kids’ teeth. Teach your kids to avoid using their teeth as tools in the following ways, so you won’t have to bring them to a pediatric dentist for major repair. Keep in mind that setting a good example is one of the most effective ways to teach kids.
Using Teeth as a Nutcracker
If your kids enjoy eating walnuts and other nuts with hard shells, don’t let them crack them open with their teeth. Instead, give them a nutcracker to use or have them hit the nuts on the table to open them. Using teeth to crack nuts can erode the enamel coating that protects them, which increases the risk of tooth decay.
Using Teeth as a Bottle or Wrapper Opener
Your kids shouldn’t use their teeth to get bottle caps off or to open packs of gum or other wrappers. While your kids might think their teeth are strong enough to handle these items, they can chip or crack, leading to an emergency trip to the dentist. Opening items with teeth can also interfere with jaw alignment, which can raise your kids’ risk of experiencing jaw pain. Help your child open bottles and wrappers if necessary, or give them scissors or bottle openers to use if they are old enough.
Using Teeth to Hold Pens and Other Items
Your kids might think nothing of holding a pen or other item in their mouth when they don’t have a hand available, but these items can damage their teeth. They can also be a choking risk if your kids accidentally swallow them.
Using Teeth to Chew on Objects
Chewing on non-food items, such as toys or fingernails, is a common problem among kids, especially younger ones. These items can weaken your kids‘ teeth over time or cause damage, including cracks. In order to cut down on the risk of having to make an unscheduled visit to a kids dentist, discourage your children from chewing on anything other than food.
Using Teeth as Scissors
Kids might be tempted to use their teeth to remove plastic tags from toys or as a tape cutter, but this can do serious harm. Using teeth for cutting items can cause them to become weaker and lead to cracks, which can cause severe discomfort and increase the risk of infection. Cut these items for your kids, or give them a pair of safety scissors to use on their own.
If your kids have damaged their teeth or if it’s time for their next cleaning and exam, give us a call to schedule an appointment. Our pediatric dentist office will help keep your kids’ teeth clean and healthy.