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Your Teeth Are Not Tools

Your pearly whites are a hardworking part of your anatomy. They grind up food so you can eat. They help you pronounce words so you can speak. And they make your smile sparkle. But what should they never do? Open, rip, or chomp down on objects.

It can be tempting to use your teeth to turn a stubborn soda cap or tear apart a package. But doing so can break a tooth. Chewing on hard objects such as ice, popcorn kernels, hard candy, pens, and pencils may also chip or crack your teeth. A cracked tooth can be very painful and may require a root canal procedure and crown. It may even need to be pulled.

Reach for scissors, a bottle opener, and other tools instead. If you have a habit of chewing on objects, ask a friend or family member to remind you to stop when you're doing it. Chewing on sugar-free gum may be a helpful alternative.

Save your smile by using your teeth only for the things they're designed to do.

"Dental Emergencies." American Dental Association. www.ada.org/370.aspx Accessed 2013.

"Do You Have a Cracked Tooth?" American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/sections/scienceAndResearch/pdfs/patient_25.pdf Accessed 2013.

"Tooth Disorders." Medline Plus, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/toothdisorders.html Accessed 2013.

"Smile Smarts: Watch Your Mouth." American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/sections/publicResources/pdfs/smilesmarts_curriculum.pdf Accessed 2013.

Author: Paige Greenfield
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