Why Chewing On Plastic Is Bad For Your Teeth

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Our teeth are primarily meant for biting and chewing food, being the first step of the digestion process. However, children and adults can find interesting ways to use their teeth outside of having a meal. Bad oral habits, like biting ice, chewing plastic caps, or using teeth as "tools" to open a package, can cause cracks or fractures in the enamel. Teeth fractures, or thin, fine lines, put damaged teeth at a higher risk of developing tooth decay or other dental issues. Byers Station Dental is a family dental practice that offers cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dental treatments to patients in the Chester Springs, PA area. Here is helpful information from our dental practice on what bad oral habits you should avoid to protect your smile.

How do teeth help us?

Our teeth are different sizes and shapes to bite, tear, and grind food before swallowing and beginning the digestion process. Not only do our teeth allow us to chew and digest food, but they also play a vital role in our speech and how we express ourselves to others. They can even impact our overall health. Healthy teeth and gums impact our general health. Daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits, keeps harmful bacteria in the mouth under control. Without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as periodontal disease and tooth decay. A healthy mouth is an integral part of having a healthy body.

Is it wrong to chew on plastic items?

Chester Springs, PA patients should know that chewing on hard items, like plastic pen caps or ice, puts stress on the tooth's surface. Tooth enamel, or dentin, is a hard, durable surface that can withstand tough foods. However, its sturdiness cannot always hold up to objects that we shouldn't chew on, such as plastic bottle caps, pen caps, toys, and ice. Sharp edges and more rigid plastics can cause hairline cracks in teeth. In time, those cracks can worsen, eventually leaving behind visible brown lines from drinking tea or coffee. These cracks or chips created by bad oral habits also jeopardize your dental health, putting those teeth at significant risk of tooth decay. Other items you should keep out of your mouth are:

  • Metal caps
  • Your nails
  • Acidic foods, like lemons
  • Hard candies
  • Keys
  • Jewelry

What are the effects of chewing on plastic?

You can damage your teeth if you're using them for anything else besides chewing food. Once tooth enamel is damaged, it cannot repair itself. Sharp edges from opening a package can even cause soft tissue mouth trauma to your gumline area should you slip. It is best to resist the temptation of using your teeth to twist off bottle caps or chew on a pen cap when bored. Chewing plastic pen caps, hard items, or even ice can cause teeth fractures and grind down teeth, leaving behind worn-down bite edges. The next time you want to engage in these bad oral habits, preserve your smile and grab a piece of sugarless chewing gum.

At Byers Station Dental, we proactively educate our patients on the importance of good oral health. If your teeth have suffered damage due to engaging in bad oral habits, let us restore your smile and dental health by reaching out to our dental practice today. If you are looking for a family dentist in Chester Springs, PA, contact our office or schedule an appointment online.

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.