We’ve all been guilty of using our teeth improperly. From using as bottle openers to opening up bags of chips, our teeth are more versatile than a Leatherman tool.  While it’s convenient to use our teeth as tools, it can be a bad idea.  Here are six really bad ideas for your teeth from dental experts:

Stripping wires with your teeth!

I had a patient do this because he ‘always did it this way.’ He came in with his tooth in hand asking what we could do to fix it.  The only option was to remove the tooth and replace it with an implant. – Christopher Chin, DMD, MPH, Casas Adobes Dentistry. casasadobesdentistry.com

Eating Frozen Snickers!

Delicious, yes. But crunching down on anything frozen is a really bad idea. Yep, that includes chewing on ice. Chomping on something frozen can cause damage to the ligament that surrounds your teeth and worst case, can cause your tooth to crack. This can leave you with a sore tooth, like a bruise, or an emergency trip to the dentist.  Enjoy delicious treats, just perhaps mixed up in an ice cream flurry in a less frozen state. – Whitney Weiner, DDS, MS, Lakeshore Dental Specialists,  dentalimplantsdetroit.com

Smoking Marijuana!

Yes, it is legal in many states including California, but smoking marijuana can be a really bad idea for your teeth and gums.  Marijuana can cause ‘cotton mouth’ – less saliva in your mouth. Saliva is important to flush out bacteria, slow tooth decay, and helps prevent bad breath. Your teeth might be stained over time, and you might have increased levels of cavity-causing bacteria.  – Raymond Wright Jr., DDS, San Clemente Periodontics & Implants, sanclementeperiodontics.com

Not Caring about your Oral Health!

We are learning more every day about how taking care of your oral health can have a huge impact on your overall body. Some diseases can start in your mouth and spread to other areas of your body. Or, oral diseases can weaken your overall immune system, leaving you at risk for other issues.  This is what we call the oral-systemic connection. – Yara Soto, DDS, Bella Dental, bellladentalcajon.com

Curious about the oral-systemic connection to your total health? Read more about it here

Bees Wax!

It may sound unusual, but one of our patients chews pure honey comb. The combination of sticky, sugary wax feeds bad bacteria, causing it to multiply faster in your mouth and stick to your teeth. Just like chewing sticky candy, you increase your chances of cavities. And very chewy candy, like expired Milk Duds, can pull out your fillings. – Gaile Cerniauskas, Park Ridge Dental Associates, parkridgesmiles.com

Nail Biting!

Sure, you might need to clip off the occasional hangnail when you’re on the go, but constant nail biting can lead to pressure on your jaw and is associated with jaw dysfunction.  Not to mention our fingernails can host a lot of germs and dirt. When we chew on them, those germs get transferred to our mouths and might result in gum disease. It’s not just a really bad idea for our teeth, it’s a bad idea for our health! – Whitney Weiner, DDS, MS, Whole Dental Wellness, wholedental.com

So, the next time you start to open the bag of chips with your teeth, don’t!  When we think using our teeth is a simple, quick solution, we might be setting ourselves up for long-term issues with our oral health.