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As a top children’s dentist office in Utah, we at Children’s Crossing Pediatric Dentistry have seen kids do a whole bunch of strange things with their teeth. Young children are still learning about their bodies, and their high-strength teeth are often one of the areas they experiment with first.

As any pediatric dentist will tell you, though, there are some major risks that come with this kind of experimentation. The teeth are meant for chewing food, not a variety of other purposes kids might use them for. Here are several areas to steer your children clear of – and to stay away from yourself in the name of setting a good example.

Holding Items

This is one that many parents struggle with as well – your hands are full, so you use your mouth to carry that one last item. But this can teach kids that doing this is okay, and it’s absolutely not. For starters, someone doing this can easily trip and fall, causing serious oral injuries. For another, if the item is heavy, it could chip or otherwise dislodge a tooth more easily than you might think.

Opening Bottles

This isn’t usually as large a concern, as there are very few child beverages that come in glass bottles anyway, but make sure your kids never try to open bottles with their teeth. This is one of the worst single actions you can perform on your teeth, and is almost certain to lead to a chipped tooth if done often enough. Hard metal also scrapes enamel away from teeth and leaves them at higher risk for cavities.

Cracking Nuts

Down similar lines, tell your children that they should manage any nuts that are in hard shells using their hands only. Trying to crack them with the teeth can lead to fractured or cracked teeth. If they’re old enough, teach your kids how to use a metal nutcracker.

Cutting Items

While it can be tempting to cut, rip or tear a stubborn item with the teeth, remind your kids that they aren’t scissors. Exposing the teeth to any surfaces that are harder than food is a risk, and the pressure your teeth often need to cut these items is far greater than what it needs for food. This pressure can create major stress on the teeth, leading to cracks or fractures before long.

For more on protecting children’s teeth from harmful items, or to learn more about any of our kids dentist services, contact the staff at Children’s Crossing Pediatric Dentistry today.