Everyone knows that certain things present high risk of harm when put into the mouth. Tobacco, raw meat, toys, gun barrels or your own foot are some well-known examples. Other not-recommended items are:
Toothbrush with too much toothpaste. This may keep you from seeing what you are brushing. Studies show that people who dry brush their teeth first, then brush again with toothpaste, have less gum bleeding and tartar than those who brush only with toothpaste. The overwhelming taste of the toothpaste may also cause a hastening of the teeth brushing routine.
Contact lenses. Cleaning or moistening your contact lenses by putting them in your mouth is not a good idea, because bacteria in the mouth can cause conjunctivitis.
Pencils, pens or pipes. Chewing on these items can cause both the wearing down of the teeth and invisible cracks or fissures to form in the enamel of the teeth. Under certain circumstances, these cracks or fissures can make it more likely for your teeth to crack or chip. TNJ (jaw joint) problems can be aggravated by chewing on foreign objects.
Tongue studs and lip or cheek rings. Puncture of the tongue can lead to excessive bleeding or infection, such as hepatitis. It’s amazing how many people with tongue studs or lip rings tell their dentists they hate Novocain shots.
Hot food followed by cold. Hot coffee or drinks followed immediately by an icy drink or ice cream can lead to cracks in your teeth. Dental enamel is highly mineralized and hard, when it is exposed to extremes in temperatures, tiny cracks may form on your teeth.
Metal nails. Holding nails in your mouth may be convenient, but a slip or fall can cause nails to puncture the lip or mouth.
Small (onilateral) partial dentures. Partial dentures or removable bridges that are not attachable to both sides of the mouth are small enough to be swallowed during sleep and can cause choking.
Aspirin on the gum. Because aspirin is so acidic, leaving an aspirin on your gum to relieve pain can end up leaving you in more discomfort. Aspirin can denude the surface of the gum and leave it extremely raw and sore.
Super glue to glue back a loose crown. Gluing back a loose crown with super glue or any other commercial glue may seem like a good self-help idea. But the strong chemicals in these glues can cause terrific toothaches and result in the entire tooth being dissolved by the glue in a very short time.
Ice, seeds, jawbreakers, etc. Chewing on hard items like these can fracture your teeth, especially if you already have large fillings in your teeth. Incidentally, restaurants and markets are generally fair about reimbursing you for the cost of restoring a tooth that broke from biting into a foreign object in your food. In either case, you must report it immediately to the restaurant or store manager. Then see your dentist as soon as possible. If it happened from food purchased at a market, you must show the manager the food item, the receipt, the foreign object and tooth fragments, if any. Then see your dentist for a brief report stating the cause and estimated cost for treatment.
If you would like more information about tooth damage, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.
Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.