Sharks can lose about 20 teeth in a week, which may be shocking but not surprising, since sharks are infamous for chomping on just about anything — from glass bottles to license plates to tires.
While a shark’s undiscerning diet may be problematic for its digestive system, it’s not an issue for the shark’s teeth because sharks have so many extras. Marine biologist Michelle Wcisel has estimated that a great white shark can lose nearly 30,000 teeth during its lifetime!
By contrast, we human beings typically have 20 primary teeth (baby teeth) and 32 permanent adult teeth, and that’s all we get to last our whole lifetime. So, unless you’re a shark, you should avoid the following bad habits because they could potentially destroy your precious teeth.
Avoid chewing on ice and other hard objects. If you like to crunch ice cubes, you’re taking a big risk that you might chip or crack a tooth. Biting down on hard objects can irritate the soft tissue inside your teeth, resulting in a toothache or sensitivity to hot or cold foods. So, even though ice cubes are sugar-free, chewing on them is very bad for your teeth.
The same holds true for chewing on pens and pencils, opening items like bottle caps with your teeth, and chewing on hard candies, such as the notorious jawbreaker, which could also be called a “tooth-breaker.” Smiles Dental recommends that you crunch some raw carrots, instead.
Avoid playing contact sports without a mouth guard. If you want to play Russian roulette with your pearly whites, then you can risk serious dental injuries by playing contact sports like hockey, football or kickboxing without wearing a mouth guard. When the game gets grueling, your teeth could get chipped, fractured or knocked out altogether.
We recommend that you avoid getting tongue piercings or other oral piercings. Tongue piercings and even lip piercings are also risky for your teeth: If you inadvertently bite down on the metal stud, then you could crack or chip your tooth. You might be skeptical, but have you ever bitten your tongue before?
There are also other concerns with oral piercings: Sometimes the metal rubs against the gums, causing damage that could eventually lead to tooth loss. And last but not least, our mouths are full of hundreds of bacteria, which means that piercings raise the risk of sores and infection. If you’re considering getting an oral piercing, please talk to us first to learn more about the health risks.
Unfortunately, sometimes people (especially youth) chew on these types of non-food items described above, and it often leads to some sort of dental emergency. Here at Smiles Dental, we can help you with emergencies, but we’d prefer that you protect your smile by avoiding these types of risky behaviors. But if you do find yourself in a predicament, please contact our office at 360.727.6976.