Minimum Upkeep for Maximum Benefit

VeneersIf your smile is bright, white, and getting you admiring looks, you want to keep it that way. Whether you have veneers or are sporting your own teeth, there are a few tips that will help you keep your smile spotlight-bright.

“Veneers are strong, but they are not meant to be kitchen utility instruments,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix cosmetic dentistry office. Food packaging is meant to keep the contents from breaking in travel. It’s usually tough plastic or sealed with a strong sealant or glue.

“When you use your teeth to open packages, you are putting stress on your teeth in a tearing, sideways motion,” says Dr. Ford. “Your teeth are not designed to withstand this directional stress, and they may crack or break,” she adds.

Habits like ripping threads while sewing, using your teeth to hold ropes while you boat or water-ski, or holding your pet’s leash while you find your keys in your bag can damage your teeth. In some cases, these habits wear down your teeth over time. In other cases, a sudden movement can suddenly break a tooth.

WebMD lists “using your tooth at tools” as the fourth most dangerous way (out of 15)  to “wreck your teeth.”

Keep several practical tools—the ones designed for the job—in your kitchen drawer. A pair of utility scissors will cut open bags and have a slot to open many bottle caps.  A hand-turned can opener will open hard plastic shells that hold kitchen tools, spices, utensils or decorative objects. A nutcracker and pick will open hard-shelled nuts or pry open partially open pistachios.

Use your teeth to bite and chew food, talk and smile. When you stop using your teeth as tools, you smile will not only look better, it will certainly last longer.

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