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Not that you would ever want to break a tooth—it’s certainly something to avoid. But, knowing the five most common causes of tooth breakage may help you to keep those pearly whites intact. After all, breaking a tooth can be painful, expensive to repair, and make eating certain foods a chore.
I remember breaking a tooth when biting into a piece of thin-crust pizza. I told my dentist, and he sarcastically said, “Yep, pizza is the number one cause of tooth breakage.” Then he laughed. Turns out that the reason for my broken tooth qualifies for number 5 on the list of causes: having large dental fillings. Fortunately, the missing cusp of this molar hasn’t caused pain or even required repair; so, there it sits, imperfect and painless.
WILL A BROKEN FRONT TOOTH LOWER YOUR IQ?
When a broken tooth is visible or affects eating or occlusion, it can be a problem. A broken front tooth (incisor) for example, can change your looks and smile—something you may not like. I chipped my front teeth and went to my dentist to fill it. He said, “You can’t go around like that; it automatically lowers your IQ by 10 points!” Haha! He masterfully filled and polished it, and I returned to my normal level of intelligence.
THE 5 MOST COMMON WAYS TO BREAK A TOOTH
HOW TO TREAT A BROKEN TOOTH
If you break a tooth, first rinse your mouth out, then apply pressure to stop any bleeding. Place a cold ice pack on the cheek next to the affected area to reduce swelling, pain, and also to stop bleeding. If you can, take the piece of broken tooth to your dentist. If the tooth is now jagged and could scratch your mouth or tongue, put some wax or gum over the sharp parts for protection. If you need to ameliorate the pain, you could use an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Call a dentist to ask for an appointment.
OTHER DENTAL EMERGENCIES
HOW TO PREVENT TOOTH BREAKAGE
Besides avoiding hard foods and wearing a mouth guard, there are a few other intelligent ways to minimize the chances of breaking a tooth. Regular dental care and hygiene really helps. Brush your teeth twice a day, and floss daily. See your dentist and dental hygienist at least twice a year for check-ups and cleanings.
It’s always tempting to use your teeth as tools to open or bite things other than food. Remember, teeth are for beauty and eating, not for chewing on fingernails, pencils, or opening packages and bottles. This includes not biting off pieces of the opponent’s ear in a boxing match. Right, Tyson?
Abrasive toothpastes can wear down the enamel surface of your teeth, weakening them. Use gentler toothpastes and soft toothbrushes. Avoid over-whitening your teeth. Some products make the teeth more sensitive to hot or cold food and drink.