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According to Experts…The Seven Worst Things For Your Oral Health

Kiefer Family Dental wants to remind all, that your mouth is not a trash compactor. You should not put anything in your mouth that you didn’t intend to swallow because chances are good that you’ll end up swallowing it. This comes right from doctors who’ve had to extract all sorts of inedibles that people have had trouble with.

But while there are all sorts of unique things people have swallowed, there are just as many other things people commonly put in their mouths and chew on all the time that are bad for oral health.

Doctors say most hard objects the size of a quarter or smaller will pass naturally through the body. But don’t risk involuntary ingestion. Something like paperclips may pierce soft tissue. Turkey and chicken bones and cocktail sticks are far more common. So, think before you chew or suck, and check out this list of the 10 worst common things we put in our mouths.


1. Ice Cubes

In the battle between tooth enamel and ice, your teeth usually win. The problem is sometimes the ice is the victor and your enamel gets cracked or chipped. You will then experience pain or at least a sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures. Compulsive ice eating, technically called pagophagia, may enter the realm of a mental health issue or even an eating disorder called pica, which involves cravings to eat things with no nutritional value.


2. Toothpicks

Half of all people who swallow toothpicks don’t realize it until they experience abdominal pain, according to a studies. Perforations of the intestine are common, and the associated mortality is high. The picks can pierce the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum, but 81% do their damage in the small and large intestines.

3. Chewing Tobacco

Just that tiny, little pinch that you pack between your cheek and gum delivers more than 28 cancer-causing chemicals, including cadmium, polonium-210, formaldehyde, benzo(a)pyrene, and lead, reports Johns Hopkins Medicine. The type of cancer that typically begins as leukoplakia, which is a whitish patch that develops inside the mouth or throat or another precancerous lesion called erythroplakia, characterized by a raised red patch in the mouth. Both are linked to esophageal and pancreatic cancers.

4. Fishing Line

Dentists often identify anglers and fishermen by their chipped teeth. Die-hard fishermen will sometimes bite monofilament fish line so often to cut it when tying on a hook or lure, they end up wearing a groove into their teeth. Don’t risk your teeth. Buy a pair of nippers to cut fish line. You will be happy you did. And so will your dentist.

5. Fingernails

Nail-biting is a repetitive, compulsive condition that might suggest an underlying psychiatric problem, or maybe it’s just a touch of nerves. One thing’s for sure, the area underneath your fingernails tends to be full of bacteria that is very difficult to sanitize. In fact, this subungual space may harbor viruses like the one that causes COVID-19. But even if your hands are super clean, nail-biting may be unhealthy. The practice puts your jaw in a protruding position that can place undue pressure on it, which can lead to jaw dysfunction.

6. Other People’s Toothbrushes

If you ever forget your toothbrush when staying somewhere other than home, don’t even think about using someone else’s. Toothbrushes are breeding grounds for potentially unhealthy microorganisms. Brushing with a contaminated toothbrush can expose you to: (1) decay-causing bacteria, (2) a bacteria that causes periodontal disease, which can lead to bleeding gums, tooth and bone loss, (3) cold and flu viruses, including COVID-19, and (4) though rare, blood-borne diseases like HIV and hepatitis.


7. Pencils, Pens & Keys

Like unwashed fingers, the things you regularly hold in your hands should not be held in your mouth as well, warn dentists. Pens, pencils, and car keys are loaded with germs that can make you sick. Biting down hard on them is an easy way to crack a tooth.


We at Kiefer Family Dental hope that this list is helpful. Perhaps you learned something you didn’t know that was detrimental to your oral health. The office of Kiefer Family Dental provides the best in modern dentistry for individuals and families should you have any problems from the list.

Our highly-qualified dentists and gentle hygienists work hard to combine knowledge and skill with the latest in technology to give our patients the best possible dental outcomes. With services ranging from periodontal therapy, oral surgery. dental implants, dentures and even being set up for Invisalign clear braces, Kiefer Family Dental is your Evansville, Indiana A+ dental choice. Call (812) 424-9506 or use the website to book an appointment online.

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