Chipping a tooth on food isn’t that rare an occurrence. You could be tempted to see the resulting tooth damage as merely cosmetic, rather than something to worry about. After all, could something like that really cause much trouble?
Actually, chips can cause significant problems, so it’s best to avoid them in the first place. To help out, here’s a guide to the dangers of chipping and the foods most likely to cause it.
How Bad is a Chipped Tooth?
The bone and enamel that constitute teeth protect underlying nerves, so chips risk exposing said nerves to irritation and harsh stimuli. The latter can cause pain, fever, and fatigue in the short-term. Over a more extended period, this exposure can lead to nerves becoming infected, increasing the likelihood of needing a root canal.
In the event of such symptoms, it’s best to visit your dentist in order to avoid further complications. Once your dentist takes a digital X-ray and examines the tooth or teeth involved, they’ll be able to present you with possible treatment options.
Foods To Watch Out For
Some foods risk chipping teeth more than others. To ensure that your next meal doesn’t involve that kind of tooth damage, be extra careful when eating the following foods:
- Popcorn: Unpopped popcorn kernels can crack a tooth if bitten hard enough. Next time you whip some up, be intentional and only grab a few popped kernels at a time.
- Nuts: Hard nuts, like unpopped kernels, can chip teeth if the shell is pressed too hard. Try to chew on them gently next time you have some.
- Bone-in Meats: These can cause your teeth trouble, so be mindful when eating chicken wings, chicken legs, ribs, steaks, and other bone-in meats.
- Hard Candy: Candies like jaw breakers, lollipops, and such have a shell to them that isn’t meant for chewing. From now on, try to suck and savor these candies rather than bite down.
- Ice: While crushed ice for things like snow cones or shaved ice are fine, ice cubes are too hard on human teeth.
- Corn on the Cob: Front teeth aren’t meant for biting and grinding into corn cobs, so try removing the kernels from the cob before eating them.
- Jerky: Jerky, beef or otherwise, has a hard texture that can strain our jaws and teeth, causing strain in the former and teeth chips in the latter.
A chipped tooth can be dangerous at times. Thankfully, by being careful around the relevant foods, you can reduce the risk of it happening and preserve your smile for years!
About the Author
Dr. Cody Calderwood, a cosmetic dentist based in Park City, UT, graduated with his Doctorate in Dental Surgery from the University of Maryland in 2008. An avid fan of new technology and techniques, he continues to update himself on the latest advances in dentistry. Dr. Calderwood is also known for his active participation in the Utah Dental Association, having served as its president in 2018. He currently practices at Park City Dentistry and can be reached at his website or by phone at (435)-649-4343.