If you’ve ever noticed a baby sucking on their thumb or pacifier (and let’s be honest, it’s very common), you may wonder exactly why they do such a thing. Well, it’s in the word “pacifier,” when you think about it. It’s a calming thing to do. And when stress strikes, adults pull a similar bad habit in chewing on things with their teeth.
The thing is, this isn’t healthy for us. Yeah, teething puppies and rodents gnaw on things all the time. But this is to do with their growing teeth and dealing with pain that’s caused because of it. We are not benefiting from chewing on things, on the contrary.
Here are a few reasons why chewing on your pen during the work day isn’t good for you.
Grinding away at your enamel in the day.
Chewing on your nails is bad enough for your fingers, but chomping on a plastic cup, ballpoint pen, or even pieces of ice can wear away your enamel. In case you weren’t aware, enamel is the part of your teeth that protect the sensitive parts beneath. If layers are constantly stripped away from chewing and grinding on the daily, you’ll notice your teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold foods and even pressure from eating.
This is the equivalent of consciously chewing on things during the day only it happens at night unconsciously. Bruxism is the term for grinding your teeth in your sleep. Sometimes, it’s unknown why this happens, and other times it’s because of daily stress and anxiety. However, another major factor for teeth grinding is chewing on things prolongedly during the day. This can be because you eat a lot of tough meat, chew a lot of gum, or, more commonly, chew on your pens or pencils.
If you find yourself nervously chewing on things and snapping out of grindy reveries, you may actually be grinding your teeth at night, too. (Who knows unless you sleep in the same bed as someone.) Knock the habit to make sure you don’t do this at night.
Plastic remnants in your mouth.
Because a lot of the things people chew on are composed of plastic, you’ll quickly realize that this is bad for your health simply because plastic pieces may enter your mouth and digestive tract unbeknownst to you. While some of this is harmless or so miniscule it may not matter, it can surely add up over time if you don’t monitor your obsessive gnawing. Get ahold of your problem sooner rather than later; there’s a reason consuming plastic and other treated materials is definitely not good for your health.