In our fast-paced lives, many of us may be eating in a hurry, taking giant bites of our food to get done quickly and on to the next task. Fast-food restaurants advertise giant burgers and sandwiches as a selling point, but often those super-sized delicacies are larger than a human mouth.
Taking bites that are too big to chew could be bad for your jaw and teeth, says the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing education. At particular risk are people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), which can restrict the range of acceptable bite size. “People with TMD need to avoid opening their mouths too wide,” says AGD spokesperson Barbara A. Rich, DDS, FAGD. “Taking large bites of food can aggravate their condition.” So, smoosh that hoagie before taking a bite.
Dr. Rich also cautions against biting into hard candies, which can chip teeth. Even apples can cause problems. “If you need to open your mouth more than feels comfortable to take a bite, then you should cut the item into smaller portions that are easy to chew,” Dr. Rich says.
People should always avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and opening nuts with their teeth, which can lead to chipping and breakage of natural teeth and restorations.