Opening A Bottle With Your Teeth: Good Or Bad Idea?

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Have you ever frantically looked for a bottle opener at a party? Did you perhaps resort to using your teeth as a make-shift bottle opener? It might seem intuitive to use your teeth for opening stubborn bottles and packets, especially in the absence of any alternatives. But is this safe?

Opening a bottle with your teeth is not a good idea. Your teeth are not meant to be used as bottle openers. Doing so can cause severe and sometimes permanent damage, and it isn’t worth impressing your friends. Use a bottle opener or table-edge instead.

Because we often overestimate the strength of our teeth — and underestimate the extent to which we can harm them — we tend to subject them to many horrors they don’t deserve. Bottle openers exist for a reason, and they should be used instead of teeth for opening bottles. And in case you can’t find a bottle opener, you can always use alternatives like the edge of a table to get the job done. 

Why Opening a Bottle With Your Teeth Is a Bad Idea

Close up an African woman opening a bottle of beer

The shiny, white coating on top of our teeth is known as enamel, and it’s even stronger than our bones. Enamel is made up of 96 percent mineral and only 4 percent organic material and water.

This is why our teeth can outlast us, as long as we take care of them, of course. So why is it that experts say opening a bottle with your teeth is a bad idea? Is there more to this seemingly harmless party trick than meets the eye?

The best way to illustrate why opening a bottle with your teeth is a bad idea is to assess its best and worst possible outcomes. The cons heavily outweigh the pros. Using your teeth to accomplish the task of opening a bottle will lead to your friends being impressed by you at best and your teeth and gums getting permanently damaged at worst. 

Even if you manage to crack the bottle open, you should remember that your teeth were designed for cutting, mixing, and grinding food. They might be strong enough to open bottles sometimes, but that won’t always be the case. In fact, opening a bottle with your teeth can cause damage in many different ways. 

Your teeth can get misplaced from their socket in the gum, chipped, or cracked. If the bottle slips from your grasp, it can cut your gums, leading to infection and tooth decay. In the end, the risk is simply not worth the reward.

One might argue that the damage is reparable through dental procedures in most cases. Still, dental procedures are often painful and expensive and can lead to further complications down the line. There is no substitute for natural teeth.

All things considered, opening bottles with your teeth is not the brightest idea. You should not put your teeth in harm’s way. Use them only for what they are intended to do: help you digest food.

How to Open a Bottle Without an Opener

Young man opening bottle of beer with old opener

If you don’t have a bottle opener handy but still want to crack open a bottle, you have many more options beyond just using your teeth. There are multiple ways to pop off a bottle cap without risking a visit to the dentist. All you need is a little bit of technique, a little bit of will, and a desire to protect your teeth.

Any countertop or table edge can be used to open a bottle. All you need to do is hold the bottle firmly and upright. Then position a part of the bottom of the metal cap on the countertop or table edge. Now use your free hand to slam down on the bottle, and the lid should fly right off.

A lighter can also be used as a lever to open a bottle. You’ll need to grip the neck of the bottle quite high up, leaving just enough room for a lighter to fit between your thumb and the metal cap of the bottle.

Then, using your thumb as a pivot point, push on the opposite side of the lighter, and the bottle will open. This technique can also be used with lipstick or any object similar in size and weight to a lighter.

Now that you know these techniques, you can use different objects and apply the same principles to open bottles the next time you don’t have a bottle opener. Some of these objects include belt buckles, a second bottle, a folded-up dollar bill, scissors, a screwdriver, or pretty much anything sturdy enough not to break.

The only thing you should not consider using is your teeth because nothing is worth risking damage to your teeth, especially not a soda bottle.

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