Why Do Olympians Bite Their Medals?

Olympic gold medal with the 5 Olympian rings engraved on it, hanging on a blue ribbon also with the rings

It takes years of dedication, hard work, and commitment to even qualify for the Olympics, so it’s a no-brainer when we say that medaling in an Olympic event is truly no easy feat. But why do Olympians tend to bite their medals when they’re posing for pictures?

An Old Practice

Throughout history, teeth have been functional for more than just eating, talking, and smiling. People actually used to test the authenticity of precious metals using their teeth! It’s possible to leave teeth marks in objects containing pure gold, silver, or copper because they are all soft metals. The biting method was utilized to verify if gold coins and other gold objects were genuine or forgeries. If they couldn’t leave teeth marks in the object they were biting down on, then they might conclude that it was either only plated with gold, mixed with other alloys, or not made of any gold at all.

An Enduring Trend

The composition of modern-day Olympic medals is no secret: gold medals are mostly comprised of sterling silver, while bronze metals are actually made of copper. The practice of Olympians biting down on their medals has endured for years, not as a method of checking for pure precious metals, but simply because it is a more playful and interesting pose than merely flashing a smile for the cameras! Moreover, although they’re not actually biting down on their medals very hard, this pose is a fun way to get Olympians to demonstrate their apparent strength.

Don’t Try That at Home…

It may look cool to bite on hard objects with your teeth, but doing so could chip and/or break your tooth! Today, there are many ways to research the hardness of certain materials without putting your tooth enamel at risk. The Mohs’ scale of mineral hardness is a great resource if you’re interested in learning more about the hardness of different minerals and materials. We also recommend not chewing on ice! Try reaching for a piece of sugar-free chewing gum instead.

Emergency Care

If you’ve broken, chipped, or knocked out a tooth, we offer emergency care here at Bluedot Dental. Call us immediately at 480-497-0226 and we’ll provide you with instructions on how to handle your emergency over the phone until you can visit our office. If we aren’t reachable, remain calm and head to an emergency room as soon as possible.

We Can Help You Maintain Strong Teeth!

Do you want to have oral health worthy of a gold medal? Visit us twice a year and brush and floss your teeth every day to ward off bacteria growth. No matter what service you need, we look forward to providing comfortable and gentle care to you and your family. Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

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