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Why Biting Down On Aluminum Foil Hurts

Published on October 8th, 2015

HAVE YOU EVER accidentally bitten down on a little piece of aluminum foil? Have you experienced that quick zap of pain?

That Jolt Is Called Galvanic Shock

Perhaps a little piece of foil was clinging to the tortilla when you unwrapped your taco during lunch. When that foil came in contact with metal in your mouth (such as an amalgam filling, a metal crown, or braces) it created a little electrical shock!

Here’s How It Works

The discomfort comes from two different types of metal interacting with each other. These dissimilar metals—with help from our saliva—create something akin to a very low powered battery. When we bite down the stored electric charge flows through the teeth to our nerves, and our brain interprets the nerve’s signal as pain.

4 Aluminum Foil Uses That Are Better Than Biting It

  • Sharpen dull scissors. Just fold up a few strips and start cutting!
  • Soften brown sugar by wrapping it in foil and baking it for 5 minutes at 300° F.
  • Moving a couch? Put foil (dull side down) under the legs to glide across the floor.
  • Clean your iron by ironing over a piece of foil to get rid of build-up.

Share Your Story OR A Foil Recommendation

Steer clear of sneaky foil pieces in food! If you have another useful tip for using aluminum foil, share it below!

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