Can Jaw Harps Damage Your Teeth? Is It Safe To Play On Them?

Jaw harps have been around for centuries and are widely popular among those who enjoy tinkering with musical instruments. However, as with any musical instrument, there are concerns about how playing a jaw harp can affect your dental health. In this blog post, we will explore these concerns and answer the question – Can jaw harps damage your teeth?

How Do Jaw Harps Work?

Before we dive into the impact it can have on your dental health, let’s first understand what jaw harps are and how they work. A jaw harp, also known as a mouth harp or Jew’s harp, is a small musical instrument consisting of a flexible metal or bamboo tongue attached to a frame. It is played by placing the frame against the teeth or lips and plucking the tongue to produce a sound.

Can Jaw Harps Damage Your Teeth?

It is highly unlikely that playing a jaw harp can cause damage to your teeth. Most jaw harps are made of soft and flexible metals like brass or stainless steel, which are not hard enough to cause any damage. However, it is possible to experience some discomfort or pain if the pressure applied while playing is excessive.

How can you damage your teeth with a jaw harp?

Improper technique is the leading cause of teeth damage from playing the jaw harp. Factors such as teeth position, reed playing angle, improper pressure, and overly rough playing can all contribute to teeth damage. Playing jaw harps with stiffer reeds can also increase the risk of teeth damage. However, with proper technique and caution, you can avoid damaging your teeth while playing the jaw harp.

Can Jaw Harps Cause Gum Damage?

While playing a jaw harp, there might be some contact between the instrument and the gums. If not played carefully, it is possible that a jaw harp can cause damage to the delicate gum tissues. It is recommended to place the frame of the jaw harp against your lips instead of your teeth to minimize the chances of gum damage.

How to Keep Your Teeth Safe While Playing a Jaw Harp?

To keep your teeth and gums safe while playing a jaw harp, make sure you avoid biting down on the instrument while playing. It is also a good idea to use a mouth guard or play with an open mouth to reduce the pressure placed on your teeth and gums. Additionally, make sure to clean your jaw harp after each use, as bacteria and other harmful microorganisms can accumulate on the instrument.

Benefits of Playing a Jaw Harp

Despite some concerns about the impact it can have on your dental health, playing a jaw harp can offer many benefits. It is a great stress reliever and can help improve your focus and concentration. Playing a musical instrument also stimulates the brain and can improve memory and cognitive skills.


In conclusion, playing a jaw harp is generally safe and is not likely to cause damage to your teeth. However, it is essential to play the instrument carefully and take necessary precautions to avoid any discomfort or injury. With proper care and handling, playing a jaw harp can be an enjoyable and rewarding experience that offers many mental and physical benefits. So, go ahead and explore this unique and exciting musical instrument without worrying about any potential risks to your dental health.

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