Our teeth are incredibly important. Not only do they provide structure for our faces but they are how we enjoy food and even communicate happiness. However, there’s a lot that many of us don’t know about our teeth – for example, how dentists might be a relatively recent development but dental care has been around since the Ancient Greeks. Below are some other fascinating facts that you probably didn’t know about your teeth.
- Teeth are as unique as a fingerprint. Even identical twins don’t have the same teeth – yours are completely yours and won’t be the same as anyone else’s. That’s why dental records can often be used for identification purposes.
- Most of us have 32 teeth. Those 32 include eight incisors, four canines, 12 molars, and eight premolars. Even though all our teeth are completely different, most of us share the same basic dental structure.
- It’s not just about what you can see. As a third of each tooth actually sits below the gumline, your gum health is as important to overall dental health as looking after your actual teeth.
- You have 300 types of bacteria in your mouth. Although there are many different types of bacteria in your mouth there is one in particular that is responsible for issues such as decay. Streptococcus mutans will convert sugar and carbohydrates into the acid that can damage your teeth.
- Tooth enamel is the hardest thing anywhere on your body. Enamel sits on the outside of your teeth, providing protection. Like your bones, it contains phosphate and calcium but this is also topped up with crystallites and certain proteins, which is why it ends up being a much harder substance.
- Enamel is hard but not indestructible. In fact, it can still chip and crack if you damage it, for example through a sports injury. It can also decay when sugars and acids in food combine with bacteria in your mouth to attack the enamel on your teeth.
- If your teeth look yellow it may not just be drinking too much coffee. There’s no doubt that substances like coffee and red wine can leave us with a slightly yellow-ish smile. However, yellow teeth may also indicate enamel that has decayed, especially if you’re also starting to experience some tooth pain.
- Dentin is another element in your teeth – and it grows. The dentin sits underneath your enamel. It’s also incredibly hard but, unlike enamel, it will continue to grow and change as your body does.
- Over a lifetime you’ll generate 10,000 gallons of spit. Saliva is often underestimated in terms of its importance to tooth and gum health. We generate so much of it because it’s so useful, for example it washes away food particles that might be sitting on teeth and it also makes food easier to swallow.
Our teeth are incredibly precious and looking after them is key. Regular dentist and hygienist appointments can help to ensure that you’re happy with your smile for longer.