In today’s world, we are fortunate that there are all kinds of services to keep your smile healthy, and to keep you looking and feeling your best. Whether medical or cosmetic, there aren’t many issues modern dentistry can’t address. But how often do you really think about your teeth? We’ve put together some fascinating dental facts that you might not know. Check out our list below – you might be surprised!
1. We’re born with 20 primary teeth
All humans are born with 20 baby teeth just below the gumline, waiting to emerge. Each baby tooth has its own predetermined time to emerge, and each baby tooth also has a predetermined time to fall out, after which a permanent tooth will grow in to replace it. There are only two factors that can alter a baby tooth’s predetermined time to fall out: not following proper oral health care, or an accident.
While we’re all born with 20 baby teeth, and it’s normal to lose them eventually, it’s important for your child’s future oral health that the baby teeth stay in place as long as possible. Keeping the baby teeth in place helps ensure that the permanent teeth stay healthy and stay properly positioned in the mouth as they grow in. For this reason, we recommend that children first see the dentist around the age of 3.
2. The first tooth emerges between 6-12 months
Parents can expect to see their child’s first tooth emerge between six months and their first birthday. Signs that your child might be teething include a low-grade fever, crankiness, poor sleeping behavior, tugging at their ear, and lots of drooling. Teething tends to last longer for the first couple of teeth versus the last to arrive.
3. Humans have at least 32 permanent teeth
Every human is born with at least 32 adult teeth waiting to take the place of the primary teeth. Some people, however, have an extra set of molars called wisdom teeth. These people have 34 adult teeth! It’s very common for people to need their wisdom teeth to be surgically removed. Wisdom teeth aren’t necessary for proper chewing, and many mouths aren’t big enough for the wisdom teeth to grow in. Or the wisdom teeth can be impacted, which means they are coming in sideways. In either case, they must be extracted, otherwise, they can cause pain and push on the other teeth, causing them to become too close together, out of alignment.
4. Teeth are the hardest substance in the body
Many assume that bones are the hardest substance in the body, but that’s not the case. It’s actually teeth! Comprised of over 96% of minerals, teeth are even harder than bones.
5. Teeth aren’t bones
Are teeth considered bones? It’s one of those surprising facts you didn’t see coming, but teeth aren’t bones. Teeth are similar to bones in some ways. Both are made up primarily of calcium, and both contain nerves and blood vessels. But bones produce bone marrow, and teeth do not. For this reason, teeth are not considered to be bones.
6. Teeth have a 200lb bite force
It is said that an adult human has a biting force up to 200lbs. This is an incredible amount of power! Believe it or not, the human biting force is on par with that of a pit bull, which comes in at 235lbs. This might be one of the reasons people find themselves using their teeth as tools. For those that have ever used their teeth to open things like bags or used their teeth to bite their nails, then you understand entirely using your teeth for a purpose for which they weren’t intended – but we don’t recommend it!
7. Teeth can’t self-repair
It may seem like teeth should be able to heal from injuries or even regrow, given that they are living tissue with a blood supply, unfortunately teeth can’t fix themselves. Once tooth decay starts, it will slowly progress to the point of advanced tooth decay or tooth loss. The only way to repair tooth decay, like cavities, is with a filling, a crown, or a root canal. Once a tooth is lost, the only option is a replacement like a denture, bridge, or a dental implant.
8. The first toothbrushes were twigs
Modern dentistry has come a long way. Home-care for our teeth has changed a lot too. While toothbrushes and toothpaste were the first advances in home-care and are still the most common, in today’s world home-care options include water flossers and electric toothbrushes. However, a very long time ago, pre 5000 B.C., we were using twigs to clean and floss our teeth. The practice of chewing on a twig proved to eliminate food and bacteria buildup on the surface of the teeth as well as in between.
After twigs, ancient Eqyptians used a combination of crushed eggshells and animal hooves as their dental care products of choice. Thank goodness things have changed!
9. Healthy teeth are better able to resist decay
There’s a reason you should see your dentist every six months. The healthier your teeth are, the longer they will last free of decay. With over 300 different types of bacteria that can affect the health of your teeth, it’s crucial to detect problems early, or better yet, prevent problems before they take hold. If you haven’t been to your dentist lately, or if you’ve been putting off needed dental care, it’s best to take action, because waiting will only allow small problems to get bigger.
10. Every tooth is different
Of all the 52 teeth a person will have in their lives, each and every one is unique. Right from birth, each tooth has a unique character. Every person and every tooth will be different. This fact is what spurred using dental records as a form of identification.
So did you know most of these fun facts about teeth? Our teeth are one of the essential features of our human body. They allow us to chew, which gives us the luxury of eating almost any type of food we want. Teeth are also responsible for helping us speak and pronounce words clearly and correctly, and they are vital for oral communications. Aside from function, our teeth also create our one-of-a-kind smile, that makes us uniquely ourselves.