Posted on: July 1, 2015
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Teeth
They help you chew food and flash a great smile, but there is more to those pearly whites than you think! Here are 10 tidbits about your teeth that you probably didn’t know:
- Our adult teeth begin to form even before birth! While in mom’s womb, the food and drink she ingests affect how your teeth formation.
- Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body – even stronger than our bones – but there are still many ways it can break or chip. Ice, popcorn kernels, and piercings of the tongue or lip are some of the biggest causes of damage to the enamel. Piercings can be particularly dangerous. In fact, WebMD reports that a 2007 study by the American Journal of Dentistry determined that 14-41% of people with lip or tongue piercings experience fractures and wear. Maybe it’s best to stick to earrings in the ears, unless you want to damage your smile.
- Identical twins do not have identical teeth. Our teeth are totally unique to us, just like fingerprints, which is why dental records are used in the identification of human remains.
- The different types of teeth in your mouth work as a team when you eat. The six teeth on the top and the six teeth on the bottom at the front of your mouth bite and tear, while the molars in the back are the ones who break down the food. If you’re missing teeth from either group, the process will be more difficult and slowed down.
- Your teeth are covered in bacteria. Plaque – the continually growing substance that causes tooth decay – is made up of 200-300 different kinds of bacteria.
- Acidic foods and drinks are just as bad or even worse for your teeth than sugary foods and drinks. When you drink orange juice or eat sour candy – or ingest anything with a low pH balance – your teeth are softened. This softening leads to erosion and decay. This is especially problematic for children, as their enamel is already relatively soft. The effects of acid can be minimized by consuming them along with other, non-acidic foods during a meal. Also helpful is popping a piece of gum made with xylitol afterwards.
- Saliva is a tooth’s BFF. Saliva helps wash away food particles. It also contains calcium and phosphate, which help to neutralize acid.
- Some babies – about 1 in 2000 – are born with teeth! They are often removed to spare pain to breast-feeding moms and to make sure the baby doesn’t swallow them if they fall out.
- There is a connection between your oral health and your heart health. In fact, some studies suggest that gum disease is a risk factor for coronary artery disease and other heart problems. Another reason to keep up with your dental hygiene!
- Scientists are working on growing synthetic teeth from human stem cells, but they’re a ways off from being ready for your mouth.