You might not give your teeth a lot of thought besides routinely brushing them twice a day, but they really are quite fascinating. We could talk about the interesting aspects of teeth all day long, but here are just a few fun and fascinating facts about teeth.
We bet you didn’t know all of these!
1. The ancients cleaned their teeth and used surprisingly modern dentistry
There is archaeological evidence that the ancient Egyptians had surprisingly advanced dental knowledge and performed orthodontics and oral surgery. They invented dental surgery to treat various dental diseases.
They reattached missing teeth to surrounding healthy teeth with gold or silver wires, excised abscesses, and removed damaged gums. They even made dental bridges.
The ancient Greeks are known to have made toothpaste with a mixture that contained coral powder, pumice, talc, alabaster and iron rust. Twigs and roots were used as toothbrushes.
2. You are born with almost all of your teeth
We are all born with our two sets of teeth – called deciduous, primary, milk or baby teeth, and permanent teeth. By age three we have 20 deciduous teeth; these are lost between the ages of six to 14, and ultimately replaced by 32permanent teeth. The final teeth to come in are the wisdom teeth any time after the age of 17.
3. Teeth are like fingerprints
This is why dental records are so useful in formal identification. Even identical twins don’t have identical dentition. DNA can also be extracted from teeth.
Did you know: Your tongue also has a unique tongue-print!
4. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body
It is even harder than the largest, strongest bones – for this reason, the teeth are the last part of the body to break down after death naturally or during cremation. Enamel consists mostly of phosphate and calcium; it can crack and chip and it doesn’t regrow.
5. Your mouth is a festival of bacteria and micro-organisms
Plaque, which forms on teeth, contains between two- and three-hundred different species of bacteria. Some of these convert sugar into acids which contribute to tooth decay. Other bacteria in the mouth can lead to gum disease, bad breath, and even problems with the heart and blood vessels. Besides bacteria, there are also various other naturally-occurring micro-organisms such as candida – which is the yeast-like stuff that leads to conditions like oral thrush if there is too much of it!
6. Teeth Yellow with Age
Tooth enamel is translucent, like frosted glass. As people age, the inside layer of a tooth (dentine) tends to darken, whilst the see-through enamel becomes thinner over time. That’s why darker, yellower teeth are seen in older people. It’s also the reason why simple things like tooth whitening or cosmetic dentistry using lighter ceramics can give a person a ‘younger-looking” smile.
7. Teeth don’t self-repair
Unlike your bones and other body parts, your teeth don’t regenerate or self-repair. You get one set and you need to look after them. Tooth decay is second only to the common cold as the world’s most common disease, and it’s not a modern phenomenon.
ANOTHER FAST FACT: A century ago, half of adults in the West were actually toothless!
Modern dentistry has transformed this statistic, and at Myers Street Dental we are perfectly positioned to offer you the very best in dental care to maximise the wellbeing of your teeth.