Most of us take our teeth for granted—at least, until something goes wrong with them. As a Flower Mound pediatric dentist, I do my best to educate my young patients (and their parents) about their teeth so they’ll take great care of them. They need to last a lifetime, after all!
You might think, “Hey, they’re just teeth; what is there to know?” Perhaps the following facts will help you appreciate just how important and special those pearly whites are.
Facts About Teeth
1.They’re hard. Really hard.
The outer layer of your teeth is an armor called “enamel,” and it’s the hardest substance in the human body. Despite being pretty tough, teeth can still be cracked or chipped. And acidic or sugary foods erode enamel, which is why we need to drink mostly water and brush our teeth to keep them healthy.
2. Hundreds of species call your teeth “home.”
Hundreds of species of bacteria reside in your mouth. When you fail to brush your teeth and evict some of them, you’re giving them time to get in a nice meal (especially if you fed them sugar) and multiply. The acid byproduct of their gluttony is one of the major causes of tooth decay. Brush your teeth!
3. Teeth aren’t actually bones.
What? They are hard, white, and contain calcium—can’t we call a spade a spade? Not so fast. Your teeth are primarily composed of dentin and enamel rather than collagen, but that’s not the only difference between them and bones. Bones have the capacity to grow or repair themselves, but your teeth can’t heal themselves or grow back after being damaged.
4. They’re one of a kind.
Teeth are kind of like fingerprints in that the exact structure of your teeth is uniquely yours. This is why forensic scientists (usually dentists with special training, in this case) can use dental records to identify someone.
5. Saliva protects teeth.
Did you know that your spit naturally protects your teeth? It even has cavity-fighting properties! Saliva lubricates your mouth, washes away food debris, and fights tooth decay. Your body produces about one quart of saliva per day, or 10,000 gallons over the average lifespan.
6. Teeth are like little icebergs.
A significant portion of the tooth lies below the gum line, which is why it’s important to floss and keep your gums healthy. When brushing, remember to get your gums as well!
7. Thin enamel makes teeth look yellow.
Enamel itself is whitish in color, while the dentin beneath it is naturally yellow. When the translucent enamel becomes worn, your teeth can look yellow. Coffee and tobacco also stain enamel, gradually dyeing the teeth a yellow-brown color.
8. Genetics play a big role in oral health.
Just like your DNA can determine your eye color or blood type, your genes also play a part in your susceptibility to oral health problems. They can affect the size, shape, and structure of your teeth, as well as saliva production, enamel, and a host of other factors. While genes share some responsibility for your oral health, you can still control your own destiny with good hygiene habits and regular dental checkups.
9. Nail biting is bad for your teeth
If enamel is the hardest substance in the body, how could nail-biting hurt your teeth (besides being unhygienic)? It’s not the hardness of the nail we have to worry about; it’s that the bottom teeth are just as hard as the top teeth, and biting your nails means your teeth are striking one another. This impact can chip a tooth or degrade the enamel over time.
10. The number one chronic childhood disease is tooth decay.
What’s the top reason that a preschooler would require surgery under anesthesia? Early childhood caries, which is almost entirely preventable. Over 40 percent of children ages two to 11 have had cavities in their baby teeth, and 21 percent of children ages six to 11 have had them in their permanent teeth.
Don’t Wait—See Your Flower Mound Pediatric Dentist Today!
The key to lifelong oral health is prevention. Don’t wait until after problems arise to bring your child to your Flower Mound pediatric dentist.