You already know your teeth are designed to help you chew and eat, and they are probably one of the first things you notice about a person when you meet. But there’s more to your teeth than you might think. Here are a few fun facts about those pearly whites.
Most of Your Tooth Surface is Hidden
You can only see about one-third of your tooth above the line of your gums. The rest is hidden below your gums and stretches into your jawbone, where it anchors the tooth. That keeps your teeth strong so you can use them to chew everything from fruits and veggies like apples or carrots to tough meats and proteins that are all part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Teeth are Extremely Strong
Enamel, the outer covering around your tooth that looks white, is actually the hardest substance in your body. Dental enamel is made up of phosphate and calcium—the same as your bones—but it also includes proteins that harden it even more. It makes sense that it’s extremely strong, since your second set of teeth (the ones that grow in after your “baby teeth” fall out) are the only teeth you get, and they have to last the rest of your life. There’s also a second hard layer under the enamel called dentin. It’s filled with small tunnels that bring nutrients and send nerve signals to every part of the tooth. Even with all this protection, teeth can still chip or decay over time without proper care.
We Have Four Types of Teeth
Humans eat a diet of both meat and vegetables (omnivores), and because of that, our mouths have evolved to include four different types of teeth:
- Canine teeth
Some teeth are helpful for chewing or grinding food, others for cutting or mashing up foods, and still others for tearing apart foods that are tough (like meat).
Teeth are Unique like a Fingerprint
The shape and size of your teeth, as well as your “bite” (the way your teeth come together) are unique to you. Those unique features in someone’s mouth can help identify them if other methods of identification—like a fingerprint or a visual identification—can’t be done.
Your Mouth is Filled with Saliva, and Bacteria
Over the course of your life you will produce more than 10,000 gallons of saliva. It’s helps wash away small food particles and neutralize acids, both of which prevent tooth decay and infections. Your mouth also has a lot of bacteria—as many as 300 different types—that feed on sugars. It’s important to brush your teeth and see a dentist regularly to remove these bacteria before they harden into a sticky substance called plaque and lead to tooth decay.
Get Your Teeth Checked
If it’s time for a checkup on your teeth, come see us at Young Family Dental today. Call to schedule an appointment to keep your teeth clean and healthy.