From the time children get their first tooth, they should be taught the basics about teeth, especially their structure and their care. Adults continue the effort to protect their teeth for a lifetime and keep dental problems to a minimum.
More than likely, you know the basics about your teeth, how to care for them, etc. But, there are a lot of interesting and fun facts about teeth and the history of their care that you may not know. Here are just a few of them that you may be surprised to learn:
Fun Facts About Teeth and Their Care:
- In the early 1920s, only half of those in North America had any teeth at all. Cavities were not seen as preventable so once a tooth got a cavity, it was simply pulled.
- In contrast, less than 10% of people today have lost any teeth at all. Good dental care along with prevention techniques allow us to keep our teeth throughout our lifespan.
- Teeth cannot repair themselves, the only body part that does not have this ability. So, a reputable dentist is your best friend!
- The common cold is the #1 disease in America. Tooth decay is #2 and it’s totally preventable.
- The enamel on our teeth is the strongest part of the human body, even stronger than bone. That doesn’t mean it can’t be destroyed. The buildup of plaque on teeth over time breaks down the enamel, eventually leading to gum disease and loss of teeth.
- Be glad you don’t live in medieval times when a toothache was treated by boiling earthworms in oil and then dropping the oil into an ear. If you had loose teeth, a frog was tied to your jaw. In medieval Germany, a toothache was cured by kissing a donkey. Yes, today there are much better methods of dental treatment!
- In the early days of America, the local blacksmith was often the dentist, too, mostly because they had the sharp tools needed. Keep in mind there was no deadening agent like today’s Lidocaine to numb the mouth before dental work was begun with those hot blacksmithing tools!
- Hard to believe, then, that our oldest ancestors had great teeth, at least until humans began to farm instead of hunting and gathering. At that point, bacteria that grows in the mouth with more carbs in the diet increased substantially and tooth decay soared.
- Care of our teeth is critical for social reasons, too. Half of those questioned say that someone’s smile is the first thing they notice. In fact, 60% of adults say they are attracted to somebody’s smile more than anything else. Those first appearances are important in both our personal and business lives.
- Americans seem to care more about hair care products than dental care products, $100 billion versus $2 billion a year. What’s that old saying? Put your money where your mouth is?
- Speaking of daily care, fluoride toothpaste was invented only 100 years ago. Before that, people used crushed oyster shells, ground chalk, charcoal, pulverized brick, or even lemon juice and salt.
- Human teeth can last a lifetime if cared for with regular checkups and cleaning. Over time, the human mouth changes and the nerves in the teeth get smaller and less sensitive. Without regular dental exams as we age, problems with our teeth can be undiagnosed and gum disease and tooth loss will be the result.
- In ages past, materials for brushing weren’t being put on a toothbrush. People chewed on bark or sticks with frayed ends, feathers, fish bones, and porcupine quills. The Chinese made the first bristled toothbrush in the late 1400s, and it was made of hog, horse, and badger hair.
- Today, more people prefer blue toothbrushes to red ones. No explanation is offered for this one! Replace yours, no matter what color it is, every month or so.
- Dentists and hygienists recommend brushing for 2-3 minutes each time we brush; however, most people only average 45 to 70 seconds a day.
- Tooth enamel, that extremely hard substance, will break down if plaque builds up on teeth from a lack of a good oral hygiene routine. Periodontal disease results. Swollen and bleeding gums, plus bad breath, will affect all parts of life for those with periodontal disease. Doesn’t sound pleasant, does it?
- Did you know that periodontal disease can lead to heart trouble, too? People with gum disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or another serious cardiovascular event.
- Impressions of our upper and lower teeth can be a forensic tool! No two people have the same set of teeth, so the marks are as unique as fingerprints. CSI investigators often identify victims through dental records.
- What is it about flossing we hate so much? Over 70% of people would rather go buy groceries than floss. Floss was first made commercially in 1882, yet the majority of people today don’t ever floss. Let’s put that floss to use!
- A mouthguard is your best friend if you play a contact sport! About 5 million teeth go missing every year because of sports injuries. A tooth that is knocked out starts to die in 15 minutes. Put it in milk or hold it in your mouth and get to your dentist or endodontist quickly to save the tooth.
- It’s just not true that baby teeth don’t need care. Many people don’t lose all their baby teeth until they are about 12 years old. Cavities cause pain and must be filled, even if they are in baby teeth. Or even better, teach your children how to care for their teeth as soon as they start coming in.
- Teeth are actually part of the digestive system. This is because they chew food into smaller pieces so we can digest it.
- Our jaw muscles allow our back teeth to generate 200 pounds of force to chew.
- Get your children to brush their teeth often and for at least 3 minutes each time. How? Play their favorite song while they brush; train them to brush from the beginning of the song to the end.
- In the US, 50% – 80% of adults have some level of dental anxiety. More than 20% of those anxious people do not see a dentist regularly, and, unfortunately, 9 to 15% of anxious patients don’t go to a dentist at all.
Another fun trivia fact about teeth is that the majority of people view dentists with trust. In fact, dentists are on the list of the top 5 most trusted professionals in the US! It is dental practices, like ours here at Radomile Family Dental, that exhibit that dedication and expertise to their patients and create that trust in the community.
To get started with a dentist in Drexel Hill that you can trust and partner with in maintaining your’s and your family’s teeth, contact our office today! Radomile Family Dental Care is here to help.