Did you know these eleven weird facts about your teeth?
1. Tooth enamel, also known as apatite, is the hardest substance produced by your body. With a value of 5 on the Mohs scale for mineral hardness, your teeth are harder than most metals. That being said, it is strongly advised that you do not attempt to test this by biting into metal objects. Though your enamel may be strong, it is at most only a few millimeters thick.
2. Wisdom teeth are on their way out. Over one-third of people today are born without wisdom teeth, and given enough time, they will disappear altogether. They were important for our ancestors to grind up the nuts, roots and grains that comprised the typical human diet in the past. Because humans no longer rely on the same diet, we are evolving past the need for wisdom teeth.
3. Certain types of cheeses will prevent tooth decay. Besides being a good source of calcium, cheese will raise the pH level and lower acidity in your mouth. The compounds in cheeses also adhere to the enamel and provide additional protection against acids. Aged cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack are some best known for having these benefits.
4. Your teeth are as unique as your fingerprints. You have probably seen this come up many times in film and television, where remains are identified through dental records. This is known as Forensic Dentistry and is an essential tool for CSI departments. No two people have the exact same set of teeth, not even identical twins.
5. If you are under the age of 35 and are missing teeth, chances are they were lost due to sports injuries, fighting, or some type of accident. For adults over the age of 35, the primary cause of tooth loss is periodontal disease. Gum disease, or gingivitis, begins with bacterial growth in the mouth and can eventually cause destruction of the tissues that surround the teeth.
6. Athletic mouth guards are excellent for preventing sports injuries. People who play sports have a much higher risk of damaging their teeth than the average person. Depending upon the sport you play, you could be at more than 60 times the risk of injuring your teeth compared to those who do not play sports.
7. Dental implants are not susceptible to cavities and decay. It is, however, still important to practice good dental hygiene in order to maintain the health of the gums. This includes flossing as well as brushing around the implants.
8. The Etruscans were one of the earliest cultures to practice dentistry. False teeth were made by carving down the teeth from other mammals and were held together with wire. The partial bridges that they constructed were strong enough to chew and eat with.
9. To more efficiently test the strength of dental materials, researchers developed a mechanical mouth which can duplicate the effects of a years worth of chewing in a single day. It takes four bites in one second and cost around $250,000.
10. Apart from the common cold, tooth decay is one of the most common diseases in the world. More than half the people on the planet suffer from some form of tooth decay. In the US, over two-thirds of young adults have experienced tooth decay at some point.
11. Before dentistry was an established field of its own, you would typically see a barber or a blacksmith if your teeth were giving you trouble. The tools used by blacksmiths and barbers were the nearest analogs of modern dental tools. The same pliers used to pull the nails from a horse’s shoe would often be used to extract teeth. Barbers would often perform other surgeries along with dental procedures. This is why the red and white spiral pole can still be seen in barber shops today.