- After learning these facts, we'll definitely be brushing our teeth at least twice a day...
We all need to take good care of our teeth to maintain a full smile and good oral health. But we often don’t think much about the complexities of our mouths or the long, winding path of oral care development that got us here – or just how weird our mouths and teeth really are.
Weird Facts About Dental Care You Probably Didn’t Know
These weird facts about dental care may change how you think about dentistry, oral care, and human mouths forever:
1. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. If you didn’t know this fact, you’d probably think some interior bone, like your femur, is the hardest substance in the body. Our skeletons are the framework on which the rest of our bodies are built, so it makes sense that they would need to be as strong as possible. But it’s actually tooth enamel that takes the victory here. On the Mohs Hardness Scale, they rate a 5 – which makes them as hard as steel!
2. Plaque is made up of more than 300 species of bacteria. There are also more than 700 species of bacteria throughout the entire mouth. It’s important to recognize that not all bacteria and not all microorganisms are bad for us; in fact, much of our health depends on making sure we have the right balance of good bacteria in our digestive system. However, it’s important to keep our mouths as free from plaque as possible if we want to prevent tooth decay. With so many different species of bacteria competing to eat away at our teeth, brushing and flossing are absolute musts.
3. Toothbrush caps do more harm than good. Intuitively, you may believe that placing a toothbrush cap over the bristles of your brush can keep it in better condition for longer. In reality, the opposite may be true. The problem with most caps is that they have a tendency to trap moisture, making it easier for bacteria to grow and compromising the hygiene of your brush. Consider removing your caps altogether, or at least make sure your toothbrush is dry before using one.
4. 25 percent of adults don’t brush twice a day. We take it as a given that most people brush at least twice a day, with many people brushing after every meal. But an astonishing 25 percent of people don’t brush twice a day. Some people don’t brush on a regular basis at all. These people are at a significantly higher risk of cavities and other dental complications.
5. Tooth prints are as unique as fingerprints. Fingerprints are so unique and so consistent that they’re frequently used as a form of identification within law enforcement agencies. But you may not know that your tooth prints are just as unique. Nobody else in the world has the exact same tooth arrangement as you.
6. Over a lifetime, you’ll produce 100,000 gallons of saliva. It’s hard to believe, especially because we produce so little saliva at a time, but over an average lifetime, you’ll produce more than 100,000 gallons of saliva.
7. Dentistry dates back to 7,000 BC. Early dentistry began to be practiced around 7,000 BCE in the Indus Valley Civilization, though the first book related to dentistry wasn’t published until 1530. It would be more than 300 years before the first toothpaste was produced in 1873 by Colgate. It’s amazing to see how far dentistry has come from toothpaste to incredibly advanced procedures like dental implants in Salt Lake City.
8. If you’re right-handed, you probably chew on the right side of your mouth. Have you ever noticed that you have a tendency to chew on one side of your mouth over the other? It’s true. If you’re right-handed, you probably chew primarily on the right side of your mouth. If you’re left-handed, you probably chew primarily on the left side of your mouth.
9. Only two-thirds of our teeth are visible. We tend to think of teeth as only beginning at the gumline, with only the visible white parts of our teeth counting. But the truth is, only two-thirds of each tooth is visible at any given time. One-third of the tooth extends deep below the surface, with extended roots penetrating even further.
10. 40 percent of your tooth surface is only reachable via flossing. When you brush your teeth, you’re getting rid of plaque buildup on the surfaces of all the teeth in your mouth. But it’s easy to forget that much of your tooth surfaces are impossible to reach with brushing alone. This is why flossing is so important; it allows you to clear away buildup between your teeth, which might otherwise go completely unaddressed.
Taking Good Care of Your Teeth
One thing you probably did know going into this article is that your teeth and your oral health are vitally important. If you want to make sure your mouth and your teeth remain in good condition for decades to come, it’s important to take good care of them.
Fortunately, it’s not very difficult, expensive, or time-consuming to keep your mouth in good health. Simply brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, rinsing with an anti-cavity mouthwash, and regularly visiting the dentist for cleanings and preventative care can dramatically reduce your risk of facing oral issues in the future.