9 Facts About Teeth You Didn’t Know

facts about teeth

How much do you know about your teeth? Most people don’t spend that much time thinking about the teeth in their mouth, but giving them a little bit of thought and making sure you understand what they are for and how to properly care for them can ensure that your teeth stay as happy and healthy as possible. Here are nine facts about teeth you might not have known:

Teeth are as unique as fingerprints.

Your teeth say a lot about how you care for yourself, but did you know that you can also be identified just by your teeth? There’s a reason that police departments often use dental records in order to identify people—because your teeth, not just their cavities, but their size, shape, and position, are all as unique as a fingerprint. Every person’s bite is different. This means that you should never compare your smile to someone else’s. Your teeth are your own and they make you special!

The enamel of your teeth is the hardest substance your body produces.

Our teeth might just be bones, but they are some of the hardest bones in the body, and they have to be in order to chew your food and start the digestive process. If you’ve ever broken a bone, but you’ve never broken a tooth, it is probably because of this extremely important protective layer that every tooth has. Protecting your enamel is every important and is one of the main reasons you need to brush your teeth thoroughly.

You already have teeth when you are born.

Though most babies are born without any grown-in teeth, every baby is born with teeth already formed in their gums. Often called milk teeth, these teeth will eventually start to grow in, during the teething phase. Some babies are born with what are called natal teeth, considered in many cultures to be a sign of good fortune (though in Chinese culture these teeth are considered to be a bad omen). There is even reference to natal teeth in Shakespeare’s Henry VI!

Humans have only two sets of teeth.

Unlike animals like sharks that shed their teeth and grow in new ones at least once a year, humans have only two sets of teeth. The first grow in as a baby and then begin to fall out throughout childhood as the adult teeth start to come in. The adult teeth are the second and last set of teeth—so take care of them! Wisdom teeth are technically part of that second set of teeth, though not everyone these days is born with wisdom teeth.

You will spend more than a month of your life brushing your teeth.

Most people spend about thirty-eight days just brushing their teeth over the course of a lifetime. Is all that time worth it? If you want to avoid the pain and hassle of drillings and fillings, root canals, extractions, veneers, etc., then it definitely is. The more time and attention you give your oral health, the less you will have to pay in order to continue having functional teeth down the road. Having functional teeth is essential to your overall body health, so put in those thirty-eight days and be proud of them!

Most adults have a total of thirty-two teeth.

You may already know this, but did you know that many adults have more than thirty-two teeth, and some also have fewer? In the past, all humans had more than thirty-two teeth. Today, these extra teeth are called wisdom teeth and most people’s jaws are not large enough for them to grow in properly (or the teeth are already growing in at an odd angle), so they have to be extracted. Those with larger jaws or more room in their bites might be able to let those teeth grow in naturally, so they might end up with upwards of thirty-six teeth.

A full third of every tooth is under your gums.

Here’s another fact about teeth you probably didn’t know:

Only two thirds of each tooth in your mouth is visible above the gums. Part of what makes each tooth so sturdy is having a third of its length buried in your gums. This keeps your teeth stable and health and also protects your jaw from the germs and bacteria in your mouth.

Toothpaste is a modern invention.

Anyone who dreams of living in another century would be very disappointed to discover what they would have to use as toothpaste. Before about a hundred years ago, there was no such thing as toothpaste, and most people used substances like chalk, lemon juice, and even tobacco in order to clean their teeth. Needless to say, it was nowhere near as effective as modern toothpaste.

Humans have four distinct types of teeth.

While herbivores and carnivores might only have one or two different types of teeth, humans, who are omnivores, have evolved to have four different types of teeth in order to fully chew and grind up food before it enters the stomach. These teeth are the incisors, premolars, molars, and canine teeth. All of these have a different role to play in the mouth, from grinding up food, to tearing tougher food, to cutting and mashing. Without these four types of teeth, we would not be able to eat the wide variety of foods available to us.

Your teeth are an important part of your body and taking proper care of them is extremely important! Use these facts about teeth to make sure that you are keeping your teeth as clean and healthy has possible.