They help you chew, speak and smile, but how much do you really know about your teeth? Here are some of the “tooth truths” that prove your teeth really are remarkable.
1. People have been caring for their teeth for centuries.
Did you know the first toothbrushes were actually twigs our ancestors chewed on, using the frayed ends to cleanse their teeth? Around 5,000 B.C., the Egyptians used crushed eggshells and ground animal hooves to clean and polish their teeth. By the 1700s, a British inventor had adapted a design first seen in China – a bone handle with boar bristles inserted into small holes and secured with wire. Modern toothbrushes with nylon bristles arrived in the late 1930s, and the first electric toothbrush was introduced in 1954.
2. Teeth can tell stories about you.
Scientists can tell a great deal about us just by examining our teeth. Did you realize that our teeth reveal how old we are, what we eat and drink -- even where on Earth we may have lived? Our teeth also carry significant clues about our overall health, including periods of stress or illness we’ve endured. In short, teeth are a lasting record of our personal history
3. Every tooth is unique.
Whether we’re talking about the 20 “baby teeth” that serve us in childhood or the 32 permanent teeth we have in our adult years, no two teeth are exactly the same shape and size. Each tooth in your mouth has its own unique profile, and teeth also vary widely from person to person. So your smile really is a true mark of your individuality!
4. The blueprint for your teeth is present the day you’re born.
When babies arrive, the crowns of their first 20 teeth are already in place under the gums, waiting for the right time to break through – starting sometime between 3 to 6 months of age. Throughout childhood, the crowns and roots of adult teeth are already forming under those baby teeth, waiting until it’s time to begin pushing them out of the way. And here’s one more fun fact: In 1950, the average gift from the Tooth Fairy was just 25 cents. Today’s kids get about $2.00 per tooth.
5. Cleaning between your teeth is just as important as brushing the parts you see.
When we brush, we’re able to easily reach the tops and sides of our teeth. But the surfaces between – which make up a significant part of our tooth enamel – need proper cleaning, too. This is why it’s best to clean between your teeth daily to remove food and bacteria and promote healthy gums.
And don’t forget to visit your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. Your teeth are already amazing, and your ADA dentist and their team can help keep them that way.