Although taking great care of your dentition is a serious matter, there are some entertaining facts about your teeth that might surprise you. When you visit your dentist, these are typically not the types of things you discuss, but did you know?
The Tooth Itself
- About one third of your tooth is beneath the gum line. About the only time it becomes visible is when gum tissue recedes. Your dental provider cleans below the gum line to keep as much of your tooth clear of tartar. The portion of the tooth that is visible is referred to as the crown.
- Our teeth are as unique as a fingerprint. No two teeth in your mouth are the same; and no two individuals have identical teeth (even identical twins)!
- Baby teeth actually begin to develop in the womb. They lay in gum tissue preparing to erupt when the infant is six to twelve months of age. As the child grows, a total of 20 baby teeth erupt eventually to be replaced by 32 permanent teeth.
- The enamel on our teeth is the strongest part of the human body. Just imagine that thin protective layer is harder than any bone. But it must be as it is designed to protect teeth from decay. Neglect or diet choices often allow cavities to form.
Those pearly nuggets in our mouth are needed to chew, speak clearly, and are always on display when we smile, laugh, or speak. It is important to have a good understanding of the different tools at our disposal to ensure their proper care. Longevity is important when it comes to teeth. We only get one set of permanent teeth, and failure to take proper care of them can lead to disappointment and extensive dental repair.
Decay and gum disease are preventable, but understanding how they develop is needed. Plaque is a sticky substance that when allowed to stay on teeth hardens into tartar. Once formed, this can only be removed by your dentist; over time it can result in cavities and gum disease.
Daily brushing and flossing form a solid base for a proper daily oral care regimen. A healthy diet and lifestyle habits are important as well. Visiting your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and dental exam are also necessary to maintain optimum oral health.