When we think of our bodies and what makes us healthy, our heart, lungs, kidneys, and liver usually top the list. But what if we told you your dental health is just as important? Not taking care of your teeth and gums doesn’t only leave you with dodgy breath and fewer friends, serious neglect can cause major health issues including diabetes, heart attacks, and strokes. There is even a link between your teeth and dementia. Still, do you need a specialized doctor for your mouth?
Your mouth really is special enough to need its own doctor. Taking care of your mouth and gums has a far bigger impact on your overall health than you might think and Dr. Harrison and her team at Millennium Dental understand this.
10 (Surprising) Facts About Your Teeth
1. No one else has teeth like you.
Just like your fingerprints, no one else has teeth like yours. This is why dental records can be used to identify bodies or human remains. What about twins, you ask? Our teeth are so unique, not even identical twins have the same ones. Of course, we don’t need a special doctor for our fingertips, but just keep reading!
2. Your teeth say more than you realize.
Your teeth reveal a lot more about you than you thought. Scientists can tell a person’s age, what they eat, drink, and even the various types of illnesses they may have from their teeth. Forget blogs and Insta-stories, your teeth let people know your history.
3. Your teeth are just the tip of the iceberg.
When it comes to our teeth, what you see isn’t necessarily what you get. Almost as much as a third of a tooth is hidden beneath your gums, which is why looking after your gums is so important. Gingivitis or gum disease can cause bad breath, bleeding gums, and loose teeth. By now we’re getting the bigger picture. Starting to think a mouth doctor isn’t such a bad idea?
4. The enamel on your teeth is stronger than the bones in your body.
Yup, that‘s right. Your enamel, like your bones, is made from phosphate and calcium, but it’s stronger because of the crystallites and proteins that make it up. This outer shell protects your teeth, but as strong as it is, it can also get damaged if you don’t look after it.
5. Unlike your bones, teeth can’t heal themselves.
Here’s an important fact to note! Your teeth might be harder than the bones in your body, but unlike bones, they can’t grow back if they are damaged. This is why it is so important that you take extra good care of them with regular brushing, flossing, and dental checkups.
6. Your pearly whites can turn yellow.
As the enamel on your teeth becomes weaker, your teeth can start to turn yellow. This is because dentine, the layer just underneath the enamel, starts to show through. Your teeth can also become stained or turn yellow from certain foods and drink, some medications, as well as through smoking or chewing tobacco products. If you are concerned about the color of your teeth, ask your dentist about teeth whitening.
7. You’re not alone.
This might take you by surprise, but your mouth is home to lots of bacteria, which are usually harmless. It’s the almost 300 species of bacteria that are found in plaque that are the ones to worry about. These are responsible for the acids that cause tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease. Yeah, you probably need a special mouth doctor to know about all those kinds of bacteria.
8. There is no such thing as good plaque.
The bacteria in your mouth is generally good and serves an important purpose. Plaque, on the other hand, has no redeeming qualities. This sticky, white substance is opportunistic, and when you forget to brush or floss, it causes tooth decay, cavities, and over time, gum disease. if you leave it to harden, it becomes tartar, which causes gingivitis.
9. Your tongue is a cesspit for bacteria.
Okay, maybe cesspit is a little dramatic, but your tongue is home to bacteria that are more difficult to get rid of than that found on your teeth and gums. As many as 60 million Americans suffer from halitosis, or bad breath, and this is because of the bacteria on the tongue. Dr. Harrison suggests patients use a tongue cleaner to scrape away the odor-causing tongue bacteria.
10. Saliva is a bit of a superhero.
This is another little known fact, but saliva is very important when it comes to your teeth and gums. You produce around a quart of saliva every day, which works out to approximately 10,000 gallons in your lifetime. While it might sound a little gross, saliva helps make it easier to swallow food, it also washes away leftover food bits, and it even neutralizes the acid in plaque that causes decay.
All in all, it’s fair to say our teeth should be one of the many wonders of the world, all 32 of them. Understanding their importance and the serious role they play, should make it easier for you to look after them like they deserve.