When you look at history, going to the dentist is a relatively new trend. But people have been using a form of toothpaste for centuries. In fact, the ancient Greeks would use a mixture that was comprised of iron rust and coral powder to clean their teeth. Toothbrushes were basically bunches of twigs that people chewed on.
Luckily, dental care has significantly progressed since then, and we have so many different tools that help us take care of our teeth. We use and rely on our teeth to help us eat every day. So, it’s a good idea to know a little more about them and how your habits can affect your dental health.
- Your teeth are uniquely yours. Think of your teeth like your fingerprints: they are unique to you. This is how we are able to use dental records to sometimes identify human remains. Identical twins don’t even have identical teeth! Also, our tongues also have a unique “tongue print.”
- They’re bigger than they seem. Roughly a third of each tooth is beneath the gums. This is why dentists are so adamant about keeping your gums healthy. Gum health is just as important as the health of our teeth. Your gums should always be pink and firm.
- We have 32 teeth. From your front teeth to the back, we have eight incisors (front teeth), four canine teeth, eight premolars, and 12 molars.
- Enamel is the hardest part of the human body. The enamel is the outermost layer of your teeth, similar to a hard shell. It is designed to protect the rest of the tooth. Enamel is made up of mostly calcium and phosphate, similar to bones, but it is stronger because it contains specific proteins and crystallites that create it.
- Enamel is hard but fragile. Even though it’s meant to protect your teeth, the enamel can still chip or crack. It also decays over time. When sugars and acids, like the ones in soft drinks, interact with bacteria in your mouth, they infect your enamel and start the process of tooth decay.
- Yellow enamel is more than staining. Enamel is partially responsible for your teeth’s white color. Unfortunately, when it decays, enamel may start to appear yellow. Decaying enamel could also be the cause of the pain you’ve been feeling.
- Enamel doesn’t grow. Dentin lies beneath the enamel. It’s also harder than your bones. Dentin consists of small channels and passageways that convey nerve signals and nourishment through the tooth. The three types of dentin include primary, secondary, and reparative. In comparison, the enamel is basically static while dentin continues to grow and change during the course of your life.
- The mouth is full of bacteria. Plaque contains millions of bacteria, made up of 200 to 300 various species. The main cause for poor tooth health is “Streptococcus mutans,” which changes sugar and other carbohydrates into the acids that eat away at your teeth.
- Plaque is literally the worst. It’s white and stick and constantly growing. And if you don’t remove it daily by brushing and flossing, it can cause tooth decay. If you aren’t regularly removing it, it forms in tartar, which has to be professionally removed. Do yourself (and your wallet) a favor and brush and floss twice daily and have regular cleanings.
- The human body makes a lot of spit. Your body produces about a quart of saliva every day, which is about 10,000 gallons over a lifetime. While that fact is absolutely gross to think about, saliva is important to your overall health. It helps make food easier to swallow and has enzymes to stimulate digestion. Saliva also helps sweep away any remaining food bits. One interesting fact about saliva is that it contains calcium and phosphate, which can help neutralize the acids in plaque that damage and decay teeth.
If it has been more than a year since your last dental checkup, it’s time for you to schedule an appointment at Foothill Dental Care in Livermore. No matter your age, getting a teeth cleaning and oral check-up can help you prevent bacteria buildup in the mouth and help you maintain overall health. You should also visit your dentist for dental problems like a lingering toothache or bleeding gums. Call Foothill Dental Care today at (925) 961-5484 to schedule an appointment today.