You show them off every day when you talk or smile, but how much do you really know about your teeth? Sure, you’re probably aware that it’s important to brush twice a day and floss regularly. But if you’re like most people, your knowledge about your smile ends there. Gaining an improved understanding of your mouth, though, can help you take better care of your teeth– and thereby also take better care of your overall health. Read on to learn more about your fascinating smile:
Your teeth make you unique. There are a lot of things that make you unique, including your teeth. In fact, no two sets of teeth are exactly alike; even identical twins have their own unique sets of teeth! That’s not the only unique part of your mouth, either; your tongue is also one of a kind. Just like your fingerprint, no one else in the world has a tongue print exactly like yours.
Your smile is formed early. It might seem strange to think of a baby with a full set of teeth; after all, babies are known for their gummy grins. However, your smile has been around for a long time– since before you were born even. That’s right: the adult teeth start forming while babies are still in the womb. In fact, what your mother ate or drank during pregnancy can affect your smile as an adult. For example, an antibiotic called Tetracycline– widely used to treat acne and other bacterial infections– has been known to damage the teeth of an unborn child when taken by a mother during pregnancy.
Enamel is the hardest part of the entire body. When you think of the strongest, toughest part of your body, it’s unlikely that your teeth spring to mind. However, the enamel– that protective outer layer of the teeth– is the hardest part of your entire body. Enamel is made of calcium and phosphate and essentially functions as a suit of armor for the rest of the tooth.
Despite it’s toughness, enamel can still be damaged. There’s no doubt that enamel is tough. That doesn’t mean that it’s invincible, though. If not properly cared for, the enamel can chip, crack, and wear away. In fact, drinking sugary, acidic soda regularly is one of the most harmful things you can do to your enamel. Another common way that enamel is damaged is through bruxism, or the clenching and grinding of the teeth.
You make a lot of saliva. Yes, you read that right: your mouth produces a lot of saliva. That’s a good thing, too, because saliva aids in digestion and helps prevent cavities by washing away food particles leftover in your mouth between meals. Just how much is a lot of saliva? On a daily basis, you make about a quart of saliva. This adds up to around 10,000 gallons of saliva during the average lifetime!
Your mouth is a haven for bacteria. Your mouth is home to your teeth, tongue, gums– and millions of bacteria. Plaque– the sticky substance that’s constantly forming on your teeth– contains over 300 different types of bacteria. This bacteria can turn sugar and carbohydrates into acids that wreak havoc on your oral health. Your best line of defense against the harmful bacteria in your mouth is to brush at least twice a day and floss daily.
The more you know about your smile, the better you can take care of it. One of the most important things you can do to ensure the long term health of your smile is visit your dentist for regular cleanings and check-ups. For further information, contact Richard A. Schmidt, DDS today.