Fun Facts about Teeth for a Healthy Mouth

By Catherine M. Fascilla, D.D.S.

Did you know that 50% of people say that a smile is the first thing they notice about someone? Brushing twice a day and flossing daily can help keep your smile noticeably white for a lasting first impression!

No two people have the same set of teeth. Even your tongue print is uniquely your own. Your tongue is the only muscle in your body that is not attached at both ends. When you brush your teeth, it is important to brush your tongue as well.

Teeth start to form in the womb and will start to erupt when a child is 6-12 months old. Children will start to shed these teeth at about age six when the permanent molars start to come in.

The average person will spend 38.5 days brushing their teeth over their lifetime. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time you brush. That means you should be spending twenty-four hours brushing over the course of a year and 77 days over a lifetime. How do you measure up?

Your mouth produces a quart of saliva a day. Over a lifetime, it is more than enough to fill two swimming pools that are twelve feet in diameter and four feet deep. Saliva is beneficial for good oral health because it neutralizes acids in the mouth, fights germs and aids in digestion, but I still wouldn’t recommend swimming in it.

Many diseases are linked to oral health, including heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes and other ailments. A study in 2008 resulted in a link between poor oral health and pneumonia in elderly patients. A 2007 study in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute found that having periodontal disease was associated with an increased risk of pancreatic cancer. Other studies showed pregnant women with gum disease suffer more complications. The list goes on and on. A healthy mouth mirrors a healthy body!

If your tooth gets knocked out, you can save it. Try to reinsert it into its socket as quickly as possible and see a dentist right away. If you don’t feel confident doing that, then gently rinse the tooth clean and store in water or milk, or hold it in your mouth and get to a dentist immediately. The sooner the tooth is re-implanted the more likely it will reattach itself to its socket.

Dentists have been around a long time! Archeologists have evidence of fillings in teeth from people who lived between 7500 and 9000 years ago. Archeological evidence suggests that Egyptians made dentures by using human teeth threaded with gold wire as early as 1500 BC. In the 1500’s, the Japanese are credited with the oldest known set of complete dentures made of wood and held in by suction. Porcelain teeth were created in Europe around 1778.

With respect to dentures, full denture wearers should continue to visit the dentist at least once a year. Denture fit is checked. Sore spots are adjusted. Dentures are professionally cleaned. And, oral cancer screening is especially important since denture wearers are older and may be at greater risk for oral cancer.

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