Everybody loves fun facts. Maybe you store away all your little-known tidbits of information for trivia night or for the day your dreams come true, and you make it onto Jeopardy. Whatever the reason, here are ten interesting and not very well known facts about teeth.
1. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body.
Many people believe that bones are the hardest part of the body, but actually, the outer layer of your teeth, called enamel is the hardest. One of the reasons your teeth may chip easier than your bones is because unlike bones, enamel doesn’t have that natural, even if limited, flexibility and shock absorption that bones do.
2. Your mouth produces enough saliva throughout your life to fill two swimming pools.
The average person produces over 25,000 quarts of saliva in their lifetime. According to Spokane-area family and cosmetic dentist Dr. Kens Collins, saliva is very important as it helps protect teeth and the entire mouth from germs.
“Saliva may seem gross, but it’s absolutely essential for a healthy mouth,” Collins said. “It helps neutralize acids that eventually lead to the erosion of the enamel on your teeth. If the acids do actually do some damage via demineralization, saliva works to help demineralize the teeth and begin to repair. After eating, saliva plays a huge role in washing away food particles that can stick to your teeth and eventually become plaque. All of these reasons are why you should see a dentist if you experience dry mouth. Many people don’t realize that the symptoms of dry mouth leave your teeth unprotected. “
3. It only takes 15 minutes for a knocked out tooth to begin to die.
Research shows that the most important factor for a knocked out, or avulsed, tooth to survive is by replanting it within five minutes. If that’s not possible, keeping the tooth in your mouth or in milk until you can see your dentist helps increase the odds slightly and prevent the tooth from drying out.
4. 14 million gallons of toothpaste are purchased each year in the United States.
In addition, around 18 yards of floss per person is purchased every year. This may seem like a lot, but if flossing as recommended, the average person should need 122 yards a year.
5. In Spain, the tooth fairy is thought to be a rodent.
In Spain and some other Spanish-speaking regions, the tooth fairy as we know it doesn’t exist. Instead, “Ratoncito Perez” or “El Raton Perez” collects children’s teeth after they have been lost and replaces them with a small gift. There’s even a museum in Madrid dedicated to this friendly rodent.
6. “Mountain Dew Mouth” is actually a real thing.
In some areas of the Appalachia region, which is located from southern New York all the way to Alabama, there are people so obsessed with Mountain Dew and not dental care, their teeth are actually rotting from their mouths at an alarming rate.
7. The first toothbrushes were made from twigs.
Ancient Egyptian cultures are believed to have invented the first form of a toothbrush made with frayed edges of a twig. Later in 1498, brushes made with bamboo handles and hog hairs for bristles were invented in China.
8. The only part of the human body that cannot heal on its own is the tooth.
Because teeth are made up almost entirely of minerals, there aren’t enough cells and proteins to heal and repair, especially when it comes to the crowns of our teeth which are furthest from the roots.
9. Sir Isaac Newton’s tooth sold for 730 pounds.
In 1816, Sir Isaac Newton’s tooth was sold for the equivalent of nearly $30,000 today. The tooth was then set into a ring to be worn, and in 2002 the Guinness Book of World Records listed it as the most valuable tooth ever. Sadly, its whereabouts today are unknown.
10. A prison inmate once escaped using dental floss.
In 1994, Robert Dale Shepard earned himself 44 days of freedom after using a rope made out of seven packs of dental floss braided together to escape from South Central Regional Jail.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
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Spokane, WA 99223
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