Fun facts about the teeth
By Dr. Charles Muriuki – MP Shah Hospital
How often do you think about your teeth? The tooth is the only part of the human body that cannot heal itself. Did you know that? Whereas it is common knowledge that seeing your dentist and brushing your teeth regularly will keep your teeth healthy, here are some fun facts about teeth that you might not know about. You might be surprised!
Did you know that 90% of system diseases, such as diabetes, have connections to your oral health? People with diabetes, for example, have a higher chance of having periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gum and bone that hold the teeth in place. Periodontal disease can lead to pain, bad breath that doesn’t go away, chewing difficulties, and even tooth loss. Diabetes can also slow down healing, so it can interfere with treatment of periodontal disease. Therefore, if your diabetes is not under control, you are more likely to develop problems in your mouth. In turn, having gum disease may make your blood sugar harder to control.
Did you also know that oral diseases are the second most common of all diseases in the world? World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that oral diseases affect nearly 3.5 billion people worldwide. Dental caries, for example, result when plaque forms on the surface of a tooth and converts the free sugars (all sugars added to foods by the manufacturer, cook, or consumer, plus sugars naturally present in honey, syrups, and fruit juices) contained in foods and drinks into acids that destroy the tooth over time. A continued high intake of free sugars, inadequate exposure to fluoride and a lack of removal of plaque by toothbrushing can lead to caries, pain and sometimes tooth loss and infection. Untreated dental caries in permanent teeth is the most common health condition according to the Global Burden of Disease 2017, with more than 530 million children suffering from dental caries of primary teeth (milk teeth) worldwide.
Are teeth considered bones? It’s one of those surprising facts you didn’t see coming, but teeth aren’t bones. Teeth are similar to bones in some ways. Both are made up primarily of calcium, and both contain nerves and blood vessels. But bones produce bone marrow, and teeth do not. For this reason, teeth are not considered to be bones. Many also assume that bones are the hardest substance in the body, but that’s not the case. It’s actually teeth! Comprised of over 96% of minerals, teeth are even harder than bones.
Without your teeth, you would not be able to smile. And for your information, 60% of adults are attracted to somebody by their smile alone. This means teeth play a major role in making you attractive. To make things even better, 50% of people claim that a person’s smile is the first feature they notice about another person. Therefore, it is important to take care of your teeth through practicing the following:
- promoting a well-balanced diet low in free sugars and high in fruit and vegetables, and favoring water as the main drink;
- stopping use of all forms of tobacco, including chewing of areca nuts;
- reducing alcohol consumption; and
- encouraging use of protective equipment when doing sports and travelling on bicycles and motorcycles (to reduce the risk of facial injuries).
Lastly, of all the 52 teeth a person will have in their lives, each and every one is unique. Right from birth, each tooth has a unique character. Every person and every tooth will be different. This fact is what spurred using dental records as a form of identification. So did you know most of these fun facts about teeth?