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Funny facts about teeth you never knew

They sometimes ache, you’re regularly told to clean them, and they help you through every meal – your teeth are with you through thick and thin. That’s why it’s so important to look after them. But your teeth are amazing, interesting things, and very few people know the truth about their teeth – try saying that three times fast!

But first, what actually makes up your tooth?

The anatomy of the tooth

Each tooth is made up of several parts, starting with the crown. This is the part of your tooth visible above your gum. Those crowns are covered with enamel, which is an extremely hard substance – the hardest in the whole body in fact. The enamel is there to protect the sensitive and delicate inner parts of the tooth.

There’s another hard substance under the enamel, which is called dentin. Both dentin and enamel are there to protect the pulp. The pulp is at the very core of your tooth and is packed full of blood vessels to keep the teeth and nerve endings healthy. Those nerve endings are what hurts when you bite into cold ice cream.

What teeth do you have?

What are those hard things in your mouth? They’re teeth, of course! But “teeth” is a very general name, you actually have different types of teeth in your mouth that are designed to help you eat in different ways.

The first four top and bottom teeth you have are called incisors, which are designed to allow you to bite into your food and cut it into smaller, bite-size chunks. Next, you have two more pointy teeth on the top and bottom, which are called canines – though they hopefully don’t look too much like dog teeth, if they do, visit your dentist! They’re there to help you tear into dense, chewy things like meat.

Then you have four premolars (otherwise known as bicuspids) on the top and bottom behind the canines. You’ll see they’re bigger, stronger, tougher looking teeth – they’re in there to help you grind up the food you’re eating into an easy to swallow mush. Tasty! That grinding is continued by your molars, which are the four teeth on the top and bottom right at the very back of your mouth.

The very last teeth to come through are wisdom teeth. One forms in the back of your mouth on each of the four sides – though some, very lucky, people don’t ever get wisdom teeth. Most people agree that wisdom teeth aren’t really necessary, and come from a time when we didn’t enjoy such a smooth and easy-to-eat diet. Some people need to have their wisdom teeth removed, as they can cause pain.

Fun facts about your teeth

Now you know what makes up your teeth, and what the different teeth in your mouth are called, here are some of the weirder facts you probably didn’t know!

They start growing before you’re born

That’s right! The first organs that appear tooth-like start appearing when the fetus is as little as six weeks old. Though they’re still super soft at this point, so they wouldn’t do you much good when it comes to tucking into your favourite meal.

Your teeth are see-through

They may look pearly and white, or darker and slightly yellowy, or even brown and black if you don’t brush them, but in reality, your teeth are actually transparent. The colour we see is actually down to a portion of the enamel absorbing and reflecting light.

Every bite is totally unique

You probably already know that every person’s fingerprint is unique, and if you didn’t, you do now! But everyone has something else unique about them too; their bite. That means that you can be identified purely by the impression of your bite.

Tooth decay is scarily common

The common cold is arguably the most common medical disorder in the world, and if you’ve ever had the sniffles you’ll know why. But second behind that is tooth decay! That means it really does make sense to brush and floss twice a day.

Right or left hand…chewing?

Right-handed people tend to mainly chew their food to the right of their mouths, while left-handed people tend to favour the left side of their mouths. Nobody knows why – but if someone can tell if you’re right or left-handed when you’re eating, chew with your mouth closed!

How much time brushing?

On average, a person will spend a combined 38.5 days brushing their teeth throughout the course of their lives – fortunately, that’s spread out over two three-minute intervals twice a day. If it isn’t, it should be, because that’s too long to brush in on sitting!

Your teeth truly are your best friends – when your permanent teeth come through, they’re the only ones you get, so make sure you look after them as best you can.
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