15 Dental Facts That May Surprise You

Your teeth are extremely important to your overall health, but there’s a lot about your teeth you probably didn’t know. From the history of dental care to the origin of the tooth fairy, here are some interesting dental facts.

1. Each tooth is unique.

Every tooth in your mouth is different. Between your baby teeth and your adult teeth, no two teeth are the same shape and size.

2. Teeth tell your story.

Teeth can tell scientists how old you are, what you eat and drink, and even your geographic location on earth. They carry clues of your overall health and can show periods of stress or illness.

3. Caring for teeth dates back centuries.

Around 5,000 B.C., Egyptians used ground animal hooves and eggshells to clean their teeth. The first toothbrushes were twigs that were chewed on, and then the frayed ends were used to cleanse the teeth.

4. Your teeth blueprint is present at birth.

Your baby teeth are in place underneath your gums at birth. These will be replaced by your adult teeth that will form throughout your childhood.

5. Approx. 53,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer every year.

A largely preventable disease, oral cancer can develop on the tongue, the tongue base, under the tongue, on mouth and gum tissue, and on the back of the throat. Oral cancer rates increase with age. 

6. TMJD is the most common cause of facial pain.

Temporomandibular muscle and joint disorders (TMJD) occur as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and neighboring facial muscles.

7. Periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place. Although severe periodontal disease cases have decreased since the 1970s, it still prevalent in some age groups.

8. Ninety-two percent of adults ages 24-60 have had dental caries in permanent teeth.

Dental caries, also known as cavities, occur when decay-causing bacteria creates acid that attacks your tooth’s enamel.

9. People who smoke are 3 times more likely to lose their teeth.

Currently 4 in 10 adults who currently smoke cigarettes lost all of their teeth.

10. A mom’s oral health status is a strong predictor of her baby’s oral health status.

If a mother has a high level of tooth loss or untreated cavities, her children are 3 times more likely to have cavities.

11. Pregnant women are more prone to gum disease and cavities.  

Dental care is both safe and important during pregnancy. Don’t hesitate to visit your dentist during any stage.

12. The earliest dental filling was made of beeswax.

These dental fillings were discovered in Slovenia and date back 6,500 years ago.

13. Ancient cultures believed “tooth worms” caused dental caries.

Evidence of the belief of tooth worms can be found in ancient Sumer, India, Egypt, China and Japan.

14. During the Middle Ages (19 century), dentistry was performed by physicians and barbers.

Dentistry was not yet a profession, so people went to barbers, usually for tooth extractions, and other general physicians.

15. Variations of the Tooth Fairy date back to c. 1200.

In northern Europe, there was a tradition called tand-fé, which paid a child for their lost tooth.