20 Facts You Didn’t Know About Teeth

Below are some amazing facts about teeth that you probably didn’t know.

  1. Be careful! Even though enamel is the sturdiest substance in the body we must watch what we chomp down on. Enamel is harder than a copper bullet but unfortunately less hard than a stainless-steel fork.
  2. Enamel develops small cracks, which help lessen the stress of chewing by distributing the pressure through these cracks. Aircraft engineers are studying this amazing feature of teeth in order to strengthen air and space crafts!
  3. Your teeth cannot always fight the bacteria that is naturally formed in the mouth which produces acids that eat away at calcium and phosphate. This attack on the enamel is what leads to cavities.
  4. The acids created are natural, and are a by-product of digesting sugars in the food you eat. A phenomena that has only occurred since the invention of refined sugar! (before its invention, cavities were quite rare).
  5. Speaking of acid in the mouth, Jeffrey Hillman (a professor of oral biology at the University of Florida) has developed a genetically engineered version of Streptococcus mutants. He has modified the oral bacterium to produce less acid and therefore be less harmful to our mouths!
  6. This strain also creates helpful antibiotic
  7. Fluoride is useful in fighting tooth decay and helps prevent the loss of important minerals from your enamel. It also promotes reabsorption of calcium and phosphate from saliva into your enamel.
  8. Grand Rapids, Michigan was the first community in the whole world to put fluoride into its water- in 1945. Today nearly 66% of all Americans get fluoride treated water.
  9. Researchers at Yale and New York University have discovered a peculiar instance with mothers. Women who have more children are more likely to have missing teeth!
  10. A reason for the above study could be that hormonal shifts make gums more sensitive to irritation. This makes them more susceptible to gingivitis.
  11. In the 1700’s wealthy British women would opt for a tooth transplant! This was briefly popular with the upper class.
  12. These types of operations usually failed, and were the dentists fault! Whats worse, sometimes the transplanted teeth carried syphilis- woah..
  13. Teeth begin developing in an unborn child at about six weeks. Long after birth they keep many substances to which the fetus came in contact with. This offers a record of the nutrition and environment of the child (and in turn the mother!).
  14. Interestingly enough, a tooth bank based in Norway (MoBaTann) plans to collect 100,000 baby teeth. They wish to study the relationship between pollution and disease.
  15. The amazing stem cells that grow into teeth can turn up in some very odd places. Teeth have been known to form in tumors (teratomas) which can include hair, bones or other specialized tissue of the body.
  16. The earliest recognition of teeth may have appeared in the throats of jawless fish to crush food similarly to the function of our teeth. This happened more than 500 million years ago.
  17. Teeth are still found in the throat of some fish species today. Namely cichlids in East Africa’s Lake Malawi!
  18. Through the intensive study of these fish, scientists within Tennessee and Georgia have found a master set of genes related to how teeth come about in the animal kingdom. This amazing discovery could help us biologically engineer human teeth!
  19. Speaking of remarkable dental engineering, just a few years ago a Mississippi women became the first to have osteo-odonto-keratoprosthesis performed. This is a treatment for blindness in which they extract a tooth and sculpt it into a tiny lens in order to implant it in the eye!
  20. And guess which tooth they use for the aforementioned procedure? The eyetooth (also known as the canine). 

Source: Planet Earth