What You May Not Know About Your Teeth
If your dentist asked you how many teeth you have, would you know the answer?
If so, then your dentist will likely be impressed because many people do not know how many teeth they have. In fact, there are quite a few things about teeth and dental care that most people do not know. But we’re going to correct that here by detailing what you may not know about your teeth, starting with the question about how many teeth you have.
So, How Many Teeth Do You Have?
Naturally, the answer depends on whether or not you’ve lost any teeth. But the answer is also dependent upon age because we’re all given two sets of teeth during our lifetimes—a temporary set of 20 during childhood followed by a permanent set of 32. Our first set of what are known as “baby” teeth start emerging at about six months of age. All 20 of these teeth typically emerge by age three, but then start to fall out starting as early as age six when they are gradually replaced by the incoming adult teeth.
The 32 adult teeth consist of eight incisors, four canines, eight premolars, and 12 molars, of which four are wisdom teeth. And those wisdom teeth may prove problematic with the teeth count total because they don’t always emerge. In fact, in about 80% of the young adult population, at least one wisdom tooth remains within the jaw. Additionally, many people have their wisdom teeth removed because of the various problems they can cause. Bottom line, unless you’ve had your wisdom and/or other teeth removed, you have 32 teeth . . . even if you can’t see a hidden wisdom tooth or two.
What Exactly Are Teeth?
Your teeth consist of a hard outer layer of enamel that covers an inner layer of dentin. That enamel is the hardest substance in your body. It’s harder than bone, but unlike bone cannot regrow or repair itself if damaged. The underlying dentin is also harder than bone but, unlike the enamel, can continue to grow and replenish itself. The dentin contains small channels and passageways that are used to send nerve signals and provide nutrition to the teeth. Within the dentin at the center of the tooth is the pulp, which is made up of living connective tissue and cells that help with the production of dentin and keep the tooth alive.
What Makes Them White?
Each tooth’s enamel is naturally white, but teeth coloring can look yellow or gray due to aging and/or staining. The enamel in your teeth naturally wears down over time, which makes the remaining enamel translucent and shows the yellow coloration of the underlying dentin. Regular consumption of certain foods and drinks, as well as smoking and certain medications, can also cause staining and discoloration. However, teeth whitening and other cosmetic dentistry treatments can help restore the appearance of discolored teeth!
Your Body Naturally Cleans the Teeth
You might know that saliva aids in swallowing and digestion, but it also helps clean teeth. Not only does saliva help clear food particles from your teeth, but its enzymes help neutralize acids in plaque that eat away at your teeth causing damage and decay. You produce about a quart of saliva per day, which can add up to two swimming pools full over the course of your life. Unfortunately, that’s not enough to kill all the damaging acids caused by plaque. Therefore, don’t think that you can use saliva as an excuse to neglect the regular oral health care practices of brushing, flossing, and periodic dental checkups.
Learn More About Your Teeth at Island Tower Dentistry
If our article has piqued your interest in teeth and oral health care, Island Tower Dentistry’s Dr. Jonathan Van Dyke would be glad to answer any questions you might have during a checkup. In fact, Dr. Van Dyke believes that educating his Marco Island, Florida-area patients about oral health issues helps them better maintain the health of their teeth and gums. To learn more, contact Island Tower Dentistry today at 239-394-1004 to make an appointment!