5 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Teeth
Brace yourself: Sugar Isn’t the only dental villain.
No. 2: Enamel is the hardest substance in the body, but it can break easily.
Ice, popcorn, and tongue and lip
piercings can chip teeth.
And unlike skin, teeth can’t
re-grow. “We’re not like beavers,” says American Dental Association spokesman
Richard Price, DMD.
Dentists detest ice and popcorn. Eating a popcorn kernel is like eating
“stone,” Price says. And ice is brittle. “You have a combination of something
ultra hard and something ultra hard,” he says. Be especially careful if your
mouth is full of fillings.
“You wouldn’t run a marathon with a bad leg,” he says. “Don’t chomp away if
your teeth aren’t as strong as they used to be.”
Dentists also “hate” piercings of the tongue and lip, says Nuntiya
Kakanantadilok, DMD, director of the division of pediatric dentistry at
Montefiore Medical Center. The metal jewelry harbors bacteria -- and can chip
A metal barbell-like tongue ring is especially bad. “Every time you talk, it
hits your teeth,” says Paul Casamassimo, DDS, a spokesman for the American
Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and chairman of pediatric dentistry at Ohio
A 2007 review study published in the American Journal of Dentistry
showed that 14% to 41% of people with oral piercings suffered from tooth
fractures and wear. They noted that piercing in the mouth may cause
“significant oral deformities” and “may lead to tooth loss.”
To keep healthy teeth, treat them with TLC. “Don’t use your teeth as
pliers,” Price says. “They weren’t made to straighten out the tine of the
No. 3. You can be missing teeth at any age.
Although many people get a tooth, or all 32, pulled, some folks are born
missing choppers. The most common missing ones are the wisdom
teeth. The second most common is the lateral incisor, which is located next
to the big front tooth. People can inherit missing teeth.
Still, the most frequent causes of tooth loss are gum
disease and cavities.
A number of people find it cheaper and easier to pull all their teeth than
to pay for fillings and implants. After all, implants can cost about $2,000 per
tooth, whereas a cheap set of dentures
can cost less than $1,000, Keels says.
Studies show that 22.8% of Americans 65-74 and 29.4% of Americans 75 and
older wear dentures.
No. 4: Too much fluoride can be bad for your teeth.
We know that fluoride
is important for healthy teeth. But kids who ingest excessive amounts of this
substance when they’re 8 or younger, when their permanent teeth are developing
under the gums, can develop a condition known as fluorosis. Typically fluorisis
starts out causing white spots, but they can become brown. Unfortunately,
fluorisis stains are “intrinsic,” which means the dentist cannot simply polish
off a surface stain.