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. continued...
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 teeth.
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 State University.
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 fork.”
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.