Most of us think we know everything there is to know about our teeth, much of which you might’ve learned from your Toronto dentist Dr. Michael Paltsev. We know what makes them healthy and strong, and we also know what to avoid in order to keep them that way. We know how often to brush, how to floss and how to prevent decay. However, just as we know the functions of our heart and lungs, there are many surprising hidden functions of our oral makeup that play an important role in our overall health. It may be a small part of our anatomy, but it is full of the essential components that help us speak, eat, drink and, of course, smile. These include molars, crowns, gum line, root, incisors, canines, premolars, enamel, dentin and pulp – each of which has its own unique purpose. Here are some interesting little-known facts about your oral health that’ll make you appreciate your radiant smile that much more.

  1. Tooth enamel is actually the hardest known substance in the human body. Enamel is the hard, white, outer layer of your teeth – the part of the tooth that you can actually see. It may be tough, but it cannot regrow once it has been damaged. That’s why it’s important to take the necessary steps to prevent decay.
  2. Your teeth are unique to you, just like your fingerprint. No two teeth are the same. The average adult has 32 teeth, and there are about 8 billion people in the world. Just imagine how many different-looking teeth there are!
  3. Blue is the most common and preferred colour of a toothbrush, perhaps because the colour blue is commonly associated with a sense of trust and tranquillity. The more you know!
  4. According to the Museum of Everyday Life, the first-ever oral hygiene artifact on record is known as the Babylonian chew stick, invented in 3500 BC.
  5. The first bristle toothbrush, most closely resembling the toothbrushes we know today,  was invented by the Chinese during the Tang Dynasty (619-907). The bristles were likely made from hog hair.
  6. Saliva has many important functions, from helping you digest your food to naturally cleaning your teeth. It also protects your teeth from bacteria and helps to build and maintain the health of soft and hard tissues.
  7. Most of us prefer to chew on one side of our mouths over the other. Just as we have a dominant hand, we have a dominant side for chewing our food. This side is usually determined by whether you’re right or left-handed.
  8. If you’re brushing your teeth for the recommended amount of time (twice daily for two minutes), you will spend around 38 days of your entire lifespan brushing your teeth.
  9. Most people brush their teeth for only 45 to 70 seconds per day, far less than what is recommended for long-lasting oral health.
  10.  Only two-thirds of your tooth’s length is actually visible with the naked eye – the rest is underneath the gums.
  11. Tooth decay is the second-most common disease, after the common cold.
  12. When it comes to chewing, each type of tooth has its own unique job. Molars grind the food, incisors bite the pieces of food, canines hold the food down and tear it apart in the mouth.
  13. Flossing might be tedious at times, but it’s equally as important to your oral health as brushing. Flossing removes the buildup of dental plaque, which contains over one thousand bacteria. Removing plaque and food particles with floss can make your teeth look brighter, and is essential to prevent serious conditions like gingivitis and cavities.