Chomp, chomp, chomp…fun facts about teeth and dentistry!
Updated: Apr 1, 2022
We all know teeth play an important role, but most of us don’t know that much about them. For example, did you know that tooth enamel is stronger than the bones in your body? Or that sharks don’t get cavities?
Read on to learn some amazing facts about teeth! It’s more reason to take good care of – and smile about - these hard workers inside our mouth.
Q: How many teeth do you have inside your mouth?
A: As a child, you have 20 teeth. When they fall out, they are replaced with your adult (or permanent) teeth. By age 21, you will have 32 teeth. Compare that to our animal friends: dogs have 42 teeth, cats have 30 teeth, and pigs have 44 teeth.
Q: True or false: tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body.
A: True! Tooth enamel is stronger than the bones in your body, which is why it is the perfect armor to protect your teeth. Side fact: once enamel is broken (from a broken or cracked tooth), it cannot grow back.
Q: Do you know what African animal only has bottom teeth?
A: The giraffe. They have 32 teeth (just like us as adults!) with most of their teeth located in the back of their mouth. To eat, they grab leaves and twigs using their lips, slide them down their mouth using their extremely long tongues, and then disgorge the food using their back teeth to chew the food before swallowing.
Q: Before the toothbrush, how did people take care of their teeth?
A: Some ancient cultures would clean their teeth by gnawing on a piece of tree bark or wooden sticks.
Q: When was the first toothbrush invented?
A: The first toothbrush was invented in China in 1498 by attaching boar bristles to a bone or piece of bamboo. It wasn’t until 1938 that the modern toothbrush we use today was made with nylon bristles.
Q: Did you know sharks can lose one tooth a week?
A: Shark teeth are like a conveyer belt. They don’t have roots, so they break off easily and are quickly replaced when the rows of teeth behind them move forward. Born with a full set of teeth, sharks usually have between 50 and 300 teeth at a time (with up to 15 rows!) and can have up to 50,000 teeth throughout their lifetime. Fun fact: sharks don’t get cavities!
Q: True or False: No two teeth are the same shape and size.
A: Each tooth in your mouth is unique, even if they’re the same type of tooth (molar, incisor, etc.). Teeth also vary widely from person to person.
Q: Do snails have teeth?
A: Snails may look soft and squishy, but believe it or not, they can have up to 14,000 teeth! (That means it takes them 5 1/2 hours to floss every day!)
Sources: Humana, Colgate, Ocean Info, AmericasToothFairy, A-Z Animals, Library of Congress