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5 Things You Never Knew About Your Teeth

You probably already know that you need your teeth to talk and eat. But did you know these five surprising facts about your teeth?

1. They’re totally unique.

Your teeth are kind of like an oral fingerprint. They are completely unique - your dental records can even be used to identify you. Thanks to different patterns of wear and identifying marks, no two people have the same set of teeth.

2. Brushing is important — very important.

OK, so you probably already knew this one. But the next time you are thinking about skipping a brushing session, think about this:

There are more than 300 different species of bacteria living in your plaque (we’re guessing you probably didn’t know that!).

Remember, dentists recommend that you brush your teeth 2 to 3 times per day for approximately 2-3 minutes for optimal oral health and hygiene. The average person only brushes for approximately 48 seconds on a given day, so chances are you probably need to up your brushing time. One effective way to ensure you're brushing long enough is to invest in an electric toothbrush with a timer.

3. They need saliva — and lots of it.

The average person produces a staggering 100,000 gallons of saliva in his or her lifetime. Saliva is good, as it helps to keep teeth clean and healthy. Saliva production tends to slow as individuals age, which makes older people more prone to dental disease. And while you can’t do anything about decreased saliva production, you can practice good oral hygiene, including brushing, flossing, and regular visits to the dentist, to mitigate the risk of dental disease and tooth decay.

4. Sour things are bad for oral health.

You’ve probably heard that sugar can do a lot of damage to your teeth. But did you know that sour things are just as much of an enemy? You see, low-pH foods tend to be highly acidic, and acid damages your teeth. Try to avoid overindulging in low-pH foods, such as soft drinks and fruit juices. And those ultra-sour, ultra-sticky candies, like Warheads? They’re your teeth’s worst nightmare!

5. They’re extremely hard.

Did you know that the hardest substance in your entire body is the enamel of your teeth? This part of the tooth, which comprises its visible part, is actually even harder than your bones. Tooth enamel contains an incredibly high percentage of minerals, including hydroxyapatite, a type of crystalline calcium phosphate.

Although your enamel might be hard, it is, perhaps paradoxically, somewhat easy to break. Believe it or not, ice, popcorn, and tongue piercings can all actually chip your enamel. So think twice before you chomp down on that popcorn kernel!

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