Are you curious about molars & canines? Discover everything you ever wanted to know about your gnashers with these fun facts about teeth!
All of us have them (at least fake ones), but how much do we really know about our teeth?
Did you know that teeth are the strongest substance on the human body? Or that our ancestors had healthier teeth than we do today? We really mean that!
Whether you call them your chicklets, chompers, clackers or grill, the more we learn about our teeth the more fascinating they become. Let’s take a journey into the mouth and chew on some fun facts about teeth!
True or false? The first President of the United States, George Washington, had a set of wooden false teeth? We’re not going to spoil it, but read on to see what his dentures were really made of… we promise you won’t be disappointed!
There are also some unbelievable teeth facts in the wild world of the animal kingdom too. 50 rows of teeth? Counting the layers of teeth to determine age? There’s even a creature that has up to 25,000 teeth but looks absolutely harmless!
Keep on reading for these dental facts that’ll really surprise you. Let’s take a big bite, shall we?
22 Fun Facts About Teeth
1. Hardest part of the human body
The hardest substance on the human body is enamel. Enamel makes up the outer layer of our teeth and protects the inner layer known as dentine.
Underneath the dentine layer is where you find the nerves. Enamel is even stronger than bone!
2. Say goodbye to your teeth
Before people began visiting the dentist regularly, a tooth with a cavity was considered dead and was immediately pulled. Before the 1920s, older people often had no teeth at all. Thank goodness for modern dentistry or we might be drinking our meals through straws!
3. The anatomy of teeth
Teeth are normally split into four subcategories: incisors, canines, premolars and molars. The average adult has 32 teeth in total, including the pesky wisdom teeth.
As for the baby teeth, we have 20 of those, which we should all lose by our teenage years.
4. Chew like an Egyptian
Around 5,000 BC, the Egyptians would care for their teeth by chewing eggshells and polishing their teeth with ground up animal hooves.
Mummies have also been discovered with cavities filled in with plant resin! These little bits of ancient trivia may be among the coolest facts about teeth.
5. What about the splinters?
It is a well-known anecdote that President George Washington had wooden dentures. Well, it’s time to debunk one of the most disputed teeth facts.
Washington did in fact have 4 sets of dentures, but they were made from gold, ivory, lead and a mix of human and hippopotamus teeth. Hippo teeth!? But they weren’t wooden!
6. Counting teeth rings
Just like you can count the rings of a tree to determine its age, the age of the dolphin can also be determined by counting the layers of its teeth. You could be counting for a while, since the bottlenose dolphin has between 80 and 100 teeth. Now that’s a lot of teeth.
7. Early oral hygiene
Before the invention of toothbrushes and floss, people had unique and interesting ways of caring for their teeth. Chewing bark was quite common, as was using feathers, fish bones, and porcupine quills to extract stuck food.
But watch out! The most common thing to choke on? A toothpick.
8. Wacky remedies for tooth pain
It was a conundrum in medieval times on how to deal with teeth ailments. For a toothache, worms could be boiled in oil and dropped into the ear, or you could try kissing a donkey.
How about loose teeth? In the dark ages, you could have a frog tied to your jaw.
9. Save your tooth
If you have a tooth knocked out, the best way to save it is in a mouthful of milk. Put the tooth back in your mouth, sip some moo juice, and get your butt to an emergency dentist.
The calcium in milk and enzymes of the mouth will keep the tooth in good shape.
10. Our teeth have gotten worse over time
Teeth health in humans started to decline when farming became standard. With the introduction of more carbohydrates in our diet, sugars began attacking our teeth allowing bacteria to grow and tooth decay to settle in. Animals don’t often have tooth decay because they don’t eat sugar.
11. The strongest bite
How about some fun facts about teeth from the animal kingdom? The strongest bite belongs to the crocodile with over 3,700 pounds of force in their bite.
Hyenas can bite with the force of 1,100 pounds, the most for a mammal. Us humans? 200 pounds is the most we can muster.
12. Leave the cash under the pillow
Many of us enjoyed getting a few bucks from the tooth fairy by putting our lost teeth under our pillow. Not all cultures get the same treatment.
In Turkey, children throw their lost teeth up onto the roofs of their houses. In Latin America, children are left small gifts from the Tooth Mouse. Just imagine if we were visited in the night by the Tooth Mouse – not many kids about be happy about that!
13. The king of losing teeth
Sharks lose and regrow their teeth at an astonishing rate. Some sharks lose and regrow close to 35,000 teeth in their lifetime. That may seem like an enormous number, but consider that a bull shark will have up to 50 rows of teeth! Yikes!
14. Brush and floss everyday
The Chinese invented the first bristled toothbrush in the 1400s. The bristles were made up of hog’s hair with a bone handle. It was over 400 years later that dental floss was introduced by dentist Levi Spear Parmly.
15. It may be the slowest…
Here is one of the more weird teeth facts. The snail has more teeth than any other creature in the animal kingdom. Believe it or not, these slow-moving pieces of flesh can have up to 25,000 microscopic teeth!
16. The disappearing teeth
More and more people are being born without wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth come in during early adulthood and they often cause problems with overcrowding the mouth and are removed with painful surgery.
But as humans evolve, wisdom teeth are slowly disappearing. That’s one of the neatest teeth facts!
17. How long are you brushing for?
Most dentists recommend that we brush our teeth for 2 to 3 minutes, twice a day. However, most people don’t follow this advice.
The average person spends only 45 seconds per brushing. If you want to avoid cavities and plaque build-up it’s recommended to set a timer.
18. The first dentists
Before the practice of dentistry became commonplace, a blacksmith was often tasked with tooth removal because the tools used were best suited for tooth extraction.
After the blacksmith fell out of favor, people often implored their barbers to do their dental work.
19. To catch a criminal
The impressions that our teeth make are as unique as our fingerprints. Law enforcement and forensic labs often use dental records to identify bodies and catch criminals.
If you have had your teeth molded or even had an x-ray at the dentist, consider yourself teeth-printed!
20. Rat teeth
Rodents have teeth that never stop growing. Their diets of nuts and hard seeds help to wear down their teeth, so they never grow too long. In fact, rodents will chew on bark and other hard substances to grate their teeth down. Isn’t that amazing!?
21. Floss facts
Flossing is one of the best things we can do to promote healthy teeth, yet according to a study in 2019 only 31% of people floss daily.
Not flossing can lead to plaque build up and bad breath. More seriously, gum disease is often caused by neglecting to floss.
22. The longest tooth
The longest human tooth was extracted in India. A canine from the mouth of Urvil Patel measured 3.67 cm/1.45 in.
This is enormous considering the average canine measures just 2 cm/0.7 in. And with that we’ve arrived at the end of our collection of teeth facts!
Who wants more fun facts?
If you’re looking for some recommendations, these are a few of our favorite fact books to buy. We use these when planning fun trivia nights with family and friends!
Have these fun facts about teeth got you smiling? Or did we miss an important piece of trivia about our pearly whites? Let us know in the comments below!