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How Much Do You Know About Your Teeth?

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We were born with teeth and most of us live with them for our whole lives. We use them every day, we curse them when they hurt and praise them when they enhance our smile. But how much do we really KNOW about them?

For instance our baby (or milk) teeth start to form when we are still in the womb but don't appear until we are around 6 months old. Once they do push their way through our gums (sleepless nights all round) we only see two thirds of them, one third remains (like an iceberg) below the gum line where they anchor the teeth in the jaw bone.

We have two sets of teeth during our whole lifetime, baby teeth (temporary) and permanent teeth. As the name suggests we just have one set of permanent teeth so we have to take good care of them because there are no "do overs". (Dental Implants are the closest thing to a "do over" that we have, they look like real teeth and stay put like real teeth.)

Our teeth are unique to us, nobody else has exactly the same teeth as we do, they're just like fingerprints, but in your mouth. We have four kinds of teeth that help us to eat; biting, ripping, tearing and grinding our food. Incisors, our front teeth, help us to take bites of food. Canines (our vampire fangs) are our sharpest teeth and are used for ripping and tearing our food. (It sounds so primitive until you think that we are probably ripping and tearing a slice of Hawaiian pizza or chocolate cake.)

Our pre-molars (or bicuspids) and our molars (at the back) are used for chewing and grinding food. Wisdom teeth (or third molars) are the last of our teeth to develop, typically waiting until we are 18 to 20 before making an appearance. And it may be a brief appearance as wisdom teeth often cause crowding of existing teeth or are too cramped to appear at all (can you say "impacted") and have to be removed.

Dental Trivia - Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in your entire body. Over our lifetime most of us spend 38 ½ days brushing our teeth. Our mouths produce over 25,000 quarts of saliva during our life, that's two swimming pools worth although you won't catch me doing the back stroke in that pool anytime soon.