Teeth: In some cultures the beauty of a persons teeth are a sex symbol (except for the English), and yet so little is known about them. It’s time to give them the respect attention they deserve. Let’s review how many humans have, from infancy/childhood to adulthood, what they do and why you need to take care of them!
Children have 20 baby teeth (or “toofers” depending on how cute they are)–ten on the top and ten on the bottom, which they begin to lose usually at around the age of six. Whether or not the Tooth Fairy visits again tends to depend on how cute they are. Although these eventually fall out, they deserve the same hygiene as those for adults. Research increasingly suggests that much of our overall bodily health is tied to our oral hygiene–for example, in the most critical example, a badly infected mouth could infect one’s bloodstream and even be a threat to the heart!
Understanding this connection is one reason why it is now common practice for cities to place fluoride in its drinking water (much to the dismay of conspiracy theorists everywhere). Doing so has dramatically improved the overall health of a generation of Americans, creating preventative dental care simply by drinking water.
Most adults have 32 teeth: 8 incisors, 4 canines, 8 premolars and 12 molars. Each services a unique function when eating and even talking. Each individual tooth is comprised of enamel, dentin and pulp. The enamel is the white exterior visible to others, dentin is the middle layer of the tooth most resembling bone tissue, and the pulp is raw nerves, perhaps most memorably visualized via the Nerve Beaver from Ren and Stimpy.
When considered as a whole, the human mouth is a natural wonder. Many young adults opt to have their wisdom teeth for reason they usually can’t recall at the time, and it’s because they have the potential to grow at an awkward angle and “push” others. Having them removed is a simple and painless procedure that usually involves anesthesia.
As mentioned above, teeth have evolved over the years to now be more closely associated with physical good looks. Having poor dental hygiene can be a deal-breaker for many. Regular brushing (ideally with an electronic toothbruth) and especially flossing will do much to ensure you have strong, healthy mouth for your entire life.