What You Never Knew About Teeth and Dentistry

Think you know teeth? Here are 20 different quick, fun, and downright weird pieces of toothy trivia.


Fast Facts About Teeth

  • Past surveys by the American Academy of Periodontology indicate that around half of people notice a person’s smile before anything else.
  • Your tooth enamel is the hardest part of the body.
  • Kids, better wear your mouthguard! 80% of your dental injuries happen to the front teeth.
  • Over 14 million gallons of toothpaste in consumed annually in the United States alone!
  • If you’re a regular brusher of your teeth, expect to spend 38 days of your life keeping those pearly whites clean! And if you brush twice a day for two minutes? 76 days with 20 gallons of toothpaste!
  • But before you can even get to brushing, your teeth begin to form before you’re even born. Baby teeth start to grow while still in the womb, though they will not show until a child is between six and 12 months old.
  • Over the course of losing your deciduous teeth, you’ll gain 12 new teeth as you grow. Babies have 20 teeth, but adults have 32.
  • Each year, students lost 51 million hours of school because of dental visits and dental-related illnesses.
  • There are more bacteria in your mouth than people on the earth!
  • Only two-thirds of your tooth is visible. The rest is embedded under your gums.
  • Famed physicist Sir Isaac Newton apparently has some very valuable teeth: one sold in London for nearly $36,000 dollars (today’s money) in 1816.


Fun Facts About Teeth

  • The average person produces approximately a quart of saliva daily. How much is that over the course of your life? 10,000 gallons. That’s a lot of spit! But saliva is an essential part of your dental health. It washes food off the teeth, neutralized acids in the mouth, fights germs and bad breath.
  • Dental floss may be a simple concept, but it wasn’t invented until 1882. This crucial tool in getting plaque out between teeth has also been used to escape a prison in West Virginia!
  • The first bristle toothbrush was invented in 1498 in China, with hairs from the back of a pig’s neck. Without synthetic nylon, this practice continued for over 400 years until 1938.
  • Dental fillings have been around for even longer. Through evidence found by archaeologists, there is proof that dentists have been putting fillings in teeth for up to 9,000 years. Something tells us the first fillings were not a fun experience!
  • Some people wish they had a mulligan when it comes to dental hygiene. They should have been born a shark! Unlike humans, who have 2 sets of teeth grow over the course of their lives, sharks will have 40. That’s a lot of chances for practicing flossing technique.


Weird Facts About Teeth

  • In the old days of movies, it was commonplace to see a movie with a hobo missing a tooth. Of course, that tooth wasn’t actually missing – it was blacked out with marker or dye. These days, some actors take the appearance of their teeth as seriously as the acting itself! For the movie Fight Club, Brad Pitt decided that his character needed an edgier look. To achieve this, Pitt went to a dentist and had his front teeth chipped.
  • In Norway, there is a tooth bank which stores and studies teeth that have fallen out. The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study has accumulated thousands of teeth from volunteers in addition to blood and urine samples from their parents. Why would anyone want to do this? Deciduous teeth are superb for revealing pollutants that are found in the environment. The combination of samples from mother and child can give insight into how exactly the environment is impacting each pair.
  • In certain Asian countries, including Thailand, Indonesia, and Malaysia, the aesthetic of braces is not seen as geeky at all. Instead its had quite a cool reputation for years. But real braces tend to be too expensive for many kids to afford. So instead, a black market has been created for fake braces that can also style cartoon characters such as Hello Kitty. Why is there a black market? Authorities have deemed the fake braces a health risk after multiple people died from related infections. They also have been found to have high levels of lead and can be a choking hazard.
  • Mosquitoes may be small, but they have more teeth than we do, at 47. Did you know slugs have teeth too? Their 25 teeth are located on their tongues!


Visit the St. Luke’s OMS Oral Surgery in Lehigh Valley

At St. Luke’s OMS, we’re crazy about teeth in every which way. But that’s not all. Our oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform bone grafts, juvederm and Botox treatments, sleep apnea treatments, and much more. We want to see you smile! Contact us today at 610-865-8077.