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Raise Your Dental IQ: 10 Tidbits About Your Teeth

Here are 10 cool dental facts to help you wow your friends and family!

You use your teeth to bite, chew, and maybe even engage in some ill-advised package opening. (Tsk, tsk.)

Unless a tooth is bothering you, you probably don't give them a second thought. But there is so much more to your chompers.

Here are some fun facts to amaze your friends at your next get together!

1. A tooth can grow in backward or even upside down. Certain factors like crowding or when baby teeth don't fall out on schedule can cause adult teeth to shift in the bone.

2. A tooth can develop a cavity while it's still below the gum. When bacteria sink below the gums in the periodontal pocket, it can linger and affect adult teeth that haven't come in yet.

3. A tooth is like an iceberg – only about 1/3 of your tooth's total size is seen above the gum.

4. In America, adult teeth are numbered 1-32, starting on the upper right. Counting across the top are numbers 1-16, following to the back lower left with tooth number 17, and ending on the bottom right with tooth number 32.

5. Baby teeth, on the other hand, are lettered A-T. They are counted the same way, though, starting on the upper right and following across and down, with tooth T being the back, right tooth.

6. Unlike bones, our teeth are one of the only things that our bodies can't heal.

7. The medical term for baby teeth, deciduous, comes from the Latin word "decidere," which means to fall off or be shed (like leaves from a deciduous tree).

8. Diet sodas aren't healthier for your teeth! Despite being marketed as better for your waistline, diet drinks still have the same acids in them that can erode tooth enamel over time.

9. Some people have baby teeth that never fall out. These teeth are called retained baby teeth and they can be caused by a lack of permanent teeth to replace them.

10. Less than 200,000 Americans have what's called an ankylosed tooth. This is a fancy term meaning that the root of a tooth is permanently connected to the jaw because it no longer has the protective periodontal ligament around it. Medically, we don't know why the periodontal ligament around a tooth dissolves, but one suspected cause is severe dental trauma.

Well, there you go! Next time there’s a lull in the conversation, you can wow your friends, family, and coworkers with your knowledge of dentistry!

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