Parents try their best to keep their children’s teeth pristine white and healthy — from brushing their children’s teeth when young to supervising their brushing as they grow older. However, children often show some resistance when it comes to brushing their teeth.
This is normal behavior among toddlers and young children. Apart from their age, it is also their limited understanding of why teeth are important. “Why should I brush my teeth?” “What if I don’t brush my teeth?” and “Why are my teeth moving?” are some common questions children ask their parents.
How about teaching your child a few exciting teeth facts for kids and satiating their ever-curious minds? Let’s get going!
What Are The Parts Of A Tooth?
The whitish part of the tooth that is visible in the mouth is called the crown. The crown of the tooth helps us bite and chew our food and also enables us to pronounce words correctly. Did you know that the crown of your teeth is made up of three layers? It has the following layers.
- Enamel: This is the outermost and strongest layer of the tooth. Its main functions are to withstand the pressure of chewing, protect the teeth from harmful bacteria, and withstand the changes in temperature from hot and cold foods.
- Dentine: The dentine is located just below the enamel. It’s the main part of the tooth and gives your teeth the yellowish tint. The dentin protects the delicate and sensitive pulp.
- Pulp: This is the innermost layer of a tooth. It consists of connective tissue, nerves, and blood vessels that help nourish the tooth and keep it healthy.
While we can see the crown of the teeth, do you know what keeps them firmly fixed in your jaw? It’s the root. Every tooth has a root that anchors it strongly in your jaw. Although we cannot see this part of the tooth, it is an integral part of its structure.
Just as the enamel protects the crown of your teeth, the root is covered by a layer called the cementum. Apart from the cementum, the soft gums also help protect the roots of your teeth.
Types Of Teeth
Children are observant and often pose questions such as, “Why is this tooth different from the other one?” or “Why are my front teeth different from my back teeth?” So, it is vital to teach children that we have different types of teeth, and each type plays an important role in our mouth (2) (3) (4).
These are your front teeth, and you have four of these teeth on the top and four on the bottom. Incisors are flat and thin and enable you to cut your food into smaller pieces for easy chewing.
Have you seen two pointy teeth, one on each side of your incisors? These are your canines, also called cuspids, and we have four of them in our mouth. These teeth look sharp and help us tear food, especially meat, into smaller pieces.
The last teeth in each jaw are your grinders or molars, and they do precisely as their name suggests–they grind food to make it easy for us to swallow! They are the last teeth to erupt in our mouth, and we have eight or 12 molars in our mouths.
Right next to your pointy teeth are your premolars, which look like your canines and also have a chewing surface like your molars. We have four premolars in our upper jaw and four in the lower.
30 Interesting Facts About Teeth For Children
- We all have two sets of teeth–the milk teeth or baby teeth and permanent or adult teeth.
- Did you know that just like your fingerprints, your tooth prints or bite marks are unique too? Even though twins may look alike, their teeth prints or bite records are not identical.
- Your adult teeth form underneath your milk teeth, and some begin forming even before you are born.
- It is believed that only 3/4th of children brush their teeth twice a day! Brushing your teeth twice a day helps prevent tooth decay.
- A new set of molars appear when a person is 17 to 23 years of age. These are the third molars.
- All baby teeth appear by the time a child turns three years old.
- Your tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body. It is even harder than your bones!
- Throughout your lifetime, your mouth produces saliva that is enough to fill two big swimming pools. Saliva protects the teeth against cavities.
- Did you know that as a child, you have only 20 baby teeth? But, when your adult teeth emerge, you have a total of 32 teeth!
- If you divide your teeth into three vertical parts, you will be surprised to know that around one-third of your tooth is inside the gums.
- Humans have been taking care of their teeth since olden times. The first toothbrushes were medicated twigs and have been in existence since 3,000 BC.
- A fractured bone can be repaired, and it heals. However, damaged enamel cannot be regrown or repaired naturally. This is because the bone is living tissue, while enamel is not.
- Did you know your mouth is full of bacteria? Some are good for your mouth, and the others turn harmful when they find excess sugar and starch in your mouth. This is what leads to cavities!
- The baby teeth that you have are excellent sources of stem cells. Thus, you could preserve them.
- When you brush your teeth, you must clean your tongue too! Not cleaning your tongue causes bacteria to accumulate, leading to more cavities.
- Tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood illness.
- Before it was discovered that tooth decay is caused by the bacteria in the mouth, people believed that it was caused by tiny, wriggly worms.
- Did you know that tooth decay was not as common in the previous generations? This is because the diet in the olden days was not as laden with sugars as it is today.
- Toothpaste is not new. Ancient Egyptians prepared their toothpaste using powdered oxen hoove’s ashes, myrrh, pumice, and burnt eggshells.
- More than 700 different species of bacteria can be found in your mouth.
- Milk, cheese, and curd are some dairy products that are healthy for your teeth as they are rich in calcium.
- Did you know your teeth shape, size, appearance, and arrangement in the mouth are genetic? You inherit these genes from your parents.
- The shape of animal teeth is directly related to their diet. Since a plant-based diet is hard to digest, herbivores have large grinders that help them grind and chew their food. Carnivores need sharp, pointed teeth to tear into the flesh of their prey, and so, their teeth are pointy and sharp.
- You will be surprised to know that mammals have two sets of teeth. Some mammals, such as kangaroos and elephants, have more than two sets of teeth during their lifetime.
- Did you know rabbits shed their baby teeth before or immediately after birth and are usually born with permanent teeth?
- Sharks grow many sets of teeth during their lifetime.
- Did you know that your first tooth erupts at around six months of age?
- Although rare, some babies are born with teeth. But, these teeth are not fully developed and tend to have weak roots.
- If you brush your teeth as recommended by your dentist, that is, twice a day for at least two minutes each time, you will spend 38.5 days of your life brushing!
- Have you ever noticed a white, sticky layer on your teeth? This is plaque and is the prime cause of tooth decay. Brushing and flossing can help you get rid of this layer.
Teaching children about teeth and their importance goes a long way in building good dental habits in them. Good oral health is the key to good overall health. Providing factual yet simple answers to children’s queries about their teeth also expands their knowledge and boosts their cognitive abilities during their growing-up years.
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3. Mouth and Teeth; The Nemours Foundation
4. The Five Types of Human Teeth & Their Function; ACI Medical & Dental School
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6. 11 fascinating kid’s dental health facts you really need to know; Oral Health Foundation
7. The hardest substance in the human body?; Dental Health Services (DHS) – Western Australia
8. Is it Possible to Restore Tooth Enamel?; Penn Dental
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10. Should you clean your tongue every day?; Egton Medical Information Systems
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14. Who invented the toothbrush and when was it invented?; Library of Congress
15. Irina Kerkis and Arnold I. Caplan; Stem Cells in Dental Pulp of Deciduous Teeth; Tissue Engineering. Part B, Reviews (2011).
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