Five Surprising Dental Paradoxes: Strange-but-True Facts About Teeth
Posted on Nov 01, 2012 by DentalVibe
Welcome to the wacky side of dentistry! Oral hygiene is a pretty simple concept... most of the times. If you brush, floss, swish, and rinse, you're on the right track! Every now and then, though, you encounter a fun fact from the dental files that makes you go "hmmmm."
Things aren't always what they seem, and it can be hard to figure out what you're supposed to do to keep your teeth in good shape so you can avoid dental pain and disease in the future. It's okay... take a look at these intriguing dental paradoxes, and we'll do our best to help you sort through them.
1. Enamel is the hardest surface in the body... and also one of the most easily broken. It might sound surprising, but it probably shouldn't be. Take a tap on your teeth... they're pretty tough. Even your bones aren't that hard! But since our teeth are exposed to all kinds of other hard surfaces, bacteria, and food reactions, it's a lot easier to chip a tooth or invite tooth decay than it is to break a bone.
2. Chocolate is good for your teeth... but also bad. Sometimes you just can't catch a break. On the one hand, chocolate is made from a cocoa bean that possesses pro-tooth antibacterial properties. On the other, chocolate is also sticky and contains a lot of sugar, which clings to teeth and wears away at enamel. What's a chocolate lover to do? (Well, other than brush, floss, and rinse... that helps!)
3. Braces cause cavities. "Wait," you're thinking. "I thought my dentist wanted me to wear braces?" Well, your dentist may very well have referred you to an orthodontist, but while braces are important for many reasons, they actually encourage plaque growth. That's because food particles build up around the metal, which blocks the tongue from tending to its natural tooth-cleaning duties.
4. Bleeding means more brushing. If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth, you might think that more brushing seems counterintuitive. But unless you bled from pressing too hard with your brush (something you should never do), bleeding gums are typically a sign of infection. To battle it, you need to see a dentist and step up your oral hygiene right away... and that begins with better brushing, twice a day.
5. Fluoride is only a good thing sometimes... or is it? Fluoride is actually a somewhat controversial topic, and we always encourage those who are concerned about it to have a talk with their dentist. That said, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that localities fluoridate their community's water supplies to strengthen the population's teeth, and that is indeed what happens in many towns. But even if fluoride may be good when swallowed in water, it's never good when swallowed in the form of toothpaste. Yes, many toothpastes are themselves fluoridated, but when people (usually children) swallow the paste, it can cause teeth to become excessively porous, and may invite other problems as well.
Did any of these head-scratching tooth facts take you by surprise?