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Eight bite-size facts about your teeth

  1. Your teeth might have evolved from taste buds

Looking back half a billion years, the ancestors of sharks and humans had no teeth in their mouths at all, or even jaws. How vertebrates developed teeth is undetermined but theory has it that either their tooth-like scales began to appear in their mouths as teeth, or some of their taste buds became harder.

  1. Your teeth develop in the womb

Our teeth begin to develop before we are even born, most children have a full set of 20 milk or baby teeth by the time they’re three years old. Then, on reaching five or six, these teeth start to fall out in order to make way for adult teeth.

  1. You have around fifty teeth in your lifetime

By the age of 12 to 14 we will have our adult teeth, of which there are 32 in total. Four of these are our wisdom teeth and these usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 21.

Only two thirds of each of your teeth are actually visible – the rest is hidden inside your gum.

Whereas the total number of teeth we have is around 50, with most of those having to last from childhood, great whites can produce around 100,000 teeth throughout their lifetime. Some species of sharks produce a new set of teeth every two weeks!

  1. Your teeth are genetically the same as a shark’s

We may not be able to make new teeth like a shark but the ones we do have are almost identical to those in the mouths of the aquatic predator and, in fact, almost all fish. Learning more about shark teeth and how they regenerate could eventually teach us how to grow new human teeth in later life. With our lives getting longer and our diets getting more acidic we could certainly do with more!

  1. You have four different types of teeth

Incisors: Our incisors are the four front teeth on the top and bottom jaw and these are used for cutting and chopping food and passing it through to the back of our mouths.

Canine: Our canine teeth are the sharp, pointy teeth on either side of our incisors that help to tear food.

Premolars: Our premolars are wider teeth used for crushing and grinding food.

Molars: Our molars are stronger yet – these mash our food until it’s ready to be swallowed safely.

Together these make us effective omnivores – we’re great at chewing plant matter as well as tearing up meat.

  1. A tooth has four different layers

Shiny enamel coats the tooth -This is the hardest substance in the body and protects the sensitive inner parts of the tooth. Underneath that there is a dentine block – This surrounds a core pulp cavity, which contains the nerves and the tooth’s blood supply. A fourth tissue is involved in the attachment of the tooth to the jawbone and that’s the cementum.

  1. Your teeth are as unique as your fingerprints

Just like your fingerprint, your teeth and how they are arranged in your mouth are unique to you.

This is why dental records are often used to identify human remains.

  1. The first toothbrush dates back to 3500 BC

Toothbrush-like tools, such as a stick with a frayed end, date back to 3500-3000 BC. The first known bristle brushes to resemble the toothbrush dates back to the Tang Dynasty and around 700 AD. These were comprised of a handle made from animal bone or bamboo and hog hair bristles.

(The Romans used sterile urine as mouthwash to rinse out the mouth!)

Brush, Swish, Spit

Brush, Swish, Spit

Are you supposed to rinse after tooth-brushing?” In almost every case, the answer is “No!” Leaving a coating of toothpaste on your teeth for as long as possible will make your teeth much stronger.

Rinsing with water after brushing is bad for your teeth – it washes away the protective fluoride from the toothpaste left behind after brushing. Fluoride toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay and cavities. Fluoride also repairs weak spots. Spitting instead of rinsing ensures that the fluoride will be more effective, as the fluoride will remain on your teeth much longer than just for the two minutes that you are brushing.

You should brush your teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste twice a day. The night brush just before bed is the most important. It allows your teeth to get the benefit of your fluoride toothpaste for many hours, if you don’t rinse, eat or drink after brushing.

Remember, have a drink BEFORE you brush your teeth, not after.

  • BRUSH for at least two minutes. Save the toothpaste foam in your mouth – don’t spit any out.
  • Close your mouth and SWISH the mixture of tooth paste and saliva around your mouth, forcing it all over and in between your teeth. Pump the toothpaste foam between your cheeks and lips for 20 times, or for about one minute. Swishing will increase your saliva flow. Saliva contains calcium which is also great for teeth.
  • Then SPIT out the excess toothpaste foam.

If you BRUSH, SWISH, SPIT, and don’t rinse, you will double your protection against tooth decay and cavities.


Grinding your teeth?

Grinding teeth, also known as “bruxism” can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw. It can wear the teeth down and cause severe headaches and even earache in some people.  I have often seen patients come in to the surgery with fractured fillings and broken teeth as a result of this habit.

Lots of people are not aware that they do this, as it happens predominantly in our sleep. Lifestyle it seems, according to research is a big factor. If you are anxious or constantly stressed, grinding your teeth in your sleep may happen subconsciously. By looking at your situation in life, it may be possible to stop grinding your teeth. High levels of stress at work have a real negative effect generally on our health.

Behavioural therapies and the use of mouth guards or mouth splints are recommended treatments for bruxism. Other treatments, such as muscle-relaxation exercises and sleep hygiene may also help manage your symptoms.

If you have an anxiety or stress-related problem, a course of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be recommended. CBT aims to manage your problems by changing how you think and act. It may be possible to break the habit of teeth grinding using habit-reversal techniques.

Making some simple lifestyle changes, such as giving up smoking (if you smoke), reducing your alcohol consumption and managing stress may also be very beneficial.

Why not make some changes if you recognise any of the above symptoms……

We would like to share some news with the local community…..Our lovely Nurse Kim is travelling to Kenya in June with the charity Dentaid, to help provide emergency treatment to areas with no dental facilities. We are selling second hand books, as well as making cakes regularly to raise funds to help her. Please feel free to pop in, even if you are not registered with us to have a browse.  All welcome.




Dental Anxiety

Dental Anxiety


Lots of us have heard about anxiety. Some of us may know colleagues or friends and family that suffer from this, or may have even suffered themselves. When we become anxious, our body responds in several ways.  We experience sweating, shortness of breath, dizziness, stomach cramps, irritability and much more. Anxiety may stem from a past issue, learnt behaviour, a phobia, or simply that we are frightened of a situation.  Sometimes it can be life’s pressures and expectations of scenarios rather than facts. We start to feel uneasy and concerned.  All of this takes a toll on our body. Dental anxiety is so common.  Here at Gedling Dental, we have lots of patients who have dental anxiety and so we decided a long time ago that we would like to make things easier for you.


What we offer to combat this

  • We listen and always give you the choice with treatment
  • The Practice is calm
  • We keep clinical smells to a minimum by using essential oils in diffusers
  • Our time slots are tailored to your requirements
  • Bring your earphones
  • The staff understand how to support you
  • We never judge
  • We offer relative analgesia (ask for details)


What you can do

  • Try and relax – be conscious of your breathing
  • Attend your appointment, routine helps
  • Don’t avoid facing your fear
  • Learn to trust us by taking that first step
  • Replace negatives with positives with help from us
  • Talk to us, this is important
  • “What if” is not helpful. By talking to us we can give you the facts rather than let your mind wander.


Come and see us – even if initially you would like a chat and a cuppa. We offer free WiFi and complementary drinks.