Human Teeth Evolution
Human teeth evolution is based on genetics and environmental factors. On the front of genetics, the chimpanzee and home sapiens share a common ancestor that is evidence to how the human jaws and teeth have been evolving up to the current form. Apart from that, the environmental factors such as how foods are eaten, food processing, the use of utensils and the presence of metal concentrations does shape the evolution of human teeth.
The hardest substance in the human body is the tooth enamel and it consists of 96% mineral making it the most resilient surface of the highest percentage of any tissue. The tooth enamel is the hardest non living tissue of the body which is more stronger, durable and damage resistant than the bones. Since femur is bigger than teeth, it is known as the hardest but enamel is even stronger when compared to equivalent.
A sticky film that covers the teeth which is made from the mixture of saliva and leftover food particles is dental plaque. Simply put they are a community of about 1000 different species of bacteria that organize the teeth surface structurally and continuously damage the enamel and the teeth roots. The dead bacteria that mineralized on the teeth is known as tartar or calculus.
On average an individual brushes their teeth for 48 seconds only and they do not brush it for long enough unless they have only a few teeth in their mouth. The rule is to brush the teeth for 2 minutes with each quarter taking 30 seconds, no longer or no shorter than that. Even the American Dental Association (ADA) encourages people to brush two times in a day and each time for about two minutes for a thorough plaque removal.
The cleanest place to store the toothbrush is far from the toilet and the sink. The ADA recommends storing the toothbrush in a place where it can be exposed to air and sunlight. Germs and fecal material from toilet flushing and can travel as far as six feet from where the toilet is. You can also put a lid on the toilet before flushing. As a matter of fact some researchers from University of Manchester England found that toothbrushes are full of more than 100 million bacteria.
Robert Dale Shepard a 34 year old inmate of West Virginia in the year 1994 escaped from the prison's recreation yard by climbing a 18 feet rope made of dental floss and successfully escaped. So the dentist all over the country has been recommending people to use floss to clean between teeth at places where it is difficult to reach to maintain oral health.
Capping Your Toothbrush
Capping your toothbrush is wrong and leads to harmful bacterial growth. The ADA recommends you to remove and throw away the covers and if possible to rinse the bristle with mouthwash frequently. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been advising people to change their toothbrushes once every three months.
The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) gave an estimate that three out of four Americans or 75% of the American population suffers from some form of gum disease. More than 100 million people in the US cannot afford dental care and the cost increases as the dental procedure becomes more complex. The most cavities and the highest rates of tooth decay in the world is in Poland, an Eastern European country.
Ancient vs Modern
The ancient people had an extended daily routine of teeth cleaning by chewing on sticks and twigs to brush their teeth. The earliest types of toothpaste were made of crushed eggshells, rocksalt, pumice, mint, ash, dried flower, pepper and myrrh by the ancient Egyptians.
The commercial toothbrush as we know it today was invented in 1938 only, which was 30 years after an American Leonard A. Jenkins introduced toothpaste tubes on the market on April 13, 1908.
Snails have more teeth than any animal at a staggering number of over 25,000 teeth all over its tongue and the teeth of an aquatic snail known as limpet seem to be the strongest teeth on Earth. It has a biological material that is even stronger than titanium.
Catfish have around 9,280 teeth while the great white shark can grow 30,000 teeth in its lifetime. The hippopotamus has the largest canines of a land mammal which can grow as low as 1.8 feet.
A leech is structured in such a way that it has 300 teeth and 32 brains in all its separate 32 segments. The platypuses, sloths, walruses, seals, narwhals, dolphins, and most toothed-whales are monophyodont with one set of teeth that grows continuously its lifetime.
When Blacksmiths and Barbers are Dentists
Blacksmiths and barbers during the early America colonial period were moonlighting as a dentist because they were already in possession of sharp tools needed to extract teeth. They made the whole extraction process easier even though it is a painful procedure.
Historical records are showing that the Neolithic people have been filling cavities using beeswax. In Slovenia, researchers found a 6,500 year old human tooth found to contain beeswax filling to reduce pain and sensitivity of the patient.
Scientists also found stone drillers for dental drills in Pakistan in at least 9 people who had their molar holes and findings have suggested that humans have been frequenting dentists as early as 9,000 years ago.
The following are the simple home remedies suggested for strong and healthy teeth with less time and effort.
- A mouth exercise. Close your mouth and move your upper teeth to hit your lower teeth about 30 to 40 times to improve the blood circulation.
- Gargle. Put a few drops of lime in 500ml of water and gargle to keep your mouth fresh and free of odor.
- After meals. Try to chew a few leaves of the hold basil, a small mango tree leaf or even betel leaf to keep your teeth free of microbes, clean and free of odor.
All said and well, let us leave you with a legend of medieval cure for toothache. In Germany during the middle ages, kissing a donkey is believed to be the only way to cure a toothache. It would have been easier because they would have been a donkey at every corner to kick the person who tries to kiss it.