Separating fact from fiction can be tricky when it comes to your teeth. New dental myths seem to creep up every year. In fact, if you search the phrase “dental myths” in Google, there are over 1,150,000 responses. While we won’t be able to wade through all of them with this blog post, we picked the top five that seem to come up often. We’re here to dispel tooth fantasy from dental reality!
1) Teeth are the harder than diamonds.
While it is true that tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body (even harder than bone), diamonds are still harder than teeth. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, teeth are at a 5 out of 10 while diamonds are at a 10. Curious about nature’s strongest substance? It turns out it is snails’ teeth, beating out longtime record-holder spider silk.
2)If you place a tooth in Coca-Cola, it will dissolve overnight.
This myth has some very interesting (and noble) origins. Back in the 1950’s, a Cornell University professor set out to warn the public about the negative effects of the popular soda on teeth. You can imagine that it certainly got the attention of Coca-Cola’s legal team! In the end, the professor’s claims turned out to be exaggerated. While the citric acid in soda will wear away your teeth’s enamel, even leaving a tooth in soda for a few days won’t dissolve it.
3)If you have a tooth fall out, put it in a glass of milk.
If you have a healthy, adult tooth fall out, there is a chance to save it, but only if you keep it ‘alive’. Placing it in a glass of milk has been shown to keep the living tissue of the tooth safe and moist. Make sure not to touch or damage the root, or your tooth first aid will be in vain.
4)Your ‘tooth print’ is as unique as your fingerprints.
Dental records can be used to identify you just like fingerprints. Your unique bite and tooth formation is like no one else’s on earth.
5) George Washington had wooden teeth.
This myth has long since been dispelled but always persists. I’m not sure why we want to think about our founding father or dentistry in this way! It’s true that Washington lost his teeth at an early age by our standards (his 20’s). But we know he also worked with leading experts in the field of implant and prosthetic dentistry. Rather than wood, we know that he had several sets of teeth made from materials such as metal, hippopotamus ivory, and gold. They certainly don’t sound as comfortable as their modern equivalents! Popular Mechanics even reports that Washington found them so irritating that he kept his public speeches short and sweet. His second inaugural address was a measly 135 words, the shortest in history.