Fighting tooth and nail

Fighting tooth and nail
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Everyone knows that teeth are strong, but did you know that your teeth are the hardest substance in your body?

Just like the phrase ‘fighting tooth and nail’, your teeth put up a pretty strong defence, weathering many storms throughout the duration of their lifetime.

You may not realise that teeth are stronger than bone…

teeth are stronger than bone

Many of us have broken a bone, however breaking a tooth is a much more difficult feat. Some studies suggest that the average person breaks two bones in a life time. For all of us that have never broken a bone, others may have broken more than just two, which ultimately averages things out. Compare this with the number of serious cracks to people’s teeth in a lifetime and the figures fall well short of even.

This is because your teeth are built to last a lifetime.


Unlike bones, teeth do not grow brittle with time…

The enamel on your tooth is much like armour for your smile; however it does not rust like iron or steel over time. Your teeth must endure a lifetime of:

  • Chewing
  • Biting
  • Crunching
  • Gnashing

And that’s just for the average set of chompers. Some people experience grinding and trauma to their teeth throughout their lifetime, not to mention consuming harmful acidic or sugary foods that eat away at your teeth’s structure. While your teeth do become worn over time due to all these factors, the tooth material itself does not become brittle with age. This means that with stringent care, your teeth have the potential to last a lifetime.

Your teeth can withstand extraordinarily high temperatures…

Some studies suggest temperatures can even reach 1000 degrees Celsius before they combust. Teeth can also withstand extended submersion in water and corrosive substances, as well as retaining their structure for hundreds of thousands of years.

In fact, TIME Magazine reported the remains of teeth found in Israel that were dated to around 400 000 years ago…

Furthermore, the resilience of teeth has allowed modern archaeologists to deduce a number of facts and theory’s related to the habits and lifestyles of ancient peoples. The structure and composition of teeth can indicate the foods that were eaten, the professional roles individuals played and, in the case of the ancient Egyptians, can even potentially suggest some cultural values.

ancient Egyptian tomb

Remains of teeth have been found in an ancient Egyptian tomb with a gold wire wrapped around them. It is largely believed this wire was used to straighten the teeth, which could indicate that these people valued the appearance of straight teeth. Not too different from many of us today, right?

So what does all of this mean for you?

Teeth are strong, there is no doubt. However, in order to help make your teeth last a lifetime you will need to provide your pearly whites with stringent dental care. This means:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing at least once a day
  • Avoiding highly acidic or sugary foods when possible

In addition to these steps, it is integral that you visit your dentist for a six monthly general check-up. These appointments can help to safeguard your teeth and correct any minor concerns, such as small cavities, before they become difficult and costly to correct.


MyDental Care in Meadowbank provides comprehensive general check-ups to help ensure that their patients are able to put up the best possible fight when it comes to keeping their teeth for life.

To learn more about how to keep your smile healthy for life, or request an appointment at our Meadowbank dental practice, please contact us.

About the Author

Dr Louis Chan

Dr Louis Chan has a special interest in holistic dentistry and is a certified provider of Myobrace, Insignia, Rapid Smiles and Invisalign.

You can connect with Dr Louis Chan on Google+, Facebook and Linked In

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