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8 Slightly Gross Facts That Will Make You Very Aware Of Your Mouth

An apple a day won't keep the dentist away.

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1. If you accidentally chip or crack a tooth, you’re exposing it to tooth decay quicker.

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Tooth fractures can quickly lead to decay. Bacteria can use these crevices in the teeth to find their way to your teeth’s more sensitive parts, which are often places where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Those most at risk of chipping their teeth are young children, contact sports players, those with lip or tongue piercings, and those in military training.

2. Drinks high in acidity can make your teeth weak.

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The outer shell of your teeth is coated in enamel, which is made of minerals. Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body but, unfortunately, it is most prone to decay. Acidic drinks, such as fruit juices and fizzy drinks, can break down this enamel, making your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay.

Unless you go about your life with Coke in your mouth for an entire day (or five), you're not going to see the dramatic decay pictured above. But one study exposed 20 test teeth to different drinks, including Coca-Cola, Pepsi and Dr. Pepper, their diet versions, and other soft drinks. Results found that tap water and black coffee barely dissolved tooth enamel, while the cola drinks "dissolved enamel 55-65 times more than both water and root beer".

The study also found that there was also no difference in amount of tooth erosion between regular and diet drinks. Even though diet drinks lack sugar, they're equally bad for your teeth.

So put down that fifth can of Coke if you want to protect your gnashers.

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3. If you grind your teeth in your sleep, they are more likely to decay.

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Grinding your teeth at night is a common sign of stress or worry, and nightmares of your teeth falling out could quickly become truth. Clenching your jaw and teeth-grinding creates a large amount of pressure on your teeth. If done frequently, your teeth will be more likely to crack and fracture, increasing the chance of tooth decay, and missing teeth.

In a computer simulation of the human jaw clenching, researchers found that both the upper and lower jaw became IRREVERSIBLY deformed with repeated clenches.

If you're fretting about your fangs, you may want to consider wearing a mouth guard at night while you sleep.

4. And if bacteria does find a way in, it's not just your teeth that are affected.

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Infection in the teeth and gums can lead to an dental abscess, which is where pus collects because of a bacterial infection. This is usually felt with a sore throbbing pain where the abscess is. The common cause of an abscess is a combo of eating sugary foods and bad dental routines.

To get this treated, a dentist must drain the pus and, in some cases, remove the infected tooth. 😧

BRUSH YOUR TEETH, PEOPLE.

5. Your teeth aren't meant to be pure white.

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In a Match.com survey of 5,000 adults, a good set of teeth ranked as the top characteristic both men and women look for in a potential partner. While a dazzling white smile may be attractive, the healthiest teeth aren't necessarily the whitest.

As we grow older, our teeth naturally become more discoloured.

Food and drinks, such as tea, coffee, red wine, beetroot, pomegranates and sauces, can all stain your teeth. Give them a wide berth to keep your teeth looking their best.

6. And bleaching your teeth to get that pearly white gleam may make your teeth sensitive.

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One method of bleaching teeth involves a process of coating teeth with a whitening gel containing carbamide peroxide, which oxidises the enamel of teeth so that light will better refract off the enamel for a whiter smile.

However, bleaching your teeth too often may cause painful sensitivity. In a study of 50 adults using a 15% carbamide peroxide bleaching gel, researchers found that 54% of them reported "mild sensitivity".

The good news is that if you stop bleaching your teeth, the sensitivity will gradually stop.

7. Plaque on your teeth is always lurking, just waiting to destroy your teeth.

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Dental plaque forms on the surface on your teeth, appearing as a yellowish layer of bacteria between teeth. This plaque can lead to tooth decay, and diseases such as gingivitis.

Plaque occurs naturally, so you'll never avoid it completely, but you CAN remove it by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.

Plaque disclosing tablets can be used to see the severity of plaque on teeth, which when chewed, show the presence of plaque by highlighting it in a different colour.

8. When you're a child, your skull looks like this.

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Your childhood is painfully punctuated by your baby teeth falling out and being replaced by stronger adult teeth.

But what you may not have known is that all those adult teeth are horrifyingly burrowed within your skull in neat rows, just waiting to pop out through your soft gums, and become useful. The adult teeth push towards primary teeth, dissolving and absorbing their roots in a process called exfoliation.

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