The Tooth Is Out There: Four Popular Myths About Teeth
Myths about teeth are numerous.... Let's dispel a few
Myths about teeth abound and are as unavoidable as tooth decay. The average person experiences a fair share of both over time. Fortunately, reversing "truth decay" may be simpler than figuring fact over myth. Find four tooth-related realities right here.
Myth 1: Baby teeth don't hurt as much as adult teeth when they decay
There was a time many believed this was true. After all, baby teeth fall out eventually. So why bother worrying about them? The truth remains that most "baby" teeth are designed to last up to ten years, and hurt just as much as permanent teeth when they incur damage.
This particular myth about teeth causes a lot of unnecessary suffering, especially when assumed that it didn't really hurt to have baby teeth removed, either. Your Humble Writer, whose two front teeth, got yanked out without anesthetic when he was four (by a dentist, yet), assures you that this is untrue.
Myth 2: Removing your upper teeth affects your vision
While the roots of your upper teeth seem to come uncomfortably close to your eyes, the idea that extracting them harms your vision in any way remains a myth. The important eye structures, especially the optic nerves, remain too far away for a wayward dentist to damage (unless of course he drills way too deep).
Myth 3: Professional removal of plaque loosens your teeth
This myth about teeth oddly supports the opposite of reality. Your teeth are held in quite tightly by the supporting bone and tissue of your jaw. Tartar, calcium and plaque don't act as cement, except perhaps temporarily. In fact, they're a symptom of bad oral hygiene, which ultimately loosens teeth.
In fact, tartar buildup causes your gums to recede, allowing damage to the underlying support structures. If combined with periodontal disease, this causes significant loosening, so it's best to keep the tartar to a minimum.
Myth 4: George Washington wore wooden teeth
This may just be the most popular American myth about teeth. It sounds good, sure, but 100%... not true. Washington is known to have owned several sets of dentures, none of which were made of wood, either partially or completely. Not even the Father of Our Country was tough enough handle that!
Elephant ivory, and cow's teeth set in a lead base and held together by springs comprise the one surviving complete set located at Mt. Vernon. While very uncomfortable to wear and distorting his mouth, Washington wore them only on special occasions (such as for paintings).
One of the First President's more functional sets of dentures, which have not survived, were made of hippopotamus ivory set in either a lead or gold base (the sources conflict). No wood was involved.
Alas, another great myth among many myths about teeth, down the drain!