Seven Surprising Facts About Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are those extra molars that tend to grow in around the time a person is between 17 and 22 years old. They get their name because people at this age are said to have acquired some degree of wisdom. Here are seven strange facts about wisdom teeth that might surprise you. 

Wisdom Teeth Used to Fit

Anthropologists believe that early humans’ mouths were places where wisdom teeth would actually fit. These humans from long ago had teeth that deteriorated  because of a less healthy diet than we are accustomed to today. This wear on teeth caused them to drift, creating more room for these third molars. They also believe that the dental work we have access to today keeps our teeth in place and doesn’t allow for the extra room necessary for wisdom teeth to grow. 

Some People Don’t Get Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth removal is often seen as a necessary procedure that everyone must endure, but the truth is that some people don’t have to have wisdom teeth removed because they never get them in the first place. Steadyhealth.com reports that 35% of people don’t get any wisdom teeth at all. There are some studies that suggest different cultures actually use their jaws differently, and that might account for certain populations having fewer wisdom teeth than others. 

Future generations may not have to worry about wisdom teeth at all. Some researchers are looking into ways to stop wisdom teeth from growing in babies while they are still in the womb. 

You Can Save Them For Stem Cells

Wisdom teeth can be harvested for stem cells, so saving them after they are extracted actually makes sense. Some people choose to save their wisdom teeth just in case stem cells are needed for a future medical crisis. It may also be possible in the future to use wisdom teeth as a replacement for another lost molar. 

You Can Use Them as Jewelry

Some artistic people actually save their wisdom teeth and drill holes in them to create pendants for necklaces or other jewelry. Jewelry made from wisdom teeth is an especially personal gift. 

Wisdom Teeth Can Grow In Sideways

The reason most people have to have their wisdom teeth removed is that the teeth do not have enough room and become impacted. Most wisdom teeth become impacted vertically or leaning forward in the mouth, but other configurations are possible as well. Wisdom teeth can also become impacted growing toward the inside of the mouth and in some rare cases, they actually grow in horizontally. 

Ignoring Wisdom Teeth Can Kill You

Impacted wisdom teeth can be painful, and sometimes wisdom teeth that grow only part way through the gum can be difficult to clean. These are only minor problem caused by wisdom teeth. These impacted or partially visible teeth can easily develop bacterial infections that can spread to other parts of the body. When infection in the teeth spreads to the brain, it can actually result in death. 

You Can Have More Than Four Wisdom Teeth

Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on the top and two on the bottom. However, a few special people have extra wisdom teeth. These are called supernumerary teeth and always need to be extracted. Some patients have been known to have as many as two extra wisdom teeth in the same area of the mouth. 

The National Center for Biotechnology Information reports that, oddly enough, supernumerary teeth occur twice as often in males as they do in females. 

Having wisdom teeth sounds like a great thing, but wisdom teeth often cause a lot of trouble. These seven facts will help you appreciate those extra teeth in the back of your mouth, even when you have to have them taken out. 

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3 Child-Safe Essential Oils For Oral Health

If you have a young child, you may be surprised that they can safely benefit from many of the same essential oils that adults use for health care and mental relaxation. You can even add essential oils to your child’s daily oral hygiene routine for healthier teeth and gums as they grow. However, children need smaller doses than adults and many essential oils are too strong to use even in small doses. Here are three essential oils that are considered safe for children and how you can use them to improve your child’s oral health. 

Tea Tree 

Tea tree oil is a strong antiseptic oil. It is commonly used for bad breath, plaque, gingivitis, and to soothe cavities until you can get to the dentist. 

Perhaps the most common way to use tea tree oil is in homemade toothpaste. For adults, 3-5 drops of tea tree oil are usually added to 2 tablespoons of toothpaste. If your child will be using the toothpaste you will want to reduce the amount to 2-3 drops. Alternatively, you can dilute 2-3 drops in 2 tablespoons of water for your child to use as a mouthwash. In either of these applications, it is important that your child spits out the essential oil and does not swallow it. If your child is still too young to remember to spit all of their toothpaste or mouthwash, you should supervise them closely or skip the tea tree oil until they are a bit older. 

Another great use of tea tree oil is to reduce pain associated with cavities until you can see your dentist. To do this, wet the end of a cotton swab with water and add one drop of tea tree oil. Then, apply the swab directly to the hurting tooth and the gum below it. This should cause tingling or a slight numbness, but if your child complains of burning, have them rinse their mouth and apply a cooking oil, such as olive oil, to the area to help diffuse the remaining oil. 

Lavender 

Lavender is known to increase circulation, which can help keep your child’s gums strong. It can be used in toothpastes and rinses in the same amounts as you would use tea tree oil. However, in children you should use one or the other and avoid combining the two. Since lavender has a less bitter taste than tea tree oil, your child may prefer it. 

Another great use for lavender is to help your child relax before, during, and after dentist appointments. If your child is anxious about visiting the dentist, mix 5-10 drops of lavender in 2 cups of water and lightly spray a headband or handkerchief with the mixture. This type of aroma therapy has been shown to be effective in reducing general anxiety

Chamomile 

Chamomile oil is an antiseptic that has anti-inflammatory and calming properties. It can be used on a daily basis to promote healthy teeth and gums, or it can be used after dental procedures to reduce pain associated with inflammation. 

If your child is old enough to reliably spit their toothpaste out, you may want to get them started with oil pulling. This detoxifies your child and strengthens their teeth. While an adult may do oil pulling twice a day, a child will only need to do it a couple of times a week. If your child does oil pulling before bed, add 2-3 drops of roman chamomile to their oil to protect their gums and help get them ready for a good night of sleep. 

As a parent, you have many options regarding the oral health care of your child. If you want to start using essential oils, you should talk to your dentist to create a plan regarding the best oils for your particular child. 

To learn more about your child’s oral health, you can also visit http://www.drheimann.com.

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