Story of Our Teeth

 

We all know that teeth exist in our mouths as a way to chew and digest food. What may come as a bit more of a surprise is that our teeth don’t exist for the sole purpose of eating. Actually, it’s quite the contrary. They are, in fact, a vast window into everything from our personalities to our genetics. Teeth can reveal many characteristics about us from the type of diet we consume to whether or not we’re prone to anxiety and depression. Essentially, a person’s teeth are like a fingerprint of their soul; no two sets are exactly alike.

 

Teeth and Personality

You’ve probably heard the saying, “A Smile is Worth a Thousand Words.” But have you ever heard that a “Smile is Worth a Thousand Personality Traits?” While that exact saying may not sound familiar, the words themselves ring true. Your teeth can reveal everything about you from your dominant personality traits to your gender. Here are just a handful of the ways your pearly whites can help uncover what makes you, “you.”

  • Male vs. Female – Male incisors are longer and more square in shape, whereas female incisors are shorter and rounder.

 

  • Old vs. Young – Younger teeth tend to look more rectangular whereas older teeth will be more square. This is because the average human will lose between 1-5mm of their tooth length throughout their lifetime.

 

  • Passive vs. Aggressive – People with longer, sharper incisors tend to be more aggressive than those with rounder, shorter incisors.

 

  • Clenching and Grinding – Whenever there is evidence of clenching and grinding of teeth, there is a good chance that someone is suffering from anxiety, long-term stress, and/or depression. This can also be an indication of an aggressive personality.

 

  • Four Personality Types – First coined by Hippocrates around 460BC, the four original personality types were determined through the shape of the teeth.
    • TRIANGLE (at the top of the tooth, not the base) equals traits such as extroverted, communicative, and impulsive.
    • RECTANGLE represents passion, determination, and objectiveness.
    • OVAL represents someone who is artistic, organized, and reserved.
    • SQUARE shaped teeth tend to represent people who are diplomatic, spiritual, and discreet.

 

Teeth and Evolution

Similar to personality, our teeth can tell us a lot about the history of humans and how we’ve become the people we are today. For example, did you know that when we are young, carbon from the food we eat becomes part of our enamel, essentially providing a “window” into our diet? Scientists can use this carbon to determine the diets of ancient humans and animals which, in turn, helps us to better understand the evolution of our planet along with the people and creatures that inhabit it.

Another tool used by researchers to learn about our ancestors is the growth lines that are formed on enamel. Similar to the way a tree adds a ring for every year of its life, enamel typically adds a growth line every eight days, although it can sometimes be as fast as once a day depending on your stage in life. By researching growth lines in ancient humans, scientists can better understand how fast people developed throughout different periods in history and whether that growth is speeding up or slowing down in today’s modern society.

 

Teeth and Genetics

At this point, it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that genetics and teeth are also interrelated. Here are a few of the ways that genetics can affect your smile:

  • If your parents had crooked teeth when they were kids then the chances are higher that you will have similar issues as well.
  • Yellow teeth can also be partially caused by genetics. The thickness of your enamel, which hides the yellow inner layer of your tooth, is handed down from your parents. So if you’re born with less enamel, you will tend to have yellower teeth because the thinner enamel will show the tooth hiding behind it.
  • If your teeth came in early or late when you were a baby, then your children will most likely have a similar experience. Incidentally, boys tend to follow their father’s teeth pattern and girls follow their mother’s.
  • Your genetics can also help determine if you’re at higher risk for dental issues such as periodontitis, tooth decay, and oral cancer.

 

Teeth are a fascinating window into who we are and where we came from. They not only allow us to better understand our personalities, but they also educate us on where we came from and where we’re headed in the future.

 

-Julie Mastbrook

 

 

 

Works Cited

 “Are Oral Health Issues Genetic?” Are Oral Health Issues Genetic? – 5 Conditions That Can Run in the Family, June 2016, www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/are-oral-health-issues-genetic.html.

Craig, Jeffrey, et al. “Bad Teeth? Here’s When You Can and Can’t Blame Your Parents.” The Conversation, 27 June 2019, theconversation.com/bad-teeth-heres-when-you-can-and-cant-blame-your-parents-83887.

Guatelli-Steinburg, Debbie. “Your Teeth Are a Window to Your Evolutionary History, and Your Future.” The News Minute, The Ohio State University, 6 Mar. 2017, www.thenewsminute.com/article/your-teeth-are-window-your-evolutionary-history-and-your-future-58184.

“The History of Humanity in Your Face.” ScienceDaily, Arizona State University, 15 Apr. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190415113813.htm.

Sunstein, Dr. Robert. “What Do Your Teeth Say About Your Personality?” La Jolla Light, La Jolla Light, 18 July 2013, www.lajollalight.com/sdljl-what-do-your-teeth-say-about-your-personality-2013jul18-story.html.

“The Surprising Things Your Teeth Reveal About You.” Carrington College, Carrington College, 6 Dec. 2013, carrington.edu/blog/dental/surprising-things-teeth-reveal/.

 

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