Who said teeth had to be boring? Here are 10 interesting facts from our Hamilton dentists about teeth and dental care.
1. Even ancient populations understood the importance of oral hygiene.
Many ancient civilizations, including the Egyptians, understood that there was a link between oral hygiene and strong, healthy teeth.
While their practices differ from what we do today, ancient people tried many different methods to keep their teeth clean. Some would go so far as to chew tree bark or wooden sticks with frayed ends to clean their teeth. Ancient Egyptians brushed their teeth using a powder made from pulverized eggshells and ox hooves mixed with water.
2. The modern toothbrush was not developed until the 1700s.
A man in England named William Addis attached boar bristles to a bone handle to create the first mass-produced toothbrush. In the 1930s, brushes with nylon bristles and ergonomic handles were developed. While these products don't look anything like a modern toothbrushes, they were highly innovative at the time!
3. Not even the Tooth Fairy is immune to inflation.
Today, the Tooth Fairy needs a lot more silver than she did in 1900, when she left an average of twelve cents per tooth. In 1998, she left an average of one dollar. In 2013, the going rate for a tooth reached an average of $3.50. In 2018, it was not uncommon for kids to find a $5 bill under their pillows! How much do you get?
4. North Americans use around 3 million miles of dental floss every year.
But we're still not flossing enough! Only 30% of North Americans report flossing once a day.
5. The average human produces 25,000 quarts of spit in a lifetime.
That's enough drool to fill two swimming pools! Gross.
6. Teeth can tell us a lot about the past.
Enamel (the thin outer covering of your tooth), is the hardest substance in any mammal's body. This means, along with bones, teeth are often fossilized. The size, number, shape, and organization of the teeth are different in every species of mammal, making them very useful in the classification of organisms (taxonomy). Without teeth, the fossil record would be quite a lot harder to for us to understand.
7. The United States has the most cavities per person out of all the countries in the world.
On the other hand, in some countries (like China), people eat such small amounts of sugar that entire cities are completely cavity-free.
8. 'Long in the tooth' is a phrase meaning 'old'.
This expression originated with horses. As horses age, their gums recede, making it seem like their teeth are growing. The longer the teeth look, the older the horse.
9. Snails have teeth. Lots of them.
Snails and slugs eat with a jaw and a flexible band of thousands of microscopic teeth called a radula. The radula scrapes up food particles and the jaw cuts off larger pieces of food, like a leaf, for the snail to eat.
10. According to Louisiana law, if you bite someone with your natural teeth, it's assault, but if you bite them with dentures, it's aggravated assault.
This is because aggravated assault is an assault committed with a dangerous weapon (which dentures are if you're using them for biting people)!