Today, our Belleville dentists share 10 fun facts about teeth and dental care that you can share with your kids to get them excited about oral hygiene.
1. Even ancient populations understood the importance of oral hygiene.
While ancient oral hygiene methods and practices seem rudimentary compared to those we use today, people back then had definitely figured out that there is a connection between oral hygiene and strong, healthy teeth.
While there were no toothbrushes, there is evidence that people would chew tree bark or use 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.
The first toothbrush that had bristles similar to what we use today was invented somewhere between 619-907 AD. The bristles were made of coarse hairs taken from the back of a hog’s neck and attached to handles made of bone or bamboo.
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. Talk about an increase!
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.
Teeth are the hardest part of any mammal, which means they are the part most 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, fossil records would be a lot harder for us to understand.
7. The United States has the most cavities per person out of all the countries in the world.
In teenagers from 12 - 19, more than half (57%) have had a cavity in their permanent teeth. After the age of 20, this number skyrockets to 90% of people reporting at least one cavity.
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 - or rasps - food particles and then the jaw cuts off larger pieces of food, like a leaf, to be further broken down by the radula.
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 assault is committed with your person while aggravated assault is committed with a dangerous weapon (which dentures are if you're using them for biting people)!