Fun Dental Facts
- The award for the most dedicated dentist must go to Brother Giovanni Batista Orsenigo from Rome, a monk who was also a dentist. He kept all the teeth he extracted over the 40 years that he was working. In 1903 the number was counted and found to be 2,000,744 teeth, an average of nearly 200 extractions per day!
- Toothbrushes with nylon bristles were first developed in 1938. However toothbrushes made from other materials existed long before that. In China, for example, bristle toothbrushes existed as long ago as the 15th century. Materials first used included bristles from hogs, horses and badgers.
- Whitening products for teeth date back to the Middle Ages. But the ancient procedures, in which the teeth would be filed down and bathed in nitric acid, quickly led to extensive tooth decay!
- The first toothpaste was created by the Ancient Egyptians, and contained powdered oxen hooves, myrrh, pumice and burned eggshells.
- Elizabeth I had to have all her teeth removed, apparently because of her love of sweets. Once they were removed, she refused to appear in public without padding out her mouth with wads of cotton to maintain a more normal, younger-looking, face shape
- If you are right-handed you tend to chew on the right-hand side of your mouth. If you are left-handed you tend to chew on the left-hand side of your mouth.
- Some scientists believe that humans were using toothpicks 1.8 million years ago. Curved grooves found on many ancient teeth are said to indicate that they used grass stalks to clean between their teeth.
- Everyone’s set of teeth are unique to them, just as fingerprints are. Even identical twins can be told apart from their teeth.
- Snails can have around 25,000 teeth – and they are found on their tongue! By comparison, a human has 32, a dog has 42 and a cat has 30.
- The average woman smiles 62 times a day. Men only manage 8 smiles a day.
- The first commercial on British TV, in September 1955, was for a toothpaste.
- A Chinese dentist has built an 8’4” tower of 28,000 human teeth to try and raise awareness about dental hygiene.
- In 1994, a prisoner in West Virginia, USA, plaited dental floss to make a rope and escape.
- Kissing a donkey was supposed to be a great way of relieving toothache, according to “experts” in Germany in the Middle Ages.
- Only your lower jaw moves when you chew – your upper jaw stays still. Try it for yourself!
- In ancient Greece, donkeys’ milk was used as a mouthwash – it was believed to strengthen the gums and teeth.
- An elephant’s back teeth (molars) weigh between eight and ten pounds each, and measure about 30cm (one foot) across – equivalent to more than 500 human teeth.
- It’s no wonder sharks are so widely feared – at any one time, they can have up to 300 teeth! The teeth are arranged in about five rows. When one is damaged or lost, all the teeth behind it move forwards a row, filling the gap at the front. A new tooth then grows in the back row, so the shark is never left toothless.