There is evidence of dentistry being practiced as far back as 7000 BC; at that time, bow drills were used in the treatment of tooth decay. In ancient Greece tooth extraction was a common procedure used to treat a variety of different illnesses, and the professionals who treated dental problems were not doctors but barbers. It wasn’t until the years between 1650 and 1800 when modern dentistry got its start.
The history of dentistry is filled with odd and sometimes humorous happenings. Here are some of the most interesting facts about dentistry:
- Contrary to popular belief, President George Washington’s false teeth were not constructed of wood; his teeth were actually made from a combination of elephant tusks, human, cow and walrus teeth and gold.
- Experts recommend that you store your toothbrush at least six feet away from your toilet. Why? When you flush, fecal particles travel through the air and can land on a tooth brush up to six feet away. Using a toothbrush cap is not the best solution to this problem: the moist environment maintained by a toothbrush cover allows more bacteria to grow and multiply.
- A snail’s mouth is the size of the head of a pin and contains about 25,000 teeth.
- Tooth decay is the second most prevalent illness in the United States behind the common cold.
- Each person’s teeth are as unique as their fingerprints; even identical twins have a different dental “fingerprint”. Paul Revere is the first person known to have used dental forensics to identify a body.
- In 2012, the average amount left by the tooth fairy was $2 per tooth.
- The average man in the United States smiles 8 times a day; the average woman smiles 62 times per day.
- Giraffes only have bottom teeth.
Submitted by Peter Samuels, DDS