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When thinking about all things dental related, there are many things we may not be aware of. Listed below is an accumulation of strange and interesting facts about teeth, smiles, and dental history.

-Among the first known dentists in the world were the Etruscans. In 700 BC they carved false teeth from the teeth of various mammals, and produced partial bridge work good enough to eat with.

-The first braces were constructed by Pierre Fauchard in 1728 in France . These braces consisted of a flat strip of metal connected to the teeth by pieces of thread.

50’s heart throb James Dean had no front teeth! He wore a bridge.

-Movie star, Cary Grant was born without two of his front teeth, he had no lateral incisors.

-Model, Lauren Hutton, made the “gap” between front teeth, fashionable.

-Tom Cruise corrected his smile with braces at age 39.

-Tongue piercing did not become popular until after the movie, Pulp Fiction.

-The insertion of gems into teeth has long predated hip hop culture, with rich Mayans drilling pieces of jade into their teeth.

-Grills first became popular with hip hop artists in the 1980’s

-The first successful dental implants were done on dogs.

-The first human titanium implants were placed by Branemark in Sweden in 1965.

-Over 1.7 billion dollars is spent annually on tooth whitening products.

-Ancient Romans used urine and goats milk to whiten their teeth.

-The average human produces 25,000 quarts of saliva in a lifetime. That is enough to fill 2 swimming pools!

– A sore jaw, when combined with chest pain, can signal a heart attack-especially in women

-More people use blue toothbrushes vs red ones.

-You are should not keep your toothbrush near a toilet. The airborne particles from the flush can travel up to a distance of 6 feet. Yuck!

-People who drink 3 or more glasses of soda each day have 62% more tooth decay, fillings and tooth loss than others. Put down the pop and sports drinks and pick up some nice fresh water instead.

-80% of people are not happy with their smile.

-In 1994, a prison inmate in West Virginia braided dental floss into a rope, scaled the wall and escaped.
If you don’t floss you are missing  35% of your teeth’s surfaces.

-You should replace your toothbrush at least every three months, and always after you have an episode of flu, cold or other viral infections. Notorious bacteria can implant themselves on the toothbrush bristles leading to re-infection.

-Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. However, we do not recommend that you use your pearly whites to open bottle caps.

-A recent poll has shown that health professionals (physicians, dentists and nurses) were among the most trusted people in The United States. The least trusted? Lobbyists and congressmen of course!

-According to a recent survey done by Time Magazine, 59% of Americans would rather have a dental appointment than be sitting next to someone talking on a cell phone. Maybe some of us should take a hint!

-According to the Academy of General dentistry, the average person only brushes for 45 to 70 seconds a day, the recommended amount of time is 2-3 minutes.

– 3 out of 4 people in the United States suffer from some form of gum disease. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in people over age 35. The good news is, in most cases gum disease can be prevented or controlled!

-Children smile about 400 times a day.

-Women smile about 62 times a day compared to men who smile eight times a day on average.

-Each person’s set of teeth is unique much like their fingerprints. Even identical twins do not have exactly the same set of teeth. Forensic Dentistry is an integral part of most CSI departments.

-Did you know that your tongue print is also unique?

-Does the hand you write with affect your teeth? It can. Right-handed people, tend to chew food on their right side, while left-handed people tend to chew on their left side.

-50% of people say the smile is the first thing they notice about other people.

-William F. Semple, a dentist from Mount Vernon , OH . was issued the first patent in 1869 for chewing gum.

-Aztec dentists would mix iron fillings, water and navel lint bake and insert it in the cavities to seal it.

-The commonly used practice of putting a cap on toothbrush is actually more detrimental.The moisture entrapped in the cap favors bacterial growth.

-The first toothbrush with bristles was manufactured in China in 1498. Bristles from hogs, horses and badgers were used.

-The first commercial toothbrush was made in 1938.

-You are supposed to replace your toothbrush after you have an episode of flu, cold or other viral infections. Notorious microbes can implant themselves on the toothbrush bristles leading to re-infection.

-New born babies do not have tooth decay bacteria. Often, the bacteria are transmitted from mother to baby when she kisses the child or blows in hot food/drink before feeding the baby.

-Guess who worked as a silversmith, a copper plate engraver, a dentist, and still found time to warn the countryside when the Brits were coming? Paul Revere

-American’s best-known author of western novels, Zane Gray, was a dentist before becoming a writer

-There is a name for the soreness that results when you burn your mouth on melted mozzarella- it’s “pizza palate”.

-What famous artist depicted his stone-faced dentist as a farmer in “American Gothic”? Grant Wood

-83% of people believe their teeth are more important to their appearance than hair and eyes.

-How many athletes avoid dental tragedy each year by covering their pearly whites with mouth guards? 200,000

-Certain cheeses, including aged cheddar, Swiss and Monterey Jack, have been found to protect teeth from decay and help remineralize enamel.

-There are approximately 150,00o licensed dentists in the United States.

-Which Michigan city was the first in the United States to protect its citizens’ teeth by fluoridating the water? Grand Rapids

-Athletes are 60 times more likely to damage their teeth when not wearing a mouth guard during athletic activities

-Long ago, people used to ground up chalk or charcoal, lemon juice, ashes or even a mixture of tobacco and honey to clean their teeth. It was only about 100 years ago that someone finally created a minty cream to clean their teeth and it came to be known as Toothpaste.

-Research says that people with periodontal disease (Gum disease) are at higher risk for developing heart disease, stroke, uncontrolled diabetes, pre-term births and respiratory disease.

-People with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease as those without disease.

-Top of the American teeth stakes in the poll for greatest looking teeth were Hollywood actors Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts.

-How much is the Tooth Fairy paying per tooth? Around $2 per tooth. (12/05, Money Magazine)

-32% of Americans cite bad breath as the least attractive trait of their co-workers.

-38.5 total days an average American spends brushing teeth over lifetime.

-73% of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss.

-A toothpick is the object most often choked on by Americans.

-Tooth decay remains the most common chronic disease among children ages 5-17 with 59% affected.

-Employed adults lose more than 164 million hours of work each year due to oral health problems or dental visits.

-At  birth the only fully developed organ is the tongue.  It is needed for sucking.

-Royal smile -there is someone whose job includes squeezing Prince Charles’s toothpaste onto the royal toothbrush. That someone is Michael Fawcett, the prince’s personal valet. Since Fawcett is, according to various news reports, the only person Charles trusts with this awesome responsibility, one must presume that the heir to the throne’s dental hygiene declines precipitously whenever the valet goes on vacation.

-50% of Americans do not receive regular oral health care

-In children under age 16, regular brushing with fluoridated toothpaste results in 24 percent fewer cavities than does brushing with non-fluoridated toothpaste.

-People with red hair are more sensitive to pain and consequently need more anesthetic during operations than other patients. Those with red hair needed 20 per cent more anesthetic to numb the pain, according to New Scientist. They also wear through anesthesia more quickly.

-American sweet tooth… Did you know…Americans spent $21 billion on candy in 2001. That is more than the gross national products of Lituania, Costa Rica and Mozambique combined.

-Dentistry is affordable:

Dentistry:  $50 Billion
Pet food:  $50 Billion
Hair care:  $100 Billion
Gambling (legal):  $300 Billion

-More than 300 types of bacteria make up dental plaque.

-The total number of orthodontic patients has doubled since 1971 and today 15 to 20 percent of patients wearing braces are between the ages of 20 and 60.

-Teeth in a growing fetus begin to develop only six weeks after conception

-Among the first known dentists in the world were the Etruscans. In 700 BC they carved false teeth from the teeth of various mammals, and produced partial bridge work good enough to eat with.

-The first braces were constructed by Pierre Fauchard in 1728 in France . These braces consisted of a flat strip of metal connected to the teeth by pieces of thread.

-In Vermont , it is illegal for women to wear false teeth without the written permission of their husband!

-100 years ago 50% of adults in North America were toothless.

-Today less than 10% of adults over age 65 have lost teeth.

-Over three million miles of dental floss is purchased in North America each year

-Tooth Decay is the 2nd most common disease in the U.S. after the common cold.

-Today’s tooth fairy needs a lot more silver than she did in 1900 when she left an average of twelve cents. In 1998, the tooth fairy left an average of one dollar.

-The Blue Whale is the largest mammal on earth, but it eats only tiny shrimp because it has no teeth!

-The snail’s mouth is no larger than the head of a pin, but it can have over 25,000 teeth!

-In 1866 Lucy Beaman Hobbs became the first licensed female dentist.

-George Washington never had wooden teeth. His dentures were made from Gold, hippopotamus tusk, elephant ivory and human teeth.

-Energy drinks have 11% more sugar than regular soda.

-Smokers are three times more likely than non-smokers to lose all of their teeth.

-A tooth that has been knocked out starts to die within 15 minutes, but if you put it in milk or hold it in your mouth it will survive longer.

-A sneeze zooms out of your mouth at over 600 mph.

Bad breath is an issue that affects all of us. Bad breath can be caused by the various foods we eat or poor oral hygiene. Whatever the cause is everyone wants to know how to keep it away. Everyone should begin with a proper oral hygiene regimen which includes brushing, flossing, rinsing, tongue cleansing and regular visits to the dentist. Even with proper dental hygiene you still may develop bad breath from time based on what you ingest.

Top 5 Foods To Keep Bad Breath Away

1. Chew Fresh Herbs. Parsley has long been known to mask bad breath. But did you know other fresh herbs can also mask bad breath. Coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, fennel, rosemary and cardamom are all excellent at fighting bad breath.  You can choose to chew on fresh herbs or place the fresh herbs in hot water (as a tea). These fresh herbs will go a long way to hiding that garlic you had at lunch.

2. Active Cultures.  Active cultures as in yogurts. Recent studies found that a serving of yogurt every day can reduce the level of odor causing hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. The active cultures in yogurt also cuts back on bacteria in the mouth. Accumulation of plaque and development of periodontal disease were reduced in the study’s yogurt eaters as well. Another plus is that the American Diabietic Association has found that ingesting the recommended dosage of vitamin D (also found in yogurt) creates an environment that is inhospitable to bacterial growth. If you choose to eat yogurt avoid the high sugar varieties. Greek yogurt actually has the benefit of higher protein than regular yogurt, and is great for people who are sensitive to cows milk, as it is generally made from goats milk.

3. Foods with Crunch. These include apples, carrots, and celery. This basically includes any fiber-rich fruit or vegetable.The crunchy foods will help reduce the build up of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. These crunchy foods will also increase saliva production which will keep the mouth moist and constantly rinse out food debris that can cause bad breath. So a great snack following a meal is a nice juicy apple to cleanse the mouth.

4. Mask the bad breath. Sugarless gum should not be considered a replacement for brushing your teeth after a meal, but is a good habit if you can’t brush after a meal. Unfortunately we are not always able to brush after every meal. But in a pinch chewing sugarless gum can freshen breath (masking odors) and is another way to increase saliva production to rinse away plaque and bacteria. Mints can mask bad breath as well, but only briefly. Remember to always choose sugarless when you can. Be sure to thoroughly read the label, mints such as tic tacs are almost entirely sugar , yet they label the sugar content as zero!!! The sugar content is based upon weight, and one tic tac, (although almost entirely sugar) weighs less than the amount that needs to be labeled. Look for the asterisk (*), and read the bottom label to see what it means.

5. Vitamin C rich foods. Eating berries, citrus fruits, melons and other vitamin C  rich foods create an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. A diet rich in vitamin C is also is important for preventing periodontal disease and gingivitis,(major causes of bad breath).

Bonus Bad Breath Tip

Avoid white sugars. Sugars allow for bacterial growth in the body and especially the mouth. Sugary beverages (soda, gatorade, juice, redbull), dry your mouth out, and a dry mouth is a haven for bacteria. Water is always the best option, tea is great too, especially green tea, but don’t add sugar. If you do drink sugary beverages follow them with plenty of water to rinse your mouth and neutralize the acids.

Bottom Line to Ward off Bad Breath

So after a meal, when you are unable to brush, think of the list above to keep your bad breath at bay. You do not have to live with bad breath. In most cases, bad breath is easily taken away with proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist.