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  • Lacy Walker

Fun Facts

By Lacy Walker, RDH, BS, CDA, FAAOSH

Dentistry is an interesting and fascinating field, and there are plenty of fun facts to learn about it! For your entertainment, please enjoy reading these fun dental related facts!



Smiles

Smiling is a powerful and universal gesture that can instantly lift our mood. It is also contagious, and when we see someone else smiling, it can often make us feel happier too. But how exactly does this work? Scientists believe that smiling triggers the release of neurochemicals in our brains, such as dopamine and serotonin, which make us feel good.

Children flash their joyful grins 400 times daily. (1)

Women smile about 62 times daily, while the men trail behind with eight daily smirks. (1)


Lips

The lips play an important role in facial aesthetics, and many people are concerned with the health and appearance of their lips because they can be prone to various conditions.

The study of lip prints is known as cheiloscopy and may be utilized for forensic identification.

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the lip forms between the fourth and seventh weeks of pregnancy. (2)


Brushing

The first toothbrushes were tree twigs, and chewing on the tips of the twigs would spread out the fibers assisting in teeth cleansing.

At the end of World War II, people began discussing daily toothbrushing habits as an integral part of public health. (1)

The U.S. started producing electric toothbrushes in 1960. (1)

The average American commits 38.5 days brushing their teeth in a lifetime. (3)


Toothpaste

Our ancestors crafted their toothpaste from peculiar yet fascinating ingredients like pulverized oyster shells, ox hoof powder, ground bones, and eggshells. (4)

Americans buy more than 14 million gallons of toothpaste every year. (5)


Floss

Neglecting to floss leaves 40% of your teeth's surface untouched and unclean. (3)

The cotton candy making machine that made widely consumed cotton candy possible was co-invented by a dentist. Before it was cotton candy, the fluffy confection was called "fairy floss." (5)


Oral Bacteria

The oral cavity has the second largest and most diverse microbiota after the gut harboring over 700 species of bacteria. (6)


Teeth

Teeth clenching produces 250+ pounds of force and enamel is the hardest structure in the human body. (7)

In 1816, one of Sir Isaac Newton’s teeth was sold in London for €730. This would amount to over $30,000 by today’s standards. It was set in a ring, and in 2002 the Guinness Book of World Records classified it as the most valuable tooth. (8)


Saliva

Your salivary glands produce saliva to lubricate your mouth, help you swallow, aid in digestion, and help protect your teeth against harmful bacteria.

Your salivary glands will produce over 23,000 liters of saliva during the average lifetime. (9)


Tongue

The lifespan of a taste bud is about ten days. (10) The five known tastes detected by taste buds are bitter, sour, salty, sweet, and umami. (11)


Dental Plaque

It is the fuzzy sweater on your teeth from brushing incorrectly and not brushing daily. Everyone has plaque, even if you don’t see it. If not removed daily, the plaque calcifies, turning into calculus (tartar).

For many, a smile is one of the first things people notice, and keeping your mouth healthy is important. I hope you enjoyed and appreciate this partial list of interesting facts about the history and evolution of dentistry!



References


1. Women smile more than men, but differences disappear when they are in. (2021,

November 18). YaleNews. https://news.yale.edu/2003/03/18/women-smile-more-men-

differences-disappear-when-they-are-same-role-yale-researcher-finds

2. Facts about Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate | CDC. (2020, December 28). Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/cleftlip.html

3. Blog | Fun Facts about Dental Health | SelectHealth. (2019, January 3).

SelectHealth.org. https://selecthealth.org/blog/2019/05/fun-facts-about-dental-health

4. Oral Health Month – Dental Facts! | Faculty of Dentistry.

(n.d.). https://www.dentistry.ubc.ca/ohm-dental-facts/

5. Fun Dental Facts | Imagine Smiles. (n.d.). Imagine Smiles. https://www.imagine-

smiles.com/fun-dental-facts.html

6. Deo, P. N., & Deshmukh, R. (2019). Oral microbiome: Unveiling the fundamentals. Journal

of Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology : JOMFP, 23(1), 122-128.

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31110428/

7. Bruxism (Teeth Grinding). (2023). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/10955-

teeth-grinding-bruxism

8. Defend. Interesting facts. (2019). https://www.defend.com/13-interesting-dental-facts/

9. Cleveland Clinic. Salivary Glands. (2023). https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/body/23462-salivary-glands

10. Hamamichi, R., Asano-Miyoshi, M., & Emori, Y. (2006). Taste bud contains both short-lived and long-lived cell populations. Neuroscience, 141(4), 2129–2138. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2006.05.061

11. Roper, S. D., & Chaudhari, N. (2017). Taste buds: Cells, signals and synapses. Nature reviews. Neuroscience, 18(8), 485. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn.2017.68


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