Today we want to take a break from our usual format and share some amazing dental trivia and dental facts you have probably never come across. Maybe you can use these items to remind yourself about the importance of great oral health — or maybe you can use these facts to rule a game of pub trivia or Trivial Pursuit.
Either way, let’s have some fun today.
1. A man once used dental floss to escape from jail. When you hear us dentists talking about the importance of floss, this isn’t what we have in mind. An inmate in West Virginia once escaped by braiding together dental floss and using it to scale a nearly 20-foot wall. This happened in the 1990s, and early reports claimed that the dental floss rope was as thick as a telephone line. This brings new light to the importance of dental floss. It’s probably best for you to stick with using floss in the recommended way — to improve the health of your teeth and gums.
2. Sharks don’t get cavities. No, sharks don’t swim around with toothbrushes or floss; it turns out they are biologically lucky. You probably already know that sharks have about 15 rows of teeth on each jaw. They lose teeth throughout their lives, but they do not get tooth decay. Researchers have found that sharks do not get tooth decay because the outer layer of their teeth are coated in fluoride, which drastically decreases the risk of tooth decay. Most dental offices use fluoride, especially on children to prevent tooth decay, and now we have a good example in the animal kingdom to show us how much fluoride can preserve your teeth.
3. You can’t see 35 percent of your tooth. Here’s another piece of information that relates to dental floss. While a majority of your tooth — the crown — is above the gum, a substantial portion of the tooth — the root — lies beneath the gums. Of course, this means that without flossing, you cannot effectively clean your teeth. Floss helps you remove food debris from between your teeth and any bacteria that has gotten wedged below the gums. You wouldn’t clean just 65 percent of your body in the shower, so try cleaning 100 percent of your tooth.
4. Dentists rarely use novocain today. It’s common for patients to assume that the numbing injection they receive before restorative dental treatment is novocain. That’s hardly ever the case. Novocain was one of the earliest forms of dental sedation — the first was cocaine. While cocaine was taken out of use because of its addictive properties, novocain use dwindled off because of frequent allergic reactions. Today we dentists like to use a safer form of local anesthesia.
5. The first toothbrushes with bristles came from China. Archaeologists believe that the earliest civilizations used tree twigs to clean teeth. What we know as the toothbrush today came from China before the 1500s. These toothbrushes had bristles made from badgers, hogs, or horses. In 1938, we saw the first commercial toothbrush, which was made from nylon bristles. We still use a similar design today.
We hope these dental facts piqued your interest. We love reviewing dental history and finding new ways to show you the importance of dental care to our readers. If you haven’t settled on a Winnipeg dentist for your care, visit one of our locations. You can contact us to schedule an appointment.