More Dental Facts


Recent studies indicate there may be a link between periodontal infections and respiratory infections resulting from the aspiration of bacteria from the oropharnyx into the lower respiratory tract.

Recent studies show a relationship between oral inflammatory process and cardiovascular disease, and in fact improving oral hygiene may result in a reduction of cardiovascular problems.

The incidence of human papilloma virus induced throat cancer has increased recently as a result of increased oral sexual behavior. The role of HPV vaccine in preventing throat cancer is being evaluated.

Periodontitis, gum disease may contribute to increased PSA levels in men with common protatitis as a result of the substances produced that exaggerate the pre existing inflammation.

In the Middle Ages toothaches were treated by forming a small reservoir of wax around the tooth and filling it with acid. This of course would kill the nerve and stop the pain. It is also interesting to note that about 15 years ago a “new” way to remove decay was introduced using acid to wash away the tooth structure. As you can imagine it did not become widely accepted.

The great Roman naturalist around 50AD recommended biting on a piece of a tree that had been struck by lightening to stop a toothache.

The ancient Chinese mixed garlic with horseradish and human milk and applied it to an aching tooth.

The ancient Chinese also made arsenic into pills and placed it near the offending tooth or in the opposite ear. After enough arsenic the toothache was probably the least of your problems.

In ancient China tooth pullers spent hours strengthening their fingers by pulling nails out of planks.

The first known dentist was in 3000BC the Egyptian Hesi-Re who used knives and forceps to extract teeth. He also specialized in drilling holes in the jawbone to relieve the pressure of infection.

Ancient Romans invented the idea of drilling into the tooth and filling it with a sedative dressing made with honey and the plant veratrum.

The first periodontist was the Arab surgeon Abul Kasim around 950 AD who concluded that calculus was the cause of periodontal disease and must be scaled off to event disease.

Tooth drawers (dentists) in the middle ages identified themselves by wearing pointed caps and necklaces made of teeth they had extracted.

St. Appolonia is the patron saint of toothaches and has been prayed to since 250 AD

In 800BC the ancient Etruscans designed and created bridges to replace teeth using extracted teeth and bands of soft pure gold tied to the other teeth.

In the Middle Ages whenever a large battle took place the dead were often stripped of their teeth to be used in making replacement dentures. Unfortunately the replacements often smelled horribly in a very short time.

In the 1700′s the need for teeth was so great that in France teeth nappers would watch for people with a good set and then “rob” them of their teeth.

Dr. Greenwood made four sets of dentures for George Washington. They were so uncomfortable that Washington’s lack of a smile in any portrait is attributed to his dental pain. They hurt so much that Washington would often adjust them himself.

Three thousand years ago dental aids, toothpicks were made of wooden sticks bronze, iron, silver, and gold.

During the Renaissance it was unconsidered manners to use a golden toothpick between courses at dinner to clean your teeth and loudly spit out the food dislodged.

South American Indians file their teeth into points mimicking the teeth of the feared Piranha fish that live in their rivers.

In ancient Mayan societies 300-900AD tourniquet and emerald inlays were placed into the front teeth as decorations for religious cer3emonies.

In ancient Japan women dyed their teeth black with tannin powder and ferrous acetate as a sign of marital status.

Knocking out teeth as a rite of passage or a sign of mourning is practiced in several tribes.

Early cray machines required up to twenty minutes to produce an image.

The first radiograph of a tooth was taken by physicist Waltert Konig in 1896 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Local anesthetics derived from cocaine were first used in 1858.

In 1890 Dr. Willoughby Miller discovered that acids produced from food by bacteria caused teeth to demineralize.

Horace Wells a dentist discovered the use of anesthetics in 1844 after experimenting on himself with nitrous-oxide gas.

Lucy Hobbs was the first woman to graduate from dental school in 1866.

The first dental school was the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery founded in 1840.

Dr. Josiah Flagg first invented the dental chair by adding a headrest and extended armrest for dental instruments to an ordinary chair in the early 1800′s.

Paul Revere took time out from his practice of dentistry to make his memorable ride to warn of the British invasion.

Pierre Fauchard is considered the father of modern scientific dentistry, having written the book Treatise on Teeth in 1723 separating dentistry from the untrained tooth drawers. The book was unusual because previously practitioners closely guarded their knowledge.

in 1937 Dr. Charles Pincus invented veneers fabricating temporary veneers that were used to correct the smiles of Hollywood stars whose teeth were less than perfect in close-up shots.

You can detect a smile from over 100 yards away.

Spike an Asian elephant in the Calgary Zoo is the proud owner of the largest dental caps in the world; 19 inches long, five inches wide and weighing over 19 lbs.

Anthropologists discovered prehistoric remains that show that people in Krapina Yugoslavia may have used animal tendons as floss because their teeth had evidence of symmetrical channels worn into the sides of their teeth.

The first toothbrush may have been in 4000BC in India made of a twig with frayed end fibers

A similar twig was found in the ancient pyramids of Egypt and is still available today see toothbrush blog.

The first toothpaste was made in Egypt from a combination of wine vinegar and pumice.

The earliest hygienists were probably Roman slaves who job was to clean their masters teeth in an effort to keep them white.

Xylitol, a five carbon sugar alcohol artificial sweetener when given to children between the ages of 6 and15 significantly reduced the number of cavities. Xylitol has been approved by the FDA since 1963 and is found in many sugar free gums and candies. If you have to have a sweet look for a candy containing xylitol.

A recent study discovered that drinking one or more soft drinks a day and it did not matter whether it was diet or regular resulted in a 30% greater chance of weight gain around the belly.

An oral piercing, tongue post is an open wound. Unlike an ear piercing the hole closes up almost immediately because it is moist tissue.

A recent study suggests that good oral hygiene may actually help aging adults to keep their thinking skills. Researchers at Columbia College of Physicians and Surgeons found that adults with the highest levels of gum disease causing bacteria were two times more likely to fail specific cognitive tests.

Individuals with tongue piercing are 18 times more likely to have gum recession.
10 % of New York teenagers have a tongue piercing. 20% of Israeli teenagers have a tongue piercing.

Infants who breast feed exclusively are less likely to develop thumb sucking habits which results in a lower chance of the need for braces to correct a malocclusion.

In ancient Greece donkey’s milk was used as a mouth wash. Later in the middle ages in Germany kissing a donkey was used to relieve tooth pain.

In the middle ages applying a piece of newly butchered hog intestine to the gum was used to treat gum pain.

The clove spice has been used through the ages to treat tooth pain. In fact oil of clove is still used in dentistry today in many of the sedative fillings. Unfortunately many of us remember the scene from Marathon man in which Dustin Hoffman applied oil of clove to the holes that had been drilled in his teeth to torture information out of him.

The ancient Hebrews applied a grain of salt to an aching tooth. In ancient Greece salt was used to cure ulcerated gums. Today we still advocate the use of warm salt water to help gums to heal.

In the middle ages touching a dead man’s tooth to your aching tooth was thought curative.

In 1792 B.C. the code of Hammurabi in ancient Babylon punished those who were responsible for the loss of another’s tooth: Law 200 – IF someone knocked out the tooth of an equal his own tooth is knocked out. Law 201 – If someone knocked out the tooth of an inferior he is fined a third of a minal of silver.

The ancient Chinese in 200 AD developed a silver paste for filling teeth that was similar to silver amalgams that did not appear in the west until 1000 years later.

A survey of 55,000 people found that people felt their smile is more important to their appearance than hair, clothes, eyes, facial features, and physique: 90 % ranked their smile as their most important attribute.

The results of a study published in the Journal of Fertility and Sterility suggest a possible association between endometriosis and periodontal disease. Although endometriosis may be the result of multiple factors it may also “be augmented by an immune response to an infectious agent” and the potential underlying link between the two diseases may be a generalized global immune dysfunction.

Looking to prevent oral cancer? How about a cup of Joe. A Japanese study has found that people who drink at least one cup pf coffee a day appear to lower the risk for oral cancer compared to people who don’t drink coffee (American Journal of Epidemiology). Researchers found that people who drank more than one cup of coffee per day appeared to have half the risk of developing these cancers compared to those who did not drink coffee at all.

Obese patients are at risk for periodontal disease compared to patients of normal weight. According to a recent study presented at the recent International Association for Dental Research. The study was unique because it was longitudinal and established that obesity preceded periodontal disease.

A mom’s oral health can affect a pregnancy and even a new born. Bacteria from a mother’s mouth can be transmitted through the blood and amniotic fluid in the womb to her unborn child, resulting in premature delivery, low birth weight, premature onset of contractions, or infection of the newborn child. According to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology in England. A simple improvement in oral hygiene may help to reduce the incidence of complications in pregnancy and newborns.

Gum disease as an indicator of cardiovascular disease risk: Individuals reporting a history of periodontal disease were more likely to have increased levels of inflammation, a risk factor for heart disease. The study suggests that the dentist and oral health exam may be latest weapon in identifying persons at risk of cardiovascular disease.

Periodontal disease linked to metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risk factors for heart disease, stroke and diabetes- including high blood pressure abdominal obesity, high blood sugar, low levels of good HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides. It is unclear how gum disease and heart disease might be related but they have found treating severe periodontal disease resulted in better blood vessel function six months later.

According to American Dental Association nearly 10 % or 21 million of the U.S. population has diabetes which means U. S. dentists can expect to have more than 120 diabetic patient’s visits per year. Some 5% of diabetic patients are TYPE 1 while the other 95% are type 2 the form that develops in adulthood and is linked to excess weight and sedentary lifestyle.. Dental disease and the associated inflammation is an early warning sign of diabetes and its complications. In addition diabetics with periodontal disease have a harder time controlling blood sugar levels.

Prescription medications cause most dry mouth complaints: More than 400 prescriptions medications and non prescriptions are associated with xerostomia (dry mouth). Antidepressants painkillers, diuretics, antihistamines, tranquilizers and anti hypertensives can all contribute to dry mouth. 67% of dentists consider dry mouth a very serious condition as it relates to the promotion of tooth decay.

Study finds red headed patients more fearful: U.S. researchers reported in July 2009 Journal of the American Dental Association that red heads are more likely to fear dentists.

Link found between obesity and oral bacteria. A scientific team from Forsyth Institute discovered a link between oral bacteria and obesity. They demonstrated that the bacteria composition of overweight women differs from non overweight women. 98 % of overweight women could be identified by the presence of a single bacteria Selenomonas noxia at levels greater than 1.05 %s.

Sour Candies. Researcher in the Journal of American Dental Association studied jolly ranchers, Mike and Ikes and Life savers and found that sour versions of the candies were more acidic, and more erosive to teeth than their original flavor counterparts.

Periodontitis is a risk factor for head and neck cancer. Chronic periodontitis is an independent marker for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma according to a study in the Journal of Cancer Epidemiology, Bio markers and Prevention. The findings showed that chronic periodontitis might represent a clinical high risk profile for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. The strength of the correlation is greatest in the oral cavity. They found the correlation persisted even in patients who never used tobacco.

A New Zealand study found that heavy marijuana use was linked to periodontal disease in young people. The exact mechanism is unknown but probably involves interference with immune function, inflammatory response and peripheral blood flow.

Want to improve your performance and reduce concussions? A mouth guard may be the answer. Recent studies suggest that mouth guards not only protect athlete’s teeth but help to improve performance and prevent concussions. A study published in Journal of Dental Research showed that rats given a stick to bite on when stressed produced less cortisol a hormone that increases muscle breakdown and inhibits repair. Some mouth guard manufacturers claim their mouth guards increase endurance by as much as 17% and reduce lactic acid by 25%.

Good oral hygiene may guard against cardiovascular disease. A recent study of Swedish twins showed a link between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease and that oral disease was associated with increased cardiovascular disease independent of genetic factors

Another study links periodontitis to rheumatoid arthritis. .Researchers found that the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis was twice as great in patients with moderate to severe periodontitis compared to patients with no to mild periodontitis.

Genetic link between peridontitis and heart attacks. Scientists of The European Society of Human Genetics have discovered a genetic link between periodontitis and coronary heart disease. A specific genetic variant situated on chromosome 9 is shared by both diseases.

Menopause creates additional oral health risks. Research has shown that women are at greater risk for oral health problems specifically periodontitis and bone loss compared to men as a result of hormonal changes. Estrogen deficiency can lead to bone loss in the presence of plaque and ultimately peridontitis. Given that bacterial plaque is necessary for the destruction, post menopausal women should be encouraged to maintain good oral hygiene

According to researchers at the University of Oklahoma mouth guards may protect an athlete’s teeth but harbor bacteria and fungus. They recommend sanitizing mouth guards between uses and disposing of them every two weeks

Dental researchers in India have found that aloe Vera gel is as effective as toothpaste in controlling cavity causing bacteria.

According to the Herald Sun. Everybody needs milk Does a body Good.

How much is the Tooth Fairy paying per tooth? Around $2 per tooth, according to Securian Dental Plans, an insurance provider. (12/05, Money Magazine)

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

38.5 = the total days an average American spends brushing teeth over a lifetime.

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

Every year, kids in North America spend close to half a billion dollars on chewing gum.

Like fingerprints, everyone’s tongue print is different.

The average woman smiles about 62 times a day! A man? Only 8!

1882. The year commercial dental floss was first manufactured.

People who drink 3 or more sugary sodas daily have 62% more dental decay, fillings and tooth loss.

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.

Dental researchers in India have found that aloe Vera gel is as effective as toothpaste in controlling cavity causing bacteria.