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Weird and Amazing Historical Dental Facts for Kids | Overland Park Family Dentist

Raise your hand if you like going to the dentist! Okay, while we here at Watts Family Dental try to make trips to our office as pleasant as possible, we know that most kids would rather avoid any more trips to the dentist than are necessary. But the next time you’re brushing your teeth or coming in to see your Overland Park dentist, just think about some of these weird facts from dental history and maybe brushing, flossing, and sitting in the dentist’s chair won’t seem so bad…

  • In prehistoric times, kids probably didn’t have as many cavities or as much tooth decay as kids today do because they didn’t have nearly as much sugar in their diets. While that first part might sound pretty good, you’d probably get tired of eating barbecued pterodactyl for three meals a day. (Actually, prehistoric kids didn’t coexist with pterodactyls, and what they ate might have been even less)
  • The ancient Egyptians used a form of toothpaste more than 5000 years ago. But if you think that your toothpaste tastes bad, some early versions of toothpaste were made out of crushed eggshells, ashes, and animal hooves. Doesn’t sound very tasty, does it?
  • The first toothbrush with bristles was probably invented in China in 1498. Before that, people chewed sticks or pieces of tree bark to clean their teeth. The bristles on that first toothbrush were actually the stiff hairs from the back of a boar’s neck.
  • 1938 saw the invention of the first modern toothbrush with nylon bristles. Earlier toothbrushes used bristles made from horse hair or coarse fur from badgers. Just imagine… badger breath!
  • Over the years, people have tried a lot of different remedies for toothaches. A few of the more unusual (and less pleasant-sounding) ones include: Tying a frog to your jaw. Rinsing with a mouthwash made by boiling a dog’s teeth in wine. And boiling earthworms in oil and then putting drops of the oil into your ear. (Who even thought of that one? Earthworms don’t have teeth, and what do your ears have to do with anything?)

Lucky for us, these days we don’t have to rely on boar bristles or boiled earthworm in order to take good care of our teeth. In fact, dental issues like cavities are a lot less common than they were even a few years ago. (Just a hundred years ago, 50% of adults in America were toothless! Today, less than 10% have lost their teeth.)

Thanks to advances in dental care and toothbrushes that are a whole lot better than chewing sticks, kids as young as two years old can brush their teeth with a little adult supervision. So instead of tying a frog to your face, just be sure to brush and floss your teeth every day and make regular visits to your Overland Park dentist and you’ll have a happy, healthy smile that lasts your whole life! And if you need to schedule your next dental appointment, you can call Watts Family Dental at (913) 338-3384 today!

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