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Our office number: +36-20-427-7166

Ireland Toll Free (From landline only): +353-1-800-817-333

UK Toll Free: +44-0-808-258-0095

7 Strange Facts About Teeth – Interesting Stories You May Not Know

Mar 6th, 2017

Teeth with gold and precious stones date back to ancient times

The Mayans already had a very exceptional understanding of teeth. They would have their dentists use a primitive drill to decorate their teeth. Sometimes they had parts of the tooth cut out or shaped to make it look more attractive. However, their most bizarre modification was the bejewelling of teeth. Not only the Mayans but also people in ancient Egypt applied jewellery on their teeth. Mummies have been found with fillings consisted of semi-precious stones such as resin and malachite and gold wire was used to bind together loose teeth. 


The Chinese invented the first toothbrush

In China, during the Tang Dynasty (619–907) the first toothbrush resembling the modern one with bristles was made, using hair from hogs, horses, and badgers. The bristles were sourced from hogs living in Siberia and northern China because the colder temperatures provided firmer bristles. They were attached to a handle manufactured from bamboo or bone, forming a toothbrush. The first official commercial toothbrush was manufactured in 1938.


Blacksmiths and barbers served as the first ’dentists’

In the early 1800’s there wasn’t even such a thing as a dental profession. Because dentists didn’t exist yet, the job fell to those who had the appropriate tools. For this reason, barbers and blacksmiths conducted the majority of dental job. As time went on and the dental profession began, actual dentists became annoyed by barbers and others who continued to practice without proper education and training. Now full licensing requirements can guarantee that you no longer have to visit the village blacksmith to get your tooth pulled.


The ancient Romans had better teeth than today’s people

Ancient Etruscans and the Romans also practiced orthodontia. For instance a gold band was found that was used on Etruscan women to preserve the position of the teeth after death, and the Ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates, wrote the first known description of tooth irregularities around 400 B.C. Scientists used CAT scans to examine the remains of 30 men, women and children who were killed in Pompeii when the city was flooded by ash and pumice from Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. “The inhabitants of Pompeii ate plenty of fruit and vegetables but very little sugar,” revealed Elisa Vanacore, a dental expert in a Telegraph article. “They ate better than we did and have really good teeth.”


Queen Elizabeth I’s discoloured teeth

Queen Elizabeth I’s teeth were obviously discoloured.  Elizabeth I had teeth that were black with decay and many of them had fallen out, in addition foreign ambassadors and visitors found her speech difficult to understand. Paul Henter, a German traveller, wondered that the discoloration was due to the Queen’s obsession for sugar, making the first recorded association between sugar and tooth decay.  The poor queen was so frightened of seeing a dentist that a bishop had one of his own teeth pulled to prove that the pain was bearable. 


Even George Washington had dentures

George Washington suffered from poor dental health throughout his adulthood; beginning in his twenties he experienced regular toothaches, decay, and many other problems. Contrary to American legend the first American President never had wooden teeth. His dentures were made from gold, hippopotamus tusk, human teeth and elephant ivory.


Diamonds are forever for Mick Jagger

Rock legend Mick Jagger used to have an emerald chip put in the middle of his upper right incisor, but people thought it was some green leaves or spinach caught in his teeth. So, he decided to change the emerald to a ruby until he got fed up with people thinking it was a drop of blood. Finally he committed himself to a diamond.

You can watch a short video here about Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones answering the question "What ever happened to the diamond in your tooth?"


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