Whether you’re long in the tooth and wear them, or poor dental hygiene or an accident caused you to lose your natural teeth and wear dentures, they are not really a laughing matter, though many people poke fun at artificial teeth. Some folks are blessed to get dentures that fit perfectly, while others resort to leaving their teeth in a glass, taking them out only to eat meals.
Dentures are funny only when they are a wind-up pair of choppers that hop on plastic feet until they wind down. When we were kids, we delighted in those waxy, fang-like dentures that we stuck over our natural teeth, and when we tired of that gag, we chewed them up, their sticky red substance glomming all over our lips – ahh, youth.
We know there are many ways that people describe dentures, among them: choppers, store-bought teeth, china clippers, falsies, china chompers, box teeth, chain-store teeth and take-out teeth. Some people even refer to the place where they clean and soak their dentures as a chopper-hopper. Most people who wear dentures just grin and bear it – that is some 20 million people in the USA that wear dentures by the way.
Dentures or partial plates have been around for a while, in fact…
- In Egypt, mummies have been found with fillings comprised of resin and malachite, and gold wire was used to bind together loose teeth.
- The Romans, way back in 200 AD were savvy about innovative ways to create a nice smile and chow down on their food. They restored cavity-riddled teeth with gold crowns, and fashioned fixed bridgework to correct gaps where teeth were missing. They also decided that using toothpaste would alleviate their dental miseries, so they mixed up a potion of honey and crushed eggshells to keep their remaining teeth in fine form.
- A lot of jokes have been made about George Washington’s famous dentures. They were not made of wood, but instead were created from gold, ivory, lead and a mixture of human, donkey, and hippopotamus teeth. Yikes!
Cleaning your teeth
If you practice good dental hygiene you can hopefully take your teeth to your grave with you. Below are some funny tidbits, just for grins, about cleaning your teeth.
- In China, in 1498, toothbrushes with bristles were made, using hair from hogs, horses, and badgers, but it was not until 1938 that the first commercial toothbrush was manufactured.
- Today, a trending concept in teeth cleaning is not a brush, but a twig, and no… it is not an oversized toothpick. A teeth cleaning twig or “datum” is a tool made from a twig from a tree. Used properly, it can help to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. The twigs are made in Africa from a tree named “salvadora persica”, also known as “the toothbrush tree”. You use the frayed end of the stick to brush against the teeth. Like toothbrushes, the twigs are not a new idea; the earliest chew sticks date to Babylonia in 3500 BC, an Egyptian tomb from 3000 BC and in Chinese records dating from 1600 BC. Well, that’s all good about those twiggy teeth-cleaning brushes, but all YOU have to do is schedule an appointment with a dental office in New Jersey – your reward is a thorough going over of your teeth to ensure they stay in tip-top shape. You’ll probably get a free toothbrush with your dentist’s name on it as well, so you don’t forget to return in six months.
- The average person spends about 48 seconds per day brushing their teeth – good, but no gold star, since dentists recommend at least two or three minutes for this task.
- Speaking of that toothbrush… please keep it at least six feet away from the toilet in order to avoid airborne particles from toilet flushing to jumping aboard that toothbrush.
Do you have a sweet tooth?
Sticky sweet candies and non-sugarless gum are a tooth’s worst enemy… here’s a look at what goodies will have your parents cringing as they see a lot of check-writing to the dentist for each new cavity:
- Hands down Halloween is the worst time to create cavities… all that sweet and sticky candy that you’re cramming into your mouth. Many dentists now encourage trick-or-treaters to drop off their candy at their offices and they send them off to the troops stationed abroad who appreciate a sweet treat… but query: do we really want to encourage them to get cavities? The worst Halloween treats are sticky caramel apples, lollipops, Tootsie rolls and gummy worms.
- Easter is a close second for creating cavities, so be sure to banish those beans because jellybeans not only cause a sugar high, but ravage your teeth as well, as they spread a sticky sugary substance on the surface and between the crevices of your teeth.
- It’s best to limit the candy floss or cotton candy at the street fairs because those sugar-laden sticky fibers also do a number on your teeth.
- Popular sour candies like Sour Patch Kids, WarHeads, and Sour Skittles are every day treats and all are highly acidic, and cause rapid enamel erosion.
More fun tooth tidbits
- What’s the object most often choked on by Americans? A toothpick.
- The average woman smiles about 62 times per day, but a man only eight times and 50% of people surveyed admitted that a person’s smile is the first physical trait they notice.
- Just like your fingerprints, everyone has a unique set of teeth. Unbelievably, even identical twins have different “dental fingerprints”.
- In medieval Germany, the only cure for a toothache was to kiss a donkey.
- Sports-related injuries account for approximately five million missing teeth per year.
- Americans spend $100 billion per year on hair care products but only $2 billion a year on dental care products. Hmmm – we certainly are a vain society, aren’t we?
- 73% of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss. Really?
- In 1994, a West Virginia prison inmate braided dental floss into a rope, scaled down the wall, and escaped. I guess that bedsheets are old hat now.
- In early America, blacksmiths often also served as dentists.
- The grumpy-looking farmer in the famous “American Gothic” painting by Grant Wood was the artist’s dentist.
- The cotton candy making machine that has been a staple at state fairs for years was co-invented by a dentist. Now we call its product cotton candy or candy floss, but that sweet and filmy confection was once named “fairy floss.”
Well, that these are not “fairy tales”, but true tooth tales that hopefully gave you a grin.