Posts Tagged ‘humor’

Fun Facts for Kids – We Speak the Tooth – 3 Silly Dental Sayings to Share with Your Patients and Staff

May 2nd, 2017

Yeah, we’ve all heard them, those popular sayings that have to do with teeth. Maybe the lack of dentistry back in the dark ages made teeth quite the topic of conversation; whatever the reason, a number of ‘toothy’ sayings are still with us today and have some interesting history to go along with them.


1. “Long in the tooth” dates back to the 16th century and related to horses because as they age their teeth continue to grow. These changes and characteristics of their teeth make it possible to estimate a horse’s age. As an obvious reference to getting older, it’s fine to say such things about a horse, but it certainly isn’t flattering when talking about humans!


2. We’ve all done this at one stage in our lives: “bit off more than we can chew”. Thinking we can do it all, but actually putting ourselves in a bit of a predicament with an overloaded schedule. Funny enough this saying’s meaning is quite literal. Dating back to the 1800s when many Americans chewed tobacco, eager ‘chewers’ literally bit off too large a chunk of tobacco and couldn’t manage it, and so the saying was born. Gross!


3. If you’ve ever faced a difficult situation, maybe something you weren’t looking forward to or even something that scared you, you have likely used the phrase “time to bite the bullet”. Your meaning being that you are just going to do it and get it over with.

Well, whatever the situation is that is causing hesitation it certainly couldn’t be as bad as how this phrase came to be. Prior to anesthesia, the only distraction or respite surgeons could offer patients undergoing surgery was liquor and putting a lead bullet between their teeth for them to bite away the pain – YE-OUCH!!


What other old tooth-related sayings can you think of? Try and get your patients to think of some during their next appointment.


Fun Facts for Kids – Wow Your Patients with These 3 Interesting Facts about This Weird Appendage

February 1st, 2017

The tongue. Not a common conversation topic, yet such a critical part of human and animal survival. Without it, we can’t talk, eat or drink. Those are pretty important functions and in the animal world the tongue plays an even bigger role and has some pretty funky adaptations. Here are 3 weird facts that you can share with your young patients to get them interested in anatomy.

1. Most people are familiar with the chameleon; it has the longest tongue in the world in relation to its body. But did you know it has a sticky, mucus tip on its tongue that can lasso around any prey pulling the victim back in at lightning speed?

a long chameleon tongue catching a caterpillar

Hmmm, you know, we’re pretty sure we’ve seen this same technique used by moviegoers on their freshly popped popcorn. Who needs hands when you have a tongue!


2. Cats, giraffes, anteaters, and snakes all have tongue adaptations that enable them to groom, strip thorny bushes, dip into ant mounds, and even smell!


3. Nothing is as crazy as the tongue-eating isopod! It’s a critter, well a parasite actually, that targets fish by infiltrating its gills and latching onto its tongue. It not only proceeds to consume the poor fish’s tongue, but it will replace it with its own body, providing the fish with a new fully-functioning tongue it uses, albeit begrudgingly, to grind food against tiny teeth on the roof of its mouth.

an ispod tongue parasite in a fish mouth

Yikes! Maybe the phrase should be “Isopod got your tongue?” No thanks; we think we’d rather have the cat any day!


Humor has great uses when it comes to putting patients at ease. Using Humor with Your Patients by  states,

“Studies show that laughter brings physical benefits and releases endorphins. It also boosts the immune system, improves stamina, and can strengthen breathing. And, of course, there are emotional and social benefits too—like reducing depression or anxiety and helping us feel close with friends and family.”

So put your patients at ease and help them build a trusting relationship by injecting humor into your interactions with them during their appointments. You’ll set them up with a positive attitude toward their dental hygiene that can last their whole lives.


Fun Facts for Kids – Do You Believe in Tooth Trolls?

November 29th, 2015

If you are from Finland, you might just believe in Tooth Trolls. Finnish parents often use the “Hammaspeikko” or Tooth Troll to explain cavities and dental hygiene to young children.

When children eat candy this lures the troll to them. The troll digs at their teeth and causes cavities. Luckily, brushing your teeth scares the trolls away.

The Hammaspeikko is based on a Norwegian book called Karius and Bactus (Caries and Bacteria) about two trolls living inside a boy’s teeth and causing him problems. The trolls are washed away when the boy visits the dentist and learns about proper dental care.

Although the tooth trolls are a 20th century invention, they are part of a long tradition of blaming cavities on tiny creatures inside your mouth.

Up until the 18th century, many people believed that cavities and toothaches were caused by tooth worms or spirits.

Tooth worms first make an appearance in ancient Sumerian texts dating from c. 5000BCE. There are references to these worms in ancient China, Egypt, and India before they finally found a foothold in Western medicine in the 8th century.

The belief in tiny worms that crawl through your teeth persisted until modern dentistry proved that cavities were caused by bacteria. So in a way, people were right all along!

Do you think we have any current beliefs about dental health that will be seen as silly in the future?


Fun Facts for Kids – Tooth Fairy Traditions from Around the World

August 27th, 2015

We all know how the tooth fairy works, right? When you lose a tooth, you put it under your pillow and the tooth fairy leaves money in exchange for the tooth. Well… that’s not always the case, depending on where you were born.


In Spain and some Hispanic American countries, the Ratoncito Pérez (or Ratón Pérez), exchanges gifts for baby teeth left under pillows. He is called “Ratoncito Pérez” in Spanish-speaking countries, “el Ratón de los Dientes” (the Tooth Mouse) in regions of Mexico, Chile and Peru, and “El Ratón Pérez” in Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Colombia.

The character of Ratoncito Pérez was created in 1894 by the Spanish author Luis Coloma for King Alfonso XIII after he lost a tooth at the age of 8. Coloma wrote the story of a mouse that lived in a box of cookies and visited children when they lost their teeth, including his adventures with the king himself.

Since then, this “Tooth Mouse” has been a popular fixture in Spanish culture and folklore, even appearing in commercials and movies!


The French have a similar story to that of Spain with “La Bonne Petite Souris” (The Good Little Mouse) crawling under pillows and exchanging lost teeth for cash or candy.

Japan, India, China, Vietnam, and Korea

Many countries in Asia including Japan, India, China, Korea, and Vietnam don’t have a tooth fairy tradition. Instead, when kids lose their baby teeth they throw their teeth on the roof! Who wants to stick their tooth under a boring old pillow anyway?

Traditionally, kids will throw their lower teeth on the roof and throw their upper teeth on the floor. The logic here is that the new tooth will be pulled towards the old tooth.

Sometimes when they throw their teeth children shout out that they hope their missing tooth will be replaced by the tooth of a mouse! This is because mice (and other rodents) have teeth that continually grow.

Egypt, Iraq, and Jordan

Children in the Middle East also have a tradition of throwing their teeth. When they lose a baby tooth they throw it up into the sky towards the sun. This tradition dates back to at least the 13th century. That’s a lot of teeth in the air!

Do you know any other strange tooth fairy traditions from around the world?


Fun Facts for Kids – The Strange History of Medieval Dental Care

June 29th, 2015

In previous posts we’ve looked at ancient teeth and the start of modern dentistry. Today we’re going to bridge the gap and take a brief look at medieval dentistry.

In medieval times, if you had a problem with your teeth you went to your local barber-surgeon. They did everything from cutting hair to bloodletting to amputating limbs!

Surgery was considered a separate discipline from medicine and since barbers already had the right tools they often doubled up their skills to make more money. You might have gone in to get a haircut and then had a rotten tooth pulled while you were there. What convenience!

There were also homemade recipes you could try if you had a toothache during the medieval period. These were usually simple herbal poultices that you put on your mouth and jaw. Unlike many medieval recipes, these ones probably wouldn’t kill you.

If that didn’t work you could always try a charm! These usually involved saying phrases to encourage your teeth to grow nice and straight or to get rid of the worms in your mouth.

18th century ivory carving from Southern France known as “The Tooth Worm as Hell’s Demon”

A lot of beliefs about teeth and the formation of cavities carried over from antiquity – especially the belief in tooth worms. A common cure for toothaches or cavities was to fumigate your mouth. It was believed that smoke would kill off the worms or drive them away and you would be cured.

Luckily for us, we can go to the dentist and not have to worry about whether he’s a better barber than a dentist!