Posts Tagged ‘teeth’

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 Innovations in Dental Technology – Invasion of the Clones

March 2nd, 2017

Okay, maybe not so much of an invasion, more of a foray. If you have ever had the misfortune of losing a permanent tooth there are only two solutions, an implant or dentures. However, recent advancements in science have found a possible third solution.

Did you know that teeth have stem cells? These stem cells give researchers the opportunity to grow human teeth! A new technique pioneered at the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine Laboratory of Dr. Jeremy Mao, Edward V. Zegarelli Professor of Dental Medicine, and a professor of biomedical engineering at Columbia University can build an anatomically correct tooth in as little as 9 weeks once implanted in the mouth. Amazing, especially considering that at age 74, 26% of adults have lost all of their permanent teeth (National Center for Biotechnology Information).

Adult teeth can now be regrown in your mouth!

A Canadian dentist must have been ahead of his time in November 2011 when he decided to buy the discolored molar of John Lennon at an auction for $31,200. His hope was that he could clone the British musician by extracting his DNA from the tooth.

Science may not be able to bring the beloved artist back… yet, but we could potentially clone his teeth. Not sure why we would want to, but then again, not sure why anyone would pay $31,200 for a tooth! The tooth fairy might have to up her rates in the future!

Fun Facts for Kids – The Origins of Common Toothy Phrases

December 31st, 2015

Armed to the teeth”, “snaggletooth” – have you ever wondered where these terms came from? In today’s post we’re going to look at the origins of some familiar “toothy” phrases.


This is an irregular or projecting tooth. It’s a word that’s been in use since the 16th century; but its heyday was the 19th and early 20th centuries. It’s actually a variant of the word “snag”, which could mean a broken or large misshapen tooth. It’s not to be mistaken for Snagglepuss, the wise-cracking Hanna-Barbera character.

Milk Tooth
These are a child’s (or any young mammal’s) first set of teeth, also known as baby teeth, deciduous teeth, or primary teeth. You’re more likely to hear milk teeth in the UK and baby teeth in North America. The origins of this term seem to have been lost in the mists of time, but might refer to the fact that milk teeth are “milky” white or that young children are often still drinking only milk when these teeth begin to come in.

Long In the Tooth
You’ve probably heard the phrase “long in the tooth”, perhaps in reference to an athlete aging out of his or her sport. The phrase actually originates from horses, whose teeth continue to erupt (i.e., appear to grow) as they get older which causes the roots of their teeth to become exposed. An old horse appears to have very long teeth and is therefore “long in the tooth”!

Fight Tooth and Nail
If someone says they fought tooth and nail, they mean they attacked something vigorously and with all their might. It can mean to literally fight by biting with one’s teeth and scratching with one’s nails, but even from its first recorded usage in the 16th century by Thomas More, it has been used figuratively most of the time. If someone says they’re going to come after you tooth and nail, be prepared for a long fight, but not necessarily a physical one!

Can you think of any other weird tooth or dental sayings?


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 – Dental Fashion Trends

October 1st, 2015

Fashion dictates every part of our bodies, including our teeth!

Trends like teeth whitening, which has taken off in the past 15 years, are not – as this Canadian Dental Association article points out – because white teeth are healthier, but because people like the way whiter teeth look.

For a long time perfectly straight teeth have been seen as the ideal. Many teenagers have spent years in braces trying to achieve this ideal – and for good reason! A mouth full of straight teeth will minimize any future dental problems, make chewing food easier, and make teeth easier to clean.

Lately though, there’s been a backlash against this pursuit of the perfect smile. There’s now a growing trend to adopt the “gap-toothed” look displayed by models such as Lara Stone and Georgia Jagger.

Over the past five years orthodontists have reported growing numbers of patients looking to increase or even create a gap in their front teeth to imitate this look!

The newest trend in dental fashion comes from Japan: the snaggletooth, or yaeba as it’s otherwise known. This look takes the imperfect look of the gap-tooth to the next level.

According to Japan Today, young women are having their teeth altered, or artificial teeth attached, to push out their canines in a “snaggletooth” look.

Meant to make young women look endearing, cute, and young, this look has been popularized by the pop group AKB48 and a number of Japanese celebrities who are also sporting the yaeba look.

While many dental trends appear to be bad for your health and possibly damaging for your teeth, we have really enjoyed discovering how society’s idea of the perfect smile has changed over time.

Can you guess where the next trend in dental fashion will take us?