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    28 Extremely Disturbing Teeth-Related Facts That Might Just Chill You To The Bone

    The dental drill was invented wayyy before the wheel!

    1. In America, brushing one's teeth every day wasn't commonplace until after World War II.

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    Most US civilians did not brush their teeth daily until WWII soldiers brought home the habit after the war. While away, they had been required to brush their teeth twice a day in order to stay healthy and keep fighting.

    2. Throughout history, poor people have sold their teeth for money.

    Science & Society Picture Library / Via Getty Images

    Since the Middle Ages, people have sold their teeth for use in both dentures and in transplants for wealthy patients. The results of any transplants were usually short-lived, and the practice died out when practitioners realised that diseases like syphilis could also be transmitted during the process.

    Gruesome historical accounts show that it was "fashionable" to take teeth from impoverished men, women, and children, who would often have multiple teeth extracted in order to sell them for up to a guinea (about Β£1 by today's standards) at a time – with the dentist usually taking a vast majority of the payment!

    3. Dentures were also sometimes made from the teeth of fallen soldiers.

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    In the 18th and 19th Centuries, human teeth set in dentures were the best option for wealthy dental patients whose teeth were rotten from sugar consumption. Unfortunately, live donors were in short supply and grave robbers could only deliver so many teeth.

    The battlefield at Waterloo provided ample opportunity for looters to scavenge for teeth to sell, since there were many bodies above ground, in one place. The teeth of dead soldiers would be pulled out with pliers and sold to early dental technicians who would shape them for dentures.

    4. The ancient Romans whitened their teeth using stale urine.

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    Urine contains ammonia, which Romans used to clean and whiten their teeth. The ammonia acted as a bleaching agent and was allegedly very effective!

    5. In babies, adult teeth are kept below the eyes and in the chin, which is frankly nightmarish.

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    We start to lose our baby teeth at around age six. By the time we're 21 years old, the average person has 32 permanent teeth.

    6. George Washington may have worn dentures made from the teeth of his slaves.

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    Washington wore dentures throughout his entire presidency as he had no teeth of his own. Believed to be wooden for many years, his dentures were actually made from a combination of ivory, animal, and human teeth. We cannot be sure that these human teeth came from enslaved people, but it is documented that in 1784, Washington paid several of his Mount Vernon slaves for nine teeth.

    It's highly conceivable that these teeth were either implanted to improve his appearance, or used to manufacture his dentures. Using the teeth of enslaved people in this way was not unusual, but it was done discreetly, as having the teeth of slaves in your mouth if you were white was viewed as to racial mixing.

    7. There's a statue in Mexico called the "Lord of Patience", which is fitted with real human teeth.

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    During a recent restoration of the 18th Century artwork, it was discovered that the row of eight teeth at the front of the mouth were not made of bones or animal horns, but were actually human teeth! It's likely they were given as a donation by a local parishioner, as it was common elsewhere in Mexico for churchgoers to offer their hair to make the wigs for saint's statues.

    8. Humans didn't struggle with the issue of crooked teeth until agriculture came into existence.

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    As farming became the new normal for Homo sapiens, and we did away with hunter-gathering, our diets changed to include softer foods that required less chewing. Scientists have theorised that as a result, our jaws were altered over time and became shorter and wider. Unfortunately, our teeth didn't evolve along with our jaw, which basically means there is now less room in a human mouth for teeth, and that's why they can get crowded and become displaced.

    9. The oldest known filling in the world is 6,500 years old and is made of beeswax.

    Nastasic / Via Getty Images/iStockphoto

    The filling belongs to a 24 to 30-year-old Neolithic man. Scientists noticed that a vertical crack in one of his teeth had been fitted with a perfectly sized thin cap of beeswax, suggesting that Neolithic humans may have used the material to fill their cavities regularly while they were alive.

    10. Wayyy before humans came up with writing systems, or even the wheel, they would drill rotten teeth to correct tooth decay.

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    There's evidence that 14,000 years ago, humans removed decayed dental tissue using primitive tools. 5,000 years later, the first dental drill is believed to have been used in what is now Pakistan. The discovery was made in a Neolithic graveyard where at least nine individuals evidenced use of a dental drill due to the precise holes in their molars.

    11. During the American Civil War, soldiers needed to have at least four opposing front teeth so they could tear open a gunpowder pouch on the battlefield.

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    Some draftees would have their front teeth removed so as to avoid service.

    12. In The Hangover, no effects or prosthetics were used for Stu's missing tooth – Ed Helms actually has a fake incisor which he took out for filming.

    Warner Bros. Pictures

    One of Ed's adult teeth never came through – which is actually quite common – and he had an implant fitted at age 16. To film the parts of the movie where one of Stu's front teeth is missing, Ed had his dentist remove his implant in order to save using prosthetics or blacking out a tooth.

    13. During an expedition to Antarctica in July 1911, explorer Apsley Cherry-Garrard's teeth chattered so violently that they actually shattered.

    David Merron Photography/Herbert Ponting/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge / Via Getty Images

    Cherry was there to collect emperor penguin eggs with his colleagues Henry Bowers, Bill Wilson, and Robert Scott. To reach the emperor penguin colony, the men had to endure a severe Antarctic midwinter, in which temperatures plunge to -60Β°C. Three of them lost their lives, and only Cherry survived to tell the tale.

    14. We produce excess saliva before vomiting to help protect our teeth from the acid in our stomach.

    Warner Bros.

    Ever wondered why you sometimes drool before being sick? Well, the contents of our stomach is highly acidic and can be harmful to our teeth, mouth, and throat. Our body has evolved to salivate before throwing up in order to neutralise the acid in vomit and to help rinse our mouth afterwards.

    15. World-famous author Roald Dahl had all of his teeth removed at 21 years old because he thought they were more trouble than they were worth.

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    He would also go around evangelising about having all your teeth pulled out and replaced with false ones! I'm not not against it.

    16. Sharks grow their teeth back over and over again.

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    Sharks are continually growing new teeth – when an older one wears out, it simply falls out onto the ocean floor and a new one grows in its place. Over its lifetime, the average shark will produce 20,000-40,000 teeth.

    17. Naked mole rats can move their incisors (front teeth) independently, kinda like chopsticks.

    Disney Channel

    These rodents use their teeth for carrying things, digging, fighting, grooming, and of course, eating.

    18. Cats need taurine in their diet or else they may lose their teeth, fur, and eyesight.

    Sharon Dominick / Via Getty Images

    Taurine is an amino acid that naturally occurs in the human body as well as in many foods such as meat, fish, and dairy. It's often added to energy drinks because it improves physical performance.

    19. Dentists can tell whether you've recently given a blowjob.

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    If you have been particularly aggressive, your soft palate (the roof of your mouth) will show signs of bruising and irritation. This is known as palatal petechia in the dental industry.

    20. A tooth that has been knocked out can sometimes be saved if it is jammed back into the empty socket immediately.

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    Remember that episode of Friends where Monica cuts off Chandler's toe? Well, this is just like that! If your tooth is knocked out, you should wash it off in water and try to reinstall it in your mouth. Gently push it into the socket, making sure you only touch the crown and not the root, and close your mouth to hold it in place.

    If your tooth is knocked out, please seek professional medical advice immediately.

    21. Sometimes, expeditioners to Antarctica have to have their wisdom teeth removed preemptively.

    NoSystem images / Via Getty Images

    There are doctors posted at each Australian Antarctic and sub-Antarctic station, should expeditioners to the South Pole ever need them. These doctors are highly skilled, but their training in emergency dentistry does not stretch to wisdom teeth extraction. For that reason, if a dentist identifies that an expeditioner's wisdom teeth may cause them a problem whilst they are away, they must have them removed.

    22. The human body can grow more than 200 "extra" teeth thanks to a tumour know as an odontoma.

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    An odontoma is a benign tumour made up of dental tissue. It can look like one or more abnormal teeth, which usually develop inside the jaw around your normal teeth. Though they are not cancerous, they can affect how your main teeth develop and need to be removed with surgery. In 2014, a boy in India with an odontoma had 232 "teeth" extracted from inside his lower right jaw!

    23. In centuries gone by, people relied on barbers, blacksmiths, and wig makers for their dentistry needs – and their methods were pretty extreme!

    Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group / Via Getty Images

    During the 1600s-1800s, the modern profession of "dentist" did not exist, and people would often visit barbers to get their hair AND teeth sorted. Barbers would file teeth down and apply acid to whiten them, which worked, but inevitably led to decay in the long term.

    Blacksmiths also performed dental work, and would use forceps and keys to do it. A key, when rotated, could be used to extract a tooth, but often gum and bone would come away with it; patient's jaws were sometimes broken by this method.

    24. Early attempts at creating toothpaste included ingredients such as crushed bones, eggshells, and ashes.

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    The Greeks and Romans used crushed bones, oyster shells, charcoal, and tree bark to make toothpaste. Meanwhile, in Ancient China, ingredients for toothpaste included grounded-up ox hooves' ashes, burnt eggshells, and pumice.

    25. Dental plaque is made up of around 200-300 different species of bacteria.

    Ed Reschke / Via Getty Images

    Plaque is basically the name for bacteria that stick to your teeth and produce acid, which causes dental decay. There are only a few species of bacteria in plaque that participate in dental decay – one of the biggest contributors is known as streptococcus mutans.

    26. The amount of fluoride in a tube of toothpaste can actually be fatal to children.

    Disney XD

    Depending on the age and weight of a child, ingesting a certain amount of toothpaste can cause severe poisoning. That's why it's important for kids to spit out fluoride toothpaste after they're done brushing!

    27. Mayans would bejewel their teeth using early drills.

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    Mayan kings and queens would have minute holes drilled into their teeth with tiny pieces of jade placed in them. Jade was a precious stone to the ancient Mayan – it signified nature, growth, and sustenance. Rulers used it to tell their people that they could be trusted to nurture and take care of them. The wealthy non-ruling class would also modify their teeth for aesthetic purposes, but this would be done with more affordable jewels.

    28. And finally, a cure for toothache in Medieval Germany was to kiss a donkey.

    DreamWorks Pictures / Via giphy.com

    For some reason – possibly because of their prominent teeth – the people of Wetterau, Germany believed that the symptoms of a toothache could be cured by kissing a donkey. Similarly, the Ancient Greeks believed that strong teeth and gums could be obtained by using a mouthwash made from donkey milk.

    Which one of these wild teeth-related facts surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments!

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