If you lived thousands of years ago and had tooth troubles, who would help you? In ancient Egypt there were doctors; in ancient Greece you could go to a temple and hope to be cured in a dream. In other places, you might ask a traditional healer to east your pain with risky remedies. North African village healers would put a dead mouse in your mouth. In Scotland, they’d tell you to suck a caterpillar. In Asia, you’d swill poisonous mouthwash to kill(imaginary) toothworms. The Aztecs of ancient Central America found biting on a hot chili pepper surprisingly soothing.
Early Tooth Treatments
CRANK, CRANK! Ancient Egyptians drilled holes in jawbones to let pus from rotten teeth and gums drain away. Very risky, very painful.
BUZZ OFF! To treat toothaches, ancient Egyptians rubbed gums with sweet, sticky honey from beeds – gentle, soothing and mildly antiseptic, but rarely a cure.
PINS AND NEEDLES. Chinese healers stuck needles into patients to numb pain from diseased teeth. This is called acupuncture. It may have helped, sometimes.
COUGH!SPLUTTER! To ease tooth troubles, ancients Greeks breathed poisonous smoke from burning leaves. We don’t know how many died from the poison.
SIZZLE, SIZZLE! Greek doctors used red-hot wire to cut away infected gums and diseased flesh in the mouth. Absolutely terrifying!
暑假來臨，你有什麼計畫呢？黃醫師特別幫大家挑選了一本英文圖書 – 「You Wouldn’t Want to Live Without Dentists！」(你不會想活在沒有牙醫的世界)，讓大家一起來聽故事！
Toothless = Helpless
We all need our teeth to eat and talk and smile. But what happens when they get damaged, or we lose them? In the past, there was no easy way to repair or replace teeth chipped in accidents, knocked out in battle, or ground down by chewing tough, gritty food. Disease, poor nourishment, and old age made teeth wobble, crack, and crumble and many teeth rotted simply because they were not kept clean. Long ago, life with teeth trouble would be painful, difficult, and probably smelly. You’d be toothless and helpless.
Past Tooth Trouble
HORRIBLE HOLES. Cavities(holes) let bacteria spread deep inside teeth to infect pulp, nerves, and jaws.
YUCKY INFECTIONS. Bacteria living around teeth made people feel sick and made their breath smell disgusting.
HEART TROUBLE. Blood carried bacteria from rotten teeth to the heart, which stopped it from working properly.
GHASTLY GRIN. Black, broken teeth and a gappy smile were not a good look for anyone, even a long time ago.
LOST LOOKS. Without teeth, people’s faces changed shape. They had hollow cheeks and shrunken gums.
MOUTH DISEASE. Broken, dirty teeth hurt the inside of the mouth and caused nasty ulcers and boils.
FOOD FAILURE. With no teeth for chewing, people could eat only soft mushy foods. They went hungry!
SPEECHLESS. It was hard to speak clearly without teeth and just as difficult for listeners to understand!
WHY DOES A TOOTHACHE HURT SO MUCH?When teeth are damaged, sensitive nerves deep inside them are exposed. They carry messages about heat, cold and pain directly to the brain.
Do you love music? Then love your teeth, too! If you sing, or play woodwind or brass, damaged teeth could spoil the sound you make.
Yes, we’ve all got teeth, but why? What are teeth for? First, and most importantly, we need teeth for eating. They are the world’s first, and best, food processors. Like machinery in our mouths, teeth chop and grind, crunch and crush, chomp. chew and gnaw all the food we eat. They then mixed the food with saliva(spit), so it slides down easily down easily into your stomachs. Without teeth, we’d find it diffcult to eat-and hard to stay alive. We also need teeth for talking. They help our lips and tongues make all kinds of different sounds. Just look at yourself in a mirror, say a few words, and watch those teeth move!
HOW MANY teeth do you have? It depends on how old you are. Babies are born without teeth, then 20 milk(first) teeth push through their gums. These fall out when children reach 6 to 12 years of age, and 32 adult teeth grow in their place, ready to last a lifetime!
ADULT HUMAN TEETH grow in four different shapes and sizes:
8 incisors: Flat, with sharp edges for cutting and nibbling.
4 canines: Fang-shaped and pointed, for stabbing and gripping.
8 premolars: With rounded points, good for chewing and crunching.
8 molars: Big and flat, used for grinding.
4 third molars or wisdom teeth: A spare set of molars, right at the back of the mouth, that appear much later than the rest of the teeth.
CHEWING GETS our digestive system going. When our teeth crush food, saliva starts to break it do so our bodies can use the nourishment it contains. Our stomachs and intestines digest the food even more. Then our blood carries nourishment from the digested food to every part of our body, and we stay strong and healthy.
Different animals have different types of teeth, tailored to the type of food that animal eats:
NIBBLING. Rats and mice have huge incisor teeth, great for gnawing and nibbling. Their incisors keep on growing all the time as the hard food wears them away.
BITING. Dogs and wolves have big canine teeth for grabbing and snatching their prey. Once they bite, they don’t let go!
TEARING. Lions, tigers and other cats have sharp curved carnassial teeth that cut flesh like knives or scissors.
GRINDING. Animals that eat plants, such as cows and horses, have huge molar teeth to crush and grind their food.
You Can Do It!
Use your teethe to communicate – by flashing a smile! Smiling is a sign of peace, happiness, and friendship all around the world.