Fall 2014

The D List

A smattering of dentistry tidbits to inform, amuse and amaze

8 years

Age of the dolphin Dumisa, who received root canal surgery at a Hong Kong waterpark. Newly developed dental cement made it possible for a veterinary dentist to repair the dolphin’s teeth instead of extracting them.


Number of calories per serving in “Smiley Apples,” a snack made with apple slices, peanut butter and miniature marshmallows that looks like teeth in a mouth.


Rate of edentulism in the U.S. between 2009 and 2012, as noted in a recent study in the Journal of Dental Research. That’s down from 18.9% in 1957–58.

narwhal6 to 9 inches

Length of the spiraling, unicorn-like tusk of the narwhal. Dental scientists studying the sensory pathway between the tooth and the brain of the Arctic whale report the narwhal tooth is a hydrodynamic sensor capable of detecting changes in temperature, pressure and saltwater and freshwater gradients. 


Amount Thomas Jefferson borrowed in 1808 to pay a Dr. Bruff to extract a tooth, according to an entry in Jefferson’s journal.


The year Nashville, Tennessee, dentist William Morrison co-invented a machine to make cotton candy, then known as “Fairy Floss.” (Not exactly the kind of floss most dentists prefer nowadays.)

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Is there a link between secondhand smoke and cavities?