Funky dentists have killer driller facts

17th September 2004 at 01:00
The fact that a dentist invented the electric chair will not surprise the millions of people who regard every visit as torture.

Knowing that by the age of 60 you will have lost half of your taste buds is not exactly comforting, either.

But these are just two snippets of information that dentists hope will excite and entice eight-year-olds into looking after their teeth.

Year 3 teachers who have desperately sought to interest children in gum disease, abscesses and brushing twice a day can turn now to a British Dental Association website.

The site details in gory 3-D how teeth grow, decay and are extracted.

Computer-game-style software brings images to life and gives children the chance to zoom in as pliers pull out a tooth. They can also watch a filling being done or see an abscess form.

Pupils can also fix braces, bridges and set an artificial crown on a damaged tooth.

The site, supported by Wrigley's Orbit chewing gum, has six sections covering the life of teeth, dental disease, treatments, dental anatomy, oral hygiene and diet advice.

Jo Tanner, spokeswoman for the association, said: "The main drive was to make a subject which on paper will not hold children's, or anyone's, interest a bit more exciting and funky."

To that end, pupils are informed that during their lifetimes they will eat the equivalent of the weight of about six elephants and that dental disease was the most common cause of death in medieval England.

Other killer facts disclose that George Washington had teeth made out of hippopotamus teeth, that chewing gum is banned in Singapore and that the most common object that Americans choke on is a toothpick.

One vital piece of information is, however, missing from the site - just how much should the tooth fairy leave?

The dental association says that the tooth fairy was unavailable for comment.



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