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King Tut’s Teeth

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Only a teenager when he died, King Tut may have the oldest smile in the world. If you see his mummy today, it does look like the teenage pharaoh is grinning at you. That’s because buck teeth and slightly misaligned lower teeth make his upper teeth jut out a bit. This is unusual in mummies, but was a common family trait in Tut’s family.

King Tut’s real name was Tutankhamun. He ruled in Egypt over 3,300 years ago. Dentistry wasn’t then what it is today. The boy king suffered from a slightly cleft palate. He also had an impacted wisdom tooth. That happens when your wisdom teeth grow into your existing teeth, and can be quite painful.

Adding to his dental woes were little stones that would show up in his bread. Why where there stones in his bread? Back then, people used massive wheels of stone to grind wheat into flower. The stones were hard, but daily grinding was tough on them, and bits of the stones would come off and end up in the flour. These stones were sometimes missed by the bakers and would end up in the Pharaoh’s bread. A big piece might chip a tooth, but even small bits would wear at the enamel. And that doesn’t even get into the horrors that were ancient Egyptian toothpaste!

Thankfully for you, dental health for children is much better today than it was in King Tut’s time. Effective toothpastes, skilled dentists, and fun offices can keep your teeth bright and shiny for a long, long time.

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