The History of Teeth Will Fascinate and Challenge Your Students

Kristin Lewis

Hi teachers,


When I was your students’ age, my teeth would have appalled even a medieval tooth puller. Two of my teeth poked through my upper gums, my front teeth were separated by a space as wide as the Hudson River, and my upper and lower molars didn’t meet when I chewed.

That's me at age 12

I wore braces for four years. I will never forget the misery my teeth brought me—a misery that some of your students may be dealing with right now. But after writing this issue’s paired text feature about the history of teeth, I realized just how lucky I was to have those braces.

As I learned in my research, we can now prevent or cure dental ailments that were hopelessly painful or even life-threatening in the past. Yet today, many Americans lack access to dental care. But this problem can be solved, as your students will discover while reading my article.

I am eager for your students to “bite” into my story; it is packed with fascinating (and gross!) details about dentistry practices of the past as well as great vocabulary and science connections.


Leave a comment below and let me know how it goes. But perhaps read it after you eat your lunch.



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