History of the Toothbrush

Have you ever wondered where the toothbrush came from that you have in your bathroom medicine cabinet?  According to the Library of Congress, the toothbrush that we use today was not invented until 1938. However, there are many other early forms of toothbrushes that have been around since 3000 BC. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used what was referred to as a “chew stick” which was a thin stick with a frayed end.  The teeth were “cleaned” by chewing on the frayed end.

Bristle toothbrushes were invented in China in 1498. These brushes were made with hairs taken from the backs of hog’s necks and attached to bone or bamboo handles.

In 1938, Dupont de Nemours introduced the first nylon toothbrush called Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush.  Compared to using a boar bristle toothbrush, this was probably looked on as a miracle! Now we have various toothbrush shapes, sizes, textures and handle styles to choose from.

Toothbrush

Here are some other interesting facts about toothbrushes:

  • The first mass-produced toothbrush was made by William Addis of Clerkenwald, England, around 1780.
  • The first American to patent a toothbrush was H.N. Wadsworth, on November 7, 1857.
  • Mass production of toothbrushes began in America around 1885.
  • One of the first electric toothbrushes to hit the American market was in 1960. It was marketed by the Squibb company under the name of Broxodent.
  • On average, each person in the U.S. purchases three toothbrushes every 2 years although the ADA recommends that toothbrushes be changed every 3 to 4 months.
(courtesy of The Library of Congress)

March – National Nutrition Month

We know that in order to have proper nutrition, we need to eat a well balanced diet.  If you don’t give your body the nutrients it needs, your health as well as your mouth, may suffer. The first step in the digestion process begins with your mouth, teeth and gums.  Properly chewing your food goes a long way in making sure you get what you need.  A poor diet can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.  High carbs and sugary foods contribute to the production of plaque which will cause cavities.

Here are a few useful tips courtesy of MouthHealthy.org, the ADA’s consumer website:

  • Follow the recommended nutritional guidelines. Your individual nutrition and calorie needs depend on your age, gender, level of physical activity and other health factors. However, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a balanced and healthy diet should include fruits and vegetables; grains, especially whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice and whole wheat bread; low-fat or fat-free dairy foods; and lean protein choices.
  • Stay away from foods that harm your dental health. Empty calorie foods such as candy, sweets and snack foods are a cause for dental concern, not only because they offer no nutritional value, but because the amount and type of sugar that they contain can adhere to teeth. The bacteria in your mouth feed off these sugars, releasing acids, which can lead to tooth decay. In addition, sugar-containing drinks — soda, lemonade, juice and sweetened coffee or tea — are particularly harmful because sipping them causes a constant sugar bath over teeth, which promotes tooth decay.
  • Eat foods that benefit dental health. Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, calcium-fortified tofu, leafy greens and almonds are foods that may benefit tooth health thanks to their high amounts of calcium and other nutrients they provide. Protein-rich foods like meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs are good sources of phosphorus, which along with calcium, plays a critical role in dental health by protecting and rebuilding tooth enamel. In addition, fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber, which balance the sugars they contain and help to clean the teeth.

If you have any questions concerning your dental health and the part good nutrition plays, give us a call at Brogdon Dental 423-870-5698. We welcome the opportunity to discuss your dental needs.

Oral Health and Body Health

There is a relationship between our teeth, gum and body. Our body is considered an ecosystem and our mouth is the main entrance to it. What goes through our mouths and into our body determines many of the diseases we contract.

Each tooth is surrounded by gums that create a seal that controls the bacteria that enters our body. If we fail to take care of this seal, and allow it to be weakened, we open the door for all kinds of things to enter our bloodstream causing a myriad of problems.

teethgums

According to OraGuard, Ltd, listed below are of some diseases that we can develop as a result of bacteria entering the body through the mouth and gums:

 

  • IBS
    Oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream and attack the friendly bacteria in your gut. And that’s when your digestive issues begin to worsen.
  • Breast cancer
    Women may be 11 times more likely to develop breast cancer due to lack of good oral care.
  • Prostate cancer
    Research has shown that men with indicators of periodontal disease and prostatitis have higher levels of PSA than men with only one of these conditions.
  • Diabetes
    Serious gum disease may have the potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes.
  • Weight gain
    Oral health, diabetes, and obesity are intertwined and inflammation is at the core of  this complex interaction
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia
    Research shows gum disease bacteria lipopolysaccharides (the surface of the bacterium) in samples from people suffering from dementia and none of the people who do not have the condition.
  • Cardiovascular disease including stroke, heart attack, infective endocarditis, and thickening of the arteries
    When bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation.
  • Low birthweight and premature birth
    Periodontal health also plays a key role in a healthy pregnancy. Research suggests that pregnant women with gum disease are at higher risk for pre-term and low birth weight deliveries.
  • Bacterial pneumonia
    Bacterial infections in the chest are believed to be caused by breathing droplets from the mouth and throat into the lungs.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
    Those who had moderate to severe periodontitis had more than twice the risk of RA compared to those with mild or no periodontitis

We don’t realize how important our oral health is in relation to a healthy body, but we need to think about not only what we put in our mouths, but how we take care of our mouths, which includes our teeth and gums. Good oral health is not only brushing your teeth and visiting your dentist, but don’t forgot to do this as well.

Contact our office at Brogdon Dental to set up your cleaning today.

 

 

Is Sugar Scary? It can be…

Halloween is here and that means your kids will probably be eating a lot of sweets, especially candy. So how can you keep their teeth from suffering after too much sugar?

One way is pretty simple. Brush often. Everyone knows that brushing your teeth can help you prevent cavities, but it can also help if you have eaten too much sugar. You also need to change your toothbrush out often. According to colgate.com, Toothbrushes with triple-action bristles and diamond-shaped heads are designed to be better at cleaning hard-to-reach nooks and crannies.  And those hard-to-reach places are where your sugars will reside.

Use mouthwash, especially those that contain fluoride. If you don’t have mouthwash, swishing your mouth out with plain water will help.

Chewing sugar-free gum after eating sweets helps by creating saliva which will remove sugar that coats your teeth. The key is to prevent the mouth from remaining coated in the acid-forming sugars and other carbohydrates found in sweets after eating.

Use these tips to help your kids (and yourself) from developing cavities from too much sugars.  And call our office at Brogdon Dental to make your appointment for cleaning. Now is the time to take control of your and your children’s dental health.

Take your vitamins…

How many times did you hear your mother say, “Did you take your vitamins?”  I know as a kid my Mom would say this to me every morning before school as she would dole out our Flintstone vitamins. But seriously, vitamins do play a major role in our health, but did you know that certain vitamins can help with your dental health?  Doctors have found that Calcium and Vitamin D not only help your bones but can help strengthen your teeth as well.

According to WebMD… “If you’re supplementing your diet with calcium and vitamin D to prevent bone loss, you may be more likely to hang onto your pearly whites, according to a report from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research in Toronto.”

To explore the role of supplementation on tooth retention, the researchers followed more than 140 older adults for five years. Participants took either a placebo or 500 mg of calcium plus 700 units of vitamin D daily for three years. Both during and after the trial, their teeth were examined periodically.

For those who took supplements, the likelihood of losing one or more teeth was 40% less, even two years later. Tooth loss was also linked to the number of cavities, frequency of flossing, and use of thiazide diuretics, a type of medication that helps lower blood pressure.

Adding vitamins like calcium and vitamin D to your morning regime can not only help you feel better and have stronger bones, but can help save your teeth.

Be sure not to overdo though. The recommended upper limits are 2,500 mg a day for calcium and 1,000 units a day for vitamin D. Any more than that could be toxic. Be sure to check with your doctor if you take more than the recommended amount.

And don’t forget to brush and floss daily as well. Your Mom would be proud!

 

Dehydration and Oral Health

Although summer may be coming to a close, temperatures continue to soar in to the upper 90’s. The end of summer has many students heading back to school.  With the beginning of the new school year brings the start of high school athletics. Many kids will participate in practices, especially football, in the late afternoon heat after classes. The need to maintain adequate hydration is essential, especially considering the many problems it can cause. Failure to drink enough fluids before physical activity can result in serious issues.

One of the first warning signs of dehydration is dry mouth.  You may find that you have trouble swallowing, and others may notice that you have bad breath, which is one of the problems associated with a dry mouth.  If your mouth is not producing enough saliva it can become an breeding ground for bacteria. This bacteria causes infections that may lead to cavities and gingivitis.

We need sufficient saliva in our mouths to wash away food debris and reduce plaque, which is why severe tooth decay and gum disease can occur if dry mouth is left untreated. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, 30 percent of all tooth decay in older adults is caused by dry mouth. (www.toothwisdom.org)

Besides drinking plenty of water and brushing and flossing daily; chewing sugar free gum or sucking on sugar free mints can help fight dry mouth since they stimulates saliva production. Products that contain xylitol (a sugar substitute) can actually help prevent cavities.

As the temperatures still continue to rise, keep a check on your hydration. If you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Experts recommend at least a gallon (eight 8-ounce glasses) of water per day. Dehydration effects every part of your body including your oral health. Keep drinking water.