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Dentures Through History

September 5th, 2019

TOOTH LOSS HAS BEEN a problem people have had to deal with all throughout history, and false teeth have been a solution since at least 2500 B.C.

Dentures Through The Ages

The oldest known false teeth were discovered in Mexico, made of wolf teeth. Millennia later, around 700 B.C., the ancient Etruscans would use gold bands or wire to attach human or animal teeth, and two false teeth made of bone and wrapped in gold wire were found in the tomb of El Gigel in Egypt.

In 16th century Japan, they began to use wood as a material for false teeth. By the 1700s, carved ivory had become a popular denture material, and dentures would be crafted by ivory turners, goldsmiths, and barber-surgeons out of ivory, human teeth, and animal teeth.

The Myth Of George Washington’s Wooden Teeth

The first president of the United States struggled with dental health problems from his twenties on, including toothaches, decay, and tooth loss. In fact, by the time he was inaugurated president, Washington only had one tooth left! The causes of his dental troubles were likely a combination of genetics and the poorly balanced diet of the era.

Washington did indeed wear dentures, but they were never made of wood. First, he had partial dentures made of ivory and wired to his remaining teeth. In 1789, Dr. John Greenwood, a pioneer of American dentistry, fashioned Washington an advanced set of dentures using hippo ivory, gold springs, and brass screws attached to human teeth. He had other sets after this one, and as good as Washington’s dentures were for the time, they still caused him pain and noticeably changed the shape of his face.

One interesting detail about Washington’s dentures is that Dr. Greenwood designed them to make room for that last remaining natural tooth. He is reported to have told Washington that a dentist should “never extract a tooth…[when] there is a possibility of saving it.” 

Look How Far Dentures Have Come!

These days, patients in need of false teeth have much better options than George Washington did. Modern dentures are typically made of plastic or acrylic resin, sometimes porcelain. They can be partial or full, removable or fixed by implants. Missing teeth can also be replaced by individual implants, though this is a more expensive option. As dentistry continues to advance, more and more teeth can be saved through root canal therapy and other efforts. Dr. Greenwood would be so proud!

Modern Dentistry Helps Us Keep Our Teeth

Over 36 million Americans have none of their natural teeth left, but modern dentistry and good oral health habits help us keep our teeth longer. Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste is essential, as are twice-yearly dental appointments.

Help us help you keep your teeth healthy for life!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Common Toothbrush Mistakes To Avoid

August 13th, 2019

MAINTAINING GOOD DENTAL health isn’t just about the quantity of your brushing — it’s also about the quality. There are several mistakes many of us make when brushing our teeth, whether because we’re using the wrong tools or because we’re using the right tools the wrong way.

1. Keeping A Toothbrush Too Long

How long has it been since you got a new toothbrush? The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush at least three times a year, because broken, frayed bristles can’t do as good of a job of keeping your teeth clean.

2. Racing Through Your Brushing

The average time people spend brushing their teeth is 45 seconds, which obviously falls far short of the full two minutes recommended. If you’re having trouble making it through two whole minutes, try setting a timer or playing a song.

3. Brushing Too Hard

You might assume that the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will get, but you really only need gentle pressure to scrub the leftover food and bacteria away. If you brush much harder than that, you risk damaging your gum tissue.

4. Using A Hard-Bristled Brush

Like brushing too hard, using a toothbrush with hard bristles can do more harm than good, especially to gum tissue. Talk to us if you’re not sure which type of bristles your toothbrush should have.

5. Brushing Immediately After Eating

A common mistake people make when they’re trying to take good care of their teeth is to immediately brush them after a meal. Acidic foods and drinks temporarily weaken our tooth enamel, and brushing right away can cause damage. This is why we should wait at least half an hour to brush so that our saliva has time to neutralize things.

6. Poor Toothbrush Storage

Is your toothbrush smelly? Do you store it somewhere it can get plenty of air, or do you put it in a case where it never really dries out? Bacteria love moist environments, so the best thing we can do to keep our toothbrushes clean is to store them upright somewhere they can air dry between uses.

7. Bad Brushing Technique

Even brushing for two full minutes twice a day with the best toothbrush with the perfect bristle firmness won’t do much for your teeth if your technique is off. Remember that you’re brushing to get plaque and food particles out of the gumline, so hold your brush at a 45° angle to the gums and gently sweep the bristles in small circular motions. Do this at least 15 times in each area of the mouth, on the tongue side and outside of the teeth, and don’t forget the chewing surfaces!

Come To Us With Your Tooth Brushing Questions

If you want to learn more about good brushing technique, toothbrush storage, or how to pick the perfect toothbrush for you, just give us a call! We want to make sure that all of our patients have the right tools and knowledge to keep their teeth healthy for life!

We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Clean Is Your Tongue?

July 9th, 2019

“BRUSH YOUR TEETH for two full minutes twice a day and floss your teeth once a day.” You’ve probably lost count of how many times you’ve heard that, but how often have you heard that you should be cleaning your tongue every day too?

The Difference A Clean Tongue Makes

More bacteria likes to live on our tongues than just about anywhere else on our bodies. That’s because all those tiny crevices in the tongue’s surface are prime real estate for all kinds of pathogens. If we don’t actively keep our tongues clean, the harmful bacteria will stay put and multiply, causing bad breath and contributing to tooth decay on the inner surfaces of our teeth.

Another reason to regularly get rid of all that tongue bacteria is that it can dramatically improve your sense of taste. When the tongue is covered in bacteria, the tastebuds have a hard time doing their job, but with the bacteria gone, they’re free to absorb all those delicious flavors at their full capacity. Yum!

Chemical digestion begins in our mouths, and a clean tongue makes this process more effective too. So, if you want to enjoy your favorite foods as much as possible, keep your breath clean and fresh, and improve your digestive health, clean your tongue!

Finding The Best Tools For Cleaning Your Tongue

Keeping your tongue clean takes more than swishing mouthwash or rinsing with water. The bacteria hiding in all those tiny grooves is very stubborn, and washing with liquid won’t be enough do dislodge them. To really clear off the biofilm of bacteria, you need to scrape it with a tongue-scraper.

If you don’t find these in the grocery store near the toothbrushes, you can order one online, and some toothbrushes have tongue scrapers built in on the reverse side. Between brushing and rinsing your teeth is the best time to scrape your tongue. Start at the back and work forward, and try to get as much of the surface area as you can.

For the first few days, you might be surprised by how much biofilm comes away with the tongue scraper, but the longer you stick with it, the cleaner your tongue will become, until it seems like you’re scraping away nothing but clean spit. See if you notice the difference in your breath and your sense of taste when you get to this point!

Tongue-Scraping Is Older Than You Think

If you’ve never heard of tongue-scraping before, you might think it’s a new idea, but it’s actually been around since ancient times in some cultures. It’s part of the daily hygiene routine in Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India. Tongue-scraping tools have been made of many different materials across the centuries, including copper, silver, gold, ivory, whalebone, and tortoiseshell. Today, they’re typically plastic or stainless steel.

Have Any Questions About Tongue Cleaning?

If you have questions about tongue cleaning or would like our recommendations on the best tools for the job, just give us a call! We’re always happy to help our patients improve their daily dental hygiene regimens, and we look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

Thank you for being such wonderful patients!

 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Braces Can Improve Speech Problems

June 18th, 2019

THE ABILITY TO SPEAK and enunciate clearly is based on a variety of factors. A speech disorder could be the result of hearing difficulties, genetics, or a cleft palate, but did you know that the position of the teeth can be part of the problem or even the cause? This is where orthodontic treatment and speech pathology overlap.

A Bad Bite Versus Your Speech

A major cause of lisps or whistling while talking is an overbite, which is when the upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth by too much. These problems can also be the result of gaps in the teeth, which allow air to escape when pressing the tongue against the teeth while talking, creating a whistling sound. Orthodontic treatment corrects overbites and closes the gaps between teeth.

Your Tongue Needs Room To Maneuver

Our tongues need space and freedom to move in order for us to correctly form words and control how fast we talk. Sometimes jaw structure or dental crowding restricts the tongue’s movement, increasing the chances of a stutter or slurred speech. Braces will align the teeth and make room for the tongue to do its job properly.

To Make The Right Sounds, Teeth Should Be In The Right Place

In English, there are several sounds that we need our teeth in the right place in order to articulate: F as in “feet,” V as in “van,” S as in “soup,” Z as in “zoom,” CH as in “chair,” SH as in “shape,” J as in “jump,” ZH as in “treasure,” voiceless TH as in “think,” and voiced TH as in “the.” Orthodontic treatment places teeth where they need to be for better pronunciation.

How Can Orthodontic Treatment Help You?

Not all speech disorders can be cured by braces, but for people whose poor dental alignment or bad bites are getting in the way of their pronunciation, orthodontic treatment can be life-changing. And clearer speech isn’t the only benefit! Straight teeth are also easier to keep healthy, they improve your digestion, and they make your smile more beautiful.

Invest In Your Confidence And Health With Orthodontic Treatment

There’s no reason to allow orthodontic-related speech difficulties to limit your personal and business relationships or keep you from being your most confident, well-spoken self. If you have a friend, family member, neighbor, or coworker who would like to learn more about how an orthodontic treatment plan can lead to a happier, healthier life, share this blog post with them or give us a call.

Thanks for being part of our practice family.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

iTero California Dental Association Sacramento District Dental Society Invisalign American Association of Orthodontics American Dental Association
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