Did the Ancient Egyptians have Dentists?

Oral health practices stretch back into early human history. Today, we look at how the ancient Egyptians took care of their teeth and discuss some of the contributions they’ve made to dental care.

The First Dentist

Oral care in Egypt dates back to 2000 B.C., and the ancient Egyptians were way ahead of their time in terms of oral care and procedures. The first dentist on record is known as “Hesy-Ra,” who held the title of “Great One of the Dentists.” But, Hesy-Ra wasn’t alone in his dental practice, and there are records indicating that 9 more people were trained and served as dentists in ancient Egypt.

A Poor Diet That was Hard on Teeth

The ancient Egyptians didn’t have the luxury of a well-developed diet and subsisted on a lot of raw fruits and vegetables, as well as starchy breads. Researchers have studied the teeth of mummified Egyptians and found a lot of hard wear and tear, which suggest a coarse diet that contained a lot of tough textures that were hard on teeth.

Ancient Egypt, Advanced Oral Care

Dentists were viewed as important health providers, and helped Egyptians fight a number of oral ailments, some of which were quite serious. Dentists treated loose teeth by filling them with an herbal mixture of honey and barley, and they also drank a number of different mouth washes that helped them fight breath. Further, ancient Egyptian dentists performed more sophisticated operations and real surgery like jaw placements, surgical removal of abscesses, and partial removal of damaged pieces of gum. Far from simply removing food from teeth, the dentists of ancient Egypt provided meaningful contributions to oral health knowledge and helped influence some of our most popular and necessary dental procedures we use today.

The First Dental Bridges

The ancient Egyptians are credited with inventing and popularizing the first dental bridges, which helped people replace adult teeth that were lost. Egyptian dentists accomplished tooth replacement by threading thin gold wires around and through a replacement tooth, and then attaching the wires to nearby teeth in the mouth. After wires, Egyptian dentist experimented with making thicker, gold-plated mouth guard type devices to hold teeth in, and these pieces were actually seen as a symbol of wealth.

Oral Care Has Been Around for a Long Time

Ancient Egypt is just one of many places and cultures that practices oral healthcare, but they are one of the most advanced in terms of the procedures they performed, and the quality of their work has lasted long enough for today’s researchers to observe.

3 Handy Snacks for Healthy Teeth on the Go

Life is busy, and sometimes families need to snack while away from home. But, you don’t have to sacrifice your oral health just because you’re snacking on the go. Here’s our favorite handy snacks for those eating away from home.

Nuts

Nuts are another handy snack that promote a healthy mouth. Nuts are rich in protein, which helps to build stronger teeth. Chewing nuts promotes saliva production that naturally protects and cleans your teeth by clearing the mouth of debris and acid buildup that can lead to cavities. Nuts are a great healthy alternative to potato chips, or other salty snacks that your kids may crave.

Apples

Apples are high-fiber fruits, which naturally clean teeth as they’re being eaten! Apples scrub your teeth, gums and tongue as they’re being eaten because of their fibrous texture – particularly the skin. This helps fight plaque buildup, and helps remove surface stains from teeth. Apples also fight bad breath by removing traces of bad plaque and residue from the back of the tongue. We suggest adding apple slices into your child’s diet as a dessert substitute. Keep the skin on the apple slices, so that your child gets all of the oral health benefits.

Cheese

Cheese is high in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. But the benefits of cheese don’t end there. It also contains a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and helps to prevent cavities. Try adding a couple of slices of cheese to your child’s lunch every day to give them more calcium and casein. Or, you can buy them string cheese since it is a fun snack that kids love to eat!

Don’t Forget to Pack Water

Water is one of the best tools for keeping mouths clean, especially fluoridated water, which helps make teeth more resistant to acidic foods. When preparing a snack for your child on the go, grab a water bottle instead of a juice box or sugary soda. Also, encourage your kids to swish water around in their mouth after they’re done snacking. Swishing water can help remove debris caught in their teeth that can lead to enamel loss, and acid buildup.

A Healthy Diet Helps Teeth

A mouth-healthy diet is an important part of maintaining optimal oral health. If you’re concerned about how your child’s diet may be affecting their teeth, then bring them into our office. We can discuss healthy, delicious dietary options that kids love, and strengthen teeth.

4 Keys to a Healthier Mouth this Year

2019 is here, and with it comes a new year to tackle oral health success! Here’s our keys to a healthier mouth this year.

1 – Enjoy a Mouth-Healthy Diet 

Fibrous fruits and vegetables actually scrub teeth as they are being consumed, which helps remove bad mouth bacteria that lead to cavities and tooth decay. When eating fibrous fruits and vegetables, be sure to wash them thoroughly and leave the skin on – which is a huge source of fiber. Good sources of fiber are: apples, kiwi, berries, bananas, carrots and celery.

The general rule of thumb for mouth healthy food is the more fiber and water content, the better!

2 – Drink More Water 

Saliva naturally cleans the mouth, and a dry mouth will likely lead to halitosis – which is basically ongoing bad breath. Nobody wants to have bad breath, but halitosis can be combatted by adding more water to a diet, which will keep saliva flowing and naturally clean teeth of food debris and excess sugar.

3 – Floss Daily 

Brushing twice per day is a great way to clean most of the surface area of teeth, but it doesn’t clean all of it. The AAPD recommends that everyone floss once per day, and to floss between every tooth. Flossing clears food debris from the cracks between teeth. Food debris can fuel bad bacteria that cause plaque buildup and cavities. Try to floss with your child at first, so that you can show them the ropes. Once you’re confident that they can do it on their own, implore them to floss nightly before bed. 

4 – Visit Our Office Every Six Months 

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) suggests that children visit the pediatric dentist every six months to ensure that they are keeping their mouth as clean as possible. This regular checkup allows dentists to check on any potential oral health issues, and gives parents a chance to learn more about the overall health of their child, and how they can improve their oral health. Missing a checkup appointment can allow untreated oral health problems like cavities and tooth decay to worsen into more serious ailments that are more difficult and costly to fix.

The Perfect Mouth-Healthy Stocking Stuffers

Stocking are usually hung with care and full of sweet treats that aren’t exactly great for teeth. But we have some recommendations for our favorite mouth-healthy stocking stuffers that can give your child a leg up on oral health this holiday season.

Toothbrush

Toothbrushes should be replaced every 3-4 months, depending upon the health of the bristles, which makes Christmas the perfect time to resupply your child’s toothbrush stock! When choosing a toothbrush, try to find one that is easy for your child to hold, and that will comfortably fit into their mouth. You’ll also want to find one with soft bristles that won’t be agitate their gums and look for the ADA seal of approval to ensure that you’re buying one that has been thoroughly evaluated and approved by a respected institution. Toothbrushes are perfect stocking stuffers to help your child keep their mouth healthy during the holidays!

Sports Guard

Mouth guards are composite inserts that act as a cushion for teeth and the facial area. Mouth guards – sometimes called mouth protectors – work by helping cushion a blow to the face, and minimizing the risk of broken teeth, or lacerating a lip, tongue or cheek. The great thing about mouth guards is that they come in every shape, color and size. If your young athlete is playing sports next year, then protect their teeth by getting them a proper mouth guard.

Dental Floss Picks

It can be difficult to get young brushers to understand the importance of flossing, and the act of flossing can be tough for children with small, uncoordinated hands. But there is a solution that can get young children to floss more regularly: floss picks. Floss picks are small, toothpick like devices that have a string of floss mounted on a handle that makes it easier for people to floss. Floss picks come in large packs of 50 or 100 and are ideal for getting new flossers to floss regularly.

Children’s Book about Teeth: Just Going to The Dentist

Sometimes, it can be difficult for young children to visit the dentist. They may be anxious about meeting strangers, or afraid of dental care in general, but it’s important to remind them how essential and important it is to visit the dentist every six months. Mercer Meyer’s “Just Going to the Dentist” is the story of a young critter visiting the dentist for the first time and explores some of the common tools and procedures in a regular dental checkup to help dispel fears of visiting the dentist. This book is perfect for young children that have anxiety about visiting the dentist and does a great job of explaining why it’s important to schedule a regular checkup.

Gum Sweetened with Xylitol

Instead of candy canes or chocolate bars, try stuffing your child’s stocking with something that tastes great AND cleans teeth – gum sweetened with Xylitol! This mouth-friendly gum benefits teeth because Xylitol stimulates saliva production. Saliva works to clean teeth by naturally clearing debris that can buildup and cause cavities. It also regulates oral acid levels and helps to prevent plaque buildup which can lead to tooth decay. Saliva is also very high in calcium and can help strengthen enamel – the first line of defense against cavities!

Have a Healthy Holiday Season!

We hope that your family has a happy and healthy holiday season, and that you all take care of your oral health over the break. If your child has an extended break, then schedule an appointment in our office for a regular checkup. The holidays are a great time to get ahead on your children’s oral health.

5 Important Vitamins and Minerals for Healthy Teeth

You may wonder to yourself “what makes something mouth-healthy,” or, “how can I tell if something is healthy for my teeth and gums?” Well, below is a list of our favorite vitamins and minerals for healthier teeth and gums.

Calcium

Calcium is one of the most abundant minerals in the body and it aids in a number of processes, including building and maintaining strong teeth and bones. Calcium can be found in dairy products like milk and cheese, and we strongly suggest getting calcium from cheese. That’s because cheese has a protein called casein, which is vital for building strong tooth enamel.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a strong antioxidant that helps heal gums, and fight gum inflammation. It does this by helping the body produce more collagen, which aids in cell repair and expedites the healing process. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruit like oranges, grapefruit and kiwi. However, all of the fruits are very acidic, so be sure to rinse your mouth out with water after enjoying them.

Magnesium

Magnesium is a fantastic mineral for overall health, and it plays a critical role in building strong teeth and bones. Magnesium helps the body absorb calcium, which is critical to building strong teeth and tooth enamel. You can find magnesium in nuts, whole grains, beans, seeds and dark leafy vegetables.

Vitamin A

One of the absolute best vitamins for overall oral health is vitamin A. That’s because it helps keep saliva flowing, which naturally cleans teeth of damaging acids and prevents dry mouth. Vitamin A also promotes the healthy mucous in the mouth that coats cheeks and gums, which makes them less susceptible to infection and disease. Foods that are rich in vitamin A are carrots, eggs, sweet potatoes and fish.

Vitamin D

Without adequate vitamin D, the healthy power of calcium is severely diminished. Vitamin D acts as a communicator, and signals the intestines to absorb calcium into the bloodstream. Adequate vitamin D and calcium make bones and teeth denser and far stronger, which helps prevent fractures and cracks. You can find vitamin D in eggs, fish and dairy products like cheese and fortified milk.

A Mouth healthy Diet is Critical to Oral Health

One of the best ways to care for your teeth and mouth is by getting the right nutrition. Visit our office to talk more about the importance of a mouth-healthy diet, and how the right diet can improve your family’s oral health.

The Ultimate Tooth Care Kit for Holiday Vacation

Thanksgiving gives families the chance to travel across the country to visit loved ones from afar, and enjoy collecting around a table to eat an incredible feast. If your family is traveling this Thanksgiving, be sure that everyone packs the right oral health kit to take care of their teeth while away from home.

1 – Tooth Brush & Travel Case

Everyone should brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time. When traveling, buy a small travel case or cover for the toothbrush to keep the head clean and the bristles in good shape while it is stowed away.

2 – Tooth Paste

You can’t really brush your teeth without toothpaste, so toothpaste is a must for any traveler. Look for a travel-sized tube that can easily fit in a small storage bag, and check to make sure that the toothpaste contains has the ADA seal of approval. Finally, children should avoid whitening toothpaste, which can contain harmful abrasives that can scrub away enamel.

3 – Dental Floss

Brushing only cleans about 1/3 of the total surface area of teeth, which leaves most of the teeth unclean. When creating your tooth care kit, pack dental floss and make sure to floss once per day, and clean between every space in their teeth. You can purchase travel floss, or a set of floss picks for easy flossing on-the-go.

4 – Tools For Oral Appliances

Oral appliances require special care to keep them clean of food debris, and operating properly. If you or a family member has an oral appliance, be sure that they pack a proxabrush, which is a tool designed to clean teeth and oral appliances. Proxabrushes are similar to toothbrushes and have a cone-shaped head with fine bristles.  

Also, those with oral appliances can floss their teeth with the help of a floss threader, which provides a way to floss behind brackets and in-between teeth, where food debris constantly gets stuck.

Incorporate Oral Health Into Your Schedule 

Vacations can, surprisingly, be tight on time. When planning a vacation, schedule a 10 to 15-minute window for the whole family to take care of their teeth, every morning and night. By blocking off a time in advance, you set clear expectations with your family that oral health time is serious, and everyone will plan on attending.

Try to make it a fun activity in the morning and the evening with your kids! Talk about what you enjoyed that day and what you’re looking forward to on the rest of your vacation. Having more than one person involved with your brushing routine will give you and your family members more accountability and make you more likely to stick with it. 

How Native Americans Cared for Their Teeth before the First Thanksgiving

The toothbrush was first invented and popularized in Europe, so how did Native Americans care for their teeth before being introduced to the toothbrush?

Healthy Dietary Practices

The Native Americans were expert hunters and gatherers, and were able to survive completely off of the land. Their diet consisted mostly of corn (maize), beans, squash, fish and game. They would eat this food largely unaltered by spices that were more prominent in Europe. They also ate a lot of fresh fruit and nuts, which help to keep plaque off of teeth! Because of their fresh diet that was high in fiber, Native Americans had surprisingly well-maintained teeth and gums.

Natural Toothcare Techniques

Native Americans cleaned their teeth by using chewsticks and chewing on fresh herbs to cleanse their teeth and gums. Chewsticks were twigs that had two uses: one end was frayed by a rock and used for brushing, while the other end was sharpened and used as a tooth pick. Native Americans would chew on the frayed end to clean debris from their teeth.

In addition to chewsticks, early Native Americans would also chew on pine needles to clean debris from their teeth. They also chewed fresh herbs like sage, cucacua and mint to freshen their breath. 

Plenty of Water

Native Americans drank a lot of water before the Spanish arrived in North America. Water is the perfect drink for a healthy mouth because it cleans teeth of food debris, which prevents acid attacks on tooth enamel and keeps cavities at bay. Furthermore, water makes up 99% of saliva, and the mouth uses saliva to clean teeth and maintain a healthy ph balance.

Keep Thanksgiving Mouth-Healthy

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to gather with your family and eat incredible food, and watch a lot of football. But, you can learn a mouth-health lesson from the original Native Americans: you can improve your thanksgiving meal by adding fibrous fruits and vegetables, which clean teeth as they’re consumed.

From our office to your family, have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving! 

5 Halloween Costumes that are all about Teeth

Halloween is such a fun time of year for communities to celebrate the changing season, and for children and families to get into costume. This year, we thought we’d share our favorite Halloween costumes that are all about teeth.

1 – Tooth Fairy 

Our favorite dental character, the Tooth Fairy, makes an excellent costume choice for any young child going trick-or-treating this year! Tooth Fairies get to wear wings, a crown and carry an awesome wand or staff that can also feature a tooth!

 Dentist 

Many children admire their dentist! A dentist costume is easy to assemble, and you can make it more fun by grabbing a funny dental facemask. You can buy scrubs for children at most costume stores.

3 – Teeth 

There wouldn’t be any dentists without teeth! You can buy teeth costumes of all sizes and shapes, and you can accessorize your child’s costume with toothbrushes, dental floss, or toothpaste!

 Vampire 

One of our favorite Halloween characters is the vampire! Vampires make great costumes for kids, and give them the chance to have some fun with sharpened teeth. We advise getting your child an upper mouth guard that features fixed vampire teeth, and avoiding vampire teeth caps, which can become dislodged and accidentally swallowed.

5 – The Oral Health Family 

Our favorite costumes are ones that get the entire family involved, so why not dress up as the oral healthy family? This themed costume involves you and your children dressing as toothpaste, a toothbrush, a tooth, and floss, or a combination of those four.

Think Mouth-Healthy this Halloween 

Halloween is an excellent time to meet your neighbors, and for your children to gather heaps of candy. But, candy is terrible for teeth, so be sure that you are in charge of their candy consumption, and prevent them from binging on candy or eating candy right before bed. Additionally, make sure that your child maintains a positive oral health routine this holiday season.  

Try These Mouth-Healthy Halloween Treats Instead of Candy

Halloween is full of candy and treats for children and families to share and enjoy. But, most of the treats being shared on Halloween are packed with sugar, and are terrible for teeth. Here’s some mouth-healthy alternatives for parents to consider passing out this Halloween.

Pumpkin Seeds

Halloween treats don’t have to be sweet all of the time. Pumpkin seeds are an excellent healthy snack to enjoy during Halloween, and they are great for teeth! They contain a high amount of fiber, which helps scrub teeth clean of leftover food particles. You can buy pumpkin seeds in a variety of flavors, and most come in small snack packs that are perfect for handing out.

Clementines

Clementines look like miniature Oranges, and are a sweet citrus snack that can improve oral health. Thats because Clementines are full of vitamin C, which is a strong antioxidant that helps heal gums, and fight gum inflammation. It does this by helping the body produce more collagen, which aids in cell repair and expedites the healing process. Clementines are the perfect size for little hands, and give you an easy way to share a healthier snack this Halloween.

Squeezable Yogurt Tubes

Yogurt is a dental super food, and can be sweet and quite kid-friendly! Yogurt is packed with calcium, which helps build strong teeth and bones, and can improve the strength of tooth enamel. Squeezable yogurt tubes offer kids a great way to enjoy a mouth-healthy treat that comes in all sorts of flavors.

Dark Chocolate

Rejoice, chocolate fans! There is a type of chocolate that is mouth-healthy, and easy to share this Halloween. Dark chocolate contains polyphenols, which are natural chemicals that limit the buildup of bad oral bacteria. Polyphenols also help prevent bacteria from turning sugar into acid, thereby limiting acid attacks and keeping enamel healthy. Try to find dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa to get the most oral health benefits.

Bonus! Non-Edible Halloween Treats

You don’t have to pass out sweets or candy this Halloween at all. You can share non-edible treats like plush toys, stickers, glow sticks, bubbles, or temporary tattoos, among other things. Children enjoy small toys, so consider adding some to your Halloween bowl to share this year.

Urge Oral Health Routines this Halloween

As your family enjoys Halloween treats this year, be sure to urge a proper oral health routine. Have your children brush their teeth twice per day for two minutes at a time, and floss once per day. Be safe and enjoy your Halloween from everyone here in our office!

Which Mouthwash is Right for My Children?

We get many questions in our office about the best ways to help children get a healthy smile that last a lifetime. Today, we’re going to cover some key point about mouthwash, and how different types offer different benefits.

Mouthwash is Versatile and Diverse

First, you have to narrow down what you’re helping your child accomplish by adding mouthwash into their oral care routine. Are you looking to clear up bad breath? Do you want to help reduce tooth decay or strengthen enamel? If you know what you want to get from a mouthwash, then you’ll be better prepared to choose the right one for your child.

Cosmetic Mouthwash

There are two types of mouthwashes available: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwash gives your mouth a clean, pleasant taste and reduces bad breath. However, cosmetic mouthwash treats the symptoms of bad breath, and acts as more of a masking agent that overcomes bad breath.

Therapeutic Mouthwash

Therapeutic mouthwash helps treat tooth decay, prevent gingivitis and reduces plaque buildup. Therapeutic mouthwash may not freshen your breath as well as cosmetic mouthwash, but it will help fight the causes of bad breath. Before using any therapeutic mouthwash, or incorporating it into your children’s oral health routine, call our office and schedule an appointment.

Children’s Mouthwash?

There are many mouthwashes specifically designed for children to use, and most of them do not contain any alcohol. Mouthwash for children is usually therapeutic and takes care of bad breath. These mouthwashes also come in kid-friendly flavors, and feature many of their favorite cartoon characters and superheroes. Children’s mouthwash helps fight cavities, and can help improve enamel strength.

When buying your child‘s mouthwash, be sure that the product contains the ADA seal of approval. This will help you find a mouthwash that has been rigorously tested and approved by a legitimate association that advocates for oral health.

When Can Children Use Mouthwash?

Mouthwash should not be used by children ages six and under. However, in some instances mouthwash may be prescribed for a child under the age of six, but that only occurs in special cases.

Consult Our Office

Mouthwash can be an effective tool for any person to add to their oral health care routine. If you have any questions about mouthwash, and the type that’s right for your child, then ask us during your next visit.