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.

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.

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! 

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!

Are You Prepared for a Dental Emergency?

When it comes to raising children, parents have a lot on their plates. In order to help parents prepare for their rigorous duties, we’ve outlined a few common dental emergencies, and how you can handle them.

How to Handle Your Child’s Dental Emergency

First, stay calm and assess the severity of your child’s injury. Any blow to the head should be taken very seriously, and you should thoroughly evaluate your child and decide if they need to go to the hospital.

Toothache

A toothache is a common problem that people of all ages experience. The best to way to treat them is by cleaning the affected area of the tooth. Rinse out their mouth with warm water, and floss near the tooth to dislodge any debris. If their pain persists for more than a day afterwards, then contact us at the office.

Knock out Baby Tooth

Contact us! Unlike a permanent tooth, the baby tooth should not be replaced due to possible damage to the developing permanent tooth.

Knocked out Permanent Tooth

If possible, locate the tooth and rinse it with water only. Do not clean the tooth with soap, and only handle it by the crown, not by the root. After you have rinsed it off, store it in a plastic bag  or cup filled with milk, or your child’s saliva, not water. After storing the tooth, take your child to their pediatric dentist so that they can reinsert the tooth. If you want to keep the tooth, it is important that they see us as soon as possible.

Tools needed: cool clean water, Ziploc bag/cup, milk, clean gauze.  

Chipped or Fractured Permanent Tooth

Time is an important factor to restore a chipped or fractured permanent tooth. Have your child rinse out their mouth with water to reduce the chance of infection. If you have a piece of the fractured tooth, keep it in a bag or glass of milk and bring it to our dental office as soon as possible.

Tools needed: cool clean water, Ziploc bag, milk, clean gauze.  

Oral Cuts

First, rinse out their mouth with cool, clean water. If there is bleeding, apply gentle pressure with a gauze or cloth. If the bleeding can’t be controlled, then call the doctor or visist the emergency room.

Tools needed: cool clean water, clean gauze or clean cloth.  

Blow to the Head

If your child suffers any sort of head injury, it is important that you call 911 immediately. Take your child to the nearest hospital or emergency room to get them the necessary medical treatment.

Tools needed: clean warm water, floss.  

Visit Our Office

Dental emergencies happen, but the best way parents can prepare is by establishing a reliable dental home for their family. We would love to have your family join ours, so schedule an appointment with our office! We offer stress-free first visits that help ease anxious young children that are new to visiting the dentist.

Bruxism can Cause Major Tooth Damage – but It can be Beat

You’ve heard of cavities and tooth decay, but there’s a more subtle oral health ailment afflicting nearly 30% of children today – bruxism. Here’s what parents need to know about the problem, and how they can help their children beat it.

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is more commonly known as teeth-grinding, and a surprising number of children suffer from it – around 3 in 10. Teeth-grinding usually occurs while children are asleep, and it can become a dental problem if left unchecked. Regular teeth-grinding can wear down tooth enamel, reinforce improper bite patterns, and leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay.

What Causes Bruxism?

Bruxism can be caused by a number of external factors, including stress, anxiety, hyperactivity, and reaction to medication. Some children grind their teeth to relieve anxiety, and most are often unaware of it until the next morning.

Symptoms of Bruxism

Bruxism can cause headaches, earaches, facial pain and bite and jaw problems. Continual teeth-grinding can also lead to tooth enamel loss, and leave teeth more susceptible to cavities and tooth decay. Those suffering from bruxism will often report jaw and tooth pain, particularly in the back molar area.

How to Treat Bruxism

Since the root of bruxism is varied, it can be hard to locate the exact cause. If your child is particularly stressed or anxious, try to decrease their stress right before bed by doing some stretching, or yoga. Or, encourage them to take a relaxing shower, or hot bath to help them ease into bedtime.

If your child’s teeth-grinding is ongoing, then their dentist may prescribe a night guard to protect their teeth and mouth. A night guard helps ease the pain of tooth grinding, and protects tooth enamel from being worn away.

Does Your Child Have Bruxism?

If you’re concerned that your child has bruxism, then visit our office. A trained dentist will evaluate your child’s mouth to determine if they suffer from bruxism, and provide a treatment plan based upon their findings. Untreated bruxism can harm your child’s oral health, and cause them to lose sleep, and negatively affect their performance at school.

8 Fun Facts about Flossing!

Flossing is an important part of a proper oral health routine, but most people would rather go shopping for groceries than floss! To help make flossing fun, we found some of our favorite facts about floss to share with you! 

1 – Flossing removes food debris and plaque that is wedged in the hard to reach areas between teeth. This plaque buildup can lead to cavities and cause bad breath. 

2 – To floss properly, you need to use between 18 and 20 inches of floss. This helps ensure that you have enough clean floss to use, and that it is firmly grasped while in use.

3 – Irregular flossing can lead to bleeding sensitive gums, but keep flossing! If you floss consistently, the bleeding will eventually subside.

4 – Did you know that you can buy floss in just about any flavor? The most popular flavors are mint, cinnamon, and bubblegum, but you can buy more obscure flavors like wasabi or even bacon!

5 – Brushing only cleans around 70% of the surface area of teeth, leaving the cracks and spaces between teeth uncleaned. Flossing helps scrub the remaining spots, and gets teeth 100% clean!

6 – The two main types of floss are monofilament, and multifilament floss. Monofilament floss is made of plastics and rubber, while multifilament is mainly composed of nylon and silk. 

7 – People with orthodontic devices like braces can floss too! Floss threaders and proxabrushes are great ways to helps people wearing braces remove food debris from between their teeth, and stuck in their brackets or orthodontic equipment.

8 – Waxed floss is easier to slide between closely spaced teeth. If your teeth are very close together, we suggest flossing with thin waxed floss. 

Visit Our Office 

Summertime is the perfect time to bring your family into our office for a quick oral checkup. We’ll evaluate the state of your children’s teeth, and provide a treatment plan that works for them and prepares them for a mouth-healthy school year. Call our office today to schedule your appointment.  

All About Spit: How Saliva Cleans Teeth

Spit may seem like a gross subject, but it’s actually quite fascinating! The truth is, saliva plays a pivotal role in cleaning teeth, and maintaining overall oral health, making it worthy of a further look.

What is Saliva?

Saliva is a liquid made of water, mucus, proteins, minerals, and an enzyme called amylase made by the salivary glands in the mouth, cheek, and tongue and lips. It is mostly comprised of water, which makes drinking water critical for maintaining adequate levels of saliva needed for oral health.

The Problem: Food Left over in the Mouth 

Food debris left on teeth can cause some serious problems for oral health. Sticky, starchy food like bread, sticky granola bars, chips, or gummy snacks will expose teeth to sugar for longer periods of time, and cause a sustained acid attack on tooth enamel. After tooth enamel has eroded, teeth become much more susceptible to decay and cavities. To prevent sustained acid attacks, food debris needs to be washed away from teeth and gums.

How Saliva Helps 

Saliva helps prevent cavities from forming, and aids in protecting against gum disease. It naturally cleans teeth by washing away bits of food debris and preventing a prolonged acid attack on tooth enamel. Saliva also contains antimicrobial agents that help combat bad bacteria that fuels cavities.  

Saliva also keeps the mouth at a healthy ph balance, and without adequate saliva, cavities and gum disease can occur much more easily.

Saliva is Mostly Water 

Saliva is 99% water, so drinking water is the best way to stimulate saliva production. The amount of water a person needs everyday varies, but eight, 8 oz glasses of water everyday is a good place to start. Talk to your doctor about how much water you and your family members need to stay adequately hydrated.

Routine Oral Care is Best 

Adequate saliva production is a great way to help keep teeth clean, but it is no substitute for proper, routine oral care. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry advises that everyone brushes their teeth twice per day, for two minutes each session It can be tough to convince your child to brush for the full two minutes, but there are some fun ways to help them achieve better brushing results. Go Online to find tooth-brushing videos for children.

Call our office to schedule an appointment for your child so that we can checkup on the state of their mouth. The summer is a great time for a quick visit that won’t cut into their valuable class time.  

The Weird History of Fake Teeth

Dental history is a winding story of tools and gadgets that helped humanity get healthier teeth. But, what happened when someone in the ancient world lost a tooth too soon? Here’s the odd history of fake teeth.

Old Animal Teeth 

The oldest dentures ever recorded date back to around 2500 BC, and were found in Mexico. Excavators estimate that the ancient dentures were made of wolf’s teeth, specifically, wolf molars. However, they were unable to confirm the specific animal origin of the false teeth.

Early Italy 

The Etruscans are famous for their many advances in medicine and science, and they also applied their focus to dental care. Around 700 BC, the Etruscans figured out a better way to replace teeth: by using gold wire to hold false teeth in the place of missing ones. The fake teeth were often human, or animal teeth.

Japanese Wooden Dentures 

Many methods similar to the Etruscans’ were popular until the 16th century, when Japan invented wooden dentures. These wooden dentures were made by taking softened beeswax and making an impression of the person’s teeth. Then, an artisan would hand carve teeth to match the impression, and then set the new teeth on a soft mouth guard made of beeswax.

Porcelain Hits the Scene 

France was making huge advancements in dental technology in the 18th century. In 1728, Pierre Fauchard wrote about crafting false teeth from wire brackets and hand-carved animal bone. In 1774, Alexis Duchâteau made the first porcelain dentures. While they looked aesthetically pleasing, the pure porcelain was prone to chipping and cracking.

Improved Porcelain 

In 1820, a jeweler and goldsmith named Claudius Ash made a huge advancement in denture knowledge and craftsmanship. He decided to mount porcelain on 18-karat gold plates with gold springs and swivels. This reinforced the porcelain, and resulted in dentures that work well and looked natural. 

Modern False Teeth 

In the 20th century, acrylic and rubber compounds were introduced into the construction of false teeth. Modern dentures are constructed of a blend of acrylic resin, metal, and sometimes porcelain. Now, modern consumers can purchase either partial or complete dentures, depending upon what their dentist recommends. Most sets are so meticulously built that they are easily mistaken for real teeth.

How to Keep Your Smile Healthy on Vacation

Summer time vacations can be a great time to get away with your loved-ones for some crucial family time. But, a jam-packed Summer schedule can leave us with less time to take care of our teeth at home, which is why we’ve decided to help families keep their smiles healthy while on vacation! 

Drink Water

Water is one of the best tools available to keep teeth naturally clean, and maintain a healthy oral ph balanceIt also helps ensure that saliva is produced, which aids in ridding the mouth of damaging acids and food debris. Also, swishing water helps remove food caught in teeth that can lead to enamel loss and acid buildup. When travelling away from home, be sure that everyone drinks plenty of water. 

Make Time for Oral Care

Vacations can, surprisingly, be tight on time. When planning a vacation, schedule a 10 to15-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.  

Pack the Essentials! 

1 – Tooth Brush

Everyone should brush his or her 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.   

 Dental Floss

Brushing only cleans about 1/3 of the total surface area of teeth, which leaves most of the teeth unclean. Try to get everyone 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 – Xylitol Gum

Chewing gum that is sweetened with Xylitol is a great way to freshen breath, and help protect enamel after a meal. Gum sweetened with Xylitol can helps enamel by stimulating saliva production that clears teeth of residual acid from a recent meal.  

Visit Our Office

We love helping busy parents find solutions that keep their families’ oral health in focus. Schedule an appointment with our office so that we can thoroughly evaluate your child’s mouth, and provide them with oral health tips and treatment options that work to build a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.