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Monday, February 17, 2020

How dentistry has developed over the last 300 years

When you visit a modern dental surgery, its hard to imagine the challenges of dental treatment without all the latest technology.
Yet specialists have been taking care of peoples teeth for thousands of years.
Here are some of the key developments over the last 300 years.
1723: French surgeon Pierre Fauchard – credited as being the father of modern dentistry – publishes the first book to describe a comprehensive system for the practice of dentistry.
1760: John Baker, the earliest medically-trained dentist to practice in America, immigrates from England and sets up practice.
1790: John Greenwood adapts his mothers foot treadle spinning wheel to rotate a drill.
1790: Josiah Flagg, a prominent American dentist, constructs the first chair made specifically for dental patients.
1832: James Snell invents the first reclining dental chair.
1841: Alabama enacts the first dental practice act, regulating dentistry in the United States.
1844: Horace Wells, a Connecticut dentist, discovers that nitrous oxide can be used as an anesthesia and successfully uses it to conduct several extractions in his private practice.
1880s: The collapsible metal tube revolutionizes toothpaste manufacturing and marketing.
1890: Willoughby Miller notes the microbial basis of dental decay in a book which started a world-wide movement to promote regular toothbrushing and flossing.
1896: New Orleans dentist C. Edmond Kells takes the first dental x-ray of a living person in the U.S.
1938: The nylon toothbrush, the first made with synthetic bristles, appears on the market.
1945: The water fluoridation era begins when the cities of Newburgh, New York, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, add sodium fluoride to their public water systems.
1950s: The first fluoride toothpastes are marketed.
1960: The first commercial electric toothbrush, developed in Switzerland after World War II, is introduced in the United States. A cordless, rechargeable model follows in 1961.

Monday, February 10, 2020

Dry mouth is a common problem that can harm your teeth

If your saliva flow is reduced, this can cause dry mouth which often leads to increased tooth and gum problems.
Dry mouth known as xerostomia – is a common problem especially among older adults. Its caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.
The common problems associated with dry mouth include:
– Constant sore throat
– Burning sensation
– Problems speaking
– Difficulty swallowing
– Hoarseness or dry nasal passages
When there is not enough saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, there is a risk of extensive tooth decay.
If you are at risk from this condition, your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture.
For example, sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses.
As dry mouth is a potential side effect of many prescribed and over-the-counter medications it is a very common problem.
These medications can include antihistamines, decongestants, painkillers, high blood pressure medications, muscle relaxants, drugs for urinary incontinence, Parkinsons disease medications, antidepressants and many others.
Fortunately there are many simple solutions available to reduce the risk to your oral health caused by dry mouth so talk to your dentist if you are on any kind of medication or you feel you may be at risk from this issue.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Action steps to prevent gum disease

Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in adults but it can be prevented or reversed if you take the right steps.
Its caused by plaque a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.
However, you can help avoid gum disease by caring properly for your teeth and having regular dental checkups. These are some steps you can take to keep your teeth and gums healthy:
Brush your teeth well twice a day: This removes the film of bacteria from the teeth. Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush that is in good condition. Toothpastes and mouth rinses containing fluoride strengthen the teeth and help prevent decay.
Clean between your teeth every day: You need to remove the bacteria and food particles that a toothbrush can’t reach so you should clean between your teeth with floss or interdental cleaners every day. Your dentist will show you how to do this properly without injuring your gums.
Even if you already have early stage gum disease, it can often be reversed by daily brushing and flossing.
Eat a balanced diet: A good diet based on a variety of foods from the basic food groups, such as grain products; fruits; vegetables; meat, poultry and fish; and dairy products will help your teeth. Its also a good idea to limit snacks between meals.
Visit your dentist regularly: To prevent gum disease, its important to have regular dental checkups and professional cleaning.
Taking the right steps will help you avoid gum disease and can even reverse it if you catch it in the early stages.

Monday, January 27, 2020

How sedation and general anesthesia can make your visit to the dentist easier

While local anesthetics are often used in dental treatment, there is sometimes a need for anti-anxiety agents – such as nitrous oxide – or sedatives to help people relax during dental visits.
Dentists may use these agents to induce “minimal or moderate sedation”.
In this case, the patient reaches a relaxed state during treatment but can respond to speech or touch.
Sedatives can be administered before, during or after dental procedures by mouth, inhalation or injection.
More complex treatments may require drugs that can induce “deep sedation”.
This reduces consciousness and causes a loss of feeling which helps to reduce both pain and anxiety.
Sometimes patients undergo “general anesthesia” where the drugs lead to a temporary loss of consciousness.
A dentist may recommend deep sedation or general anesthesia for certain procedures with children or with adults who have severe anxiety or for people who have difficulty controlling their movements.
While these techniques to control pain and anxiety are used to treat tens of millions of patients safely every year, its important that you let your dentist know anything that might affect your ability to benefit from them for example, tell them about any illnesses or health conditions, whether you are taking any medications and if you’ve had any problems with allergic reactions to medications.

Monday, January 20, 2020

Taking care of your teeth and gums during pregnancy

Your oral health is an important part of your overall health, and this is never more true than during pregnancy.
Good oral health habits not only help prevent oral problems during pregnancy, they also help the health of your unborn child.
What you eat during your pregnancy affects the development of your unborn child — including teeth.
Eating a balanced diet is necessary to provide the correct amounts of nutrients to nourish both you and your child.
Your babys teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, so it is important that you receive sufficient nutrients especially calcium, protein, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and D.
There is a common myth that calcium is lost from the mothers teeth during pregnancy.
In fact, the calcium your baby needs is provided by your diet, not by your teeth. If your diet does not provide enough calcium, your body will provide this mineral from stores in your bones.
If you have an adequate intake of dairy products the main source of calcium or take any supplements your obstetrician recommends this will help you get the calcium you need.
To help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque. Be sure to clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
Make regular visits to your dentist during your pregnancy to ensure the best possible health for you and your baby.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Making your teeth look better with veneers

Everybody wants the best smile possible and there’s no need to have it spoiled by gaps in your teeth or by teeth that are stained or badly shaped.
Whether the problem was caused by nature or by an injury, you may be able to have a veneer placed on top of your teeth to restore or improve your smile.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells crafted from tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front side of teeth.
Your dentist will usually make a model of your teeth and the veneers will be made by a specialist dental technician.
A small amount of enamel has to be removed from your teeth to accommodate the shell so having veneers is usually an irreversible process.
In order to make the most of your veneer, your dentist may suggest that you avoid foods and drinks that could discolor them, such as coffee, tea or red wine.
It’s also possible that veneers might chip or fracture.
But, for many people, veneers are well worth it as they give them a completely new smile.

Monday, January 6, 2020

Choosing the right mouthwash to meet your needs

These days many people like to use a mouthwash and there is a huge range of options to choose from.
The key to choosing the right one for your needs is being clear about what you are using it for.
Many people opt for mouthwash because they want to have fresh breath.
But many mouthwashes contain alcohol which can cause the mouth to dry. It’s best to minimize the chances of suffering from dry mouth as it can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
Therefore if you want fresh breath, a breath spray or drops may meet your needs better.
Another reason for using mouthwash is when you’ve been told you have a gum disease such as gingivitis. In this case, you’ll need to choose a mouthwash that contains ingredients known to kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis.
If you like to use a mouthwash that improves your oral health, use one that contains fluoride.
Read the directions of your mouthwash and make sure you spit it out.
Don’t assume that the most expensive mouthwashes are best. Think carefully about your needs and check the ingredients.
Your dentist will be able to advise you on the best choice of mouthwash.