A toothbrush is a lot like a pen or a pencil. It’s something so common, and its use so ingrained in our daily lives, that we don’t even think about it. It’s just there. Yet a toothbrush is one of the most important implements in our society, and it’s certainly the singular most important piece of equipment in your bathroom for your oral and overall health. Today, our Mansfield dentists, Dr. S. Blair Jones and Dr. D. Seth Harris, offer some facts about the handy dandy toothbrush.
Just the Facts, Ma’am
- The first toothbrush was made in 1498 in China. The handle was made of bone or bamboo and the bristles were fashioned from the hairs off the neck of a boar.
- Boar hair was used to make bristles for toothbrushes until 1938.
- William Addis, of Clerkenwald, England, made the first mass-produced toothbrush in 1780.
- H.N. Wadsworth was the first American to obtain a patent for a toothbrush. It was obtained in 1857. Mass production of the toothbrush in America wouldn’t come until 1885.
- Dupont de Nemours introduced the first nylon-bristled toothbrush in 1938. Americans were influenced by the strict hygiene practices of the military during World War II and soon became quite concerned with oral hygiene and health.
- Always replace your toothbrush after a cold, the flu, or other illness.
- Americans spend more than $850 million on toothbrushes each year.
- Blue toothbrushes are the most popular color. Red is number two.
- The first electric toothbrush was sold in Europe in 1956. It crossed the pond to the United States in 1959.
- The average person only brushes his or her teeth for 45 to 70 seconds, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. You should brush for two to three minutes.
- Women brush their teeth more than men.
- Keep your toothbrush away from your toilet. When you flush, toilet particles can travel up to six feet. (more…)
If you have suffered tooth loss, there are multiple options to replace the missing teeth and restore your smile. One option is a dental bridge. Using existing teeth or implants, a dentist can literally build a bridge to fill the gap caused by one missing tooth, or a few teeth in a row. Today, our Mansfield dentists, Dr. Blair Jones and Dr. Seth Harris, share some facts about dental bridges.
Bridging the Gap
A bridge is comprised of two crowns on either side of a gap and a false tooth, or teeth, between the crowns. The teeth used to anchor the bridge are called abutment teeth and can be either natural teeth or implants. The false teeth are called pontics. Bridges can restore your smile, provide support for cheeks and lips, and prevent existing teeth from drifting. Furthermore, replacing lost teeth will improve your chance for retaining your remaining natural teeth. (more…)
“You have a cavity.” It’s the one of the things patients least likely want to hear during a dental checkup. For one thing, it means you’ll probably have to get it filled, and, on another note, it means you might not have been as diligent in your oral hygiene regimen as you should have. Some people are just more prone to getting cavities, like those with deep grooves in their teeth, but there are some things you can do to prevent cavities. Today, our Mansfield dentists Dr. Blair Jones and Dr. Seth Harris want you to know what you can do to prevent cavities.
What Causes Cavities?
Your mouth is full of bacteria. Some of these bacteria are helpful, but other harmful bacteria gather on the enamel of the teeth and start to grow. Additional bacteria attach to this bacteria and mixes with proteins in your saliva to form a sticky, whitish film called plaque. Plaque combines with sugars in the foods and beverages we consume and creates acids that eat tooth enamel, causing cavities.
Don’t Feed the Beast
One way to reduce your risk of cavities is to avoid foods and drinks high in sugar and/or acids. Soda is just about the worst thing for your teeth. It’s loaded with sugar and acids. Even diet drinks are terrible for teeth because the artificial sweeteners are acidic and erode tooth enamel. Starchy foods, though not sweet, are quickly broken down into sugars that in turn begin the tooth decay process. (more…)
An estimated 80 percent of Americans have some form of gum disease, also called periodontal disease. It ranges in severity from gingivitis to full-scale periodontitis. If discovered in its early stages, gum disease is reversible, but it is a chronic condition that can lead to other health problems. Our Mansfield dentists Dr. Blair Jones and Dr. Seth Harris want you to know the facts about periodontal disease.
Gum Disease Basics
- Gum disease is an infection that typically begins with inflammation and reddening of the gums, the soft tissue surrounding your teeth. This is caused by a buildup of dental plaque around and below the gum line. While many people exhibit symptoms, in some people, none are present.
- Hormone fluctuations, use of an albuterol inhaler for asthma, and alcohol and tobacco use can increase the likelihood of developing gum disease. However, it is preventable. A proper oral hygiene regimen, including brushing, flossing, and regular visits to Mansfield Dental Associates can reduce your risk of developing gum disease by keeping your teeth plaque and tartar-free.
- Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It can be treated with daily brushing and flossing, in addition to dental visits, but once you develop gingivitis, you are at a higher risk for recurrence. If patient’s gum disease progresses past the point of gingivitis, a deep cleaning by a dentist will be required to remove tartar from below the gum line.
A Slippery Slope
Gum disease starts small but can develop into a serious problem that can lead to lead to bone and tissue necrosis and tooth loss, and it can also put you at greater risk for other systemic diseases. The best way to ensure your gums stay healthy is to visit our Mansfield dentists every six months for cleanings and checkups. (more…)
Did you know diabetes can affect your oral health? If you are one of the more than 24 million Americans living with diabetes, Mansfield dentists Dr. S. Blair Jones and Dr. Seth Harris want you to know about the correlation between chronic high blood sugar and oral health problems.
Diabetes is a lifelong disease that can cause blurry vision, excess thirst, fatigue, and frequent urination. It can affect the kidneys, nerves, and mouth. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics are at a greater risk for tooth decay because there are more bacteria in their saliva when their diabetes isn’t controlled. Diabetes can also lower the body’s ability to fight infection and pave the way for periodontal disease to develop. Diabetic patients should call Mansfield Dental Associates if they observe red, swollen, or tender gums, chronic bad breath, a bad taste in the mouth, teeth that are loose or separating, or changes in tooth alignment.
Diabetes can cause dry mouth, which increases the risk for tooth decay and gum disease, as well. This is because there is less saliva to wash away germs and the acids they create. Chewing sugarless gum or drinking water can reduce dry mouth. While gum disease is the most common diabetes-related complication, Oral candidiasis, a fungal infection in the mouth, is also more prevalent in people with diabetes. If a diabetic patient smokes, has high blood glucose levels, or takes antibiotics, oral candidiasis is more likely. (more…)
At Mansfield Dental Associates, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris like to educate patients about preventive dentistry. Today, more people than ever are retaining their natural teeth for life. However, in some cases, teeth must be replaced. For some, this means having a permanent bridge or a removable partial. For others, it means wearing full dentures.
The Problem with Dentures
Upper dentures can be secured with natural suction on the roof of the mouth or with denture adhesive. Lower dentures rely on adhesive. The lining of a denture is custom fitted to the ridges on a patient’s gums. Over the years, friction between the denture linking and gums wears down ridges. Without stimulation from teeth roots, jawbone tissue degenerates, only compounding the problem. In most cases, a denture must be regularly relined to fit properly. When the gums become smooth and have no ridges, even properly fitted dentures can slip out of place. This is a common problem with lower dentures.
Dental implants provide an anchor for dentures. The base of an implant, the post, is secured into the jaw. Bone naturally fuses to the implant, effectively supporting the implant so that it mimics a natural tooth root. Typically, a denture is attached to four strategically-placed dental implant posts. When snapped in place, an implant-retained denture won’t slip, slide, or loosen. No adhesive is required, and with proper care, implants can last a lifetime. However, dental implants require healthy, dense jawbone tissue for successful integration. For patients who’ve experienced jawbone deterioration, bone grafts may be necessary prior to placement of traditional dental implants. At Mansfield Dental Associates, Dr. Jones offers another option: Mini Dental Implants, or MDIs. (more…)
General knowledge dictates that candy and other sugary treats harm your teeth. But do you know what types of foods and drinks can help your teeth? Your Mansfield dentists, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris, want you to know that plenty of delicious foods and drinks exist that will help your teeth stay strong!
Green Tea – Because it contains fluoride, this beverage helps protects teeth against decay. The tea leaves also possess an antioxidant plant compound called polyphenols, which stops plaque from sticking to your teeth, thus reducing your chance for cavities and gum disease.
Cheese – Its high calcium and phosphate content helps balance your mouth’s pH levels and strengthens tooth enamel. Plus, cheese promotes saliva flow and aids in the destruction of harmful oral bacteria.
Apples – Along with other crunchy fruits and vegetables, apples have a high water content, which offsets the effects of the sugars they contain. Apples also contain vitamin C, which helps maintain healthy gum tissue. (more…)
As emerging research suggests a strong connection between oral health and total wellbeing, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris strive to provide our patients with education on how to preserve their oral health. Are you an oral health whiz? If you’re a fan of trivia, take the short quiz below to test your knowledge.
Oral Health Quiz
1. How often should you visit the dentist?
a. When I have time
b. Once a year
c. Every six months
d. When I have a toothache
2. How long should you brush your teeth?
a. Thirty seconds
b. Two minutes
c. Five minutes
d. None of the above
3. Which of these symptoms may indicate gum disease?
a. Gums that bleed easily
b. Gum tissue that appears red or purple
c. Loose teeth
d. All of the above (more…)
Is smiling more of a chore than a natural habit? If so, is it because your teeth are yellowed or stained? If you feel that your smile has an overall dull appearance, your Mansfield dentists, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris, have a solution. With two different teeth-whitening options, they can help you achieve the bright white smile of your dreams.
Zoom! Whitening System
This revolutionary teeth whitening system is perfect for people who desire immediate results. Zoom! Whitening involves a light activated, hydrogen peroxide-based gel that safely removes stains from tooth enamel and dentin. Best of all, the whole process only takes about one hour, during which time you can watch television, listen to music, or even doze off! Once Zoom! has worked its magic, a five-minute fluoride treatment is all that’s left before you can go home—or back to work—with your beautiful pearly whites. (more…)
While regular dental visits are extremely important, sometimes your dentist may notice something that needs special attention. In this case, your dentist would refer you to one of the following dental specialists. Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris of Mansfield Dental Associates explain the different types of dental specialties below.
Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS)
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform surgeries of the mouth, face, and jaw. Post-dental school, these specialists undergo four to seven years of medical and surgical training.
Periodontal is defined as surrounding or encasing a tooth and can refer to all of the structures that support the teeth, including the gums, cementum, periodontal ligaments, and jawbone. Thus, periodontists diagnose and treat gum disease. For example, if your gums had dramatically receded in a certain area, you may be referred to a periodontist for a graft. This is a procedure in which the missing gum tissue is replaced in order to prevent future tooth loss and uncomfortable sensitivity.
Have you ever had a root canal? If so, you may have gone to an endodontist, a dental specialist who treats abnormalities of dental pulp, which is the soft, nerve-filled tissue in the center of the tooth, and periapical tissues, which are found in the apex, or tip, of the tooth’s root where it meets the jawbone.
The job of an orthodontist is to prevent mouth, teeth, and jaw problems from becoming worse by ensuring that the teeth stay straight and the jaws line up correctly. Orthodontists correct misaligned teeth and jaws by fitting their patients with helpful devices such as braces and retainers. (more…)