Healthy people tend to take their teeth for granted. It is easy to maintain oral health by spending five minutes a day flossing and brushing. But teeth and gums offer more health knowledge than just as instruments for chewing food. They provide an early warning system for the most serious of illnesses. “Chernoffisms” are a collection of quotations from ‘Dr. C’ that inspire patients to do their dental diligence.
Toothbrushes & Toothpaste
Dental Technologies have come a long way, resulting in better, more efficient oral healthcare for patients. Here is a brief history of dental technology, followed by the newest advancements in dentistry today.
While early populations used small sticks or twigs to clean teeth, the Europeans adapted the bristle brush by the 17th century. The electric toothbrush was introduced to the USA in 1960.
Early recipes of toothpaste included powdered fruit, talc, and dried flowers. Many concoctions, unfortunately, dissolved tooth enamel. The toothpaste that we are familiar with today made it’s first appearance in the 1800s and was made with soap and chalk. By 1956, Crest toothpaste with fluoride was first introduced. Today, toothpaste is composed of water, abrasives, fluoride, and detergents.
Fluoridated Drinking Water
Introducing fluoride into the water supply can help fight tooth decay. Testing has shown that fluoride reduces the incidence of cavities by approximately two-thirds. In 1951, the United States Public Health Service urged the country to fluoridate public drinking water. The ideal ratio for reducing decay without damaging teeth is one part fluoride per one million parts water. Today, more than 60% of Americans have access to fluoridated drinking water.
The Roaring 19th Century
In 1840, Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris invented modern dentistry by founding the first dental school: the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery. They awarded the DDS degree and created the first professional dental society.
Current Issues in Dentistry
As we look to improve the status of oral health care in the US, it is important to continuously integrate dentistry into the concept of comprehensive, total-body health care. Researchers are investigating the notion of growing new teeth and used computer-assisted technology for diagnosis and treatments. We must promote health on a community level!
Advancements in Dental Technology
CAD/CAM: Computer Assisted Design/Computer Assisted Manufacture: This technology allows for the design of dental restorations that resemble natural teeth. It is commonly used for bridges, inlays/onlays, veneers, and crowns. First, an image called a dental impression, is taken and an image is projected with a computer. Software is able to create a virtual restoration that will ultimately be used to improve your smile.
Air-Abrasion: Air-abrasion is a great dental advancement over the dental drill as it allows precise removal of decayed teeth without the use of a local anesthetic. The air-abrasion system uses blasts of pellets of air and aluminum oxide to treat tooth problems such as cavities.
How often do you replace your toothbrush? According to the American Dental Association, you should get a new toothbrush every 3-4 months. Bacteria and bent bristles can decrease the effectiveness of your daily brushing.
Your old toothbrush can harbor bacteria for quite some time, so if you have had another person use your toothbrush or are back to your full health after sickness, it’s a good idea to sanitize your toothbrush to maintain your health.
If you’re concerned about the growth of bacteria on your toothbrush, be sure to keep your toothbrush in a ventilated area.