Recent studies have revealed that there is a strong correlation between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Gum disease, which is referred to by dentists as periodontitis, is when the space between your teeth and gums becomes infected, creating pockets of bacterial infection Continue reading The Link Between Gum Disease & Heart Disease
The best way to maintain a healthy smile for a lifetime is great dental health habits. Here are a few hacks to your daily routine beyond the usual brushing and flossing that can help prevent tooth decay. Continue reading 3 Dental Care Hacks to Keep Your Smile Healthy
Teeth whitening is one of the quickest & least invasive ways to make a huge difference in the appearance of your smile. Most dentists offer either in-office teeth whitening, take-home teeth whitening kits, or both. The effectiveness of these whitening methods varies slightly, but the way they work is generally the same. Continue reading How Teeth Whitening Works
The modern toothbrush has only been around for about 90 years, but it is the latest in a long evolution of tools to fight tooth decay, stretching back thousands of years and involving a whole range of flora and fauna!
Pre-History – Chewing on Sticks
Long before our ancestors used toothbrushes to ward off tooth decay, people chewed on sticks or twigs to clean their teeth. The earliest chew sticks found date back to 3500 B.C. in Mesopotamia and a tomb from 3000 B.C. in Egypt. Archeological finds also indicate that people used bird feather quills and porcupine spines to pick and clean their teeth.
Chew sticks are still around in the Middle East and northern Africa in the form of miswaks (also called siwaak or sewak). A miswak is made from twigs from the Salvadora persica tree (or arak in Arabic), which is easily frayed to form a brush-like tip at one end. In addition to being an alternative to the toothbrush for cleaning teeth, these sticks are part of pious ritual for many Muslims.
Bone & Bristle Toothbrushes
The next evolution in anti-tooth decay tools came from China, where the first actual toothbrushes were invented. During the Tong Dynasty around the years 600-900, the first bristled toothbrushes appeared. They typically had handles made from bone or bamboo and had bristles made from the stiff hair of northern hogs.
This Chinese invention of bristled toothbrushes eventually made it to Europe in the 1600s. Europeans changed the design by replacing hog hairs with horse hair, which were softer and therefore preferable.
The first mass produced toothbrush was designed by William Addis of England in 1780. (It was around this same time that being a dentist became a formally recognized medical profession, which some scholars correlate with the rise in sugar in European diets due to colonial trade.) Addis actually created the first prototype from a piece of bone when he was briefly in prison! After gaining his freedom, he started mass producing the toothbrush, eventually passing the business on to his son. Their Wisdom Toothbrush company was family owned until the 1990s and still produces modern toothbrushes in Europe.
20th Century Innovation
The next big innovation in toothbrushes came with the invention of nylon by the Du Pont chemical company in the 1930s. From then on, most toothbrushes were made with softer nylon bristles. Not only were they more pleasant to use and easier on the teeth, they were less likely to harbor bacteria like old-fashioned bristles made from animal hair.
The next big invention in toothbrush technology came with addition of electricity. The first electric toothbrush was invented in 1954 and became available in the United States in 1960. Like modern electric toothbrushes, the earliest ones involved a motor that vibrated the brush, supposedly enhancing the action of the bristles.
Who knows what the future of toothbrushing holds (maybe toothbrushing robots!). What every dentist (and patient) knows is that if you stick to using a soft bristled toothbrush (replaced every 3 months) to brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, there are healthier smiles in your future!
Sept 24–Sept 30 Watch the Houston Dynamo vs Minnesota United FC Soccer game at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Saturday, September 30, 2017.
We know that for most of our patients, their favorite part of a dental cleaning is how smooth and clean their teeth feel afterward, not to mention how shiny they are. Tooth polishing has long been part of the dental checkup routine Continue reading Is Tooth Polishing Necessary?