A Brief History Of Dental Floss

TODAY, FLOSSING IS A staple of oral hygiene and health. But have you ever wondered when we started flossing? You might be surprised by the answer. 

Flossing Is An Older Concept Than You Might Think

While we don’t know the exact beginnings of flossing, it looks like as long as food has been getting stuck in our teeth, we’ve used some type of interdental cleaner. Discoveries have been made that suggest cleaning between teeth was practiced as early as the Prehistoric period!

Did you know that even some species of monkeys practice flossing? This has been most prominently observed in Thailand. Long-tailed macaque monkeys have been known to pull out hair from their human visitors and use it as floss! They have also been observed flossing with coconut fibers or twigs. Mothers even take the time to teach their young how to floss properly!

The First Dentist To Recommend Flossing

Floss as we know it today was developed around 200 years ago. In 1815, an American dentist named Levi Spear Parmly introduced the idea of using waxen silk thread as floss. In his book called “A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth,” he stated that the silk thread should be run “through the interstices of the teeth… to dislodge that irritating matter which no brush can remove and which is the real source of disease.”

Unfortunately, flossing didn’t catch on right away. Victorian’s were more interested in toothpicks than putting their hands in their mouths to pull thread through their teeth. Charles Dickens–along with many other wealthy gentlemen of the time–owned a retractable toothpick engraved with his initials and ornamented with ivory. Fancy!

Over Time, Flossing Slowly Gained Popularity

It wasn’t until the mid-20th century that flossing became more widespread. During World War II, Dr. Charles C. Bass, known as “The Father of Preventive Dentistry,” developed nylon floss, noting that it was more elastic and durable than silk. After the war, flossing became much more mainstream.

Keep Up The Good Work And Floss On!

For the most part, floss today is still made of nylon. But now, there are a lot more options than there used to be such as dental tape, waxed floss or woven floss. There are pre-threaded floss picks and floss threaders for orthodontic patients; there are even devices that floss your teeth with water or air!

All in all, it doesn’t much matter what you use to floss, what matters is that you do! Correct daily flossing can make all the difference in your oral health and is one of the simplest ways to prevent tooth decay. So, since human beings have been cleaning between their teeth for centuries, all we have to say is keep up the good work, and floss on!

Thank you for choosing our practice!

Top image by Flickr user Photos by S.Harrison/UofL used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Your Kids Will Love Flossing With GumChucks®!

WE’VE SAID IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN… flossing is essential for a healthy mouth! But it’s not always the most enjoyable task of the day, especially for kids. If you’re looking for an easier way to help your kids floss–and have fun while they’re at it–we’ve got just the product for you!

GumChucks® Make Flossing Easy And Fun

GumChucks are a flossing system that’s designed to not only make flossing easier for your kids, but also help them floss correctly. And when your floss looks like miniature nunchucks, there’s no doubt some fun will ensue!

Here’s why we love GumChucks:

  • Functional design promotes correct “C” shape flossing technique as recommended by the American Dental Association
  • The two-handled system makes flossing easy for kids with limited dexterity
  • Long handles make for a more sanitary flossing experience–no need for hands in the mouth
  • No more pain from floss-wrapped fingers
  • Creative designs, colors and characters makes flossing more fun for kids

Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in children, so when a product comes along that gets kids excited about their oral health, we get excited too!

Get Flossing, Kids!

Just like you, we want your child to have a lifetime of happy, healthy smiles. The earlier children start looking forward to daily flossing, the better their future oral hygiene habits will be. And that’s the best part about GumChucks–it gets kids flossing! So what are you waiting for? Get your kids some GumChucks today!

We love that the handle is reusable and helps reduce waste!  Also, the GumChucks for teens with braces is well worth it, there is nothing harder than flossing around those brackets and GumChucks makes it quick and easy.

We love our patients! Thank you for supporting our practice.

Top image by GumChucks®. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Get Screened For Oral Cancer

WHEN PEOPLE GO TO THE DENTIST, it’s generally because they have a toothache, they need some dental work done, or they want to get their teeth cleaned. But this month being Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want to emphasize more than ever how important regular, twice-yearly dental exams are. Of course, your dentist will make sure you don’t have any cavities, but what you may not realize is that regular dental exams could actually save your life.

What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer

Some people think oral cancer is rare, but here are the facts: approximately 132 individuals are diagnosed with oral cancer each day in the United States alone, and someone dies of oral cancer every hour. It is a particularly deadly cancer–only about half of oral cancer patients survive five years past their initial diagnosis. But what we really want you to remember is that early detection saves lives. When oral cancer is detected early, survival rates increase by 80 to 90 percent!

Be Aware Of The Risk Factors

Certain lifestyle activities can put you at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Familiarize yourself with these risk factors:

  • Tobacco use–Smoking and other tobacco use makes you three times more likely to develop oral cancer
  • Alcohol consumption–Drinking alcohol more than doubles your risk of oral cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure–Frequent and prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays increases your risk of developing lip cancer
  • Age–Two-thirds of individuals with oral cancer are over age 55

While knowing the risks can help us prevent oral cancer, it still occurs in people without any of the above risk factors. In fact, it is becoming increasingly more prevalent among non-smoking, healthy individuals. The reason for this shift is the rise of HPV, or human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted infection. Individuals with HPV are 32 times more likely to develop oral cancer–even more so than tobacco users.

Get Screened Regularly At Routine Dental Exams

Oral cancer often begins as a painless sore in the mouth. We encourage doing frequent self-checks at home as well as visiting your dentist regularly, where you will receive routine oral cancer screenings. Come and see us immediately if you experience any lumps, white or red patches, numbness, or a sore that doesn’t heal within two weeks in and around the mouth and throat.

As dental professionals, we are the first line of defense against this awful disease. Next time you’re in our office, ask us more about how we screen for oral cancer. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

Help Us Raise Awareness

Unfortunately, we don’t hear as much about oral cancer as we do other cancers, and many people are unaware of their need to get screened on a regular basis at routine dental exams. As your trusted oral health care providers, we want to change that. Help us spread oral cancer awareness this month by sharing this post with your friends and loved ones.

We love being the dental practice you trust! Thank you!

Top image by Flickr user John Ragai used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Don’t Be Fooled By Fruit Juice

EVERY CHILD LOVES sugary treats! But most parents understand how bad they can be for a developing smile. Unfortunately, some sweet things are more deceiving than others. As your trusted dental team, we’re here to make sure your kids can get the nutrients they need to have strong, healthy and beautiful teeth!

Fruit Juice Contains A Lot Of Sugar

It’s not always easy getting little ones to eat their fruits and veggies. Many parents turn to juice as an alternative to help them get some of the nutrients they need. While there are nutritional benefits to fruit juice, it can also be really hard on teeth.

Fruit juice, even if it’s all natural, contains a lot of sugar. What’s worse is that many fruit juices, especially those marketed for children, have added sugar in them. And even though fruit juice is often touted as a healthy alternative to soda, the majority of them contain just as much sugar as soda, sometimes even more! And as you well know, sugar is the number one culprit behind tooth decay.

Unfortunately, sugar isn’t the only problem–fruit juice is also very acidic. The combination of sugar and acid can pack a mean punch: while acid weakens tooth enamel, sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria and contributes to decay. Needless to say, this can be extremely bad for young, developing teeth!

Follow These Steps To Protect Your Child’s Teeth

The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children one to six years old should have no more than four to six ounces of fruit juice per day. When you give your child fruit juice, follow these five tips to help protect their teeth from decay:

  1. Don’t let them sip throughout the day. Have your child drink fruit juice all at once instead of throughout the day. Tooth decay is more about how long sugar comes in contact with the teeth and less about how much. This means that parents should avoid putting juice in sippy cups.
  2. Dilute it with water. This is an easy step to protect your child’s teeth from damage.
  3. Drink at mealtime. More saliva is produced when eating a meal, helping wash away sugar left by juice and remineralize tooth enamel. Chewing food also helps to physically remove sugar adhering to teeth.
  4. Use a straw. Using a straw will reduce the amount of sugar and acid that comes in direct contact with teeth.
  5. Rinse with water. Offer your child water after drinking juice to wash away any remaining sugar.

In general, it’s better to eat fruit than to drink it. The fiber in whole fruit slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, so it’s not only better for your child’s teeth, it’s also better for their body.

Check out this video to learn more about baby bottle tooth decay and the negative effects of sugary drinks on your child’s smile:

Your Child’s Smile Deserves The Best

Fruit juice and soda may be what your child requests, but milk and water are much better choices. They’ll thank you later in life for healthy, cavity-free teeth! After all, your child’s smile deserves the best… not necessarily their taste buds!

Thank you for trusting us with your child’s dental health!

Top image by Flickr user Zhao ! used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.