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GEOFFREY JACKSON, DDS
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12/5/2019 5:00:02 PM

THE TOOTHBRUSH HAS CHANGED a lot over the last century, and we consider ourselves very lucky that we don’t have to use animal hair as bristles. However, there are now so many different toothbrush options to choose from that it can be a little intimidating trying to find the perfect one.

Bristle Firmness

Conventional wisdom would suggest that the harder you scrub, the cleaner you get. That might be true with household chores, but we need to be a little more gentle on our teeth and gums. Brushing too hard can actually scrape away enamel and damage gum tissue — increasing your risk of gum recession, which can be permanent. This is why it’s typically better to use a toothbrush with soft bristles.

Electric or Manual Toothbrush?

When electric toothbrushes first hit the scene, there wasn’t much difference in their effectiveness compared to that of manual toothbrushes. The technology has come a long way since then. Modern electric toothbrushes actually can do a better job of cleaning the plaque out of hard-to-reach spots.

A good electric toothbrush will reduce plaque levels by up to 21 percent more than a manual toothbrush, as well as reducing the risk of gingivitis by 11 percent. With an electric toothbrush, you’ll also have an easier time brushing for the full two minutes and you’ll be less likely to brush too hard.

Sonic or Oscillating?

Even if you decide you want an electric toothbrush, there are still a lot of options to choose from, but don’t worry too much. Oscillating brushes (the ones with spinning tops) and sonic brushes (the ones that vibrate side to side) are both great ways to get a cleaner smile. And you can always ask us for a recommendation at your next appointment!

Toothbrush Storage

Having the world’s best toothbrush won’t do you much good if you don’t store it the right way, because an improperly stored toothbrush is a breeding ground for all the bacteria you just scrubbed off your teeth. Make sure to store your toothbrush upright somewhere with enough air flow that it can fully dry between uses — preferably far away from the toilet.

In addition to proper storage, it’s important to replace your toothbrush (or toothbrush head, if you have an electric one) every few months. A dirty, frayed toothbrush is nowhere near as effective as a fresh, new one.

Here’s a nifty way to store your toothbrush if you’re looking for ideas:

Bring Us Your Toothbrush Questions

We want all of our patients to have the best tools for the job of keeping their teeth healthy and clean, but don’t forget that your best resource for good dental health is your dentist! We look forward to seeing you twice a year!

Dental health is all about having good habits, the right tools, and a great dentist!

Top image by Flickr user Electric Teeth 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.



11/28/2019 5:00:55 PM

IF GIVEN THE CHANCE to change something about their smiles, most people would choose to have whiter teeth, and quite a few are willing to try just about anything for it, including something as counterintuitive as scrubbing them with toothpaste made of charcoal.

The History of Charcoal as a Remedy

The activated charcoal-based dental and skin care products that have been popping up everywhere over the last couple of years aren’t entirely a new idea. Hippocrates of ancient Greece (originator of the Hippocratic Oath and often described as the Father of Medicine) recommended using charcoal to treat black gums and bad breath, and ancient Romans made mouthwashes and tooth powders out of burnt goat hooves.

Charcoal and teeth didn’t mix much from then until charcoal products began popping back up in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In the 1930s, charcoal dental cream and gum were advertised as a way to get fresher breath and remove tobacco stains. However, the American Dental Association raised safety concerns that led to the discontinuation of such products.

The Incomplete Logic of Charcoal in Toothpaste

Activated charcoal is actually extremely good at absorbing toxins, so the logic is to put that property to work cleaning teeth. It’s a nice theory, but it misses an important part of the picture. Charcoal is a highly abrasive substance, so even while it absorbs harmful compounds and maybe even helps break up surface stains on teeth, it’s also scraping up the enamel and eroding it away.

Furthermore, it doesn’t only absorb bad stuff:

The Lack of Data to Support Charcoal

Many charcoal-based products boast of the amazing effects they can have on tooth whiteness and breath freshness, but no studies have substantiated any of these claims. On the contrary, one study has shown that tooth surfaces became significantly rougher after just a month of using charcoal toothpaste compared to regular toothpaste. Yikes!

That roughened texture is enamel loss. Once enamel is gone, it’s gone for good, exposing the softer, more yellow dentin underneath and leaving the teeth much more vulnerable to decay. A temporarily whiter smile isn’t worth the long-term effects.

“Natural” Isn’t Always Better…or Safer

Charcoal toothpaste is one of many dubious products riding the tide of today’s “natural” remedies craze. Even though dozens — perhaps hundreds — of charcoal-based dental products now exist, not a single one of them has the backing of the ADA or the FDA. We encourage our patients to wait for the ADA’s approval on any dental health product, charcoal-based or otherwise.

Trust Whitening to the Experts

If you are one of the countless people who would love a whiter smile, there are safe, controlled ways to get it, from in-office whitening to take-home trays to over-the-counter strips. Instead of looking to trendy YouTubers for ideas, talk to real dental professionals who have years of training and experience working with teeth.

Your dental health is our number one priority!

Top image by Flickr user Marco Verch 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.



11/21/2019 5:00:29 PM

THE EXPRESSION “getting long in the tooth” refers to gum recession, but this oral health problem isn’t necessarily connected to age. Gum recession is when the edge of the gingival tissue moves away from the crown of the tooth, exposing the root. The reason we tend to think of it as an age-related problem is that it tends to be so gradual that it takes many years to become noticeable, but it can begin at any age — even in childhood! — for a variety of reasons.

Gum Recession Caused by Genetics

Unfortunately, gum recession isn’t always avoidable, because it can be caused by genetics. Some people simply have more fragile gum tissue or they don’t have enough jaw bone surrounding the roots of their teeth to support the gums all the way up to the crowns. However, other contributing factors are easier to control, so even people who are predisposed to gum recession can still minimize it.

Bruxism: Bad for Teeth, Bad for Gums

Bruxism (chronic teeth-grinding) can cause all kinds of problems for oral health, and one of them is an increased risk of gum recession. Grinding puts a lot of pressure on the gums, and they can’t always hold up under it and begin to recede. The habit of grinding is often difficult to break, particularly for those who grind in their sleep. If you struggle with bruxism, come talk to us. You don’t have to fight this alone.

Overbrushing: Too Much of a Good Thing

Dentists spend so much time encouraging patients to brush their teeth more that you might be surprised to learn that it’s possible to brush your teeth too much. It’s certainly possible to brush them too hard. We call this overbrushing, and it can lead to enamel erosion and gum recession.

This problem is an easy one to avoid. Always keep in mind that brushing teeth is not the same as cleaning tile grout. Soft bristles are better for our gums and tooth enamel than hard bristles, and two minutes twice a day is usually enough. If you’re brushing so hard that your toothbrush bristles rapidly bend and fray within a couple months, it’s time to ease up. The same applies to flossing. Daily flossing is essential, but be gentle on your gums.

Gum Disease Leaves Gum Tissue Vulnerable

Gum disease, particularly in the advanced stages, destroys the supporting gum tissue and bone around teeth. It’s the main cause of gum recession. The best way to fight it is with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental appointments. Professional cleanings are absolutely crucial for maintaining good gum health, because once plaque hardens into tartar, it can only be removed by the dentist. The longer it remains, the more irritation it can cause the gums.

Kids Can Have Gum Recession?

It’s true; even kids aren’t completely safe from gum recession. The causes are the same for adults: improper brushing and flossing (specifically, overbrushing), bad oral hygiene, and teeth grinding. It can also come on as the result of an injury to the mouth. As with gum recession in adults, the best treatment is prevention through good oral health habits.

Let’s Keep Those Gums Healthy!

If you’re worried that your gums may be beginning to recede or you want to learn more about how you can prevent gum recession, schedule an appointment with us! We can help you take care of your gum health and discuss treatment options if needed.

We’re always rooting for our patients!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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.



11/14/2019 5:00:38 PM

TEETH ARE OUR PASSION, and while we spend most of our time focusing on human teeth, sometimes it’s fun to take a look at the truly amazing teeth of the animal kingdom. So today we’re going to hold the olympics of animal teeth, to see which critters win the gold for biggest, strongest, hardest, and most teeth, as well as the teeth that are simply the strangest.

The Biggest Chompers

If we’re talking teeth used for biting, then hippos are the winners. If we’re talking about any kind of tooth, however, then African elephants win easily — unless it’s a question of the ratio of body length to tooth length, in which case the narwhal steals the gold medal. Male narwhals can grow tusks longer than half the length of their entire bodies, yet scientists still aren’t entirely sure what their purpose is.

The Strongest Bite

Having big teeth is great, but how much bite pressure can they use? Enormous tusks are useless in this area. The animal with the strongest bite in the world is the Nile crocodileThese scaly predators can snap their jaws with a whopping 5000 pounds per square inch of pressure. For comparison, we only use at most 200 psi to chew steak!

The Hardest Teeth

The hardest substance ever discovered in nature is the tooth of a limpet (sea snail). They have a tensile strength between 3 and 6.5 gigapascals, breaking the previous record of spider silk at 1.3 GPa. Limpets need super hard teeth in order to chew the algae off of hard rocks. The discovery of the hardness of limpet teeth could lead to technological breakthroughs in materials for construction, protective armor, and even dental fillings!

The Toothiest Jaw

Which animal do you think has the most teeth? Sharks, maybe? While sharks certainly do have a lot of teeth and are continuously regrowing ones that fall out, the answer is actually catfish, with the toothiest species sporting a staggering 9,280 teeth. These are cardiform teeth that look like tiny needles or hedgehog quills, and they’re arranged in rows and rows just inside their lips, angled backward so that once a catfish swallows something, it’s not getting back out.

Special Category: Weirdest Teeth

The gold for weirdest animal teeth has to go to the crabeater seal. These adorable swimmers have teeth that are individually serrated. They almost look like Christmas trees! But don’t worry; they don’t use them to saw through muscle and bone. No, the purpose of the weird shape is simply to strain krill. They take in a big gulp of krill-filled water, then close their teeth and squeeze out the excess water, keeping all that tasty krill trapped inside.

How Long Has It Been Since We Saw Your Chompers?

Do know of any other interesting animal teeth? We’d love to hear about them the next time you come in for an appointment. If it’s been a while since the last time we saw you, give us a call, and make sure you’re keeping up with your daily brushing and flossing in the meantime!

Our favorite teeth will always be our patients’!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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.



11/7/2019 5:00:47 PM

WHAT COMES TO MIND when you hear the word “sugar”? Probably your favorite type of candy or dessert, maybe your favorite soda. You probably didn’t picture barbecue sauce, granola bars, flavored yogurt, or fruit juice, but all of these and plenty more foods you wouldn’t suspect are loaded with sugar. That isn’t great news for our oral health.

Sugar Versus Our Teeth

Why are dental health professionals like us wary of sugar? Simple. The harmful bacteria on our teeth and gums like to eat sugar as much as we do. When they’ve enjoyed a tasty meal from the food fragments that remain in your mouth after a sweet treat, they excrete acid onto your teeth. This acid eats away at tooth enamel and irritates the gums, and if we aren’t careful, it can lead to issues like tooth decay and gum disease.

Learn to Recognize the Many Names of Sugar

If sugar is showing up in foods we don’t think of as sweet, how are we supposed to know? One trick is to check the “added sugars” line on food labels, but you can also identify it in the ingredients list, where it hides behind many different aliases.

The Obvious and the Sneaky

Anywhere the word “sugar” appears, from brown sugar to coconut sugar, from coarse to powdered — it’s all sugar. The word “syrup” is another giveaway. No matter what type of syrup it is, whether high fructose corn syrup or rice syrup, it’s still sugar.

The Deceptive and the Scientific

Some of sugar’s disguises are presented to you in a way to fool you into thinking they’re healthy. These include agave nectar, honey, fruit juice concentrate, evaporated cane juice, and 100 percent fruit juice. Sugar will also hide behind intimidating, highly scientific-sounding labels, but a good way to identify them is by the suffix “-ose.” Fructose, sucrose, dextrose, lactose, maltose, and glucose are all scientific names for types of sugar molecules.

How Much Sugar Is Too Much?

With added sugars hiding in so many of the things we eat, cutting down on sugar can be a tricky business, but it’s definitely worth it both for our oral health and our overall health. The recommendation from the American Heart Association is that women consume no more than 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day, and men 36 grams (9 teaspoons).

Healthy Sugar Alternatives

The way we eat our sugar is almost as important as how much we eat. Whole fruit is much better for us than fruit juice, and that’s because the sugar in fruit is trapped with a lot of water and fiber, so our bodies have a harder time absorbing it. Whole fruit is also more filling, so it’s harder to overdo it than it is drinking OJ with breakfast. This is the difference between natural sugars and processed sugar.

If fruit isn’t enough to satisfy your sweet tooth, you can try sugar-free sweeteners like xylitol, Stevia, monk fruit sweetener, and erythritol come in handy. It gets trickier if you want to bake sugar-free, but you can reduce the sugar in your recipes by substituting some or all of the sugar for applesauce, mashed banana, dates, or figs. And a good way to avoid added sugars is by eating more whole foods.

How Long Has It Been Since We Last Saw Your Teeth?

Cutting down on sugar is one way we can help out our teeth and gums, but it’s not the only way! A great brushing and flossing regimen and regular dental cleanings are key to maintaining good oral health. If we haven’t seen you in more than six months, today’s a great day to schedule your next appointment!

Our patients are the sweetest!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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.



10/31/2019 4:00:23 PM

ROUTINE PROFESSIONAL DENTAL cleanings by your dental hygienist include scaling, or the careful removal of plaque and tartar from around the gumline. Tartar in particular can only be removed at a professional cleaning, as brushing and flossing alone can’t do the trick. However, if you have symptoms of gum disease, your teeth may need an even more advanced cleaning called dental scaling and root planing.

The Effects Of Gum Disease

Healthy gums fit snugly around the teeth, providing a barrier that keeps bacteria away from the roots. When gums become diseased, they begin to pull away from the teeth, forming deeper pockets where bacteria can grow. That’s how plaque and tartar can build up beneath the gumline.

Check out this video for the warning signs of gum disease:

What Is Dental Scaling And Root Planing?

When you brush your teeth, you’re cleaning the visible surfaces. Dental scaling and root planing is a deeper cleaning. Dental scaling gets rid of all plaque and tartar above and below the gumline, and root planing smooths out any uneven areas on the surfaces of tooth roots so that bacteria will have a harder time sticking and gum tissue will be able to heal effectively.

This kind of deep cleaning has been described as the gold standard of treatment for patients with gum disease. To get the gums healthy again, all that gunk needs to be cleaned out, which is what dental scaling and root planing does. While routine scaling helps prevent gum disease, scaling and root planing is a non-surgical treatment for existing gum disease. In cases of severe periodontitis, it may be recommended before gum surgery.

Removing Tartar Is Like Pulling A Splinter

If you’ve ever had a splinter in your finger, you know that getting it out isn’t very comfortable, but as soon as it’s gone, you feel instant relief. Dental scaling and root planing is the same way. It may require multiple appointments and a local anesthetic to eliminate discomfort, but it leaves your teeth and gums feeling wonderful.

Afterward: Taking Care Of Your Gums

Getting your gums healthy again is a process, and the dentist is your best resource. After your periodontal treatment, whether it’s surgical or just scaling and root planing, we’ll want to pay close attention to your gums through regular maintenance visits. Every two to four months, you’ll come in for routine cleanings and examinations where we check the pocket depth of your gums.

Getting Your Healthy Smile Back — And Keeping It!

The best treatment for gum disease is prevention, whether you’ve had it before or not. A good oral hygiene routine is critical, so make sure you’re brushing the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces of your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, replacing worn out toothbrushes, and scheduling regular appointments with us. Avoiding smoking will also help you keep your gums healthy.

A healthy life starts with healthy gums and teeth!

Top image by Flickr user Pedro Ribeiro Simões 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.



10/24/2019 4:00:54 PM

MAINTAINING GOOD DENTAL health isn’t just about the quantity of your brushing — it’s also about the quality. There are several mistakes many of us make when brushing our teeth, whether because we’re using the wrong tools or because we’re using the right tools the wrong way.

1. Keeping A Toothbrush Too Long

How long has it been since you got a new toothbrush? The American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush at least three times a year, because broken, frayed bristles can’t do as good of a job of keeping your teeth clean.

2. Racing Through Your Brushing

The average time people spend brushing their teeth is 45 seconds, which obviously falls far short of the full two minutes recommended. If you’re having trouble making it through two whole minutes, try setting a timer or playing a song.

3. Brushing Too Hard

You might assume that the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth will get, but you really only need gentle pressure to scrub the leftover food and bacteria away. If you brush much harder than that, you risk damaging your gum tissue.

4. Using A Hard-Bristled Brush

Like brushing too hard, using a toothbrush with hard bristles can do more harm than good, especially to gum tissue. Talk to us if you’re not sure which type of bristles your toothbrush should have.

5. Brushing Immediately After Eating

A common mistake people make when they’re trying to take good care of their teeth is to immediately brush them after a meal. Acidic foods and drinks temporarily weaken our tooth enamel, and brushing right away can cause damage. This is why we should wait at least half an hour to brush so that our saliva has time to neutralize things.

6. Poor Toothbrush Storage

Is your toothbrush smelly? Do you store it somewhere it can get plenty of air, or do you put it in a case where it never really dries out? Bacteria love moist environments, so the best thing we can do to keep our toothbrushes clean is to store them upright somewhere they can air dry between uses.

7. Bad Brushing Technique

Even brushing for two full minutes twice a day with the best toothbrush with the perfect bristle firmness won’t do much for your teeth if your technique is off. Remember that you’re brushing to get plaque and food particles out of the gumline, so hold your brush at a 45° angle to the gums and gently sweep the bristles in small circular motions. Do this at least 15 times in each area of the mouth, on the tongue side and outside of the teeth, and don’t forget the chewing surfaces!

Come To Us With Your Tooth Brushing Questions

If you want to learn more about good brushing technique, toothbrush storage, or how to pick the perfect toothbrush for you, just give us a call! We want to make sure that all of our patients have the right tools and knowledge to keep their teeth healthy for life!

We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!

Top image by Flickr user Robert Cupisz 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.



10/17/2019 4:00:33 PM

THERE ARE A NUMBER of reasons why someone might need a new dentist. Maybe their insurance changed, they’re moving to a new area, or they simply haven’t looked for a dentist yet. Whatever the reason, if you don’t already have a dentist, it’s a good idea to choose one now so that you and your family can get regular dental exams and so that you’ll be ready in the event of a dental emergency.

Five Factors To Consider In Your Dentist Search

Many variables play a role when you’re choosing the best dentist for you and your family. How you rank your priorities is up to you, but here are five items that we feel should be on everyone’s list.

  1. The location of the practice is definitely something to consider. How close is it to your home or to your child’s school? Is the distance convenient enough that twice-yearly checkups will be easy? Set up a range based on your answers to these questions and look for dentists inside it.
  2. What is the dentist’s reputation? Within the radius you’re willing to travel, which dentists have the best reputations among their other patients? Find out by checking Yelp and Google, and ask around if you know any of the patients in person. You can also get recommendations from neighbors and friends.
  3. Do you need a dentist with a certain specialization? Do you need a family practice, someone particularly good with kids, someone who specializes in treating gum disease or root canals? Be sure to research different types of dentists to find the one that suits your needs best.
  4. As important as it is to get high quality dental care, cost is an important factor too. What’s your household’s budget for dental care? Do you have dental insurance or can you get it? Keep in mind that preventing dental problems or treating them early will be much cheaper than waiting until they get serious, so slightly greater upfront costs are often well worth the investment.
  5. How comfortable are you around the dentist? It doesn’t matter how affordable and skilled a dentist is if you can’t relax in their practice. Go in for a visit ahead of time to get a sense of the place, the team, and the dentist. Good dentists always prioritize patient comfort.

We Can’t Wait To Meet You And Your Family

Hopefully this list gives you a good place to start in your search for a great dentist, but if you’re still uncertain, come see us! We can answer your questions about our practice and find out if we’re a good fit for you and your family’s dental needs.

We love meeting new patients!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain 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.



10/10/2019 4:00:42 PM

OUR TOOTH ENAMEL holds the distinction of being the hardest substance in our bodies — even harder than bone! But don’t take that to mean our teeth are invincible. As hard as enamel is, it’s also somewhat brittle, so we should be careful to avoid daily habits that attack that weak point. Two of the most dangerous ones are mouth breathing and nail biting.

Nail Biting: Bad For Nails, Bad For Teeth

The most obvious evidence that nail biting is a harmful habit is the shredded, torn nails, but it’s just as bad for oral health, if not worse. Nail biting can erode, chip, and crack teeth. It can shift them, creating gaps, and can even affect the bite, increasing the risk of developing a chronic teeth-grinding habit.

It also introduces all the dirt and germs under the fingernails to the gum tissue, where it can cause gum disease. Possibly the worst thing nail biting can do to the teeth is trigger root resorption, which is when the roots of teeth begin to break down, leaving the teeth in danger of falling out. This risk is even greater for orthodontic patients with wire braces.

Mouth Breathing: Use As Emergency Backup Only

One of the amazing things about the human body is the many redundancies built in so that we don’t lose all function if one thing breaks down. We have two kidneys, two lungs, two eyes, two ears, and two ways to breathe: through our noses and through our mouths. However, we should really try to avoid breathing through our mouths unless breathing through our noses isn’t an option.

Mouth breathing leads to a number of problems, both short and long term:

  • Lethargy. Nose breathing produces nitric oxide, which helps our lungs absorb oxygen. Mouth breathing leads to reduced oxygen levels, leaving you with less energy. For kids, this can make it harder to pay attention at school, while adults may struggle to be as productive at work.
  • Dry mouth. Mouth breathing dries out the mouth, leaving it without saliva, its first line of defense against harmful bacteria. This can lead to issues like chronic bad breath and tooth decay.
  • Sleep apnea. Mouth breathing increases the risk of sleep apnea, which makes it hard to get a full, restful night’s sleep, leading to lower energy and many other problems.
  • Altered facial structure. A mouth-breathing habit in a child can actually affect the way their facial bones develop, leading to flat features, drooping eyes, a small chin, and a narrow jaw and dental arch.
  • Orthodontic problems. Narrowed dental arches will typically not have room for the full set of adult teeth, and this will need orthodontic treatment to fix.

We Can Help You Break These Habits

If you or your child has one or both of these harmful habits and you aren’t sure what you can do to fix it, we’re here to help! Give us a call or schedule an appointment with us, and we can discuss ways to discourage mouth breathing and nail biting so that they won’t continue to endanger your oral health. Meanwhile, keep up with the good habits like twice-daily brushing and daily flossing!

We look forward to seeing you at our practice!

Top image by Flickr user David Merrett 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.



10/3/2019 4:00:53 PM

TOOTH LOSS HAS BEEN a problem people have had to deal with all throughout history, and false teeth have been a solution since at least 2500 B.C.

Dentures Through The Ages

The oldest known false teeth were discovered in Mexico, made of wolf teeth. Millennia later, around 700 B.C., the ancient Etruscans would use gold bands or wire to attach human or animal teeth, and two false teeth made of bone and wrapped in gold wire were found in the tomb of El Gigel in Egypt.

In 16th century Japan, they began to use wood as a material for false teeth. By the 1700s, carved ivory had become a popular denture material, and dentures would be crafted by ivory turners, goldsmiths, and barber-surgeons out of ivory, human teeth, and animal teeth.

The Myth Of George Washington’s Wooden Teeth

The first president of the United States struggled with dental health problems from his twenties on, including toothaches, decay, and tooth loss. In fact, by the time he was inaugurated president, Washington only had one tooth left! The causes of his dental troubles were likely a combination of genetics and the poorly balanced diet of the era.

Washington did indeed wear dentures, but they were never made of wood. First, he had partial dentures made of ivory and wired to his remaining teeth. In 1789, Dr. John Greenwood, a pioneer of American dentistry, fashioned Washington an advanced set of dentures using hippo ivory, gold springs, and brass screws attached to human teeth. He had other sets after this one, and as good as Washington’s dentures were for the time, they still caused him pain and noticeably changed the shape of his face.

One interesting detail about Washington’s dentures is that Dr. Greenwood designed them to make room for that last remaining natural tooth. He is reported to have told Washington that a dentist should “never extract a tooth…[when] there is a possibility of saving it.” 

Look How Far Dentures Have Come!

These days, patients in need of false teeth have much better options than George Washington did. Modern dentures are typically made of plastic or acrylic resin, sometimes porcelain. They can be partial or full, removable or fixed by implants. Missing teeth can also be replaced by individual implants, though this is a more expensive option. As dentistry continues to advance, more and more teeth can be saved through root canal therapy and other efforts. Dr. Greenwood would be so proud!

Modern Dentistry Helps Us Keep Our Teeth

Over 36 million Americans have none of their natural teeth left, but modern dentistry and good oral health habits help us keep our teeth longer. Brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste is essential, as are twice-yearly dental appointments.

Help us help you keep your teeth healthy for life!

Top image obtained through Wikimedia Commons. Portrait by Gilbert Stuart, 1797.

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.



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