Mandatory Toothbrushing? (Here is a reprint of an article from the NY Times Magazine from last weekend)

19 02 2013

Who Made That Toothbrush?

Jens Mortensen for The New York Times
By PAGAN KENNEDY
“I don’t have any of those toothbrushes that went to the moon,” says Dr. Ben Swanson, former president of the American Academy of the History of Dentistry. He was speaking from his basement, where he stores his trove of 40,000 artifacts related to dental history. Swanson once dreamed of owning every kind of toothbrush in existence, but ended up stockpiling only a few hundred. “I had to give up because there were so many of them,” he says. In fact, it would be nearly impossible to collect every specimen; the toothbrush is one of the most reinvented of human objects, with thousands of patents on file.

The story starts in China during the Middle Ages, when people began grooming their teeth with animal bristles. Legend has it that centuries later, William Addis, generally recognized as the first to patent the toothbrush, served time in Newgate prison in London, where he whittled down a bone and stuck it full of bristles.

Even when toothbrushes migrated to the corner store, many people preferred to rub their teeth with a rag. As late as the 1920s, “many Americans did not brush their teeth,” Swanson says. One reason is that those early toothbrushes could tear up your mouth — the tip of a boar bristle, under a microscope, resembles a spear. By the 1940s, synthetics offered a solution. One ad trumpeted: “For years, only hog bristle made fine tooth brushes. Then Science made round-end Prolon” — its soft bristles were designed to preserve the gums.

The advent of plastics also meant that toothbrushes could take any shape imaginable. And so brushes jingled and hummed tunes. They arrived on the drugstore shelf enshrined in hermetic tubes. They boasted “anti-soggy” bristles.

Asked to pick a favorite toothbrush from his collection, Swanson says he’s fond of a model that cleans both sides of the teeth at once. “You remember the Reach toothbrush with the angled head?” he says. “One year they came out with a brush that had two heads.” But the design failed to catch on. In the world of toothbrushes, apparently, two heads are not always better than one.

BRUSH HEAD

Vermin Supreme, a performance artist, has run for president many times; he espouses “mandatory-toothbrushing laws.”

You often carry a giant toothbrush to scrub away the decay that clings to public monuments. I’ve scrubbed many, many landmarks. I scrubbed the Kremlin back in ’98. We had a mandatory-toothbrushing parade; we had the text of the mandatory-toothbrush law translated into Russian. And we had like 30 Russians; we had musicians; we had the giant toothbrushes. The police came and told us to stop, and we stopped. It was a beautiful thing.

So what would these mandatory-toothbrushing laws involve? Secret dental police. Government-issued toothpaste containing an addictive yet harmless substance. Computer-dental-chip implants to keep track of you and your children for your protection. For too long this nation has been suffering a great moral and oral decay.

Over the last 25 years, you’ve pushed lots of politicians to answer tough questions about oral hygiene. That’s right. When I asked Bob Dole if he supported mandatory-toothbrushing laws, his response was, “As long as it’s locally controlled.”

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





DENTISTRY OF THE FUTURE

18 02 2013

dentistry of the future

There are dentists who are tooth mechanics and gum gardeners, and there are also dentists who evaluate the entire body and evaluate the relationship between the teeth and the rest of the body.  Some dentists understand that in order to make an impact and positive changes in a persons health, that they must be an active participant in their health care. There are dentists who really understand that it makes a difference what materials you use in a patient’s mouth, and the total impact it has on their body.  These holistic/ whole body dentists practice dentistry in a slightly different manner.  Some of the characteristics that distinguish this type of dentistry are the following:

1.            The patient must be an active participant.  “Doctor” means teacher; it is up to the doctor or any healing practitioner to help educate the patient, in order that the patient can make the decisions regarding their treatment.  Today health is more of a consumer product.  The patient and/ or the insurance company pay for a commodity, namely health repairs, which are to be supplied with very little input from the patient.

2.            Treatment should above all, do no harm.  Much of orthodox medical/dental treatment neglects this very important tenet, either by dispensing toxic drugs on a chronic basis, or by implanting toxins in the mouth.  Often more harm is done than if nothing had been undertaken.  Natural therapies attempt to rid the body of toxic substances and assist the body in healing.

3.            The body has a natural, innate desire to be in a state of homeostasis.  The chronic use of drugs suppresses symptoms and does not act curatively.  Natural therapies do not work o this suppressive level, but rather gently push and assist the body towards homeostasis.

4.            A person is more than a physical being.  He or she is more than can be measured by our inventions, which are extensions of our five senses- for example a microscope.  A person is a spiritual, electro-dynamic, energetic, psychological being, who thinks and feels.

5.  Disease is not a name; it is also not something localized which can therefore just be cut out, i.e. a cancer of the breast.  The cancer which is localized to a portion of the breast is a disease of the entire person.  It is a degradation of the entire immune system, or possibly a hyper functioning of the entire immune system.  It involves not just some localized tissue, but rather the entire being, especially at the “other body” level.

6.  Diet is what’s eaten; nutrition is what’s effective.  To e effective, food must be in a form which is vibrant.  It must be full of energy, and not dead.

The future of medicine and dentistry is exciting.  The use of a device like the Star Trek Tricorder for diagnosis is on the near horizon, and one can envision the day when disease will be remedied by exposure to different vibratory waves, audible and non-audible.  Imagine placing a metal implant in the mouth, and altering its electromagnetic frequency so that it can exist harmoniously within your energy field.  You have a dead tooth?  NO problem, exposure to another specific frequency will impart a new vibrational pattern, so that it does not interfere with the meridian it is on.

That is the future of dentistry.

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





EIGHT BENEFITS OF TOOTH BRUSHING-THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR TEETH

11 02 2013

brushing

We are all aware that brushing your teeth on a regular basis prevents cavities and keeps you smiling.  But there are many other surprising benefits, including these eight that don’t have to do with your teeth!

  1. According to a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, participants who did not brush on a regular basis had a 65 percent greater chance of developing dementia compared to those who did brush.  So don’t forget to brush!
  2. A study in the American Journal of Medicine found that regular brushing decreases the chance of stroke!  Wow – two very serious diseases can be curtailed with good oral hygiene.  And the list goes on…
  3. As any dentists, hygienist or physician can tell you, regular brushing (and flossing) helps to prevent gum disease.  But you may not know that along with causing stinky breath and unattractive smiles, gum disease is a major indicator of heart disease and the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.
  4. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology has shown that increased brushing decreases the risk of respiratory diseases such as pneumonia and COPD.  Why, Bacteria which form on the teeth make their way into the lungs and respiratory tract, wreaking havoc along the way.
  5. Dental researcher Dr. Caitia Gazola has shown that having healthy teeth and gums increases the chances of having healthy babies, while dental disease can cause underweight pre-term babies.  And men- you aren’t off the hook!  WE strongly suspect that not brushing your teeth regularly can exclude you from the whole pregnancy process!
  6. Prevention Magazine has reported that regular brushing can help you maintain a healthy weight!  Why? Brushing your teeth indicates to your brain that mealtime is over.  Plus – food just doesn’t taste as good with squeaky clean teeth!
  7.  Okay guys – here’s your turn.  Several studies have shown that men with poor oral hygiene are at greater risk for erectile dysfunction.  Scared yet???
  8.  Have a heart – a healthy one that is!  The American Journal of Medicine has linked dental health with heart attack risk.

So if clean teeth, fresh breath, a beautiful smile and fewer cavities aren’t enough, here are eight reasons why brushing your teeth on a regular basis can save your life!  Plus let’s face it – going around with a big piece of lettuce stuck between your chompers is not the most attractive look in the world!

brush or die

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





GO DADDY???!!!

7 02 2013

kiss with bar rafa

I know this Go Daddy ad sparked quite a lot of controversy after Sunday’s Super Bowl.  Many were uncomfortable about the “geek” kissing the beautiful woman.  Some were wondering about the appropriateness of that intimacy of affection during prime time.  Frankly, as a dentist, some other thoughts also ran through my mind.  So, with St. Valentine’s day coming up next week, now would be an appropriate time to share these thoughts with you.

Did you know that bacteria can be passed between two people by mouth to mouth contact?  The same goes with sharing your toothbrush.  What about sharing that appetizer? Maybe a little smooching on the couch? Bacteria can be passed between people not just through toothbrushes or other dental implements, but also from shared silverware or any other mouth-to-mouth contact.  Parents and children are not immune either, and bacteria can be passed between them. The family pet may even serve as the source of a bacterial infection.Did you know that the bacteria that causes juvenile periodontitis can be transferred from the infected site to an uninfected site within the same mouth? Even between a husband and wife, there can be bacterial transfer.

Recurring dental infections are commonly caused by infected toothbrushes. In addition to dental problems, a toothbrush may also result in the formation of a bacteremia (bacterial infection in the bloodstream) which, if left untreated, can lead to endocarditis (infection of the heart). A typical toothbrush may be infested with various viruses and bacteria, which can then be transmitted to a new user.

For example, if the toothbrush owner has the herpes simplex virus, 50% of the virus can remain on the toothbrush for up to a week. If you suffer from gum inflammation (gingivitis), you may be able to find relief by using a new toothbrush every two weeks. Wondering if it’s still okay to share a toothbrush with someone you trust?

We now understand that oral infections are not restricted to the mouth but can move through the body and be transmitted that way to other people. You don’t need to become obsessive about your toothbrush, and you can still share a sample at your favorite restaurant, but for your own well-being and that of your family, you should develop a good dental health program.

You can remove 100% of the bacteria on your toothbrush by soaking in an essential oils mouthrinse for 20 minutes. Another good way to clean your toothbrush is ultraviolet light. You may have seen a toothpaste that contains triclosan, a common disinfectant, that claims to clean your toothbrush; however, recent studies* show that this toothpaste is not very effective at removing bacteria.

What are the best ways to eliminate the bacteria that are on your toothbrush? Place them under ultraviolet light, soak them in a mouthrinse with essential oils, or, perhaps easiest of all, replace your old toothbrush with a fresh new one on a routine basis. There’s not much you can do about the kissing since most people won’t want to give that up…just keep an eye on the health of your mate’s mouth!

Have a happy Valentine’s Day!
 

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.

 





The French Fry – A right of passage?

4 02 2013

baby with french fry

A right of passage:  That first time you take your child on a fast food adventure , isn’t it cute when they take that first nibble on a crispy McDonald’s french fry, often drenched in ketchup.  The child is so adorable, the french fry tastes so good.  Nobody thinks for a moment how we are starting that child down the road towards a possible addiction to unhealthy foods, towards diabetes, obesity and other health issues that will plague them for the rest of their lives.  That first trip to McDonald’s is commonplace in so many households here in the United States, and everywhere around the world, will start them on the path to dental disease  including cavities and gum disease.

The month of February is recognized as Children’s Dental Health Month.  I really think it is important to establish healthy nutritional and oral health routines from the time a baby is an infant.  Here are a few helpful tips that can help prevent dental disease from the start:

From infancy, the routine of cleaning your babies  mouth out after they have milk or formula is important. The sugar in the milk can cause decay from the time the first teeth erupt into the mouth.  It is especially important to refrain from allowing children sip on milk, or juice in a bottle throughout the day and especially at night.  Baby bottle, or nursing bottle caries are really a struggle for the parent and the child, when their baby teeth erupt into the mouth rotten from the sugar in these drinks.

Really pay attention to food labels.  Watch for the hidden sugars in a child’s diet that they might be consuming.  Try and avoid processed foods as much as possible.

Brushing after meals, and especially at bedtimes is critical, as most of the bacteria builds up in ones mouth at night when they are sleeping and their mouth is closed.  Also, ensuring that they develop healthy routines when it comes to brushing and flossing, starts when they are very young.  In fact, one of the best things you can do is let them watch you as you brush and floss so they can emulate some great behaviors.

Sealants, which are a thin plastic coating, a protective layer that should be placed on all of the back teeth, once they have erupted into the child’s mouth, have shown to significantly decrease the amount of dental decay a child will get in the grooves of their teeth.

Finally, soon after the teeth start coming into your child’s mouth, is the right time to take them on their first visit to a dentist.  Let them get used to the environment.  It will help to prevent them from developing a fear of the dentist, that their parent’s might have had.  It will also allow the dentist to evaluate their teeth and make sure to prevent and detect any dental problems before it will arise.  Let your children develop a lifelong healthy relationship with one of the best preventive healthcare providers they will have for their entire lives.

Happy Children’s Dental Health Month!

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





2 02 2013

Before you watch all of the commercials during tomorrow’s Super Bowl, please read this post…..

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.

Dental HealthStyles

Why Do Stars Think It’s OK To Sell Soda

I read this article last week about Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Brittney Spears and their participation in ad campaigns  of sodas and other products that are harmful to our health, however, they create great profit to the celebrities who endorse these brands.  It makes me question what are our core beliefs as a nation?  Are we going to remain true to our core beliefs, or does that take a back seat when it comes to making money?  I understand that we live in the United States of America, in this great consumer driven economy, but, what if we stayed true to our core beliefs?  What if celebrities aligned their core beliefs with opportunities for making money?  I think our country would look a bit different now.  But to take that personally, what if we as consumers stuck to our own core beliefs…

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Can 1 yogurt = 1 soda?

29 01 2013

so why let them drink it

I have to say that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s controversial soda ban, really hit home to so many due to the rising obesity epidemic that we have in this country.  First, I want to point out, that not only is there an increased incidence of obesity and diabetes, there also is an increased incidence in tooth decay and periodontal disease.  Research even shows that the high fructose corn syrup consumption in sodas may actually cause you to age more rapidly.    I think, as most people have reasoned, that though the mayor’s  intention is a good one, it really doesn’t address to any real measure, the totality of incidences that we find sugar in our diet, the hidden sugars.

When we ban large soft drinks, but kids still are able to enjoy a ketchup on their fries and hot dogs, do we pay attention to the fact that ketchup has 8% more sugar than ice cream?  What about the hot dog bun?  Most commercial baked goods, even those without a visible hint of sugar, are laden with hidden sugars.  Almost all processed foods are rich in hidden sugars.

When you go to your supermarket, thinking you are choosing the healthier option of a yogurt, think again.  The “fruit on the bottom” of a carton of yogurt contains up to nine teaspoons of sugar, almost the same as in a can of soda.  Peanut butter and most cereals are laden with sugars.  The best means of combating this obesity/dental disease epidemic is to read the labels before making a purchase.

Banning large sodas may seem like a good idea, but if manufactures are still able to inundate our food with hidden sugars, is it really going to make a difference?

read labels

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.





HAPPY, THANKFUL AND GRATEFUL!

28 01 2013

2011.11.07_13-59-29SG020013-Happy Birthday Cake-1Kg

Ok, this is the mantra that I tell my teenage son all the time.  He should be happy, thankful, and grateful.  That’s our mantra.  We should be happy for all of the many blessings that we have in our lives.  Thankful that although we may not have some material possessions that others may have, it does not matter.  Grateful we have people in our lives that love us, that we have our health, and that we are able to do things that may in some way help to make someone else feel better, or improve their lives in some way are the things that should give us so much joy.  Well, today I was inundated with cakes, cupcakes, flowers, gifts, food, and so many, many wonderful wishes.  Today is my birthday.  Not a reason to blog, no real information today, however, I did want to make sure I told everyone, my wonderful family, my wonderful friends, and my Morningside Dental Care family, our patients and my exceptional staff (woot, woot!!!), that I am so happy, thankful and grateful to have them in my lives, and I cannot express the pure joy that I have of knowing them.  Thank you for making my birthday so very, very special!!!!!!!!  Tomorrow, I will have time to write a blog.

Dr. Donna

ps.  I truly overdosed on sugar today.  Well, here is a dental healthcare tip.  First, drink copious amounts of water as soon as you are finished eating the sugary food.  Make sure you brush and floss to raise the ph of your mouth to decrease the exposure of acids.  Finally, it is much better to eat all of the junk food in one sitting, and then throw the rest of it out, instead of nibbling on it over a few days.  If you eat it at one time, the ph of your mouth only drops one time.  If you eat a little bit over time, the ph of your mouth goes up and down like a yo-yo.  Every time you decrease the ph  you increase the frequency of the acid buildup in your mouth and you are more prone to decay and cavities.  So if you must binge, do it all at once and then get rid of the rest.
 

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.

 





Total Health and Wellness Begins with your mouth!

27 01 2013

Morningside Dental Care

When was your last dental visit?  Have you noticed the difference?  When you go to the dentist you are no longer seeing a tooth mechanic, with the drill and other scary tools.  Today’s dentist is one of your primary health care providers on the front line of caring for your total health.  The dentists of today are:  concerned with relieving your dental pain; enhancing your overall appearance by performing cosmetic procedures; providing spa type experiences during your visits; and, also evaluating your diet and nutrition and overall condition of your entire body.

If the eyes are the windows to the soul then the mouth is the portal to everything else.  The German physician Reinhardt Voll estimated that 80% of all illnesses stems from the mouth.  Digestive problems, nutrition imbalances, diabetes, some cancers, and other systemic illnesses can be detected during a thorough dental evaluation.

Technology in the dental office has improved significantly in an attempt to improve the experience during your visit. Digital x-rays reduce radiation exposure by up to 80 or 90% from traditional x-rays.  Lasers are used to perform certain dental procedures with more predictable results, more efficiently, and, with less discomfort, such as periodontal gum surgery which in the old way was extremely painful.  The evolution of CAD/CAM technology has reduced the time and number of visits needed to make crowns, bridges, veneers, inlays and onlays.  These restorations look beautiful.  Braces used to be an unattractive proposition especially for adults.  However, Invisalign allows you to straighten crooked teeth and improve your appearance and they are barely noticeable.

So at your next visit, enjoy your regular, thorough cleaning. Whiten your teeth and enhance your smile.  Always remember, your dentist is one of your primary care providers who is committed to improving your total health and well being, as well as your overall dental experience.

Invisalign pictures CERECLANAP
 

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.

 





The Most Important Meal of the Day

24 01 2013

Healthy breakfast choices for dental care

Have you ever really thought about what you eat for breakfast? Most people choose a hot or cold cereal, or some type of microwaveable meal. And some choose to eat something that is definitely unhealthy, like a muffin, doughnut or some other sugary delight while buying that morning cup of coffee. The unhealthy choices are usually made while running late for work or school, and this is definitely not the way you want to start your day.

Yes, grabbing junk food for breakfast is the easy way and we do it without thinking. But that is the point- Stop and think about how you want to start your day. A healthy smoothie (fruit/veg combo…but leave out the sugar!) or a meal containing protein would be a better way to begin a day that is, probably at some point, going to include some stressful situations. If you start with a breakfast that is healthy and nutritious, then you are going to have the right tools to fight with when it is time to deal with stress during your day. And as we all know, stress is not good for your health or your teeth; stress may make you clench and grind your teeth, often subconsciously.

We need to make better food choices for all of our daily meals, for both for our health and our dental care. So, set the alarm to give you a few extra minutes in the am, and make a healthy choice for breakfast tomorrow.
 

 

Dr Donna Williams

Dr. Williams began her career in the field of dentistry at Howard University and graduated from Baltimore College Dental Surgery/University of Maryland. She is one of a select group of general dentists who have completed a fellowship in Holistic dentistry, and is also certified to use the only FDA approved laser for periodontal surgery. She is passionate about improving the health status of people throughout the community and beyond. Contact her at: Morningside Dental Care.

 








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