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The Origins of Toothpaste

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How Did Toothpaste Come to Be?

toothpaste going onto brush

These days, we have so many choices for toothpaste, it’s almost annoying. It’s hard to imagine a time when toothpaste as we know it didn’t even exist. 

But there was such a time! Before we hit the mark with the perfect blend of humectants, detergents, flavorings, and gentle abrasives, people had some interesting takes on the best concoction for cleaning their mouths. 

We figured we’d kick off back to school season with a history lesson about how toothpaste began. 

The Ancient Egyptian Formula

The oldest toothpaste historians have found was from 5,000 B.C. Historians believe the ancient Egyptians used an interesting mix to scrub their smiles. 

The earliest toothpaste formula contained:

  • Crushed rock salt
  • Pepper
  • Mint
  • Iris flowers

Experts have called this the most effective ancient dental regimen. In fact, it wouldn’t be topped until the early 18th century. But before you run to your garage and start crushing up rock salt, this kind of paste is far from good for you. Over time, using this formula will result in damage to your enamel and gum bleeding.

The Evolution of Toothpaste

The Egyptians had their very abrasive solution, but around the same time, people in other parts of the world had their own idea for cleaning their teeth.

The Greeks and Romans used a special blend of crushed oyster shells and bones, and in China, they used a similar solution to the Egyptians, but added ginseng and skipped the iris and pepper. Other cultures brushed up with brick dust, pumice, ox hooves, burnt eggshells, ashes, chalk, and pulverized charcoal. Yum!

The rest of toothpaste evolution looked something like this:

  • 1780: Burnt breadcrumbs were used as toothpaste.
  • 1842: Dentist Dr. Peabody mixed soap in with the breadcrumbs. This later was replaced with sodium lauryl sulfate, which is still an ingredient in today’s toothpaste! This ingredient helps spread the paste around evenly. 
  • 1850’s: Chalk is added to the mix. It will stay as an ingredient for the next few decades.
  • 1873: Colgate comes out with the first ever toothpaste that is of a familiar consistency and scent. At this time, it’s sold in glass jars. 
  • 1892: Dr. Washington Sheffield invents the collapsable toothpaste tube.
  • 1914: The benefits of fluoride are discovered, and it’s added to toothpastes.
  • 1987: Edible toothpaste makes its debut. It’s invented by NASA for astronauts to brush in space, but it comes with an added benefit: so that children can safely learn to brush. 
  • 1989: Rembrandt releases the first whitening toothpaste.

At Alrez Family Dentistry, we’re glad to be born in these modern times when toothpaste is safe and effective!


I Have Cavities in Between My Teeth!

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Help: I Have Cavities Between My Teeth!

cavity in between teethCavities in between teeth, or interproximal cavities, are very common. They form when there is a breakdown of the outer, calcified enamel of the tooth by bacteria in your mouth.

However common they may be, cavities are easily preventable. And the more we know about interproximal cavities, the better chance we have at keeping them away!

Did You Know?

  • 35% of your teeth’s surfaces are in between your teeth. So if you skip flossing, you’re only cleaning two-thirds of your teeth!
  • Dental cavities are one of the most prevalent chronic diseases in people of all ages. The good news is, you can prevent them easily!

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day. And check your technique. Make sure you’re using circular motions on the fronts and chewing surfaces of your teeth and short, up-and-down motions on the backs. Don’t forget those back molars!

Floss every day. This is another technique you’re going to want to hone for best results. Check out our guide on becoming the floss boss to learn the proper flossing method.

Your X-Rays are Important

dental X Ray
When you get your yearly x-rays from Dr. Alrez, she’s looking for early signs of decay. She can tell you’re about to develop a cavity if she notices dark areas developing around the outermost layer of your tooth (enamel).

If it turns out that you have a high risk of decay, Dr. Alrez may prescribe a mouth rinse or dental paste with extra fluoride.

It’s Too Late! I Already Have a Cavity

Don’t beat yourself up about it! After all, the past is in the past. However, if you start taking better charge of your oral hygiene, you can prevent future cavities. And luckily, cavities can be easily treated with dental fillings.


What’s the Difference Between Plaque & Tartar?

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Toothbrush and toothpaste on blurred background Maybe, you’re confused about the difference between plaque and tartar, or think they’re both the same thing. Or maybe, Dr. Alrez told you you need a deep cleaning to get rid of tartar (find out what that means here). 

No matter what, telling plaque and tartar apart can help you better manage your oral health, so keep reading for advice on keeping the difference straight!

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a colorless, sticky film of bacteria that coats your teeth and tongue between brushing. The food you eat helps to feed that bacteria, which helps it grow and cover more of your teeth. These bacteria create an acid, which over time, eats away at your enamel and causes cavities and gum disease. 

While the process of plaque developing in your mouth is inevitable, we do have a lot of control over the process! Brushing twice daily, flossing once daily, and drinking plenty of water are three things that will drastically reduce the effect plaque can have on your teeth. 

What is Tartar?

dentist's instruments with shallow depth of field blue tintedIf we don’t remove the plaque in time, it turns into a tough, hard deposit. This will sit on your teeth and cause discoloration, sensitivity, and gum disease. 

Tartar is a big reason why you need to visit the dentist twice a year! Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to remove tartar at home, it has to be removed by a dental hygienist. As long as you make it to your 6-month cleanings, tartar buildup won’t cause too big of a problem.

Come See Us Every Six Months!

We don’t just say it because we love seeing your face (even though we do!). Making it to your dental appointments twice a year will keep tartar in check, which will reduce your chances of developing gum disease and help your teeth stay white. 


Become the Floss Boss

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Become the Floss Boss

 

Why should you tie flossing in to your daily routine?

Flossing is a very important oral hygiene practice. Cavities and gum disease can develop when plaque sits on your teeth. It has been proven that more than 500 bacterial species are found in plaque; some good, some bad for your mouth.

How does plaque turn into cavities?

When plaque sits on your teeth it becomes hard. Plaque buildup gets between your teeth and gives bacterial a chance to destroy tooth structure. Flossing will remove plaque between your teeth where your brush can’t reach.

Prevention is Key

Maintaining good oral health starts with a routine. Brush for two minutes twice a day (with a fluoride toothpaste), floss at least once a day, and keep up with your dental visits.

How do I floss?

Flossing correctly will take time and effort. Once you develop a routine of flossing daily it will become easier. See the photo below for a good visual. At Alrez Family Dentistry we will show you how to properly floss at your cleaning appointments!

 

Oral-B makes a good point,  “Think of a carpet before and after you vacuum. You may not really see the dust and dirt, but once you vacuum and the dust and dirt is removed, the carpet looks brighter. The same principle applies to flossing.”

 

 

References: ADA, Oralb.com

 


Laughing Gas

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Laughing Gas

Nitrous oxide or “laughing gas” is a safe and effective sedative that may make you more comfortable during dental procedures. Nitrous is not intended to put you to sleep but instead make you feel relaxed and calm. A nose mask is placed over your nose and within a few minutes you will start to feel the gas working. Some people feel tingling in their arms and legs. After the mask is removed the effect of the nitrous will wear away quickly.

Consider Nitrous if you have a gag reflex, you have a dental phobia, or you are nervous/anxious about your upcoming appointment.

 
Nitrous

 

 

You are not alone! It is not uncommon to have a little, or even a lot, of anxiety about an upcoming dental appointment.

Ask Dr. Alrez today if Nitrous Oxide is right for you for your dental procedure!

No one is allergic to nitrous oxide and it can be used safely and effectively for most patients.


Braces vs. ClearCorrect®: What’s the Difference?

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ClearCorrect AlignerDeciding to straighten your teeth is the first step toward achieving the smile you’ve always wanted, but there is another important decision ahead of you: how will you do it?

You could go the traditional route and straighten your teeth with metal braces. That’s always an option, and it’s never too late! In fact, according to US News and World Report, adults made up a record 1.5 million orthodontic patients in the US and Canada in 2014.

In addition to metal braces, that number includes adults using invisible braces, like ClearCorrect®. These are a series of removable plastic trays that gradually shift your teeth into alignment. They deliver the same results as traditional braces, but they offer many advantages.

7 Reasons to Choose ClearCorrect® Over Metal Braces

  1. No Dietary Adjustments Required: When you wear metal braces, you need to cut certain foods out of your diet. Many foods, especially hard and sticky things, can damage your braces. Since you can remove ClearCorrect® trays when you eat, this isn’t a concern during your treatment.
  2. Brush and Floss Like Normal: Braces require extra hygienic care. You’ll need to use a special tool to get the floss behind your wire and carefully brush and clean around your brackets. With ClearCorrect®, simply remove the trays and brush and floss like you always do.
  3. Braces Can be a Hazard During Certain Activities: If you enjoy participating in certain activities, you will be at risk of damaging your mouth if you fall or get hit with your braces. ClearCorrect® does not present the same risk.
  4. ClearCorrect® is More Comfortable: Braces come with brackets, bands, and wires that can rub against your cheeks, tongue, and gums. Your aligner trays won’t have any wires or brackets, so discomfort isn’t an issue.
  5. Treatment Times Tend to be Shorter: While there is slight variance depending on your case, most ClearCorrect® treatments take 6-18 months, while braces tend to take an average of 2 years.
  6. You Won’t Need as Many Check-Ups: When you have braces, you need to see your dentist every 3-6 weeks. After the beginning stages of ClearCorrect®, you’ll only need to stop by the office every 2-3 months.
  7. You Can’t See ClearCorrect® Aligner Trays: Even when your tray is inserted, it’s difficult to spot. No one will even know you’re wearing the trays!

Save $1,000 on ClearCorrect® for a Limited Time!

At Alrez Family Dentistry, we have a limited time offer. When you begin your ClearCorrect® treatment before 6/28/19, you save $1,000 off the total cost!

To get started, fill out our form or call our office at 610-358-01313 to set up your first appointment.

You can also head to our invisible braces page to learn more about the process.


Fluoride, Fluoride, Fluoride

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Fluoride, Fluoride, Fluoride

Fluoride helps adults and children.

Fluoride helps remineralize weakened tooth enamel & aids in reversing early signs of tooth decay.

Dr. Alrez always recommends in-office fluoride rinses for any patient with a high to moderate risk of decay. At our office we have two types of fluoride, a topical fluoride which is applied to the surface of your teeth or a Fluoride rinse; it’s all about patient preference.
Dr. Alrez may also recommend an adjunct to your at home routine. Dr. Alrez sometimes will encourage patients to use prescription fluoride rinse or prescription toothpaste for patients with pre-existing restorative work or patients with a high to moderate risk of decay.

Fluoride is naturally found in most water sources. Most water suppliers have fluoridated water to help prevent tooth decay. If you are unsure if you have fluoride in your water, call your supplier and ask.

 

 

 


Start The New Year With These Resolutions for Your Smile

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New Years Sparkles What are your New Year’s resolutions for this year? If you’re like many people, you might resolve to focus on your health and well-being, exercise more and eat better, or simply ditch bad habits that aren’t working for you. In fact in 2017, NBC reported that the most common New Year’s resolution was to get healthy. We think this is a great idea! However, when making those healthy resolutions, don’t forget to include your oral health!

A Healthy Body Means a Healthy Smile

As we’ve said in the past, the health of our smile goes beyond the surface. If you neglect your smile, this can increase your risk of pneumonia, heart disease, and dementia.

There are also the obvious benefits. A healthy mouth will allow you to chew and swallow your food properly, and a healthy set of chompers can be the boost forward that you need to tackle the year’s challenges with confidence. To avoid overwhelming yourself, start small and be consistent. Your teeth, and overall health, will thank you. Here are some simple dental resolutions to incorporate into your life this year.

Our Top 6 New Year’s Resolutions

  1. glass of waterGet Better at Brushing and Flossing. You already know you should be brushing twice and flossing once a day, but we also know it can be easy to slack off, especially when you’re tired or busy. Make it part of your morning and night routine to carve out a few minutes dedicated specifically to your teeth. This will help you form good habits naturally. Also remember to change out your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months and switch to a soft bristled brush if you haven’t already to prevent any unwanted damage to your teeth.
  2. Break Bad Dental Habits. Most people have at least one bad habit that could be wrecking havoc on their teeth. Whether it’s biting your nails, consuming too many sugary foods and beverages, or smoking, make this year the year you stop. If needed, you can replace these habits with newer, healthy ones like eating more fruits and veggies or chewing sugar free gum.
  3. Drink More Water. When your body is properly hydrated, your oral health will benefit. A crucial component of your oral health is efficient saliva production, since this liquid wonder rinses leftover food particles off of your teeth. Because water is a building block of saliva production, you can see why doubling down will help keep your oral health in top shape.
  4. Visit Your Dentist Every 6 Months. It’s true, we love when you visit us in our office, but that isn’t the only reason we’re always pushing for six-month check-ups! We use x-rays to make sure there isn’t trouble brewing under the surface of your teeth, and those professional cleanings are the only way to remove tartar. By the way, if you make it to your twice-yearly checkups, you have a much lower chance of developing an issue that will require more intense treatment, such as a root canal or filling.
  5. Whiten Your Smile. While whitening your teeth is a cosmetic procedure, it can give you a tremendous boost of self-esteem. When your teeth are a dazzling shade of white, you won’t be able to stop smiling, and what a way to start the year! Learn more about our whitening services.
  6. Smile More! Did you know laughing actually helps burn extra calories? There are many benefits to laughing and smiling more, but the greatest one is how they boost positive feelings in yourself and others. So make it a point to smile more often and spread positivity in your daily life.

Happy New Year from all of us at Alrez Family Dentistry!


Pregnancy Dental Tips

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Pregnancy Dental Care Tips

 

You think you may be pregnant, but it’s still early, should you tell your dental professional? Yes. Let your dentist know any medications you may be taking & how far along you may be.

How will Pregnancy affect my mouth? Most women will make it 9 months with no dental issues, Regular checkups and good homecare will keep you and your baby healthy. Some women develop “Pregnancy Gingivitis,” which is inflammation of gums. The reason women sometimes develop this is from the hormonal changes your body goes through during pregnancy. Your dentist could recommend more frequent cleanings if this occurs. Some insurances will also pay for an extra cleaning if you’re pregnant.

Are X-Rays safe during pregnancy? Yes. Dental radiation is extremely low, the dental professional will cover you with a leaded apron that will minimizes exposure.

I brush twice a day and floss daily, what else should I do? Keep up the good work! Stay on top of your cleaning appointments and any recommended treatment your dentist suggested.

 


White Spots

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White Spots

An often question we get is, ” Can we do something about these white spots?” Answer is, Most likely, “YES.”

Before & After Icon was preformed!

The procedure requires no drilling or anesthesia

Not just minimally invasive dentistry. . . micro-invasive!

At Alrez Family Dentistry we try everything to make our patients happy and feeling confident.