• When Did Flossing Become a Standard Practice?

    Oral hygiene and health care. Smiling women use dental floss white healthy teeth.

    When you see your dentist for preventive care, there is a good chance that he or she will spend part of your appointment talking to you about your flossing habits. Dentists recommend that people floss at least once per day in order to remove food and bacteria from the areas in between teeth that are hard to reach by brushing alone. If you don’t floss, this material can turn into plaque and then tartar, increasing your chances of tooth decay and gum disease. Flossing is an ingrained part of modern oral health care, but when did people first start to floss? Here’s a brief look at this progression of floss from new invention to standard practice.

     

    Pre-Floss Flossing

    For as long as people have been eating, they’ve been getting food stuck in their teeth. As such, the need for floss is timeless. Anthropologists who study ancient civilizations believe that flossing was a part of most societies—if not specifically for oral health purposes, then at least for practical purposes of removing food from between the teeth. Pointed sticks and strings of animal hair or fabric are thought to have been used as prehistoric dental floss implements.

     

    Levi Spear Parmly

    A New Orleans-based dentist, Levi Spear Parmly, gets the credit for introducing the modern idea of flossing. Around 1815, he suggested that patients use silk thread to clean between their teeth, and shops in the area started selling thread to fulfill this roll. In 1898, Johnson & Johnson took this idea national when they introduced dental floss made of silk thread that was commonly used in stitches to the national market.

     

    Flossing Today

    Over the years, floss has transitioned from silk to nylon and now can be found in a variety of different materials, including Gore-Tex. You can also find many different styles of floss, including soft floss, waxed and unwaxed floss, and specialty floss for use with braces.

     

    Make sure your oral health is as good as it can be with a general dentistry appointment at University Associates in Dentistry. From cleanings to periodontics, we do it all. To schedule a dental consultation in Chicago, call (312) 704-5511.

  • Why Does Garlic Cause Bad Breath?


    Many different things can cause bad breath, but one common trigger that most people know about is garlic. Garlic-linked bad breath may not need treatment from your dentist, but it does have a tendency to be remarkably persistent, lingering long after you’ve brushed your teeth. Why does it cause such bad breath, and why is garlic breath so hard to treat?

     

    Bulbs of garlic on cutting board and garlic press on light background

     

    Watch this video to learn more about why garlic causes bad breath. The sulfates in garlic are primarily to blame, and since they enter your bloodstream, brushing isn’t enough to get rid of them.

     

    At University Associates in Dentistry, our dentists in Chicago can’t stop garlic breath, but they can help you keep your smile healthy and strong with general dentistry and cosmetic dentistry treatments. For more information, please call (312) 704-5511.

  • What Do Sports Drinks Do to Your Teeth?

    If you are active, or if your kids are involved in sports, there is a good chance that sports drinks are part of your life. People reach for sports drinks because of their ability to rehydrate and replenish electrolytes after periods of exertion. However, while sports drinks may be a favorite of professional and amateur athletes alike, they definitely don’t rank highly with dentists. In fact, many dentists consider sports drinks to be as harmful to teeth as sodas. Here is look at how sports drinks could be affecting your teeth or the teeth of your student-athletes.

     

    Sugars and Tooth Decay

    Many sports drinks contain a significant amount of sugar. Some popular sports drinks contain more sugar than a can of soda. When you drink a sugary sports drink, you are bathing your teeth in a sugary solution that will stick to the surfaces long after you’ve finished the drink. This sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn causes tooth decay to occur. Drinking something sugary tends to expose your teeth to greater amounts of sugar than eating a piece of sugary candy, both because you’re likely to consume the drink over a longer period of time and because the liquid will coat all of your teeth.

     

    Acids and Enamel Loss

    Choosing a sugar-free sports drink won’t save your teeth from negative effects. Sports drinks, even sugar-free ones, are extremely acidic. The acid weakens your tooth enamel, which can lead to serious consequences, including teeth sensitivity and greater vulnerability to decay. Enamel cannot be replaced, so any that is lost from drinking sports drinks is gone for good.

     

    Safer Alternatives

    Water is sufficient for most people who need to rehydrate after activity. Water with electrolytes is also a safe alternative. For people seeking the electrolyte restoration, bananas and coconut water are lower in sugars and acids and thus safer for your teeth. If you do drink sports drinks, consider using a straw to reduce the amount of tooth exposure and rinsing your mouth with water when you’re done.

     

    Do you have more questions about habits that could be impacting your oral health? At University Associates in Dentistry, we can help you make the right choices to reduce your risk of gum disease, missing teeth, and cavities. Call (312) 704-5511 to make an appointment with a dentist in Chicago.