WHERE WOULD WE BE without our toothbrushes?! Today personal dental hygiene is easy with convenient tools like toothbrushes and floss. But have you ever wondered what people did before modern toothbrushes?
Twigs & Branches
The earliest toothbrushes were actually “chewing sticks”. That may sound rudimentary, but they were surprisingly effective. In ancient Babylon people chewed on twigs until they became shredded and fibrous. That created a “brush” that they’d use to clean their teeth. Depending on the plant used, additional antiseptic properties or naturally occurring fluoride may have even been found in those twigs.
Many cultures still use Miswak chewing sticks (made from a twig of the Salvadora persica tree) for oral hygiene.
Chinese Boar Bristle Brushes
Around the 15th century the Chinese invented one of the earliest toothbrushes, made from boar bristles pasted onto handles of bamboo or bone. These brushes worked just like modern toothbrushes do, although they were a little more harsh on one’s teeth (and a little less sanitary).
European Sponges & Cloths
Most Medieval Europeans didn’t bother with oral hygiene. However, the meticulous few would clean their teeth using a sponge or cloth dipped into a solution made of oils and salts. It was probably better than nothing!
Modern materials like nylon bristles and plastic handles have made toothbrushes inexpensive and accessible to nearly everyone. And now, we see all kinds of toothbrushes, from smart ones that tell you where to brush, to singing ones that make oral hygiene fun for kids.
Does The Brand Of Your Toothbrush Matter?
Many patients ask what kind of toothbrush is best. Typically it’s best to use one with soft bristles, but the kind of toothbrush you use doesn’t matter as much as the fact that you use it for two minutes, twice a day.
So how do YOU feel about your toothbrush? If your own modern toothbrush wasn’t around, which of these ancient methods would you try?
Let us know in the comments section below. And remember, if you ever have any questions about your oral health, ask us! 206-241-5533
A COUPLE OF CENTURIES AGO it was very unusual for people to have their original teeth in their mouth on their 40th birthday! And as little as 50 years ago, half of the people you walked by over the age of 65 had already lost nearly all of their teeth. Today, that number has been drastically reduced.
We’re All Part Of An Amazing Trend
Despite all of the modern threats to our smiles that we often hear about (including rampant sugar use, popularized acidic beverages, etc.) overall oral health continues to improve. In most countries, at every age, we’re keeping more of our teeth than we were 20 years ago in 1994:
Modern Dentistry Is Focused On Preventive Care And Keeping Teeth
Back in the olden days when preventive care was rare, the result was a lot of toothaches. Often, the default solution for a toothache was to just pull the tooth. Today’s materials and treatment advances have made that default solution rare—especially when patients maintain regular checkups.
The gum health in a 60-year-old today is about the same as it was in a 40-year-old back in 1973. One of the contributing factors is likely the rise of regular flossing! Dental floss was patented in the late 19th century, but it has taken a long time for regular flossing to become mainstream.
What To Expect As Your Teeth Age
Our teeth change as we age. Some of these changes can make optimal oral health more difficult. You may experience:
Extreme Yellowing - As the white enamel layer wears down, the yellow dentin underneath becomes more visible.
Dry mouth - Often a side-effect of taking more medications.
Remember, we can help you with these challenges!
What NOT To Expect
Losing Your Teeth! Isn’t it great to know that together we may make dentures (like your grandma’s) a thing of the past?
Although oral health risks increase with age, we know how to combat them! And with good habits, your natural teeth can be around as long as you are. No denture adhesives, no living off soup everyday. So let’s put in the little bit of work now. Make sure that you brush and floss every day—and maintain cleanings and check-ups.
Now For A Fun, Retro Throwback…
This needs no explanation:
Thank you for the trust you place in us. We appreciate you.
THERE ARE A LOT OF REASONS why businesses participate in social media. First and foremost, we’re using social media to better serve you—our valued patients and friends. But unlike many businesses, our social media efforts to serve you don’t start online—they start in our practice.
Whether Online Or In Our Office…
1.) We’re listening. We want to be part of the conversation. We want to make it easy for you to connect with us. Open, honest communication with our patients both online and in person builds trust—and, we’ll never take that trust for granted.
2.) We’re doing what we can to make your visits (and life) better. As your lifelong oral health partner, our goal is to provide information that’s relevant and useful in benefiting your comfort, health, and appearance.
3.) We’re connected to YOU—not your teeth. Although your smile is our focus, we care about you. As a part of our “family”, you’re so much more than a checkup or procedure.
BTW, Do You Use Instagram?
Wow. Instagram is exploding! Are you using it? We were amazed by the thousands of photos that an Instagram search for #Dentist produced! And, it was pretty funny seeing the photos people are posting!
Next time you come in, if you’re on Instagram, pull out your smartphone and let’s take a photo together. It’ll be fun!
Social Media Bridges The Gaps
Sometimes we only see you every six months. Social media allows us to “see” (and connect with) you regularly.
Social media is also another open door to our team. If you know anyone who would benefit from connecting with us, please share this post with them or send them to our Facebookpage. Our very best new patients typically come from referrals. Thanks.
We’re grateful to have friends and patients like you.
IT’S OFTEN SAID, and health studies agree, that breakfast may be the most important meal of the day. And by the way, breakfast affects our oral health too!
Popular Breakfast Choices Can Damage Smiles
Given our on-the-go lifestyles, breakfast can become an imbalanced, over-sugary meal! We don’t typically eat candy for breakfast—yet, we choose popular cereals and pastries that are full of sugar. These unhealthy breakfast choices can be damaging to our teeth and gums with multiplying effects if we’re not brushing and flossing after breakfast.
A Healthy, Balanced Breakfast Can Protect Your Smile
Your mouth, like your body, needs nutritious food to stay healthy. A balanced breakfast rich in fruits, vegetables, fiber, and healthy proteins can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay, early tooth loss, and gum disease.
Drink water or unsweetened tea to strengthen tooth enamel and help prevent tooth decay.
Use moderation with fruit juices and smoothies—they’re typically high in sugar and can be quite acidic.
Consider dinner for breakfast! Chicken, fish, beans, cheese, etc.
Eat high fiber cereals with less preservatives and added sugar.
Quick, Healthy Breakfast Ideas
Breakfast Kickstarts Your Day & Your Healthy Smile
Start eating breakfasts that protect your smile AND make you feel good (studies have found that breakfast affects your energy and focus). If you have ideas or recipes for healthy, balanced breakfasts, share them with us below or on Facebook!
Thank you for trusting us with your oral health! We appreciate you.
DID YOU KNOW THAT THE WORD “DENTIST” comes from “dent-” which is French for “tooth”? Funny thing is, we deal with a lot more than just teeth! That’s because the health of your teeth is so tightly connected to the health of your whole mouth (and even connected to the health of your whole body).
So, here are four fun facts about your mouth:
1. That Little Piece of Webbing
You know that little piece of webbing that connects the base of your mouth with the underside of your tongue? It’s called a frenulum. And, there’s another major one in your mouth. Can you think of where it is? That’s right… It connects your upper gums to your top lip.
2. The Oral Mucosa
There is a special kind of tissue that lines your entire mouth called the oral mucosa. In some places (like on the roof of your mouth) it’s mixed with keratin, which is a strong material also found in our fingernails.
3. Your Temporomandibular Joints
Your upper and lower jaw are connected by temporomandibular joints. Most of the joints in your body (for example, your elbow) only move in one direction. Your jaw, however, moves up and down, side to side, AND front to back! This helps our molars grind our food. Move your own jaw in a circle right now. Your pet cat (a carnivore) can’t do that nearly as well as a human!
4. Saliva Factories
We have three major pairs of salivary glands, and other small ones located throughout our mouths. Did you know that saliva does more than help us eat and clean our mouths? It also contains important minerals that reinforce our teeth.
Ten More Fun Facts About Teeth
Together, Let’s Keep Your Teeth AND Mouth Healthy
As your lifelong oral healthcare provider, we check more than just teeth. We’re very interested in your gum health, the alignment and balance of your jaw, and early signs of problems like oral cancer in the soft tissues of your mouth and throat.
Thank you for the trust you place in us. We deeply appreciate it.
Remember, if you ever have any questions about your teeth or mouth we’re here to help—so please ask us! We look forward to seeing you the next time you visit.
LIKE A PARENT OR RELATIVE, Seattle cosmetic dentist Lance Timmerman DMD encourages you to “stand up straight,” but not just to avoid back problems or looking slouchy. You should practice good posture because it’s good for your oral and overall health.
Your Bite Affects Your Posture
Your teeth are an important part of an interconnected skeletal system. Because your bite determines the position of your jaw, it also affects the position of your head on your spine. If your teeth are improperly aligned, your jaw has to adjust to bring them together. This can strain and shorten your jaw muscles, pull your head to one side, and cause a chain reaction of compensatory problems as far reaching as the muscles in your pelvis and feet.
Your Posture Can Affect Your Bite and TMJ
When you slouch your lower jaw moves forward and your skull moves back on your spinal column. Over time, this stresses and can cause inflammation in your jaw joints (TMJ’s) and muscles, which can be painful, especially when moving your mouth.
Poor Posture can also rearrange the position of your facial muscles and can shift your bite and damage your teeth. There are appliances to help realign your bite and protect your teeth from further damage, but a better solution may be to practice good posture.
How To Practice Good Posture
Tips For Better Posture
Lift your chest, pull your shoulder blades back and down
Keep your stomach muscles tight
If standing, your ears should line up with your shoulders, your hips with your knees, and your knees with your ankles
If sitting, your hips should line up with your ears
Your posture and oral health are closely related. Please contact us at 206-241-5533 if you feel one is affecting the other and we’ll work together to find a solution.
BECAUSE IT USUALLY HAPPENS SPONTANEOUSLY, we don’t often think about smiling or laughing. However, they both really do make us feel better—and, studies continue to reveal more of their many benefits.
1. Smiling Evokes Trust
A recent study published in the Journal of Economic Psychology suggests that people may be as much as 10% more willing to trust someone who smiles.
2. Smiling Could Increase Your Net Worth
Some economists suggest that smiles may have real, monetary value! Another study found that smiling waitresses earn more tips (makes sense, right?).
3. Smiling Lifts Your Spirit And Those Around You
Life is full of ups and downs. Smiling can reduce distressing emotions and be an invaluable tool in moving forward with our heads held high. And equally important, grins and chuckles can calm and comfort those around us. Here’s an example of how someone else’s smile (laugh) can lift YOUR day… We dare you to watch this video without smiling:
4. Smiling May Help You Look Younger!
That elusive fountain of youth may not be found in surgeries or potions—rather, a study suggests that the path to looking younger may be found through our smiles.
Let’s Get You Smiling And Laughing More (or again)!
As your lifelong health partner, we’re concerned about your total health. We know that some people don’t reap the benefits of smiling and laughing because they’re embarrassed or self-conscious about their teeth. Are you one of those people? We’d like to help. We love visiting with our patients about their smiles. We want you to smile confidently!
Thanks for sharing our practice (and our blog) with your friends, neighbors, and coworkers. We appreciate your kind referrals!
DID YOU KNOW THAT THE MAJORITY OF US experience SOME level of dental anxiety? As much as 80%, in fact. Despite our best efforts we know that there’s something that feels inherently vulnerable about lying back in a chair while we examine your mouth. We’ve been patients too.
Communication Can Make You More Comfortable
Seattle Dentist Lance Timmerman DMD
wants you to feel comfortable and confident during your visits with him. He believes that one key is open communication between his team and you—his valued patient! Whether you’re extremely nervous during dental appointments, or just slightly uncomfortable, communication helps. However, it’s hard to know exactly how, or what, to communicate sometimes.
If you’d really like to explore the reasons you feel nervous about dental visits, here’s a handy questionnaire developed by J.H. Clarke and S. Rustvold at the Oregon Health Sciences University School of Dentistry where Dr Timmerman got his dental degree. If you’d like, look over the first four questions and let us know where you fall on the scale. It’s a simple way to tell us how you’re feeling.
Is Your First Appointment Coming Up?
Check out the video below outlining an routine check-up. It could help get you in the right mindset:
Simple Understanding Can Make A Huge Difference
Once we understand a little bit about your triggers and your reaction to dental-related situations, we can do a lot to make you feel comfortable. Some techniques we use include:
Taking adequate time so you don’t feel rushed or harried.
Carefully explaining everything before we do it.
Establishing signals so that you can let us know if you need a break.
Would You Like More Techniques For Relieving Stress?
This video has some great pointers:
Do you know someone else who suffers from severe dental anxiety? Is it compromising their health? Have them give us a call at 206-241-5533. We can help.
YOU MAY OR MAY NOT HAVE CHILDREN OF YOUR OWN. Either way, we all have children we care about in our lives—nieces, nephews, grandchildren, neighbor’s and coworker’s children, etc. That’s why it’s so important for everyone to be aware of this severe health issue affecting kids.
It’s Easy To Protect Against Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Did you know that the most common childhood disease today is tooth decay? Tooth decay results when bacteria in one’s mouth interacts with the sugar and starches in foods and beverages, creating acid which erodes tooth enamel. And although baby teeth are temporary, they’re critical to a child’s health, comfort, and long term oral health development. Without proper care those baby teeth are subject to painful, unnecessary caries.
Don’t Let Babies Fall Asleep With Their Bottles
Here’s what typically happens… The baby is put to bed with a bottle. Seems harmless enough. But if the bottle is full of milk or juice it’s also full of sugars that combine with bacteria to produce acids. Babies drift off with the bottles still in their mouths. The fluid pools around their teeth and the enamel on those new little teeth is slowly eroded away throughout the night.
The result can be painful caries, and/or the need for stainless steel crowns. In addition, since children’s teeth are still coming in they’re more susceptible to decay underneath the gum line. This decay can become so severe that delicate surgery under a general anesthetic may be required to remedy the problem.
Take A Moment To Be Informed
If you start early, you may be able to train your child to drink water in his or her bottle at nap time. Here are some other tips:
use gauze or a wet cloth to wipe children’s gums and teeth after feedings
work toward using “sippy” cups by his or her first birthday
don’t nurse continuously during the night
never dip pacifiers in honey or any sugary liquid
The video below offers other suggestions:
If You Have Questions, Please Ask
Think about the children you know and kindly help every parent understand this important topic. If you have any questions about dental health for your child, or for a child close to you, ask our team about it. You can leave a comment below, or on our Facebook page.
FATHERS HAVE A KNACK FOR making us smile—even when we’d prefer to be grouchy! Amazingly, they can usually pressure us into smiling through a simple act or gesture—a grin, a proud look, a really dumb joke.
This week, as much of the world celebrates Father’s Day, let’s return the favor!
Help Make The Fathers In YOUR Life Smile!
Take a moment to think about the fathers (and/or “father figures”) in your life. These could include your own dad, an admired teacher, a grandfather, a neighbor or mentor…
Now, think of one thing you can do for each of them this week that would make their lives brighter, make them smile, or lighten their loads. Remember, it could be something really simple like a unexpected visit or unhurried phone conversation to just say “thanks”. Whatever you come up with, make sure he knows how grateful you are for the role he’s played in your life.
It isn’t every day that we get an opportunity to celebrate those fathers who have contributed to our success and happiness. Take advantage of the day. By helping these fathers smile, you’ll find yourself smiling as well.
Think Of The Fathers In Your Life As You Watch This
Oral-B did a great job in this video capturing the Power of Dad!
Now Share Something With Us!
Did you decide on some things you can do this week? Please share your ideas with us below!
Do you have a memorable experience where a father in your life made you smile? Perhaps a great Father’s Day tradition? Share it with us in the comments section below or on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.
We appreciate having you as a valued friend! Happy Father’s Day!