It’s  Halloween so it’s the perfect time to talk skeletons!

Did you know the only part of your skeleton you clean are your teeth?

Do you clean your skeleton?     I mean your teeth?

Why do you brush your teeth?  You do brush your teeth, right?

What I want to know is why do you brush your teeth?  Do you Know?

Either you think this is a silly question or you have never thought about why you brush your teeth.

You just do it because you were told to! That is my assumption.  What is your truth?

Hippocrates 460- 370 BC was one of the first Dr.s to identify that teeth needed to be cleaned to keep them healthy and stop them from decaying, he recommended a dry substance to clean teeth called a dentifrice power.

Toothbrushes date back as far as 3000 BC the Babylonians and the Egyptians created a toothbrush by fraying the ends of a twig.

Some of the early techniques included chewing on bark or sticks with frayed ends, feathers, fish bones and even porcupine quills.

In the 15th century, the Chinese are thought to have invented the first natural bristled toothbrush form the hair of a pig’s neck attached to a bone or bamboo.

In the early 1700s, a French doctor named Pierre Fauchard told people not to brush. Instead, he encouraged cleaning teeth with a toothpick or sponge soaked in water or brandy. Believe it or not, he is considered the father of modern dentistry!

The first more modern toothbrush design was made in 1780 by William Addis. He was the first to sell toothbrushes on a large scale, after making a toothbrush from bone and animal bristles while in prison.

Before toothpaste was created, pharmacists mixed and sold tooth powders made from something abrasive, like talc or crushed seashells, mixed with essential oils, like eucalyptus, camphor, cinnamon, clove, rose or peppermint. Many mixtures contained other chemicals such as ammonia, chlorophyll, and penicillin. These ingredients were used to fight the acid-producing bacteria that can cause tooth decay and bad breath. Even back then taking care of your teeth was thought to be extremely important.

By the 1900s, Immigrants were taught oral hygiene as a way to help “Americanize” them and their families. Factories examined and cleaned their workers’ teeth to keep them from missing work due to toothaches.

Daily tooth brushing became more common in World War II when the Army required soldiers to brush their teeth as part of their daily hygiene practices.

Natural bristles were the only choice until Dupont invented the nylon bristles in 1938.

The first electric toothbrush was called the Broxodent and was invented in 1960.

These days there are dozens of different kinds of tools and potions to help keep your mouth healthy. I recommend no longer using urine as a mouthwash as they did way back when.

As a dental hygienist, I believe toothbrushing 2 times a day is the simplest way to clean your teeth and mouth, to reduce dental disease, no matter what tools you choose.

We all know the advice for healthy teeth and gums– brush twice daily and don’t eat too much sugar. So why do those of us following these instructions find we sometimes need a filling when we visit the dentist?

How you brush makes a big difference. The mechanical act of brushing removes the dreadfully sticky dental plaque and a mixture of bacteria, acids, and sticky food remnants.

Bacteria consume sugar and produce acids that dissolve mineral out of the teeth, leaving microscopic holes we can’t see. If the process isn’t stopped and they become visible and if they are not repaired, they can cause pain and be costly to fix.

Taking two minutes twice a day to brush your teeth is a good idea for removing plaque and you should brush at night before bed so all the food you eat is not on your teeth while you sleep.  Brushing frequently stops the bacteria and acid from weakening your teeth.

Electric toothbrushes can be more effective than manual brushing for some people and a small toothbrush head helps to reach awkward areas in the mouth that are often missed, soft bristles help you clean effectively without causing harm to gums and teeth.

I am simplifying and asking you to master brushing techniques before adding other tools to your routine.

The main take away, brush your skeleton!  I mean brush your teeth!!