Toothpicks Go WAY Back
Imagine a stone-age human dining on a delicious meal of mastodon, and then cleaning his teeth with a toothpick.
Strange -- but likely true. Ancient humans, it seems, were using ordinary toothpicks nearly 1.8 million years ago, according to findings by European researchers.
Paleoanthropologists from Switzerland, Finland and the Republic of Georgia studied the mandibles (lower jaws) of early humans from the famed Dmanisi archeological site in Georgia, one of the biggest collections of early human remains in the world, and found evidence of periodontal disease caused by repeated use of what is described as "an early toothpick."
The study revealed that some jaws had small, cylinder-shaped lesions in the area between the tooth area and the gum. When researchers inserted a toothpick into the area, it went through the space.
Based on that and other findings of wear, scientists believe that this is the first clear evidence of toothpick-related local periodontal problems (as well as proof that there can be too much of a good thing -- be careful with toothpicks).
A Salute To The American Dental Association
In 1859, 26 dentists met at Niagara Falls and started the American Dental Association (ADA).
In 1908, the ADA published its first dental health education pamphlet, which recommended brushing at least two times a day, regular flossing, and twice yearly dental check ups.
Today, the ADA is the nation's largest dental association, representing more than 157,000 dentist members, and is the leading source of oral health related information for dentists and their patients.
A Sparkling Smile
What's the best accessory for this season's holiday parties? A bright, beautiful and healthy smile! With wonderful breakthroughs in aesthetic dentistry, a terrific smile is possible for just about everyone.
Most procedures are minimally invasive, quick (great results can usually be accomplished in just a few office visits), and affordable.
Here is a quick look at the ways Dr. Neuhaus can make any smile sparkle:
● Whiten stained and discolored teeth
● Restore alignment and add symmetry to uneven or misshapen teeth
● Correct gaps and chips
● Plump out lines around the mouth
● Add volume and fullness to the smile
If you're curious to see how you might benefit from aesthetic dentistry, Dr. Neuhaus can show you a computerized image of what your new smile could look like.
A Healthy Mouth Is Good For The Body
The links between good oral health and a healthy body continue to grow in number. Here are just a few of the latest findings:
Colorectal Cancers: Researchers say they have uncovered an oral bacteria that can set off a chain reaction leading to cancers of the bowel. Called fusobacteria, this microbe can cause an overactive immune response that may actually turn on cancer growth genes
Scientists hope that the identification of fusobacteria may lead to earlier detection and perhaps ways to combat the disease by eliminating the bacteria.
Oral Cancers: Chronic gum disease may leave the mouth more susceptible to cancers of the mouth, head and neck. In several studies, patients whose gum disease had no or minimal treatment were shown to have a higher risk of developing such cancers.
Dementia: Poor oral care or the presence of gum disease may lead to an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s Disease. Researchers reported that elderly folks who brushed their teeth less than once a day were up to 65% more likely to develop dementia than those who brushed regularly. Studies have also shown that people with Alzheimer’s have more gum disease-related bacteria in their brains than people without Alzheimer’s.
Science Sides With Coffee And Red Wine Lovers
Just in time for holiday parties comes good dental news about coffee and red wine.
In the fight against periodontal disease, coffee may be a great tool. Researchers at Boston University have determined that coffee and its antioxidants may actually have protective effects against periodontal disease. More research needs to be conducted, but for those who love their "cuppa joe," coffee looks promising as a healthful indulgence.
Wine enthusiasts may also smile thanks to a study done recently by Spanish and Swiss scientists that points to red wine as having antimicrobial effects on oral bacteria. The findings suggest that a little red wine may be good for teeth by being bad news for oral bacteria.
Moreover, the study results could lead to the development of natural products made from grape seed extracts that will help fight dental decay.
Amazing Tongue Facts!
Wow, what a winter! Summer hasn’t come a moment too soon at Wilmette Dental, and I couldn’t be happier to see flowers replace snow drifts.
The Neuhaus family kept very busy while braving the cold and snow. Elise enjoyed her sophomore year at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She has been accepted to study at the University’s business school partner in Barcelona, Spain next spring. We’ll be sorry to have her so far away for four months, but we’re excited that she has such a wonderful opportunity.
Christopher is about to retire his Glenbrook South Drumline uniform. He graduates soon, and will attend Marquette University this fall. Anne and I will miss those high school marching band days and seeing our “baby” lead the drumline at sporting events. However, we’re very excited to have him start his next chapter at Marquette. While he has decided not to pursue any college band studies, he does plan to take his drums to college, so the music will definitely continue (and Anne can finally vacuum the drum corner of his room).
In February, Anne and I left the frigid North Shore for a short trip to Costa Rica. We ziplined over jungle canopy, kayaked, swam in the warm Pacific Ocean, and waded in volcanic hot springs. We saw howler monkeys, crocodiles, toucans and lizards, including a little one that lived in our hotel room. The weather was spectacular, and the people couldn’t have been more welcoming. It was an incredible trip, and both Anne and I are excited to one day explore more of Costa Rica’s amazing landscape.
Finally, we’ve added a new addition to the Neuhaus family …”Madge,” a “purebred” mutt from Orphans of the Storm. She’s a sweet dog -- but unfortunately thinks shoes are a delicacy.
My family and I look forward to a warm, relaxing summer -- and I wish the same for you. May your snow shovel gather dust in the far corner of your garage!
With everyone snapping smartphone photos these days, it’s good to know a few tricks for being in front of the camera! Here are a few tips for being your photogenic best:
● Keep your smile natural. Strike a smile you can hold comfortably for a few moments.
Smiling gently gives your face a relaxed look. Open your mouth slightly, and allow your
lower lip to match the curve of your upper teeth. Your cheeks will rise a bit, but not too much.
● Maintain good posture. Don’t slouch or lower your head too much. Instead, turn your head slightly and drop your chin a bit so you’re not front on with the camera.
● Be proud of “you.” Nothing makes a photo look better than an air of confidence...a twinkle in the eye. Enjoy being in front of the camera, and as they say on the runway, “work it!”
If you think your smile could use a little enhancing, be sure to talk with Dr. Neuhaus about the many easy and affordable options available for whitening and correcting problem teeth. Dr. Neuhaus can even show you a computer enhancement of your smile.
Keeping Fido’s Teeth Healthy
Have a dog age three or older? If so, chances are your pet already has problem teeth. According to the American Veterinary Dental Society, more than 80 % of dogs three and older have some form of periodontal disease. As your pet ages, this can result in infection, bad breath and even tooth loss.
Manually brushing Fido’s teeth can be difficult. To solve that problem, the pet care market is now booming with dental cleansing treats and chews that promise to reduce tartar and clean teeth by simply letting your pooch enjoy a good nosh. But do these treats actually work?
The answer is a guarded “yes.” While manually brushing your dog’s teeth is still the best, giving Fido a dental chew is better than absolutely nothing. Most dog dental chew treats are made to microscopically rub against the teeth and remove debris. Long-lasting chew treats - and things like rubber, nylon or rawhide chew toys, offer the most cleansing benefit.
Women who enjoy a cocktail - and also consume high volumes of folic acid found in vitamin B - are less likely to suffer from mouth cancer, according to a Columbia Medical University study that recorded the diets of 87,000 nurses over three decades.
Women in the study who drank a high volume of alcohol and had a low folic acid intake were 3 times more likely to develop mouth cancer than women who also drank high volumes of alcohol but consumed large amounts of folic acid in their diet.
Alcohol consumption is one of the major risks for mouth cancer, and those who drink to excess are 4 times more likely to be diagnosed with the disease. This study marks the first time that folic acid intake has been shown to affect the risk of the disease.
Folic acid, or vitamin B9, is essential to a woman’s health by helping to make and maintain new cells. Folic acid is found in vegetables and is often added to bread products.
Skip The Sugary Drinks
As summer sports activities heat up, so do thirsts. But before reaching for a sports or energy drink, consider the harm it may be doing to teeth. That’s because the average 32-ounce sports drink contains as much as 14 teaspoons of sugar -- about ¼ cup!
Drinking liquids that contain so much sugar can be extremely harmful to teeth. Sugar is the food source on which oral bacteria feeds.
Serious athletes who engage in long and strenuous workouts may need to rehydrate with an energy or sports drink that contains sodium and carbohydrates, which help the body retain fluids. But, there are lower-sugar products on the market that will meet most athletes’ needs.
But, for most of us who do less intense activities, such as walking or a leisurely game of tennis, plain and simple water should handle most rehydration needs. Water is not only healthful to the body overall, it also actually helps wash away the bacteria that naturally builds up in the mouth.
The bottom line: get out there and play -- but refresh wisely!
Bad News on Children’s Oral Health
The declining state of oral health among youngsters age five and under is being called a “public health crisis” by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD).
Early childhood caries (cavities) is now the most common chronic early childhood disease in the U.S. The rate of dental decay among children ages two to five has increased dramatically, and by age five, a whopping 60% of all children in the U.S. will have had caries.
Poor children age nine and younger are at highest risk, with low-economy youngsters being twice as likely to have cavities as those in higher economic groups -- and the decay is more likely to go untreated. The result is painful teeth that can ultimately affect a child’s ability to sleep, pay attention in school -- and even attend school. Dental decay also makes children more vulnerable to various other infections, including the ears, sinuses and even the brain.
But for any child, regardless of economic background, early dental care is paramount to overall health. One of the key reasons for this childhood epidemic of cavities is not seeing a dentist early enough. The AAPD recommends that children get their first dental exam as soon as their first tooth appears -- but no later than their first birthday.
"el Ratón de los Dientes"
(The Tooth Mouse)
In America, as in many other parts of the world, when a child loses a tooth, the Tooth Fairy comes to collect it and leaves money in its place. However, in Hispanic countries, there is a much different tradition. There, a tooth is collected by a little mouse named Raton Perez who exchanges it for a gift.
It all started in 1894 when a Spanish priest told of a special mouse named Perez who lived in a box of cookies. Perez would escape through the pipes of the city and into the bedrooms of children who had lost their teeth where he would exchange them for gifts.
Interestingly, while many Hispanic countries use a similar mouse, his methods vary. For example, children in Argentina don't put their teeth under their pillow, but in a glass of water. It seems that little Perez gets thirsty and the children are putting a drink out for him.
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Wilmette, IL 60091
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Outside our regular business hours, please note our emergency care information.