February 22nd, 2017
Oral hygiene has always been an important part of maintaining overall health. For thousands of years, humans have found ways to keep their teeth and mouths clean. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), “early forms of the toothbrush have existed for nearly 5,000 years.” But what exactly did the first toothbrush look like?
With help from The Library of Congress, Dr. Joel McFaul and Dr. Betty Wong and our team have compiled a timeline with some interesting details about the evolution of the toothbrush:
- 3000 BC – Perhaps the earliest form of the toothbrush, the “chew stick” was used by Ancient civilizations. People would rub this thin twig with a frayed end against their teeth to remove food and plaque.
- 1498 – The bristle toothbrush was invented in China and had many similarities to the toothbrushes used today. These devices were made by attaching the stiff, coarse hairs from the back of a hog’s neck to handles that were typically made from bone or bamboo.
- 1938 – Signaling the end of the boar bristle, Dupont de Nemours introduced nylon bristles, and Americans welcomed Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush, the first nylon toothbrush.
- 1960 – The Squibb Company introduced Broxodent, one of the first electric toothbrushes, to the American market.
Today, there are many brands of toothbrushes that often advertise different benefits. The variety of options may seem overwhelming, but the most important thing is for you to find a toothbrush that you like and find easy to use.
The ADA recommends that you choose a toothbrush that fits comfortably and allows you to effectively reach all areas of your mouth. Whether you decide to use a manual or a powered toothbrush, make sure that you thoroughly clean all surfaces of your teeth twice a day.
Society has come a long way since the days of the chew stick, but one thing that remains the same is the importance of consistent and effective personal oral hygiene.
February 15th, 2017
Did you know that there are certain foods you can eat which help to clean your teeth? We call them “detergent foods.” In dentistry we look at the impact of food in three ways: the kind of food, how often it is eaten, and when it is eaten. Detergent foods should be the last piece of food you consume during a meal for best results. Think of them as the closest you can get to brushing your teeth.
A healthy diet is important for oral health as well as overall health, but here are some particular foods that can help clean your teeth and mouth:
- Celery sticks
As you can see, detergent foods are usually foods that are firm and crisp. They act like scrubbers on and around your teeth and gums and bring your mouth’s pH back to 7.0, which is optimal.
Which foods are the worst for your teeth?
Cookies, cakes, breads, chips, crackers, soft drinks, dried fruit, and candies (what many people’s diets are full of) provide carbohydrates (sugar) to the bacteria in your mouth causing an acidic environment and increasing the chance of cavities and decay. These foods are sticky and don’t rinse easily from your mouth. Avoid letting these foods sit on your teeth after eating them.
It also depends on how often you consume these foods throughout the day. For example, if you drink soft drinks, it’s best to have it all in one sitting instead of sipping it all throughout the day. Doing so causes the perfect environment in your mouth for bacteria to flourish and your saliva never gets the chance to neutralize its pH.
This is where detergent foods can come into play. When you’re about to finish your meal, have an apple, celery stick, or carrot. It will act like a “natural toothbrush.” Also, try to make these detergent foods the basis for snacks you have throughout the day.
Always remember, these foods are not a replacement for brushing and flossing. You still need good dental hygiene regardless of what you’re eating! For more tips and tricks for ideal oral health, ask Dr. Joel McFaul and Dr. Betty Wong the next time you visit our San Francisco, CA office!
February 8th, 2017
YES! X-rays have been used in dentistry for a long time, and the amount of radiation has significantly decreased with advances in technology. While there is risk in every health diagnostic procedure at McFaul:Wong, the benefits must outweigh the risks. Dental X-rays do indeed fall into this category.
X-rays are exposed to a type of film to produce an image. The amount of X-rays required to produce this image differs with film speeds. Speed E or F is highly recommended, and digital X-rays require up to 50% less than speed E or F film. The digital X-ray software can adjust the exposure to produce a quality image. Digital X-rays are becoming a new standard and are most common.
Lead aprons have been used to reduce the amount of scatter radiation. All X-ray units have a cone to focus the X-ray beam so the exposure is highly localized. Lead aprons continue to be worn as a precaution for pregnant women, and a thyroid collar should also be worn. In most cases, this is sewn into the lead apron.
We get radiation exposure from environmental factors as well as healthcare diagnostic and treatment tools. To place this in perspective, in one year a person is expected to have 360mRem per year from the sun, air etc. By comparison, a single set of bitewing X-rays is 0.3mRem. Radiation can accumulate in our body over a lifetime, and additional exposure should be avoided whenever possible.
February 1st, 2017
Nearly 40,000 people are diagnosed with oral cancer annually in the United States, with more than 8,000 dying every year from the disease. Oral cancer has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body, most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.
Dr. Joel McFaul and Dr. Betty Wong and our team want you to know that cancers of the mouth and throat, which account for about three percent of all cancers in the United States, are largely preventable. However, we want you to know about certain risk factors that affect the likelihood of developing the disease.
- Use of tobacco products including smoking cigarettes, cigars or a pipe, or chewing tobacco all elevate risk for developing oral cancer. Tobacco use especially, is a serious risk factor because it contains substances called carcinogens, which harm cells in your mouth.
- Consumption of alcohol in excess can also increase your risk. If you drink alcohol regularly, you have an elevated risk of getting oral cancer. Alcohol abuse (more than 21 drinks in one week) is the second largest risk factor for the development of oral cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
- Excessive sun exposure. People who spend lots of time outdoors and do not use proper amounts of sunscreen or lip balm have a greater risk for developing lip cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight may also cause melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
If you notice unusual lumps, bumps, or red or white patches in your mouth that don’t go away, sores that won’t seem to heal, persistent soreness, or pain or difficulty swallowing please consult Dr. Joel McFaul and Dr. Betty Wong and our team immediately.
Other factors that may influence your risk for developing oral cancer include:
- Age: Oral cancer is typically a disease that affects older people, usually because of their longer exposure to other risk factors. Most patients diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 40.
- Gender: Oral cancer strikes men twice as often as it does women.
- A history with viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV)
- A diet low in fruits and vegetables
During your next visit, Dr. Joel McFaul and Dr. Betty Wong will examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer. If you have been putting off a visit to our San Francisco, CA office for your regular checkup, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits can be the first line of defense against oral cancer because we can identify early warning signs of the disease. Give us a call today!