It’s true! This October marks the fifth annual National Dental Hygiene Month, sponsored in part by the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. The fact that hygiene is a vital part of our daily routines is often taken for granted, and the commemoration helps us all celebrate the advancement of dental health and care, and the importance of a clean and healthy smile.
The History of Dental Hygiene
- Though dentistry has been practiced in various primitive forms for thousands of years, the concept of preventive dentistry didn’t manifest clearly until the early 1900s. After recognizing the value of removing plaque and calculus from teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease, Dr. Alfred Fones trained his assistant, Irene Newman, to become the world’s first dental hygienist.
- The tenets of good dental hygiene are a fairly new concept, but the process of cleaning teeth isn’t. Even before toothbrushes were invented, ancient Egyptians (from around 5000 BC) cleaned their teeth with paste made from powdered hooves, eggshells, and other slightly abrasive substances.
- The first patent for dental floss was filed in 1898 by the Johnson & Johnson Company based in New Jersey. The floss was made from the same silk material that doctors used for stitches, and may have been derived from New Orleans-based dentist, Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, who began advising patients to use small strips of silk to clean between their teeth.
What We’ve Learned About Better Hygiene
As interesting as the history of dental hygiene is, the important thing to take away from National Dental Hygiene Month is what we’ve learned since then about keeping your teeth and gums clean and healthy. The plaque and tartar that was first suspected by Dr. Fones and Ms. Newman is now known to be the main cause of the most common dental issues. We’ve also learned that not practicing good hygiene and allowing issues to develop can have a profound effect on the rest of your health, as well. This month, and from now on, be sure to;
- Brush your teeth at least twice every day, and if possible, about 30 minutes after eating
- Floss as needed, but at least once every day. If you can only floss once, make it before going to bed
- Attend a dental checkup and cleaning appointment as often as your dentist recommends, and never longer than six months apart.
ABOUT YOUR SOUTHLAKE DENTISTS:
As a native Texan, Gregory Wright, DDS, opened his private practice in Southlake, TX in 1992. He and Dr. Victoria Heron are happily accepting new patients from Southlake, Grapevine, Keller, Trophy Club, Colleyville, and all surrounding communities. To learn more, call our office today at (817) 481-7999.