1800s Britain: Was the dentist also your blacksmith? Yeah, baby.

Despite his poor oral hygiene, Mike Myers as Austin Powers, International Man of Mystery, never lacked a date.

Proper dentists didn’t exist across the pond until the 1800s. Prior, the care of Britains’s mouths was in the hands of blacksmiths and barbers who doubled as surgeons.

Want all the grisly details?

Historian Professor Joanna Bourke presents a new documentary on the history of dentistry in Britain: Drills, Dentures and Dentistry: An Oral History, BBC Four, March 30.

You may be familiar with the inventor of the first toothbrush (William Addis, in 1780,) but were you aware that in the 1600s it was believed that a toothache was caused by a worm burrowing in the jaw?

Or that in 1771 John Hunter, a failed doctor who devised names for teeth that are still used today, proposed transplanting teeth from the living and the dead? The craze became such that in 1815 when 50,000 men died at the Battle of Waterloo, even the toothless middle classes could afford teeth, according to express.co.uk

Writer, historian and author of the BBC’s ‘Eyewitness’ audiobooks, Professor Joanna Bourke, investigates dentistry’s revolution over the past five centuries. (Photo courtesy bbc.co.uk)

Before today’s minty fresh mouth cleansers, abrasives such as ground-up oyster shells were placed on the finger and rubbed into teeth. Since this technique scraped away the enamel, exposing the nerves, it didn’t last long.

Time marched on, as did modern dentistry, but in the early 20th century, oral health treatment was still so expensive that some opted to have all their teeth pulled to spare themselves a lifetime of pain.

In her interview with express.co.uk, Professor Bourke says: “Having all your teeth removed was considered the perfect gift for a 21st birthday or a newly married bride.” Porridge, anyone?

If this taste of British history leaves you wanting a full serving, tune in March 30.


Dentist Versus Polar Bear

Photo courtesy Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium.

By Alison Majikes/Special to theDailyFloss.com

My, what big teeth you have Boris…

A zoo dentist in Tacoma Washington faced, quite possibly, the biggest patient he has ever seen last week.

Boris the Polar Bear, a resident at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, underwent a procedure to remove three broken or decayed teeth in an operating room that not only included the dentist and his assistant, but also an entire support staff to make sure everything went smoothly.

According to an article by The Daily Mail UK, the zoo said Boris is one of the oldest polar bears in any North American zoo. At the ripe old age of 29, he has been living nearly twice as long as his relatives live in the wild.

The giant bear was born in Germany, but came to the U.S. in 2002 after U.S. animal welfare officials rescued him from a circus in Puerto Rico.

Along with his residency at the zoo, Boris must have gotten an excellent dental healthcare package to go along with it.

To read the full story about Boris, see more pictures and the team that worked with him. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2948651/Boris-Polar-Bear-gets-three-teeth-pulled-Washington-Zoo.html


A bit of inspiration for #National Toothache Day

If you’re torn between whether to celebrate National Toothache Day or not, take a little inspiration from Benco Dental Senior Graphic Designer Donna Shrader.

She suggested this vintage Sesame Street video featuring Wayne Brady and Elmo (once a frequent jam for she and her then-toddler son David) as the perfect treatment plan for this unique holiday.

Her logic: If a toothache is plaguing your day, use this memorable song to bolster your spirits and laugh a little until you arrive. If not, be sure to get between your teeth during cleaning to avoid gum disease and tooth decay –two of the top causes of toothaches.

PRO-SYS tapersThose hard-to-reach spaces can be within your grasp — PRO-SYS™ interdental brushes offer an option for those who don’t want to settle for an “incomplete clean.” Available in tapered or cylindrical shapes, these professionally designed, professionally recommended brushes are  great for back teeth and crowded teeth and ideal for cleaning between braces, crowns, bridges and implants


Techy the Tiger rocks NJ dental event for children

Photo courtesy Cumberland County Technical Education Center (CCTEC)

Children never able to receive dental treatment were welcomed with open arms for care. Mascots, face painting and light-hearted atmosphere aimed to make the 70 young patients feel at ease, according to a story at nj.com

In Deerfield Township N.J., the 13th annual “Give Kids a Smile” event was hosted Friday at the Cumberland County Technical Education Center, where dentists and dental assistants from all over Cumberland County gathered to give free dental care to children who otherwise may never have access to it.

Judy Zirkle, program director for the dental assisting program at CCTEC, told nj.com that  in addition to providing free dental care for children in need, it also gave CCTEC students in the dental assisting program an opportunity to train alongside real professionals in their field.

This was the 13th year CCTEC participated in the national event that began in 2002. The American Dental Association adopted Give Kids a Smile concept and established a national clinic day, where more than a million children are cared for and more than $100 million in dental care is provide yearly.

Children were also able to have their picture taken with the school’s mascot, Techy the Tiger, have their face painted, play games that simultaneously educated children in dental hygiene and all children received a teddy bear donated by the Hug a Bear Foundation.

Lastly, T-shirts and supplies for the event were donated by Benco Dental Supply Co., Pittston, Pennsylvania.

Should athletes rethink sugary drinks?

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers quarterback, shown, according to the Wall Street Journal, has been drinking soda after every game for seven years.

By Kelsi Matylewicz/ Social Media Intern, Benco Dental

Health experts have claimed that sugary energy drinks may have cost athletes medals at the 2012 Olympics; nagging mouth pain could have put them off their game, according to www.dailymail.co.uk

The amount of energy that athletes need for training often means they have high-carbohydrate diets and regularly use sugary, acidic energy drinks.

It’s not just Olympians  — Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers quarterback, shown. According to the Wall Street Journal, he has been drinking soda after every game for seven years.

But intense training can lead to a dry mouth, which in turn may lead to oral health problems.

According to the Daily Mail, story, “The study found 18 percent of top sports men and women complained the state of their teeth had a negative impact on their ability to perform” and “nearly half (46.5 percent) reported they had not visited a dentist in the past year.”

French cyclist Pierre Rolland drank a soda while riding in the 2013 Tour de France.

French cyclist Pierre Rolland drank a soda while riding in the 2013 Tour de France.

Last month, a study published by German researchers, found the longer athletes exercised, the less saliva they produced and the more alkaline (alkaline saliva works to encourage the growth of plaque bacteria which causes tooth decay) it became.

The study found that for every extra hour of training each week, there was an increased risk of a person needing fillings, or having decayed or missing teeth.

As part of the study, a team of dentists at the University Heidelberg Hospital in Germany, examined the teeth of 35 triathletes and 35 non-athletes.

Commenting on the results of this new study, health experts at University College London said dentistry must be given the same priority as other sports sciences to help increase their ability at any sport event.

Olympic athlete promoting Coca-Cola.

Olympic athlete promoting Coca-Cola.

Professor Ian Needleman of the UCL Eastman Dental Institute said: ‘Oral health could be an easy win for athletes, as the oral conditions that can affect performance are all easily preventable.”

To read the full story: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2791172/dental-problems-cost-athletes-medal-olympics-experts-blaming-sugary-energy-drinks.html