Bits and Bites
A celebration of Oral Hygiene

Oral Exams
Test your dental advertising IQ

Look Ma, No Cavities
A Bite-size history of brushing your teeth

Tooth and Lies
All about toothpaste

Pulling for You
Whole pop dentists' hall of fame and more

Bad Breath
Yours and your dog's

Coming Extractions
Dentists in the movies

Strangers in Dentifrice
From Shanghai to Ceylon to Switzerland

Listerine Antizyme
toothpaste ad, 1950s

the moment

   Bad Breath
  Yours and your dog's

(Ad for Listerine Antiseptic,
Ladies’ Home Journal, 1950s)

People worry about bad breath to the tune of ten billion dollars a year of profits to gum, mint and mouthwash manufacturers, nearly all of it wasted.

But the old Listerine commercial notwithstanding, not even mouthwashes really help bad breath beyond a minute or two in fact, alcohol and hydrogen peroxide can actually worsen the conditions. Baking soda makes your mouth more alkaline exactly the wrong direction, because acidity actually decreases bad breath.

While bad gums and teeth can have some affect, most bad breath comes from food and plaque coating the back of your tongue. What can you do? Suppressing the gag reflex, grasp your tongue with a washcloth and use a toothbrush or tongue scraper on it for 2-3 minutes twice a day.

Your Mom Was Wrong
What causes tooth decay? Decaying food acting as a bacteria sanctuary. But forget what your mom told you.

Actually most candy and soft drinks are not that bad the sugar quickly washes off the tooth surface. Ironically, many “healthy” snacks can be the most deadly: Sticky dried fruit is particular bad because it molders on and between teeth; so do carbohydrates like bagels, crackers, pretzels, and dry cereals. Instead, go with fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, popcorn, nuts, chips, and unsweetened peanut butter.

What’s the worst thing moms do to their kids’ teeth? Let them go to sleep with a bottle. Unless it’s water, preferably fluoridated.

Your mom was right about a few things: Don’t forget to floss regularly.
And SMILE you have such pretty teeth....

Air of the Dog
Caring for your Feline’s Canines: 95% of doggie bad breath comes from periodontal disease, says the Chicago Dental Society. According to veterinarian tooth specialists, you should brush your dog’s and cat’s teeth every day, but not with human toothpaste (there are chicken-flavored brands out something that might also work on humans who don’t like all that mintyness).

“It doesn’t take that much effort and the results are worth it,” says vet Jack Noyes. Flossing, too? Don’t press your luck.

For more information:
http://www.chicagodentalsociety.org/ and click on “Public Information”

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