Inside Look

News and notes on dental health.

Illustration by Andrew Joyce

By the Numbers

Start brushing your child’s teeth as soon as they come in, even if they are younger than 1 year old. Schedule their first visit to the dentist, too.


Dentists recommend brushing your teeth for two full minutes, twice each day. Most people fall far short, so try setting a timer or listening to your favorite tune to extend the time you spend brushing.


The American Dental Association recommends changing your toothbrush every three to four months. As a reminder, mark your calendar to change it seasonally.


Hold your toothbrush at a 45° angle to your teeth while brushing. The exception: Hold the brush straight up and down to clean your front teeth.


The oldest toothbrush—a thin twig with a frayed end—was used 5,000 years ago. Toothbrushes have evolved over time; modern versions were invented in 1938.


About 74 percent of the U.S. population has access to fluoridated drinking water, which helps prevent cavities.

1 million

The number of people who subscribe to Quip, an electronic toothbrush subscription service that delivers a new brush head every three months.

Source: Mouth Healthy by the American Dental Association.

Rinse, Gargle, Spit
Why alcohol-based mouthwash is bad for your dental health.

If a good mouth rinse is part of your morning ritual, think again. Many popular mouthwash brands contain alcohol—which leads to dehydration, creating a breeding ground for bacteria—and CPC (cetylpyridinium chloride), a chemical that can cause staining from removed bacteria. Instead, use an essential oil-based wash.

Little Powerhouses
New research shows smoking affects immune health in teeth.

Small, but mighty, teeth are home to dental pulp that fights illness and disease. Recently, researchers discovered that smoking weakens the pulp’s ability to fight poor endodontic outcomes like gum disease or dental tissue inflammation almost entirely, and smokers were found to be two times more likely to need a root canal. Luckily, this harm can be reversed; two patients in the study who quit smoking were able to restore their defenses.

Want to read more on dental health? Pick up a copy of our August 2019 issue.

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