Toothache Day

Illustration by Steve Worthington

Illustration by Steve Worthington

Toothache Day is celebrated on February 9th of each year.  The staff at National Whatever day were unable to discover the origin of Toothache Day, however, we believe it is a good way to bring attention to good oral hygiene.

Teeth cleaning is the removal of dental plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Severe gum disease causes at least one-third of adult tooth loss.

Tooth Decay is the most common global disease affecting every family. Over 80% of cavities occur inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces where brushing cannot reach food left trapped after every meal or snack and saliva or fluoride have no access to neutralise acid and remineralise demineralised tooth.

Fissure sealants dentists apply over grooves in chewing surfaces of back teeth, block food being trapped and halt the decay process. An elastomer strip has been shown to force sealant deeper inside opposing chewing surfaces at the same time and can also force fluoride toothpaste inside chewing surfaces before brushing to remineralise demineralised teeth.

Since before recorded history, a variety of oral hygiene measures have been used for teeth cleaning. This has been verified by various excavations done all over the world, in which chewsticks, tree twigs, bird feathers, animal bones and porcupine quills were recovered. Many people used different forms of teeth cleaning tools. Indian medicine (Ayurveda) has used the neem tree (a.k.a. daatun) and its products to create teeth cleaning twigs and similar products for millennia. A person chews one end of the neem twig until it somewhat resembles the bristles of a toothbrush, and then uses it to brush the teeth. In the Muslim world, the miswak, or siwak, made from a twig or root with antiseptic properties has been widely used since the Islamic Golden Age. Rubbing baking soda or chalk against the teeth was also common.

Generally, dentists recommend that teeth be cleaned professionally at least twice per year. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling, tooth polishing, and, if too much tartar has built up, debridement. This is usually followed by a fluoride treatment.

Between cleanings by a dental hygienist, good oral hygiene is essential for preventing tartar build-up which causes the problems mentioned above. This is done by carefully and frequently brushing with a toothbrush and the use of dental floss to prevent accumulation of plaque on the teeth.

llustration Credit: Steve Worthington
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