Did George Washington Have Wooden Teeth? | Northridge Dentist

As soon as we begin to learn some American history in school, we hear this myth. Not only do we believe it, but we revel in the fact that it even happened. But this little factoid does, in fact, do a disservice to our nation’s first president (and his dentists), who, plagued with a variety of tooth ailments early in life, actually sought out the most advanced dental practices of his time. The fun trivia? George Washington had wooden teeth

Washington began losing teeth in his twenties. In 1783, at the conclusion of the Revolutionary War, he enlisted the expertise of Jean Pierre Le Moyer, a French naval surgeon who gained a reputation for his pioneering work in tooth implantation. Records show Washington purchased nine teeth from his own slaves in 1784, and documentation strongly suggests the teeth were meant for implantation or to be used in his own dental prosthetics.

Why real human teeth? The 18th century saw a rise in the use of real teeth to replace rotting ones, and with good reason. While ivory and bone were prized for their ability to duplicate human teeth, the solution would be a temporary one. Saliva will eventually break down false teeth made from bone, leaving the wearer with a rotten taste in his mouth and a serious case of halitosis.

By the time Washington became president in 1789, he possessed only a single tooth and needed new dental prosthetics. John Greenwood, considered by many to be the father of modern dentistry, made several sets for him during this time using gold, metal, and hippopotamus ivory—which has a thick enamel coating—to create upper and lower mouth plates connected by gold-wire springs. In one version, both human and cow teeth were secured into the plates using brass screws.

Although they were not wood, Washington’s false teeth sound like they were torture to wear. Springs designed to keep the plates in place pushed Washington’s mouth open, requiring him to remain vigilant just to keep it closed. Washington found them so irritating he often kept his speaking engagements to a minimum. His second inaugural address was the shortest in history at only 135 words.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Battle Royale: Toothpaste vs. Orange Juice


This morning I woke up late and had to dash out the door, so I did the worst morning blunder in existence – I drank a glass of orange juice after I brushed my teeth. ACK! There is really nothing that tastes more horrific to a newly clean set of chompers than orange juice. But it got me thinking…why is this the case? Brushing my teeth and drinking juice are pretty synonymous with the morning. So who decided to mess with the logic? I had to experiment more. I’m not a coffee drinker but I gave it a shot. Nope. That was awful too. Problem is, I don’t like coffee so that wasn’t really convincing. But in fact, everything I drank after I brushed my teeth tasted badly. Relieved it wasn’t just juice, I decided to learn a little bit more about the other variable in this vile equation. The toothpaste.

And wouldn’t you know it? It really is all the toothpaste’s fault. Depending on which you choose, there is an ingredient in toothpaste called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES). The pros? It makes brushing your teeth easier. These surfactant chemicals are what makes your toothpaste foamy and easily spreadable in your mouth. And since cleaning your teeth is the whole point of toothpaste in the first place, it looks like we really ought to have it in the recipe.

The cons? SLS/SLES reacts to the mouth in a funny, not so funny one-two punch. On one side, they attack all of the taste buds that like any sort of sweetness and temporarily cripples them. On the other, they break up our tongue’s phospholipids. Phospholipids are fatty molecules that block bitter flavors, keeping us from being too overwhelmed by how sour something really tastes. So not only are your sweet taste buds down for the count, but now your bitter taste buds have superhero strength. It’s a battle of the ages!

Thankfully, we have a natural hero that comes around to rescue us from the bitter defeat – saliva. Once you finish brushing your teeth, saliva comes in and dissolves the remaining SLS/SLES in our mouths. And about a half hour later, our taste buds are back to normal and everything is good as new. And just so you know, they do make SLS/SLES-free toothpaste, but having the rabid dog foamy mouth look is such a fun part of the process.

After all is said and done, it’s good to know that there is a deeper reason why toothpaste and orange juice don’t mix. And the fact we can circumvent the entire situation is nice. I’m sure this won’t be a singular instance, especially when in a jam. I just wish it didn’t have to happen so early in the morning.

Although toothpaste and orange juice aren’t the best combination, you should still be sure to brush your teeth every morning.  For more fun facts regarding oral care, visit www.davidluntdds.com.

Can Certain Foods Affect Your Dental Health? | Northridge, Ca Dentist

Fruit and Veggies

Believe it or not what you eat can affect your dental health. We’ve all heard, “An apple a day keeps the doctor away!” But what foods can ‘keep the dentist away’?

Your best food choices for the health of your mouth include cheeses, chicken or other meats, nuts and milk. These foods are thought to protect tooth enamel by providing the calcium and phosphorus needed to remineralize teeth (a natural process by which minerals are redeposited in tooth enamel after being removed by acids).

Other food choices include firm/crunchy fruits (for example, apples and pears) and vegetables. These foods have a high water content, which dilutes the effects of the sugars they contain, and stimulate the flow of saliva (which helps protect against decay by washing away food particles and buffering acid). Acidic foods, such as citrus fruits, tomatoes, and lemons, should be eaten as part of a larger meal to minimize the acid from them.

Choose beverages like water (especially fluoridated water), milk, and unsweetened tea. Limit your consumption of sugar-containing drinks, including soft drinks, lemonade, and coffee or tea with added sugar. Also, avoid day-long sipping of sugar-containing drinks — day-long sipping exposes your teeth to constant sugar and, in turn, constant decay-causing acids(Source WebMD).

For more information about good oral hygiene call Dr. Lunt of Northridge, CA at 818-885-7230 or visit www.davidluntdds.com.

Dr. Lunt of Northridge, CA proudly accepts patients from Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka, and surrounding areas