In recent years, the use of thin ceramic or porcelain veneer layer bonded to your existing tooth has become a popular cosmetic treatment. Veneers allow a skilled cosmetic dentist to reshape the appearance of your front teeth (upper and lower) using a thin shell to effectively cover stains, hide gaps and straighten misaligned teeth.
Cotton candy’s earliest origins date back to 15th century Italy. Here, in specialty bakeries off cobblestoned streets, sugar syrup would be boiled in a pan and “flicked out” with forks to create decorative, wispy strands. Due to the laborious process and the high price of its only ingredient, this “spun sugar” was only produced in small quantities, exclusively for the uber-wealthy.
For 300 years, the confection stayed in fashion—but only among elite circles. Ornately-spun Easter eggs and “webs of gold and silver” were rare delicacies for high society Europeans. Italians were particularly skilled at sugar spinning; as one historian describes, Venetians “moulded it into a fantastic tableaux of animals, mythic figures, buildings, birds, and pastoral scenes.” When Henri III of France visited Venice in the late 1500s, he was treated to a fanciful banquet at which 1,286 items —including the tablecloth —were spun of sugar. For the average citizen though, the treat remained widely inaccessible.
Centuries later, in 1897, a 37-year-old dentist from Tennessee decided the sugary goods should be enjoyed by everyone.
Born in Nashville in 1860, James Morrison’s passions were strangely conflicting. He excelled in dentistry school (by 1894, he was named President of the Tennessee State Dental Association), but was also a confection enthusiast with a penchant for culinary advancement. By the mid-1890s, he patented several devices — one which extracted oils from cottonseed and converted them to lard, and another which chemically purified Nashville’s drinking water.
But Morrison’s biggest breakthrough came in 1897, when he paired with John C. Wharton, an old pal and fellow confectioner. Together, the two designed and co-patented what they called the “electric candy machine.” Utilizing centrifugal force, the device rapidly spun and melted sugar through through small holes until it was fluffy and nearly 70% air. They called the new treat “fairy floss,” formed the “Electric Candy Company,” and spent several years perfecting the process before debuting it to the public.
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Most children do not have the coordination to effectively brush and floss their own teeth until they are about 6 or 7 years old. When you feel they are old enough to do it on their own, close supervision is still recommended to ensure thorough cleaning and good brushing habits. Also, let your kids watch you brush, you are their #1 role model.
The answer: Bad news: It’s pretty gross. You probably already know that the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing those pearly whites twice a day. You also probably know that brushing your teeth is one of the easiest ways to avoid scaring off your date.
But brushing is important for reasons beyond fresh breath. Skip a session, and you’re on your way to encouraging the growth of bacterial buildup in the form of plaque, which can lead to cavities and gum disease.
“In the middle of the day, [run your tongue] across your teeth right around the gum line. You’ll find something sticky or fuzzy,” Deepinder “Ruchi” Sahota, DDS, a dentist in Fremont, California, and a spokesperson for the ADA, tells The Huffington Post. “That’s plaque.”
Brushing, thankfully, “disrupt[s] that bacteria so it doesn’t stay in place,” she says, because if left in place, it starts to attack your teeth. Plus, the longer that plaque sits in one place, the more likely it is to become tartar, “that hard, yellow, rough material you sometimes feel in between your teeth” that can cause inflammation and bleeding in the gums, she says. Leave that untreated for too long, and you could risk losing teeth.
While there’s not exactly a precise timeline of when plaque becomes risky, “you can start the process of a cavity by not brushing once, absolutely,” says Sahota, especially if your occasional forgetfulness is more frequent than you’d like to admit. (We won’t tell.)
However, doing a so-so job brushing can be just as bad, Sahota warns. That twice-a-day routine is no joke, preferably with fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush. Each brushing session should last about two minutes and cover all surfaces of the teeth, not just the parts we see when we smile, she says. The ADA also recommends flossing once a day and seeing a dentist regularly to take care of the rest (like that tartar, which only a dentist can truly clean, she says).
Also, no cheating: Gum, mints and mouthwash are no brushing replacements. All three can give your mouth a fresher feel, says Sahota, but “brushing and flossing are the only ways to effectively, physically remove the plaque.”