Hello – Meet Herbie!
Hello my friends! It is so nice to see you all during this most wonderful time of the year!! The Winter holidays are one of my favorite times because everyone is happy, and I love those twinkling lights that are everywhere! I can even keep a tree in my house without anyone thinking it is weird! Plus, it is a time when my elf friends are hard at work in their workshops making toys and treats for your stocking or pretty gifts under the tree.
Did you know that there is an elf who is a dentist? If you watched Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, you would probably remember Herbie. Herbie wasn’t very fond of making toys, but he loves those pearly whites just like me! Herbie takes care of all the elves’ teeth who are at the North Pole. Shhh, it is a secret, but Herbie and I are dating! We have been seeing each other for about 300 years now and often work together to protect your little darlings. Did you know that Herbie invented the athletic mouth guard?
An athletic mouth guard is something you wear over your teeth to protect them when you are playing sports. Herbie noticed that the hockey sets that the North Polers (North Pole Hockey Team) were making were dangerous to our favorite darlings, your pearly whites. So, with all his toy making experience and a little nudging from me, he designed the guard to protect your teeth from harm.
When you play a contact sport like hockey or football, things can get rough. A hockey puck in the face or a hard tackle used to result in the loss of front teeth. So, Herbie started including his mouth guards in with the hockey stick and football helmet presents to keep your smiles intact. My elf is such a clever one and handsome may I add!
Mouth guards are used for other things too. A clever dentist, Dr. Frederick Macay discovered that fluoride prevents cavities. Dr. Macay was from Colorado. In the 1930’s it was noticed that children who drank water which is high in fluoride content didn’t have much tooth decay, especially in their adult teeth. Eventually other smart dentists discovered that your pearly whites benefit and are stronger if you have fluoride while your adult or permanent teeth are developing.
Fluoride works in 3 ways. First, fluoride prevents plaque bacteria from producing acid. If you remember from an earlier post, acid dissolves your pearly whites. ☹ Secondly, fluoride is absorbed into the tooth enamel (the outer hard white covering of your pearly whites), preventing the acids from entering and dissolving your enamel and it builds up (called remineralization) the enamel after attacks by acid-producing bacteria (remember the Dementors and the Bogarts?). So how does this relate to Herbie’s invention?
Well, some very smart dentists came up with the idea of putting a high concentration of fluoride on teeth after a dental cleaning. But a way was needed to hold the fluoride on the teeth for a few minutes without it getting swallowed and washed away. That is where Herbie’s athletic mouth guard invention comes in. Some smart dentist used the mouth guard to hold the fluoride on your teeth so they can get protected from the Dementors and Bogarts in your mouth. This adaptation of the mouth guard is called the fluoride tray.
Fluoride trays are made of a soft, flexible foamy material. The trays come in different sizes so the hygienist or dentist can fit them to the shape of our mouth. The fluoride comes in many flavors, my favorite is orange! It reminds me of the oranges and apples Herbie leaves in stockings (my stocking too)!
Well, my little friends, it is time for me to get to work and bring Herbie some hot chocolate while he works into the night making athletic mouth guards. I hope you all have a very Happy Chanukah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Kwanzaa! Herbie, my fairies, and I all wish all of you a very happy holiday season this year and always!
Ta ta to all until next year!
Remember, if you have any questions, don’t forget that you can call my buddies at the Connecticut Dental Health Partnership. I know they would just love to help you! Oh! You can also email directly, and I will be happy to help too.
Dr. Tooth Fairy
855-CT-DENTAL Monday-Friday 8AM – 5PM