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Why Do Pirates Have Such Bad Teeth?

Thursday, September 19th, 2019

a pirates toothy smile hagen dental blog


Looting, stealing, partying, and searching for unfound treasure….that’s all in a “day in the life” of a Pirate!

It’s no wonder, then, that oral hygiene came at the bottom of the list for Pirates. And, if you’ve seen any movie that features Pirates, you’ve likely noticed the depiction of their teeth as yellow, rotting, or altogether missing—which isn’t too far from the truth…

In honor of “International Talk Like a Pirate Day” we thought we’d take a closer look at the truth behind Pirate’s personal hygiene.

Stepping Back: A Closer Look at Pirates

When we talk about pirates, we’re referring to people who would rob or attack others on boat—in most cases. That violence would happen by other ship-borne attackers looking for money, jewelry, or anything they could get their hands on—including so-called “treasure”!

Many people are familiar with Pirates from movies, especially thanks to the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Usually, these movies do an accurate job of capturing how this kind of violence and crime would occur. With that said, some of them rely on a few stereotype portrayals of how Pirates talked and dressed, such as peglegs, parrots, and treasure maps…

The Golden Age of Piracy

The earliest documented piracy dates back to 14th century, and many acts of piracy happened during the 15th century (1).  The classic era of piracy that many know about (and is covered most often in books and movies) occurred in the Caribbean. That lasted from around 1650 until the mid-1720s.

In part, that’s because during that time, France, England and the United Provinces were all developing empires and trade by sea was common. In other words, the economy of that time depended on resources being moved via ship. Since money and resources were traveling this way, it provided and opportunity for pirates to attempt to attack those ships in order to steal those very resources (2).

A Pirate’s Life 

Historians say that often, Pirates were people who came from poverty and that they—early on in life—found this was a way to survive and make a living. It’s also believed that others were captured during raids or battles and forced to work on the pirates’ ship as a result.

With a livelihood based on stealing and a life that wasn’t fancy or decadent by any means, what did oral health even look like for Pirates?

Here are 4 things that might have contributed to poor oral health for Pirates:

1. Lack of consistent hydration with water.

One of the best things about water is how it natural cleanses our mouth. Since our bodies are 60 percent water, it also keeps our body working properly and helps our body deliver nutrients in the best way possible.

Yes, Pirates likely had the ability to fill up with tons of water barrels, but at times, the water was likely limited, not high quality, or it wasn’t helping to improve their overall health and oral health.

Without that kind of access to clean water we have today (not to mention it certainly was not fluorinated), Pirates’ health ultimately suffered.

pirates and their oral health

2. Diet and alcohol consumption.

Food for Pirates likely included salted meat, sea biscuits (a hard bread meant to last long periods of time), or even bone soup, as a few examples. If they ate bread that ended up “stuck” on their teeth for long periods of time, that would have been a breeding ground for bacteria in their mouth, resulting major, fast-forming dental decay.

Alcohol consumption is also not good for teeth, and if they smoked—which it is believed they did—it would have also contributed to oral health decay and other issues.

3. A major deficiency in vitamin C.

Scurvy is a disease that results from a major lack of Vitamin C. When it happens, people experience decreased red blood cells, gum disease, changes to their hair, and bleeding from the skin.

This deficiency in vitamin C, which is common for people who live at sea, would have only worsened those issues, and could have heavily contributed to tooth loss. It’s believed to have been very common for sailors during this time period, especially since foods that combat scurvy—

lemons, limes, broccoli, chili peppers, guava, kiwifruit, oranges, strawberries, etc.—couldn’t be help on ships for long periods of time.

4. Lack of modern knowledge.

If a tooth hurt back then, Pirates probably…well, pulled it. Arrrr!

Today we use modern toothbrushes and floss because we know the impact good oral health habits can have on our teeth, especially when those habits compound over time. Pirates back then may have had chewing sticks to help remove plaque, but they certainly did not regularly brush their teeth or floss. And, just as you may have guessed, they had no access to professional dental cleaning at that time! Dentistry as we know it has come a long way!

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Have Some Fun This International ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’

Ultimately, it’s clear that Pirates didn’t have the knowledge or the ability to take care of their teeth as we do today…Luckily, today we know the benefits of properly taking care of our teeth and we’re grateful we have the ability to do so. (And, we’re able to access professional dentistry to help us receive the best oral health care possible in a comfortable, safe environment.)

Its’ been said that on “Talk Like a Pirate Day” this month, you’re encouraged to use phrases like “Ahoy, Mates!”, “Ahoy, Matey” or even, “Ahoy, me hearties!” Those are just a few common phrases that are said to have been used back in the Golden Age of Piracy, even though the actual use might have been slightly different. Whether or not you end up using those phrases or other ones is up to you (3)!


  2. Nigel Cawthorne (2005), Pirates: An Illustrated History, Arturus Publishing Ltd., 2005, p. 65.

Amazing Facts About Fiona’s Teeth

Monday, March 18th, 2019

Amazing Facts about Fiona's Teeth

“Fionamania”—which is a term coined by the New York Times—has really swept the nation.

The term is used to describe the interest in our very own a hippopotamus, Fiona, who was born at the Cincinnati Zoo back in January of 2017.

Fiona is a Nile hippo and she was the first of her kind to be born at our zoo in 75 years, meaning she’s quite the special hippo. Because she was born prematurely, they weren’t sure if she would make it, but thanks in part to the support by the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, she is still here today.

About Our Zoo’s Famous Hippo Fiona

Photo credit: This image used above of Fiona was captured at the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, in Cincinnati, Ohio by DarthBotto.

Fiona is what we think of as the common, or large, hippo, which is also the most abundant species of hippo today. The other kind of species of hippo is called pygmy hippos. Unlike Fiona’s species, these are endangered.

Based on estimates from the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, there are as many as 130,000 wild common hippos in the world. Conservations say that the population is considered relatively stable, but that could change in the future. The only other known species of hippos are the smaller pygmy hippos, which are endangered (1).

Garnering Media Attention

Since she was born about 6 weeks premature, that made our beloved Fiona the smallest hippo ever to survive such a birth. That’s part of why her remarkable story has brought her so much fame and attention. To get an idea of her growth and her size, she took her first steps when she weighed about 275 pounds. That’s when she was first introduced to nation-wide media, catching the attention and love of many.

By the time she was one, she weighed more than 655 pounds. Fast-forward to December of 2018 and she was about a third of the way toward being a full-grown female hippo, in terms of weight and size.

That’s right: she was at 1,000 out of the eventual 3,000 pounds! As you might guess, that milestone also brought about celebration in social media!

cincinnati zoo twitter

As her fans grew, so did her following on social media. In fact, several videos and photos of Fiona went viral in those early days, including a couple’s photograph of Fiona watching them get engaged in October of 2017.

Already a social media sensation, she became star of her own show “The Fiona Show” on Facebook as well. She’s also had a children’s book written about her, a mural designed for her, and she’s even appeared in Cincinnati Ballet’s production of Nutcracker, played by a 6’4″ dancer where she was said to have stolen the show (2)!

Fiona may get a great deal of attention in the news and in social media, but let’s take some time to look into something that may not often be talked about…that is, her remarkable mouth and teeth! 

Fiona’s Mouth & Teeth

hippos teeth and mouthsIf you think about it, part of what makes Fiona (and any hippo!) recognizable is her mouth and their teeth. All hippos have that barrel-shaped torso, and their wide-opening mouths that show off those large canine tusks!

In fact, their mouths can open 150 degrees, typically, as shown above!

Their mouth’s huge size also makes them more easily distinguished or identified, but their teeth and mouth are also quite unique and amazing! It’s no wonder the Cincinnati Zoo features impressive video and photos that show off Fiona’s massive mouth, just like the one above…

Back when Fiona was first born and was starting to gain weight and make progress, she struggled during feeding times. She would bite or chew on anything she could; her little tusks in her mouth were causing her discomfort, just like teeth coming in also do for a baby!

The issue was this: as explained by the Cincinnati Zoo, teething at that point really shouldn’t have been happening quite yet, so they had to help her and support her through the pain.

With the support and tube feedings and round the clock care, despite a few ups and downs along the way, they helped feed her despite the challenges they faced at that time (6)!

When fully grown, Hippo’s huge mouths consist of lips that are about 2 feet wide. Just how large and impressive are those teeth? Well, their teeth that can bite a 10-foot crocodile in half! Hippos can open their mouths about 4 feet wide, in many cases. And yes, when doing so, it’s not easy to ignore those powerful, large tusk-like canines and razor-sharp incisors that you see! (4)

Young hippos typically have 32 milk teeth. These include incisors, canine, and premolars on each half of the jaw, on both sides. Adult hippos have 36 teeth. These include 2 incisors, 1 canine, 3 premolars and 3 molars on each half of the jaw, on both sides.

With that said, adult hippos can retain some of their milk teeth even years after their adult teeth come in, some hippos can have more teeth—even as many as 40 teeth, for a few years. The largest teeth, which would be the canines, are commonly referred to as tusks.

The front incisors are commonly referred to as fighting tusks. These would be what would do major damage to a predator if they were to fight! (3).

Under the attention and care of the zookeepers, Fiona is able to get her teeth cleaned. Here’s a popular video that shows her incisor tusks peeking through on top at the time during a dental check-up…hey, who knew Fiona was just like us! Take a look and see:

As shown, you can see Fiona enjoys the dental check and mouth massage while the dental staff checks the health of her mouth and teeth. It seems she really does love those regular massages she receives, as shown here, too.

fiona teeth care

Other Hippo Behaviors

We may love our Fiona, but hippos are actually…well, dangerous, and they can be quite unpredictable in the wild!

Take for example how in Africa, they are responsible for more deaths than any other mammal. They can show aggression when they need to defend their territory from other hippos or when they need to defend their space from other predators. That’s obviously not quite an issue in a zoo environment, but as she increases in size, staff will have to change how they interact with her.

One question many have is, why do hippos open their mouths as they do? Opening their mouth the distinct way they do is not just by chance. When showing aggression or when facing an aggressor, they will actually do so with their mouths open. At the same time, a female will keep her massive mouth open if and when she is protecting her young.

They can also open their mouths wide and toss their heads to display other expressions and emotions, not just aggression. According to the Cincinnati Zoo, when Fiona opens her mouth and tosses her head back and forth, that can be translated as: “Back off! I need my space” to “Let’s play!” and it can even mean, “Who’s in charge here?” This behavior may be fine between hippos, but as she continues to grow, that behavior will certainly be watched when dealing with the zookeepers (4, 5, 6)!

Supporting You & Your Family’s Health at Hagen Dental

At Hagen Dental, we support your total health—including your oral health. Visit us online here to schedule or call us at (513) 251-5500.

Sources used directly in this blog:

  7. Photo credit:

Why Do Humans Have Canine Teeth?

Thursday, October 18th, 2018

why do humans have canine teeth

It’s that time of year…not just Pumpkin Spice Lattes, but it’s also time for Halloween!

Each year, costumes surely shift and change based on popular culture. But year after year, monsters, witches, vampires, and werewolves continue to be popular.

With that in mind, we thought we’d explore one key part of so many vampire (or well, monster) costumes: that is, their canine teeth.

What Are Canine Teeth, Anyway?

Humans have four canine teeth: two on our upper jaw, and two on the lower jaw. In more technical terms, you have two mandibular canines and the two maxillary canines.

Canine teeth are very useful teeth, as we typically hold and bite food with them. They are useful for tearing up larger pieces of food, such as meat or anything that’s a little chewier. Some say we don’t need canines to survive, and while that may be true, they certainly help us to chew (1, 2, 3).

hagen dental blog a look at fangs

A Look at Fangs

When we think of vampires or certain monsters, we often think of their fangs. Fangs can be a type of canine teeth, when it’s the teeth in the upper jaw we’re talking about.

We also sometimes think of bats and their fangs; after all, they have incisors, canines, premolars and molars. Their canines are indeed their fangs, and no matter the bat, they all have them (7).

Interestingly, some recent vampire fangs—on TV, that is—have been featured on laterals rather than their cuspids.

For example, if you watch the show True Blood, you’ll notice that the vampires’ fangs are designed to look more like “snake fangs.” Go figure!

Going back in movie/TV history, here are some other notable vampire fangs:

  • In the 1922 classic Nosferatu, the monster had fangs where his two front incisors were
  • In The Lost Boys, Kiefer Sutherland and others sported pointy lateral incisors
  • In 30 Days of Night, every monster tooth was pointy and a bit fang-like!
  • The Christopher Lee Dracula character had scary, sharp cuspids—which many credit as kicking off sharp “vampire fangs” for years to follow (5, 6)

Do All Animals Have Canine Teeth?

Not all animals have canine teeth, but many animals do. The ones that don’t include rodents, rabbits, and pikas. It may be surprising, but many plant-eating animals (herbivores) actually do have very sharp canine teeth, though.

Consider the hippo’s canine teeth: they have canines so large that they are like swords. They can even be 16 inches long, so it’s no wonder they are the largest canines of any mammal.

Even though they are still canine teeth, their purpose isn’t for feeding or chewing. After all, they have a diet of grass, for the most part. Instead, their extra-large canines are designed for combat (1, 3, 4).

Do Canine Teeth Really Tell Us About Someone’s Personality?

Well, we have to say: it’s a bit of a myth that the size and shape of your canine teeth can be indicative of your personality. But if you choose to believe, here’s what your teeth may indicate:

  • Pointer and longer canine teeth: The myth says you tend to have an aggressive or more assertive personality.
  • Flattened canines with less prominent tips: You can be passive.
  • Tiny canines: You may just be a pushover! (2)

we love those smiles hagen dental blogFloss Those Fangs & Make Your Next Appointment with Hagen Dental Practice

At Hagen Dental, we love to see your confident smile! Looking to set up your next dentist appointment with us? Give us a call at (513) 251-5500 or setup your appointment online by clicking the online scheduling button.



Dental History: When Did Preventive Dentistry Start?

Thursday, October 4th, 2018

taking a look at dental history hagen dds

Did you realize that dentistry is one of the oldest medical professions?

A man named Hesy-Re, who seemed to have the title “Great one of the ivory cutters,” is thought to be the first official dental practitioner.

the first dentist history blogHe was also an Egyptian scribe. So, in some ways, he could be seen as the first dentist…way back in 2650 B.C. (2)

So we know that people were concerned with their teeth thousands of years ago.

And, we also know that one of the first books that focused solely on dental health and dentistry principles came out around 1530. The title?  “The Little Medicinal Book for All Kinds of Diseases and Infirmities of the Teeth.” What a title!

Despite how people recognized value in taking care of their teeth, they didn’t always get it quite right.

For example: Back in 5000 B.C., Sumerian culture fostered the idea that worms were a cause of dental decay! That idea was finally proven to be inaccurate, but it wasn’t until the 1700s.

It was also around that same time that a lot more advancements and focus came to the field of dentistry in general. Let’s take a closer look.

Finding Out that Sugar Leads to Tooth Decay

It was around that time—in the 1720s—when a man named Dr. Pierre Fauchard published a book called “The Surgeon Dentist, a Treatise on Teeth.”

Again, this was a major milestone, and what he suggested was pretty pivotal. One key learning: acids from sugar significantly contribute to and lead to tooth decay.

The book had major insights in it regarding comprehensive oral care, including steps that can be taken to prevent oral health issues. This book put forward such revolutionary ideas that Dr. Fauchard, who was in fact a surgeon, is often cited as the Father of Modern Dentistry (2, 3, 4, 5).

New Ideas About Dental Health

Dr. Fauchard also introduced fillings and other ways of dealing with cavities and severe decay.

Around 1740, a man named Claude Mouton started talking about the idea of a gold crown. He even suggested ways to make the gold crowd more attractive in the mouth!

It was in 1760 when Dr. John Baker came around and made his mark in dental history. Dr. Baker came to America from England. After he made the move, he was the first medically-trained dentist to practice dentistry in the states. So, using that definition, he was arguably our nation’s first dentist.

One of the people he trained to be a dentist was Paul Revere. Dr. Revere then made history in the Battle of Breed’s Hill where he examined a friend’s teeth to verify his death.

This was in 1776, and that’s our first known case of dental forensics after death.

A few other major milestones in the coming years:

  • 1789: Nicolas Dubois de Chemant received the first patent for porcelain teeth.
  • 1790: Josiah Flagg constructed the first chair made specifically for dental patients (2, 3, 4, 5).

The First Dental School

Another key figure that came after Dr. Fauchard and Dr. Baker was Dr. John M. Harris. According to the history books, he’s the who started the world’s first dental school.

It may surprise you to learn that this school was located in Bainbridge, Ohio.

Dr. Harris, who had previously lived in Cincinnati, moved to Bainbridge in the 1820s. A few years later is when he started teaching others as they prepared for medical school.

His approach included curriculum that included in-depth knowledge on how to take care of your teeth. At the time, that was quite unique content, and other medical schools, for the most part, didn’t offer those lessons for future physicians. (It’s not hard to see why many historians refer to Dr. Harris the Father of Dental Education in the United States.) (3, 4, 5)

Dental Schools Grow & Expand in Popularity

After learning from him, many of his students went on to further explore dental care, and still others also established dental schools themselves.

Even his own brother went on to become founder of the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery in 1840, which some deem the first official dental school in the US. About 5 years later, in 1845, the Ohio College of Dental Surgery—located in Cincinnati, Ohio—was founded. It’s pretty incredible to think just how much dental history we have right in our backyard (2, 3, 4).

Then in 1867, another milestone: the first university-affiliated dental institution, the Harvard University Dental School, was founded. About six years later, Colgate was mass producing its first toothpaste. After that, mass-produced toothbrushes were created and sold across the nation (2, 3, 4)!

dentist in cincinnati ohio hagen dental practice blog

More Surprising Dental Facts & Firsts

Despite a long history of people knowing the importance of taking care of their teeth, Americans haven’t always had great oral health habits.

In fact, good brushing habits really weren’t adopted until after World War II. Part of why: soldiers who had been stationed abroad had learned the concept and application of good oral health. When they came home, they helped to shift the American consciousness about oral health.

Since that time, here are a few other notable “firsts” in dental history that might also surprise you to learn:

  • 1960: The first commercial electric toothbrush is introduced in the United States. After that, the first cordless and rechargeable model is introduced about a year later.
  • 1962: The first time Bis-GMA (what’s used in many composite resin restorative materials) is first developed.
  • 1989: The first home tooth bleaching product is commercially marketed (3).

Preventive Dentistry Keeps Your Teeth Looking & Feeling Great

Give us a call to learn about what steps you can take to prevent (or reverse) dental decay. We’re here to help you with smile makeovers, full-mouth rehabilitation, cosmetic dentistry, Invisalign, and much more at Hagen Dental Practice.

We invite you to schedule a complimentary consultation or your next regular professional cleaning with Dr. Hagen by calling (513) 251-5500 or clicking the online scheduling button.




Year-Ends Tips to Maximize Your Dental Insurance

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

how to optimize your dental insurance hagen dental dds cincinntati ohio

For the great majority of people, your dental benefits re-set every single year. Said another way, most people have dental benefits that are based on a one-year benefit period, and in most cases, that benefit period is based on our calendar year.

So that means if you haven’t used those benefits up until now, you’ll want to be sure you do use them before the end of the calendar year. If you don’t, you forfeit those benefits and don’t get to use them next year.

Let’s take a closer look at some key ways you can do end-of-the-year planning based on where you are at today.

Taking Advantage of the Benefits You Have

So what are the benefits you can take advantage of before the end of December?

Here’s a list to start:

  • Your regular check-up. Most insurance plans cover two check-ups per year and/or a check-up every 6 months. If you only scheduled one with us this year, or if you canceled one of your check-ups with us recently, the time is now to squeeze it in! Remember, if you don’t use it this year, you lose it. This kind of preventative care is essential to your short-term and long-term dental health, so it’s important not to skip. If you haven’t been able to come in for any of your dental check-ups yet, you still have time to get on our schedule before 2019 rolls in.
  • Other treatments. Have you been waiting on implants, CEREC, or some other, larger service we provide? Think of it this way: if you’ve met your deductible and have not hit your maximum, it could mean you have very low or little-to-no out of pocket expense for the treatment if you fit it in before the end of the calendar year. In other words, now could be a great time to get that treatment you’ve been waiting on. Then, next year, your deductible will re-set and start all over again.
  • Starting a multi-visit treatment you’ve delayed. Depending on the nature of your visit and the status of your deductible for this calendar year, we could also setup a treatment plan that is timed to minimize how much you pay out-of-pocket.For example, if you have a two-part treatment with us, we could split the treatment up between the end of this year and the very beginning of next year, helping you to take full advantage of your insurance benefits within each calendar year. While this may not be as common as the other two ways to save money, it’s still something many people can take advantage of.

Get to Know More About Your Insurance

It’s never a bad idea to get to know more about your insurance policy if you have questions or if you aren’t sure how to maximize your value from your current plan. Consider calling your insurance company to ask more about the type of deductible you have, for example.

If you have a family deductible plan it will work differently than an individual plan; as a result, you could have already hit your deductible and would therefore want to know that as soon as possible.

At the very least, you may want to login to your insurance company’s website online (or call in if you prefer) and see how much you have paid towards your deductible already. Besides being accessible through your insurance company’s website, that’s also something that is often sent to you via your insurance statements. Those typically come in on a monthly basis or quarterly basis, depending on your insurance provider.

year end tips to maximize your dental health benefits cincinntati ohio dentist

Utilize Those FSA Benefits

Do you have a health plan through your employer? If so, it may be a Flexible Spending Account, or FSA. Think of this as money your employer contributed to pay for out-of-pocket health care costs that are allowed in your specific program, including copays, deductibles, medications or certain out-of-pocket costs for dental work.

Figure out the specifics of your plan, because many have benefits that will go away when your benefit period ends—and again—often times that benefit period is the calendar year.

Remember the ‘Triple Benefit’ of Your HSA

Not to be confused with an FSA, your HSA, or Health Savings Account, has funds that do not expire, but once again, it’s a great route to take to save money while setting yourself up with funds to use on healthcare-related costs.

If you are eligible and have an account, you have the opportunity to benefit from what’s called a “triple tax advantage.” Here’s why it’s a strategy that is appealing to so many people: First, an HSA allows you the chance to contribute money to the account on a pre-tax basis, so all the money you set aside you do not have to pay taxes on.

Second, any earnings within that account that accumulate over time are not taxed. And last, you get to take that money out on a tax-free basis. Not many investment vehicles allow all three of those tax breaks to happen.

So not only do you avoid paying taxes when you contribute money to the account, but you are not taxed on the money you withdraw, either, when you decide to use it on your health. It’s a great way to set aside money you can use on healthcare dollars, whether that is this year or another time in the future.

Make Sure You Take Advantage of All Your Dental Benefits

Since you lose many of these benefits if you don’t use them this year, don’t delay on coming in to see us! If you have any questions about the potential of scheduling treatments you’ve been delaying, the potential costs of any treatments, or if you want to squeeze in your check-up with us, be sure to call us today at (513) 251-5500.

You can also visit our site for online scheduling. The end of year will be here before we know it, so you’ll want to get on the calendar as soon as you can.

A Message to Everyone With A Smile

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018

Smiles are one of the most universally understood facial gestures. A smile can encourage, communicate, inspire, and improve many a situation. Did you know that smiling also has many health and social benefits? Check out these proven benefits to turning that frown upside down.

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How Smiling Impacts Your Social Life

Better Interactions: People who smile more often are typically treated better. A study from the Journal of Neuropsychologia found that a person watching another person smiling promotes rewarding feelings by the observer, and improves how they act towards you.

Thoughts Towards You: A 2011 study by researchers at the Face Research Laboratory in Scotland found that smiling and eye contact increased both men’s and women’s subjective judgment of attractiveness by the study participants. People tend to view a smiling person as more attractive, reliable, relaxed and sincere (1).

Better Relationships: We are drawn to people who smile more often. Those who smile are considered more likable. Being likable is one of the important components to building and maintaining strong and healthy social bonds and relationships with others. An increase in positive emotions is also linked to better interpersonal skills.

How Smiling Impacts People Around You

Pay it forward with a smile! A smile is considered “contagious”. This is proven analysis of brain activity: The part of your brain that activates when happy and the part that controls the facial expression of smiling reside in an unconscious, automatic response area of the brain called the cingulate cortex. Looking at someone smiling makes your brain want to imitate the expression. Avoiding a return smile is almost impossible to do without making a conscious effort not to do so  (1).

How Smiling Impacts Your Brain

Each time you actively smile, neurons in your brain are activated and send messages to other parts of the brain and body in response to the smile. These specific messages improve your health, your happiness, lower your stress levels, and relax your body. This occurs due to the release of the “feel-good” neurotransmitters, which are dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin (1).

Improved Mood: Just as smiling at someone else can encourage them to smile and feel better, smiling does good for your own happiness too! Smiling will actually activate those happiness centers of your brain due to the neural pathways associated with the expression. This can spur on actual feelings of happiness, and provide you with the perk of an improved mood. Smiles help you genuinely stay and feel happier. It’s a great life hack when you want to try and cheer up (2).

Immune Function: The brain is also intricately connected to your immune system function. Studies show again and again how depression weakens the immune system, while happiness boosts the immune response and disease-fighting systems in our body. This all starts with a smile. The physical action of a smile, with or without emotions of happiness, “tricks” our brain into assuming happiness is happening, and helps to protect our body. The phrase “laughter is the best medicine” carries a lot more importance than we might have originally thought.

Stress Reduction: The brain responds so positively to smiling that it produces both psychological and physical improvements in stress markers. So if you’re feeling stressed, try to squeeze in a few smiles. Your brain responds with the stress-reducing and calming neuron activity, as well as a lowered heart rate, to help you calm down and handle the situation more effectively (3).

positive dentist hagen

How Smiling Impacts Your Body

Lowered Blood Pressure: Smiling and laughing activities create direct physiological changes in the body. These actions are followed by muscle relaxation, decreased heart rate, and decreased blood pressure in the body. These health factors mean a lower risk of heart disease in your future. So smile and laugh every day (2, 3)!

Stress Reduction: The lowered stress levels mentioned above help reduce not only the negative psychological impact of stress, but the physical impact of stress as well.

Pain Relief: Laughter helps the body release its own natural painkillers, increases your pain threshold and leads to a greater tolerance to pain. This can be especially helpful in long term, chronic illness or pain (3).

Longer Life Span: Smiling and positive emotions are associated with longer life spans. That alone is enough reason to find more things to smile about (3).

We Care About Your Smile

We think these benefits prove that smiling more often just makes sense! We want you to not only have a smile you can be proud of, but feel confident about expressing yourself with a grin, enabling you to enjoy these health and life benefits.

At Hagen Dental, our team is dedicated to providing you and your family with excellent dental care. Set up your next appointment with us! Give us a call today at (513) 251-5500. We’re looking forward to meeting you and your family, or welcoming you back again!




The Essential Guide to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth

Monday, August 20th, 2018

The Essential Guide to Brushing Your Dog’s Teeth hagen dental practice cincinnati ohio

Do you have a dental care regimen for your dog?

We know they are considered a part of the family, so to keep their gums and mouth healthy, we’ve compiled some of the top tips you can use when it comes to brushing your dog’s teeth.

Step #1: Get them used to the idea

If you can, start young with your dog…but don’t worry if that hasn’t happened! To start to train a dog, many people like to show their dog what it’s like to have fingers in their mouth first.

Think of it this way: your slowly getting your dog used to the idea that you’re going to be putting something in their mouth in the future. This way, they can adjust the idea!

Consider putting your finger in peanut butter or some other treat, and let them lick it off your finger. As they do this, you can start to safely and gently rub their teeth and gums with your finger.

You can also try to keep their mouth open for longer periods of time—again, you’re getting them ready for the brushing that’s to come.

Another point to consider: You may need some toys on hand for positive reinforcement when they allow you to keep their mouth open for a little longer than they are used to. Some dogs may have a bit of resistance at first, so this can help.

Step #2: Start small

If desired, you may skip the first point. Whenever you feel you are ready, with the guidance from your vet, you can introduce your dog to toothpaste.

Be sure you use pet toothpaste with your animal. You should never use human toothpaste with your dog! Today there are dog toothpastes that are flavored like beef or poultry that many will enjoy

Slowly work up to brushing their teeth. You may at first just introduce them to a small amount of toothpaste. After all, it will take some getting used to. Aim to focus on the faces of the lip, when possible. It may take a week, or longer to get them used to this new habit. You also can adjust the amount of toothpaste you are using over time (2).

Step #3: Reinforce their good habits

It’s amazing what can be done with patience and reinforcement in terms of training your dog! Over time it should be easier to give them a quality brushing each day (or as often as your dentist recommends). In general, 30 seconds per side of the mouth is a good goal to have in terms of how long you want to brush their teeth. Just like with humans, be sure you are as gentle as possible.

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Step #4: Continue to turn to your trusted vet

Typically, dogs will also need professional, anesthetized cleanings, although it’s always going to vary based on what kind of dog you have. Keeping these regular appointments can help with preventative health measure and it can help to spot anything that’s wrong with your dog’s health (2).

tips to help you with your dogs oral health hagen dental practice cincinnati ohio

Other Tips to Help You Brush Your Dog’s Teeth 

A few other tips to consider for the health of your dog’s gums and teeth: First, make sure you talk to your vet so you know as much as you can about your dog, especially as it relates to their particular breed.

Don’t be unrealistic and realize it may take some time to develop good oral health habits with your dog!

Next, provide safe chew items; just like how flossing and chewing help to stimulate our gums, chewing is great for dogs’ teeth and gums, too. Not sure exactly what’s best to provide them with? You can choose between chew items and dental chews. Talk to your vet about what kind of meaty bones are a fit for your dog. All of these things, when done regularly and in combination with each other, can promote a healthy mouth.

Something Doesn’t Seem Quite Right? Don’t Ignore It…

A good rule of thumb: Always ask your vet about what’s going to be beneficial for their health, and stay mindful of anything that doesn’t seem quite right when it comes to their gums and teeth.

For example, if your dog already has dental disease, your vet might recommend a certain course of action before you start any at-home regular teeth cleaning. Also know what healthy looks like, and what could be a sign of something going wrong in the mouth.

Typically, a dog’s healthy gums will be a shrimp-colored pink. If they look very white, or, on the opposite side of things, if they look red or inflamed, it’s reason to pay attention (1, 2).

If dog’s gum ever bleeds for more than a few minutes, you don’t want ignore it because it may be a sign of disease in the mouth, an immune issue, or something else.

It’s not uncommon for pups have what’s called papillomatosis, or warts of the gums. You might notice that there are what appears to be clusters of warts or you may just see one or two.

In most cases, with one or two of these small warts in the mouth, it’s not a major concern, but always check with your vet if it lasts more than a few weeks because they may need to be removed surgically at a certain point (1).

Improving Your Dental Health

At Hagen Dental, we want you to improve your health and wellness so that you’re living your healthiest life possible. If you are interested in setting up your next appointment with us, give us a call today at (513) 251-5500. We’re looking forward to meeting you and your family, or seeing you come in again.



How Is Floss Made?

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Flossing daily is an important component of regular oral hygiene and dental health upkeep. Including floss in our daily routine is now considered a mandatory habit for excellent oral health. Without flossing, we leave as much as 30-40 percent of our tooth’s surfaces uncleaned!

So, how much do you know about this handy little cleaning tool? Read on to discover how floss came about and how modern floss is produced!

The History Of Floss

Anthropologists and historians have determined that even in ancient times, interdental cleaning was sought after – by the use of pointed sticks or horse hair, for example. It’s long been a natural desire to want to remove food suck between the teeth and keep our mouth clean and tidy (1, 2).

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Most sources agree that a New Orleans dentist named Dr. Levi Spear Parmly should be credited for starting the trend of advising patients to use a thin silk thread to clean between their teeth. This happened circa 1815, and the idea became a popular one. Dr. Parmly later went on to publish a book called “A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth”, in which he advocated for maintenance habits of brushing and flossing daily (1, 2).

In 1882, a company called Codman and Shurtleft Company from Massachusetts, produced and marketed an unwaxed silk dental floss for purchase.  In 1896, Johnson and Johnson jumped on board when they began offering their first dental floss. Johnson and Johnson took out a patent in 1898 for a type of floss made from the same materials doctors used at the time for silk stitches (1).

During the 1940’s, due to rising costs of silk during World War II, nylon became a replacement for silk as the main component of floss. This also improved upon silk’s tendency to shred (2).

Dental Floss In Recent Years

Since the initial introduction of dental floss products, the dental floss industry has expanded to use new materials such as Gore-Tex, and to offer various textures, flavors, and alternative options, such as floss picks (1, 2).

These improved features have made flossing easier for the consumer, depending on their needs. There are soft or spongy options for consumers with sensitive gums, and options with thicker ends for use around braces or dental equipment. And the development of single use fun flossers for kids can help children learn the importance of flossing at a young age, in a fun and easy-to-use way (3).

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How Is Floss Made?

Modern day floss is typically made out of one of two synthetic compounds: nylon or Teflon. Nylon is a synthetic polymer that results in a fiber-forming substance. Teflon is the trade name of a specific chemical polymer compound. Floss may also contain wax, flavors, or other ingredients, depending on the manufacturer and finishing options (3).

Floss From Nylon

The polymer used in making nylon flossed is prepared and poured out as a ribbon, then cut into small pellets or flakes. These pieces are blended, re-melted, and pumped through spinning machines to form filaments. As the nylon cools, these filaments solidify to form a yarn and are combined to create a strand of floss. Proper twisting during the process adds strength to the floss and reduces the chances of fraying or breakage. Because nylon floss is composed of many small filaments, it can be created in different weights, or thicknesses (3).

Floss Made With Teflon

Teflon floss comes from a specific polymer called polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE). This polymer is melted into a paste and then stretched into a long, thin strand. Next, the polymer is expanded into different directions.

This stretching process gives this type of floss substantial strength. The substance is cut, forming various thicknesses and weights. PTFE is a monofilament, has excellent tensile strength, and does not shred or break easily. Twisting is not required for the Teflon floss process (3).

Finishing Touches: Coating Process

The finishing touches allow for diversity in customer preference. Manufacturers differentiate their products by adding unique and proprietary coatings. The coating process takes place in emulsion baths. This bathing process allows additives such as waxes, flavors, or any other coating options to be applied in a consistent manner (3).

Product Packaging

Flosses are packaged into bobbins for easy spooling and unspooling. They can be packaged in a cylindrical shape or a roll-type shape. Winding the floss for consumer use requires equipment that transfers the yarn onto a spool.

Cylindrical bobbins are used in tube or rectangular shaped floss packages. This type of bobbin can accommodate the highest amount of yardage. The roll bobbin is more traditional and is dispensed through flat containers. Wow…pretty cool, we must say!

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Other Fun Facts About Floss

  • Floss in ribbon form is great for kids or people with larger spacing between their teeth
  • Floss in string form is helpful for people with tightly spaced or crooked teeth
  • Floss comes in a variety of wax options: lightly waxed, waxed, or un-waxed
  • Today, Americans use more than 2.5 million miles of dental floss each year (3)
  • Your toothbrush can’t reach into the fine spaces between the teeth, which is why dental floss is so important
  • Recent innovations include additives to floss that can help with whitening efforts (4)

Let Us Help You With Your Dental Health

Dental floss helps to remove plaque and bacteria from and between teeth and below the gum line. Without flossing, this plaque can turn to tartar and lead to gingivitis, infection, or cavities. Unfortunately, according to the ADA, only about 12 percent of Americans are diligent about flossing daily (2). We can help you determine your risk for complications and offer tips on flossing at your next dental appointment! Schedule today by calling (513) 251-5500 or click the Online Scheduling button on our website.



Here’s The Surprising Truth About Cavities in Toddlers & Preschoolers Today

Thursday, May 3rd, 2018

cavities in kids how to prevent them hagen dental

Cavities in toddlers, and even preschoolers, has been on the rise.

It’s not just slightly up in recent years: in fact, many of the preschoolers in the study had six to ten cavities, or more! That’s a huge jump up from historic numbers, and signals a real shift in oral health habits (1, 2).

The statistics appear to also be carrying over to kids who are just a bit older, too. Here are two other stats that we’re watching:

  • Roughly 28 percent of kids 2 to 5 have untreated decay in their teeth (5)
  • Roughly 20 percent of kids 5 to 11 have at least one untreated decayed tooth
  • Roughly 13 percent of kids 12 to 19 have at least one untreated decayed tooth (3)
  • Children 2 to 11 have an average of 1.6 decayed teeth and 3.6 decayed surfaces (5)

The problem is that tooth decay is one of the most chronic conditions for our children in the US right now. When we don’t help our little ones take care of their teeth like they should, it can negatively shape other behaviors in their life. It can negatively impact how they learn, play, eat and even how they speak (1, 2).

Let’s take a closer look at what you should know about taking care of your toddlers and preschoolers oral health. (more…)

20 Little Known Facts About Bad Breath

Tuesday, April 24th, 2018

bad breath and your mouth

Here are 20 things you may not know about bad breath.

1. Many times, bad breath is treatable. That’s because in many cases, foul-smelling breath is caused by the breakdown of food (and the presence of bacteria) in the mouth! If you think about it, that’s actually good news…

2. That said, periodontal disease (aka gum disease), also causes bad breath. That’s less of an issue of just brushing your teeth or flossing to get rid of food debris and bacteria; That’s reflective of poor oral health habits resulting in disease in the mouth. All in all, that’s a condition that occurs over time, as you can imagine.

3. Ever heard of “garlic breath”? It’s a term coined from how you can have less-than-desirable breath after eating garlic. Research has actually shown that part of the reason garlic breath can happen is actually due to digestion.

4. Similar to garlic, bad breath can also be caused by onion, which is another member of the allium family. Even if you rush for your toothbrush after eating onion (especially raw), when digested, it will cause distinctive gasses to be released. In turn, your breath can become smelly, even despite any efforts to brush and floss post-meal! (1)

5. People following a low-carb nutrition plan can be surprised by…well, different smelling breath. That’s because, in extreme cases, certain chemicals can be released as the body burns fat in a state that’s also called ketosis. In turn, we can smell that on people’s breath.

6. Ever wonder why someone with bad breath doesn’t do something about it? Part of the reason may be because people can become nose blind to their own bad breath!

7. Caffeine and coffee can give you breath that you can almost…well, taste! Since coffee and caffeine can end up drying out the mouth, you really can have latte breath. Combat this by drinking plenty of water and brushing and flossing your teeth. And, of course, keep up your regular professional cleanings and check-ups.

8. It may surprise you to learn that issues with you ear, nose and throat, and even your kidneys can end up giving you bad breath.

9. Drinking water won’t get rid of your bad breath, but it can help you fight dry mouth, which can give you bad breath. (And, keep in mind dry mouth can lead to an increase in gum disease and tooth decay, too.) The takeaway: drinking a lot of water can help you combat dehydration and dry mouth, helping you moisturize the mouth and neutralize acids.

10. Dentures can be the source of your bad breath. If you have removable dentures, be sure to keep up your regular oral health habits and clean them every night.

11. One way to guarantee better smelling breath? Giving up smoking. Not to mention it will benefit your entire health, not just your oral health.

12. One thing is clear: people want to avoid bad breath! It’s been reported that nearly three billion dollars a year is spent on gum, mints, and mouth rinses.

13. About 50 percent of the population suffers from bad breath that is caused by something other than food, drinks, or smoking cigarettes (2).

14. The name given to people who think they have bad breath, but others don’t notice it is “pseudohalitosis.” This is when someone thinks they have bad breath…but they really don’t! (2, 3)

15. Have you heard that you can check the smell of your own breath by breathing on your hand…and then smelling it? Well, believe it or not, that “test” may work in some cases, but it won’t always tell you whether or not you truly have bad breath.

16. About 60 percent of women and 50 percent of men say that they use breath freshening products.

17. Bad breath is, and can be found, in people at ANY age.

18. Infections such as strep throat, tonsillitis, and sinusitis can actually give you bad breath. Said another way, even if you’re brushing your teeth and keeping up with your oral habits, these infections can wreak havoc on your breath.

19. When you’ve done all you can and you still feel like you have bad breath, be sure to tell us! Don’t be embarrassed, as it’s just a sign of something going on with your health. We can help discover the cause, whether it is a gum-issue, infection, cavities, gum disease, due to medication, dry mouth, nutrition, illness, or another issue entirely.

20. Using a tongue scraper is a great way to eliminate odor-causing bacteria that seems to stick to your tongue. Ask us for more information.


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Schedule Your Next Appointment with Hagen Dental Practice

Your dream smile is within reach! Please call (513) 251-5500 or click the Online Scheduling button on our website to schedule your next visit. Be sure to see our new patient specials here. We’re looking forward to earning your trust with personalized care!