Here we are again, just brushing our teeth at night and then the question pops up: Who made this? How did they come up with the idea of a brush for my teeth? Let’s dive into the who, how, and evolution of the toothbrush in today’s blog! 

How was the Toothbrush invented?

The original concepts of toothbrushes were developed in 3500 BC by the Babylonians and Egyptians who created tooth sticks out of split twigs. This was later developed into “chewing sticks” in 1600 BC by the Chinese and then in 700 AD the first bristled toothbrush using hog hairs for the bristles and animal bone or bamboo for the handle was invented. 

bamboo handled toothbrush with hog hair bristles
Early bamboo toothbrush in 700 AD. Photo credit ElectricTeeth.com.

William Addis took this concept one step further in 1780 in England and developed a similar toothbrush to the ones we know today. He was also the first to begin mass production of toothbrushes, some using horsehair, hog hair, or even feathers. 

early manual toothbrush
The toothbrush invented by William Addis in England. Photo credit ElectricTeeth.com.

The Evolution of The Toothbrush

While these toothbrushes in the 1800s were better than, say a cloth, they still had much to be desired. Hence, the evolution of the toothbrush bristles and handles began. First, in 1927 the first plastic-handled toothbrush was invented. Then, in 1938, Nylon was invented by the DuPont Company and the manual toothbrushes we know today were created. 

The first electric toothbrush known as Broxodent. Photo credit ElectricTeeth.com.

Shortly after nylon-bristled brushes were invented, electric toothbrushes became popular. Then as nylon bristles were more developed, companies were able to adjust the size of the bristles to make them softer or harder. Now, we are able to pick a toothbrush based on our preference of electric vs. manual, how soft the bristles are, and even what color toothbrush we would like! 

Toothbrushes Today

Our toothbrushes today have so many gadgets and gizmos attached that we are constantly seeing new models produced. High-powered spinning bristles, gentle vibrating brush-heads, and even some with infused charcoal bristles! At the core of it all though, a toothbrush is an amazing tool to keep our dental health in tip-top shape along with daily flossing and dental cleanings every 6 months.

Charcoal bristled toothbrush. Photo credit OralB.com.

Schedule A Dental Cleaning at LAA 

Looking for a dental cleaning appointment in North Carolina? Lane & Associates Family Dentistry (LAA) has been in the dental field for over 40 years with locations across NC and has modern dental offices with state-of-the-art technology. If you need a dentist in North Carolina, feel free to reach out to us and schedule your next dental cleaning with LAA today

THE OLD LINE “it takes fewer muscles to smile than frown” isn’t actually true. It takes at least ten muscles to smile but as few as six to frown, so maybe the saying should be something like “you burn more calories when you smile than when you frown!” instead. However, getting a better workout isn’t the only benefit we get from smiling!

The Feedback Loop Between Smiling and Happiness

Obviously, we smile when we’re happy, but evidence shows that the very act of smiling might make us feel happier. Smiling is so closely linked to the feeling of happiness in our brains that even a fake smile can release endorphins — the feel-good hormone — and make us feel better. The next time you’re having a rough day, try flashing a smile and see if that helps a little!

We Reduce Pain and Stress by Smiling

Those endorphins we get from smiling can do a lot of helpful things besides just contributing to a better mood. Short-term, endorphins help to reduce pain and relieve stress because they function in a similar way to painkillers (except without the side effects).

A 2012 experiment tested how long it took subjects’ heart rates to return to normal after completing a stressful task, and the smiling subjects recovered faster. The way the experiment worked was that the non-smiling group had to hold a pencil between their lips while they did the task (forcing a more pout-like expression), while the smiling group had to hold the pencil between their teeth (forcing more of a smile).

The Long-Term Benefits of Smiling: A Better Immune System!

Those short-term endorphin effects are great, but it doesn’t even stop there! Over time, when we make a habit of smiling more, the effects compound into long-term health benefits like making us more resilient against illnesses and reducing our risk of getting cancer. The reason for this is that the better we manage our stress, the fewer stress-induced mutations our cells go through over the years.

Smile More, Live Longer

People typically perceive a smiling face as being more attractive and younger than a non-smiling face, and that’s not just about appearances. Over the course of a lifetime of smiling, we might accrue enough health benefits to actually live longer. One way to make it easier to smile more is to be proud of the way our smiles look because we have healthy teeth and gums. For that, we need great dental health habits and regular professional dental care.

Bring Your Beautiful Smile to the Dentist!

Don’t fight the battle for your smile’s health on your own; the dentist can help. Schedule regular cleaning appointments to get that professional deep clean and catch any problems while they are still small, and bring any questions you have about dental health with you!

Nothing makes us smile quite like our patients! Reach out to schedule your dental appointment with Lane & Associates Family Dentistry today or call us at 877-LANE-DDS!

How much do you remember from learning about the pH scale in science class? Don’t worry; if you forgot all of it, we’ll give you a little refresher, because acids and bases are pretty important when it comes to the health of our teeth and gums.

A Crash Course in the pH Scale

The pH scale is how we measure how acidic or basic a substance is. The scale goes from 1 to 14. Neutral substances (like water) have a pH of 7, while highly acidic things are lower on the scale and highly basic things are higher on the scale.

To give you an idea of where some common substances land, orange juice ranges from 3.3 to 4.2, and stomach acid is all the way down between 1.5 and 2.5. Soap is mildly basic at between 9 and 10, and bleach is a powerful base at 12.5. What pH is best for our mouths?

Ideal Oral pH

The human body isn’t all the same pH. Our skin is happiest when mildly acidic (with a pH of about 5.5), but blood should be slightly basic (7.4). For our teeth and gums to stay as healthy as possible, we want our oral pH to remain neutral the majority of the time. An unhealthy mouth is more acidic, which can seriously damage tooth enamel over time. Tooth enamel is extremely hard so that it can withstand a lifetime of chewing, but it begins eroding at a mildly acidic pH of 5.5.

What Makes Mouths Acidic?

So how does acid end up in our mouths? The most direct way is by eating or drinking something tart or sour. The bubbles in soda pop, regular and diet alike, come from carbonic acid even though not all soda tastes sour. Our mouths can also become acidic indirectly. When we consume sugary or starchy things, harmful oral bacteria eat the leftovers and excrete acid onto our teeth and gums as a waste product. Acid reflux or vomiting also introduces more acid to the mouth.

Saliva Is the First Line of Defense Against Acid

Fortunately, our mouths have a built-in defense mechanism against acid: our spit! Saliva washes away leftover particles of food and neutralizes our oral pH over time. This is what makes dry mouth so dangerous to our teeth and gums beyond the way it can make chewing and swallowing difficult. Our teeth are left vulnerable to acid erosion without enough saliva.

What can we do to help our saliva do this critical job? We can avoid sipping on or snacking on sugary drinks and treats. Every time we consume something acidic or containing sugar or starch, we reset the clock on our saliva neutralizing our oral pH. That’s why we recommend keeping the treats to mealtimes instead of continuous sipping and snacking.

Consume Less Sugar and Acid

We can also reduce the overall amount of sugary or acidic things we eat, which means minimizing the soda and sugary treats along with bread and dairy products and adding in more fruits and veggies.

Let’s Unite in the Fight Against Enamel Erosion!

Eating less sugary or acidic food and keeping the ones you do to mealtimes will really help your oral pH stay neutral, but it’s not a replacement for twice-daily brushing and daily flossing — nor is it a replacement for regular dental appointments! These habits are still essential to lifelong oral health.

We love our patients’ healthy smiles! Contact Lane & Associates today to schedule your dental cleaning or talk to one of our staff about your oral health. Want to learn more about oral health and dental cavities? Visit our dental education center page for answers to all of your questions! 

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Next Time You Burn Your Mouth On Pizza…

SOMETIMES YOU JUST CAN’T RESIST! It’s SO cheesy and saucy—right out of the oven! You dive in and take your first bite…

Uh oh! Too soon! You’ve got “pizza burn!”

Pizza Isn’t The Only Culprit

You’ve probably burned your mouth before on coffee, soup, and other scorching hot foods. Soon after, you may have noticed that the roof of your mouth, and perhaps your tongue, is very tender. In some cases, you may even have blisters! Unfortunately, your mouth will probably hurt for a few days. However, there are a few things you can do to relieve the pain and irritation.

How To Soothe Your Mouth And Help It Heal

  1. Applying or sucking on ice can relieve the stinging. Gargling cold water or eating ice cream are other options.
  2. Drinking milk can coat the scorched area.
  3. An over-the-counter pain reliever can help, if the pain is really distracting.
  4. Avoid acidic, crunchy, and other hot foods, or even very salty and spicy dressings. This will stop the burn from getting irritated further.
  5. Squeezing Vitamin E from a capsule over the wound can speed up healing. It will regenerate new tissue and heal the wound.
  6. Maintain good oral hygiene while your mouth is burnt, keeping it as clean as possible to promote healing and prevent further infection. Warm saline rinses can also be helpful.
  7. Resist touching the burned area. This may be difficult, but by touching the affected area, the lesion may become irritated further.

If It’s Not Feeling Better In A Few Days, Call Us

Pizza-type burns tend to heal within three to seven days. If soreness and blistering continue beyond a week, please contact us! In the meantime, have fun enjoying that delicious, cheesy pizza—that is, once it’s cool!

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!

Since starting down the healthy habits road in 2021, we’ve all been hearing how beneficial water is to our bodies and our overall well-being. But let’s talk about specifics! How does water specifically help our teeth? We’re gonna dive in on that question today, read on. 

 

What are my teeth made of?

First, let’s talk about what our teeth are made of. Our teeth are composed of four main tissues: dentin, cementum, pulp, and enamel. Enamel is the outermost layer that is stronger than anything in our bodies (even our bones!) and contains minerals such as calcium phosphate. The next layer is dentin, this is the softer portion of our teeth that is susceptible to cavities. When enamel breaks down, this is where our teeth start to form cavities. Next, the inner core of your tooth is called the pulp – this is where your connective tissue and nerves lie. 

tooth structure

Are Teeth the Same as Bones?

No. The biggest difference between our bones and our teeth is that our bones can heal over time if they break or shatter – teeth cannot. This is why it’s so important to regularly visit your dentist, brush, and floss daily. 

 

So how exactly does drinking water help my teeth? 

Water acts as a neutral party. When coming into contact with acidic drinks like sodas or coffee it helps to neutralize these acidic situations and creates an environment that our teeth enjoy. 

Water also contributes to saliva production and washing away bacteria that like to form on the surfaces of our teeth. If your water contains fluoride, this is also beneficial to your enamel because it hardens the surface – making you less susceptible to cavities.

 

Help Fight Cavities the Easy way

Teeth are slightly porous and do absorb materials – not like a sponge but more like a stone that can be withered away over time. So it’s important for us to maintain a consistent habit of drinking water and essentially ‘flushing’ out the bad particles or acidic materials that can build up over time to create cavities, cause discoloration or yellowing, or lead to periodontal disease. The easiest way to do this? Drink your water, brush & floss daily, and visit your dentist.

 

Have more questions about the benefits of drinking water for your teeth? Learn more on the ADA’s website here.

It’s National Get Organized Month, and one way we love to organize is by planning out our health goals for the year. Are you creating vision boards and looking for healthy habits to start in 2021? We’ve got a list of 7 Healthy Habits to Start in 2021, read more below!

1. Brushing 2x per day for 2 minutes.

Of course, as dental professionals you know we had to start with the obvious. Our first healthy habit to start in 2021 is Brushing twice daily for 2 minutes and flossing at least once per day (if not more!). This sounds repetitive but we’re serious, brushing for two minutes is longer than you think! Our suggestion, find your favorite 2-minute long song and play it while you brush. This will help you to keep on track and to realize just how long 2 minutes of brushing really is! 

2. Getting Active for at least 30 minutes Daily.

We don’t mean doing sprints and hurdles for 30 minutes (unless you’re into that sort of thing) but simply taking a brisk walk around the neighborhood or even during your lunch break. It’s amazing what a small habit change like this can do to your overall health.

girl drinking water

3. Choosing Water First.

And we mean it too! Before you go for that cup of morning joe, grab some water first. This will help start your engines and create a less acidic environment for your gut. Water has so many benefits for your body: teeth, skin, hair, nails… this list could go on and on. So during 2021, think to yourself, “Choose water first” before diving into the same soda or sweet tea throughout the week. It will definitely be a habit to continue!

4. Getting the Sunshine Vitamin.

Sunlight, fresh air, and Vitamin D are a combination as old as time. They are so beneficial for your mental and physical health. According to Healthline, Vitamin D has three key benefits: improving resistance to certain diseases, fighting depression, and improving overall bone and teeth health. Whether you get your Vitamin D from walks outdoors or through supplements, this is a healthy habit to continue into 2021.

5. Putting down the Devices 30 Minutes Before Bed.

This is a healthy habit that many of us should be adopting ASAP. Studies show that your brain has a hard time winding down before bed if you have an electronic device in front of you (due to less production of melatonin). So turning off your devices 30 minutes before your ideal sleep time is a must. Our suggestion? Read a book that’s not too captivating or turn on some sleep sounds. Zzzzz

tracking steps outdoors

6. Giving Yourself Step Goals.

One of the best investments in your health in 2021 is tracking your steps via a fitness watch. Don’t have a fitness watch? You can also track your steps using your phone’s Health app. It may not track every step but it will at least track the steps you take with your phone. Giving yourself a step goal is one easy way to increase your movement throughout 2021. Start with a lower step goal and change out your daily goal once every month. If you use fitness watches, you can also join challenges within the app itself which are really fun if you have any sort of competitive spirit. 

7. Planning Out Your Meals Each Week.

This one is relatively self-explanatory but really goes a long way to stay consistent with any dietary or budgeting goals you’ve set for yourself or your family. Investing in a planner (whether that be digital or physical) and listing out meal options for the week + a grocery shopping list will create a balanced week. Plus, you won’t have to do the “What do you want to eat? No, what do YOU want to eat?” battle. Win-win! 

 

We hope these 7 Healthy Habits to Start in 2021 give you plenty of ideas for your own health journey & can lead you towards a healthier future. If you’re searching for more ways to improve your dental health, read our blog about Calcium & all of its amazing benefits or schedule an appointment with us today! At Lane & Associates Family Dentistry, we love to make you smile!

We’ve all been there before, sitting in the middle of a job interview or a first date and realizing that our breath is far from minty fresh. Even when everything else is going perfectly, bad breath can be enough to ruin your confidence and turn a good experience sour. Why do we get bad breath, and what can we do to stop it?

Oral Bacteria And The Food We Eat

In order to effectively fight bad breath, it’s important to figure out what’s causing it. The simplest and most common cause is leftover food particles stuck between our teeth after a meal. The bacteria in our mouths break down these particles, and the end result doesn’t smell good. We can combat this with a good daily hygiene routine, including daily flossing, twice-daily brushing, scraping our tongues clean, and chewing sugar-free gum.

Causes Of Chronic Bad Breath

Chronic cases of bad breath (also called halitosis) might not be solved by good oral hygiene practices alone. Halitosis may be caused by:

  1. Chronic conditions. Sometimes, bad breath is linked to conditions that you wouldn’t think are connected to oral hygiene, such as diabetes, liver or kidney disease, and acid reflux.
  2. Medications. A common side-effect of medications is dry mouth. Without saliva to wash away food particles and neutralize acid, the mouth is vulnerable to problems like bad breath.
  3. Mouth-breathing. Whether it happens by habit or because breathing through the nose is difficult, mouth-breathing tends to dry out the mouth, leading to the same problems as described above.
  4. Mouth, nose, and throat infections. Bad breath can be the result of increased mucous when we have a cold or sinus infection.
  5. Pregnancy. Symptoms such as morning sickness and nausea can cause bad breath, because of the extra acid in the mouth. This is also a problem for people struggling with bulimia.
  6. Tobacco products. Tobacco in any form leaves smelly chemicals in the mouth and can also dry it out. In addition, it increases the risk of oral cancer and gum disease, which negatively impact breath as well.
  7. Tooth decay and gum disease. Poor dental health often goes hand-in-hand with chronic bad breath because cavities and periodontitis are caused by the same bacteria that produce those nasty-smelling chemicals.

person brushing their tongue
Brushing your tongue or using a tongue scraper is a good option.

Keeping Your Breath Fresh

Even if strict oral hygiene isn’t enough to keep the bad breath completely at bay, it will help to manage it, and treating the underlying cause may be able to eliminate it. If you are a habitual mouth-breather, try breathing through your nose more. Quitting smoking will eliminate a major cause of bad breath. If dry mouth is the problem, chew sugar-free gum and mints to stimulate saliva production, sip water, and use a humidifier to help keep up the moisture.

Your Dentist Can Help

Discovering the underlying cause of bad breath is a crucial step in fighting back, and the dentist is your best ally here. Schedule an appointment at Lane & Associates so that you can get the answers you need to fight bad breath the best way. We want all of our patients to feel confident about their breath!

So, you want to whiten your teeth. You’re not alone! In fact, when the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked what people would most like to improve about their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth.

There Are Several Teeth Whitening Options

With so many teeth whitening products on the market, you may be left scratching your head as to which one you should choose. As with any type of treatment, it’s important to know all the facts so you can make the best choice for you and your unique smile! Some of the most common teeth whitening options are:

  1. Whitening toothpaste
  2. Whitening strips and gels
  3. Tray-based teeth whiteners
  4. In-office professional teeth whitening

Professional Teeth Whitening Trays that look like Retainers

Whitening Is Safest And Most Effective When Supervised By A Dentist

You should always consult with your dentist before deciding to whiten, as this cosmetic procedure isn’t for everyone. There are also many benefits to whitening treatment with your dentist!

For example, if you’re considering a tray-based tooth whitener, seeing your dentist is definitely your best option. Your dentist will take an impression of your teeth so that your mouthpiece tray is customized exactly to fit your teeth. This will ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution as well as protect your gums.

If you choose in-office whitening, such as Zoom Whitening treatment, your dentist will provide additional protection for your gums and the soft tissue of your mouth so that no irritation from the whitening solution occurs. To do this, your dentist will apply a gel to the gum tissue or use a rubber shield.

With over-the-counter products, you’re on your own. Your dentist, however, will check your mouth, the type and extent of stains on your teeth, the number of dental restorations you have, and consider your medical history to decide which whitening option is best for your specific smile. They will oversee the process and results of the treatment to ensure the treatment’s safety and efficacy.

A Note To Parents

Teeth whitening is a big trend among teenagers. Parents should always supervise their teenagers’ use of whitening products as overuse or failure to follow directions can damage tooth enamel or irritate gums. Be sure to consult with your dentist before allowing your teenager to whiten to make sure they are at an appropriate age and stage of dental development for whitening.

Still curious about how whitening works? Check out the video below to learn more!

Keep Your Smile Beautiful

What truly keeps teeth bright, white, and healthy is daily brushing and flossing. But if you feel like your smile is lacking some sparkle or has yellowed over the years, give us a call or come in to see us! We’d be happy to help you brighten up that beautiful smile of yours.

 

In fact, did you know we offer a Free Teeth Whitening Program to our patients? Find out if you are eligible for this free offer by contacting us today! At Lane & Associates Family Dentistry, we love to make you smile!

 

We’ve all been there. You sit down for your dental appointment, ready and prepared for a filling or crown, and then…the blood pressure cuff comes out. And we think, “What’s this for?” Read along as we get answers on why your dentists and dental hygienists check your blood pressure at your dental appointment.

Why did they take my blood pressure at the dentist?

There are many reasons why the dentist or assistant may need to check your blood pressure at your appointment. This can range from establishing your baseline to alerts in hypertension to measuring your anxiety levels. Namely, your blood pressure is key to understanding your overall health at the time of your appointment. 

This is especially important since many Americans see their dentist more often than their physician at every 6-month cleaning. It’s a crucial health check and an opportunity to understand the changes in your overall health.

Can dental problems cause high blood pressure?

As humans, our bodies react differently when we are in pain or experiencing high anxiety. If you have high blood pressure, your dentist may need to adjust your treatment plan. Once determined, your dentist can make a better customized treatment plan for your specific needs. 

For example, some dentists may be able to offer light sedation options for those patients who have high anxiety which is causing their blood pressure to rise. Additionally, patients who are in pain from a tooth that needs to be extracted will see a drop in their blood pressure after that painful tooth has been removed. 

In extremely hypertensive situations, however, you may be asked to visit your primary care physician to discuss ways to reduce your blood pressure before beginning any dental care treatment.

closeup on dental tray during treatment

What blood pressure is too high for dental treatment?

Obviously this range is going to depend on many factors. The type of procedure, whether or not you are currently taking blood pressure medications, and many other health history factors. Typically, however, high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90 or above. Also, if your top number (systolic) is greater than 140 or your bottom number (diastolic) is greater than 90, you may have high blood pressure no matter what the other number reads. 

If you are suffering from hypertension, your physician can determine the best course of action. This may include blood pressure medication or lifestyle changes. Many dentists and oral surgeons will also require medical approval from your cardiologist or physician before they will operate. 

Can I refuse to have my blood pressure taken at the dentist?

Ultimately, your blood pressure allows dentists and hygienists to know that you are healthy enough to endure the treatment. It also gives them an indication as to which form of anesthetic to use (for example, anesthetics without epinephrine). By refusing, you are consequently putting your own health at risk and your dentist will most likely refuse to proceed. Taking your oral health seriously is important to your overall health and well-being. 

Taking the time to check these key health measures is an incredibly important step in your dental treatment.

Start your treatment today!

At Lane & Associates Family Dentistry, we not only check your blood pressure, but also offer oral cancer screenings, oxygen level checks, and pulse checks. The combination of these factors & our many other services, let’s us know how best to treat our patients and make their experience with us truly one that makes them smile. If you are looking for a dentist that takes your overall health seriously, contact us today

Surgical Masks for Healthcare Professionals

As the world starts to reopen, healthcare professionals across all avenues of specialties are still in need of PPE. Therefore, these medically approved Fabric Surgical Masks are one way that we craft enthusiasts can help! Due to the CDC recommendations, we set out to find a mask solution for the medical community. 

Our first round of 900 masks was gladly received by local hospitals and healthcare facilities. Now, however, we want to take it one step further by creating surgical masks with slots to add filters.

WakeMed Hospital sent us directions for a Surgical Mask that allows for a filter to be inserted, along with instructions for ribbon ties versus elastic ties. Namely mentioning that these ties will give continued comfortability throughout long-time wear. We used this pattern as a template to create our own step-by-step surgical mask sewing directions for our volunteers.

Check out our new design belowMuch love to WakeMed for sharing your medical professional sewing pattern. This adaptation has been proven by our doctors to be efficient for continued use and a successful way to help the environment. Likewise, it allows the use of N95 masks to be kept for high-risk frontline workers.

.materials to sew graphic

Craft Enthusiasts and Volunteers:

Deploy yourselves again! Help us to continue in the fight and push your crafting skills to the next level! Read through our new Surgical Mask Sewing Instructions below, email us at [email protected] once you finish, and let’s keep crafting for those that need it most!

Give to a healthcare worker, friend, or return to Lane & Associates to be distributed appropriately. We hope these fabric surgical mask sewing instructions help you to create your own surgical masks for healthcare professionals.

Need materials? Fill out the form at the bottom of this page to request a kit! We would be happy to support as many crafters as possible until supplies run out!

Surgical Mask Sewing Pattern logo

LAA employee with completed Surgical Mask on

materials to use for sewing graphicMaterials logo

sewing materials for surgical mask DIY

  • 100% Cotton Fabric – Cut (1) 10×16 inch rectangle and (2) 2×6 inch strips.
  • 4 pieces of 1/4 or 3/8-inch ribbons measuring 18 inches in length
  • Scissors or fabric cutter
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron
  • Cotton or Polyester sewing thread
  • Sewing pins or wonder clips

 

 

 

step 1 graphicTake your 100% Cotton fabric and cut (1) rectangle that is 10 inches wide and 16 inches long. Then cut (2) pieces of fabric into 2×6 inch strips.

cotton fabric surgical maskfabric pieces for DIY mask

step 2 graphicWith the front side of the fabric facing down (wrong side up), fold over 1/2 inch on the top and bottom (10-inch sides). Press and stitch across both folds.

fold over fabric to create stitchstitched fabric for surgical mask

step 3 graphicWith the wrong side up, fold the top and bottom edges to meet in the middle and use the iron to press.

step 3 diy surgical maskstep 3 diy face mask

step 4 graphicOn each side of the mask, make 3 pleats. Each pleat should be approximately 1 inch in size with the top two pleats folded down from the top and the bottom pleat folded up from the bottom. These should be centered in the mask, leaving 2-3 inches of flat fabric at the top and bottom of the pleats.

pleats in surgical maskblue and gold sewing machine graphic

step 5 graphicSew pleats into place.

sew pleats on surgical maskafter sewing pleats

step 6 graphicFold the lengthwise sides of the 2×6 edging material inwards at the middle and press.

fabric pieces for DIY maskedging material folded

step 7 graphicPlace the edging material with unfinished sides up and lay the mask front side down. Align the sides to the middle of the edging. Place the ribbon 1/2 inch from the edge corner, pin it into place, and sew across the stitching to hold everything in place.

sewing ribbon togethersewing ribbons to edging material

Step 8 GraphicFold the top and bottom edging pieces inwards, meeting in the middle. Be sure they cover the raw edges of the mask and ribbon (this may fold the mask inward as well).

edging finishededging sewn to mask

Step 9 graphicStitch both sides of the edging closed.

thread and craft dots

Step 10 graphicSew (2) 1-inch stitches, approximately 1/4 inch across the top of the mask, so a pipe cleaner can be inserted if desired.

pipe cleaner pocketfinal step DIY surgical masks

Voila graphic

pink mask with multicolored dots graphic

Be sure to finish the ends of your ribbons in some form of fashion. We recommend the quickest approach of safely using a lighter to burn and cauterize the ends. You can also simply roll the ends and stick across.

 

LAA employee with DIY surgical face mask on

And there you have it! DIY Surgical Masks for healthcare professionals & beyond!

If you would like to request a surgical mask kit to be delivered or picked up from one of our Lane & Associates dental offices, please fill out the form below. Thank you, craft enthusiasts and healthcare professionals, for everything you continue to do for those in need during COVID-19!

Ear Savers for Surgical Masks

UPDATE: An increasing need as of June 2020 is ear-savers for essential workers wearing masks.

Wearing masks throughout an entire day causes stress on the ears leading to headaches and rubbing of sensitive skin. We would love to help use any materials we still have to also create ear-savers for these essential workers. If you would like to request ear-saver sewing kits to contribute, please fill out the same form below.

Here is a great link with instructions on how to sew ear-savers for masks for reference! You can also check out the instructions provided by UNC Healthcare on their ‘Ways to Help page.

Request Mask Kits and/or Ear Saver Kits

  • Each kit contains materials for 12 masks or 12 ear-savers.
  • Please let us know if you are interested in mask kits, ear-saver kits, or both.