History of the Toothbrush (Infographic)

Here is the history of the toothbrush (infographic)


  • In China (1600 B.C.), aromatic tree twigs freshened breath. Later, the first hard-bristled toothbrush was invented there.
  • In 1690, the word “toothbrush” was written into an autobiography — the word’s first known use. French dentists were the first to promote toothbrush use.
  • By 1780, William Addis created the first modern toothbrush… while in prison in England! It was made of cattle bone and swine bristles.
  • In 1857, H.N. Wadsworth was first to patent the toothbrush. Less than 30 years later, mass production of toothbrushes began in America.
  • In 1938, DuPont changed the way we brush with nylon synthetic bristles: softer and more hygienic than the hard hair bristles used at the time.
  • Following WWII, U.S. Army soldiers brought the toothbrushing habit home with them. Just a short time later, in 1954 Switzerland, the first electric toothbrush was produced.
  • It took just 7 more years to produce a rechargeable/cordless electric toothbrush, then a rotary. By 2003, the toothbrush was deemed the #1 invention people can’t live without.

Meet Dr. Ralph Dolfi




Meet our very own, super awesome Dr. Ralph Dolfi.

Most of the time you get a boring bio discussing education and training (don’t worry, we still provide that for those of you interested); this is more of a spotlight on the man behind the white coat.

Dr. Dolfi has been married to his wife, Karen, for 35 years this coming October. Yes, you read that correctly, THIRTY FIVE YEARS! They have 3 wonderful children, all of whom have graduated from college and live in various areas of North Carolina.

Dr. Dolfi is an avid cyclist, both on road and trail riding. He and his family enjoy skiing and visit Colorado every March for a traditional ski trip. They have also travelled to the wine country in California and Oregon numerous times. His son and daughter-in-law have a 1 year old, who is Dr. Dolfi’s first grandchild. They all are also hometown fans of the Carolina Hurricanes.

When asked what he has to say about a 35 year career as a dentist, he said, “My thoughts on 35 years in dentistry – find a job you love and you will never work a day in your life – I am so fortunate!”


Professionally, Dr. Dolfi graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine in 1979. He was in practice in Hillsborough for 16 years prior to joining our office. He has served as an adjunct professor at the UNC School of Dentistry and has received advanced training at various cosmetic studies programs throughout his career. As well as being in a private practice, Dr. Dolfi is currently a clinical instructor for Six Month Smiles. He teaches dentists from all over the country to help their patients smile with confidence.


April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

The following is an excerpt from the American Dental Association website regarding the 14th annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month. If you have an questions please contact Dr. Ashley Mann  directly and we would be happy to assist you or answer any question.



As the nation prepares to observe the 14th Annual Oral Cancer Awareness Month this April, the American Academy of Oral & Maxillofacial Pathology (AAOMP), American Academy of Periodontology (AAP), the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS) and the American Dental Association (ADA) have joined the Oral Cancer Foundation (OCF) in its campaign to remind everyone that regular oral cancer examinations from your dental professional are the best methods to detect oral cancer in its early stages. Regular dental visits can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.

In between dental visits, it is important for patients to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and to see their dentist if they do not disappear after two weeks.

  • a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • red or white patches
  • pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
  • a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

Factors That May Cause Cancer

Research has identified a number of factors that may contribute to the development of oral cancer. Those at an especially high risk of developing oral cancer are heavy drinkers and smokers older than 50.The human papilloma virus version 16, which is sexually transmitted, is related to the increasing incidence of mouth cancer in non-smoking patients. It is likely that there is a complex interaction of many external and internal factors that play a role in the development of oral cancer.

Your mouth is one of your body’s most important early warning systems. Don’t ignore any suspicious lumps or sores that last more than two weeks. Should you discover something suspicious, make an appointment for a prompt examination. Early treatment may well be the key to complete recovery.

For more information about oral cancer, its diagnosis and treatment, visit the Oral Cancer Foundation’s Website.




Looking Back at an Odd Chapter in Dental History


Have you ever thought of going to a barber shop to get a cavity fixed or a tooth pulled? We’re sure that you probably haven’t! However, there is a good chance that at least one of your ancestors did. Back in the Middle Ages, there were no dental specific offices; people went to see barber surgeons instead. If you went to a dentist with a toothache in the 1700s, and he prescribed the removal of your tooth, it’s quite likely that you wouldn’t have had even a stool to sit on during the process. In fact, your dentist may have asked you to sit on the floor, at which point he would have stood behind you and secured your head between his knees.

Barber surgeons are just one interesting part of general dentistry history. As you may have guessed, they performed barber, general dentistry and surgical work on people across Europe and North America for years. So people literally could have their teeth pulled, beard trimmed, toe nails cut and minor surgery all in one place.

It wasn’t until laws started being passed in the mid-1700s that people finally gave up the multi-pronged trade. That’s because the laws helped define which individuals should perform certain tasks. After that, individuals suffering from oral health problems were able to seek dental care and pain relief from dentists.

In the beginning, there was only one type of dentist. They handled everything from pulling teeth to making rudimentary dentures. Nowadays, the oral health care marketplace is much different. There is a wide variety of different dentists to choose from. Each one specializes in performing certain tasks.

To learn more about dental history, Dr. Ashley Mann, Dr. Ralph Dolfi and the services offered by our office, please contact us! We look forward to being of service for you and your family!


Facts on Gum Disease


Are your gums tender, red, or swollen? Do they bleed when you floss or brush? Do you suffer from constant bad breath? Then it’s quite likely that you have gum disease. At it’s mildest, it’s called gingivitis, which causes no discomfort but may show the redness and bleeding as symptoms. A worse form is called aggressive periodontitis, which can detach some of your teeth from the gums. Another type is necrotizing periodontal disease, which can produce painful ulcers in your month.

Gum disease can come from one or more factors.

  • Poor oral hygiene, such as by not brushing or flossing, can produce the disease.
  • Genetics can play a part, so if your family has a history of the problem, then it’s more likely that you’ll develop it.
  • If you smoke, have poor nutrition, or undergo stress, your body has less chance of fighting off the infection.

To prevent this disease, good oral hygiene is a must. Brush and floss at least twice a day. This is the best way of removing the bacterial plaque that can infect the gums. Have your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year so that the dentist can remove the plaque that has hardened into tartar. He can also examine your gums for any sign of the disease.

If your dentist discovers that you have gum disease, the treatment depends on the progress of the infection. If he catches it early, he may recommend non-surgical therapy, which is simple and relatively painless. If the disease is more advanced, surgery may be needed. Your mouth will need re-evaluation after treatment. Otherwise, the disease may come back.

If you want to know more about gum disease and oral hygiene, please contact us.


Healthy Smiles Start Early


Caring for your children’s teeth properly from the get-go is a form of investment; a little professional attention right away can head off many problems later on in life. While it’s true that children lose their baby teeth, instilling good dental hygiene habits is something that you should start as soon as is practicable.

The earlier a child gets used to brushing and flossing, the more likely he or she is to make those things part of his or her everyday ritual for the rest of his or her life. Beyond that, it’s good to take your children to a dentist who specializes in children’s dentistry. This dentist can make sure there are no larger-scale problems, like teeth developing the wrong way, and can provide the professional cleaning and maintenance that are necessary for a healthy smile.

Now, finding a dentist who works with children isn’t always easy. Some dentists simply work better with adult patients, and some have no real experience with children, Dr. Ashley Mann, prides himself on running a practice that is welcoming to and accommodating of children. Dr. Mann believes in a family-centered approach to dentistry that provides excellent oral health for everyone, no matter his or her age, and working with children helps him advance that goal.

If you are interested in learning more about Dr. Mann’s office, or would like to book an appointment, please feel free to reach out or visit the website. We look forward to hearing from you and meeting your little ones!


Our Team Can Show You How to Prevent Gum Disease


Gingivitis is a term many of us hear the most often mentioned in toothpaste commercials, or in print ads promoting mouth washes.  Yet it isn’t something most of us think about very often.  While many do know that gingivitis is a form of gum disease most commonly associated with the build up of biofilms, or plaque, on the teeth and gums–we often do not realize that gingivitis can lead to even more serious periodontitis and that these are all entirely  preventable with quality dental care and good dental hygiene.

Gingivitis is considered to be a mostly “non-destructive” periodontal disease which presents as swollen and shiny, red, or purple gums that are often sensitive to touch and during brushing, or flossing.  Gums that are affected by gingivitis also tend to bleed after brushing, or flossing.  Gingivitis can additional be associated with chronic bad breath, or halitosis due to the excessive build up of plaque and other bacteria in the recesses of the gums called gingival grooves.

The most common cause of gingivitis is the build up of plaque in the mouth due to improper, or too little brushing and/or flossing.  As the plaque increases in the gingival grooves (also called plaque traps), they release harmful bacterial chemicals that can, if left untreated, cause complications including the onset of periodontitis (further inflammation of the gums leading eventually to loss of the bone around your teeth), abscesses, bacterial infections, ulcerations in the gums and eventually, the loss of teeth.

The most effective way to both prevent and fight periodontal disease, specifically gingivitis, is of course, through thorough daily oral hygiene routines.  Routine brushing and flossing works to break up plaque deposits, keeping them from building up along the gum line and causing the harmful irritation of the gums.  Many mouth washes on the market are also helpful in the prevention of gum diseases, including gingivitis.  Washes containing chlorhexidine (usually only available through prescription), alcohol, or hydrogen peroxide are considered the most effective, although saline based washes also assist in the reduction of overall plaque in the mouth.

Equally as important as maintaining a daily dental hygiene routine, is your twice yearly visit to the dentists to keep your smile bright, healthy and happy.  Along with your own dental hygiene, let Dr. Ashley Mann provide quality general dental care, and cleanings that can help prevent gum disease such as gingivitis.  Or, if you have already developed gingivitis, Dr. Ashley Mann can create a effective treatment plan that includes the prevention of further developments.

Along with first class general dentistry for your entire family, let Dr. Ashley Mann and his caring, and skilled team also provide you with the best possible care in cosmetic, and sedation dentistry.  Contact us for your appointment and learn how you can prevent gum disease with great dental care today!


For Teeth Whitening, A Dentist Is Still Your Best Bet

These days, there are so many teeth-whitening products it’s hard to keep track of them all. Chewing gums, mouthwashes, strips, toothpastes – it seems like it should be pretty easy to get that sparkling smile everyone wants.


Even with all of these products, though, visiting a dentist may be the best choice for teeth whitening. Here’s why.

First, many of these “teeth-whitening” products are very skillfully (and, arguably, misleadingly) marketed. For example, next time you’re in the dental-care aisle, take a look at one of the “whitening” toothpaste packages. If the fine print mentions something like “removes surface stains,” what that means is it basically does what you’d expect a toothpaste to do — remove fresh food and beverage stains from your teeth. It probably doesn’t do the kind of whitening you’d understandably think it would.

Second, even if the product has the same whitening ingredients that dentists use, it may not be the most effective delivery method. Toothpastes and mouthwashes, for example, aren’t intended to stay on your teeth very long, so the whitening components may not get the time they need to work.

Finally — and we don’t mean to insult anyone here — but some teeth just need the attention of a professional. If you have been a smoker or a coffee drinker for years, no over-the-counter product is going to cut it. You’re free to use them, of course, but you are likely just wasting time, money and effort.


If you’re interested in gathering more information about professional teeth-whitening services, please feel free to contact the office of Dr. Ashley Mann. We’ve helped many people create the smile they’ve always wanted, and we’re happy to do the same for you.


Who is Dr. Ashley Mann?


You may be familiar with Dr. Ashley Mann DDS (especially if you are reading our blog!) but how well do you know the Mann behind the white mask? Hopefully this will fill you in and let you know that you are in good hands!

Dr. Charles Ashley Mann is a product of Cary North Carolina and was proud to give back to his home town by establishing his solo general dental practice in downtown Cary during December of 1999. In addition to offering quality dental care to customers, Dr. Ashley Mann serves with Wake Smiles and the Open Door clinic in order to provide dental care to those who are not always able to afford it.

His education began at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill were he graduated with a doctorate in dental surgery in 1999. He went on to complete the Advanced Anterior Aesthetics and Advanced Occlusion program at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dentistry in 2001.

In addition to his education, Dr. Ashley Mann is a member of the Crown Council, a committed group of dentists dedicated to providing excellent dental care, serving both locally and nationally, and educating the public about dental care’s importance. He is also a member of the Academy of General Dentistry and the North Carolina Dental Society.

Above all Dr. Mann loves to serve his community and be a part of improving the lives of customers and their families. He has taken strides to make your visit friendly, comfortable, and helpful. Please, if you have any questions about or for Dr. Ashley Mann contact us.


"Every tooth in a man's head is more valuable than a..."


It has been said that every tooth in a man’s head is more valuable than a diamond, especially if they are gone. Protecting your teeth is as important as any aspect of your health and regular visits to the dentist are essential for taking care of your smile.

While lack of dental care can cause major problems, the good news is that the body is resilient, and practicing good oral hygiene can change the way you feel about your smile, improve your overall health and boost your self-confidence. Routine dental exams help your dentist discover and fix small dental issues before they become problematic.

Your smile depends on simple dental care habits, such as brushing and flossing. But are you using the right techniques? Follow these steps to protect your oral health.

Brush at least twice a day to keep the dental decay away. Brush your teeth and gums twice a day for a minimum of two to three minutes. Put your timer on and don’t forget to floss twice a day to remove food particles and prevent plaque buildup between your teeth.

Using proper equipment makes a difference. The American Dental Association recommends using a soft-bristled brush, the size and shape of which should fit your mouth comfortably, while allowing you to easily reach all areas. Your toothbrush should be replaced every three to four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed. Toothpaste comes in many flavors, but make sure it is ADA accepted and contains fluoride.

Just like golf, technique is everything. To brush properly, your toothbrush should be placed at a 45-degree angle to the gums. Gently move the brush back and forth in short strokes, ensuring to brush the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of each tooth. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, which will remove bacteria and help keep your breath fresh.

Keep flossing. A toothbrush can’t reach the tight spaces between teeth or under the gumline, so daily flossing is important for good oral health. When flossing, be gentle. Take it one tooth at a time. Slide the floss into the space between your gum and tooth. Use the floss to gently rub the side of the tooth in an up-and-down motion. Unwind fresh floss as you progress through the rest of your teeth.

Don’t put off going to the dentist. It’s wise to visit the dentist at least twice a year for checkups and cleanings. Your dentist may recommend additional appointments if you are at risk for periodontal disease or other complications. However, establishing a regular exam schedule with your dentist is the best defense against future dental problems.

You are what you eat. Brushing and flossing are not the only keys to a healthy smile. What you put into your mouth also plays an important role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease. Your mouth is the initial point of contact with the nutrients you consume. Unhealthy foods can impact not only your overall health, but also that of your teeth and gums. In fact, if your nutrition is poor, the first signs often show up in your oral health.

When describing a friend, Benjamin Franklin once said, “He laughs at everything. Why? Because he has good teeth.” Having a healthy smile doesn’t take a lot of effort, it just takes consistency. To learn more about having a great smile and great oral health, contact Dr. Ashley Mann, DDS.