The Cost of Straight Teeth: Braces

What are tooth braces?

Dental braces or tooth braces are corrective orthodontic tools used for teeth straightening and the correct jaw alignment. Orthodontists place metallic squares called brackets on the outer surface of the teeth and a flexible piece of wire, which sits on top of the brackets, and its sides are screwed on bands, which fit around the wisdom teeth.

Braces are used to fix issues such as crowding, crooked teeth, and misaligned bite, either overbite or underbite. This treatment is more common among teenagers, but adults can also get braces to perfect their smiles.

The Evolution of Braces

Straight teeth have long been considered to be attractive and a sign of good health. Braces may seem a modern dental procedure, but there is evidence of ancient civilizations using a form of dental braces. Some of them were used to preserve the straight teeth of the deceased to the afterlife. Others designed a basic version of braces to fix the crooked teeth of the living. The materials differed between civilizations, but the most common were gold, metal, and or catgut. The evolution of orthodontics was determined by the following cultures. 

  1. Ancient Egyptians used metal posts attached to a cord made of the animal intestine and placed them on the teeth of the dead. This technique is very similar to the modern one, as the attached cord functioned as an arch and applied the necessary pressure to fix the misalignment. Based on the culture and their beliefs about the afterlife, it was more important for them to provide the best care possible for their dead than the living.
  2. Ancient Romans also played a great part in the history of orthodontics . Archeologists have discovered Roman tombs with evidence of teeth braces, which were almost identical to the traditional ones used nowadays. These braces were made of gold and were fitted along the teeth. Another discovery we owe to Romans is the fact that the braces are the most effective in earlier ages. In fact, ancient Greek medical documents by Hippocrates reveal that crowded teeth or other structural dental issues led to “headaches and ottorhea or ear discharge
  3. The Etruscans, an ancient civilization who lived in central Italy in the 6th century BC, used a type of gold mouth guard, similar to a modern dental retainer. Similar to the ancient Egyptian tradition, they were interested in preserving the straight teeth of the dead in the afterlife.


The French had significantly contributed to the field of dentistry in the 18th century, creating custom mouthguards and overcrowding treatments. A century later, in 1819, Christophe-Francois Delabarre invented the precursor of  the modern dental braces, by designing a woven wire which was fitted over the upper and lower row of the teeth, and over time it would fix teeth misalignment.

Types of dental braces/ brackets

A lot has changed in orthodontic technology in just the last decade. The unattractive mouthful of metal wires is now in the past and new, more discreet tooth braces are available. The five types of orthodontic braces are:

  1. The metal braces which are the traditional and most used ones. They include brackets on the front of the teeth and bands fitted in the back teeth, to support the flexible wire arch, which applies pressure to fix crooked teeth.
  2. The ceramic braces which are the traditional braces with a tooth-colored ceramic layer. They are more discreet and appealing than the metal ones and are made with stainless steel, gold, and clear materials.
  3. The lingual braces comprise brackets placed behind the teeth, facing the tongue and they have the same function and look as the traditional ones.
  4. The self-ligating braces are a more expensive version of the traditional ones because they replaced the bands with clips to hold the wire in place. They provide less friction on the braces, more control and precision on the alignment and the teeth brushing and cleaning are easier to do.
  5. The Invisalign, which is considered a type of brace, even though there are no brackets or wires. Instead, it is a clear plastic aligner that is fitted perfectly over the teeth and can be replaced once or twice a month. The patients prefer them because they do not experience much difficulty in drinking and eating but they are considerably more costly than the other types. They are recommended for minor to moderate orthodontic issues in teenagers and adults.

The Cost of Dental Braces

The cost of tooth braces varies from country to country. An orthodontic treatment is not always covered by medical insurance companies and its cost can be quite high. In the US, over 4 million people wear braces and 25% of them are adults. As a rough estimate, braces can cost between $3,000 and $10,000 in the USA, depending on the duration of the treatment and the type of braces.


Dental braces types Price range in the US
Metal braces $3,000- $7,000
Ceramic braces $4,000- $8,000
Lingual braces $8,000- $10,000
Self-ligating braces $3,000- $7,000
Invisalign braces $4,000 - $7,400


There are some cases where medical insurance can cover part of the cost for teenagers when the treatment is deemed as a medical necessity. The duration of the treatment is between 1 and 3 years and the visit to the orthodontists’ office can be a painful and uncomfortable experience.


According to statistics, the global orthodontics industry is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% until 2030 mainly due to the surge of tooth and jaw misalignment cases and the continuing demand for dental aesthetics. The children segment will continue to dominate the major market share but the adult segment will also develop significantly. As for the market share per region, North America will likely occupy the largest market share, followed by the European market. The Asia Pacific will be the fastest-growing market in the next decade due to the rise of dental issues, the geriatric population, and the advances in dental technology.

 Orthodontic treatment may be a painful experience, but it an essential one to fix dental irregularities and prevent other health complications.


The History of Dental Care Products

Dental Care Throughout History

There are so many available types of dental care products today. Herbal, fluoridated, sensitivity, tartar control and children’s toothpaste, manual, electric, eco-friendly toothbrushes and so many other types of tools are available to most developed and developing countries. However, this array of oral care products has only been around since the 1950s. So how did the dental hygiene practices look before then?

 Even though past generations did not have the products which exist now, oral hygiene has been a priority to wellbeing since ancient times. Historical documents from 5,000 BCE reveal that humans firmly believed that worms were the primary reason for cavities, and toothpicks were used to remove food residue in Egypt and Mesopotamia. In 1700 BCE, Ebers Papyrus, an Egyptian text, reveals information about tooth diseases and various remedies for toothache.

In Ancient Greece, Asclepius, the God of Medicine and healing, was believed to be one of the first advocates of dental health around 1200 BCE. This is why the official symbol of dentistry includes a snake, a symbol of rebirth for ancient Greeks, and two Greek letters, “Δέλτα” and “Όμικρον”, depicted as the triangle and the circle respectively. Later, Aristotle and Hippocrates wrote more detailed texts about tooth decay treatments, teeth extraction with forceps, and stabilization techniques for loose teeth and fractured jaw bones using wires, very similar to the modern approach. Around the 2nd century BC, an ancient civilization in Italy, called the Etruscans, practiced dental prosthetics and performed dental restorations using gold.

The First Toothpaste

 Considering the mysterious concoctions ancient civilizations came up with to clean their teeth, we have to thank the Egyptians for utilizing mint and adding it to their kind of toothpaste. The Greeks’ and Romans’ first form of dental cream was made of broken bones, myrrh, ash, eggshells, volcanic rocks, oxen hooves, and charcoal. Asian civilizations have added herbs and spices, such as ginseng and salt, to improve their taste and cleansing properties. The abrasive mixture was believed to successfully clean the surface of the teeth and remove food residue.

The ancient Egyptian formula of the dental cream comprised a mix of rock salt, mint, dried iris flowers, and pepper. Despite causing bleeding gums, researchers claim it was perhaps the most effective form of toothpaste compared to its successors, sharing a lot of similarities with its modern version.

In the late 18th century, people experimented with a powder mostly made of burnt bread to clean their teeth. A few decades later, a dentist called Peabody was the first to add soap to the toothpaste for better oral hygiene and in 1850, John Harris added chalk to the mixture. In 1873, the first commercially used toothpaste with a pleasant smell and texture was launched by Colgate and it was sold in jars. Two decades later, Dr. Washington Sheffield started selling toothpaste in collapsible tubes for sanitary purposes, so that people could use it safely, without risking their own hygiene.

In the 20th century, dental experts added fluoride to toothpaste, as they had discovered how effective it was against dental cavities. After World War II, toothpaste manufacturers replaced the soap with other emulsifying agents to produce a smoother result. In the following decades, herbal, fluoride-free, whitening, and even edible toothpastes hit the market.

The First Toothbrush

Thanks to technological advancements, the oral hygiene industry has expanded to innovative dental care products such as the electric toothbrush. The first-ever form of toothbrush was nothing but a wooden, pencil-sized stick. Historians claim that the Babylonians and Egyptians were the first ones to use frayed twigs to clean their teeth as early as 3500 BCE. They chewed on one side of the stick to soften it up and resemble a brush, and they kept the other end sharp, like a toothpick.

 In the 15th century, the Chinese created the first toothbrush with bristles by gluing pig’s hairs to a bamboo stick or carved bones. At the time, Europeans used cloths and sponges to remove and polish their teeth. When the toothbrush designed in China was taken to Europe, the harsh pig’s hair was replaced by horsehair or feathers for a softer “brush”.

 The “founder” of the toothbrush was William Addis from England, who invented the first mass-produced toothbrush in 1780. While in prison, he carved a cattle bone for a handle and he used batches of wild pig’s hair for the brush part. His prototype was then given to manufacturers and it was available across the country. During World War I, the USA manufactured toothbrushes made of nylon bristles and celluloid handles. This type of material made it easier to sell toothbrushes in more areas around the world and it was the beginning of the manual toothbrush, as we know it. The first electric toothbrush sold in the US was the Broxodent, manufactured by a company named Squibb in the 1960s. More companies optimized this type of product over the next few years.

The First Mouthwash

 The origin story of the mouthwash is almost as unorthodox as the one of the toothpaste. There are mentions of it in the literature of a few civilizations, but the most common appears to be the Roman. Historical documents reveal that Romans used imported bottled urine to rinse their mouths in AD 1. Despite it being a quite eccentric choice, ammonia, which is found in high levels in urine, has cleaning and disinfecting properties. It became so popular that the emperor Nero taxed the trade and it was widely used until the 19th century.

Other mouthwash peculiarities throughout history included tortoise blood, white wine, goat’s milk, a mixture of berries, vinegar, and mint leaves, and also cold water. Around the 1500s, people also gargled a solution of mint and vinegar to fight bad breath and clean their teeth. Anton van Leeuwenhoek, also known as the father of modern microbiology, discovered that a mouthwash solution with alcohol or ammonia could effectively kill oral bacteria. Thanks to his discovery, the mouthwash of today ensures not only gum and teeth health but also fresh breath!

The First Dental Floss

The dental floss gained popularity a lot later than the other oral care products. A New Orleans dentist named Dr. Levi Spear Parmly first suggested the use of a silk thread to clean the areas between the teeth in 1815. As the rest of the dental care products became more popular towards the end of the century, that’s when dental floss was patented and available in the market. The silk used in dental floss was the same material used for the stitches but later was replaced for nylon, because of its durability. This improvement also led to the production of waxed floss, which is a stronger, slightly thicker option, ideal for tightly spaced teeth because it's easier to glide between the teeth. Similar to the rest, the variety of dental floss has expanded over the years, taking advantage of new materials and new technological techniques.


History shows that human societies have cared about their oral health for centuries, long before all the different kinds of toothpastes, toothbrushes, and other oral care products. Prehistoric civilizations used no dental tools to clean their teeth, which were mostly healthy thanks to their diet. When the human populations turned to farming, their heavy grain-based diets led to plaque buildup and hence, oral bacteria growth.

It’s important to acknowledge the role of nutrition in our oral health and utilize all the dental care products and treatments which are available to us to lead a healthy life with a bright smile.


The Power of Charcoal in Cosmetics

Probably everyone has at least heard of a hygiene product containing charcoal. We can see charcoal powder even in the most unusual products like shampoo, mouthwash, or face scrub. About 10 years ago, this was an exotic concept and cosmetics manufacturers weren’t ecstatic about the idea of potentially clogging their machines with black powder and creating a non-stereotypical product that could potentially lay around in their warehouses. A micro-trend was gaining power but was far from the tidal wave it recently became. 

What exactly is activated charcoal and how come something so dirty ends up in cleaning products?

Activated and active charcoal are equivalent terms, as are active carbon and active charcoal.

Charcoal is the carbon residue of heated biomatter. It is black and odorless and has a porous structure and microscopic grid that acts as a very fine filter. When the charcoal is activated that means that it is processed to significantly increase the number of pores and the surface area. After activation, the outspread surface of 1 gram of charcoal is 3,000 m2 which makes it ideal for filtering, and absorption, through bonding with different chemical substances. That makes the size of 2,5 Olympic pools.

It is very efficient at capturing large molecules and tannins present in tooth discoloration.

What are the applications of active charcoal?

Carbon in general has such a wide spectrum of usages varying from automobile and space and FMCG industry. Because of its multiple benefits, its application is truly universal.

Activated charcoal is widely used in the beauty, cosmetic and medical industries. It is effective against absorbing toxins in food poisoning; however, it is not effective against alcohol poisoning due to its inability to create a bond with the alcohol molecule. Some of its most practical uses are:

  • Filter for industrial and commercial water purification
  • Skin cleansing agent by absorbing microparticles as makeup, dirt, or sebum
  • Deodorant ingredient absorbing the bad odor
  • Dental hygiene and teeth whitening agent


Active Charcoal and Teeth Whitening

Since activated charcoal is not only a great absorbent but also abrasive it greatly serves the purpose of teeth cleaning agent. Plaque is the main reason for dental disease. It is a fine film of bacteria chains and food residuals that is surprisingly challenging to remove. That is why dentists recommend using ultrasonic toothbrushes and using ultrasound themselves to clean off the calcified plaque, called tartar.

Every toothpaste has some kind of abrasive agent. Depending on their hardness the toothpastes have different cleaning efficiency. When integrated into a toothpaste formula, the active charcoal helps cleansing power by scrubbing off plaque and absorbing tannins and other coloring molecules. It has double cleaning power – contributing to the general oral health and to the cosmetic need for a white smile. However, using activated charcoal powder directly on your teeth as abrasive needs to be consulted with your dentist because factors such as gum and enamel condition need to be taken into consideration. Using direct abrasive powder in combination with a toothbrush can be harmful and create an unpleasant feeling and visual effect of black particles stuck between your teeth. 



Even though active charcoal is a great way for prophylaxis of dental diseases and teeth discoloration, it cannot make your teeth whiter than their natural shade. Oral care products having this ingredient work on a surface level, as most of the other teeth whitening agents in mass cosmetics.

We, at Nordics, cherish the natural and super-natural powers of active charcoal as it is easy to produce bio ingredients, dissolves perfectly in Nature without polluting it, and serves great for humanity! 

The Structure of the Tooth Explained

Did you know adult teeth have a biting force of up to 200lbs? Talk about strong teeth! Humans are all born with 20 baby teeth, which are just below the gumline and emerge after the first 6 months of a baby’s life. Our individual DNA predetermines the time each tooth will emerge and fall out eventually, as well as the time when the adult tooth will grow in to replace it. Only poor oral hygiene and an accident will disrupt this natural process. It’s important to keep in mind that proper dental care is an essential habit that needs to be developed very early on, as it defines the future oral health.

The Structure of the Tooth

What makes the tooth the hardest substance in the body? They comprise 96% minerals, making them harder than bones. There are a lot of different layers of tissue in each tooth, all serving a specific purpose. Let’s take a closer look at the anatomy of the tooth.

The Anatomy of the tooth, Source:

Teeth are made of the visible part, above the gum line, called the crown, the neck, which is the middle part, and the root, which is not visible and located under the gumline.  

The crown consists of 3 parts:

  • The anatomical crown. This is the top part of the tooth, which is the most visible part.
  • The enamel. This is the substance that covers the surface of the crown and it is responsible for protecting the teeth from toxic bacteria. It is made of an extremely hard mineral such as calcium phosphate, and thanks to it the mouth can withstand the pressure of biting and chewing.
  • The dentin or dentine. This is the tissue that makes up for the bulk of the tooth. Similarly, it consists of the same mineral, making it harder than bone but not as hard as enamel. When the dentine is exposed, due to poor dental care, the patient develops high sensitivity to hot and cold foods or drinks and sweets. Dentine hypersensitivity is one of the biggest concerns in oral health.

The neck, also known as the dental cervix, is the middle part that links the crown and the root. Its main 3 parts are:

  • The gums, or the gingiva. This pink, fleshy tissue is attached to the cement of each tooth and the enamel.
  • Pulp cavity. This is the space inside the crown that holds the pulp, the nerves, and blood vessels. The upper part of the pulp cavity is the pulp chamber, and the lower part is the root canal, which is found deeper down the roots of the tooth.
  • Pulp. This is the soft, gelatinous tissue in the center of the tooth and it consists of 80% water and 20% of inorganic material and cells called odontoblasts. Its main functions include the formation and nutrition of the dentine and the innervation of the tooth.

The root is the deepest structural part of the tooth with several highly important parts. It’s the part that extends to the bone and provides support to the tooth, and it’s approximately 2 times bigger than the crown. Each tooth has one or more roots and the main parts of a root are the following:

  • Root canal. As the name suggests, this is the passageway where the pulp is located.
  • Cementum or cement. This is the thin layer of a hard dental tissue which covers the anatomical roots of the tooth. Cementum is not as hard as dentine and is made of 45-50% inorganic material such as collagen and proteins and 50-55% water.
  • Periodontal ligament (PDL). This is the soft tissue that really holds the tooth and the bone together. It’s made of connective tissue and collagen fibers, and both nerves and blood vessels run through it. Its functions include absorbing the pressure of chewing, biting and grinding and allowing teeth movement in orthodontic treatments. PDLs are also susceptible to periodontal inflammation and are harder to regenerate, so it comes down to proper oral care.
  • Nerves and blood vessels. They are both essential to the structure of the teeth, as the blood vessels provide necessary nutrients for the periodontal ligament and the nerves help control the force when chewing and or biting.
  • Jaw bone. Also known as the alveolar bone, it provides support to all the teeth. The upper jawbone is fixed and called maxilla and the lower jawbone is movable and called mandible.

The Importance of Proper Dental Care

 Each part of the tissues that surround the structure of the tooth plays a very crucial role in oral health. From the enamel to the nerves, each requires proper dental hygiene to stay intact and protect the teeth from bite force, bacteria, and temperature changes.

The crown is mostly made of hard minerals to prevent toxins and bacteria from entering the gums and the bloodstream. The integrity of the neck of the tooth will help protect from gum diseases such as gingivitis, gum bleeding, and inflammation. The root comprises softer tissues, and any damage there is more complicated and risky to be addressed by a dental practitioner. 

The quality of the teeth is also defined by DNA, but it comes down to the practice of good dental hygiene from a young age. Brushing your teeth and tongue properly 2-3 times a day with the right toothbrush, using dental floss daily, and using mouthwash for fresh breath do more good than you may think. A solid dental care routine saves you a lot of painful visits to the dentist and a lot of expensive and uncomfortable dental treatments.


What to Look For In a Toothpaste

Toothpaste is one of the most used items in our personal hygiene. Dental products, as we know them, have not been around until the last couple of centuries. Nowadays, the oral care market offers a wide variety of toothpaste to cover every need and more innovative formulas become available for the consumers.

But have you ever wondered about what’s in the toothpaste tube you use 2 or 3 times a day? You've probably heard that you should be careful with the ingredients in it, but what does that mean? What ingredients should you look for?

Keep reading to learn more about the ingredients in toothpaste and how to pick the one that is best for you.

What to look for in toothpaste

Toothpaste that offers effective dental care and can be safely used for daily use has to contain the following basic ingredients:

#1: Fluoride

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps to protect your teeth from decay. It was first added to toothpaste in Germany in the 1890s. However, it became a staple in 1914, when it became known for its tooth decay prevention qualities. It can be found in both natural and artificial forms and is a key ingredient in other dental products as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), fluoride helps decrease cavities by up to 40%.

The range of toothpastes available on the market contains different levels of fluoride. If you check the label on the back of your toothpaste tube, you will see that fluoride is measured in parts per million (ppm). Dental professionals consider a range between 1350 to 1500 ppm to be a very effective fluoride amount for adults. If you run the risk of developing tooth decay, your dentist may recommend toothpaste with higher ppm to protect your oral health more effectively. As for children, the dentists recommend:

  •     Children under the age of 3 can brush their teeth using a smear of toothpaste containing at least 1,000 ppm fluoride.
  •     Toddlers between the ages of 3 and 6 can brush their teeth using a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing more than 1,000 ppm fluoride.

There are two types of fluoride you can find in toothpaste:

  1.   Sodium fluoride, which is the most common type and prevents tooth decay
  2.   Stannous fluoride, which prevents gum disease, tooth decay and reduces tooth sensitivity. It can stain the teeth, but scientists have been able to address this issue with different production techniques.

The ADA recommends using fluoride toothpaste in amounts depending on the age and the risk of tooth decay development.

#2: Mild Abrasives

Abrasives are ingredients that help remove plaque and stains from teeth. They come in both natural and synthetic forms and are usually added to toothpaste in small amounts. Relative Dentin Abrasivity (RDA) is the metric used to determine the abrasiveness of toothpaste. Toothpaste with an RDA level lower than 250 is acceptable and effective to not cause damage to the enamel. Any higher RDA level can lead to enamel erosion, which can lead to teeth sensitivity, discomfort, and gum recession.

 Some common abrasives in toothpaste are derived from chalk and silica.

 Hydrated Silica is an odorless, tasteless white powder, which depending on the specific formula can also be used as a thickening agent, a mild abrasive for cleaning, or as a whitening agent in toothpaste. It is listed by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to be Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS).

 Calcium Carbonate is a mild abrasive derived from chalk. It can be safely used to remove plaque buildup in the surface of the teeth effectively.

 #3: Humectants

Humectants are the additives that allow the toothpaste to come out smooth and consistent from the tube. Glycerol and Sorbitol are two of the most common ones because they keep the moisture in the toothpaste mixture. Without them, your toothpaste might have a grainy consistency, almost like wet sand, which would not be pleasant at all on the mouth.

 #4: Detergents

Detergents are the ingredients used to produce foam when brushing your teeth.  One of the most common detergents in toothpaste is sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). However, it is not considered safe for your oral health. Some problems SLS can cause are tissue sloughing, canker sores, dry mouth, and bad breath. This ingredient essentially damages the cells in the inner cheek, causing intense pain and irritation. Since SLS doesn’t have any cleansing properties, SLS-free toothpastes are the safe choice and the recommendation of dental professionals.

 #5: Flavorings

Flavors and coloring additives are the elements in a toothpaste that make it more appealing to look at and use day after day.

Toothpastes should not contain sugar because sugar speeds up cavity formation. Instead, sweeteners should be added because they have a nice taste and do not negatively affect the oral cavity. Indeed, certain sweeteners have the extra benefit of contributing to the protection of teeth and gums!

Some additives are sweeteners, but they also have a function in toothpaste. It's possible that the sweetening effect isn't even the most important function of that substance! Sodium saccharin, Sorbitol, and Xylitol are a few examples of commonly used sweeteners.


It is important to look for dental care products that contain safe-to-use ingredients, like Xylitol, and calcium. In addition, it is also important to find a toothpaste that does not contain harmful chemicals like SLS and Parabens. The Nordics oral care products meet all of these criteria and more. With our natural ingredients and lack of harmful chemicals, you can feel good about using our toothpastes for your family. Check out the Nordics oral care products here.