Floss

Water Flossing: What is it and should I do it?

March 18th, 2021

Woman using ADA-accepted Waterpik water flosser

Water flossing is a way to clean between and around your teeth. A water flosser is a handheld device that sprays streams of water in steady pulses. The water, like traditional floss, removes food from between teeth.

Water flossers that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance have been tested to be safe and effective at removing plaque, which puts you at a higher risk for cavities and gum disease. Water flossers with the ADA Seal can also help reduce gingivitis, the early form of gum disease, throughout your mouth and between your teeth.

Water flossers can be an option for people who have trouble flossing by hand. People who have had dental work that makes flossing difficult—like braces, or permanent or fixed bridges—also might try water flossers.

Cleaning between your teeth once a day is an important part of your dental hygiene routine. You should also brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes and see your dentist regularly.

source: mouthhealthy.org

Gum Disease

February 1st, 2017

Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because gum disease is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:
•gums that bleed easily
•red, swollen, tender gums
•gums that have pulled away from the teeth
•persistent bad breath or bad taste
•permanent teeth that are loose or separating
•any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
•any change in the fit of partial dentures

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:
•poor oral hygiene
•smoking or chewing tobacco
•genetics
•crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
•pregnancy
•diabetes
•medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium channel blockers and oral contraceptives

See your dentist if you suspect you have gum disease because the sooner you treat it the better. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. If you have gingivitis, your gums may become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is still reversible and can usually be eliminated by a professional cleaning at your dental office, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Chronic periodontitis affects 47.2% of adults over 30 in the United States. It can lead to the loss of tissue and bone that support the teeth and it may become more severe over time. If it does, your teeth will feel loose and start moving around in your mouth. This is the most common form of periodontitis in adults but can occur at any age. It usually gets worse slowly, but there can be periods of rapid progression.

Aggressive periodontitis is a highly destructive form of periodontal disease that occurs in patients who are otherwise healthy. Common features include rapid loss of tissue and bone and may occur in some areas of the mouth, or in the entire mouth.

Research between systemic diseases and periodontal diseases is ongoing. While a link is not conclusive, some studies indicate that severe gum disease may be associated with several other health conditions such as diabetes or stroke.

It is possible to have gum disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are very important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good dental care at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. Remember: You don’t have to lose teeth to gum disease. Brush your teeth twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

for more information please visit: http://www.mouthhealthy.org

Gingivitis vs. periodontitis: what’s the difference?

July 5th, 2016

Both conditions relate to your gums, but what is the difference? Actually, it turns out that gingivitis (gum inflammation) and periodontitis (gum disease) are closely related. Gingivitis usually comes before, but does not necessarily always lead to, periodontitis.

Gingivitis is caused by bacteria that build up in plaque. This causes the gums to become inflamed and to bleed during brushing.

When gingivitis is not treated, it may lead to gum disease. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. This is because the inner layer of gum and bone pull away from the teeth, forming pockets that can become infected. As plaque grows below the gum line, gum tissue and bone are destroyed, causing teeth to become loose.

Though plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, there are other factors that contribute:

Hormone changes
Illnesses (HIV, cancer, diabetes)
Medication
Smoking
Family history
Not brushing and flossing every day

for more information visit toothwisdom.org

30 Percent Of Americans Floss Daily, Survey Finds.

May 12th, 2016

US News & World Report (5/2, Sternberg) reported that a recent survey to determine how often people floss their teeth found that 30 percent of the population floss daily, over 37 percent floss less than daily, and nearly 33 percent say they never floss. For the analysis, researchers used data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, looking at information from “9,056 US adults, age 30 and up, who participated from 2009 to 2012.” Among the findings, males and people 75 or older were more likely to report never flossing than females and those age 30 to 44, respectively. ADA spokesperson Dr. Matthew Messina said, “It’s nice to have a study that actually looks at [flossing] and gives us a big enough sample to work with,” observing that it is probably good news that two-thirds of patients are flossing daily or regularly. Lead author Duong T. Nguyen, a medical epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “Something as simple as flossing is, to a lot of people, a bane. ... Yet, in the long run it can be so beneficial – it can prevent tooth loss and everything that comes with it.”
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on flossing, including “5 Steps To A Flawless Floss.”

Popular Health Foods May Contribute To Teeth Discoloration, Dental Erosion.

May 3rd, 2016

The Daily Mail reports that “some of the most popular health foods” may negatively affect dental health. The acid content in green smoothies, for example, may damage enamel, while nutrient-rich beetroot may contribute to teeth staining. The article provides several “tooth-friendly” alternatives, recommending whole fruits and vegetables, nuts in moderation, and cheese.

Meanwhile, a second article in the Daily Mail states, “People make a number of simple mistakes” that can harm teeth, such as chewing ice cubes, eating dried fruits, using a toothbrush with hard bristles, using teeth as tools, and having tongue and lip piercings.
MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on diet and dental health, foods that affect dental health, and habits that harm teeth.

TIME Considers Benefits Of Using Mouthwash.

March 29th, 2016

Citing ADA spokesperson Dr. Matt Messina extensively, TIME (3/23, Heid) considers whether using mouthwash is a safe and effective step in a person’s dental care routine. “I like to say mouthwash is an addition to proper oral hygiene, not a substitute,” said Dr. Messina. While mouthwash use does not replace daily brushing or a twice-yearly dentist visit, it may help freshen your breath, and in most cases is safe, he says. Dr. Messina said concerning antiseptic or antibacterial mouth rinses, for those with “periodontal disease or some harmful types of mouth bacteria, an antibacterial rinse could help kill the bacteria that cause the disease,” although he advises speaking with a dentist first. Dr. Messina adds, “You don’t need mouthwash, but if you enjoy it, or you have bad breath and feel it helps, then there’s no substantiated risks to rinsing once or twice a day.” MouthHealthy.org provides additional information on mouthwashes

New Toothpaste Fights Tooth Decay

February 17th, 2016

The Wall Street Journal reviewed a new toothpaste that aims to improve oral hygiene by binding to plaque and showing it as green, revealing areas a person missed while brushing. The article stated that researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted a short-term study of Plaque HD, finding plaque was reduced by 51.3% after people brushed with the toothpaste for up to 10 days. American Dental Association spokeswoman Dr. Mary Hayes has not tried the toothpaste, but said it could serve as a consistent reminder to patients. Dr. Hayes added that areas between the teeth and at the gumline are common areas patients miss.
(2/8, Johannes, Subscription Publication)

Early Orthodontics may mean less treatment later

September 28th, 2015

Orthodontic treatment in young children is known as interceptive orthodontics. Intervention may begin as early as age 6 or 7. At this age, teeth are still developing. The jaw is still growing. That means certain conditions, such as crowding, may be easier to address.

Before permanent teeth have come in, it may be possible to help teeth to erupt (emerge through the gums) into better positions. It's common, for example, for the dental arch to be too small to fit all of the teeth. A few decades ago, the solution for crowding was almost always to extract some of the permanent teeth to make space. Then fixed braces were used to position the teeth properly.

Early intervention takes advantage of the fact that a child's jaw is still growing. For example, a device called a palatal expander may be used to expand the child's upper dental arch. Once the arch is the proper size, there's a better chance that the adult teeth will emerge in better position. Sometimes teeth still may be crowded after all of them have erupted. In such cases, some permanent teeth may still have to be extracted to make room to align the teeth properly.

So-called early treatment also may be useful when the dental arches and jaws are not in the correct position. Functional appliances may fix or improve these problems. More treatment usually is needed later on, but it may be shorter and less involved.

"It is important to note that children who receive interceptive orthodontics generally still need braces or other orthodontic appliances later," Dr. Cangialosi says. "However, this early treatment may shorten and simplify future treatment in selected cases." This is commonly known as two-phase treatment.

It is important to note that early treatment does not apply to all orthodontic problems. However, it may help in certain cases.

How to tell if your child may need early orthodontic treatment:

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth (your child should typically start losing teeth around age five, and will have all their permanent teeth in around age 13)
  • Difficulty chewing and/or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Your child continues sucking their thumb after age five
  • Speech impediments
  • Protruding teeth (the top teeth and the bottom teeth extend away from each other)
  • Teeth that don't come together in a normal manner or even at all
  • Shifting of the jaw when your child opens or closes their mouth (crossbites)
  • Crowded front teeth around age seven or eight

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

July 30th, 2015

Bad breath facts

Bad breath, or halitosis, is characterized by an unpleasant odor of the mouth.

  • Causes of bad breath include food, tobacco products, poor dental hygiene, health problems, dry mouth, mouth infections, dental problems, or medications.
  • Symptoms of bad breath include unpleasant odor or taste in the mouth, dry mouth, or white coating on the tongue.
  • Treatments for bad breath include proper dental hygiene, mouthwash, sugar-free gum, quitting smoking, and changing bad habits.
  • Bad breath can usually be prevented by proper tooth brushing, quitting smoking, and avoiding foods that cause bad breath odors.

What is the definition of bad breath?

The definition of bad breath, or halitosis, is an unpleasant odor of the mouth. It can occur on occasion, or it can be a chronic condition. It may be caused by foods a person eats, poor oral hygiene, medical conditions, or other factors.

What are the causes and risk factors of bad breath?

There are many risk factors and causes for bad breath; some common causes are listed below.

  • Food: Food is a primary source of bad odors that come from the mouth. Some foods, such as garlic, onions, and spicy foods, exotic spices (such as curry), some cheeses, fish, and acidic beverages such as coffee can leave a lingering smell. Most of the time this is short term. Other foods may get stuck in the teeth, promoting the growth of bacteria, which causes bad breath odor. Low carbohydrate diets may also cause "ketone breath." These diets cause the body to burn fat as its energy source. The end-product of making this energy is ketones, which cause a fruity acetone-like odor on the breath when exhaled.
  • Tobacco products: Smoking and chewing tobacco can leave chemicals that remain in the mouth. Smoking can also precipitate other bad-breath causes such as gum disease or oral cancers.
  • Poor dental hygiene: When a person does not brush or floss regularly, food particles remaining in the mouth can rot and cause bad odors. Poor dental care can lead to a buildup of plaque in the mouth, which causes an odor of its own. Plaque buildup can also lead to periodontal (gum) disease. The mild form of gum disease is called gingivitis; if gingivitis is not treated, it can advance to periodontitis.
  • Health problems: Sinus infections, pneumonia, sore throat (pharyngitis) and other throat infections, tonsil stones (tonsilloliths), thrush, bronchitis, postnasal drip, diabetes, acid reflux, lactose intolerance, other stomach problems, and some liver diseases or kidney diseases may be associated with bad breath.
  • Dry mouth: Also called xerostomia, dry mouth can also cause bad breath. Saliva helps moisten and cleanse the mouth, and when the body does not product enough saliva, bad breath may result. Dry mouth may be caused by salivary gland problems, connective tissue disorders (Sjögren's syndrome), medications, or breathing through the mouth.
  • Mouth infections: Cavities, gum disease, or impacted teeth may cause bad breath.
  • Dentures or braces: Food particles not properly cleaned from appliances can rot or cause bacteria and odor. Loose-fitting dentures may cause sores or infections in the mouth, which can cause bad breath.
  • Medications: Many medications, including antihistamines and diuretics, can cause dry mouth (see above), which can cause bad breath. Other medications that may lead to bad breath may include triamterene (Dyrenium) and paraldehyde.
  • "Morning breath": Bad breath in the morning is very common. Saliva production nearly stops during sleep, which allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
  • Pregnancy: Being pregnant in itself does not cause bad breath, but the nausea and morning sickness common during pregnancy may cause bad breath. In addition, hormonal changes, dehydration, and eating different foods due to cravings may also contribute to bad breath during pregnancy.
  • Other causes of bad breath: Objects stuck in the nose (usually in children), alcoholism, and large doses of vitamin supplements may also cause bad breath.

How is bad breath treated? What can be done to prevent bad breath?

Treatment of bad breath depends on the cause.

  • Brush and floss teeth regularly. Remember to brush the tongue, too. This can help with bad breath caused by foods a person has eaten.
  • See a dentist regularly to ensure dentures or braces are properly fitted and cleaned.
  • Quit smoking or using chewing tobacco.

Keep the mouth moist by drinking water and chewing sugarless gum or sugar-free hard candy to stimulate the production of saliva. Mouthwash may temporarily mask bad breath odors, but it may not treat the underlying cause.

Natural remedies to treat bad breath include chewing on mint or parsley.

If bad breath is due to a health problem such as a sinus infection, diabetes, acid reflux, etc., then the underlying medical issue needs to be treated.

If bad breath is a side effect of taking a medication, discuss with a doctor whether there are other options for medication that can be taken. Never stop taking a medication without first consulting a doctor.

The importance of daily flossing

May 21st, 2015

Daily flossing is an important component of plaque removal, but it’s one that many people avoid because they find flossing painful. But the right flossing products can make flossing easy and painless.

Many people think that standard dental floss is the only effective product for tooth flossing. But there are many products to meet the needs of people of all ages with any type of dental condition. If one of these conditions applies to you, consider some specialized flossing options:

You have sensitive gums - If you have sensitive teeth and gums that bleed easily, choose soft floss that slides easily and comfortably between the teeth

You have braces - If you wear braces or have dentures, that doesn’t mean that you can’t floss. Try specialized floss, such as Oral-B’s Super Floss, which has a stiff end that you can thread beneath the main wire of your braces and a spongy component that slides easily between the teeth

You have a child - It’s important to teach children the benefits of flossing at a young age. You can start teaching children to floss their teeth at about age 5-7 years, but many children are less than enthusiastic, and they may complain that flossing hurts or is difficult. Try a kid-friendly flossing tool.

You have difficulty manipulating floss - Try an electric flosser, an electric flosser is neat and easy, especially if you don’t like reaching into the back of your mouth. And an electric flosser provides the right amount of pressure to leave your gums feeling pleasantly stimulated.

Adapting Your Diet after an Orthodontic Adjustment

April 20th, 2015

If you have just gotten braces or had them tightened, it may take a few days for your teeth to adjust. During this time, you’ll want to take extra precautions to prevent unnecessary pain and potential damage to your teeth, gums, and appliances. Don’t worry: Any discomfort you experience will soon disappear. And it’ll all be worth it in the end. Your new, beautiful smile will be yours for a lifetime!

Change What You Eat

Eating inappropriate foods can cause unnecessary pain. Here are some easy ways you can adapt your diet and eating habits after an adjustment.

1.  Cut your food into small pieces. Any food that requires chewing can be cut up into bite-sized pieces. This includes sandwiches, pizza, meat, and bread.

2.  Eat softer foods. In the first couple of days, stick to soft foods such as yogurt, pudding, and soups. Mashed potatoes and applesauce are good options as well. It’s easy to cook fruits and vegetables to make them softer: just steam them in the microwave!

3.  Be gentle with your teeth. Braces give your teeth a workout, so to ease soreness, be gentle with your teeth. Avoid chewy foods that can further irritate already-sore teeth and gums.

Dealing with Discomfort

Even if you alter your diet and take extra precautions, your mouth may still be sore or irritated. Here are some ways to reduce any lingering discomfort.

1.  Eat slowly and carefully. If it hurts to chew something, stop! If chewing is needed, try to use your back teeth as much as possible.

2.  Put pain on ice. Try sucking on some small pieces of ice. Don’t chew on the ice; this will make your discomfort worse. You can also use an ice pack or put frozen peas in a bag and apply pressure to the sore areas.

3.  Use wax. Put wax on any metal part that irritates your mouth. If you need some, please let us know!

4.  Do a salt rinse. Dissolve one teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of lukewarm water. Swish this solution in your mouth for just a couple of minutes. Just don’t swallow the salt water.

Following these simple tips will get you back to smiling in no time! If you have any questions about your treatment, or how to eat with braces, please give us a call or ask us during your next appointment!

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 6th, 2015

Five of the nation’s top dental associations want to remind young athletes to play it safe by wearing a mouth guard during recreational and organized sports this spring. Research estimates that about 2 percent of all children or adolescents who participate in sports eventually will suffer a facial injury severe enough to require medical attention.

"A properly fitted mouth guard is an essential piece of any athlete's protective equ...ipment,” says Dr. Paul Nativi, DMD, FASD, and past president of the Academy for Sports Dentistry. “Mouth guards protect the teeth from being knocked out, broken and displaced. Mouth guards prevent injuries to the bone and tissues around the teeth. They also help prevent injuries to the mandible (lower jaw) and temporomandibular joint in the jaw. Tooth loss incurs a tremendous financial, emotional, and psychological expense. Protect what you have - wear a properly fitted mouth guard.”

Sports and Energy Drinks and Your Smile

March 19th, 2015

While they may sound refreshing after a long jog or pick-up game of basketball, energy and sports drinks may do more harm than good. The high level of sugar and acid found in many of these drinks can cause damage to tooth enamel, thus elevating your risk for tooth decay.

Yes, there are health benefits to consuming orange juice, fruit juices, sports drinks, and flavored waters, which can contain valuable ingredients such as vitamin C, minerals, and other antioxidants. These drinks can also replenish nutrients lost during a sporting event and lower the chance of heart disease and cancer. That stated, if not consumed carefully, these beverages can harm your teeth. They are full of sugar, which converts to acid and wears away at your teeth, causing cavities, sensitivity, and eventually tooth loss.

Even one drink a day is potentially harmful, but if you are absolutely unable to give up that sports- or energy-drink habit, we encourage you to minimize your consumption, use a drinking straw or rinse with water after drinking. As odd as it may sound coming from us, do not brush immediately after drinking sports and energy drinks; softened enamel due to acid is easier to damage, even when brushing. Remember, it takes your mouth approximately 30 minutes to bring its pH level back to normal. The best thing to do is to wait an hour, then brush to remove sugar that lingers on your teeth and gums.

There are many sports drinks, energy drinks, and flavored waters out there today, so take the time to read the labels. Check for sugar content and citric acid in the ingredients. If you have any questions, or would like suggestions on the best sports drink options, please give us a call or ask us during your next visit!

“How much calcium does my child really need?”

February 17th, 2015

Everyone remembers their parents reminding them to drink milk on a daily basis to build strong bones in order to grow tall and strong. Getting enough dairy is critical for kids whose teeth are still growing. A child who consumes the recommended daily serving of dairy will develop healthy, strong teeth for the rest of his or her life.

Milk and other dairy products are excellent sources of calcium to help your child build bone tissue and maintain optimal dental health. Milk contains vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and proteins. Magnesium works to promote calcium deposits in your child’s enamel, while phosphorus forms a small but important barrier against acidic foods that are known to cause caries, or cavities.

Experts at the Academy of General Dentistry warn that kids don’t receive enough calcium, stating only one in five children meets the minimum standards for calcium consumption. That is, two and a half cups of dairy per day. Children who are nine years old need almost twice as much calcium as younger kids and about the same amount as adult men and women. In addition to milk, eating yogurt or cheese is a great way your child can increase his or her dairy consumption.

If your child is lactose intolerant or is allergic to milk, there are many products which contain the same amount of calcium that your child would receive from drinking a glass of milk. These include:

  • Calcium-fortified soy milk
  • Calcium-fortified orange juice
  • Calcium-fortified breads and cereals
  • Plant-based problem foods such as beans, broccoli or spinach
  • Tofu

If your child does not get enough dairy–rich products, they run the risk of improper tooth development and other dental health problems. We strongly encourage you to monitor your child’s dairy consumption to ensure he or she grows healthy bones and teeth to last a lifetime.

5 Remedies for Sensitive Teeth

January 20th, 2015

Tooth sensitivity is common in many of our patients, and can usually be identified by pain or discomfort when consuming foods or beverages that are hot, cold, sweet, or sour. Sensitivity can be felt when brushing or flossing, and can also be experienced after routine dental procedures such as the placement of a filling or crown, tooth restoration, or even teeth cleaning. Such sensitivity is usually temporary; if it does not cease after four to six weeks please consult us.
Tooth sensitivity is often due to the breakdown of tooth enamel or a receding gum line, which can occur from:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Tooth Decay
  • Gum disease
  • Vigorous brushing
  • Cracked or chipped teeth

In most instances, tooth sensitivity is treatable. Here are a few remedies you can take advantage of at home:

  1. Try a desensitizing toothpaste which contains chemicals that block sensations like hot and cold from reaching the nerves in your teeth.
  2. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush that will be gentler on both your teeth and gums.
  3. Maintain good oral hygiene by brushing twice every day and flossing once daily.
  4. Switch to a fluoride mouthwash.
  5. When possible, avoid acidic foods such as tea, tomatoes, and citrus fruits.

Depending on the cause and severity of your sensitivity, you may benefit from professional treatment. If you suffer from sensitive teeth, please be sure to contact us. We can set up an appointment to discuss your unique situation and determine the best way to address the problem.

How much do you know about your toothbrush?

September 16th, 2014

Taking care of your smile is nothing new! People have been brushing their teeth for thousands of years. In fact, the first “toothbrush” was created around 3000BC! Ancient civilizations used a thin twig with a frayed edge to rub against their teeth for cleaning.

The first toothbrush with bristles – similar to today’s toothbrushes – was invented in 1498 in China. Brushes were made out of bone or bamboo with bristles made from the hairs on the back of a hog’s neck.

It wasn’t until 1938 that the first nylon bristle toothbrush was introduced and people quickly became aware of practicing good oral hygiene.

Here are some other interesting facts about your toothbrush (and toothpaste):

• Most people are said to use blue toothbrushes over any other color

• The first toothpaste was used in 500 BC in China and India

• On average, children smile about 400 times per day

• Your toothbrush should be replaced every two months

• The first known toothpaste was used in 1780, Crest was introduced in 1955 and Colgate in 1873

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