FREQUENTLY ASKED FLOSSING QUESTIONS

Amanda Orvis, RDH

FREQUENTLY ASKED FLOSSING QUESTIONS

WHY SHOULD WE FLOSS?

It takes around 24 hours for plaque to form in our mouths, brushing twice daily and flossing once daily disrupts this plaque buildup. Floss goes between our teeth to reach those areas that are not effectively cleaned with our toothbrushes. Floss also goes below the gumline to break up those pesky bacteria that cause gum disease. Without flossing we are only cleaning about 60% of our tooth structure, the other 40% is between our teeth where our toothbrush bristles cannot get to.

HOW TO FLOSS

• Pull about 18 to 24 inches of floss from your floss dispenser, or as I always say, “pull an arm’s length of floss out.”

• Wrap the floss around your middle fingers, and use your thumb and/or index fingers to guide your floss.

• Hold about an inch of floss at a time. Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap the floss in a C-shape around one tooth at a time. Floss up and down against the side of each tooth. Hold the floss tautly to maintain the proper form. As you move to another tooth rotate the floss on your fingers so that you are using a new fresh inch of floss between each tooth.

• Don’t skip the back side of the last tooth in your mouth. Even though there is not another tooth touching the back side of that last tooth, there is still a pocket of tissue that can hide bacteria.

HOW LONG SHOULD IT TAKE TO FLOSS?

The average adult has 28 teeth in their mouth and each tooth takes about 4 seconds to floss. So keeping that in mind it should take at least 2 minutes to floss the entire mouth.

CAN FLOSS BE HARMFUL?

Flossing incorrectly can be harmful to your oral health. If you floss too vigorously or too quickly you can actually slice into your gum tissue. Try to make the C-shape as mentioned above and hug the side of each individual tooth when flossing.

CAN I FLOSS A FILLING OR CROWN?

Yes, you can floss around fillings and crowns. Both of these restorations are considered permanent in your mouth. They require flossing just like our natural teeth, to disrupt the plaque that can accumulate around them.

WHY AM I BLEEDING WHEN I FLOSS?

If you are flossing too aggressively or incorrectly you can cause bleeding. Most often bleeding is a sign of gum tissue inflammation, also known as gingivitis. Flossing correctly and flossing more often can help to decrease the amount of bleeding. In some occasions bleeding can be a sign of periodontitis, which is a form of gum disease that cannot be resolved without treatment from your dentist or dental hygienist.

DOES A WATERPIK TAKE THE PLACE OF FLOSS?

No, flossing gets below the gumline where a Waterpik cannot. Waterpiks are great adjunctive instruments in addition to flossing, to remove large pieces of debris as well as irrigate above the gumline.

 Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com
SOURCES

http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/basics/brushing-and-flossing/article/how-to-floss

http://www.ada.org/en/press-room/news-releases/2016-archive/august/statement-from-the-american-dental-association-about-interdental-cleaners

 

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Dry Mouth

Lacee Hogle RDH

Dry Mouth

How can medications effect my mouth in a negative way? Medications are a necessity in many people’s lives. Unfortunately almost all medications have side effects and one of the most common side effects is dry mouth. Even though dry mouth, or xerostomia (zeer-o-stoe-me-uh), makes it uncomfortable to talk and eat, more importantly it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Saliva is the number one protector in the mouth. Not only does it coat and lubricate the tissue in the mouth, it also neutralizes acids produced by bacteria and washes away food debris and plaque. It’s obvious that you can’t discontinue taking medications because it causes dry mouth, but you can start making a few changes in your life that will not only help you cope with dry mouth but will also help you create a healthier environment in your mouth.

Here are some things you can do to help relieve dryness and to keep your mouth healthy:

• Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate the flow of saliva. Look for products that contain xylitol, which is a sugar substitute that can help prevent cavities.

• Limit your caffeine intake because caffeine can make your mouth drier.

• Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol because they can be drying.

• Stop all tobacco use if you smoke or chew tobacco.

• Sip water throughout the day.

• Try over-the-counter saliva substitutes

• Try a mouthwash designed for dry mouth — especially one that contains xylitol, such as Biotene Dry Mouth Oral Rinse or ACT Total Care Dry Mouth Mouthwash, which also offer protection against tooth decay.

• Avoid using over-the-counter antihistamines and decongestants because they can make your symptoms worse.

• Breathe through your nose, not your mouth.

• Add moisture to the air at night with a room humidifier.

• Avoid sugary or acidic foods and drinks because they increase your risk of tooth decay.

• Brush with a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least twice a day— ask your dentist if you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste.

• Use a fluoride rinse or brush-on fluoride gel before bedtime. Occasionally a custom-fit fluoride applicator (made by your dentist) can make this more effective.

• Visit your dentist at least twice yearly to detect and treat tooth decay or other dental problems.

So don’t get discouraged if you have dry mouth. As you can see, there are many things that will help you cope with dry mouth. But remember, the key to preventing decay, especially with dry mouth, is to brush and floss daily and to expose your teeth to fluoride at least twice a day. Using a Fluoride rinse in addition to fluoridated toothpaste is ideal. If you have any concerns or questions regarding dry mouth, make sure to discuss these concerns with your dentist or hygienist.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/symptoms-causes/syc-20356048

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/dry-mouth/expert-answers/dry-mouth/faq-20058424

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What is Gum Disease?

Morgan J photo

Morgan Johnson, RDH

What is Gum Disease?

You may have heard your Dental Hygienist talk about gum disease at one of your appointments, and been left feeling a bit confused! Hopefully we will answer any questions you may have about it. The first thing to understand is that there are two different kinds of gum disease, also called periodontal disease; one is called “gingivitis” and the other “periodontitis.” We will discuss what causes gum disease, the difference between the two types, and how to treat it!

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. The gums can appear red and swollen, and will most likely bleed when brushed or flossed. This is most likely caused by poor oral hygiene habits (not brushing and flossing regularly). But, it could also be caused by other factors such as smoking, aging, genetic predisposition, systemic diseases and conditions, stress, inadequate nutrition, puberty, hormonal fluctuations, pregnancy, substance abuse, HIV infection, and certain medication use.

Luckily, this stage is reversible. By brushing for two minutes morning and night, flossing at least once a day, and making sure you are visiting your dental hygienist regularly, this disease can be reversed!

Periodontitis

Periodontitis is the more advanced stage of gum disease, and occurs when gingivitis has gone untreated. The plaque eventually spreads below the gum line and irritates the gum tissues. When the bacteria eat away at our gums, deep pockets are formed. The body’s inflammatory response becomes stimulated, which in turn destroys the supporting bone and tissues, which hold our teeth. Without that underlying support system, our teeth can become loose and eventually fall out.

How is gum disease treated?

There are many different treatment options, depending on what stage of gum disease is present. A preventive cleaning, or Prophylaxis, is performed to remove the plaque and tartar build up on a healthy mouth, in order to prevent gum disease. A deep cleaning, or Scaling and Root Planing, is performed on a mouth that has active gum disease. This includes removing plaque and tartar buildup above and deep below the gum line. In addition, we will irrigate the pockets (the space in between your teeth and your gums) with a prescription strength mouth rinse that will help kill bacteria deep in those pockets. If a more extensive treatment is needed, we will often refer you to a Periodontist, a dentist who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of periodontal disease.

Hopefully this has been helpful in answering any questions you had about gum disease, and as always, ask us if you have any further questions! We would love to answer them.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gum-disease-treatments#1

https://crest.com/en-us/oral-care-topics/gum-disease/gingivitis-vs-periodontitis

https://www.perio.org/consumer/types-gum-disease.html