Why Do We Need to Brush and Floss?

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Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

Why Do We Need to Brush and Floss?

Many of you know two questions that your Dental Hygienist will inevitably asked you when you go in for your regular check-up visit:  “Are you brushing two times a day?” and “How is your flossing going?”

As an Hygienist, we do not asked these questions to get after you.  We promise we do not love nagging you to floss.  We do it because we genuinely care for your health and helping our patients understand how brushing and flossing can keep you healthy is one of our professional goals.

Most of you know the guidelines. For optimum dental health, you should brushing two times a day for two minutes, and floss one time a day.  We know that is what we are supposed to do.  But do we know why?

Plaque (that soft, filmy, white stuff that grows on our teeth) accumulates constantly.  24/7.  It never stops growing.  Even if you do not eat food, it grows (common misconception that plaque only grows when you eat).  Inside plaque lives bacteria.  This is the bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease.  It is recommended that we brush two times a day to remove the plaque and disrupt the bacteria’s harm on our mouth.  If we do not remove the plaque, then we are allowing the bacteria to start creating cavities and cause inflammation and infection in our gums.

If the plaque is left in an area for a while then it will harden and calcify.  This is what we can tartar build-up, or you may even hear us refer to it as calculus.  While plaque is soft and can be removed with a toothbrush and floss, tartar is like a rock cemented onto your tooth.  You can brush and floss all day long, once it’s turned into calculus, it’s not going any where.  The biggest down side of that is that it still has the bacteria inside of it.  Now it’s stuck on your tooth, not going anywhere, with all this bacteria.  Even better for gum infections and things to occur.

Don’t worry, your awesome Hygienist will save you.  We have the tools and know-how to remove that calculus and get your mouth back to health!  But, so do you!  You can brush and floss every day, remove that plaque, and prevent that calculus from even forming!

Now many of you do brush your teeth.  Which is fantastic!  We love when you do that!  However, not as many of you floss.  I’m not sure why.  It’s just as important, and doesn’t really take that long.  Here’s something to remember when you want to skip flossing tonight… You can be THE most amazing brusher in the whole world, but you will never be able to clean between your teeth with just a toothbrush.  It’s a fact.  The best technique will not maneuver those toothbrush bristle to places they cannot physically reach.  Floss is the only way to clean the remaining 35% of your tooth that the brush did not get.  Floss is a toothbrush’s best friend.  They go hand in hand.  One just as important as the other.

I hope this helped you understand a bit more why we always ask these two simple questions.  If you have any other questions, we are here for you!  Just ask!

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.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/f/flossing

http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/teeth.html

http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/dentalhealth/Pages/Teethcleaningguide.aspx

http://www.businessinsider.com/what-happens-if-you-dont-brush-and-floss-your-teeth-2014-2

Christmas Stocking Stuffers

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen, RDH

 

Christmas Stocking Stuffers

Christmas is the topic of mostly everyone this time of year.  So many of us love to see what Santa has left for us in our stockings.  When considering stocking stuffers, we have some recommendations to assist in keeping your child’s mouth and teeth at their healthiest.

When parents start thinking of what to place in their child’s stocking, they rarely think to put items that will benefit dental health.  Most parents fill their children’s stockings with candy, nuts, socks, hair bows, lotion or Chap Stick.  The list can be endless with what is placed in stockings.  So this year, why not give them items to help with their dental home care.

A New Toothbrush

Everyone loves a new toothbrush.  For the holidays, pick one that will get your kids excited about brushing their teeth.  There are character brushes, brushes that light up and even brushes that play music while you clean your teeth!  Be sure to choose a soft-bristled brush with the appropriate sized head for smaller mouths.

A Tooth Timer

If brushing the correct amount of time is difficult for your kids, consider getting a small timer to keep in the bathroom.  Most kids brush an average of 14 seconds but in their minds it was for two minutes.  A timer will insure that your child is brushing for the approiate time.   You can even join them by brushing together to make sure the family is brushing for two minutes.

A Fun Toothpaste Flavor

So many people choose mint or bubble gum for their toothpaste flavor.  You can look online and find some fun flavors.  Try giving your kids something silly that you wouldn’t usually pick.  There’s Bacon, Pickle, Cupcake, Oreo, Vanilla and Orange.  The list keeps growing.  Amazon has some great choices.

Flavored Floss

Floss is normally pretty plain, but it doesn’t have to be.  Like toothpaste, there is bacon, cupcake or pickled-flavored floss to match.  If those flavors don’t do the trick, there are banana and cinnamon-flavored options for kids to enjoy.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gum with Xylitol

Did you know that chewing gum can actually be good for your teeth? While not a substitute for brushing, sugar-free gum can help in the production of saliva which washes away trapped food particles.  Further, gum containing xylitol has actually been proven to help reduce cavities.

Holidays are such a special time to share with your family and friend’s.  Signature Dental would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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.xlear.com

http://www.colgate.com

http://www.oralanswers.com

What is Calculus?

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Lora Cook, RDH

What is calculus and what dangers does it cause to the health of your mouth.

Calculus or tartar, same thing is calcified plaque.  Plaque is the soft sticky film that will start to form twenty minutes after you brush your teeth.  Another name for the soft sticky plaque is biofilm.  This is basically a bacteria that grows in your mouth, a “slime layer”.  Plaque is white or pale yellow soft, sticky, slimy stuff.  This is what makes your teeth feel “fuzzy” when you first wake up and at the end of a long day.  So do all these pleasant descriptions make you want to go brush your teeth yet?

So where does calculus come from?  Calculus is calcified plaque.  When plaque is allowed to stay hiding in your mouth for twenty-four hours or more is has the opportunity to harden and turn into tartar. Calculus/Tartar, same thing, this is calcified plaque. Once this soft sticky substance (biofilm) becomes hard it will attach itself to the tooth surface, then you will not be able to remove it yourself with your tooth brush or your floss. Calculus will form above and below your gum tissue.

The calculus will be a physical irritant to your gum tissue, causing inflammation.  The calculus also becomes a source that harbors bacteria that causes harm to the tissue and bone around the teeth.  This aggressive bacteria may lead to periodontal disease. What is periodontal disease?  In short, it is bone loss around the teeth.  This bone loss may range from slight to moderate, to severe.  Some people will build up tartar more quickly than others, and some people are more prone to the bacteria that causes periodontal disease (bone loss).

So this brings the questions; What can I do to prevent calculus build up?

USE AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH: electric tooth brushes have been proven to be more effective at cleaning than manual brushes. Use the rechargeable electric brushes, not the battery spin brushes.

CHANGE YOUR TOOTHBRUSH EVERY THREE MONTHS: Do not go longer than three months with the same tooth brush or tooth brush head.  Once the bristles start to wear out they cannot do a good job for you.

TIME YOUR BRUSHING ROUTINE: Brush for at least two minutes, preferably two to three minutes.  Sometimes just adding more time to your routine can make a big difference, most people will brush for only forty to sixty seconds. So try timing yourself, you will be surprised.  Two minutes feels like forever when you are brushing.

FLOSS DAILY: You don’t have to floss two times daily, once a day is sufficient. Make flossing part of your nightly routine.  Flossing techniques are important, because some techniques are more effective than others. It is important to floss under the gum tissue where everything likes to hide, not just in between the teeth.

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/conditions/plaque-and-tartar

https://www.quora.com/Does-tartar-cause-gum-disease-purely-through-MECHANICAL-means/

Flossing: More Than Just a Guilt Trip

AriannaM

Arianna Ritchey, RDH

Flossing: More Than Just a Guilt Trip

As a part of a regular preventive or periodontal maintenance visit with your dental hygienist, the topic of flossing usually comes up.  Most people have at least heard of flossing, and while some people floss regularly, most patients I see report flossing less than the ADA recommended once per day.  More often, people fall into the categories of flossing “once in a while” or “once in a blue moon.”  While some people are embarrassed to admit this to their dental hygienist, the condition and health of your gums reveal a lot about your oral hygiene practices at home without you saying a word.  (We can also read minds…just kidding.)

So, if most people have heard about flossing, and are reminded of it semi-annually by their dental hygienist, what is preventing them from actually cleaning between their teeth on a regular basis?

Maybe they don’t realize the impact that flossing has on the health of their gums and prevention of early tooth loss.  Maybe it’s difficult for them to manipulate string floss (it’s harder than it looks).  Maybe they are super busy (who isn’t?) and can’t find time to track down some floss and use it between their teeth.  Maybe they ran out of the sample-size floss their hygienist gave them a their last visit.  Maybe it hurts when they floss because their gums are inflamed, so they avoid the pain.  Maybe they are really committed and diligent for the first while, and then life gets in the way and they fall out of the habit.  All of these are totally understandable reasons, and I’ve been there.  (Hygienists are human, too!)

The good news is, your dental hygienist is interested in helping you to keep your mouth and gums healthy, and offers a judgment-free-zone to learn how to properly perform oral hygiene techniques, like flossing, and to help you come up with some ways to integrate flossing into your daily routine.  (Floss in the shower, floss while watching the intro to your show on Netflix, floss while on Facebook or scrolling through Pinterest, floss while at a red light on your commute, etc.)

The other awesome thing your dental hygienist does for you, is giving you a clean slate to work with!  When your dental hygienist cleans your teeth by removing the plaque and calculus (calcified plaque) from your teeth, they are removing the bacteria that are causing the inflammation, pain, and bleeding in your gums.  (Hooray!)  Once these irritations are removed, the gums have a chance to heal, and by properly cleaning your teeth at home (brushing and flossing), you can keep them healthy.  When the gums are healthy, they don’t hurt, they don’t bleed, they are easier to floss, and you have a faster, easier dental hygiene appointments. (Even when your hygienist is gentle, nobody enjoys being in that chair.)

If you’re still reading, check out this video my former classmates and I produced that demonstrates proper flossing technique and briefly explains why flossing is important.  It’s a little cheesy, but definitely educational.  Make sure your sound is on, there’s some great instruction and music.  

After watching this video and practicing at home, if you’re still having difficulty with string floss, try some other interdental cleaners!  Here’s a great article that talks about lots of interdental cleaners and how to use them (scroll about halfway down).  

Remember, the best interdental cleaning tool is the one that you actually use consistently; if string floss just isn’t your thing, talk to your hygienist at your next visit, and we’ll be happy to give you some samples to try.  Happy flossing!

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://dentistrydonedifferently.com/2015/03/22/what-is-a-periodontal-maintenance/

http://www.ada.org/en/science-research/ada-seal-of-acceptance/product-category-information/floss-and-other-interdental-cleaners

https://dentistrydonedifferently.com/2013/10/14/tooth-brushes/

youtube.com/watch

https://dentistrydonedifferently.com/2014/05/19/flossing-do-i-have-to/

Tips for Flossing and Maintaining Your Oral Health While in Braces

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Amanda Orvis, RDH

Tips for Flossing and Maintaining Your Oral Health While in Braces

Flossing may seem like it is almost impossible when you are in braces. It can even seem intimidating. It is a fact that it takes longer to floss your teeth if you have traditional wired braces. Thankfully there are tools that can help take some of the hassle out of flossing around braces. Please read below for some suggestions.

Floss Threaders

These threaders are a great tool to help achieve getting your floss behind your wire and between your teeth. Simply grab a normal piece of floss and one threader. Thread the floss through the loop hole in the threader, the same way you would thread a needle. After you have threaded the floss threader, simply guide the threader behind your orthodontic wire and floss between your teeth. See picture below.

 

Super Floss

Super floss is a pre-threaded flosser. It consists of three parts. Part one is the stiffened needle-like end. Part two is the spongy floss. Part three is the regular floss. This one piece threaded floss is great for maneuvering around those orthodontic wires. The great thing about super floss is that you do not have to thread the floss at all; it is already done for you! The spongy part of the floss is great for those wider spaces between your teeth that you get while your teeth are moving and shifting while you are in braces. The traditional end of the floss is great for those tighter spaces. See picture below.

 

Proxabrushes

These small brushes are great for cleaning between the teeth and behind your orthodontic wires. Proxabrushes help to remove the plaque in those hard to reach areas which are commonly missed. To use these brushes, you simply guide the brush behind the wire and move the brush up and down cleaning any remaining plaque on the teeth after brushing.

 

Waterpik

Waterpiks, also known as water flossers, are great to use around orthodontic brackets and wires. They are easy and effective. You simply point the water flosser between your teeth along the gumline and let the water spray between the teeth. Water flossers help to remove plaque and food debris in those hard to reach areas.

 

*If you would like a demonstration on any of these products please ask your dentist or dental hygienist at your next dental visit.

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://oralb.com/en-us/products/super-floss

http://www.gumbrand.com/between-teeth-cleaning/floss-threaders/gum-eez-thru-floss-threaders-840a.html

http://www.gumbrand.com/between-teeth-cleaning/interdental-brushes/gum-go-betweens-proxabrush-cleaners-tight-872rn.html

https://www.waterpik.com/oral-health/how-to-floss/

Is Your Toothbrush Making you Sick?

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen RDH

Is Your Toothbrush Making you Sick?

Everyone’s focusing on the hand washing when they’re sick, with good reason. But how about washing your toothbrush? Washing your hands can reduce the risk of illness since we put our hands in our mouths, our eyes, our ears. So why is there no focus on cleaning the toothbrush during illness when we stick it directly into our mouths? What can we do to prevent the germs from passing on?

Reintroducing that toothbrush back into your mouth could be the worst thing you could be doing for your health on a daily basis.

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That doesn’t mean don’t brush.

Many studies clearly state that all of the presently available toothbrushes have the ability to be infected by a wide range of microorganisms, including viruses which can cause the common cold to even herpes. Pneumonia-causing bacteria also are found on a toothbrush.

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What can you do?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), a simple regimen for toothbrush care is sufficient to remove most microorganisms from your toothbrush and limit the spread of disease. Here are some common-sense steps you can take:

  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after brushing or flossing.
  • After brushing, rinse your toothbrush with warm water and store it upright to air-dry.
  • Don’t cover your toothbrush or place it in a closed container until it is completely dry. A moist environment can foster bacterial growth.
  • Use a completely dry toothbrush. Everyone should have two toothbrushes to give ample time (24 hours) for it to dry out in between uses.
  • Don’t share a toothbrush with anyone. Also, don’t store toothbrushes in a way that might cause them to touch and spread germs.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three or four months. Dentists recommend this practice not as prevention against contamination, but because toothbrushes wear out and become less effective at cleaning teeth.
  • Always replace your toothbrush after a cold or other illness to prevent contamination.
  • If you or someone else in your family is sick, that person should use a different tube of toothpaste (travel size, for example), to prevent spreading germs to other toothbrushes.
  • The toothbrush should be viewed as a necessary evil as well as a bio hazard. Make sure it is clean before using it!

In summary, do not reuse your floss, keep your toothbrush clean, and replace during and after illness. Store it outside the bathroom and use it several times per day. Brush twice a day for two minutes and floss daily and see your dentist every six months for check ups!

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.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/toothbrush.html

http://guidetodentistry.com

http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/infectioncontrol

Diabetes and Dental Care

Sharma RDH

Sharma Mulqueen RDH

Diabetes and Dental Care

What do brushing and flossing have to do with diabetes? Plenty. If you have diabetes, here’s why dental care matters — and how to take care of your teeth and gums. 

When you have diabetes, high blood sugar can take a toll on your entire body — including your teeth and gums. The good news? Prevention is in your hands. Learn what you’re up against, and then take charge of your dental health.

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Cavities and gum disease

Whether you have type 1 diabetes or type 2 diabetes, managing your blood sugar level is key. The higher your blood sugar level, the higher your risk of:

  • Tooth decay (cavities). Your mouth naturally contains many types of bacteria. When starches and sugars in food and beverages interact with these bacteria, a sticky film known as plaque forms on your teeth. The acids in plaque attack the hard, outer surface of your teeth (enamel). This can lead to cavities. The higher your blood sugar level, the greater the supply of sugars and starches — and the more acid wearing away at your teeth.
  • Early gum disease (gingivitis). Diabetes reduces your ability to fight bacteria. If you don’t remove plaque with regular brushing and flossing, it’ll harden under your gumline into a substance called tartar (calculus). The longer plaque and tartar remain on your teeth, the more they irritate the gingiva — the part of your gum around the base of your teeth. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily. This is gingivitis

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  • Advanced gum disease (periodontitis). Left untreated, gingivitis can lead to a more serious infection called periodontitis, which destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Eventually, periodontitis causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and your teeth to loosen and even fall out. Periodontitis tends to be more severe among people who have diabetes because diabetes lowers the ability to resist infection and slows healing. An infection such as periodontitis may also cause your blood sugar level to rise, which makes your diabetes more difficult to control. Preventing and treating periodontitis can help improve blood sugar control.

Proper dental care

To help prevent damage to your teeth and gums, take diabetes and dental care seriously:

  • Make a commitment to managing your diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar level, and follow your doctor’s instructions for keeping your blood sugar level within your target range. The better you control your blood sugar level, the less likely you are to develop gingivitis and other dental problems.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Brush in the morning, at night and, ideally, after meals and snacks. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your gums. Consider using an electric toothbrush, especially if you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush well.

Floss your teeth at least once a day. Flossing helps remove plaque between your teeth and under your gumline. If you have trouble getting floss through your teeth, use the waxed variety. If it’s hard to manipulate the floss, use a floss holder.

  • Schedule regular dental cleanings. Visit your dentist at least three times a year for professional cleanings.
  • Make sure your dentist knows you have diabetes. Every time you visit your dentist, remind him or her that you have diabetes. Make sure your dentist has contact information for your doctor who helps you manage your diabetes.
  • Look for early signs of gum disease. Report any signs of gum disease — including redness, swelling and bleeding gums — to your dentist. Also mention any other signs and symptoms, such as dry mouth, loose teeth or mouth pain.
  • Don’t smoke. Smoking increases the risk of serious diabetes complications, including gum disease. If you smoke, ask your doctor about options to help you quit.

Managing diabetes is a lifelong commitment, and that includes proper dental care. Your efforts will be rewarded with a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.

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.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes/art-20043848?pg=2

https://www.perio.org/consumer/diabetes.htm

http://www.nidcr.nih.gov/OralHealth

What type of Floss is right for you?

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Andra Mahoney BS RDH 

What type of floss is right for you?

Several months ago, Wendy wrote a great article on the necessity of flossing ( https://dentistrydonedifferently.com/2014/05/19/flossing-do-i-have-to/).  Now that you have accepted that flossing is an integral part of your oral health, let’s pick out the right floss for you! There are a plethora of different types of floss, so you are bound to find the one that fits your wants and needs.

Let’s first examine your basic floss: 

There are two main types of floss: String and Tape.

String is the most common type of floss, and what everyone thinks of when they think floss.

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String floss comes in nylon or polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE).  Nylon floss is the most common string floss.  It comes in all different types of flavors and thicknesses.  It even comes waxed and un-waxed. The wax is added to the floss to help fit through teeth with tight contacts.

PTFE floss is a lot like a plastic string. It is a monofilament, which means it’s not made from multiple fibers so it will not rip, shread, or tear.  PTFE floss is newer and people seem to like it because it is strong!  It also comes in many thicknesses and flavors, though it is not waxed because it is made to glide between teeth.  Because of its strength, I recommend not snapping the floss between your teeth.  It can very easily hurt the gum tissue if it is pulled too hard.

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Dental Tape is becoming more and more common nowadays. It is very similar to, but wider than, string floss.  Many people with sensitive gums like tape floss because they find it more comfortable when flossing below the gum line.  It is also a great “starter” floss because it is thinner than regular nylon floss.

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Advanced Types of Floss:

Spongy or Super Floss is ideal for cleaning braces, bridges, and wide gaps between teeth. Super Floss has three unique components—a stiffened-end dental floss threader, spongy floss, and regular floss—all work together for maximum benefits. It allows you to floss under appliances, cleans around appliances, between wide spaces, and removes plaque under the gumline.

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Floss Threaders come in two different types.  One looks like a large, thin, sewing needle. The plus side of this type of threader is that you can thread any type of floss and pull it through. It makes it easy to use whatever floss you have lying around the house. The down side is you have to thread the floss each time you use it.

floss threaders

CAN Eez Thru Floss Threaders Demo

A little bit easier is the floss threader that is kind of like a shoe string. It has a built in threader tip attached to the floss, so there is one less step than the other floss threader. Both threaders are great for any appliance: bridges, braces, lingual bars, etc.

Oral-BGlidePro-HealthThreaderFloss

Other Options:

Floss Picks are great for flossing hard to reach spaces or when you’re on the go. You don’t have to be in a bathroom to floss! A few tips to remember, never reuse a floss pick. The plaque bacteria that is removed by the flosser isn’t always seen. You do not want that bacteria to be reintroduced into your mouth. Which brings us to tip two, use four flossers in one flossing session. One for the upper right, upper left, lower left, and lower right (each side is measured from the last molar to the midline between your front teeth). When using standard floss, you use about 18 inches. A flosser has about one inch of floss. You do not want to transfer the bacteria from one side of the mouth to the other. So after you have used one, toss it, and grab another. Flossers are very inexpensive and come in multipacks.

Floss pic

Powered Flossers are very useful for older people who find it hard to manipulate string floss into their mouth. A disposable tip is placed on the end of the powered flosser and when the button is depressed, the floss gently vibrates back and forth. Just place it between your teeth and floss away! As with the floss picks, please do not reuse the disposable ends of the flosser.

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Interproximal brushes are helpful to those who have wider spaces between their teeth. Two options are soft picks, which are like rubber toothpicks.

Free-Soft-Picks

And the other interdental brushes are like small pipe cleaners.

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 The difference between the two comes down to preference and how wide the space is between your teeth. Both options come in various sizes. These are also one time use items that come in a pack.

Extra Helpers:

Rubber Tip Simulators are not a type of floss, but they are handy in plaque removal. They are mainly used for cleaning under operculums. An operculum is a small flap of gum tissue. It is usually found in the back of the mouth by the last tooth. It can occur naturally or come about from a tooth that has not fully erupted into the mouth.

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 As seen in the picture, the right side is a normal tooth, and the left has an operculum. Plaque can get under this flap of tissue so it will need to be cleaned. Just take the rubber tip stimulated and swipe gently under the tissue.

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WaterPiks work wonderfully in addition to your floss!  Please remember, do not substitute waterpicks for brushing and flossing. Unlike flossing, waterpicks do not remove plaque. They are effective for people who have orthodontic braces, which may retain food in areas a toothbrush cannot reach, people who catch food between their teeth, or people who are looking for extra help with their gums.

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Brief Overview:

Large gaps between your teeth? Try dental tape or Super Floss.

Not much space between your teeth? You may find that a waxed floss is easier to slide into those tight spaces.

Want less mess? Look for disposable flossers or floss in pre-measured strands.

Braces or bridges? A spongy floss is a good option, but any floss can be used if you have a floss threader.

As you can see there are a lot of options out there! But do not fear! A study from the University of Buffalo stated, “Believe it or not, researchers have compared different types of dental floss to determine whether some are more effective than others to clean teeth. The bottom line is that they are not. Any type of floss will help promote clean teeth by removing food particles and bacteria.”

Just remember that when it comes to dental floss, flossing every day is the most important choice you and your family can make.

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(microscopic image of used dental floss)

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.oralb.com/topics/all-floss-types-work-well-when-used-daily.aspx

http://www.oralb.com/topics/choosing-the-best-dental-floss-for-you.aspx

http://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/flossing3.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-p-connelly-dds/dental-floss_b_1643933.html

“They are just baby teeth. So what does it matter”?

Peggy

 

Peggy Storr BSRDH

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Many people think that dental care of baby (primary) teeth isn’t really necessary. They aren’t permanent teeth and they will be lost eventually. The truth is that as soon as those little teeth appear, they should be cleaned daily. A tiny smear of toothpaste should start about the age of 1, as should the first visit to the dentist. Many of the baby teeth will be in your child’s mouth until he or she is 13 years old.

Look in your child’s mouth. White spots or lesions are early signs of demineralization or decay of the teeth. These lesions can be reversed with proper homecare and administration of fluoride and or MI Paste.

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www.recaldent.com

Early-Childhood-Caries1

http://www.babyorganics.co.id/general/dental-caries-on-children/

Decay (cavities or caries) in baby teeth is a serious health concern that is now known to be contagious. Dental decay is five times more common than asthma and seven times more common than hay fever in children. While decay in permanent teeth has declined, decay in baby teeth is increasing. Left untreated, cavities can lead to dental pain that can affect a child’s eating, speaking, and learning. It can lead to expensive treatment, malnourishment, disruption of growth and development, and may even cause life threatening infections. If the dentist simply pulls the decayed tooth, it can affect how the permanent teeth grow in. The space from the baby tooth must be preserved or the permanent teeth may erupt in a crowded and incorrect position.

Most people are surprised to learn that cavities are contagious. But bacteria, particularly Mutans Streptococci, are responsible for tooth decay and bacteria can be transmitted from one person to another. If mom cleans the baby’s pacifier by putting it in her own mouth, or shares a spoon, she can transfer bacteria to the baby. Being mindful of diet is a first step in prevention of tooth decay. Dipping a pacifier in honey or sugar is a bad idea, as is letting a child go to bed with a bottle of milk, juice, or anything other than water.

Chewy, sticky foods (such as dried fruit or candy) are best if eaten as part of a meal rather than as a snack. If possible, brush the teeth or rinse the mouth with water after eating these foods. Minimize snacking, which creates a constant supply of acid in the mouth. Avoid constant sipping of sugary drinks or frequent sucking on candy and mints. The sticky sour candies kids love so much are the worst as they stay in the mouth longer and cause significant increases in the acid that cause tooth decay.

Dental sealants can prevent some cavities. Sealants are thin plastic-like coatings applied to the chewing surfaces of the molars. This coating prevents the buildup of plaque in the deep grooves on these surfaces. Sealants are often applied on the teeth of children, shortly after the molars come in.

Fluoride is also recommended to protect against dental caries. People who get fluoride in their drinking water or by taking fluoride supplements have less tooth decay. Numerous studies report that products containing Xylitol decrease tooth decay. Gum or mints for children who are beyond the choking stage are recommended. Xylitol needs to be among the first three ingredients.

Dental disease can impact the total well-being of a child and is largely preventable.  So while they are “JUST BABY TEETH”, they are a vital consideration in the health of your child.  A healthy mouth contributes to the overall health every child.

Sources:

1. Ezer, Michelle, S, DDS, Swoboda, Natalie A DDS and Farkouh, David DMD, MS; Early Childhood Caries: The Dental Disease of Infants

2. Chow AW. Infections of the oral cavity, neck, and head. In: Mandell GL, Bennett JE, Dolin R, eds. Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Elsevier Churchill Livingstone; 2009:chap 60.

3. Sleeper, Laura J, RDH, MA and Gronski Ashley; The Benefits of Xylitol; http://Dimensionsofdentalhygiene.com/June 2014

4. http://www.thedentalleif.net

5. http:// twoothtimer.com

Flossing…Do I have to?

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Wendy Parker RDH
 
Absolutely! In some shape or form, flossing is essential in keeping the mouth and the rest of your body healthy!
As a hygienist, I have heard almost every excuse as to why people don’t floss, and trust me, I understand! From the “I’m too tired at night” to the “I just don’t have time” or the “I just forget to,” my job today is to try and make it a little simpler for you to want to floss and to help you understand why we should floss.
 
As a mother of 4 little ones, I understand that flossing isn’t a priority somedays….getting showered is. But with that, let me just say, flossing really is something that you don’t see the immediate results from, but in 20 years when you have your teeth still and you are smiling at their graduation with all your pearly whites, you will thank me.
 
So, let’s start with answering the basic questions about flossing….WHY should I floss? I brush really well!Brushing is a wonderful thing, and we are encouraged to do it twice a day, for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. What most people don’t realize is that brushing only reaches that tops, outside and inside surfaces of the teeth. But how to get inbetween? There really isn’t a substitute for flossing, sorry to be the bearer of bad news. Rinsing with mouthrinse or using an electric toothbrush will definitely help with keeping the mouth cleaner however, it is NOT a substitute for flossing. Plaque and bacteria form on every surface in the mouth, including the tongue and inbetween the teeth, therefore, you have to clean every surface of the teeth, not just the ones you can see. The tongue, saliva, and brushing take care of the plaque on most surfaces of the teeth, but floss truly is the only way to get the sticky plaque off the sides.The idea behind flossing is that as long as you disrupt the bacteria in the mouth once every 24 hours, you prevent it from hardening and becoming tartar. Flossing is MOST effective just before or after brushing at bedtime but really….you can do it any time of the day! Stuck in traffic? Floss. Waiting to pick the kids up? Floss. Going for a walk? Floss. Any time is a great time to floss! When you floss, it prevents Gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissues), bleeding gums, bad breath, and will make easier dental appointments! The more you floss, the easier it becomes and the less your gums will bleed. It’s kind of like riding a bike. The first time you get one, you’re a little shaky but with practice you’ll be jumping off curbs in no time!
A lot of times people don’t floss because their gums bleed. That is because the gum tissue in that area is unhealthy so the body sends more blood to that area to help it heal. When your gums bleed, and the bacteria from the plaque and tartar are present, that bacteria gets into your bloodstream it is carried throughout the body increasing your chances of heart disease, compromising your immune system, and possibly causing an infection in the lining of your heart, which can be deadly! So, the more you floss, the healthier your gums are and the less they bleed!
 
So now that we know why, let’s focus on HOW to properly floss….

  • Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with
  • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth
       floss1 floss2 floss3
 
The type of floss you choose is up to you. My personal favorites are Glide floss and Oral-B Satin floss. You may need to try a few different types to find the one that’s right for you. But don’t give up! It does get easier. Flossing looks simple, right? But what if you don’t have the perfect and easiest mouth to floss? Or you hate how the floss cuts off your circulation in your fingers every time? When you walk down the dental isle in any store there are so many aides to assist you, so which one is right for you? Hopefully you have already asked your hygienist this question but if not, here are a few things for you to check out the next time you are perusing the dental isle.
 
Several of my patients enjoy using floss picks. These are a great way to start your day. They don’t cut off your circulation and are totally disposable. These are great to keep a pack in your car or purse when you’re out and about.
And you can find all kinds of cute designs for your kids! Kids don’t usually become proficient at flossing until 10 or 11 years old. It’s never too young to start them on flossing. They’ll thank you later!
 

For those with braces, bridges, or large gaps between their teeth you may want to try Oral-B’s superfloss. It is a piece of floss that has one stiff end, a thicker, yarn-like middle section, and regular floss at the end. It’s hand to floss your thread through those brackets, bridges, permanent retainers, and then use the floss width that fits the area. This is a favorite of mine.
Also for places that have a little bit of a space, braces or bridges, is the interproximal brush. Some are disposable, some are reusable, just check them out and decide which one you would like. But these are great for teens who get something stuck in their teeth at school and don’t want to carry a toothbrush with them. Or for men just before business meetings.
 
And of course, there are the rubber tips toothpicks. You can go back to old school and use a regular wooden toothpick if that’s your preference but these are great. They are small, disposable, and awesome for on the go. They have a flexible rubber tip you can get inbetween tight spaces, permanent retainers, and brackets. Check them out, you may like them.
 
I know that there are several other gadgets out there but these are just a few of my personal favorites. If you see one you like, ask us about it and we’ll do the research for you to see if it’s the best one for you! But no matter what you do, just be sure that you do your best and remember what Dory from Finding Nemo says, “Just keep flossing, just keep flossing, flossing, flossing…..” Or was is swimming?