Mouth Breathing

Wendy Parker, RDH

Mouth Breathing

          Many people believe that mouth breathing isn’t that big of a deal, it’s just the way they have learned to breathe.  But after years of study and research, mouth breathing have been linked to several other conditions as well.

Mouth breathing usually occurs due to 5 factors:

  1. Allergies
  2. Thumb or finger sucking habit
  3. Enlarged tonsils or adenoids
  4. Chronic nasal congestion
  5. Respiratory infection

These factors make it physically challenging for someone to breath through their nose, so the natural reaction is to start breathing through their mouth.  Mouth breathing can cause a few things to happen in the mouth: it can change the way your shape of your face, you can develop a tongue thrust affecting your speech, swallowing and breathing, you can develop gingivitis or gum disease and gums will bleed easily, sore throats, halitosis (bad breath), poor sleep or sleep apnea, and digestive disturbances (upset stomach, acid reflux, etc.) Mouth breathing stops our bodies from getting good oxygenated blood to the circulation system and can affect the whole body.

It’s not easy to just change the way you breathe.  You have to retrain your brain and muscles to breathe normally again.  A myofunctional therapist can be valuable by giving you tactics to retrain your muscles associated with mouth breathing.  You can also have your tonsils evaluated to see if they need to be removed or see an orthodontist to evaluated your bite and if the teeth are obstructing you from closing properly.  Or you may try a humidifier at night or rub vitamin E oil or vasoline over the gums before bedtime to help them from drying out.

Hopefully you can find some relief from this condition!  If you need more tips or tricks, don’t be afraid to ask your lovely hygienist or dentist at your next appointment!

 

Sources:

http://www.besthealthmag.ca/best-you/oral-health/mouth-breather/

http://www.myfaceology.com/2012/02/mouth-breathing-and-how-it-affects-your-health/

http://ic.steadyhealth.com/problems-of-mouth-breathing

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Non-surgical Periodontal Therapy

KatieM

Katie Moynihan, BS RDH

Non-surgical Periodontal Therapy

If your hands bled when you washed them, you would be concerned. However, many people think it is normal if their gums bleed when they brush or floss. False! Inflammation and bleeding are early signs that your gums are infected with bacteria. If not treated quickly and properly, those early signs of gingivitis may lead to a more serious infection called periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease affects the supporting tissues around the teeth including the gums, the periodontal ligament, and the bone. As the plaque in your mouth spreads and accumulates below the gum line, the toxins within that plaque infect and break down the “foundation” that hold your teeth in place. If not treated with periodontal therapy, the disease will only get worse and tooth loss may occur.

In the presence of periodontal disease, a “regular” prophylaxis cleaning can NOT be completed. The definition of prophylaxis is the prevention of disease. Once periodontal disease is diagnosed, your dentist and dental hygienist will recommend non-surgical periodontal therapy. Non-surgical periodontal therapy is also referred to as scaling and root planing, or a deep cleaning. Scaling and root planing involves thoroughly removing the plaque and calculus (tartar) that resides above and below the compromised gums. Smoothing the tooth roots allows a clean surface for tissue re-attachment and pocket reduction. Local anesthetic is recommended to make this procedure comfortable and painless for the patient. The goal for non-surgical periodontal therapy is to treat and eliminate the active infection, reduce periodontal pocketing around teeth, prevent further bone loss. The shallower the pockets are around your teeth, the easier they are to keep clean and healthy! When periodontal health is achieved, your oral health care provider will recommended more frequent periodontal maintenance cleanings every 3-4 months to keep tissues healthy and stabilized. In few circumstances where periodontal health cannot be achieved, a referral to a Periodontist may be recommended for further treatment.

Signs & Symptoms of Gum Disease:

  • Swollen, red, tender or bleeding gums
  • Gums that recede or move away from the tooth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Pain/sensitivity when chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums

You can prevent periodontal disease by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly for professional cleanings. In recent years, gum disease has been linked to overall health problems. You can read more about those on Andra’s recent blog post Oral Health: A Window to your Overall Health! Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

www.perio.org

www.colgate.com

Keeping Your Teeth For a Lifetime

KarenK

Karen Kelley RDH

Keeping Your Teeth For a Lifetime

Our dental practice has more over 50 year olds than under 50.  As aging adults, we need to be aware of certain things that can keep us from retaining our teeth our entire lives.

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Judith Ann Jones, DDS, a spokesman on elder care for the American Dental Association and director of The Center for Clinical Research at the Boston University Goldman School of Dental Medicine spoke about 5 things that are especially important to the over 50 crowd.

Tooth Decay:  Contrary to what many people believe, adults keep getting cavities!  I’m always surprised when people are stunned to learn they have a cavity as an adult.  Areas of the teeth that have never had a cavity can decay, but  areas  where we see more problems are where an old filling is leaking and at the base of an older crown.  The best prevention is brushing well each day along the gumline.  An electric toothbrush is very helpful in accomplishing this as well as the use of fluoride.  An over the counter fluoride rinse nightly is great and in our office we have special prescription strength fluoride that is wonderful for cavity prevention as well as help with sensitivity.
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Dry Mouth:  Keeping Your Teeth For a Lifetime We see so many people with this problem.  “Saliva protects our teeth.  The calcium and phosphate present in saliva prevent demineralization of your teeth”, Jones says.  Many drugs cause dry mouth as well as some diseases and as we get older, we are on more medications thus we see this commonly in older adults.  This is a difficult one to deal with for those affected.  The best thing is to drink lots of water, use saliva substitute and try xylitol products.  Also, if you smoke, stop, it just makes your mouth drier.

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Gum Disease:  If your gums are swollen, red, or bleed easily, you have gum disease.  If left untreated, gum disease (gingivitis) will become more serious and will cause deterioration of the bone that holds the teeth, we call this periodontitis.   If this condition continues without treatment, it can cause the loss of the teeth.  The best way to prevent gum disease is to clean your teeth well each day with brushing, flossing, and use of interdental cleaners like soft picks or go betweens. And of course, seeing your friendly dental hygienist as often as recommended.  We can remove the mineralized bacteria from your teeth that you can’t remove with brushing.

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Tooth Crowding:  “As you age, your teeth shift”, according to Lee W. Graber, D.D.S., M.S, Ph.D., Past President of the American Association of Orthodontists. And “that can be problematic, not because you’ll look different, but because it can make your teeth more difficult to clean, leading to more decay.  It’s also of concern because misaligned teeth can lead to teeth erosion and damage to the supporting tissue and bone”, Graber says.   “Add to that the tendency of older adults to have periodontal disease, and you could end up losing your teeth even faster.”   If your teeth have really shifted, and you find you are having a difficult time keeping your teeth clean and food keeps getting caught in certain areas, ask our doctors about orthodontics.  We offer Invisalign to our patients and we’ve had patients in their later years choose to straighten their teeth.  I just finished with my invisalign treatment.  I had braces when I was a teenager but my teeth had shifted and I was experiencing these problems I just mentioned.  I decided to do Invisalign.  It’s easy to do and my teeth are so much straighter.   They are now in the correct alignment and my teeth and gums will be healthier.   If you choose not to do orthodontics, more frequently exams and cleanings may be necessary.

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Oral Cancer:  According to The Oral Cancer Foundation, more than 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancers this year, and more than 8,000 will die from it.  “Oral cancer incidence definitely increases as you get older”, Jones says, and “is very often linked to smoking and heavy alcohol use.”   Jones also said, “Only about half of people who develop oral cancer survive the disease.”   If discovered early, there is an 80 percent chance of surviving for five years.  When we do your periodic exams when you come in for your cleaning, you will be checked for oral cancer.  We also offer Velscope, Identafi, or Oral ID technologies to help in finding oral cancer earlier.

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Keep brushing, flossing and smiling!  We want to help you keep your teeth healthy your entire lives!

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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.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/28/common-dental-problems-_n_5844434.html

https://aga.grandparents.com/

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

Periodontal Probing 101

LindsayW

Lindsay Whitlock RDH

John, the patient, is taken back to the dental operatory for his dental cleaning appointment.  The dental hygienist reviews John’s chart, his medical history, and John addresses any concerns he has in his mouth. The hygienist lays John back in the chair. John cringes, as he sees the hygienist holding a pointy tool in her hand. She informs him, “John, I am going to take a few measurements around each tooth, to assess how healthy your gums, and bone levels are.” John opens his mouth, and thinks to himself “I wonder if this going to hurt?” “What is she even doing with that tool anyways?”

Prior to becoming a dental hygienist, I too was like John. I did not understand what that “pointy” tool was, or why it needed to be used. With this blog post, I would like to briefly educate my dental patients of what a periodontal probe is, and why it is utilized in the dental office.

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That pointy tool the hygienist uses at the beginning of a dental appointment is called a periodontal probe. The periodontal probe is marked in millimeter increments, which is used to evaluate the health of the patient’s gum, and surrounding bone levels of the jaw, with little to NO discomfort!

 

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Each of your teeth are sitting in jawbone. Additionally, each tooth is surrounded by gum tissue (gingiva). To simplify this concept, your gums surround each tooth like a turtleneck sweater.

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There is a natural space of pocket between the gum and tooth. The periodontal probe is used to measure this pocket depth, at each dental appointment.

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 In health, the tooth is surrounded by a gum pocket depth of 1-3 mm (No bone loss of the jaw bone).

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 If gingivitis is present (Swollen gums-no bone loss of the jaw bone) the tooth is surrounded by a 4 mm. pocket depth.

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 A periodontal pocket (Mild-Advanced periodontitis) is present when the space between the tooth and gum has been deepened by disease and bone loss. A 5-12 mm pocket depth surround the tooth or teeth.

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 The next time you are in the dental chair, feel free to ask your dentist or dental hygienist your latest periodontal probing scores. If you have never had these measurements taken before, call our office today and schedule a new patient exam, to determine the health of your mouth!

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://image.slidesharecdn.com/probing-150304002025-conversion-gate01/95/probing-4-638.jpg?cb=1425450081

http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.jabfm.org/content/23/3/285/F6.large.jpg&imgrefurl=http://imgkid.com/oral-cavity-diagram.shtml&h=929&w=1280&tbnid=QTPxgTXY_157NM:&zoom=1&docid=muXuT2D8a_l-rM&ei=gik0VeWcGZKHgwTj8oL4Bw&tbm=isch&ved=0CGwQMyhIMEg

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.anicesmile.com%2Fgum_care.htm&ei=eB00VZSAAcWqgwS6uIH4DA&bvm=bv.91071109,d.eXY&psig=AFQjCNEelreU-hCgZkFOw-zD66VytX1oWw&ust=1429565102055540

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fpixshark.com%2Fperiodontal-probe-measurements.htm&ei=IzI0VabtA8HYggTXhICoAQ&bvm=bv.91071109,d.eXY&psig=AFQjCNG8JqFvrTWfgyW7lJDBKPoToB2P0g&ust=1429570410736621

https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CAcQjRw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fimgbuddy.com%2Fperiodontal-probe-measurements.asp&ei=bBc0Vd3rJYa_ggT9tYHIAg&bvm=bv.91071109,d.eXY&psig=AFQjCNGZO6FQ7Orbd5mXZx5HOFLLyJqYdA&ust=1429563605237318

What Is Calculus Exactly?

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Wendy Parker RDH

 

Ever heard your hygienist use the words, “build up” or “calculus” while they were cleaning your teeth? Ever wondered what that was, exactly, or what they were talking about?

Growing up, most of us heard about plaque and the importance of removing it daily, but nowadays we hear about bioflim and calculus.  What is this all about? Well, my friends, read on and you’ll find out.

In the dental world, dental plaque has been changed to the term “Biofilm.”It is a more accurate term than plaque. It is more than just the soft fuzzy stuff on your teeth.  Biofilm is everywhere in our surroundings and can form on just about anything. Ranging from clogged drains, to slippery coated rocks, and in your mouth. Biofilm is bacteria’s home. Millions of bacteria stick together in biofilm which adheres to surfaces in moist environments. Biofilms excrete a slimy glue-like substance that sticks to all kinds of materials, including your teeth! Dental plaque IS the yellowish biofilm that builds up on teeth and is composed of a complex baterial community that causes gingivitis, in the mild form, cavities, and periodontal disease, in the more advanced cases.

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Typically, you can remove this biofilm, a.k.a. plaque, with your fingernail in the early stages where it still feels like the soft fuzz-like feeling on your teeth.

However, within 48 hours, if undisturbed, it begins to harden and causes gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissues).

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     If still undisturbed, about 10 days later, it becomes calculus (a.k.a. tartar), which is difficult to remove.  But don’t worry, we know a few good hygienists that can take care of that for you!

If, by some chance, the calculus stays there for a long period of time, the bacteria that is making it’s home in your mouth, then begins to affect the surrounding tissues, causing periodontal disease (bone and gum disease).

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     So now that we KNOW what and how we get biofilm and calculus, how do we get rid of it?  The solution is something that we already know and that we have been hearing from the beginning of time.  There is no new shocking treatment, but it’s simple…you have to disrupt the bacteria from forming in your mouth and the best way to do this is to brush twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist/hygienist regularly.  If you wear some kind of appliance at night, like a nightguard or retainer, be sure you are brushing it and soaking it regularly.  Be sure to let us help you with any issues or needs you have to keep your smile working for you!

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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.colgateprofessional.com/patient-education/articles/what-is-biofilm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dental_plaque

http://www.dujs.dartmouth.edu

http://www.meadfamilydental.com

www.johngoodmandds.net

www.clipartbest.com

Hydrogen Peroxide

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Lora Cook RDH

 Is Using Hydrogen Peroxide as a Mouth Rinse Safe?

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Many commercial mouth washes and whitening strips have hydrogen peroxide as one of the key active ingredients. However many are using straight hydrogen peroxide as a mouth wash to kill germs. Is this a safe and effect practice?

Hydrogen peroxide is compose of water and oxygen that works to kills germs and bacteria, and helps to whiten teeth.  It comes in either 1% or 3% concentrations. You can even see it in action!  When it foams in your mouth you know that it is working at killing bacteria.  It also can be used to clean your night guard, retainers, or even soak your tooth brush in.  Best of all it is inexpensive. 

 However this is not the magic cure all, there are some strong precautions that I would like to share with you.  While there are many benefits it can be harmful on gum tissue if used in too strong a solution or too long.  It is very drying to the tissues. This will also work to kill good bacteria in the mouth.  This will leave opportunity for yeast infections of the mouth to flourish, also called thrush.  Candidiasis is a fungal or yeast infection of the mouth or throat. Candida yeast that normally live in the mucosa membrane will flourish causing a over growth of candida, commonly called yeast infections. 

This can be a relatively safe practice by following a few guidelines; dilute peroxide with 50% water, and do use every day.  If you are one of the many people who suffer from dry mouth stick with a over the counter rinse formulated for dry mouth sufferers. 

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.using-hydrogen-peroxide.com/hydrogen-peroxide-as-mouthwash.html

http://copublications.greenfacts.org/en/tooth-whiteners/l-3/6-tooth-whitening-side-effects.htm

http://www.healthline.com/health/thrush#Symptoms4

The Link Between Mouth and Body-Exploring Possible Links

KO6A8579-Edit

Lindsay Whitlock RDH

 

oral-perio-systemic

The oral cavity is recognized as a portal of entry for many infections that affect overall health; including both physical health and emotional health. Among these infections are two leading widespread dental diseases: caries (decay) and periodontal disease (gum disease). The consequences of decay in the oral cavity and periodontal diseases are profound and often times underestimated in context of their negative impact on one’s physical health. More studies are needed but some researchers suspect that bacteria and inflammation linked to periodontal disease play a role in some systemic diseases and or conditions. Research suggests that although periodontal disease starts as a local infection in the mouth, it is generally accepted that associated bacteria and toxins gain access to the body’s blood supply and travel throughout the body. This creates a systemic inflammatory response, which may increase the risk for: heart disease, pneumonia, and complications of diabetes and pregnancy. Although periodontal disease may contribute to these health conditions, it is critical to understand that just because two conditions occur at the same time does not necessarily mean one condition is the cause for another. Researchers are continuing to work hard to examine the affects of when periodontal disease is treated within individuals suffering with these various health problems.

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Periodontal Disease – What You Should Know

Periodontal disease is a chronic infection within the oral cavity caused by bacteria. It begins when specific bacteria in dental plaque produce harmful toxins and enzymes that irritate the gums. An inflammatory response occurs if dental plaque is not removed on a daily basis. Plaque that remains on teeth over a short period of time can irritate the gums making them red and likely to become tender and bleed. This condition is called gingivitis, which can lead to more serious types of periodontal diseases. Gingivitis can be reversed and gums kept healthy by removing dental plaque daily with oral hygiene routine as well as having your teeth professionally cleaned.

If gingivitis is allowed to persist, it can progress to periodontitis (periodontal disease), a chronic disease in the pockets around the teeth. Inflammation that results may be painless however, it can damage the attachment method of gum tissue and bone to the teeth. Consequently advanced periodontitis is linked with other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stoke and bacterial pneumonia. Left untreated, teeth may eventually become mobile, fall out, or require removal by a dentist.

Given the link between periodontal disease and the systemic health problems, prevention is a critical step in maintaining overall health.

1. Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes.

2. Clean between teeth with floss or another type of interdental cleaner once a day.

3. Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks.

4. Schedule regular dental checkups as recommended by your dental hygienist or dentist.

5. Tell your dentist about changes in your overall health.

Click this link that is presented by Listerine and Reach to watch a video further explaining the link between periodontal disease and our bodies.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-BGfwCoJJA

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Images:

http://www.richmondinstitute.com/significance-behind-the-oral-systemic-connection

http://www.cvlsmiles.com/images/figure_2.jpg

http://smilesbygoh.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/human.jpg

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?

Pregnancy and Oral Health

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Amanda Orvis RDH

Being pregnant comes with various responsibilities, your oral hygiene being one of them. It is important that you continue to maintain your normal brushing and flossing routine. It is also a great idea to rinse daily with a fluoridated mouth rinse. There are several brands to choose from, just make sure you look for the ADA seal which guarantees safety and effectiveness.

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     For most women your routine dental visits are safe throughout your pregnancy. Make sure when calling to make your dental appointments you let your dental office know what stage of your pregnancy you are in. Let your dentist know if you have had any changes in your medications or if you have received any special instructions from your physician. Depending on your specific situation and your treatment needs, some of your dental appointments and procedures may need to be postponed until after your pregnancy.

Dental X-rays are sometimes necessary if you suffer a dental emergency or need a dental problem diagnosed. It may be wise to contact your physician prior to your dental appointment to get their approval to have x-rays if necessary.

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     During pregnancy some women may develop a temporary condition known as pregnancy gingivitis, which is typically caused by hormonal changes you experience during pregnancy. This is a mild form of periodontal disease that can cause the gums to be red, tender and/or sore. It may be recommended that you be seen for more frequent cleanings to help control the gingivitis. If you notice any changes in your mouth during pregnancy, please contact your dentist.

During your pregnancy you may have the desire to eat more frequently. When you feel the need to snack try to choose foods that are low in sugar and nutritious for you and your baby. Frequent snacking can cause tooth decay.

Feeling nauseous? If you experience morning sickness you can try rinsing with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water. This mixture lowers the acidity in your mouth. The acidity can cause erosion of the enamel. Your gag reflex may be extra sensitive during your pregnancy, so switching to a smaller toothbrush head may be beneficial.

Sources:

http://www.ada.org/sealprogramproducts.aspx

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