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

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/

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