Should You Keep Flossing?

Should You Keep Flossing?
Flossing: In or Out?

It’s been six months since your last teeth cleaning. You arrive at your appointment and get called to head to the back by your hygienist. As she begins cleaning your teeth, she asks the question we all dread. “How often do you floss?” If you’re like many people, you might stretch the truth, or justify telling a white lie since you DID use a toothpick after dinner a few nights back.

Maybe now—lucky you!–you won’t have to answer that question any longer. Just recently the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services stated that flossing has been not been proven to be effective, and removed it from their dietary guidelines.

Well, slow down, my friend. You’re not off the hook just yet.

While this bold statement is technically true, there are still a few things to consider. First, the guidelines don’t say that flossing is bad or ineffective; they’re just saying there isn’t enough evidence in studies to prove it does help. The difference may feel like a matter of semantics, so for your own peace of mind, ask any dentist if you should floss. But you probably already know what their answer will be.

Your teeth consist of five surfaces, and brushing your teeth will hit all but two. Flossing will take care of the two remaining surfaces (the surfaces between your teeth) and ensure that plaque does not become tartar, which eats away at your teeth and gums. While flossing can help prevent tooth decay, a study by the Central for Disease Control shows that only 30% of the U.S. population flosses daily.

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Consumer Overview: Denture Products

Consumer Overview: Denture Products
Dental Consumer Products Overview: Denture ProductsIf you have dentures, or even if you haven’t, chances are you’ve seen TV advertisements for denture products. Because dentures and teeth loss can be emotional topics, it’s no surprise that the advertisements try (let’s call them) unconventional approaches. Sometimes they try too hard to be funny, sincere, or authoritative. Other times they go for realness and end up somewhere closer to too-much-information.

But for all their flaws, these ads are speaking to a sizable market. Over 60 million people in the US lack teeth, and according to the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, there will be 37.5 million people wearing full dentures by 2020. For people with dentures, consumer products on the market attempt to address two primary needs:

Keeping dentures cleanKeeping dentures in your mouth (preferably comfortably!)

Cleaning products come in a few varieties. Martha Raye, denture wearer, advocated for a brand of dissolving tablets that killed bacteria and removed stains. There are also pastes, much like toothpaste, that patients can use to brush their dentures—once the dentures are safely out of your mouth. Ultrasonic cleaning appliances can remove stains from dentures, although they are more expensive and also require the use of a special cleaning fluid. For patients concerned with chemical cleansers, homemade solutions using lemon juice, vinegar, or baking soda can all help remove stains and re-whiten dentures.

Denture adhesives include pastes or gels that come in a tube, like toothpaste, and adhesive strips. These adhesives are meant to keep dentures in patients’ mouths comfortably while eating and talking.

Dentures are meant to fit comfortably in the mouth—and not require adhesives—because they are molded specially to the patient’s jawbone and palate. However, without teeth anchored in the jaw, the bone deteriorates over time, and its shape changes. This eventually leads to dentures that don’t fit, or that cause discomfort, requiring adhesive. Even cleaning dentures, which requires them to be removed from the mouth, could conceivably cause patients to experience negative feelings.

However, changes in dental technology can reduce these issues for patients. Fixed implant dentures use dental implants to secure replacement teeth permanently to the jaw. Patients can brush them in their mouth, just like teeth, and the implants themselves help the jawbone avoid further deterioration. Although implants do tend to be more expensive than traditional dentures, for many they are an appropriate, life-long solution to their dental needs.

Whether you’re looking for the best way to take care of your dentures or you’re considering whether implants might be a better solution for you, we’d love to talk to you. Call your Pocatello, ID dentist today at 208.252.7163 for an appointment to find out more!
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Five Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea

Five Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea

At one point in time, maybe even only a few years ago, sleep apnea was not well-known among the public. Now, thankfully, public awareness of sleep apnea is much higher. After all, it is a dangerous condition, and because it is a disease that affects sleep, many people who have sleep apnea aren’t even aware of it.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, you will temporarily stop breathing during the night—up to hundreds of times! The health implications are quite serious, as sleep apnea is linked to many cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and heart arrhythmias. So if you have sleep apnea, it’s important to get treatment.

So what are some signs or risk factors for sleep apnea?

You’re overweight.

Body weight is linked to obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by tissues in the upper throat collapsing, constricting the flow of air to the lungs. Heavier people can have tissue built up around their neck and throat; these tissues fall back and obstruct the airway when they’re lying down.

You have high blood pressure.

When you stop breathing during an episode of sleep apnea, less oxygen gets to your brain. Since your brain needs to maintain sufficient oxygen levels at all times, this can lead to spikes in blood pressure as your body tries to compensate for low oxygen levels by pumping more blood, faster, to your brain.

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A Brief History of Grills

A Brief History of Grills

“I got my mouth looking something like a disco ball I got the diamonds and the ice all hand set I might cause a cold front if I take a deep breath My teeth gleaming like I’m chewing on aluminum foil” – Grillz, Nelly (featuring Pall Wall & Ali & Gipp)

Grills (or grillz) are, if not popular, at least fairly recognizable these days. Made of precious metals (gold and platinum being the most common) and often studded with diamonds, most grills are removable and worn over the front teeth. But where do they come from?

Although many people would point to Nelly and his 2005 song, “Grillz,” as the starting point for the trend, they’re actually much older than that. (And no, we’re not just talking about rappers like Slick Rick, Flavor Flav, and Big Daddy Kane from the 80s and 90s, either). We’re talking ancient history.

In ancient Italy, between 800 and 200 BC, wealthy Etruscan women wore teeth woven together with gold wire the thickness of a rubber band. The wire held together teeth that had been removed and were placed back into the mouth, so they made eating difficult. The practice wasn’t necessarily common, but archaeologists found documentation of around 20 sets of teeth woven together in this way. Etruscan civilization vanished as the Romans took over Italy, and this fashion trend died with it.

In Latin America, Mayans actually cut small holes into their teeth and filled them with precious stones, typically jade. Again, this was a trend that only royalty and the wealthy could afford. Although the Mayan civilization has disappeared, many people in southeastern Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala still wear gold tooth jewelry today.

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Toothpastes

Toothpastes

Do you ever stand in the oral care section at a store—maybe your local supermarket, maybe a general retailer or a pharmacy—and wonder why there are so many different types of toothpaste? Think about how many brands there are—and then how many different types of toothpaste there are for each brand! Crest 3DWhite, Pro-Health, Pro-Health Advanced, with Scope, Sensi, regular old Crest, Kids’ Crest… the list goes on and on.

A helpful way to think about your toothpaste choice is to think about your goals, beyond basic hygiene, when you brush. Do you want fresh breath or whiter teeth? Do your teeth hurt when you brush? Do you want to avoid a long cleaning next time you’re at the dentist? When you answer those questions, you’ll start to narrow down that overwhelming selection of toothpastes to a more manageable few.

There are a few basic types of toothpastes out there today. However, it’s important to realize that many toothpastes fit into one or more of the categories. (This is why there are more than 40 different types of Crest alone, after all.)

Fluoride Toothpaste

Fluoride toothpastes contain fluoride compounds to help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride works by strengthening, and even helping repair, tooth enamel. These toothpastes vary in the amount and type of fluoride compounds they contain and can come in a variety of flavors that appeal to both adults and children.

Whitening Toothpaste

If you’d like your teeth to look a little whiter, whitening toothpastes can help. They’re not as effective as dedicated whitening products (like whitening strips), but they can help you maintain whitened teeth. However, keep in mind that many whitening toothpastes can be more abrasive than regular toothpastes. If you use them, give your teeth an occasional break by using less abrasive toothpastes as well!

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