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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What Do I Do About My Wisdom Teeth?

What Do I Do About My Wisdom Teeth?

“People grow through experience if they meet life honestly and courageously. This is how character is built.” – Quotation attributed to Eleanor Roosevelt’s wisdom teeth

If your wisdom teeth can offer insight like that, why would you ever have them removed? Most likely, you or someone you know has had them removed. It turns out there’s a solid reason.

In fact, wisdom teeth, which earned their name because they emerge at the onset of adulthood, aren’t all that wise. (Most people believe Eleanor Roosevelt came up with that statement on her own, but it’s no coincidence that it occurred after her wisdom teeth came in!)

Scientists believe that wisdom teeth helped our ancestors with a diet that was much harder on their teeth than our diet is to ours. However, they only begin to come in when people are around the age of 17 to 21 years of age. Since they emerge so late, after your other teeth are well-established, wisdom teeth often create unnecessary problems in your mouth.

If you keep your wisdom teeth, you might be able to eat beef jerky 10% faster, but the complications that can arise make them not worth the risk. (And if you eat enough beef jerky to think you might want to keep your wisdom teeth after all, you probably should speak to a nutritionist.)

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Leave No Tooth Behind

Leave No Tooth Behind
Have you ever watched shows like Lost or movies like Cast Away and wonder how the teeth of these people must feel like after an extended stay on a remote island? Fortunately, there are a few things they (or you, if you go camping or get stranded) can do to help maintain a healthy smile when you don’t have access to a dentist or minty toothpaste.

When you don’t have a toothbrush and floss, the concept of oral hygiene remains the same. Keep food debris from sticking around inside your mouth, and agitate the bacteria so plaque and tartar don’t develop.

In a bind, you can use a clean cloth or part of your t-shirt. Put the cloth on your finger and rub your teeth and gums as you would with a toothbrush. This method is good for minor stays in the wilderness, but won’t provide optimal care in the long run.

Use What’s Around You In the unfortunate situation you are without proper care for an indeterminate amount of time, you can find or adapt natural tools from your surroundings to clean your teeth. Chewing stick. Find a tree that has fibrous branches. Break off a toothbrush sized twig. Chew on one end to fray that part of the twig, which can now be used in lieu of an actual toothbrush. As strange as this may sound, a lot of cultures around the world still use chewing sticks for their dental hygiene. Due to the chemical composition of some trees (apple, fig, bamboo, and many more), they can help protect your teeth when chewed on. Small bones. If you are hunting for food, save some of the smaller bones. They can be used as toothpicks, removing food debris from between your teeth. Hair. This may seem gross, but if you didn’t bat an eye at small bones, you may as well try this trick too. If you have hair is long enough, you can use it as a substitute for floss. Water. Rinse with water (sterilized, if possible) to keep your mouth clean after brushing. Avoid problem foods. Without access to proper dental care, it’s best to avoid foods that can damage your teeth. Try not to eat fruits with a high acidity level, or foods that easily get stuck in your teeth.

Now you know how Tom Hanks kept his smile going stuck on an island for three years. (And you thought it was Hollywood make up artists?) While these options may sound less than appealing, they could be the difference between having healthy or damaged teeth while out in the wilderness. That and no one likes the feeling of fuzzy teeth.

If you’ve just returned from the wild, or if you’d just like to stay up to date on your dental visits, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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When Should You Change Your Toothbrush?

When Should You Change Your Toothbrush?
Keep Your Toothbrush in Fighting ShapeEverything You Need to Know About Your Toothbrush

You hear it time and time again: Brush your teeth at least twice a day. It becomes so routine that you brush your teeth while juggling a few other tasks at the same time. How much time goes by before you notice the shape your toothbrush is in? Have you ever thought to yourself, “I don’t need to clean my toothbrush, my toothbrush cleans me!” The condition of your toothbrush is often the last thing you think about in your busy life, but it plays a significant factor in your oral health.

Symptoms of an Unclean, Older Toothbrush

The most common issue with an older toothbrush is effectiveness. When the bristles are frayed, its cleaning ability is compromised — leaving your teeth more exposed to bacteria.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), you should monitor and replace your toothbrush more often if you or a family member have:

A systemic disease that may be transmissible by blood or salivaA compromised immune system or low resistance to infection due to disease, chemotherapy, radiation treatment, etc.How to Disinfect Your ToothbrushRinse and air dry. The simplest way to keep your toothbrush clean: After every use, rinse it and keep it upright in an open area.Soak it in hydrogen peroxide.Boil it in hot water. This is another simple option, but be sure the toothbrush is completely cooled before handling/using. No one wants scalded gums.Use an ultra-violet light toothbrush sanitizer. These sanitizers made for toothbrushes (more specifically, electric toothbrush heads) are a good option, but studies show that while they do kill bacteria, they don’t have a distinct advantage over any other method.

  The ADA warns to be wary of any product that says it will do more than sanitize or reduce bacterial contamination. If you are interested in a toothbrush sanitation product, make sure it is Food and Drug Administration approved. There isn’t an obvious answer as to which method is preferred or best, so do what works for you.

Not Recommended Toothbrush CareMicrowave: While this idea makes sense on paper, the ADA doesn’t approve. It will most likely kill bacteria on your toothbrush, but zapping it can have adverse effects on the brush itself.Dishwasher: While this is an effective way to clean your toothbrush, the ADA states that this method will also compromise the quality of your brush.How Often Should I Change My Toothbrush?

For typical usage with no special circumstances, you should change your toothbrush every three to four months. If you see that your toothbrush bristles are frayed or beginning to fray, replace it. If your toothbrush seems to fray too fast, you are mostly likely brushing too hard — go easy on those teeth!

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Protect Your Teeth: Preventive Steps Toward Better Oral Health

Protect Your Teeth: Preventive Steps Toward Better Oral Health

Taking preventive measures to protect your teeth from decay is essential for maintaining your natural smile. While prevention includes maintaining good at-home oral hygiene practices and making it to your routine dental visits, there are additional steps you can take to help keep your teeth healthy, strong, and safeguarded against the harmful bacteria that leads to decay and cavities.

Some of the following preventive measures are commonly associated with protective treatments appropriate for children, but they can be just as beneficial for adult teeth. The next time you pop in for your regular exam, take some time to ask the doctor about whether they are right for you.

Sealants

Brushing and flossing cleans most of your teeth surfaces, but getting to all of the crevices — especially those located in the back molars and premolars — is difficult. Those tiny dips and pits are perfect for trapping food and bacteria, which often results in the formation of cavities.

Dental sealants provide a protective coating that keeps these areas free from food debris. They are made from a resin material that is used to coat the chewing surfaces of the back teeth. It is painted on and seals the nooks and crannies in the teeth, so that food and other plaque-causing materials that cause cavities are kept out.

The procedure for applying sealants is simple, painless, fast, and takes only one visit. First the decay is removed from your teeth, and they are thoroughly cleaned and dried. Next the sealant material is painted on the chewing surface. It will naturally bond to the tooth on its own; however, a special light may be used to speed the process, helping the sealant to harden in just a couple of minutes.

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Summer is Here! Are your Lips Ready?

Summer is Here! Are your Lips Ready?

“Summer loving had me a blast, oh yeah. Summer loving happened so fast…” —Grease, Summer Nights

Its’ the stuff dreams and movies are made of: summer love. Warm summer nights, afternoons at the beach, vacations to the Caribbean—whether you are hoping to meet your next crush or are looking forward to romancing your long-time love —summer is sure to heat things up.

Did you know that June 19th is National Kissing Day? Are you ready to get romantic? A healthy mouth and kissable lips are key to having the summer you have been dreaming of. From making sure that your teeth and gums are in top condition, to protecting and caring for your lips so they stay soft and blemish free, there are several measures you can take to stay romance ready all summer long.

Tips for a healthy mouth

The best way to make sure that your mouth stays healthy and halitosis free is to stay on top of your at-home oral hygiene practices. Don’t forget the basics:

Brush twice a dayRinse after brushingFloss daily

  Take your oral care to the next level. You already know you need to set up routine visits with your dentist to keep your teeth in top condition. Consider the following treatments for extra protection.

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Nine Tips for Oral Health Care That’s Earth Friendly

greenoralroutine

With spring in the air and Earth Day reminding us of how lucky we are to live on such a beautiful, lush planet, many of us are reflecting on what we can do to protect the natural beauty that surrounds us and how we can conserve. On a daily basis, we can make a difference by doing big things like planting trees and volunteering to clean up waste in our local communities. But we can also make a big difference by incorporating small changes into our daily routines.

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Understanding the Dental-Health/Whole-Health Connection

fullbodycare

When you think about visiting the dentist, you most likely think about keeping your teeth white and straight, and having an attractive smile. What you may not realize is that maintaining good oral health has value beyond the obvious aesthetic rewards of a beautiful smile. Dedication to maintaining good at-home oral hygiene practices and making regular visits to the dentist protect your overall health and can help you avoid serious health complications and disease.

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Debunking Dental Myths

Debunking Dental Myths

When you think about myths, chances are your first reaction is to think about the classics—Greek myths with monsters and gods, classic American myths like Paul Bunyan or Rip Van Winkle, or maybe even urban legends. Historically, myths helped our ancestors make sense of the world and explain why they thought and acted the way they did.

But not all myths are ancient. We still create myths today, and they serve the same purpose that ancient myths did. We use them to understand complex topics and to justify our choices—at times for good, and at times not so good reasons.

There are myths about almost any topic if you bother to look—and that includes dentistry. Let’s look at five dental myths, unpack where they come from, and determine if we’d be better off telling these stories to our children or doing away with them altogether.

George Washington had wooden teeth

Right there along with leading the Revolutionary Army, being first president of the USA, and the cherry tree (false!), elementary school students learn about George Washington and his wooden dentures.

It’s true that dental problems plagued Washington. He had his first tooth extracted when he was 24, and by the time he became president in 1789, he only had one tooth left. He wore many dental prostheses during his life—but they were the most advanced dental technology of his time, and were made of ivory, gold, metal, and even human teeth. The “wooden” myth may have arisen because ivory dentures become stained over time.

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Top Oral Health Benefits of Pumpkin

sugarspice

Dentists Say, “Back Away From the Spiced Latte! But the Pumpkin Can Stay.”

It probably comes as no surprise that the Pumpkin Spice Latte is Starbucks’ most popular seasonal drink of all time. Everything about the pumpkin’s color, aroma, and savory flavor screams fall. Every year coffee enthusiasts eagerly await the release of this highly anticipated beverage, then flock to the coffee shop as soon as it becomes available. At least that is how it has gone for the better part of the last 12 years, since its inception in 2003.

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An Open Letter to Beer Lovers and Brew Enthusiasts

beer

With the joy and revelry of Oktoberfest fading quickly into the past and your lederhosen and suspenders freshly packed away for another year, the post-festivity blues can begin to set in. Even with an array of seasonal holidays on their way, none offer 16 days of merriment in honor of your favorite libation.

Don’t despair! The memories you made enjoying large varieties of beer while eating schweinebraten, yodeling, and dancing the polka will last — and so will your smile after you learn about the post-merriment oral health benefits you received.

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Do Whitening Toothpastes really work?

toothpaste

The effectiveness of whitening toothpastes on your teeth will depend on why they don’t look white in the first place. Whitening toothpastes chemically or mechanically help to remove stain on the tooth surface. There is no evidence they can whiten teeth from internal discoloration. The only whitening agents in toothpastes are abrasives that help rub off stains from coffee, tea, or red wine for example. If you believe your teeth are not as white as they should be, Desert Valley Dentistry in Pocatello, ID can advise you on what whitening method would work best for you. Because most toothpastes contain mild abrasives, they may not be strong enough to remove heavy external stains that need to be scaled and polishes off professionally at our office.

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