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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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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Best Dental Products Series: Floss

Best Dental Products Series: Floss

Imagine you’re standing in the dental products aisle at your local Target or Walmart. You’re about to run out of floss at home, and you just want to pick some up. If you’re like most people, your first thought is probably something like this:

Why in the world are there so many types of dental floss?

Unfortunately, this can make it hard to know which product is the best. Being a dental practice, we have to tell you the truth: it doesn’t really matter a whole lot what type of floss you prefer, as long as you are actually flossing. However, that doesn’t really help you when you’re standing in the store, trying to decide between dozens of different types of dental floss.

In this series of blog posts, we’ll inform you about different types of dental products, so you can choose which dental product is right for you, starting with floss. With floss, it’s important to know that there a few different types of floss on the market. Choosing the one that’s right for you can make flossing pain-free and more effective.

Woven

There are two types of woven floss you may hear about. The first type of woven floss is generally made of cotton. With these flosses, you can clearly see the wrapped threads, especially since they are often different colors. Cotton woven floss can be very effective in cleaning plaque, and because of the material it’s made of, can also be gentler on your gums. The second type of woven floss consists of nylon filaments threaded together to form a single, larger thread.

In general, woven flosses are effective, but depending on the space between your teeth, the threads can come apart.

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Avoid Bad Breath for Good

Avoid Bad Breath for Good
In almost every social situation, there is one thing most people are concerned about: halitosis, better known as bad breath. It can be embarrassing for you, uncomfortable to other people, and potentially a deal breaker for a job interview or date. To make it even more difficult to manage, our bodies have a great way of blocking out constant smells, making it very hard to determine if we have bad breath before it’s too late.How do I know if I have bad breath?

You can easily test how your breath smells to others with this simple test. Lick part of your arm and smell it after about 10 seconds. Now, licking your arm in public may seem weird (and have its own social consequences), this test can give you a good indication of how your breath smells. However, it may not always be accurate. The best thing you can do is be aware of what causes bad breath and prevent it before it happens to you.

What Causes Bad Breath?

Hygiene The most common cause of bad breath is straightforward; you have a dirty mouth. Bacteria live in your mouth, and when you eat, they eat. These odors are made worse by your tongue, which acts like a fleshy dish sponge, absorbing food particles and bacterial byproducts.

If you think this is your issue–and it is best place to start–the best remedy is to brush and floss daily. This will help eliminate leftovers for the bacteria to eat. To further eliminate any odor, open your mouth and look at the back of your tongue. If looks like it’s covered in a white or brown substance, this could be the main source of your bad breath. Brush as far back on your tongue as you can with your toothbrush, or use a tongue scraper, which will do the job more efficiently.

Dry Mouth Saliva keeps the mouth clean by washing away bacteria, plaque, and keeping the acidic levels in your mouth at the proper level. If your mouth is chronically dry, bacteria can take over, leading to bad breath. If you are experiencing dry mouth, be sure you are drinking plenty of water. Additionally, check to see if any medication you are taking causes dry mouth. If so, talk to your doctor about solutions or a potential change in medication, if possible.

Specific Types of Food There are certain types of food that cause bad breath. No matter what you do, you won’t be able to avoid the unwelcome baggage they carry. Coffee, tuna, onion, and garlic have a tendency to stick around even after you brush your teeth. For example, as garlic is digested, sulfur compounds permeate your lungs and skin, meaning there isn’t much you can do to hide the smell. For the sake of everyone around you, don’t go to hot yoga after eating a clove of garlic.

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How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

How to Get Rid of Canker Sores

Imagine you are eating a big, juicy steak cooked to perfection. You cut out a chunk of steak place it in your mouth. The first bite is delicious, and the second bite is even better.

But then, in your fervor for chewing, you forget where the steak ends and where your cheek begins. Before you know it–chomp!–a bite that was intended for that tasty piece of steak caught your cheek. It’s painful and irritating, but you can get past the pain.

The next day, your wound is healing well, but unfortunately during lunch you bite down on it again. Now it’s official: you have a full blown canker sore. While not all canker sores are self-inflicted, it’s good to know what causes canker sores and some remedies you can implement to promote healing while reducing pain.

For the most part, canker sores are more of a nuisance than a health issue. They can appear on the inside of your lips, cheeks and on your tongue. They can either be caused by trauma (like biting on the inside of your cheek or braces irritating your mouth) or other factors like stress and the types of food you eat.

Avoid agitating your canker soreTry not to hit it with your toothbrush.Steer clear of foods that will annoy your canker sore, including crunchy, dry, or acidic foods–especially citrus!If you have braces, apply wax where the canker sore comes in contact with them. If your braces or dentures continue to cause discomfort and canker sores, your dentist may be able to make the proper adjustments to fix the issue.Since most canker sores go away on their own, the best thing you can do is manage the painGargle with salt water. Mix about ¼ to ½ teaspoons of salt with eight ounces of warm water. Put about two to three ounces of water into your mouth at a time and swish it around for 20-30 seconds, then spit it out. Continue to do this until all of the water is gone.Consider using a local numbing agent. Products like Oragel can be applied to the canker sore and numb it for temporary relief. These types of products contain benzocaine, so please read all cautions before applying.Take over-the-counter pain relief medication, like ibuprofen.If your canker sore doesn’t heal within a few weeks, it’s time to see a dentist. If your canker sore makes it too painful to eat or drink, consider seeing your dentist before the three week mark. Make an appointment with your local Pocatello dentist if you think you may need additional canker sore treatment.
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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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Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Floss

Tips for Teaching Your Kids to Floss

Even though baby’s first teeth are temporary, getting an early start on excellent dental hygiene practices, including both brushing and flossing, is essential to a lifetime of good oral health. Dental decay is one of the most common childhood diseases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 42% of children ages 2 to 11 have had cavities in baby teeth, and 21% of those ages 6 to 11 have had cavities in permanent teeth.

Tooth decay not only poses a threat to tiny teeth, it can negatively affect a child’s whole health, as well as how they feel about themselves. One of the longest-lasting benefits of a healthy smile during childhood is the foundation for a healthy self-image.

Start EarlyBrushing

You should begin cleaning a baby’s gums after each feeding with gauze or a soft cloth starting immediately after birth. As soon as the baby teeth begin to erupt, you can use a soft-bristled child’s toothbrush to clean your toddler’s teeth. Continue brushing for them until they have the dexterity to take over (approximately around 6 years old).

Flossing

Flossing is difficult for small, untrained hands. Your child doesn’t have to begin brushing right away, but once their tooth surfaces are almost touching, plaque and food begin to settle in between teeth, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. At this point, they should begin learning to floss and doing so at least once a day.

Teaching your child to floss can be tricky. The following steps will help you get them off to an easy start.

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The Ages & Stages of Your Child’s Dental Health

The Ages & Stages of Your Child’s Dental Health

Few parents realize that their children are at risk for tooth decay from the moment the first tooth appears (around 6 months). Even though baby teeth are temporary, they are important; they serve as placeholders for adult teeth, and if they are lost too early, their adult replacements may grow in too early and affect the position of permanent teeth that come in later. Tooth decay and damage can also lead to issues with speech development that require therapy for correction later in life.

Pediatric dental disease is the number-one chronic childhood illness, and it continues to plague children throughout the course of their development and into their adult years — but it doesn’t have to. Teaching children good dental habits at an early age and making sure they attend routine dental visits goes a long way toward helping them maintain a pain-free, healthy, and beautiful smile for a lifetime.

The following information functions as a road map for understanding your children’s oral development and health throughout their ages and stages.

Birth to 1 Year

You should be caring for your baby’s teeth before they even appear. Infant toothbrushes come in a variety of sizes and shapes. Most are made out of a soft BPA-, lead- and phthalate-free silicone and have tiny bristles parents can use to gently brush gums after each feeding. Once your baby is old enough to sit and hold objects, there are similar brushes that resemble teething rings, which babies can hold and massage their own gums with.

Your child should have his or her first dental exam by the time they are 1 year old.

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Oral Piercings & Your Dental Health

oralpiercings

A Healthy Smile Is Your Best Accessory

Body piercings have become increasingly prevalent over the past decade, and with more and more celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Tyrese, and Christina Aguilera sporting them, they are only gaining popularity among people of all ages. While piercings offer people the opportunity to express their individuality and add some extra bling to their personal style, some of the most popular piercings are located in the mouth area, which can lead to the rapid deterioration of oral health.

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Manual vs. Electric: The Battle for Best Brush

bestbrush

Once every three or four months, you inevitably find yourself standing in the oral hygiene aisle at the grocery store scanning rows and rows of an endless variety of toothbrushes. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors — and some of them even come with small motors. But how do you know which one is the best for you or your children?

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’Tis the Season for Getting Fresh: Avoid Bad Breath

avoidbadbreath

Mistletoe has been hung, setting blissful, kissing booby traps for the unsuspecting, and when the ball drops, lips will lock everywhere.

During the month of December, your oral health and hygiene needs to be on point!

Brushing and rinsing twice a day, as well as daily flossing, helps keep your mouth healthy but doesn’t necessarily ensure fresh breath that will last all day long. And during a season hallmarked by the unexpected, one does not want to be caught face-to-face suffering from a bad case of halitosis. So what can you do to improve your chances of being 100% smoochable should the opportunity arise? Read on for breath-saving tips that are sure to improve your chances of ringing in the New Year with more than a smile on your lips.

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The Perfect Gift: A Smile

smilegift

The holiday season is often touted as “the best time of the year!” While this is true for many, for some it can be the most difficult. For individuals and families coping with homelessness, in crisis, or dealing with a time of personal hardship, this time of year can be intensely challenging to face and even harder get through. When basic needs aren’t being met, the gift-giving season can take a toll. So during this season of abundance, consider giving someone less fortunate their smile back.

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