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The Right Way to Floss

January 20th, 2023

Dentists say flossing is as important as brushing. Here's how to do it correctly.

Written by Shelley Levitt

 Medically Reviewed by Eric Yabu, DDS on September 21, 2013FROM THE WEBMD ARCHIVES

It's a simple piece of string, sometimes flavored, often waxed. Wrap 18 inches or so around your finger, and you have a powerful tool that can help prevent cavities and give your overall health a big boost.

Dental floss dislodges food particles trapped between the teeth and under the gums where toothbrushes can't reach. Left unchecked, bacterial buildup can lead to cavities, bad breath, and gum disease.

If that's not scary enough, Jyoti Srivastava, DDS, a New York City dentist with advanced training in tooth replacement and restoration, points out that "gum disease is an inflammatory disorder that can contribute to major problems throughout the body." Recent studies suggest links between advanced gum disease and diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's, and stomach cancer, though more research is needed.

If you practiced ideal dental hygiene, you'd be flossing after every meal. "Do that and you'll have an absolutely immaculate mouth," says Srivastava, "but we know that's not practical for most people -- so we hope our patients floss once daily." Bedtime, rather than morning, is the better choice for once-a-day flossers.

"Your salivary flow is very low when you're sleeping," Srivastava says. "So for those 7 or 8 hours you're in bed, you're not washing away the bacteria teeming in your mouth."

Dentists recommend spending 2 minutes brushing your teeth. With practice, flossing will take you an additional minute. Begin on the upper right, go all the way around to the upper left, and then go from the lower left to the lower right.

If you're so tired at the end of your day that you can devote only 60 seconds to dental hygiene, what do you do? Floss. "I'm not suggesting you skip brushing, but it's absolutely essential to floss every day," says Srivastava.

What Kind of Floss?

Stand in the dental aisle of your drugstore, and you'll see a variety of dental floss. Srivastava breaks down the choices with these tips.

Waxed vs. unwaxed floss. They're equally effective at removing tooth debris, but "I strongly recommend waxed. It's much easier to slide between your teeth and much less likely to shred," Srivastava says.

Linked to Original Article: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/your-smile-flossing

The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush

January 13th, 2023

As easy as it may seem to do, very few of us brush our teeth as well as we could. Thankfully, where there are mistakes, there are ways to fix them.

1. You pick the wrong brush.

How do you choose from the mind-melting selection of brushes at your local supermarket?

Kimberly Harms, a dentist from Farmington, MN, says make sure your brush can cover the places that need covering. That’s everywhere you should be able to reach with a toothbrush. It can be a power toothbrush or a manual one. But there is one rule Harms says isn’t negotiable.

“The one thing that we really insist upon -- it’s very important -- is it has to have soft bristles,” she says. “The bristles need to be able to bend, to kind of get right under that gum.”

The size of the brush’s head is important, too, especially if you have a smaller mouth. Brushes also have various sizes of handles and different angles. Some are more flexible than others.

But the critical part, dentists agree, is the bristles that remove the bacteria and loosen plaque from your teeth and gums. That plaque can cause gum disease and lead to tooth decay.“Sometimes people think that the harder the bristles are, the more they’ll clean. But that’s not something that’s necessarily true,” says Maricelle Abayon, a dentist with the Eastman Institute for Oral Health in Rochester, NY.

“Soft bristles clean very effectively, more than the hard bristles. The hard bristles actually can wear down your tooth structure.”

Look for the American Dental Association seal of approval on your new brush, too.

2. You go to town on your teeth.

When it comes to brushing, harder isn’t better.

“I think one of the biggest issues that people have is that they try to scrub their teeth too hard. They feel like if they really don’t go at the teeth, like they’re trying to clean the grout in their bathroom tile, that they’re not doing the right job,” says Matt Messina, a dentist from Fairview Park, OH.

Plaque is soft and loose, so you don’t have to scrub, Messina says.

“The best way to fix this is to take away the mental issue of ‘scrub’ and ‘scrub brush’ and replace it with the word ‘massage.’”

3. You rush.

You should brush at least twice a day for 2 minutes each time. But you’re late for school or work. Or you want to get to bed. Once in a while, you need to cut that brushing short.

Don’t.

“We used to suggest, back in the day, we’d talk about using an egg timer or something like that,” Messina says. “But everybody has this wonderful thing on their body all the time now called a cell phone. If you want to set a timer and set it for 2 minutes, that’s great.

“I see a lot of young people walking around with headphones on,” she says. “If you can leave your headphones in and put on a song, your average pop song’s in the 2-3 minute range. So if you brush while you listen to one of your favorite songs, you’ve probably been in there long enough.”

4. You hold on too long.

When you find a good toothbrush, it’s sometimes hard to give it up. But when you see changes in the bristles -- when they become discolored, bent, or dirty looking -- it’s time to chuck the brush.

It loses its powers when the bristles become frayed. So change it at least every 3 to 4 months. Also, it’s smart not to share your brush with anyone else. And keep it in the open air to keep mold or bacteria from growing on it when it’s wet.

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/brushing-teeth-mistakes

Broken Brackets Don’t Know it’s a Holiday Break

December 16th, 2022

Warning! All parents, you are now officially entering the “School Break Zone.” This time of year, of course, brings family gatherings, parties, and treats! It’s hard to turn away from the ooey-gooey treats which is why your Orthodontist wants you to be prepared if an orthodontic emergency happens in your house.

Most importantly, your orthodontist would like you to understand that accidents can happen during orthodontic treatment. When they do happen, it can result in a call or unplanned visit to your orthodontist – this is what you would consider an “emergency visit.”

Many times, your first reaction may be, “it’s not a big deal,” or “I’ll just wait until after the holidays to call.”  Your Orthodontist would like to remind you to make the call–don’t wait. Your orthodontist is your partner in creating a HEALTHY smile. If there is an urgent need during this time–for example if you are in pain, or an injury has occurred–your orthodontist should be notified and you should call for an emergency appointment.

In the meantime, stock up with supplies to help discomfort. Essential items to keep in your medicine cabinet are:

  • Orthodontic wax
  • Dental floss
  • Tweezers
  • Interproximal brushes
  • Topical anesthetic (such as Orabase or Ora-Gel)
  • Over the counter pain relievers (such as one taken for a headache)

Plus, a warm salt water rinse can be soothing, as well. The recommended mixture is 1 tsp. salt to 8 oz. warm water.

Ultimately, an important part of successful orthodontic treatment is communicating with your orthodontist. If an emergency arises, it’s okay. Don’t panic. This hiccup shouldn’t have much of an impact on your overall treatment plan. Given the situation, your AAO orthodontist will work hard to get you back on your treatment plan. Don’t forget, you play an essential role in your treatment. All you have to do is follow your orthodontist’s directions. With holiday fun on the horizon, now is the time to have a plan in place in case you eat too many ooey-gooey treats.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have a dental emergency. Enjoy the holidays.

When Should Your Child See an Orthodontist?

November 10th, 2022

Orthodontic problems rarely fix themselves. That’s why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children be screened by an AAO orthodontist at age 7.

By age 7, your child has enough permanent teeth that an orthodontist can spot a problem before it becomes … well, a bigger problem.

Some issues may be obvious – misaligned teeth, an “overbite,” and an underbite or a crossbite – but others can remain undetectable by the untrained eye. Either way, let an orthodontist take a look. In addition to an intraoral exam, orthodontists use panoramic x-rays to check below the surface to look for extra teeth, missing teeth, impacted teeth or teeth coming into the wrong positions.

Early treatment, which occurs while some baby teeth are still present, can guide the growth of facial and jaw bones into a better growth pattern and provide more space for incoming permanent teeth.

Problems that may lend themselves well to early treatment include:

  • Underbites – when the lower front teeth are ahead of the upper front teeth
  • Crossbites – when the upper teeth are inside of the lowers
  • Functional shift – when the jaw shifts to one side as the teeth come together
  • Very crowded teeth
  • Excessively spaced teeth
  • Extra or missing teeth
  • Teeth that meet abnormally or don’t meet at all
  • Thumb-, finger- or pacifier- sucking that is affecting the teeth or jaw growth

You don’t need to wait for a dentist referral for your child to see an AAO orthodontist. General dentists and orthodontists focus on different aspects of dental health. Orthodontists are specialists in facial development and the bite.

https://www3.aaoinfo.org/blog/when-should-your-child-see-an-orthodontist/