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With the myriad of options on the market today, it is getting harder and harder to choose the right toothpaste for your dental needs. Toothpaste used to be sold as aCosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS one size fits all but with sensitivity, enamel recalcifying, gum issues, dry mouth, or for teeth whitening it has become much more customized to each individual.

The primary function of toothpaste is to clean teeth and prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is a main ingredient in almost every toothpaste on the  market today. Fluoride has the ability to enhance remineralization of the tooth’s enamel  which can allow for reversal of very small tooth decay.

Different Types Of Toothpaste

Whitening. This has become quite popular to the general public. These teeth whitening toothpastes contain hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, or some other custom ingredient. These toothpastes work in a variety of ways to whiten your teeth. Some work through the mechanical action of brushing while others work chemically to whiten our teeth. Some are even able to remove staining present on our teeth from our daily eating activities.

Sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity is a very common issue for many of us. Luckily, there are many good sensitivity toothpastes on the market today including crest pro health line of toothpastes. Many of these toothpastes contain potassium nitrate. The potassium nitrate is able to plug the holes in our dentin layer of our tooth to form a protective layer, protecting the nerve, thus relieving sensitivity.

Remineralizing. These types of toothpastes allow for tooth enamel to repair itself and remineralize. This is only effective in small areas of decay and will not work for very large tooth decay. A good example of this is colgate prevident or GC MI paste with recaldent.

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDSXylitol. This is a commonly used as a sugar substitute but it also has the added properties of not allowing bacteria to adhere to tooth enamel. This gives it the ability to lower a person’s risk for tooth decay. It has also been found that xylitol when combined with fluoride (fluoride concentration greater than 0.8 ppm) it can provide additional remineralization benefits.

SLS free toothpaste. SLS or sodium lauryl sulfate is the bubbling agent in toothpaste. For some people, SLS causes irritation to oral tissue, apthous ulcers (canker sores), peeling or red gums.

Mouthrinse in toothpaste. Many toothpastes contain mouth rinse, supposedly to help gums, and give fresher breath.

Fluoride free. Some people prefer natural toothpaste without fluoride.

Specialty toothpaste for children. It is important to choose a toothpaste specifically for children because a toothpaste with fluoride when they are too young to swish and spit will be swallowed. The level of fluoride in toothpaste is much higher than in the water supply, fluoride if swallowed often, can be harmful. As a child gets older, you can use children’s toothpaste with fluoride, but only a pea size amount.

Toothpaste Conclusion

With the multitude of toothpaste choices comes the responsibility of choosing the right toothpaste for you and your family. It is important to use the toothpaste that suits your needs. Brush at least twice a day to stave off tooth decay as well periodontal disease. Luckily, for dentists and patient, with all these choices a toothpaste can be custom selected for each individuals needs.

 

We all have heard the old saying, “We are what we eat”, but did you know it is just as important for your teeth as it is your body? Your choice of drink has a big impact on your waistline as well as your dental health. Most of the focus regarding the consumption of sugary soft drinks, sport drinks, and fruit juices surrounds obesity and diabetes. It is important to realize that these same drinks can contribute to tooth decay and possibly dental pain if untreated.

The average American consumes over 50 gallons of soda and other sweetened drinks each year. Statistics show that almost 20 percent of all children under the age of 19 have untreated cavities. The sweetened soft drinks and the like are wreaking havoc on our dental health. They work by constantly washing your mouth with sugar and acid allowing for the perfect acidic environment and constant supply of sugar for the bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria then produce more acids that lead to tooth decay by dissolving the enamel that protects our teeth. Sugar also dries your mouth out and makes you thirstier, causing you to drink much larger sized beverages to satisfy your thirst.

Worst Drinks for Your Dental Health

Soft Drinks

The most obvious of the bad drinks for you. This is probably not new information to anyone. Soft drinks are bad for you for two reasons. One is the sugar, but the other is the acidity. Carbonated drinks like Coke and Pepsi use phosphoric acid in their ingredients (Mountain Dew and Sprite use citric acid). The acid breaks down the enamel in our teeth. The enamel is the outer protective layer of our teeth and it also gives us an attractive, shiny smile.

Sports Drinks 

These drinks include Gatorade, flavored water, as well as others. These drinks are not acidic like soda but these come with a double does of sugar. Most of these drinks are great for their intended purpose…recovery from activity. These drinks are

Sports Drinks Marielaina Perrone DDS

Change Drinking Habits for Better Dental Health

generally not used for their intended purpose of severe re hydration, they are consumed as a regular beverage. Over time, when too often consumed, they can easily stain your teeth and cause tooth decay.

Fruit and Energy Drinks

Fruit drinks, and beverages like red bull, also pose a threat to your pearly whites. These drinks are also damaging to your teeth and need to be used in moderation as well. Fruit drinks like Hawaiian Punch and Sunny Delight are nearly as acidic as Coca-Cola. Combine the acid levels with the sugars already in the ingredients and you have a recipe for catastrophe.

How to Minimize the Damage from These Beverages

Brushing. Tooth brushing after every meal is the best way to decrease the chance of developing tooth cavities.

Rinsing. Swish your mouth out with water after drinking these beverages can help decrease the amount of acid contacting the teeth.

Chew Gum. Chewing sugar-free gum or xylitol gum will also help minimize the damage caused by these drinks by increasing saliva production.

Drink at Mealtime. Drink sugary and acidic beverages with meals, and never before bedtime unless you plan to brush your teeth before heading to bed.

Use a straw. This also helps decrease contact of these sugars and acids with the teeth.

-Other drinks that contribute to tooth decay (sugary, acidic, or both): dairy milk, soy milk, energy drinks, protein shakes, wine, beer, tea, coffee, smoothies, all fruit juices, some bottled waters.

Conclusion

Yes, we are what we eat! Be smart about what you choose for yourself and for your family. Many health issues can be circumvented by choosing healthier options and using your educated judgement to make the best choices. Use sweet drinks in moderation, and take care of your dental hygiene in between drinks. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings for better dental health.



Flossing is one of those things that everyone knows they should do but probably do not do regularly or correctly. Flossing, along with brushing is one of the most important things you can do to keep your smile healthy. Flossing is a simple 1-2 minute activity that is recommended to after meals. Once it becomes part of your routine it becomes an easy habit to keep. Everyone should floss at least once a day. The most important time of day to floss is before bedtime. When you sleep, saliva flow slows down and if food is left in between teeth, bacteria have a solid 8 hours to break teeth down with their acids without worry of being rinsed away by saliva.

Signs You are Not Flossing Properly?

-Bleeding gums upon brushing or flossing. If your gums are bleeding when brushing or flossing you have a form of periodontal disease called gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible once you are regularly brushing, flossing, and go for regular professional cleanings. If the supporting tissues surrounding your teeth begin to breakdown then you have a more advanced form of periodontal disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis is not reversible without intervention.

-Build up of plaque and food debris along gum line and between teeth. Flossing is able to reach areas that brushing alone can not reach. Lack of flossing will lead to tooth cavities in between teeth (also called interproximal decay). A good tip is to use a disclosing solution before brushing and flossing. It will color your plaque a color like bright purple. This will give adults and children a good visual to see what areas they might be missing.

Flossing the proper way

Flossing – The Proper Technique

Proper Flossing Technique

-Start with about 18-24 inches of floss. Then wind a good portion of the floss around each middle finger. Make sure to leave an inch or two of floss to use for the actual flossing of your teeth.

-Hold the floss tight between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up and down between your teeth. Do not shoeshine side to side as you can wear notches into the teeth over time. Some teeth with tight contacts may be difficult to floss thru. Try using a thinner Teflon type of floss such as Glide. Be diligent and make sure to get in between the tight spaces.

-Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth one by one. It is important to ensure you go below the gumline. Never try to snap the floss in between the teeth as this may injure the gum tissues.

-Make sure to use clean sections of floss as you advance around your mouth.

-To remove the floss, use the same up and down movement to bring the floss up and away from the teeth.

Best Types Of Floss

Depending upon your particular needs, there are many types of floss to choose from:

-Dental tape is great for teeth with space between,

-woven yarn floss is for periodontal problem areas,

-thin Teflon floss is for tight contacting teeth,

-fluoride floss is for people who are prone to cavities between teeth,

-Stain removing floss is for smokers and heavy tea/ coffee drinkers,

-all in one or threader floss is for flossing under bridgework.

Any flavor or type of floss that you feel comfortable using and use regularly is fine.

What if I find it hard to floss properly?

Let’s face it, flossing requires dexterity and work for all of us. Under some conditions or even as we age, we may lose some of our natural dexterity. This does not give you a free pass to avoid flossing. There are various aids on the market to deal with this problem. The most popular of these products are called flossers. They allow anyone to floss

Flosser - Reach Access

Flossing Using the Reach Access Flosser

their teeth easily with little to no effort.

-Wishbone type flossers- allow you to wind your own floss onto the holder, maneuver into position, floss.

-Reach access flossers- come with pre- threaded disposable floss ends, even easier to use than the previous type, just bite down, it snaps between the teeth, floss.

-disposable small plastic handled floss, (usually come in a large bag of 100 or so)

-Hummingbird, electric type flosser

There you have it, an easy guide to flossing to help maintain your oral hygiene and your smile for years to come!

 



Scaling and root planing is one of the most conservative and effective procedures to treat periodontal disease before it progresses. Scaling is the removal of calculus (commonly called tartar) and plaque that attach to the tooth surfaces. Scaling and root planing cleans between the gums and the teeth along the roots. Scaling and root planing specifically targets the areas below the gum line (along the root).

Scaling and root planing are sometimes referred to as a deep dental cleaning. Scaling involves removal of built up plaque at the gum line using either manual hand instruments or an ultrasonic cleaning tool (the vibrations break up the tartar and plaque). During root planing, your dentist or hygienist will be gently cleaning the roots of your teeth, and removing any rough spots along the roots and teeth. These rough spots tend to be a trap for bacteria and plaque. Plaque is far more likely to stick to rough surfaces. As the bacteria builds up in the form of plaque it creates a sticky surface for even more bacteria to accumulate. The root surface is made smooth in a process called root planing. Root planing removes any remaining tartar and smooths

Root Planing and scaling

Scaling and Root Planing

irregular areas of the root surface. This procedure is usually performed using local anesthesia, because the roots of teeth are unprotected by enamel and are very sensitive. Your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb your mouth before starting the procedure. Local anesthetic should prevent you from feeling discomfort during the root planing and scaling. Instead, you’ll just feel the pressure of the instruments in your mouth.

It usually takes more than one visit to complete scaling and root planing. Since all of that deep cleaning can leave your teeth pretty sensitive, the dentist or hygienist will only do one part your mouth at a time. The number of treatments can depend on how severe your periodontal disease is and your personal oral hygiene habits. It generally takes 2 visits to complete the scaling and root planing procedure. You will schedule your follow up appointments about 1 week apart from each other. It will also be recommended that you schedule more frequent cleanings (every 3-4 months) after scaling and root planing to help prevent the return of gum disease.

Why is Scaling and Root Planing necessary?

Scaling and root planing actually helps gums heal. The gum tissues will have an easier time reattaching themselves to a smoother root surface than a rough one. The smoother surface also helps keep dental plaque from attacking the tooth’s root surface. This makes it far easier to maintain the gum tissue following treatment. Scaling and root planing has been shown to help prevent periodontal disease from spreading and it can also reverse the signs of ginigvitis (the earliest form of periodontal disease).

Following Scaling and Root Planing Treatment

Once the scaling and root planing is completed, oral hygiene preventive care is necessary to keep gums healthy. Periodontal disease can not be cured but it can be held at bay with proper oral hygiene techniques and practices. Brushing and flossing will help fight the dental plaque that is constantly forming around teeth. Antibacterial rinses, such as Peridex, and stannous fluoride rinses help keep bad bacteria at bay. Tartar dissolving products such as Periogen will help keep teeth cleaner between cleanings and allow for greater healing to occur. Regular dental examinations and visits to your hygienist are required to clean areas we are unable to.

Risks of Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing can introduce harmful bacteria into the bloodstream through the process. Gum tissue can also be at risk of infection. You may need to take antibiotics before and after surgery if you have a condition that puts you at high risk for a severe infection or if infections are particularly dangerous for you. You may need to take antibiotics for the following reasons:

-Have certain heart problems that place you at increased to get a heart infection called endocarditis.

-Have a weakened immune system.

-Had recent major surgeries or have man made body parts, such as an artificial hip or heart valve.

A simple, conservative procedure like scaling and root planing can reduce periodontal disease’s effects and restore the gum tissue to a healthy state. Without proper treatment, periodontal disease will progress. It will progress past the gingivitis stage into periodontitis. Periodontitis is not reversible like gingivitis. Remember: Once gum tissue is lost, it doesn’t grow back. The earlier you treat gum disease, the better chance you have for recovery. To promote healing, stop all use of tobacco. Smoking or using spit tobacco reduces your ability to fight infection of your gums and delays healing. The earlier you start treating gum disease, the better your chances of being able to take care of the problem without surgery and the lower your risk of losing any teeth. So make an appointment to see your dentist today and put an end to your periodontal disease.