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Dental Hygiene Top 10:

1) Brush Properly. Believe it or not there is a wrong way to brush for proper dental hygiene.. It is important to brush after breakfast in the morning to remove plaque and bacteria that have accumulated over night (and from your morning meal) and to brush last thing at night because saliva (which helps to wash the cavity-causing plaque off teeth) dries up as we sleep. Toothbrushes should come with a small head and very soft bristles. Your dental hygiene all starts with proper brushing.

2) Floss your teeth at least once a day if not more. This will keep plaque from building up. Use dental floss to clean in between the teeth where plaque collects. Floss before you brush to remove any plaque or food particles. It is important to floss regularly because about 90% of cavities occur between teeth. Hold floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers and guide it between your teeth using a gentle sliding action. When the floss reaches where the tooth meets the gum, curve it into a V shape against the tooth and gently slide it up and down between the gum and the tooth, Do Not” Shoeshine” (rubbing floss side to side ) as this motion can cause notching in the root. Repeat for the other side and every tooth. An inter dental brush can be used for larger gaps.

3) Rinse your mouth with antiseptic mouthwash twice a day. Make sure you do not swallow it. Discuss with your dentist which rinse is best for your oral condition and dental hygiene maintenance. Listerine is a great product with many combinations to suit almost every need. It is also one of the only rinses backed by years of scientific research.  The benefits of a mouthwash are that they can reach areas not touched by brushing alone. Rinse twice a day. Once in the morning and last thing at night and always after brushing.

4) Limit your sugary foods to avoid getting tooth cavities. Think about what you are eating. Do you want the best or worst foods for your dental and overall health? If you do choose a sugary or high acid food, chew a sugar free gum or xylitol gum. This will increase salivary flow in your mouth which will get rid of lingering sugar and neutralize acids faster. The bacteria will not cause decay in a clean neutral environment.

Dental hygiene

Dental Hygiene – Fluoride Toothpaste

5) Use a fluoride toothpaste. A fluoride tooth paste will help strengthen your enamel, making it tougher for bacterial acids to break down. Toothpaste also helps control plaque build up and keeps your teeth white and healthy!

6) Electric Toothbrushes. These are recommended by most dentists for their superior performance when compared to old fashioned manual brushing. Electric toothbrushes tend to have small brush heads that cup around the tooth and are faster and more efficient in cleaning areas of the mouth where bacteria and plaque collect. They are great for people who brush aggressively, as they brush for you. They are also easier if you have limited manual dexterity. Many also have a timer so you know you are brushing for the correct amount of time. Using an electric toothbrush will make all your dental hygiene efforts even easier to attain.

7) Eat your vitamins. Maintain a healthy diet to give your teeth and oral tissues (bone and gum tissues) the nutrients they need. Make sure you have enough B vitamins and calcium to keep your teeth strong! This is often overlooked in most dental hygiene programs.

Dry Mouth

Dental Hygiene – Biotene

8) Avoid Dry Mouth. Saliva provides an essential defense against tooth decay and periodontal disease by washing and rinsing the bacteria in the mouth. Patients who experience decreased salivary flow generally have increased dental health problems. Chronic dry mouth or xerostomia could be a side effect to certain medications or a symptom of a systemic disease. Your dentist can recommend several products to combat this problem. The leader in this category is Biotene. Without proper salivary flow or moistness in oral cavity your dental hygiene will suffer.

9) Clean Your Tongue. A major cause of bad breath can actually come from bacteria building up on your tongue with a high percentage of it accumulating at the back, making it hard to reach. Use a proper tongue scraper every morning to remove tongue plaque and freshen your breath.

dental hygiene - orabrush

dental hygiene – orabrush

A daily tongue scraping will help remove harmful bacteria. The use of a tongue scraper is more effective than brushing your tongue with a toothbrush. A good example of a tongue scraper for dental hygiene is the orabrush.

10) Change your toothbrush out regularly. Did you know you should change your toothbrush every two to three months for good dental hygiene? If you do not then bacteria will collect on the bristles and you will transfer them back into your mouth. Also over time the bristles will become worn and ineffective. The same rules apply for electric toothbrushes. If your toothbrushes are wearing out before two months then you are probably brushing too harshly. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist to show you the proper way of brushing to maintain proper dental hygiene. Always chose a toothbrush with soft not hard bristles as hard bristles can cause damage to the teeth and your gums.

Follow the steps above along with regular visits to your dentist and you will be on your way to having great dental hygiene.

dental hygiene

Dental Hygiene – Listerine



Periodontal disease (or commonly called gum disease) is a very serious and chronic dental infection of the periodontal tissues that can result in the breakdown of the tissue as well as the loss of bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. This dental infection disease begins when bacteria and plaque form a sticky bio film on your teeth and causes inflammation of the periodontal tissue.  Periodontal disease will continue a downward progression if this is not resolved by maintaining proper dental care and hygiene. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Scientific studies show that somewhere between 75% and 95% of all adults are suffering from some stage of periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease and tooth decay (cavities) are caused by different types of bacteria, and are considered to be two separate and distinct conditions, however, you can suffer from both issues. Poor oral hygiene promotes the risk of both cavities and periodontal disease. Swollen and receding gums open up the more vulnerable areas of the tooth…The root areas, which, are not protected by enamel and can break down quickly to form root decay.  On the flip side, in patients with significant tooth decay, the broken down teeth allow for food trap areas which keep periodontal tissue chronically inflamed.

Gingivitis

Periodontitis

Stages of Periodontal Disease

The earliest stage of periodontal disease is gingivitis (or simply inflammation of the gum tissues). This is the most mild form of periodontal disease. Symptoms include red, swollen (or puffy) and inflamed gums due to plaque-bacteria build-up. The gums may also bleed easily during brushing or eating of hard foods. During the earliest of stages the periodontal disease process it can be reversed thru proper brushing, flossing and professional dental care to remove the excess bacterial plaque. If the required oral hygiene does not occur, the periodontal disease then progresses  to the next stage. The majority of people with this early form of periodontal disease, do not even know a dental problem exists. This is a crucial period for the patient, as the condition can be reversed (since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place have not yet been adversely affected) at this point if it is recognized, diagnosed, and properly treated by a dental professional. Gingivitis is commonly seen during puberty, pregnancy, times of high stress, and menopause, as raging hormones can make you more prone to inflammation. As for the rest of the population, poor dental hygiene is generally the most common cause, followed by medication and certain medical conditions.

Periodontitis

As the periodontal disease progresses it is now becoming harder to treat and control. The difference between gingivitis and periodontitis is that gingivitis only infects the gum tissue that surrounds the teeth while the periodontal disease process also invades the bone that provides support and stability for the teeth. The bacteria eventually invades past the initial the gum line area and destruction begins to the point that gums may begin to separate or pull away from the teeth (taking away support and connective fibers with it). What results are called periodontal pockets. These pockets allow for bacteria to invade below the gum line.  They eventually become loaded with toxic plaque and bacteria that moves and works its way deeper. It begins to erode the bone below the gum line. A patient’s bite will be affected (as the teeth shift or loosen) by the lost support which then affects chewing and other daily functions.

Advanced Periodontitis

As the periodontal disease process advances further, the fibers and bone that provide support for the teeth are broken down and  destroyed. At least half (50%) of the bone support (if not more) will have broken down at this late stage of periodontal disease. It does not grow back naturally. Teeth may begin to loosen. Deep root cleanings and surgical intervention are typical at this stage. This may include cleaning with a periodontal microscope, (Perioscope), grafting of tissue, bone, placement of growth factors, (Emdogain), periodontal antibiotic regimen (Periostat), placement of antibiotics directly into pockets, (Arestin), open periodontal flap surgery, and, possibly even tooth removal.

How Do I Know If I Have Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease can happen to a person of any age. It is most common among adults. Remember, if periodontal disease is detected in its earliest stages it can be reversed so it is important to see your dentist right away if you notice any of the following symptoms:

-Gums that are red, puffy or inflamed, or tender.

Periodontitis

X-Ray showing Periodontal Disease Progression

-Gums that bleed easily during routine brushing or flossing.

-Teeth that appear longer due to recession of gum tissue.

-Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite or chew.

-Pus coming from between your teeth and gums

-Bad breath odor or bad taste in your mouth.

Treatment of Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease

Arestin use in Periodontal Disease

The earliest stages of periodontal disease are reversible. This is accomplished thru proper brushing, flossing, and maintaining a regular schedule with your dentist. A professional cleaning by your dentist or hygienist is the only way to remove plaque and tartar especially below the gum line. The hygienist will clean (also called scaling) your teeth to remove the tartar and plaque buildup from above and below the gum line. If the periodontal disease condition worsens, then a root planing procedure may be necessary. Root planing helps smooth irregularities on the roots to make it more difficult for plaque to deposit and stick there. Also makes it easier for you to keep your teeth clean at home. Treatment may also include use of antibiotics.

If you have advanced periodontitis, your gum tissue may not respond to nonsurgical treatments and good oral hygiene. In that case, your periodontitis treatment may require dental surgery. This surgical intervention may include:

-Pocket Reduction Surgery (also called Flap surgery). In this procedure, your periodontist makes tiny incisions in your gum so that a section of gum tissue can be lifted back, exposing the roots for more effective scaling and planing. Because periodontitis often causes bone loss, the underlying bone may be recontoured before the gum tissue is sutured back in place. The procedure generally takes from one to three hours and is performed under local anesthesia.

Soft tissue grafts. Gum tissue is often lost as part of the periodontal disease process making your teeth appear longer than normal. You may need to have damaged tissue replaced to return your cosmetic appearance back to normal. This procedure can help reduce further gum recession, cover exposed roots and give your teeth a more cosmetically pleasing appearance.

Bone graft. This procedure is needed when periodontitis has destroyed the bone surrounding your tooth. The bone graft helps prevent tooth loss by holding your tooth in place. It also serves as a platform for the regrowth of natural bone.

-Antibiotics and medicaments – A wide array of antibacterial rinses(Peridex), antibiotics taken in pill form, (Periostat) or localized placement directly into the affected pockets(Arestin), can aide in and promote healing of the affected gum tissue.

-Guided tissue regeneration. This allows the regrowth of bone that was destroyed by bacteria. In one approach, your dentist places a special piece of biocompatible fabric between existing bone and your tooth. The material prevents unwanted tissue from entering the healing area, allowing bone to grow back instead.

-Enamel matrix derivative application. Another technique involves the application of a specialized gel to a diseased tooth root. This gel contains the same proteins found in developing tooth enamel and stimulates the growth of healthy bone and tissue. An example of this is the use of emdogain.

To ensure a successful result following periodontal therapy, patient cooperation in maintaining excellent oral hygiene is essential. More frequent professional cleanings can help reduce the likelihood of the periodontal disease ever returning.

By scheduling regular checkups, early stage periodontal disease can be treated before it leads to a much more serious condition. If your periodontal disease is more advanced, treatment in the dental office will be required. Periodontal disease can be managed and controlled for most patients. Following a regular routine of brushing, flossing, and seeing your dentist should be enough for most to keep periodontal disease at bay.



Maintaining good oral hygiene is essential for healthy teeth and gums, but did you know that the kind of foods you eat can also help (or hurt) your oral health? Eating foods that are good for your teeth and being careful about those that are not is a key component to maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

Diet plays a very large role in the maintenance of our oral health and prevention of cavities. Changes can occur in your oral cavity as soon as you eat certain food or drinks. Bacteria in the mouth convert the sugars in the food we eat into acids. The acids are what start to attack the enamel on teeth, beginning the decay process. The more often we eat and snack, the more frequently we are exposing our teeth to the cycle of decay. A tooth’s biggest nemesis is acid, either directly contained in the food and drink, or produced by bacteria that thrive on sugar and convert it to acid. The mouth’s best friends are foods that are able to neutralize the acids, providing minerals and vitamins to allow for repair of tooth enamel and stimulate salivary flow.

How we eat is also just as important. In a recent study, researchers looked at more than 1,000 people (both male and female) between the ages of 18 and 30 for links between diet and tooth decay. They found that eating high-acid foods (such as fruits and their juices) throughout the day can harm a person’s teeth if no effort is made to counteract the effects (i.e. brushing, rinsing, and flossing).

Enamel is your teeth’s first defense against tooth decay. If the enamel on your teeth begins to erode or is damaged, you’re at an increased risk for tooth sensitivity and cavities. You can help strengthen your tooth enamel by eating foods high in calcium. Also, adding foods rich in vitamin D to your diet will allow you to better absorb the calcium that healthy teeth need.

Best Foods For Your Dental Health

Foods For Good Dental Health1) Calcium. Low-fat or fat-free dairy products without added sugar such as milk, cheese, and plain yogurt are calcium staples that don’t add unhealthy saturated fat to your diet. Hard cheese in particular also helps neutralize the acids found in foods that threaten tooth enamel. Also, cheese helps stimulate salivary flow, while its calcium helps replace vitamins and minerals leached from the teeth. Other good sources of calcium are green leafy vegetables like kale, bok choy, and even Brussels sprouts, which deliver a healthy boost of vitamin C, too.

2) Vitamin D. Egg yolks, mushrooms, and most fish are excellent sources of the vitamin D you need to absorb calcium, which builds and maintains healthy teeth.

3) Vitamin C. Red peppers and sweet potatoes can provide the vitamin C necessary for healthy gums. Citrus fruits like oranges are also high in vitamin C, but you have to be careful of their acidity.

4) High-fiber foods. Work like a detergent in the mouth, not only physically scrubbing the teeth, but also increasing salivary flow by requiring longer chewing times. Saliva is the mouth’s first line of defense against tooth decay, because it neutralizes acids that can damage teeth, and contains calcium and phosphates that help rebuild minerals leached away by bacterial acids. Juicy fruits and vegetables (Apples, pears, celery, and carrots are all good choices) also have a high water concentration that helps counteract their sugar content. High-fiber foods also lay a good foundation to the building of an overall healthy diet, so they are doubly beneficial. However, even a healthy food like an apple can expose teeth to damaging acid when eaten slowly. To reduce the impact of acid, brush your teeth before eating and drink water or rinse immediately after.

5)  Water. Water is indispensable when it comes to oral health. It’s the main component of saliva, and is important for both tooth and gum health. Water is valuable as the final rinsing agent for foods and sugary drinks. If the water is also fluoridated, it adds a secondary element in that it will strengthen the tooth enamel.

6) Xylitol. Sugar free gums of any kind can be very beneficial to dental health, because they stimulate salivary production and can help physically scrub your teeth while chewing. But Gum with Xylitolthose sweetened with xylitol (a type of sugar extracted from certain types of plants) can actually battle tooth decay. This occurs because xylitol works against mutans streptococci, the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Xylitol is available as a main ingredient for gums like Wrigley’s, Trident, or Epic brands.

7) Green and Black Teas. These contain poly phenols that interact with the bacteria that causes plaque. These poly phenols can kill or suppress bacteria, preventing them from growing or producing acid. The poly phenols in coffee also have cavity-fighting properties. Studies have also shown cocoa to have strong anti-mutans streptococci properties, although eating sugary chocolate bars is not very tooth friendly.

8) Nuts. Many nuts provide vitamins and minerals that help your teeth. These can include peanuts (vitamin D and calcium), almonds (high levels of calcium), cashews (increases salivary flow and helps clean teeth) and walnuts (fiber, folic acid, iron, thiamine, magnesium, iron, niacin, vitamin E, vitamin B6, potassium and zinc).

The Worst Foods for your Dental Health

1) Carbonated Sugary Soft Drinks. These types of drinks add so much sugar to our diets. The sugar content is bad for general body health as well as our teeth and gums. But teeth aren’t safe even for those who stick to diet drinks. Artificially sweetened soft drinks contain similar tooth eroding acids, such as phosphoric and citric. Even canned iced teas, which normally might be good for teeth, contain flavor-enhancing organic acids that can erode tooth enamel.

2)  Sport and Health Drinks. Advertised health drinks are filled with dangers for your teeth. Sports drinks are acidic and full of sugar. And vitamin waters can contain as much sugar as a regular size candy bar. Chewable vitamins are especially bad, because they contain concentrated acids that tend to stick to and between teeth.

Bad foods for teeth3)  Sticky Sweets. It is certainly not news that caramels and other gummy, sugary sweets are bad for teeth. It’s not just the sugar itself,  it is how long the teeth are exposed to that sugar. So while those caramels stick and cling tenaciously to tooth surfaces and crevices, hard candies and lollipops are also very bad. Ideally if you are to consume sugary sweets, you should brush and rinse right after eating them.

4) Dried fruits. Fresh grapes and plums are considered to be quite nutritious and good for you but if they are dried they are no longer considered as such. Although often advertised as healthy snacks, dried fruits like raisins, prunes and apricots, are very similar to caramels. Already sweet when fresh, their sugars are highly concentrated as the water is dried away, and their gummy texture can cling to teeth as much as gooey caramels. Even worse, the fruit is packed with non soluble cellulose fiber, which can bind and trap sugars on and around the tooth. This ends upm making it potentially worse than candies.

6) Carbohydrates. Many white starches, like white bread, white sugar, white rice, and French Fries can easily become lodged between teeth and in crevices of the teeth. These foods will not taste sweet on their own but the starches can begin converting to sugar very quickly. This occurs not only from the bacteria, but also by the by the enzymes in the saliva as part of the digestive process. Try brown rices and whole wheat pastas instead. these do not begin to break down until they get to your stomach.

7) Drinks and Foods High in Acid. Citrus fruits and drinks contain powerful citric acid. While oranges, lemons and grapefruit can be a healthy part of the diet, they should be consumed quickly, preferably as part of a meal, and the teeth should be rinsed well afterwards. Sucking on citrus fruits should be avoided. There is a common home remedy working its way around the internet using lemon wedges for at home DIY tooth whitening. This is not a smart remedy.

It can be very difficult to give up a food that you desire, but you do not have to stop eating sugary and acidic foods altogether. Most dentists would agree that any food can cause plaque which in turn will make you more susceptible to decay. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is key.

Here are a few tips if you crave something sugary or acidic:

-Moderation is the key. Enjoy it but do not go overboard.

-Eat it with different kinds of foods to help neutralize the acid before it does damage to your teeth and gums.

-Drink water to rinse away bacteria and any food particles that remain in the mouth.

It is also important to brush and rinse after eating. It is recommended though to wait 30 minutes to an hour after you have an acidic food or beverage because the acid weakens your tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to damage from brushing. Another option is to chew a piece of sugar-free gum for 20 minutes to neutralize saliva and to reduce plaque buildup. Following these tips (along with regular dental visits) will help keep your teeth healthy for years to come.

Best (and Worst) Foods for Best Dental Health
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White fillings are a dental restorative material used to restore function, integrity and morphology of missing tooth structure. The missing tooth structure can occur from cavities, external trauma, and also lost intentionally via preparation of the tooth by the dentist for the dental filling. The development of tooth colored or white fillings has provided the cosmetic dentist and patients with a far more cosmetic alternative to traditional metal fillings.

Because the white fillings can be blended and mixed, a skilled cosmetic dentist is able to precisely match the tooth color of the fillings with the natural color of your teeth. Thus, they are able to place fillings that are virtually undetectable. This means only you and your dentist will know you have these fillings. These fillings are commonly called composite resins after their ingredients. These resins are metal free and are composed of a variety of materials. The most popular ingredients include acrylic resin and powdered particles similar to glass.

Tooth colored white fillings are done in one visit, in a procedure much like that for metal amalgam fillings, except that a high intensity curing light is used to bond the composite material to the tooth. Most patients will select tooth-colored composite fillings when they have a new cavity. As the availability of white fillings has increased more and more patients are having their cavities filled with cosmetic tooth colored fillings.

Metal fillings do not bond with the tooth structure. They merely rested on it and provided a degree of protection but over time the margins will open causing bacteria to leak inside. This causes a new cavity to form. Decades of research has led us to know so much more about the interface Tooth Colored Fillingsbetween dentin and enamel. This has led scientists to discover new ways of bonding fillings to teeth to create a stronger, more sealed connection between filling and tooth and also to be more aesthetic.

Composite resins allow us to keep more of your natural tooth structure intact than amalgams. Most dentists believe in being as conservative as possible. The more natural tooth structure we maintain, the better teeth you will likely have in the future.

Mild sensitivity is felt by some patients following the placement of composite resin fillings. This is usually temporary in nature and resolves on its own, usually in a few days. The only caution that is usually mentioned is that coffee, tea, and other staining foods and beverages may discolor your white fillings over time. These restorations have been shown to last an average of 7-10 years. It is vital to see your dentist regularly so they can be evaluated at every visit for possible breakdown of the material or further cavity formation.

Dental bonding can provide dramatic, aesthetic results in a very short period of time, usually in one appointment. With dental bonding, we can:

-Close gaps or spaces between teeth.

-Restore decayed teeth.

-Change the contours of small, misshapen teeth.

-Repair chipped or cracked teeth.

-Cosmetic tooth color fillings.

-Replace old metal amalgam fillings with a cosmetic alternative.

-To protect an exposed root surface following recession of gums.dental bonding

Cosmetic dentists can shape and color a single tooth, or they can change your entire smile.