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A good oral hygiene regimen often includes tooth brushing multiple times a day along with flossing but did you know there is more you could be doing? While brushing and flossing are very effective adding tongue brushing to your regimen can kick your dental hygiene into high gear. Neglecting to brush your tongue at least once per day can leave behind a lot of harmful bacteria that can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease, and even bad breath. Our tongues provide a perfect environment for bacteria to live and grow. It has a rough surface allowing the bacteria to hide and prosper. This bacteria if left alone will spread throughout your mouth even if you constantly brush.

Will Tongue Cleaning Improve Our Breath?

Tongue brushing will be an effective way to maintain clean, fresh breath. Gum, mints, and mouthwashes only mask or hide our bad breath for a short period of time. The key to eliminating bad breath (halitosis) is to eliminate the oral bacteria causing it.

The correct steps for tongue cleaning include:

-Choosing The Right Tool For The Job. You have three choices for cleaning your tongue.

1. Tongue Scraper. A tongue scraper is the traditional method for properly cleaning the tongue. Tongue scrapers can be made from plastic or metal. Simple to use, place the edge of the tool on the back of your tongue, and gently pull the scraper forward gently removing bacteria and food debris.

2. Standard Toothbrush. The disadvantage of using a regular toothbrush on the tongue is that the bristles are designed to clean the smooth surfaces of your teeth. Your tongue is a rough surface with many tiny crevices, and regular toothbrush bristles may not do a thorough cleaning job. Recent research studies have shown that a standard toothbrush reduced bad breath by 45 % while a tongue scraper reduced it by almost 75 % The study measured levels of volatile sulfur compounds in the mouth).

3. Tongue Brush with bristles designed to clean out the crevices of the tongue.

Using Your Tongue Cleaner

Tongue cleaning can be done before or after brushing. It is important to be gentle as our tongues can be quite sensitive. Steps should include:

-Begin by cleaning the back of your tongue, and work your way forward.

-Scrape and clean the entire top and side surfaces of your tongue, not just the center.

-If you use a tongue brush, move it the same way you moved the tongue cleaner from the back of the tongue to the front of the tongue. You may have to use this method a few times in order to adequately clean your entire tongue.

-Rinse the tongue brush or tongue scraper off after each use it to remove bacteria and any food debris from the areas of the tongue you cleaned.

-Rinse your mouth after cleaning (preferably an antibacterial mouthwash like Listerine) your tongue.

Tongue Cleaning Conclusion

Maintaining good oral hygiene can have long lasting health effects. Adding tongue cleaning to this regimen will only improve your oral hygiene as well as freshen your breath. Speak to your dentist if you need any further tongue cleaning tips.

Dental implants have been long advocated to replace missing teeth but a more recent dental implant technique can help even more people in a cost effective way. For those patients with no teeth or failing teeth, the traditional treatment has been placement of a full removable denture. These removable dentures came with many compromises like poor fit, denture sores, and inability to enjoy the foods we know and love. A newer technique has been developed using only 4 dental implants strategically placed to give support and stability to a traditional removable denture. This procedure is known as all on 4 dental implants.

What Is The All On 4 Dental Implant Procedure?

The All on 4 Dental Implants procedure was developed in the 1990′s by Nobel Biocare. The all on 4 dental implants system has allowed for a variety of patients who, for various reasons, were not considered good candidates for traditional dental implants to now become candidates.

The All on 4 Dental Implants technique uses 4 dental implants per arch (upper or lower).  The dental implants in the back are placed on an angle to take maximum advantage of the existing bone structure. Specially designed dental implants were created that could support the immediate fitting of replacement teeth. This treatment is attractive to those with loose dentures or those in need of full upper and/or lower restorations. With the All on 4 dental implants procedure, qualified patients receive just four dental implants and a full set of new upper or lower replacement teeth in just one appointment. This usually able to be done without the need for dental bone grafts.  The real attraction to the all on 4 dental implants procedure is how quickly permanent dental implants can be placed. This allows patients the ability to leave the same day with a denture that is fixed in place and stabilized by the dental implants.

Traditionally, the  approach to restoring a full arch of teeth (either upper or lower) usually involved dental bone grafts, six or more dental implants, and as much as 18 months of treatment. In that time, the patient would be wearing an interim denture while the dental bone grafts and dental implants heal and integrate into the bone. This can be very expensive, time consuming, and uncomfortable for a patient to continuously go back for treatment.

Dental Implants Explained

Dental implants are an artificial tooth root (usually made of titanium) that a periodontist or oral surgeon places into your jaw to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, support  a bridge, or support a denture (making it more comfortable and secure).

Dental implants are an ideal option for people in generally good oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, fracture or decay. Dental implants are actually more tooth saving than traditional crowns and bridges, since dental implants do not cut down healthy teeth or rely on adjacent teeth for support.

Adequate bone, and good overall health will give you the ideal prognosis for ideal oseointegration, (the way bone attaches and fills in around the dental implant for strength and stability). Dental implants are intimately connected with the underlying bone and gum tissues in the mouth. So, proper fit, good occlusion, and excellent oral hygiene are necessary for long term success. With technique and material advances, dental bone grafts are now more successful than ever and can be used to augment your natural bone. Periodontal disease, diabetes, bleeding problems, etc. can cause difficulty in placement, healing and longevity of the dental implants. Be upfront with your dentist regarding health issues so that the proper steps can be taken to give you the highest chance of success. There is an increased risk of failure in patients who are smokers. For this reason, dental implants are frequently placed only after a patient has stopped smoking.

Benefits Of All On 4 Dental Implants

The benefits include the following:

-Immediate results. Patients experience a dramatic improvement in chewing ability, teeth stability and overall comfort right away.

-Improve your cosmetic appearance.

-Renewed Lease On Life. You’ll have greater comfort and confidence when smiling, speaking, and eating. You will look better. You will feel better.

-Ability to eat the foods you enjoy again without worry. An all on 4 denture will increse biting force by as much as 70% or more over a traditional removable denture.

-Allow you to taste your foods properly. You can enjoy food again, and not be fearful of losing your denture when you eat.

-Get a long lasting smile.

-Eliminate possible future health issues from teeth that are failing.

-Dental hygiene becomes much easier with fewer areas to keep clean. Just brush and floss regularly, and visit your dentist for routine dental cleanings. Simply treat them like regular, natural teeth.

-No need for denture adhesives to keep your denture in place.

-Prevent future bone deterioration.

-Ability to restore your facial features and remove some wrinkles around the mouth.

All On 4 Dental Implants Conclusion

All dentistry is done on the basis of helping the patient function and smile fully without worry. The all on 4 dental implants technique does that and more. For many with failing teeth or already in dentures it can open a whole new world for them that they did not believe could ever exist again. If you are considering this procedure, contact your dentist for a full evaluation and chances are your new smile is closer to reality than you think.

Dental Hygiene - The practice of keeping the mouth, teeth, and gums clean and healthy to prevent oral disease, by regular brushing and flossing and visits to a dentist.

Halloween time is a fun time for the whole family…the weather begins to turn, leaving cooler weather for lots of quality family time. It also means its time to pick out Halloween costumes for the kids and family as well as looking forward to collecting bags full of candy from the neighbors and at school. In those bags of candy lies an unsuspecting hazard…Sugar! Sugar consumption without proper dental hygiene leads to tooth decay.

But this time does not have to be a time being scared of possible dental issues following Halloween. It can give parents and children alike a chance to learn new dental hygiene tricks to maintain their dental health throughout the year.

Dental Hygiene Tips

By following the dental hygiene tips below, parents can help prevent tooth decay for their trick or treaters while teaching them good dental hygiene habits:

1. Be Selective. Not all of the Halloween treats are scary. A good dental hygiene tip is to encourage kids to eat candy that melts fast and can be eaten quickly. Try to avoid gooey, sticky sweets (like caramels) that can linger on in the mouth and on the teeth. This will allow the bacteria in the mouth to produce more acid which will cause tooth decay. Remind kids after eating any sugary candy to brush their teeth or at the very least rinse their mouths out with water. This will lessen the amount of time the sugar stays in contact with the teeth. A really good idea might be to buy a new toothbrush that is Halloween related as a final “treat”.

2. Hide the excess candy. Do not just leave the Halloween candy around the house after the Halloween trick or treating is over. Store it in a secret place out of reach from kids and adults.

3. Avoid grazing. If you maintain dental hygiene tip #2 this should not be an issue. The idea is not to just keep picking at the candy throughout the day. This reduces the time the sugars are in the mouth decreasing chance of tooth decay. A better idea is to hold back candy and use it as an after meal treat. Then have your child immediately brush and rinse to neutralize the sugar and acid production. Another option, if you cannot brush or rinse is to give them a sugar free xylitol gum. The gum will help increase salivary flow which will also help to neutralize the acids in the mouth.

4. Eat a Healthy Meal first. Have children not fill up on snacks and Halloween candy but fill up on a healthy nutritious meal first. This will give them less temptation to overdo their candy consumption. This is a good dental hygiene tip for all year and not just Halloween time.

So there you have it, a few easy dental hygiene tricks to allow you and your family to fully enjoy the Halloween time. Candy is not necessarily the enemy, the enemy is not maintaining a diligent dental hygiene regimen. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.

Use of an anti bacterial mouthwash can be an important part of everyone’s dental hygiene. Many people have been instructed to brush and floss regularly but did you know that using an anti bacterial mouthrinse can be just as important? Walking down the aisle of any grocery or drug store can be quite confusing as there are a ton of options.

Types Of Mouthwash

-Therapeutic Mouthwash. This type of mouthwash is meant to fight off dental diseases like tooth decay and periodontal disease. These will have anti bacterial and anti plaque (tartar control) properties. By reducing plaque and tartar you will decrease the risk of periodontal disease as well as decrease gum inflammation. They may also contain fluoride which will help in the fight against tooth decay.

-Cosmetic Mouthwash. These include agents to freshen your breath. They can also include whitening agents. Generally, these mouthwashes do not include any therapeutic agents.

Therapeutic Mouthwash Advantages

-Mouthwash With Fluoride. Fluoride mouthwashes have the ability to possibly help decrease the risk of tooth decay. There have been numerous research studies over the years to prove that fluoride can strengthen and reduce the breakdown of enamel thereby reducing the possibility of tooth cavities. This will not work for all but has been proven to be a benefit for many. Some fluorides are also good antibacterials and help fight periodontal disease (example – stannous fluoride).

-Periodontal Disease Fighter. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque from bacteria and food that sticks to teeth. As the bacteria feed on the food particles they release acids that will break down the bone and cause inflammation of the gum tissue. Our body responds and causes bone loss and inflamed, infected gums. An antibacterial mouthwash may help prevent periodontal disease by decreasing the amount of bad bacteria in the mouth. There is also type of rinse (Periogen) that has been found to dissolve tartar, stains, and plaque. This rinse is a great way to keep your teeth from rebuilding tartar between cleanings. This is a powder that can be diluted with water in a waterpik and tends to be even more effective if a capful of your fluoride rinse is added to it.

-Help Keep Pregnancy Gingivitis At Bay. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene at all times but for certain groups it is even more important. For pregnant women it can be critical to control oral health. During pregnancy, a woman’s hormones are elevated which makes them more susceptible to developing periodontal disease if their dental hygiene is not maintained. Periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked to low weight and pre term babies.

-Help Diabetics. Patients with systemic diseases that make them more susceptible to infection like diabetics need to reduce the bacteria they are ingesting. It is even more critical to maintain good oral hygiene and mouthwashes are definitely recommended for those patients.

Therapeutic Mouthwash Disadvantages

-Canker Sore Irritant. This is caused when the alcohol content in your mouthwash is too high. It will irritate the canker sore and make it quite uncomfortable to use.

-Cover Up For Bad Breath. Use of a mouthwash can definitely lead to fresher breath but it is usually only for a short period of time. Only some mouthwashes are formulated to actually neutralize odor causing chemicals (example Closys). Not maintaining your dental hygiene, or chemicals from your diet are usually the underlying factors in most people’s bad breath but the mouthwash will just mask it for a short time.

-Alcohol Based Mouthwash. Studies (Listerine) have shown that rinses with alcohol, if used as directed can actually cause saliva production to be stimulated in a semi dry mouth. The alcohol in mouth rinses has historically been used as a way to cause the essential oils (the bacteria killing aspect) in the rinse to keep from separating out in the liquid, and staying mixed. No one wants to rinse with something oily feeling. There are now quite a few alternatives to alcohol to do the job, so alcohol free rinses have become more prevalent. Many people do not like the burning sensation of alcohol, and in people with little to no saliva flow, alcohol based rinses can be quite uncomfortable. The choice is based on personal preferences.

Mouthwash Use Conclusion

Using a mouthwash can be another tool to keep your mouth healthy and free of periodontal disease. If you decide to use a mouthwash as part of your dental hygiene routine remember to continue brushing and flossing as well. They work together not separately. There are a lot of mouthwashes on the market today, talk to your dentist to see which one is right for you.