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Maintaining good oral and general health requires us to keep the bad bacteria out of our bodies. Many of us have bad habits carried over from childhood that introduce us Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDSto harmful bacteria throughout our days.

The Dirty Dozen

1. Fingernails – Throughout the course of the day, our hands come in contact with a lot of dirty items. It is recommended we wash our hands before we eat and throughout our day to avoid catching colds or the flu. However, even hand washing can miss bacteria that lurks under the fingernails. This bacteria can easily be introduced into the body through the mouth when biting our nails. The best thing to do is to quit the habit, but it you are unable to, try to keep your nails as clean as possible, use a nail brush and pay extra attention to them when washing your hands.

2. Cigarettes, Cigars, Pipes (and tobacco products in general) –  smoking makes the list for the pure danger it is to our oral and overall health. Smoking  brings nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide into our mouths and bodies. Tobacco use is a leading cause in the development of oral cancer.

3. Soda Cans - Who hasn’t wiped a can off with a towel before drinking from it? The answer is, most of us! Think of all the people who handle cans and all of the dirty places a can may have been in, and now take a minute to clean it off before putting your mouth on it.  The top of a can is just a dirty place chock full of bacteria.

4. Pens/Pencils – This is a childhood habit that unfortunately continues into adulthood for many. Kids in school love to play with pens and pencils while at their desk idling away the hours at school. So the pens go from back pack to desk to falling on the floor and into our mouths and they are never cleaned. A good tip is to wipe down pens and pencils with an antibacterial wipe.

5. Double Dipping At A Party, and Birthday Cake - If someone double dips into a dip at a party they are introducing bacteria into the dip. This bacteria will then get passed onto everyone else that samples that dip throughout the evening. Now, think about how most people blow out birthday candles. They are pretty much, spitting all over the cake, especially kids. This will not only contribute to possible foodborne illnesses but also transmission of bacteria from person to person. A suggestion, take a lit candle off the cake and blow it out away from the direction of the cake.

6. Kissing –  The bacteria responsible for periodontal disease and tooth decay is transferrable. Luckily, by the time we are adults we have already been exposed to most of this type of bacteria. Obviously, this will not stop us from kissing our loved ones but be smart and proactive. Avoid kissing someone who is sick with a cough, a runny nose, or poor oral hygiene.

7. Toothbrushes – Studies have found that flushing the toilet can spew bathroom-related bacteria into the air. For this reason, it is a good idea to store your toothbrush in a cabinet, or covered, and far away from the potential contaminants.

Cosmetic Dentist Marielaina Perrone DDS8. Water Bottle – Keeping healthy also means staying hydrated and drinking plenty of refreshing water. However, if you are using a reusable plastic water bottle you should be aware coliform (example E. coli) bacteria can coat the inside of the plastic bottle if not cleaned properly. Choose a wide-mouthed bottle for easier cleaning and drying, and choose a hard material that won’t get scratched during vigorous cleaning (example stainless steel). Along with regular washing, soak in a solution of bleach and water for two minutes once per week (and rinse and dry completely). As a side note, BPA is released from plastic bottles into the water, especially when the bottle gets heated, such as when left in the hot car or delivery truck. Try drinking from BPA free containers or glass.

9. Sharing Lipstick, Chapstick etc. – Whether it is sharing with friends or trying on a lipstick at the makeup counter. The bacteria, and viral buildup can be immense. Herpes can be transferred easily in this way. It is far safer to try the lipstick sample on the back of your hand to see its color.

10. Bar Snacks – These are notorious for being chock full of bacteria. Hand after hand reaching into the bowl. Many of those hands being unwashed especially after frequent trips to the bathroom. Steer clear of bar snacks unless you see the bartender put a fresh bowl out and you are the first one to indulge.

11. Biting off Tags, and Tearing Open Packages with Teeth - This may seem like an unlikely part of the list but clothing, and other items with tags,  ketchup packets, chip bags, etc. have been handled by many dirty hands. Most of us do not hesitate to put a bacteria ridden ketchup packet between our teeth and rip it open. There are so many items we place into our mouths without ever even thinking about how potentially dirty they could be.

12. Eating Food Off The Floor – Last but certainly not least, do not follow the 3 second rule! Any food that hits the floor should be thrown away. The floor is one of the dirtiest places in any location.

Conclusion

After reading the above list I’m sure you’ll think of quite a few other potentially dirty items that you may have exposed yourself to. Think about your hygiene, and the cleanliness of all items that go in your mouth, and you will keep yourself happier and healthier.

At home dental hygiene care is critical to having good dental health and studies have shown it is also linked to our overall health. The best way to get adults to maintain their

dental hygiene to teach them proper habits as kids. One of the simplest things we do as part of our dental hygiene regimen is brushing. But did you know most of us do not remove all the plaque and bacteria properly. Parents should help with brushing, and/or check to see that the child has done a good job.  There is a way to ensure your kids are removing all the plaque and bacteria while brushing. Dentists have been using dyes for years called disclosing solutions to show patients what they have been missing. Disclosing solutions are a powerful, effective learning tool.

 Options for Disclosing and Detecting Plaque

There are many different solutions available. These include:

-Red-cote Disclosing Solution and tablets. Red-Cote Disclosants highlight harmful bacteria and plaque on the tooth surface. By staining these areas red, it shows patients areas where more brushing and flossing are needed. It is non-toxic and comes in a cherry flavor. These dyes also cause a lingering stain on the tongue and sometimes, lips for hours. Therefore, use on the weekend to give more time for the red solution to dissipate

-2 tone Disclosing Solution. Cherry-flavored 2-Tone Disclosing Solution works safely and dramatically. Stains new plaque red and old plaque blue to identify areas continually missed. Dye washes away easily.

-GUM Plak-Chek. The Plak-Chek is a virtually invisible plaque disclosing system that works for both children and adults. This solution works under a special blue light which fluoresces the dye under light. In this system, the dye is invisible in natural light yet glows green on plaque covered tooth surfaces when illuminated by the hand held blue light. Kind of fun for kids, but more difficult to visualize and finish cleaning the remaining plaque.

-Listerine agent blue. This rinse can be used before or after tooth brushing. After rinsing with Listerine agent blue, kids will notice their teeth turning blue. This is important so kids can pay attention to removing all the blue tint as they brush. If they left any behind they know they need to go back and continue brushing. Works wonders for improving oral hygiene technique as well as self awareness for children of taking care of their own teeth. The blue discloser is not quite as “scary” looking as the bright red dyes.

Conclusion

Disclosing solutions are helpful tools to maintain good dental hygiene. Some tools will work better with different individuals. The key is to find what works for you and use it regularly. Once good habits are formed, and the proper techniques have been learned to keep your mouth it’s cleanest, your overall dental health will improve. Remember,your dental health effects your overall health. So, teach your kids how to be their healthiest from a young age. As always, visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings to ensure your optimal dental health.

Cranberries are a timeless traditional part of any family’s Thanksgiving day feast. But did you know they are also protectors of your teeth on this special holiday?

Studies have shown that cranberries can help as a defense against the harmful bacteria that causes tooth decay. During most Thanksgiving Day feasts, we consume large amounts of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, and desserts. These foods contain large amounts of carbohydrates and simple sugars that can increase our risk for tooth decay from the bacteria already present in our mouths. Tooth decay occurs as the bacteria feed on the sugars and carbohydrates releasing acids into your mouth that eat away at tooth enamel.

Where do Cranberries Come In?

The research team at Rochester Medical Center found that compounds naturally existing within the cranberry itself are able to make some of the bad bacteria (particularly Streptococcus Mutans) in our mouths vulnerable to destruction by the production of certain enzymes.

Work is now being done to isolate the particular compounds at work here. The hope is that tooth decay may meet a strong opponent in the very near future. Acid production responsible for cavities, periodontal disease, and a host of other dental problems could possibly be avoided.

Unfortunately, the cranberries at our dinner table do not do what the study proposes. These compounds within the cranberry would have to be drawn out of cranberries to be of any use. Cranberries are acid and high in sugar themselves, essentially negating the effects of the beneficial substances they contain. Research continues to convert these compounds into something usable for dental health.

Dental Health Tips For Thanksgiving

-Brush and floss your teeth after eating.

-Crack nuts with a nutcracker, not your teeth.

-Drink plenty of water to wash away the sugars, acid, and carbohydrates while eating.

Have A Happy and Safe Thanksgiving!

 

 

 

Bad breath or halitosis, results from poor maintenance of dental hygiene, chemical breakdown of food, and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by  unhealthy lifestyle habits. We all know how bad our breath is after eating onions or garlic for lunch, but did you know that your tongue can be a major cause of your bad breath?

Importance of Regularly Cleaning Your Tongue

Did you know that your tongue’s surface is the main breeding ground for harmful bacteria? These are the same bacteria that attack your teeth and gums causing tooth cavities and periodontal disease.  Bacteria  give off toxins in your mouth that in turn produce foul smelling gases.

Most people are aware of the importance of brushing and flossing but a simple “scraping” of your tongue twice a day can reduce bad breath odors. Studies have shown this can reach as high as a 75% reduction in odors emanating from the mouth.

A dental myth widely believed is that the stomach is the root cause of bad breath. Bad breath directly caused from the stomach is so rare that of a thousand people treated for bad breath not a single case was caused by underlying stomach issues.

Tooth brushing and most mouthwashes do nothing to remove oral debris and dead cells on the tongue, the root cause of bad breath. The most you can hope for from them, is to mask the bad breath for a short while. A combination of methods works best and this should include brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning. Tongue cleaning can show a huge improvement in one’s breath almost immediately.

Orabrush Marielaina Perrone DDS

Orabrush for a Cleaner Tongue

Tongue Cleaning: Did You Know?

-Combination of teeth brushing and tongue cleaning can reduce bad breath by as much as 85% Vs. tooth brushing alone.

-Tongue cleaning alone can reduce mouth odor by as much as 75%.

-Brushing alone, reduces mouth odor by as much as 25%.

-Tongue cleaning reduces the amount of bacteria, plaque, and dead cells on the tongue by as much as 40%

-Tongue cleaning will cut down the bacteria stored in the mouth by Tenfold.

-Tongue cleaning reduces halitosis including smoker‘s breath by as much as 85 %

How to Clean Your Tongue Effectively

There are lots of products on the market now strictly for tongue cleaning. There are many types of apparatus available to clean your tongue, it is strictly a matter of preference. The old fashioned manual toothbrush does quite an effective job as well.

1.  Apply a pea sized amount of toothpaste to a wet toothbrush, not the same one that you use for your teeth, because the tongue holds significantly more debris and different bacteria than your tongue. The tongue cleaning toothbrush should be rinsed in antibacterial mouth rinse and stored separately so as not to contaminate your regular toothbrush.

2. Open your mouth wide and stick your tongue out at yourself in front of the mirror. Reach in with the toothbrush and gently touch the back of your tongue, near your throat. If you gag, pull the toothbrush a bit farther out of your mouth and try again. Repeat this step until you find a starting point that does not cause you to gag. Don’t worry if you can’t get very far back, your gag reflex will relax over time.

3. Press down on the toothbrush and pull it forward. Drag it across the entire length of your tongue until you reach the tip.

4. Repeat Step 2, moving the brush off to one side slightly so you drag across a new section of tongue. Spit out excess toothpaste if necessary, but don’t swallow it.

5. Continue doing this until you have scraped the entire top of your tongue. Rinse the toothbrush. Lighten the pressure, and repeat the process on the underside. If the procedure is painful, you’re pushing too hard.

6. Rinse your mouth thoroughly for at least one minute with an anti bacterial mouthwash. Spit when you’re finished.

Tongue Cleaning Conclusion

Maintaining good oral hygiene may seem like a daunting task but it is really quite simple once it becomes a part of your daily routine. Not only will you experience better breath, and less dental issues, but you will feel better and more confident about yourself as you go about your daily activities. Research has shown time and again how important a smile is to our self esteem. Give yourself peace of mind and follow your dental hygiene instructions for a happier, healthier you!