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Flossing is one of those tasks in life that we know we should do, we know the benefits of it, and we know how little time it takes but most of us, just do not do it regularly.

Flossing your teeth every night can be a hard habit to develop and maintain, but it’s one that comes with great benefits.  Simply having a cleaner feeling mouth, avoiding bad breath , preventing tooth cavities or even avoiding loss of teeth can be accomplished with flossing. Regular tooth brushing cannot reach all the areas of our mouth. Brushing supposedly is only able to clean about 60% of the mouth whereas flossing is able to get to the other 40%. Flossing is able to reach those areas if done properly. Flossing is able to remove plaque, bacteria, and food debris between teeth.

It is recommended by the American Dental Association that we floss at least once a day. Proper oral hygiene maintenance is important to stave off periodontal disease and also to keep our entire body healthy. Studies have shown less than half of Americans admit to flossing daily. In reality, that number is probably much lower.

What if there was an easier way to floss daily to maintain our teeth and gums?

 

Alternatives to Flossing

These alternatives will never be as good old fashioned flossing but they will make an improvement to your oral health versus not using them.

Flossing with Waterpik Flosser Marielaina Perrone DDS

Flossing with Waterpik

Waterpik Oral Irrigator. As the name suggests the waterpik is able to do its job by using a stream of pulsating water to remove plaque, bacteria,  and food debris between teeth and above and below the gum line, to stimulate blood flow, and to improve overall oral health. Studies have shown when used correctly that the waterpik is actually superior  in reducing bleeding of gum tissue and is as effective in reducing plaque buildup. The beauty of the waterpik is its ability to mix antibacterial rinses or a rinse like Periogen into the irrigating chamber. This adds the benefit of being an antibacterial or anti tartar rinse as well, making it doubly effective.

Oral-B Hummingbird Electric Flosser. The hummingbird flosser is an electric flossing tool that is able to gently vibrate to massage your gums while it is cleaning between your teeth. This is an excellent flossing tool for those lacking dexterity since it can be used with one hand vs two with traditional flossing.

Tooth Pick, stimudents, soft piks. Yes, a good old fashioned tooth pick can be useful for cleaning in between your teeth. While it doesn’t do the best job, it is definitely  easy to use, can remove large food particles, and stimulate blood flow. Just be careful not to poke your gums and injure yourself.

Sonicare AirFloss. This product makes it easier to keep our teeth clean between dental visits. The Sonicare AirFloss was specially

Flossing with Sonicare AirFloss Marielaina Perrone DDS

Flossing with Sonicare AirFloss

designed to give you an easy and simple, effective way to clean in between your teeth. The Sonicare AirFloss works using patented micro burst technology. This technology delivers micro droplets of air and water to remove plaque, bacteria, and food debris between teeth. Studies have proven the Sonicare Airfloss to be safe and effective as well as gentle on teeth and gum tissue.The Sonicare Airfloss is very easy to use. It features a single button and a guidance tip that allows the user to target cleaning in between teeth. Patients can complete their flossing in as little as 60 seconds. And with the narrow tip, patients are able to reach the back of their mouth very easily. This allows all the teeth in the mouth to be cleaned. The reservoir holds two teaspoons of water, mouthwash, or other oral rinse. This is enough for two uses and makes the Sonicare AirFloss doubly effective as it has an anti bacterial component as well.

Alternative Flossing Conclusion

As you can see above there are a few alternatives to flossing. Bottom line is nothing beats using a simple piece of floss and flossing like many have been for decades. But if you are unable to or unwilling, the products listed above will help improve your oral hygiene.  Use what works best for you and use it as often as you can. Keeping your teeth clean between dentist visits is very important in having your teeth last a lifetime and preventing the development and advancement of periodontal disease. So, maintain a regular schedule of complete dental examinations as well as professional cleanings along with continued at home care and you will see great results in your smile and your health.

 

 

 

Toothbrush – A brush with a long handle used for cleaning teeth.

There are so many different kinds of toothbrushes on the market today. These range from colorful toothbrushes, musical toothbrushes, light up toothbrushes, to just plain

Toothbrush Debate - Marielaina Perrone DDS

Electric Toothbrush Vs Manual Toothbrush

old fashioned ones. For the most part the colors and lights on toothbrushes add nothing to the actual brushing. But there is an alternative to the old fashioned manual toothbrush. That is the electric toothbrush which adds quite a bit to the functionality of the brush.

Toothbrushes with nylon bristles first came to market during the 1930’s. Now there are literally hundreds of different kinds of oral hygiene products lining the shelves of your local store, making the right choices ever more confusing.

Choosing the Right Toothbrush

There are some general guidelines most people follow when choosing a toothbrush that is right for them. These include:

Size of Bristle Head and handle. We are all not the same size and that goes for the sizes of our mouths as well. The perfect size toothbrush will allow patients to have good access to their entire mouth. If the bristle head of the toothbrush is too large you will have a hard time reaching towards the back especially in the upper and lower molar region,where space becomes tight. Toothbrushes generally come in a large size and a regular adult size. If an adult needs a smaller size than the regular adult they can get the largest children’s size toothbrush. Length of the handle is also a factor. The toothbrush must have a long enough handle to allow access to the back of the mouth. Some handles are made wider for a more comfortable grip. Whatever toothbrush you choose make sure it allows you to do the best job of cleaning your teeth correctly.

Type of Toothbrush Bristle. The bristles come in three types of hardness: soft, medium, and hard nylon bristles. Most dentists recommend the soft bristled toothbrush for safety. A brush that is too hard can actually damage your teeth and gums if you are too aggressive a brusher. Another tip is to select bristles that have rounded edges for even more protection of the soft tissues in the mouth.

Introduction of the Electric Toothbrush

The electric toothbrush was a great innovation. It was important especially for those with limited dexterity who were unable to properly maintain their oral hygiene the right way. It was also thought to be more fun for adults and children. A novel approach generally results in brushing for longer and more often. Later, electric toothbrushes began to help with other brushing issues, such as being less abrasive, using wave motions to massage and clean more thoroughly, and refining shape for comfort and ease of use.

Advantages of an Electric Toothbrush

The electric toothbrush has a few advantages over the manual toothbrush. These include:

Larger handles. Most electric toothbrushes have larger handles which are easier to handle and hold while tooth brushing. These toothbrushes have been designed in more modern times and tend to reflect that in their designs.

Built in Timers. Most electric toothbrushes have some sort of built in timer. The recommended time for

each brushing session is about 2 minutes. This gives you enough time to adequately clean all the teeth in your mouth and not just the ones you can see.

Preference. Many patients enjoy the feeling of the electric toothbrush. This is  a positive, because when brushing feels good, you will do it more often and probably do a better

job at it.

Change the way you brush. For an aggressive brusher, the habit of hard scrubbing can be erased by using the brush to do all of the work while the patient just holds it in position. For those with limited dexterity, children included, the brush will help get to areas they may have missed with a manual toothbrush. For those with braces, the electric toothbrush can be more effective to keep all that hardware clean in less time than a manual toothbrush.

Disadvantages of an Electric Toothbrush

Cost. Electric toothbrushes tend to cost far more than their manual counterparts. A manual toothbrush can cost as little as 1-2 dollars whereas a good electric toothbrush can cost upwards of 150 dollars. In addition to the initial cost, you must buy new bristle heads every few months, as they wear down. This is an added cost. Many electric toothbrushes will only last for a year or two and need to be replaced, while others like the ROTADENT have a lifetime warranty.

Recharging Batteries. A power supply is needed to keep batteries charged. And then over time a new battery is needed which is another added cost. Most cannot simply have the battery changed and require the purchase of a new unit.

Effectiveness. Some studies have shown that a manual toothbrush is more effective than an electric tooth brush in removing all the plaque in your mouth. There are numerous studies attesting to this fact, however many patients do very well with a manual toothbrush. It all depends on the patient and their abilities.

Best Electric Toothbrushes (listed in no particular order)

1) Rotadent Electric Toothbrush.

2) Oral-B Professional Care Electric Toothbrush.

3) Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrush.

Choosing an Electric Toothbrush

Choosing an electric toothbrush comes down to preference and effectiveness in your hands. When making your choice, remember to find out:

1) Where can you find replacement brush heads and how much will they cost?

2) What does the warranty cover, and for how long?

3) Is the brush size adequate for your mouth?

4) Does it need to be plugged in or is it battery operated?

5) How does the handle size feel in your hand?

6) Does the level of vibration irritate your hand?

Patients need to make the choice of what tool (the electric toothbrush or manual toothbrush) that will be most effective for them to maintain their oral hygiene. They are both used to achieve the same goal but one might work better for you. As always do not forget to visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and cleanings to maintain a healthy smile.