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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.



Who would not want to use a good mouthwash before meeting that special someone for a kiss? Or just to feel minty fresh as you go about your day?

For years there has been a discussion regarding mouthwash use. This is because people are worried about the health risks associated with the alcohol based mouthwashes.

Mouthwash manufacturers have been touting extra benefits of mouthwash besides minty fresh breath. Many tout themselves as washing plaque away, teeth whitening, as well as bacteria killers and as cavity fighters.

Are all these extra benefits possible? Is mouthwash use good for you?………

Advantages of using a Mouthwash

-Fluoride Mouthwashes. Fluoride mouthwashes do have the ability to possibly help reduce cavities. There have been many 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. Some fluorides are good antibacterials as well and help fight periodontal disease (stannous fluoride).

-Fight Periodontal Disease. Periodontal disease is caused by plaque from bacteria and food that sticks to teeth. As the bacteria feed on the food particles they release acid that will break down the bone and irritate the gum tissue. Our body responds by producing more acids to kill the bacteria. This causes bone loss and inflamed, infected gums. An antibacterial mouthwash may help prevent periodontal disease by lowering the amount of bad bacteria in the mouth.

Listerine Mouthwash - Marielaina Perrone DDS

Listerine Mouthwash

-Help during pregnancy or during a systemic disease process. It is important to maintain good oral hygiene at all times but for certain members of our population it is even more important. For pregnant women it can be critical. During pregnancy, a woman’s hormones are elevated which makes them more susceptible to developing periodontal disease if their oral hygiene is not maintained. Periodontal disease in pregnant women has been linked to pre term and low weight babies. For others it is a matter of survival. 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.

Disadvantages of using a Mouthwash

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.

-Masks bad breath but does not remove the cause. Use of a mouthwash can definitely lead to fresher breath but it is usually quite short lived. Only some mouthwashes are formulated to actually neutralize odor causing chemicals, such as Closys. Not maintaining proper oral hygiene, or chemicals from your diet are usually the underlying factor 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.

-Tartar dissolving rinse.There is a 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.

Bottom Line on Mouthwash Use

Bottom line is mouthwashes are an aide and not a substitute for maintaining good oral hygiene. This should include proper brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist regularly.

Mouthwash clearly offers certain advantages. But it’s important to know that not all mouthwash is the same. Saltwater rinses can be made at home with warm water and salt, whereas store-bought types contain a variety of ingredients ranging from fluoride (Act) to alcohol (Listerine) to highly specific antibacterial (Peridex).

In the end, each individual must choose the one that is right for them. For patients with periodontal disease, an antibacterial rinse like Listerine would be recommended to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth. For those patients who are cavity prone, a high fluoride mouthwash would be the choice. These mouthwashes only work effectively if paired with a good oral hygiene regimen. Talk to your dentist about which rinse would work best for you.

 

 

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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.