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To Floss Or Not To Floss, the age old question. Flossing is necessary to maintain optimal dental health. Flossing at least once a day helps remove the sticky layer (plaque) that develops along our gum line and between teeth. This plaque when allowed to build up will eventually irritate your gum tissues and give bacteria a place to call home leading to development of periodontal disease. The best way to get rid of plaque is to brush and floss your teeth regularly every day. Brushing alone cannot completely clean teeth. Dental floss cleans between them and areas brushing cannot.

Is Flossing Necessary?

Floss removes plaque and debris that adhere to teeth and gums in between teeth, polishes tooth surfaces and helps control development of bad breath. By flossing your teeth daily (if possible floss after every meal), you increase the chances of maintaining your smile for a lifetime and decrease your chances for the development of periodontal disease and tooth decay.

Flossing is the #1 tool we have in the fight against plaque, even more important than the toothbrush. Many people just avoid flossing but in reality it only takes a minute or two once you get the hang of it. Also, many people have never been properly shown how easy it is.

So Many Options…Which Floss Is Right For Me?

The dental floss area at the local pharmacy can be a bit confusing. Floss comes in many types. They can be waxed or unwaxed, they can have flavors, and they even come in different widths.Dental floss comes in many forms: waxed and unwaxed, flavored and unflavored, wide and regular. No matter which type of floss you choose they all clean and remove plaque about the same. Waxed floss might be easier to slide between tight teeth or tight dental work. However, the unwaxed floss makes a slight squeaking sound to let you know when your teeth are clean. Bonded unwaxed floss does not fray as easily as regular unwaxed floss but does tear more than waxed floss. The best floss is the one you are using. Choose what feels most comfortable to you. The goal of flossing is to reach areas of the mouth that brushing alone is unable to.

Flossing Technique

Traditionally there are two flossing methods: the spool method and the loop method. The spool method works well for those with good manual dexterity. Take an 18-inch piece of floss and wind the bulk of the floss lightly around the middle finger. Wind the rest of the floss similarly around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger takes up the floss as it becomes soiled or frayed. Maneuver the floss between teeth with your index fingers and thumbs. Gently work the floss between your teeth. Do not force the floss between teeth. You can irritate and damage your gum tissues this way. Don’t rub it side to side as if you’re shining shoes. Bring the floss up and down several times, forming a “C” shape around the tooth and being sure to go below the gumline. The key is to cover all areas of the tooth to ensure a full cleaning around each tooth.

The loop method is suited for children or adults with limited dexterity, poor muscular coordination or arthritis. Take an 18-inch piece of floss and make it into a circle. Tie it securely with three knots. Place all of the fingers, except the thumb, within the loop. Use your index fingers to guide the floss through the lower teeth, and use your thumbs to guide the floss through the upper teeth, going below the gumline and forming a “C” on the side of the tooth.

Flossing Frequency

You shoot aim to floss your teeth at least once a day. You are talking 2-3 minutes each time you floss. Extra points will be given if you floss after every meal. Your teeth and gums will thank you in the long run!

Can Toothpicks Replace Flossing?

No! Toothpicks when used properly can be an effective tool at removing food between teeth, but not for daily cleaning of plaque between teeth. When you using a toothpick, do not press with too much pressure, as you can break off the end and lodge it in your gums causing damage to tissues.

Flossing Marielaina Perrone DDS
Flossing For A Lifetime Of Smiles

Can A Waterpik Replace Flossing?

There really is no substitute for daily flossing. But they are highly effective around orthodontic braces. However, they do not remove the sticky plaque attached to our teeth. Waterpicks are frequently recommended by dentists for persons with periodontal disease. Solutions containing antibacterial agents like chlorhexidine or tetracycline, available through a dentist’s prescription, can be added to the reservoir in these cases helping cleanse areas to bring them back to optimal health.

My Gums Bleed When I Floss…Should I Stop?

Bleeding gums can happen on occasion when flossing. It can occur from improper flossing technique or it is occurring because of the presence of early  periodontal disease. For many, it can be inflamed gums due to gingivitis, which is reversible. Medications and illness can also cause bleeding gums.  If your gums continue bleeding after 2 weeks of proper flossing  and brushing, see your dentist immediately for a complete dental examination and dental cleaning. Your dentist and hygienist will get you back on track to good oral health.

Flossing Conclusion

Flossing is an integral part of anyone’s daily dental hygiene regimen. If you chose not to floss, your smile may pay the price in the long run. Once you get into the habit of flossing daily it will not seem like a chore and your smile will thank you for it! Remember to see you dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.

Periodontal disease is a slow, progressive disease that affects the teeth, gums, and surrounding bone structure. As periodontal disease advances it can lead to tooth loss but recent studies have linked it to issues that can be much more sinister to your overall health. In recent years periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease and alzheimer’s disease. New studies have also linked it to changes to your blood pressure.

Stages Of Periodontal Disease

Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of periodontal disease. Gingivitis 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 affected) at this point if it is recognized and properly treated.

Periodontitis – As the periodontal disease progresses it will become 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 functions.

High blood pressure Periodontal DIsease Marielaina Perrone DDS
Good Dental Health Can Mean Good Overall Health

Advanced Periodontitis – As the periodontal disease process advances, the fibers and bone that provide support for the teeth is destroyed. At least half 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 flap surgery, and, possibly tooth removal.

Periogen Marielaina Perrone DDS
Don’t Let Periodontal Disease Ruin Your Smile

Blood Pressure And Periodontal Disease

Recent research suggests that the presence of periodontal disease may interfere with the control of high blood pressure. The research team that completed the study reviewed medical and dental records of more than 3,600 people previously diagnosed with high blood pressure.

The study compared and contrasted the records to separate those with periodontal disease and those without. They found that those with periodontal disease were less likely to respond favorably to high blood pressure medications being prescribed. They were also found to be 20% less likely to be able to achieve healthy high blood pressure targets.

This study will need further investigation to confirm but adds another direct link that our oral health is intimately connected to our overall health.

Conclusion

Regular visits to the dentist along with good dental hygiene at home should be enough to keep periodontal disease in check and give your overall health a boost. It is becoming ever more important to maintain good dental hygiene if you wish to maintain good overall health. Speak to your dentist at your next visit if you are having trouble maintaining healthy blood pressure. Periodontal disease could be the cause.

Halitosis is the medical term for chronic bad breath. Having halitosis is far different than having bad breath from eating too much garlic. Halitosis is a lingering bad breath and could be an indicator of something more serious going on with your health.

What Causes Halitosis?

What We Eat. What we consume at meals and snack time can definitely cause halitosis as mentioned previously. As we eat, the foods are absorbed into our blood stream and eventually out thru the lungs. These foods just need to be removed from the body for the halitosis to disappear. Brushing and flossing will only mask the odor for a short time before it returns. The most common foods of this type are:

Halitosis Marielaina Perrone DDS-Onions

-Garlic

-Cheese

-Pastrami

-Certain spices

-Orange juice or soda

-Alcohol

Many popular diets run into a problem with halitosis for these reasons. The large amounts of certain foods they choose to eat will linger in the body and cause chronic halitosis until they are removed.

-Xerostomia or Dry Mouth. Refers to a condition in which the salivary glands in your mouth do not produce enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. Our saliva acts as a helper to our dental health and this includes warding off halitosis as well. Our saliva has the ability to rinse our mouths when eating, help break down foods, and keep bacteria at bay to fight tooth decay. A lack of saliva would definitely lead to chronic halitosis. Saliva also enhances your ability to taste and makes it easier to chew and swallow. Dry mouth can be caused by many factors. These include:

Prescription And Over The Counter Medications. Countless medications produce dry mouth as a side effect. The most common dry mouth cuplrits include antihistamines, decongestants, and pain medications.

Medical Conditions. These include diabetes, stroke, yeast infection (also called thrush) in your mouth, Alzheimer’s disease, or autoimmune diseases (including AIDS/HIV).

Mouth Breathing And Snoring. These two acts while often inter related can also cause dry mouth.

Cancer Treatment. Chemotherapy drugs can alter your saliva and the amount your salivary glands produce. This could be a temporary situation, with normal salivary flow returning after cancer treatment is completed. Radiation treatments in the head and neck area can also lead to damage of salivary glands. This damage could cause a marked decrease in saliva production. This could be temporary or permanent.

Tobacco And Alcohol Use. Both are known to increase dry mouth symptoms.

Excessive Caffeine Consumption. Another known cause of dry mouth.

-Mouth, Nose and Throat Infections. Postnasal drip, due to head and neck infections may also contribute to bad breath. Bacteria feeds on mucus your body produces when it is battling something like a sinus infection.

Dental Health IssuesTooth decay and periodontal disease can lead to long term chronic halitosis if left untreated. The bacteria in the mouth will be out of control and difficult to bring under control unless seen by a dentist.

Preventing Halitosis

The following are simple dental health tips to ward off halitosis:

Watch What You Eat And Drink. Avoid foods and drinks that are known to cause bad breath. Choose more fruits and vegetables and drink more water to stay hydrated.

Choose Sugar Free Mints And Gum. Both of these will stimulate salivary production to help cleanse the mouth and help ward off tooth decay. They will also give you a temporary fresh smelling breath.

Avoid Tobacco Products.

Floss Daily. It is recommended to floss after every meal but 1x per day should keep breath smelling fresh.

Brush after every meal. Use an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and brush at minimum 2x per day.

Use An Antiseptic Mouthwash. Listerine is a good example.

Be extra vigilant if you have orthodontic braces. Food and plaque can build up around brackets very easily.

What Is Halitosis? Conclusion

Halitosis is an embarassing problem to have but it can also be a sign that something more serious is happening in your body. If you have persistent halitosis, you should see your dentist and rule out the obvious causes. Your dentist will be able to diagnose the issue and get you back on track to fresher breath. With a professional cleaning and dental examination, your dentist can help rule out any dental health problems and educate you on at home dental hygiene. This will include what types of dental products to use or refer you to a physician for follow up.



Maintaining cleaner teeth at home can be a real challenge for many. A diligent dental hygiene program is necessary to maintain cleaner teeth at home between dental visits. So what steps are necessary to maintain cleaner teeth at home? Below you will find some helpful tips to maintain cleaner teeth at home and make each dental visit easier. Your dental visit will be quicker and less stressful knowing you are doing your best at home for cleaner teeth.

Top Tips For Cleaner Teeth At Home

Brush With Proper Technique. The brushing technique used is just as important as the frequency of brushing to maintain cleaner teeth at home. If you are doing a weak job with technique it is almost as bad as not brushing your teeth at all. An important step for cleaner teeth at home.

Cleaner Teeth At Home Las Vegas Marielaina Perrone DDSProper Tooth Brushing Technique For Cleaner Teeth At Home Should Include:

Toothbrush should be angled at a 45 degree angle to your teeth and gum tissues.

-Brushing should be done with a gentle circular motion encompassing each individual tooth.

-Do not forget to brush all surfaces of your teeth. This includes the inside (also called lingual side), the outside (also called the Buccal side) and the tops of teeth (also called occlusal side).

-Tilt tooth brush vertically to reach the inside of your front teeth. Many people neglect this area and it is just as important as the back teeth.

-To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.

Plaque that is not removed will harden over time, leading to calculus buildup and possible development of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Cleaner teeth at home should start with proper brushing.

Brush Your TongueThis is important for fresh breath as well. Plaque and bacteria can build up in the crevices of your tongue. The easy solution is to gently brush your tongue every time you brush your teeth. You can use your tooth brush or buy a separate tongue cleaner at the drug store. Ask your dentist how cleaning your tongue can lead to cleaner teeth at home.

-Bedtime Brushing. In an ideal world, we would brush after every meal and then again before bedtime. But for many of us this is not possible. Brushing at bedtime can be very important because generally we have more time to devote to doing it properly vs maybe in the rush of our mornings. Bedtime brushing will help remove build up of food and plaque that occurs throughout our day. Bedtime brushing will lead to cleaner teeth at home because your dental hygiene will be maintained thru the night.

-Choose A Fluoride Toothpaste. Fluoride is a staple of good dental hygiene. It helps defend against tooth decay by strengthening the outer layer (enamel) of our teeth giving us a protective barrier against bacteria. There have been reports of fluoride being harmful to our overall health but rest assured it is safe and effective in toothpaste for brushing to keep cleaner teeth at home.

-Incorporate Flossing Into Dental Hygiene Regimen. Less than 30% of all people floss daily. That is a very low number for an extremely beneficial part of dental hygiene. It is recommended to floss after every meal or at least once per day to get flossing benefits. Flossing will help stimulate periodontal tissues, show a reduction in plaque, and lower inflammation of gum tissues.

Proper Flossing Technique

Use index fingers to guide dental floss between the contacts of your teeth. “Gently” guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zagging motion. Gently wrap the floss around the side of the tooth. Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line gently. Flossing too hard can cause trauma to tissues.

 -Use An Anti Bacterial MouthwashA good mouthwash like Listerine can help in many ways. They can act to reduce the amount of plaque in the mouth, act as an acid reducer, and destroy harmful bacteria growth in the mouth. It is important to ask your dentist for a recommendation as some are good for kids while others are good for sensitive teeth. A good mouth wash can lead to a cleaner mouth at home between dental visits.

-Stay Hydrated With Water. It is recommended to rinse your mouth with water after every meal. This will help remove food from the mouth but also lower the pH level in the mouth. Some foods can be very acidic. An acidic environment is ideal for development of tooth decay. Drinking water will lead to cleaner teeth at home by rinsing your mouth but also by limiting tooth decay development.

-No Tobacco Or SmokingTobacco and smoking has many negatives for our health but it also will cause staining of our teeth. Avoid smoking for cleaner teeth at home between dental visits.

-Limit Sugars. This is not only important for dental health but also for overall health. This has been proven time and again by scientific studies. Limiting sugars will also limit chance of tooth decay. The World Health Organization Guideline on intake of sugar for Adults and Children recommended to limit free sugars to no more than 5% energy intake to protect dental health over a lifetime. Cleaner teeth at home has a definite nutrition component.

Cleaner Teeth At Home Conclusion

Cleaner teeth at home is the foundation of a good dental hygiene program. This will also include regular dental visits for examinations and professional cleanings. Cleaner teeth at home will lead to a happier, healthier smile for a lifetime.