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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.

 

 

 

Most people would love a bright, white smile. A smile is one of the first things people notice when they meet or greet us. Did you know there are ways you can achieve this at home during your regular schedule as well as with some help from your dentist?

A smile that is dull and lifeless tends to make us feel less confident about ourselves and in turn makes us look older than we really are to people we meet. Whereas a bright shiny sparkle, gives people a self confidence boost as well as change how people look at them. Studies have shown people with whiter, brighter smiles are almost always percieved by others to be younger than they really are.

Luckily, there are some ways to maintain a white bright smile both on our own as well as with help from your dentist.

Top Tips for a Whiter, Brighter Smile

Focus on Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene. It is amazing how little time it takes in our day to keep our teeth brushed, flossed, and rinsed and still many of us do not find the time to do it right. Brushing at least twice a day is recommended (but brushing after every meal is even better!), flossing at least once a day and rinsing with an antibacterial or fluoride rinse. Flossing reaches areas even the best brushers and rinsing cannot ever dare to reach. If a build up of plaque is allowed to go unchecked it will make it easier for stains from foods, red wines, or tobacco to accumulate. A great product to try is Periogen, it removes stains, tartar, and plaque between dental cleanings.

Keep Away From the Enemy. Avoid or minimize the intake of sugary drinks and foods, especially sticky candies (like gummy bears or fruit roll-ups). Acidic foods (like citrus juices) may appear healthy but are not very good for maintaining a neutral balance in your mouth or for your teeth. High intake of sugar and acids, and repetitive intake of them, can weaken tooth enamel and create an environment for cavity causing bacteria to grow and thrive. This can eventually result in enamel wear, tooth decay and discoloration on the teeth.

There are many foods and drinks that are known to stain teeth. These include red wine, coffee, tea, and sodas. A big no-no if you want to keep your teeth white and bright, is tobacco use. Smoking will yellow your teeth and age you very quickly.

Change your Diet. Maintaining a healthy mouth is directly connected with keeping your smile as bright and white as possible. You need to start with a balanced diet with certain nutrients to help keep away oral health problems that can take away from a beautiful smile. These problems include, tooth cavities, tooth erosion, and periodontal disease. Some of the best foods for teeth and mouth are foods high in calcium and low in fat. These include milk, cheeses, cruciferous vegetables (these are mainly green leafy vegetables like broccoli), or soy products.

Vitamin C is another very important nutrient that helps maintain strong teeth by working as an antioxidant to repair tissue and prevent disease-causing bacteria from penetrating the gums. The cruciferous veggies (particularly broccoli) will do a double job, since they are rich in both calcium and vitamin C.

Any crunchy fruits and veggies, like apples and carrots, are also good for your teeth. This is because chewing them will increase salivary production which can help protect the teeth from plaque-causing bacteria by breaking down food caught between teeth and rinsing the mouth by neutralizing bad acids.

Drinking lots of water also helps rid your mouth of such bacteria (especially after meals) while also helping to prevent stains and protect your teeth from the harmful effects of acidic foods and beverages. Chewing sugarless gum is another easy way to increase salivary production. The saliva is a natural way to fight acid and keep your teeth looking bright and white.

Use Makeup to your Advantage. This is mainly for the women but choosing the right shades of makeup can make a big difference to how your teeth look to others.

1) Choose a Color that Contrasts with natural tones.  A punch of red or pink tone on your cheeks and lips stands out from your dazzling smile while beige or orangey shades blend into discolored teeth. Bright orange and yellow toned reds, actually emphasize the yellow tones that can be in your teeth.

2) Choose lipsticks with blue undertone shades (bright pinks and reds). They pick up the reflective edging on your teeth making your smile appear whiter.

3) Experiment with bronzing. Darker complexions can offset white teeth. Sweep bronzer over the high points of your face. These areas include the hairline, bridge of your nose, cheek bones and tip of your chin. Your teeth will receive an instant benefit and appear whiter.

4) Sparkle it up!. Dab an opalescent illuminator on the Cupid’s bow of your mouth. This allows the white luminescence to pick up reflection off your teeth.

5) Save the gold tones for your eyelids and avoid gold tones near your lips or teeth. The shine from gold too closely resembles yellow. This will accentuate stains and make teeth appear darker yellow.

Teeth Whitening for a Whiter, Brighter Smile. Teeth whitening can be done a few ways. These can include Do It Yourself (DIY) teeth whitening or in office professional teeth whitening.

1) DIY Teeth Whitening. This is a more inexpensive method but can be very effective depending on the individual. This can include, teeth whitening toothpastes and teeth whitening strips. Using the teeth whitening strips and whitening toothpaste in combination can be very effective as the whitening toothpaste removes the out stains and the teeth whitening strips are able to penetrate deeper into the tooth to remove deeper stains.

2) Professional Teeth Whitening. This type of teeth whitening is definitely more expensive but the teeth whitening results are usually much more effective and achieved in a much faster amount of time. The concentration of the teeth whitening agent is much higher when used by a dentist and therefore will get better results in a shorter period of time.

So there you have it, some very effective tips to keep your smile whiter and brighter. A whiter smile will make you feel better about yourself and change the way people look at you. It can open a whole new world for you.

Bad breath is an issue that affects all of us. Bad breath can be caused by the various foods we eat or poor oral hygiene. Whatever the cause is everyone wants to know how to keep it away. Everyone should begin with a proper oral hygiene regimen which includes brushing, flossing, rinsing, tongue cleansing and regular visits to the dentist. Even with proper dental hygiene you still may develop bad breath from time based on what you ingest.

Top 5 Foods To Keep Bad Breath Away

1. Chew Fresh Herbs. Parsley has long been known to mask bad breath. But did you know other fresh herbs can also mask bad breath. Coriander, spearmint, tarragon, eucalyptus, fennel, rosemary and cardamom are all excellent at fighting bad breath.  You can choose to chew on fresh herbs or place the fresh herbs in hot water (as a tea). These fresh herbs will go a long way to hiding that garlic you had at lunch.

2. Active Cultures.  Active cultures as in yogurts. Recent studies found that a serving of yogurt every day can reduce the level of odor causing hydrogen sulfide in the mouth. The active cultures in yogurt also cuts back on bacteria in the mouth. Accumulation of plaque and development of periodontal disease were reduced in the study’s yogurt eaters as well. Another plus is that the American Diabietic Association has found that ingesting the recommended dosage of vitamin D (also found in yogurt) creates an environment that is inhospitable to bacterial growth. If you choose to eat yogurt avoid the high sugar varieties. Greek yogurt actually has the benefit of higher protein than regular yogurt, and is great for people who are sensitive to cows milk, as it is generally made from goats milk.

3. Foods with Crunch. These include apples, carrots, and celery. This basically includes any fiber-rich fruit or vegetable.The crunchy foods will help reduce the build up of plaque and bacteria in the mouth. These crunchy foods will also increase saliva production which will keep the mouth moist and constantly rinse out food debris that can cause bad breath. So a great snack following a meal is a nice juicy apple to cleanse the mouth.

4. Mask the bad breath. Sugarless gum should not be considered a replacement for brushing your teeth after a meal, but is a good habit if you can’t brush after a meal. Unfortunately we are not always able to brush after every meal. But in a pinch chewing sugarless gum can freshen breath (masking odors) and is another way to increase saliva production to rinse away plaque and bacteria. Mints can mask bad breath as well, but only briefly. Remember to always choose sugarless when you can. Be sure to thoroughly read the label, mints such as tic tacs are almost entirely sugar , yet they label the sugar content as zero!!! The sugar content is based upon weight, and one tic tac, (although almost entirely sugar) weighs less than the amount that needs to be labeled. Look for the asterisk (*), and read the bottom label to see what it means.

5. Vitamin C rich foods. Eating berries, citrus fruits, melons and other vitamin C  rich foods create an inhospitable environment for bacteria growth. A diet rich in vitamin C is also is important for preventing periodontal disease and gingivitis,(major causes of bad breath).

Bonus Bad Breath Tip

Avoid white sugars. Sugars allow for bacterial growth in the body and especially the mouth. Sugary beverages (soda, gatorade, juice, redbull), dry your mouth out, and a dry mouth is a haven for bacteria. Water is always the best option, tea is great too, especially green tea, but don’t add sugar. If you do drink sugary beverages follow them with plenty of water to rinse your mouth and neutralize the acids.

Bottom Line to Ward off Bad Breath

So after a meal, when you are unable to brush, think of the list above to keep your bad breath at bay. You do not have to live with bad breath. In most cases, bad breath is easily taken away with proper oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist.



As we get older, our oral health becomes more important than ever. Maintaining proper oral hygiene is not just for your teeth and gums. Senior adults have unique dental needs and challenges. This includes a vital link between a person’s general health and their oral health. A healthy mouth makes all the difference in the world if you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout your life. By adopting healthy oral habits at home, seeking regular dental care, and making smart choices about diet and lifestyle, you will be well on your way to keeping your teeth strong and sparkling for a lifetime.

Across the United States, 10,000 adults reach senior age every day and the number is growing rapidly.  Bt age 65, statistics show that older adults are managing a minimum of two chronic conditions and are usually taking multiple medications. The taking of multiple medications increases their risk for dry mouth, which can quickly lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Untreated dental disease can result in pain, infection, poor nutrition, and lowered self esteem, all of which can have a very large impact on the quality of life.

A senior with good oral health not only makes it easier to eat nutritious foods, but it can also give you the confidence to smile, talk, and maintain a high self esteem. Research has shown seniors with good oral health are less likely to develop heart disease, strokes, or diabetes.

Certain dental health problems are more common in seniors, they include the following:

1) Tooth Cavities. Cavities are caused by plaque bacteria which breakdown the enamel and cause holes in the teeth. Soft diet, dry mouth, limited dexterity, a large number of crowns and fillings to clean around, and high sugars or acids in your diet will increase your chances of decay.

2) Periodontal Disease. Seniors are at higher risk of periodontal disease (gum disease). Gum disease occurs when plaque builds up beneath your gum line causing inflammation and bone loss. Certain medications cause the gums to swell and bleed and make it more difficult to remove plaque. This may cause gum recession and periodontal disease.

3) Root Cavities. The roots of the teeth can also decay. Once gums recede, the unprotected root surface is very easy for the plaque bacteria to attack. With no enamel to protect it, the cavity can progress rapidly to the nerve of the tooth.

4) Tooth Sensitivity. As we get older, our gums may recede, exposing root surfaces. The roots have nerve endings close to the surface which can become increasingly sensitive to hot, cold, brushing, and sweets. If you experience sensitivity, try a sensitivity toothpaste (like Colgate Sensitive Pro-Health) . If the problem persists, see your dentist, as the sensitivity may be an indication of a more serious condition, such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.

5) Dry mouth or Xerostomia. Dry mouth is a common condition in the senior population and one that may be caused by medications or certain medical disorders (like radiation therapy for cancer). If this condition is left untreated, it can cause damage to your teeth. Dry mouth occurs when there is reduced salivary flow. Plaque tends to build up when the mouth is dry, putting you at an increased risk for tooth decay. Your dentist can recommend multiple methods to restore moisture in your mouth, as well as treatments or medications to help prevent the development of cavities. Two products I recommend are Biotene and Listerine Zero.

6) Denture Issues. Many older people wear dentures. If they are not properly cared for, they can cause dental health problems, especially fungal infections such as yeast. A sign of a yeast infection is bright red irritated tissue, itchiness, burning, or a white creamy build up on oral tissues or denture. Just because you have dentures does not mean you do not need a dental examination. You should have an annual check of your denture fit, oral tissues, and oral cancer screening. As well as a jaw x-ray every five years to detect growth or changes in the bone.

 

To help keep your mouth healthy and your teeth strong as we age:

Brush. Brushing your teeth can help to remove the thin film of bacteria that builds up on your teeth after eating. So brush at least twice a day with a soft bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. An electric toothbrush is recommended for seniors as it easier for them to maintain hygiene properly. Our office recommends the Rotadent electric toothbrush. We also recommend the use of a plaque disclosing solution. This allows the patient to see visually if they left any plaque behind and work on ares they are missing.

Floss.Flossing your teeth can help prevent plaque from building up between teeth. Floss at least once a day. We also recommend the use of floss mate. A variety of companies (Butler GUM floss mate or REACH access flosser), make these products and are easily found at the local drug store. These products work well in patients with minimal or reduced dexterity.

Keep up with dentist appointments. If you maintain a regular appointment schedule your dentist can monitor your dental health and make adjustments to your care to avoid serious problems down the road. Routine dental examinations and cleanings are an important part of maintaining good dental health.

If you smoke…QUIT! In addition to increasing your risk of many health conditions, smoking can increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. There are a variety of methods available to quit to make it as painless a possible.

Take care of dentures. If you have dentures, see your dentist regularly (we recommend at least once a year) to make sure they are fitting properly.

Keep your dentures clean by brushing and rinsing them daily and soaking them at night in a denture cleansing liquid.

There are many dental health challenges as we age, but maintaining good oral hygiene and monitoring to your dental health can keep your smile sparkling for many years to come.

Listerine Zero