Posts for: July, 2021
If you like conundrums like "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?", then you may enjoy this one: "Which should you do first, brush or floss?"
Both of these oral hygiene tasks are equally important for removing dental plaque, a thin bacterial film that forms on teeth after eating. Removing plaque on a daily basis minimizes your risk for developing tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, the top causes for tooth loss. Brushing removes plaque from broad tooth surfaces, while flossing removes it from between teeth where brushing can't reach.
There is wide consensus that you need both brushing and flossing to thoroughly remove plaque. But there is a debate over which of these two tasks you should do first for the most effective outcome. Those debates are more or less good-natured, but there are proponents on both sides on which task should come first.
Those on the "Brush First" side say brushing initially gets the bulk of accumulated plaque out of the way. If you floss first, you may be plowing through a lot of soft plaque, which can quickly turn your floss into a gunky mess. More importantly, you may only be moving plaque around with the floss, not actually removing it. By brushing first, there's less plaque to deal with when flossing.
"Floss First" folks, though, say flossing before you brush loosens plaque stuck between teeth that can be more easily brushed away. But perhaps a more important reason is psychological: People don't really like flossing as much as brushing. Because of this, putting it off to the end may mean it doesn't happen; doing it first will help ensure it actually gets done.
In the end, though, the order you perform these tasks comes down to personal preference. You can try both ways to see which one suits you best. The important thing, however, is that you do both tasks—if you do, you can greatly lower your risk of dental disease that could rob you of your teeth.
If you would like more information on effective oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Brushing and flossing: Which Should Be Done First?”
Accidents do happen, especially if you or a family member has an active lifestyle. One such risk, especially for someone playing a contact sport, is having a tooth knocked out.
But as extreme as this injury can be, it doesn't necessarily mean the tooth is lost forever. Gum (or periodontal) cells remaining on the tooth root can regenerate and regain their attachment with the periodontal ligament that holds teeth in place. But you have to act quickly—the longer the tooth is out of the socket, the more likely these cells will dry out and die.
So, by doing the following within 5-20 minutes of the injury (and the earlier the better), that knocked-out tooth has a reasonable chance of survival.
Locate and clean the tooth. Your first priority is to find the missing tooth and clean it of any debris with clean water. Be sure not to touch the root of the tooth and only handle the tooth by the crown (the visible part of a tooth when it's in the mouth).
Insert the root end into the empty socket. Still holding the tooth by the crown, insert the opposite root end into the empty socket. Orient the crown properly, but don't worry about getting it in just right—the follow-up with the dentist will take care of that. You will, however, need to apply some pressure to get it to seat firmly.
Secure the tooth. Place a piece of clean gauze or cloth between the reinserted tooth and its counterpart on the other jaw. Then, have the person bite down on the cloth and hold it. This will help secure the tooth in place while you travel to the dentist.
Seek dental care immediately. It's important to see a dentist immediately to adjust the tooth's position and to possibly splint the tooth to better secure it while it heals. If a dentist isn't available, then visit a local emergency room instead.
Taking these actions on the scene could mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. But act quickly—the sooner you initiate first aid for a knocked-out tooth, the better its chances for long-term survival.
If you would like more information on what to do during dental emergencies, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When a Tooth is Knocked Out.”
Brush At Least Twice Daily & Floss At Least Once Daily
A key element in a healthy smile is to brush at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. This is the most important way you can keep your teeth healthy and cavity-free at home. Brushing and flossing reduce oral bacteria, which contributes to cavities and gum disease.
Avoid Biting Ice Cubes
Ice cubes are very hard, and biting into them can damage your teeth, including chips and fractures. Instead, let ice cubes melt.
Avoid Opening Packages With Teeth
In the same way, that ice cubes can damage your teeth, opening packages can do the same thing. Teeth aren’t designed to take on plastic packaging, and this can lead to chips and fractures.
Wear a Night Guard for Clenching/ Grinding
Clench or grind your teeth at night? It is important to wear a night guard nightly. Clenching and grinding can lead to tooth wear and tooth damage over time, and a nightguard helps by acting as a cushion, protecting your teeth, mouth and jaw.
Wear a Sports Guard for Any Sports With Physical Contact
If you play any sports involving contact, such as soccer, hockey or basketball, it is essential to wear a sports guard to protect your teeth from injury. Injury can occur from another person or an inanimate object such as a ball and cause damage to your teeth, including chips, fractures, intrusion and even avulsion.
Reduce Consumption of Acidic/ Sugary Drinks
Acidic and sugary drinks can cause erosion to your teeth over time, as well as cavities. Soda, in particular, contains acids that can wear away the enamel and make your teeth sensitive. Try to reduce your consumption of acidic and sugary drinks.
Avoid Aggressive Tooth Brushing
Aggressive tooth brushing can cause damage to your teeth and gums. Tooth abrasion can occur from the constant wearing away of the enamel from the toothbrush, as well as gum recession. Make sure to use the correct brushing technique and not apply too much pressure with the toothbrush.
Never Use a Hard or Medium Bristled Toothbrush
Hard and medium bristled toothbrushes are too damaging to the teeth and gums to be recommended. Try to make sure you use either a super soft or soft manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush.
Don’t Forget to Brush Before Going To Bed
After you have finished eating and drinking for the day (water at night is fine), Brushing right before bed is essential to prevent oral bacteria from flourishing in the mouth overnight. Bacteria from foods and drinks throughout the day can cause cavities on your teeth overnight if not brushed off.
Don’t Forget Your Routine Check-ups and Cleanings
Lastly, it is essential to regularly see your dentist and dental hygienist for your routine check-ups and cleanings to make sure your teeth, gums, and mouth stay healthy.
If you have any questions about ways to help keep your mouth healthy, contact us today to schedule an appointment.