Why, When, What Type, and How to Floss

Did you know that by simply brushing, you’re only getting 50% of the job done? That’s because when you brush the bristles can only reach 60% of your tooth’s surface. That means 20% between your teeth is a hot spot for bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease. When you don’t floss it gives the bacteria longer to build up and bind with your teeth creating a firm sticky substance known as plaque. Flossing, however, removes those food particles before they can harden into tartar, also known as calculus, which cannot be removed by regular flossing. After the tartar begins to build up it will take over the surface of the tooth under the gum line. Once there, tartar causes inflammation and irritation that leads to the development of gum disease.

When to Floss

Now that we know why we should floss; do you know why only 4 in 10 Americans floss every day? The largest percent says that it’s too time-consuming but once you get the hang of it, flossing takes just a couple minutes. Since we only floss once a day, it’s recommended to do it before you brush. When you floss after brushing all the loose plaque and bacteria floats around your mouth, giving it the chance to reattach to the tooth’s surface. So, at the very least, rinse your mouth.

 

How to Floss

We’ve got the basics down, why it’s important to floss, and when we should floss. Can you guess what’s next? That’s right, the correct way to floss. If you are flossing every day and still see a lot of plaque buildup, chances are you’re missing some crevices. When you floss incorrectly it can cause bleeding and damage to your gums and any surrounding dental work. Now before we get into the proper ways to floss, we really need to go over the different types of floss and what they are used for.

 

Types of FlossBody (2).png

  • Floss can come waxed or unwaxed and everyone can use it! It’s great to get those food particles in tight spaces. Typically, it comes rolled up in a small plastic box. Which makes flossing on the go much easier!
  • Dental Tape: This is similar to regular floss where it comes in either waxed or unwaxed. However, dental tape is much wider than floss and can clean more surface. If you have bigger hands or more space between your teeth, it’s recommended to use this.
  • Floss Picks: Are small plastic flossing sticks that are somewhat shaped like a candy cane. Used in the same way regular floss is, floss picks make it easier for people with less dexterity and they are great for kids!
  • Floss Threader: This is a firm stick with a loop at the end. It is used to thread the floss through dental appliances, which can make some teeth hard to reach. Typically, floss threaders are used with braces or bridges.
  • Interdental Brush: This is a pick with wired or non-wired bristles at the tip. These can be used for regular flossing; however, they are also useful in cleaning dental implants and braces.
  • Superfloss: Has a floss threader at one end, regular floss in the middle, and a soft spongy floss at the other end. The thread is used to pull the floss between an appliance then the regular floss is used on the adjacent tooth. The spongy floss is then used to clean around an implant-supported bridge or under a normal bridge.
  • Wooden Plaque Remover: Looks a lot like a toothpick but it has a tapered end with a triangular shape. Set the tapered end in your mouth for a few seconds to soften it. Then place the softened side between your teeth with the flat side on your gums. This is to stimulate blood flow which helps fight gum disease. Gently move the pick in and out to break up any food particles and disturb any forming plaque. This can be used by anyone and is preferable for flossing on the go.
  • Body (1).pngWater Flosser: The water flosser is a different type of device known as an oral irrigator. Instead of manually scraping the plaque off, the water pressure does it for you! If you have braces it’s an easy way to make sure you are fully cleaning those pearly whites, however, anyone can use a water flosser.

How Really to Floss

  • Flossing: Pull 18-20 in of floss from the container, then loosely wrap it around both middle fingers. Make sure to leave at least 1-2 in of floss in the middle. Hold the floss taut with your thumb and index fingers and glide it gently up and down the side of your teeth. When you get to the gum line form a C-shape and slide the floss down. Finally, remove the floss and continue with the same method on the rest of your teeth.
  • Flossing with Braces: It’s recommended that you use waxed floss to avoid getting strands stuck in the brackets. Pull 18-24 in of waxed floss out of the container, thread it through the floss threader and carefully pull it through the wire; then continue to floss as normal. You can also use interdental brushes by pushing the bristles in an out 2-3 times for every tooth.
  • Flossing Dental Implants: Since implants can’t decay the plaque will still stick which can cause swelling and implant failure known as Peri-implantitis. This means it is still vital to floss around your implant. Use a non-wired interdental brush to avoid scratching the titanium or porcelain. Gently push it in and out 2-3 times, then continue to floss the rest of your teeth.
  • Flossing a Dental Bridge: Start by pushing the threader end of Superfloss through the space between the bridge and the real tooth. Use the regular floss on the real tooth, then gently slide the super floss under the bridge 2-3 times and repeat on the other side. After, floss the rest of your teeth normally.
  • Flossing Implant-Supported Bridges: Use Superfloss to thread the spongy floss under the bridge, and gently use the spongy side to clean around the titanium implants. You can also use a non-wired interdental brush to clean them.
  • Flossing and Cleaning Implant-Supported Overdentures: Remove the dentures from your mouth, brush the dentures with detergent and place them in water. Then take a one-tuff brush and gently clean around the part of the implant that sits above your gums, commonly known as an abutment.

 

Flossing is simple, yet so crucial for your dental health. Remember, the floss most dentists recommend is any type that you will use every day!

 

 

 

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

How Green is Your Dental Routine?

A completely plastic-free dental routine might not be possible, but small changes can make a big difference. There are toothbrushes made of bamboo or wood. Wood toothbrush bristles are made from pig hair. They can all be recycled and will reduce the amount of plastic in landfills. One billion toothbrushes get thrown away yearly in the US. _Landfill

Change isn’t easy. If you aren’t ready to make the change to pig hair bristles then stick to your regular toothbrush. And when it’s time to get rid of it and get a new one, keep it and reuse it for household cleaning! Toothbrushes are great for cleaning bathroom tiles, toilets, computer keyboards, jewelry, and even shoes.

Bamboo and wood toothbrushes aren’t your only options for a healthy smile and healthy environment. Plastic toothbrushes are made from recycled materials such as yogurt containers and the bristles are new plastic. There are also compostable cornstarch toothbrushes that won’t clog landfills.

The most common way floss is sold in unrecyclable plastic containers.  Good news, there is plastic free and refillable floss!  Refillable floss is sold in a glass container with a protective label for drops. The bundle of floss comes in a clear compostable bag and it also has a plastic-free spool. It is completely made from silk and coated with vegetablebased wax.

 Toothbrush Tip

Show your gums some love! Don’t brush with all your strength, it’s not good for your gums or your toothbrush!  Every time you brush your teeth it affects your toothbrush. The harder you brush your teeth the quicker you will need to replace your toothbrush. Protect your gums and the lifespan of your toothbrush!

 Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

These are the three R’s when protecting the environment. Do you leave the water running while brushing? Try filling a small glass and set it in reaching distance to rinse after brushing. Another tip is don’t leave your electric toothbrush plugged in all day every day.

How Green is Your Dental Routine?

The average toothbrush lasts up to several weeks. Unplug!

Are you ready to make the change to help save our environment? We know this is a lot of information at once, and it’s okay to take small steps and make one change at a time. It’s as simple as sharing with your family and friends about the environment and how they can help sustain it too!

Remember to brush twice a day for two minutes and floss daily!  We hope you have a Happy Earth Day!_Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

5 Tips for Creating Healthy Oral Hygiene Habits

Lead by Example

Family BrushingKids look to their parents to set standards in all things, including oral hygiene. How you behave is how they will act. Since the best way to teach children is by example, it is important that your child sees you brushing twice a day and flossing. Include your child in the process. Do it together, allowing them to help by putting toothpaste on your brush. Your demeanor in the dentist office will also influence how your little one behaves during their own visit. Remaining calm demonstrates that going to the dentist isn’t scary, and they’ll be much more cooperative during their own chair time.

Make Brushing Fun

Making brushing and flossing a game rather than a chore can be a great way to engage with your kids and get them excited about maintaining their oral health. Pretending the tooth brush is a hiker exploring a cave (their mouth) and the floss is a rope is one idea. Older kids can benefit from a reward system. Every time they brush their teeth they receive a gold star to add to a sticker chart. Once they get a certain number they’re rewarded with something like staying up an extra half hour past bedtime or an extra 15-minutes of electronics time.

Make a Visual Statement

plaqueDisclosingFind plaque disclosing products. These usually come in tablet form or mouthwash that turns plaque buildup bright colors. This is a great visual to help kids understand that even though they don’t see the plaque, it’s certainly there!

Teach Responsibility

Older kids get excited about the idea of having more responsibility. Provide them with the necessary tools to structure their oral hygiene routine. Have them set an alarm to alert them when it’s time to brush for bed and in the morning. They can even keep a brushing and flossing log to track the times and duration of their sessions.

Start Dental Visits Early

Teaching kids proper dental practices wouldn’t be complete without bi-annual exams. By visiting us regularly, you instill the importance of consistent exams. We love working with children, and we work hard to make the experience stress free and fun for the whole family.

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

How the Holidays Affect Your Teeth

general-1st-paragraph-imageThe holidays are infamous for being diet-breakers, but let’s not forget the effect excessive sweets can have on your oral health! Don’t worry, we aren’t going to convince you to pass on pecan pie or skip the cider; however, it is important to continue practicing healthy habits, even with some well-deserved indulgences peppered into your seasonal celebrations. Sugar affects everyone’s teeth, no matter how old. Younger children’s smiles are still in the process of development, which means they need added care throughout the growing stages.

The Start of Gum Disease and Cavities

To better understand why it’s important to monitor sugar consumption, we must first address the development of gum disease and cavities. When you eat normally throughout the day, food particles and bacteria collect in your mouth and on your teeth. As you brush and floss, these particles and bacteria are removed with no harm done. However, the presence of sugar fuels the bacteria, which creates enamel-destroying acid; left untreated, the acids corrode a hole in the tooth that deepens over time. Additionally, infection can occur in the gum tissues and lead to swelling, bleeding, and pain. It’s important to limit the bacteria’s opportunity to spread by practicing consistent oral care, and keep your mouth free of disease and infection.

Dental Decay in Children

general-3rd-paragraph-mageWhen teeth are still in development, the story can be a bit different. The above still applies, but the stakes are higher during the formative years of cutting teeth. It isn’t uncommon to hear “oh, they’re just baby teeth”, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Child tooth decay is a rampant condition and, although completely preventable, is five times as common as asthma. It’s entirely possible for the infection to spread beneath the gum line, and compromise the healthy adult teeth growing below. Until children are a certain age, it’s imperative for parents to teach sustainable healthy habits. Fortunately, we have a tip or two for the whole family!

When it comes to limiting sugar intake, but also being practical enough to live a little (especially during the holidays!) we stress that it’s actually the timing of sugar consumption that affects dental health more than the quantity consumed. That means less sweets eaten throughout longer periods of the day can actually harm your teeth more than a large serving of dessert eaten at once. Additionally, serving sweets along with the meal can also prevent over-exposure, as they are less likely to sit on the teeth for extended periods of time. Bearing these facts in mind, we suggest instead of leaving sweets all over the house, limit consumption until meal time, and then allow yourselves and the kids to enjoy your share of holiday confections!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Keep Calm and Floss On

 

On August 2nd, this New York Times article was published and caused quite a bit of controversy in both the dental community and with the general public. While it is not conclusive in its findings, the overarching claim is that flossing may not be as beneficial as once thought. As dental professionals, we take very seriously the responsibility we have ensuring our patients receive the best possible education and care regarding the health of their smiles. For this reason, we feel compelled to express our disagreement with the suggestion that flossing may be overrated, and why that’s a harmful position to propagate.
Let’s first look at the article, which uses a lot of language such as:
• “…flossing may be overrated.”
• “…most of the current evidence fell short…”
• “That flossing has the same benefit is a hunch that has never been proved.”
• “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known as gingivitis.”
There is a stark difference between something ‘not having been proved’ and something being ‘disproved’. Please know that there is no evidence remotely close to suggesting the latter. In fact whether the evidence is “mediocre” or not, the only evidence the article does mention (quoted above) is in favor of flossing. A lack of ability to prove something is not cause to discourage an entire population from participating in a highly beneficial component of their health care. This is particularly true because evidence is acquired by conducting large-scale studies, which are extremely costly. It would hardly be economical to spend the research funding to prove something we already have no doubt offers a variety of benefit for your oral and overall health.
We do not agree with the article’s brash call to action, or more accurately, call to inaction, and we fear how this may increase the number of people inflicted with preventable damage to their smile. Looking again at the line “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known as gingivitis.” Gingivitis is the first stage in periodontal disease – the very condition flossing aims to combat. To reduce gingivitis is to reduce your chances of progressing into advanced gum disease, a condition more than half of Americans already suffer from (CDC).
It is unfortunate the scale of damage this article has the potential to incite; too many readers will take this “lack of evidence” as being evidence to the contrary, and feel it gives them permission to neglect a very essential part of their oral health care.
We can only do our best to keep our patients like you educated and on the path to a lifelong happy and healthy smile – a path that certainly includes consistent flossing.
CDC: “Periodontal Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Mar. 2015. Web.

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

Dental Health and Pregnancy

Blog Title-ExpectingPregnantLady

Pregnancy changes a lot about the female body, which is no surprise considering all the physical and hormonal effects that take place over the course of those 9 months. All that considered, the profound connection between pregnancy and dental health can still be a shock to many.

As an example, the rapid surge in hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can alter the manner in which gum tissue reacts to plaque. Plaque buildup affects everybody, so it’s always important to make sure your teeth are being cleaned thoroughly. However, ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ is a condition that affects the vast majority of mothers-to-be and should be carefully monitored. Prevention is always more useful than treatment, and for that reason we encourage a diet high in Vitamin C and B12 – don’t forget, baby’s teeth are developing too so it’s important to have a diet that’s nutritious for your teeth and theirs! Be sure to brush twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss each evening as well.

In addition to ‘pregnancy gingivitis’, pregnant women are also at risk for ‘pregnancy tumors’. These tumors are inflamed, but non-cancerous, growths that may develop when the gums become swollen and irritated. Usually the tumors will resolve themselves post-birth, but if you find one and it’s uncomfortable or painful, don’t hesitate to call our office so we can help you proceed with the right treatment for you.

In general, if you are either currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should always let your dentist know immediately in order to best proceed to minimize the risk of pregnancy-related complications. If needed, most procedures can be performed during pregnancy, particularly if you are in pain or have any concerns. However, we do not recommend any elective procedures until after the baby’s birth in order to minimize health risks to you or the child. Pregnancy does come with health concerns to be monitored, but as was the case before you received the news about your bundle of joy, consistent and thorough cleaning is always your best bet. Above all else, relax and enjoy this special time!

Smith Valley Smiles

2311 Highway 208
Smith, NV 89430
Phone: 775-465-2388

April: Oral Cancer Awareness Month

APRIL 2015

Early Detection Saves Lives

Oral cancer is nothing to take lightly.  Causing one death every hour, there will be approximately 45,750 new cases diagnosed this year alone.  It also tends to strike men twice as likely as women.

Contributing factors of oral cancer include:

  • Smoking
  • Tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (3+ drinks per day)
  • Over exposure to UV light
  • HPV Virus (sexually transmitted)

7% of diagnosed oral cancer cases that have no identified cause

Smokers are 3 times more likely to develop oral cancer.  Cigars and pipes pose a higher risk than standard cigarettes.

This is how to reduce your risk of oral cancer:

  • Brush & floss regularly
  • Do not use tobacco products
  • Drink alcohol only in moderation
  • Limit sun exposure and always use SPF sunscreen
  • Regular exercise
  • Nutritional supplements ( Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Zinc, Fish oil)
  • Oral cancer screening at your bi-annual dentist exam and cleaning

Cancer Fighting

The way you prepare your meals can play a role as well.  Rather than frying food, give steaming or baking a try!  Bonus: these techniques are also more figure friendly

Cancer fighting foods:

  • Beans
  • Berries
  • Vegetables
  • Flaxseed
  • Garlic
  • Grapes
  • Green Teas
  • Tomatoes

84% of oral cancer cases can be detected early by your dentist

Dental check-ups are vital to oral cancer detection.  Yes, you should be going in for dental check-ups twice a year anyways; however, request you get regularly scheduled oral cancer screenings as well!

Oral Cancer - spot

Oral Cancer Signs to Check at Home

  • Check the entirety of your mouth:
  • All the way inside of your cheeks
  • Underside and top of your tongue
  • Roof of your mouth
  • Lymph nodes

You’re looking for discoloration, lumps, asymmetrical swelling or any other abnormalities that you happen to see.  Even if you aren’t too sure about it, it never hurts to give us a call, ask questions and come in to have it checked out.

Get involved.  Help raise awareness.  Spread the word.  Get tested!

2311 Highway 208

Smith, NV 89430

Phone: 775-465-2388

How Focusing on These 3 Points Will Help You Spring Out of the Winter Blues!

March Blog

Happy Spring 2015

As we move out of winter, you may be changing your frame of mind from “Snuggly winter days…” to “Time for spring cleaning!” Have you ever considered a dental spring cleaning? If you can spring clean your home, why not your teeth?! Here are three easy points to focus on:

  1. Healthy eating
  2. Tooth care
  3. Dental check-up

Healthy Eating

When your tummy rumbles, instead of reaching for a bag of chips, grab some veggie sticks or slice up an apple! We understand the convenience of snack foods as well as the deal you get when purchasing a bulk pack. But most of these things lack nutritional value and do not fare well on your body, health or mouth. Create a goal to reach for a healthy snack to fill the nutritional craving your body is after. Your waistline and teeth will thank you!

Foods that are high in sugar wreak havoc on your teeth contribute to the start of cavities. Food consistency also plays a role in oral health. Very hard foods can harm the surfaces of your teeth, and there’s also the potential to cause significant damage by cracking or chipping a tooth!

Reach For                                                                         Pass On

Fruits Sodas
Veggies Candy
Whole Grains Chips
Nuts Ice Cream
Skinless Chicken Sugary Cereals
Non-Breaded Fish Hard and Sticky Foods
Low Fat/ Fat Free Yogurt Cookies
Low Fat/ Fat Free Cheese Cakes/ Pies

Tooth Care

  • Are you attentively brushing your teeth twice a day for 2-minutes?
  • Are you flossing daily (or at all)?
  • Have you changed your toothbrush in the last 3 months?

When brushing your teeth spend the full 2 minutes taking care to cover the front and back of each individual tooth. Before finishing up – give your tongue a once over as well! Many toothbrushes have a built in tongue brusher on the back of the toothbrush head. Toothbrushes do wear out. They can fray and lose the sturdiness to properly clean your teeth. Toothbrushes should be replaced about every three months.

Flossing

Flossing cleans about 40% of your teeth surfaces. Remember to reach your very back teeth. Flossing helps to lessen plaque build-up and helps prevent gum disease.

Dental Check-up

Remember how great your mouth feels after a dental cleaning in our office? Now that the holidays have come to a close, your teeth may be in need of a professional cleaning. Call Smith Valley Smiles for a dental check-up and cleaning. Check-ups are recommended every 6 months unless you are experiencing a problem area in your mouth. And, if that is the case, call us as soon as possible. Whenever you are in pain or have a question, call us.

Now that you have these things fresh on your mind, you are ready to take charge of spring! And you can do so with a bright shining and CLEAN smile!

References:

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/still-not-flossing-more-reasons-why-you-should

2311 Highway 208

Smith, NV 89430

Phone: 775-465-2388