Is Water Flossing the Perfect Tool for Better Oral Health?

 

By: Jacqueline Fallon, The Dental Geek

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s ( CDC ) Oral Health report, over 90% of Americans have had at least one cavity, and one in four has untreated tooth decay. Meanwhile, around half of all adults above the age of 30 have gum disease.

Dentists recommend brushing and flossing twice daily, but for those with gum disease and frequent plaque build-up, one gadget that should be present on your bathroom is a water flosser!

 The Dental Geek shares its importance and some ways it can help you! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

Good oral health involves more than having a beautiful smile; it is key if we are to enjoy food, feel confident about interacting with others and avoid oral pain. Statistics show, however, that many Americans could improve in this department. Over 90% of Americans have had at least one cavity, and one in four has untreated tooth decay. Meanwhile, around half of all adults above the age of 30 have gum disease – according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s Oral Health report. Dentists recommend brushing and flossing twice daily, but for those with gum disease and frequent plaque build-up, one gadget that should be present on your bathroom countertop is a water flosser.

How does a Water Flosser Work?

Water flossers clean teeth and gums through a combination of water pressure and pulsations, which remove food and plaque. They work similarly to dental floss, but the pressure means that tiny pieces of food you don’t even notice can be efficiently removed. Water flossers can reach areas that floss cannot get into; for instance, beneath the gumline at the front of teeth. Users can alter the pressure according to their needs. Therefore, those with sensitive gums may use a lower setting, while those after a power clean can set their flosser on high pressure.

Are Water Flossers Effective?

The effectiveness of water flossers was put to the test in a study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry. Participants to the study were assigned to one of two groups. Group One used a manual toothbrush plus a water flosser, while Group Two used a manual toothbrush and waxed dental floss to clean between teeth. The results showed that the water floss group had a 74.4% reduction in whole mouth plaque and an 81.6% reduction in plaque between teeth. The dental floss group meanwhile, had a 57.7% and 63.45% reduction in plaque in these respective areas. The scientists noted that the water flosser was, therefore, a superior way to keep plaque at bay.

When Might Your Dentist Recommend a Water Flosser?

Your dentist may recommend this method of daily cleaning if you have frequent plaque build-up or if your gums tend to become inflamed. If you have a condition like gingivitis, you may be recommended to wait until bleeding has stopped to use a water floss. For more serious periodontal disease, a water flosser will simply not be enough. You may be recommended a root scaling and planing treatment and perhaps later, a water flosser can play a role in the maintenance of your gum health. Water flosses also work well for teeth that are difficult to clean. For instance, if you have wisdom teeth that have not been removed, the teeth may be very tight and it may be very difficult to get dental floss in between them.

Because a water flosser cleans plaque and removes trapped food so effectively, it is ideal for teeth in odd positions, but it can also form part of a daily oral health routine for anyone wishing to obtain an optimal clean. Studies have shown that it is more effective than standard brushing and flossing, so if you are worried about decay and gum inflammation and disease, ask your dentist if a flosser is suitable for you. Flossers have removable tips, so one machine can be used by more than one family member.

 

Source: bit.ly/waterflossing

Why do our kids have tooth decay?

 

By: Alvin Danenberg, DDS, DrBicuspid.com 

 

DYK that the primary reasons our kids have tooth decay and gum disease are because of nutritional deficiencies? Some of the top causes related to this issue are acidic and sugary drinks, compromised gut bacteria, and a sedentary lifestyle.

👩🏾‍⚕️ Worried about your kids? DrBicuspid has some advice! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

Our kids have tooth decay not because they’re deficient in fluoride.

Our kids have bleeding gums not because they don’t brush and floss twice a day.

The primary reasons our kids have tooth decay and gum disease are because their nutrition is deficient, their drinks are acidic and sugary, their healthy gut bacteria are compromised, and their lifestyles are sedentary.

These deficiencies also manifest in childhood as obesity, high blood pressure, depression, skin eruptions, allergies, and a host of other diseases. Improper nutrition and lifestyles early in life sow the seeds for many of the degenerative diseases that plague us later in life.

4 behaviors

When it comes to avoiding tooth decay and taking care of oral health, brushing and flossing are important, but four other behaviors are just as important.

I tell my patients that having healthy bacteria in the gut promotes healthy bacteria in their saliva, which allows for normal function in the mouth. This also assists in preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

“I also tell them that a healthy body improves gut health and metabolism.”

I remind my patients and their parents to avoid refined carbohydrates. Avoiding these can help prevent the proliferation of unhealthy bacteria and help maintain a healthy acid level in the mouth.

One way to provide the necessary arsenal for saliva to remineralize teeth is to make sure essential nutrients and trace minerals are included in their diets.

I also tell them that a healthy body improves gut health and metabolism. I encourage an active lifestyle of playing outside, rather than sitting in front of a TV or playing video games.

Way of eating

I pull the parents of younger patients aside and remind them that their kids will eat the way Mom and Dad eat. Kids learn by example. Healthy snacks could include fresh fruit and nuts, almond butter spread on celery sticks, slices of raw cheeses, and cut up pieces of colorful sweet peppers. Healthy drinks could include filtered water, unsweetened seltzers, teas without sugar, and kombucha.

My thought is that if they are eating a healthy diet at home, and if they are given healthy meals and snacks for lunches at school, then whatever minimal cheating they do is not so bad.

Dental visits should be pleasant. Children shouldn’t have to be concerned about tooth decay or gum disease if they are getting the nutrients their bodies need to thrive. Kids should clean their mouths appropriately but they must eat nutritiously. Their mouths will thank them and their overall health will thank them.

 

Source: bit.ly/kidstoothdecay

Dentists say this common ingredient could be messing with your mouth

By: Zoe Weiner, MSN

 

The best part of brushing and swishing mouthwash (aside from the whole “no gum disease or cavities” thing) is that “ahh”-inducing feeling you get right after you’ve finished cleaning your teeth.

And now, thanks to flavoring with essential oils, natural toothpaste and mouthwash can give your mouth the same minty-freshness as the old-fashioned stuff most of us grew up on.

But no matter how much you love that cool and tingly breath after a particularly satisfying brush sesh, there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to putting those sweet-yet-spicy smelling essential oils in your mouth.

 Read on and learn its effects to your oral health via MSN ! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

The best part of brushing and swishing your teeth (aside from the whole “no gum disease or cavities” thing) is that “ahh”-inducing feeling you get right after you’ve finished. And, thanks to flavoring with essential oils, these days natural toothpaste and mouthwash can give your mouth the same minty-freshness as the old-fashioned stuff most of us grew up on. But no matter how much you love that cool and tingly breath after a particularly satisfying brush sesh, there can be too much of a good thing when it comes to putting those sweet-yet-spicy smelling essential oils in your mouth.

“Using essential oils in the mouth sounds like a great, natural idea, but this should be done on occasion—not every day,” says Dr. Mark Burhenne, creator and author of AsktheDentist.com. “The powerfully antibacterial nature of essential oils means regular use can actually upset your oral microbiome over time by killing off the good bacteria your mouth needs to fight cavities and gum disease.” As in—yes, your mouth has a microbiome.

In some studies, essential oils have been proven to be just as effective as chlorhexidineAKA the main ingredient in prescription-strength mouthwash. But, while we’re all for going the natural route with your oral care, in this case, it may not be the best idea. “[It] might sound like a good thing, but [essential oils are] not beneficial for long-term oral health,” says Dr. Burhenne. “If you’re using mouthwash, chances are you’re trying to make it a daily habit. But killing all the bacteria in your mouth should be something you avoid on the whole.”

“Killing all the bacteria in your mouth should be something you avoid on the whole.” —Dr. Mark Burhenne

Think about using these heavy-duty oils the same way you’d use an antibiotic. “On occasion, you need a bacterial ‘clean slate’ to get an infection under control. But if you were to use antibiotics every day of your life, you’d limit your immune system’s ability to fight off any infection or disease,” he explains. “Since your oral microbiome is the mouth’s immune system, keeping it free of bacteria isn’t actually a good thing.”

In lieu of swishing with essential oils or alcohol for the sake of fresh breath, Dr. Burhenne suggests making a mouthwash of your own by mixing turmeric, L-arginine, calcium carbonate, whole cloves, baking soda, xylitol, blue-green algae, and anise. It’s essential oil, alcohol, and fluoride-free, but will still give your mouth the full cleanse it needs.

If you’re going to use essential oils in toothpaste, just know that a little bit goes a long way. “When I’m trying a toothpaste that uses essential oils, the best gauge I’ve found is to pay attention to how strong the scent of the oils is,” says Dr. Burhenne. “A light scent of peppermint is probably a sign your toothpaste has just a minuscule amount of oils in it, whereas a very strong scent might mean you’ve got too many bacteria-killing oils for daily use.” Noted—so, as within your skincare, just keep that EO use light.

 

Source: bit.ly/essentialoilsformouth

DIY braces? Orthodontists say to think twice before straightening your teeth solo

By: Joanna Clay, University of Southern California; Medical Xpress

 

👩🏽‍⚕️ Are you considering straightening your teeth through DIY braces?

If so, you might want to check out this article via Medical Xpress – Medical and Health News before jumping into the decision! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

A couple of years ago, the story of a college student 3-D printing his own braces went viral. Fast forward to now and you’ve likely seen billboards or social media ads for a whole new slate of DIY aligner companies, which cut out the orthodontist chair and send trays straight to your doorstep. They’re both attempting to democratize the quest for straight teeth, but experts and graduates from the Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC say it’s important to get a doctor’s OK when considering the DIY route.

The first thing to remember is that orthodontics isn’t just about looks, said  and USC alum Nehi Ogbevoen.

“We not only want to improve aesthetics but also the function of the bite,” he said. “We’re trying to plan your bite and smile and how they are going to age over the next 30, 40 years.”

Oftentimes, an orthodontist will want the patient up to date with their dentist visits. They’ll also do X-rays prior to treatment, making sure there are no signs of gum disease or large cavities.

If the DIY retailers don’t ask for X-rays, Ostrow experts and alumni say to think twice.

“There’s a lot of things we can catch on an X-ray—for example, impacted teeth,” Ogbevoen said. “There are other things we can catch that, if you aren’t seeing a dentist regularly, can be really scary.”

People are often lured by the DIY price, which can be around $2,000. For comparison, traditional metal braces or Invisalign typically run from $5,000 to $8,000, although the latter has options for mild alignment issues that are less costly. And in general, DIY aligners are for more mild issues.

But, experts say, if you have an undiagnosed disease or issue, DIY aligners could worsen the situation, costing more in the long run.

Consider consultations when getting DIY braces

Hany Youssef, Ostrow faculty who also has a private practice in Orange County, had a patient come in with negative side effects from a DIY kit.

He said although orthodontics can be cost prohibitive, there are a lot of options. He recently quoted $1,500 for a patient with mild alignment issues. The more severe the case, the more it’ll cost, he said.

If you’re considering DIY, Youssef suggests getting a consultation from a dentist or orthodontist, an initial visit is usually free, and bring up your interest in the treatment. It might be suitable for folks with milder issues but either way, a dentist or orthodontist’s OK is important. Some of the direct-to-consumer companies say orthodontists do consult on the treatment, others emphasize getting assigned to a specific orthodontist. But no matter what it says on the website, experts say to ask a lot of questions before signing up.

The American Association of Orthodontists has a tip sheet for people considering the direct-to-consumer route, offering suggested questions to ask yourself and the company. They include asking about comprehensive X-rays, licensed orthodontist consultations, how the best treatment is evaluated and how emergencies will be handled.

Glenn T. Sameshima, chairman and program director of USC’s Advanced Orthodontics Certificate Program, said the popularity of DIY aligners does bring up an important topic in orthodontics: accessibility. Insurance coverage is roughly the same as it’s been the last few decades, he said. And the same goes for treatment costs. Sameshima, who has a private practice, said coverage is commonly around $1,500 lifetime. Some dental insurance carriers are more generous and offer 50 percent coverage.

But in the end, this DIY aligner popularity—some of it spurred by expiring aligner patents—could be good for the industry overall, he said. For the first time in a while, there’s competition, which could start to bring costs down.

And although orthodontics can be costly, preventative care is often well-covered, which can help ward off the need for braces. And if braces or aligners are needed,  (such as USC) often offer discounted rates.

“I see a future, 20 to 30 years from now, when they’ll be able to do a combination of clear aligners and braces, with 3-D printing bringing these costs down,” Sameshima said.

 

Source: bit.ly/DIYbraces