10 common oral hygiene mistakes, according to dentists

By: Wendy Rose Gould, NBC News

📊 According to the CDC, more than 80% of people develop at least one cavity by age 34. Genetics play a factor in tooth decay as well as the most common oral hygiene mistakes listed in this article via NBC News. The Oral Surgery DC Team

It’s been ingrained in your mind since you were old enough to wield a toothbrush: spend two minutes brushing your teeth three times a day. You still might even hum a familiar tune every time you step in front of the sink or go through the exact same “up and down, round and round” motions you did at age five.

However, according to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 80 percent of people develop at least one cavity by age 34, so something’s not quite adding up. While genetics plays a factor in your likelihood to experience tooth decay, it’s not the only variable. To uncover some of the most common oral hygiene mistakes that may be contributing to the problem, we asked dentists to weigh in.

Problem #1: Only brushing in the morning

Many are naturally compelled to brush in the morning in order to curb bad breath, but it’s all too easy to neglect nighttime brushing as we climb into bed exhausted.

“By the end of your day, you have the most amount of food debris stuck on and in between your teeth. Additionally, when you sleep, your mouth is the least active for saliva production, which functions to help bathe the teeth clean,” explains celebrity dentist Dr. Jon Marashi. “As a result, the bacteria in your mouth now have a festive food supply in which they consume. The by-product is an acid secretion that leads to tooth decay. Brushing your teeth at night is non-negotiable.”

Problem #2: Brushing your teeth too hard

There’s a misconception that says the harder we scrub, the better we clean. This is false.

“Aggressive scrubbing over time can cause enamel abrasion and gum recession, ultimately leading to sensitivity issues and tooth structure loss,” warns New York City-based dentist, Dr. Inna Chern. “Ideally, you should use a soft-headed toothbrush, or an American Dental Association (ADA)-approved electric brush, which comes standard with soft heads.”

Signs that you’re scrubbing too hard include a frazzled brush head in as little as one to two months, increased sensitivity, and a receding gum line. If you can’t break the habit, Dr. Chern recommends using an electric brush with a pressure indicator.

Problem #3: Not spending enough time brushing

Even if you’ve committed to brushing your teeth throughout the day, the effort is for naught if you aren’t allocating enough time to the task. Dr. Marashi says, “If you don’t spend adequate time brushing your teeth, it is likely that the tartar and biofilms will not have a proper removal from the tooth surface, leading to plaque deposits, gum inflammation, bad breath, and even cavities.”

Also, he adds, brushing in a hurry often translates to missing teeth in the back, which is where many cavities form. He suggests using a sonic toothbrush with a built-in timer, or you can set a timer on your phone for two minutes.

Problem #4: Replacing flossing with mouth wash

“Although mouthwash is a great add-on for any oral hygiene regimen, it does not take the place of the mechanical cleaning of those hard-to-reach spots in between and around the teeth,” notes Chern. “After we eat, food debris gets broken down in the mouth into a compound called material alba. We have an eight to 12-hour window to remove the debris before it hardens into plaque and tartar, which require professional cleaning by your healthcare provider.”

Mouthwash disinfects the oral cavity, but it doesn’t effectively remove oral debris. Take the extra few minutes to floss with either traditional floss or a water flosser. In addition to getting a better clean, Chern says that people who floss see a marked improvement in gum health between dental visits.

Problem #5: Only using floss picks

While using floss picks is better than not flossing at all, they’re not as effective as traditional string floss or water flossers. “Most people don’t even use the picks to their fullest potential [and instead] ‘pop’ them through the contacts and move on to the next space,” says Dr. Irina Sinensky, a dentist for NYC’s Dental House. In addition to not being thorough enough, “this can also spread bacteria from one location to another. It’s the up and down cleaning motion of each root surface that is recommended,” she says.

Problem #6: Not flossing because you see blood

“Patients tell me all the time that they don’t floss because their gums bleed when they do. I tell them to floss more instead,” says Dr. Sinensky. “Unhealthy gums — usually caused by bad oral hygiene — will bleed easily when they are touched. It’s like having a splinter under your skin that you never remove. The body will try to rectify the situation by bringing blood to the area and try to get rid of the infection.”

The more you floss, the less you’ll bleed and the better your oral health will be. Sinensky says to try a one-week challenge of flossing daily. You’ll see a significant improvement.

Problem #7: Drinking a sugary beverage at lunch

Gulping a sugary energy drink or soda may keep you mentally powered throughout the day, but it’s wreaking havoc on your oral health.

“A 16-ounce can, can have upwards of almost 30 grams of sugar,” says Marashi. “Sugars are carbohydrates that oral bacteria like to consume, and sugars are also acidic which can cause chemical erosion of your teeth.”

If you need a caffeine fix, swap out your sugary drinks for black or green tea, which are better for your oral health (and your overall health) since they don’t contain nearly as many sugars. You can also opt for coffee. To avoid staining, sip through a straw.

Problem #8: Buying whatever toothpaste is on sale

All toothpaste is not created equal. The better deal might not serve you well.

“It is important to look for the American Dental Association (ADA) stamp on products because the ADA ensures that proper testing has been done on a given toothpaste and that it contains the minimum amount of therapeutic ingredients to maintain a healthy, cavity-free mouth,” says Chern, who adds that this is also important when it comes to buying “all-natural” products. “Ask your dental healthcare provider for their opinion of the best toothpaste to suit your individual needs. For example, if you have cavity issues it is important to use a toothpaste with fluoride and if gingivitis is an issue, there are a slew of toothpaste that can help with minimizing inflammation,” says Chern.

Problem #9: Using non-ADA approved whitening products

Similarly, not all whitening products are created equal. Chern says to only use products that have earned ADA stamps, which indicates the product’s been rigorously tested for formulation and efficacy. “The other products on the market may be a dice roll and cause issues such as sensitivity and damage, or not work at all,” she warns. “When in doubt, talk to your healthcare provider so they can educate you on the various over-the-counter products on the market.”

Problem #10: Only seeing the dentist when you’re in pain

Leaving work early to get to the dentist is, well, a pain — but it will save you real pain in the long run. Seeing a dentist regularly ensures your teeth and mouth are healthy. If you wait until you feel the pain to see the dentist, there’s a strong likelihood you’re dealing with a serious issue versus one that could have been addressed effectively — and less expensively — much earlier.

“Many believe that if their mouth doesn’t hurt then there are no problems, and therefore they do not see their dentist regularly. However, a more intense and expensive treatment will be required if patients neglect to see their dentists at regular intervals and treat the small issues that may arise,” says Sinensky.

You should see your dentist for a regular checkup every six months. How long has it been for you? Time to get an appointment on the calendar.

Source: https://www.nbcnews.com/better/lifestyle/10-common-oral-hygiene-mistakes-according-dentists-ncna1030551

How to Get Whiter Teeth: Four Top Tips to Help Achieve a Brighter Smile

By: Matty Edwards, Independent

🦷 What does good oral hygiene mean for you?

Aside from brushing, keeping our teeth whiter and healthier also involves crucial steps to take. The Independent features other dental care solutions that can help protect your smile! The Oral Surgery DC Team

How do you get whiter teeth? The answer may appear simple – to brush more – but it’s not that easy.

Firstly, there are two types of whitening, extrinsic and intrinsic, according to Askthedentist.com. The former is removing staining to restore tooth whiteness to what it once was, whereas the latter is for people who want their teeth to be whiter than natural, ie what we see from celebrities.

Good dental hygiene

First and foremost, good dental hygiene is a solid way to prevent your teeth from going yellow. The build-up of plaque can give your teeth a yellow tinge, so brushing, flossing and using mouthwash is not to be underestimated.

Although whitening toothpaste can add that little extra to your daily dental routine, Ask the Dentist argues that the toothbrush itself is even more crucial for extrinsic whitening.  

Cut out the bad stuff

Apart from the buildup of plaque, either the staining or wearing away of your enamel, the outermost layer of your teeth, can also cause discolouring. 

If you are committed to leading a life of purity then there are lots of things to avoid to protect your teeth from staining.

These range from coffee and red wine to fizzy drinks and processed sugary foods. Smoking is also a big no-no.

Home remedies

If you can’t quite say goodbye to red wine and cigarettes, then there are plenty of home remedies that may help, from the more orthodox to the outright unusual.

Although lots of sugary fruit might not be best for your teeth, munching on crunchy raw vegetables has been said to help rub plaque away as you chew. In addition, strawberries and pineapple are two fruits that have been claimed to help whiten your teeth.

Brushing with baking soda can help whiten your teeth over time, because it acts as a mild abrasive that slowly rubs off the enamel stains. 

To use this remedy, mix one teaspoon of baking soda with two teaspoons of water and brush your teeth with the paste a few times per week, according to healthy living website, Healthline.

This paste can also be combined with bleaching agent hydrogen peroxide, but shouldn’t be used too often to avoid the erosion of enamel.  Apple cider vinegar diluted with water can be used as a mouthwash too, but sparingly. 

A slightly more exotic method is oil pulling, the swilling of oil around your mouth, which is a traditional Indian folk remedy. It can be done with coconut oil and aims to stop plaque buildup.

Healthline recommends putting one tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and moving around your mouth for a full 15–20 minutes, which is safe to do daily, because it doesn’t erode the enamel.

Cosmetic treatment

If all else has failed or you are in search of a quick fix, then more severe steps and even cosmetic treatments to turn to, including our best picks of teeth whitening kits.

Whitening strips and gel trays are a relatively inexpensive treatment to get that dazzling smile sooner rather than later.

The strips are attached to your upper and lower teeth and removed after bleaching chemicals have worked their magic. Gel trays operate in a similar way except the gel is brushed directly onto the teeth.

Veneers are the most extreme and most expensive option. The process, which can cost thousands of pounds, involves your teeth being ground down and replaced by extra-white veneers.

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/how-to-get-white-teeth-fast-quick-with-braces-top-tips-diy-in-one-day-nhs-a8119036.html

What You Can Do About Bad Breath

By: Peter Jaret, WebMD

Don’t be afraid to get a little close this National Fresh Breath Day! Check out the 8 natural ways to freshen your breath. 😁 The Oral Surgery DC Team

It’s easy to improve your breath and keep your teeth and gums healthy at the same time. Try these simple steps to make your mouth feel fresh and clean.

1. Brush and floss more often.

Plaque, the sticky buildup on your teeth, collects bacteria that cause bad breath. Trapped food also adds to the problem.

Brush your teeth at least two times each day, and floss at least once. If you’re concerned about your breath, do both a little more often.

Don’t overdo things, though. If you brush too hard you can wear down your teeth, making them vulnerable to decay.

2. Rinse your mouth out.

Besides freshening your breath, a mouthwash adds extra protection by getting rid of bacteria. A fresh minty taste can make you feel good. But be sure the mouthwash you choose kills the germs that cause bad breath. Don’t just cover up the smell. Rinse daily with a good mouthwash and stop bad breathat its source.

You can also help your breath if you swish your mouth with plain water after you eat. It can get rid of food particles that get stuck in your teeth.

3. Scrape your tongue.

The coating that normally forms on your tongue can be a host for smelly bacteria. To get rid of them, gently brush your tongue with your toothbrush.

If your brush is too big to comfortably reach the back of your tongue, try a scraper. “They’re designed specifically to apply even pressure across the surface of the tongue area. This removes bacteria, food debris, and dead cells that brushing alone can’t take care of,” says hygienist Pamela L. Quinones, past president of the American Dental Hygienists’ Association.

4. Avoid foods that sour your breath.

Onions and garlic are big offenders. But brushing after you eat them doesn’t help.

The substances that cause their bad smells make their way into your bloodstream and travel to your lungs, where you breathe them out, says dentist Richard Price, DMD, a spokesperson for the American Dental Association.

The best way to stop the problem? Don’t eat them, or at least avoid them before you go to work or see friends.

5. Kick the tobacco habit.

Besides causing cancersmoking can damage your gums, stain your teeth, and give you bad breath.

Over-the-counter nicotine patches can help tame the urge. If you need a little help, make an appointment with your doctor to talk about quit-smoking programs or prescription medications that can help you give up tobacco for good.

6. Skip after-dinner mints and chew gum instead.

The bacteria in your mouth love sugar. They use it to make acid. This wears down your teeth and causes bad breath. Chew sugarless gum instead.

“Gum stimulates saliva, which is the mouth’s natural defense mechanism against plaque acids, which cause tooth decay and bad breath,” Quinones says.

7. Keep your gums healthy.

Gum disease causes bad breath. Bacteria gather in pockets at the base of teeth, which creates an odor.

If you have gum disease, your dentist may suggest you see a periodontist, who specializes in treating it.

8. Moisten your mouth.

You can get tooth decay and bad breath if you don’t make enough saliva. If your mouth is dry, drink plenty of water during the day.

Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugar-free hard candy. Also, try a humidifier at night to moisten the air in your house.

9. See your doctor.

If your bad breath continues despite your best efforts, make an appointment with your doctor. He’ll check to see if your problems are related to a medical condition.

Source: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/get-rid-bad-breath#2


Christmas Foods to Avoid for Fresh Breath

 

By: Capitol Hill Times

 

🎉 The holidays bring lots of good food, drink, and socializing, but sometimes the conversations may be short due to what you’re eating.

Dr. Harold Katz, developer of the TheraBreath line of oral products and widely recognized as “America’s Bad Breath Doctor” says there are certain holiday foods to avoid – if you don’t want to be avoided on New Year’s! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

If you wonder why people keep a safe distance during these festive occasions, it might be because of your bad breath. Some of the traditional dishes and beverages America enjoys at family gatherings and office parties are the main culprits.

“Some of the most popular holiday foods can really stink up your mouth, which is especially lethal at a loud gathering when you have to lean in close to have conversations,” says Dr. Katz, who is also a dentist and bacteriologist. Bad breath bacteria react immediately to changes in the oral environment and unfortunately many Holiday foods provide the fuel which they convert into Volatile Sulfur Compounds, including Hydrogen Sulfide (the rotten egg smell).

Dr. Katz says these are some of the worst holiday foods in terms of causing bad breath:a

Alcohol: Chemically, it’s a dehydrating agent – and dry mouth is one of the leading causes of bad breath. Furthermore, many old-fashioned mouthwash formulas contain high concentrations of alcohol which may exacerbate your dry mouth. Look for alcohol-free oxygenating oral products instead.

Ham: Ham is not only high in protein, but the way it’s prepared (salted, cured, smoked) also leads to dry mouth.

Garlic and onions: Already loaded with smelly sulfur compounds.

Wine and cheese: This classic party snack packs a double bad-breath wallop: the wine is dehydrating, and the cheese is rich in proteins, easily converted into sour milk odors.

Cranberry sauce: If it’s loaded with sugar, as most canned cranberry sauces are, it’s going to be no better for your teeth (and your breath) than a slice of cake.

Dr. Katz says since holidays are a time of close personal contact with large groups of people, it would be prudent for people to at least know which foods cause the worst bad breath.

 

Source: https://www.capitolhilltimes.com/2018/12/18/christmas-foods-to-avoid-for-fresh-breath/

Drinking Red Wine Can Improve Oral Hygiene, Study Claims

By: Olivia Petter, Independent

DYK? Drinking red wine can improve your oral health!🍷

So, how about wine-flavored toothpaste?

These facts may sound odd, but a new study has revealed drinking red wine actually offers a number of health benefits that extend far beyond the mere feel-good factor.

Sounds interesting? Keep reading for more awesome news shared by The Independent. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Wine-flavoured toothpaste, anyone?

It might not be as far fetched as it sounds, as a new study has revealed drinking red wine actually offers a number of health benefits that extend far beyond the mere feel-good factor.

After analyzing the effect of polyphenols, the antioxidants found in red wine, Spanish chemists found that exposure to such compounds can help prevent bacteria from sticking to the gums that would normally lead to cavities and plaque.

Scientists from the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid examined the oral health benefits of two types of red wine polyphenols: Caffeic and p-coumaric acid, both of which are also found in coffee and cranberry juice.

Both were successful in preventing potentially harmful microbes from sticking to the gums which could lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the scientists said the effect was stronger when the polyphenols were combined with the oral probiotic streptococcus dentisani bacteria.

Despite the promising findings, the study’s authors were quick to warn that we shouldn’t jump to starting our day with a gargle of Merlot quite yet, as the chemicals analyzed in the study were far higher in concentration than those found in wine.

Instead, they advise using the molecules in red wine in preventative medicines that would help curb oral diseases.

Exposure would also need to be fairly extensive in order to really see the benefits, given that exposure to the polyphenols in the experiment lasted for up to 47 hours.

You might think you like red wine, but even the most hardcore of fans would struggle to keep the grape-based drink in their mouths for that long.

Plus, as Dr Gunter Kuhnle, a nutrition professor at the University of Reading, pointed out, the two compounds identified in the study are much more abundant in other foods, such as berries.

“This is interesting work done on cells outside of the body, but it is very preliminary and so one must be very cautious about extrapolating these results to any current health advice,” added Naveed Sattar, a professor in metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow. 

“The findings suggest some compounds called phenols should be investigated further for their roles in preventing bacteria binding to cells and causing infection, but this needs much validation.”

Source: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/red-wine-oral-hygiene-health-improvements-gums-spain-study-drinking-a8222901.html