By Dental Health Assoc.
May 22, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  
BrushingFirstorFlossingTheProsandConsforBothWays

It's time for your daily oral hygiene session, so you reach for your toothbrush. Or…do you pick up your floss dispenser instead?

Or, maybe you're just paralyzed with indecision?

No need for that! Although there are pros and cons for performing either task first, choosing one or the other to open up your oral hygiene session won't interfere with your primary goal: removing harmful dental plaque. In the end, it will likely come down to personal preference.

You might, for instance, prefer brushing first, especially if you seem to generate a lot of gunky plaque. Brushing first may help remove a lot of this built-up plaque, leaving only what's between your teeth. Flossing away this remaining plaque may be easier than having to plow through it first, and creating a sticky mess on your floss thread in the process. In the end, you might simply be moving all that plaque around rather than removing it.

So why, then, would you want to floss first? Flossing initially could loosen the plaque between teeth, thus making it easier for your toothbrush to remove it. Flossing first could also serve as your reconnaissance "scout," helping you to identify areas of heavy plaque that may need more of your attention during brushing. And, you might find your mouth feels cleaner if you finish off your session with brushing rather than flossing.

There's one more good reason to floss first: You might not do it otherwise. It's not a secret that flossing is many people's least favorite of the two hygiene tasks. Once you finish brushing, it's tempting to simply shrug off flossing. Doing it first gets what may be for you an unpleasant task out of the way.

So, which approach is best for you? It may help to simply experiment. Try one way for a while and then try the other way to see which one feels best to you. What's most important is that you don't neglect either task—brushing and flossing together is your "secret sauce" for maintaining a healthy mouth.

If you would like more information on effective oral hygiene practices, 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?

WantToBuyaDentalCrownTheKingofRockandRollsIsUpforSale

Although Elvis Presley left us more than four decades ago, he still looms large over popular culture. It's not uncommon, then, for personal items like his guitars, his revolver collection or even his famed white jumpsuit to go on sale. Perhaps, though, one of the oddest of Elvis's personal effects recently went on auction (again)—his gold-filled dental crown.

It's a little hazy as to how the "King" parted with it, but the crown's list of subsequent holders, including a museum, is well-documented. Now, it's looking for a new home with a starting bid of $2,500.

The interest, of course, isn't on the crown, but on its original owner. Dental crowns weren't rare back in Presley's day, and they certainly aren't now. But they are more life-like, thanks to advances in dental materials over the last thirty years.

Crowns are an invaluable part of dental care. Though they can improve a tooth's cosmetic appeal, they're more often installed to protect a weak or vulnerable tooth. In that regard, a crown's most important qualities are strength and durability.

In the early 20th Century, you could have utility or beauty, but usually not both. The most common crowns of that time were composed of precious metals like silver and, as in Presley's case, gold. Metal crowns can ably withstand the chewing forces teeth encounter daily.

But they simply don't look like natural teeth. Dental porcelain was around in the early days, but it wasn't very strong. So, dentists devised a new kind of crown that blended durability with life-likeness. Known as porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns, they were essentially hybrids, a metal crown, which fit over the tooth, overlayed with a porcelain exterior shell to give it an attractive appearance.

PFMs became the most widely used crown and held that title until the early 2000s. That's when a new crown leader came into its own—the all-ceramic crown. In the decade or so before, the fragility of porcelain was finally overcome with the addition of Lucite to the tooth-colored ceramic to strengthen it.

Additional strengthening breakthroughs since then helped make the all-ceramic crown the top choice for restorations. Even so, dentists still install metal and PFM crowns when the situation calls for added strength in teeth that aren't as visible, such as the back molars. But for more visible teeth like incisors, all-ceramic usually stands up to biting while looking life-like and natural.

For a star of his magnitude, Presley's crown was likely state-of-the-art for his time. In our day, though, you have even more crown choices to both protect your tooth and enhance your smile.

If you would like more information about crown restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Dental Crowns.”

IfYoureCaringForanOlderAdultMakeTheirOralHealthaTopPriority

Most of us care for our teeth without much assistance, save from our dentist. But that can change as we get older. A senior adult sometimes needs the help of a family member or a close friend, even with the basics of personal oral care.

At the same time, an older adult's other pressing health needs can be so overwhelming for their caregiver that their oral health needs move to the back burner. But the condition of a person's teeth and gums is directly related to overall health and well-being, especially later in life—it deserves to be a high priority.

First and foremost, caregivers should focus on daily oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay or gum disease, the two most prevalent diseases capable of severely damaging teeth and gums. Dental plaque, a thin bacterial film accumulating on tooth surfaces, is the top cause for these diseases. Removing it daily helps lower the risk for either type of infection.

Older adults may begin to find it difficult to brush and floss on a daily basis. Caregivers can help by adapting the tools of the job to their situation. Adults with diminished hand dexterity might be better served with a power or large-handled toothbrush, or switching to a water flosser for flossing. If they're cognitively challenged, it might also be necessary to perform these tasks for them.

Because of medications or other oral issues, older adults have a higher propensity for chronic dry mouth. Saliva neutralizes acid and supplies antibodies to fight infection, so not having enough can make the mouth environment more conducive to harmful bacteria. Caregivers should interact with their loved one's doctor to help reduce dry mouth through alternative medications or products to improve saliva flow.

An older person may also have dental work like crowns, bridges or dentures that protect their oral health and improve dental function. Be sure they're seeing a dentist to regularly check their dental work and make adjustments or repairs as necessary.

Good oral health is important in every stage of life, but particularly in our later years. Watching out for an older adult's teeth and gums can make a big difference in their overall quality of life.

If you would like more information on dental care for senior adults, 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 “Aging & Dental Health.”

By Dental Health Assoc.
April 22, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   oral hygiene  
3ThingsYouCanDotoUpYourPersonalDentalCareGame

Although your dentist plays an important supporting role, you are actually the starring actor in your dental care. What you do daily at home makes the greatest impact on the dynamic state of your oral health.

The more you can become a "master" in your own dental care, the more likely your teeth and gums will remain healthy. It's also less likely you'll have much of a need to see the dentist beyond your regular cleanings and checkups.

Here, then, are 3 things you can do to improve personal teeth and gum care.

Improve your brushing. Brushing your teeth is primarily a physical skill. The more you do it, the better at it you'll likely become. And, the better you are, the more effective you'll be with removing disease-causing dental plaque. It begins with the right equipment: preferably a soft-bristled, multi-tufted toothbrush that feels comfortable in your hand. Technique-wise, focus on being thorough but gentle to avoid damaging your enamel and gums.

Floss daily. Although a lot of people think of brushing and flossing as two different tasks (with many doing the former while neglecting the latter), it's better to think of them as two parts of the same goal of removing dental plaque. While brushing clears away plaque from broad surfaces, flossing removes it from between teeth where a toothbrush can't reach. If flossing isn't your thing, try floss picks or water flossers.

Put the brakes on sugar. Of all the things you eat, refined sugar is probably the most detrimental to your dental health. The oral bacteria that cause disease readily consume any sugar lingering in the mouth, which fuels their growth. It's especially problematic when constant snacking on sweets (or drinking sweetened beverages) provides a continuous supply. So, cut back as much as possible on sweets, or limit your consumption of sugary foods to meal times.

As we said before, your dentist does have a role to play in your oral health, so be sure you're paying them a visit at least every six months. These visits plus your due diligence at home will help ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy.

If you would like more information on personal dental care, 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 “10 Tips For Daily Oral Care at Home.”

By Dental Health Assoc.
April 12, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
SmokingPutsYourOralHealthatRiskNowandintheFuture

When you smoke, you're setting yourself up for problems with your health. That includes your teeth and gums—tobacco has been linked to greater susceptibility to both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

Smoking in particular can have a number of adverse effects on your mouth. Smoke can burn and form a thickened layer of the mouth's inner membranes called a keratosis. This in turn can damage the salivary glands enough to decrease saliva production, making for a drier mouth more hospitable to harmful bacteria.

Nicotine, the active chemical ingredient in tobacco, can cause the mouth's blood vessels to constrict. This causes less blood flow, thus a slower flow of nutrients and antigens to teeth and gums to ward off infection. Taken together, smokers are more likely than non-smokers to suffer from dental disease.

The impact doesn't end there. The conditions in the mouth created by smoking make it more difficult for the person to successfully obtain dental implants, one of the more popular tooth replacement methods.

Implants generally enjoy a high success rate due to their most unique feature, a titanium metal post that's imbedded into the jawbone. During the weeks after surgery, bone cells grow and accumulate on the implant's titanium surface to create a lasting hold.

But the previously mentioned effects of smoking can interfere with the integration between implant and bone. Because of restricted blood flow, the tissues around the implant are slower to heal. And the greater risk for dental disease, particularly gum infections, could cause an implant to eventually fail.

Of the rare number of implants that fail, twice as many occur in smokers. By removing smoking as a factor, you stand a much better chance for implant success. If you're considering implants and you smoke, you'll fare much better if you quit smoking altogether.

If you can't, at least stop smoking a week before implant surgery and for a couple of weeks after to increase your mouth's healing factor. Be sure you also keep up daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits.

Smoking can increase the disease factor for your teeth and gums. Quitting the habit can make it easier to restore your oral health.

If you would like more information on the impact of smoking to oral health, 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 “Dental Implants & Smoking.”





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