Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Gum chewing: helpful or harmful?

When it comes to chewing gum, it's the type of gum you chew that makes a difference in whether it's helpful or harmful to your teeth. While chewing gum containing sugar may actually increase your chances of developing a cavity, there is clinical evidence that demonstrates just the opposite for sugar-free gum. And there's even better news when it comes to chewing sugar-free gum that is sweetened with xylitol.

Image result for chewing gum Sugar-free gum helps to clean teeth

Studies have shown that chewing sugar-free gum after meals and snacks can help rinse off and neutralize the acids released by the bacteria in plaque, which are harmful to tooth enamel. Both the act of chewing and the flavor of the artificial sweeteners in the gum stimulate ten times the normal rate of saliva flow. Not only does the increased saliva flow neutralize the acids in your mouth, it also washes away food particles, helping to keep your teeth clean.

Xylitol reduces decay-causing bacteria

Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has the added benefit of inhibiting the growth of Streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria that cause cavities. In the presence of xylitol, the bacteria lose the ability to adhere to the tooth, stunting the cavity-causing process. With xylitol use over a period of time, the types of bacteria in the mouth change and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces.

To chew or not to chew

Although chewing sugar-free gum can be beneficial in most instances, there are some cases in which chewing gum is not recommended. For example, if you are experiencing any type of jaw pain or temporomandibular disorder symptoms (TMD/TMJ), you should refrain from chewing gum and talk to your dentist about what options are available to you.
For most people, chewing sugar-free gum (especially gum sweetened with xylitol) can be a good preventive measure in situations when toothbrushing and flossing aren't practical, but sugar-free or not, chewing gum should never replace good dental hygiene practices.

Source: Delta Dental

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

How Often Should You Visit a Dental Hygienist for a Teeth Cleaning?

You’ve probably heard how important it is to get a professional teeth cleaning to reduce the risk of cavities and gum disease, but how often do you really need to schedule a cleaning? If you have good oral hygiene habits and a healthy mouth, your dentist and dental hygienist will probably suggest professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year. Many dental insurance policies will cover two cleanings per year, but few people take full advantage of their benefits. The twice-a-year recommendation isn’t random; there are good reasons behind it.
Plaque Makes a Hasty Return After a Teeth Cleaning

A teeth cleaning removes the bacteria that cause plaque, but it begins to re-colonize in your mouth within 24 to 48 hours. Even if you are practicing great dental care at home, some plaque reformation before six months have passed is inevitable. The longer it stays in place, the more of it will calcify onto your teeth. Once it reaches this stage, you won’t be able to remove it yourself. It will require the special tools and skills of your dental hygienist. If you have a professional teeth cleaning twice a year, you are less likely to experience a heavy plaque and tartar buildup that could seriously affect your oral health.
Early Warning System
Visiting your dentist or dental hygienist can also reveal early signs of problems that are much more serious than plaque. During a cleaning or exam, it’s easy to spot signs of oral cancer, new cavities, receding gums, and even signs of anemia or other medical problems. Since gum disease is linked to cardiovascular disease, catching it as early as possible can even lower your risk of heart attack and stroke. If you haven’t made professional teeth cleaning a priority, it’s not too late. Schedule an appointment today.

Source: Dental One Associates 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Electric vs. manual toothbrushes: Which should you choose?

A good, old-fashioned manual toothbrush has been proven time and time again that it’s the right tool for the job, but in recent years, the power toothbrush has become a serious contender. Since both types of toothbrushes are designed to be used to promote good oral health, the one you choose to keep your teeth clean will depend on your personal preferences.

Plaque-removing abilities

The purpose of a toothbrush is to remove plaque and to stimulate the gums to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. When power toothbrushes were first introduced to the market, there really wasn’t much of a difference between manual toothbrushes and power toothbrushes and their ability to remove plaque. Today, as the design and technology of power toothbrushes has evolved, some models have been clinically proven to remove significantly more plaque than a traditional toothbrush, especially in hard-to-reach areas.

Brushing technique

Brushing your teeth isn’t complicated, but there is a right and wrong way. When using a manual toothbrush, brush at a 45-degree angle to your teeth, starting at the gum line. Using a gentle circular motion, move your brush up and down each tooth.
Image result for electric toothbrushA toothbrush that is the right size and shape for your mouth will allow you to reach all the way to your back teeth. An advantage to the brush heads of a power toothbrush is that they’re significantly smaller than that of a manual toothbrushThis allows you to be able to reach those awkward angles at the back of your mouth more easily.
When using a power toothbrush to clean your teeth, your technique depends on which model you’re using. Technology varies: some models clean by oscillating-rotating, vibrating or using sonic technology.
Whichever model you choose, be sure to read the instruction manual to ensure you’re using the toothbrush properly. Since the power toothbrush does more of the work for you than a manual toothbrush, you need to be cautious that you’re brushing correctly to prevent damaging your gums and wearing away the tooth enamel.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends brushing for two to three minutes to ensure your teeth are clean. Some power toothbrushes have a built-in timer that will vibrate abruptly or beep when you’ve finished brushing for three minutes. Other models are designed to signal when you’ve finished cleaning each quadrant of your mouth during a three-minute cycle. For people who are impatient when it comes to brushing, these timers can help make sure the teeth are being cleaned for the appropriate time. If you’re a gadget junkie, there are even power toothbrushes on the market that have a wireless display that provides while-you-brush feedback to promote optimal brushing habits.

Ease of use

The design of a manual toothbrush couldn’t be simpler. It’s the perfect shape and length, and it’s easy for most people to use. But for those who lack manual dexterity or the ability to direct the toothbrush in the correct motion, a power toothbrush can help.
Compared to a manual toothbrush, a power toothbrush certainly is heavier. Most models range in weight from 6 to 14 oz, because of the weight of the batteries. Even electric models have a rechargeable battery that needs to be charged on a regular basis. The advantage to a power toothbrush is that the unit does most of the work. You still need to guide the toothbrush to ensure each individual tooth is being cleaned, but the brushing motion is done by the power toothbrush itself.

Cost comparison

When it comes to cost, a traditional manual toothbrush is still the most inexpensive choice. Manual toothbrushes can range in price from $2 to $8, depending on the brand, comfort grip and other features designed to make your oral care routine more effective and enjoyable.
Of course a power toothbrush is more expensive than a manual toothbrush, but there is a wide variety available. The power toothbrush market is quite diverse, and models range in price from $20 to $200. When it comes to effectiveness, a higher price tag does not necessarily mean a better performance. Although you may appreciate extra features like timers and displays on some models, the cheaper power toothbrushes don’t necessarily perform any differently than their expensive counterparts.
When purchasing a power toothbrush, you’ll normally receive one or two brush heads with your purchase, but be aware that the heads don’t last forever. Depending on what model you’ve purchased, additional brush heads can be quite expensive, ranging in price from $5 to $10. Whichever toothbrush you choose, you still need to replace it regularly to ensure your oral hygiene routine is begin effective to keep your teeth clean. Dentists recommend replacing your toothbrush every few months or when the bristles are no longer straight and firm.

Source: Best Health Magazine 

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush

As you reach for your toothbrush each morning, you may not realize what’s hanging out on its bristles.
“Toothbrushes can become contaminated with oral microbial organisms whenever they are placed in the mouth,” says Sharon Cooper, PhD.
Viruses and bacteria from an infected person’s mouth can live for weeks on a toothbrush surface, and continue to cause illness, says Cooper, a clinical associate professor at the University of Florida College of Dentistry.
Even normal, healthy microorganisms can cause infections, especially if they enter your gum tissue due to an injury, a break, or an oral ulcer, she adds.
Toothbrushes don’t have to be sold in sterile packaging, so they may have bacteria right out of the box, says the American Dental Association’s official statement on toothbrush care.

Keep It Clean

You may not give much thought to cleaning your toothbrush, since you’re wetting it every day to scrub your teeth. However, it’s important -- and easy -- to do.
Wash it. Give your toothbrush a thorough rinse with tap water to remove debris. If you have a systemic illness or immune disorder, you may want to soak it in antibacterial mouthwash or run it through the dishwasher, Cooper says.
Try deep cleaning. There are many types of toothbrush sanitizers on the market, Cooper says. Some use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms.
Store it properly. After use, don’t pop that wet toothbrush back into your medicine cabinet, drawer, or bathroom cup and forget about it.
Store it upright, in a rack or cup, where it can dry out. Look for a cover that lets air circulate and prevents mold, but isn’t completely sealed. The lack of air can foster bacteria.

When to Call It Quits

How long should you keep a toothbrush to prevent the ick from building up? Here are a few useful tips:
Know when to let go. Replace your toothbrush about every 3 to 4 months, or when it shows signs of wear. “Frayed bristles will not clean the teeth and gums adequately,” Cooper says.
Toss toothbrushes after illness. Throw away a brush you or anyone in your home used while sick.
Yes, that means all toothbrushes. Treat electric or power models the same way you handle an old-fashioned one. Chuck the brush attachment after an illness or when the bristles begin to show signs of wear, Cooper says.

No Sharing

Tempted to lend a toothbrush to a family member? Don’t.
Toothbrush sharing can transfer saliva and bacteria -- even the kind that cause tooth decay. “Tooth decay is considered an infectious disease … one more reason not to share or borrow a toothbrush," Cooper says.

Source: WebMD