Floss the teeth that you want to keep!

Written by: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

But I Always Brush!

You never forget to brush your teeth, but flossing definitely slips your mind from time to time. Your mouth may feel clean after brushing, but the reality is you must brush, floss, and use mouthwash to get it 100% clean. When you brush without flossing, you are neglecting 2 sides of every tooth. You may think of cavities on the chewing surfaces of the teeth, however cavities can also form in between the teeth.

When I Brush My Teeth, My Gums Bleed.

As well as cleaning the spaces in between each tooth, flossing also cleans near the gum line. It is important to clean this area to prevent gingivitis and gum disease. Bleeding gums can be one of the first signs of gum disease. It may be alarming to see blood when you are flossing, but do not discontinue flossing! However, do make an appointment to see your doctor.

How Can I Remember to Floss?

Be sure that you floss at least once a day, however twice is better! If you are having trouble remembering to floss, try the following tips to make it a part of your routine. Pick a time of day where you aren’t rushed, before bed when you brush your teeth may be a good time. You can also set an alarm on your phone to remind yourself. Also, keep your floss near your toothbrush and toothpaste as a visual reminder. And remember, floss the teeth that you want to keep!

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Do I need dental insurance?

Written by: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

Many people have dental benefits through their employer. But what about those who don’t? Is it worth it to pay for individual dental insurance? There are many different companies that provide dental insurance. Within each company there are different plans such as PPO, DMO, HMO and etc. Which one is the right one for you?

I am going to be brutally honest and tell you what it best from a dentist perspective. PPO insurance plans are among the best plans for both the patient and the dentist. One reason is that the plan pays the closest to the dental fees. It is marked down to 40% discount from the traditional dental office fees. Usually, the patient has to pay their deductible and a percentage of the procedure, usually 20%-50%.  Insurance will cover the rest. How does this benefit the dentist when they are getting less than what they normally would? The dentist accepts the insurance negotiated rate so their office can appear on the insurance directory, hence getting more patients.

DMO and HMO do not pay for treatment even close to the traditional dental fee rates. They are much lower payments for the dentist but the patient pays a lower copay, or none at all. As a result there are few dentists that accept these plans. Therefore, the wait to get an appointment and the amount of time you spend in waiting room is longer. The dentist is usually overloaded with patients because they will need to see a high volume of patients in order to make ends meet in their business. As a result there may be a lower quality of care provided due to time constraints. This is just a general statement and not all offices provide poor quality care.

In conclusion, it is best to fully research each company and plan to find what is right for you. You may also want to contact the dentist you plan on visiting to see which plans they accept.

 

How does my oral health affect my overall health?

Written by: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

It is easy to think of your dental health and overall health as two different things. You visit the dentist for your teeth and oral health, and you visit your doctor for the rest of your body. However, it is important to keep in mind that your oral health impacts your overall health, and vice versa.

Your mouth has saliva which is your body’s first defense against bacteria and viruses. However, if your teeth aren’t cleaned regularly it is likely that you have a plaque build up. Bacteria clings to plaque, and plaque feeds the bacteria causing it to grow and multiply.

Periodontal disease (bone loss of teeth)  is caused by calculus building up around the teeth. Periodontal disease causes bone loss over time. Calculus harbors minerals, bacteria and food particles. The bacteria that is around your teeth have direct access to your blood stream via the capillaries in your gums. Medical research has shown that the same bacteria in the calculus in your teeth travels and build ups in the arteries in your heart.

Many systemic diseases show their first symptoms in the mouth. These include cancers, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. Your dentist may notice these changes and refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

Overall it is important to monitor your oral health, and overall health. Keep an eye out for any unusual changes and visit your dentist and doctor regularly.

Why Do My Gums Bleed?

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

When you think of oral hygiene, your initial thoughts may be about your teeth. However, your gums play a huge part in your mouth’s health. In some cases, bleeding gums can be the first sign of gum disease. However, there are a few other reasons why your gums may bleed.

It may feel like you need to brush hard to get your teeth clean. However, you should brush gently in small, circular motions. If you are brushing hard, this may be a cause for bleeding gums.

Another reason is that food buildup in your mouth causes plaque (mixture of food debris, bacteria & minerals) and  which hardens and turns into tartar/ calculus. Calculus irritates your gums, causing swelling and bleeding. The best way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup is to brush and floss at least twice a day. It is also important to attend your biannual dental check up.

Your diet may also be to blame for your bleeding gums. Diets high in sugar or simple carbohydrates increase the likelihood for dental problems, as sugar creates a breeding ground for the bacteria that is one of the components of plaque.

Other bad habits, such as smoking, can increase your risk for gum disease. Smoking causes gum inflammation. Smoking also lowers your immune response, making it harder for your body to fight off infections and bacteria.

Bleeding gums can also occur during pregnancy, due to pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is partly caused by hormonal changes in the body which occur during pregnancy. After giving birth the gingivitis may dissipate.

Common Myths About Dental Hygiene

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Myth #1: White teeth equal healthy teeth. Even though your teeth may be white, you can still have cavities on different surfaces of your teeth. These surfaces aren’t seen when you are smiling. For example, cavities can form in-between your teeth or on the gum line. You dentist may only be able to see these by x-ray. These cavities may be caused by plaque (food particles, bacteria and minerals) getting stuck in-between your teeth, gum line or the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your tooth.

Myth #2: Gum disease isn’t common. Gum disease is extremely common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of adults age 30 and older suffer from some form of gum disease. Gum disease is called periodontal disease which in layman’s term means bone loss. You can have bone loss and not even know it. It can be diagnosed by dental xrays and a clinical exam by your dentist.

Myth #3: It is ok to drink soda as long as it doesn’t contain sugar. You may think that diet sodas without sugar are the way to go, however all sodas are extremely acidic. Acid weakens your enamel which puts you at risk for cavities. Here is a video of what happens if you leave a tooth in soda.

Myth #4: Brushing your teeth harder will clean them faster and better. Brushing your teeth hard will do more harm than good. Doing this can cause your gums to recede, and can also cause your teeth to be more sensitive. Brushing in a gentle circular motion is the ideal way to brush.

Myth #5: If your gums bleed, you should stop flossing. Bleeding gums can be a warning sign of gingivitis or  periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease.  If you notice your gums bleeding, you should see your dentist for an accurate diagnosis.

Caring For Your Braces

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Braces not only straighten your teeth, but also correct your bite, crooked, crowded or spaced teeth. This helps maintain good oral hygiene. Food cannot easily get stuck between your teeth because they are aligned. However, while wearing braces you must take impeccable care of your teeth.

It is necessary to brush after everything you eat, and to floss 1-2 times per day. You must brush often while wearing braces to prevent getting food buildup around the brackets. This buildup will cause white spots on your teeth. The white spots are demineralized enamel. Colgate Booster Plus is a great toothpaste that your dentist can prescribe if you start getting white spots. If you cannot brush right after a meal, rinse your mouth with water making sure to wash away all food stuck in your teeth or braces. Be sure to perform a detailed cleaning before you sleep at night.

While you have braces on, you will need to avoid eating certain foods. You will mainly need to avoid sticky, hard or chewy food. Some examples: gum, candy, bagels, hard rolls, popcorn, caramels, corn on the cob (you can cut the kernels of the cob and eat them with a fork!), nuts, and ice.

It is important for children who play sports to wear a mouthguard. Custom mouth guards molded to your child’s mouth work best in protecting braces and teeth.

Make sure you make it to your dental appointments, which will be approximately every 4 to 8 weeks. However, be sure to call your dentist if you need immediate care.