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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Electric toothbrushes vs. manual toothbrushes

Have you been considering making the switch from a manual toothbrush to an electric toothbrush? Electric toothbrushes are a great way to get your teeth clean, however it is still possible to get the same result with a manual brush. Manual brushes just require more time and effort. Manual toothbrushes are inexpensive (often free when you have a check up!) and easy to travel with, making them a reliable choice.

Electric toothbrushes are a great option for those with dexterity limitations (difficulty using their hands). This includes the elderly (especially those with arthritis) and disabled people. Elderly and disabled people may have trouble making the vigorous motions needed for a complete brush with a manual toothbrush. However, an electric toothbrush may provide the right amount of movement and vibration to remove plaque and food particles.

They are also great for children, especially those with braces who need a more intense clean. Children may be excited to use these brushes as they come in fun character designs and make noise. Children will need to be instructed to hold to toothbrush near their gum line to get a complete clean.

Many electric toothbrushes come with a built in timer, which is a great way to make sure you are brushing for the appropriate amount of time. This is a good feature for those who find themselves brushing too hard and fast, which can lead to gum recession. However, electric toothbrushes require charging, can be expensive, and can break if dropped.

All in all, everyone’s dental needs are unique and it is important to find which kind of toothbrush works for you. Whether you prefer a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, it is important to remember to brush at least twice a day.

Here is my professional opinion. For electric brushes, the top brands include Oral-B and Sonicare. I prefer the Oral-B Floss action toothbrush head for my patients, because it has a rotating head. It also has yellow rubber wedges that will mechanically remove hard plaque debris that a regular toothbrush will not remove.

 

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.