FLOSS IS BOSS!

YES! Everyone needs to floss

YES! Everyone needs to floss!

The boring part about flossing is knowing that every dentist and hygienist insists that we ALL should do it! After all, who HASN’T been told at their regular check-up that you need to floss?

BUT Flossing, as any hygienist will tell you, is one of the most difficult things to get their patients to do. Which is such a shame really, as it’s probably the best and most effective way of reducing the need for the dentist and preventing disease. Possibly more so that actually brushing your teeth.

FLOSSING……..WHY? WHAT? WHEN? WHERE? AND HOW?

WHY? Well, we need to floss because bacteria from the food we eat gathers not only behind and in front of teeth, but inbetween them. The stuff that gets wedged between teeth cannot be removed by brushing alone. Flossing helps get rid of the bad bacteria and dental plaque that cause periodontal disease (or gum disease), which is the #1 reason people will lose teeth as they get older. Flossing can also help to reduce gingivitis and halitosis (bad breath).

WHAT? Floss is a long, thin type of string. It is can be made of filaments of plastic (polyethylene, nylon or PTFE) or silk and can be waxed on unwaxed.

WHEN? Flossing is something we should do after every meal and every time we brush our teeth.

WHERE? The obvious answer is…..in the bathroom. But it can be done anywhere. Floss comes in little boxes and also there are now floss pickers. These are small plastics devices that hold a short piece of floss between two prongs, so you don’t have to use a long piece of floss and wind it around your fingers.

HOW? Continuing the ‘where’ answer……..if using floss from a carton, unwind/unroll a piece of floss about 18″ in length and wind it around your fingers,

How to floss.

How to floss.

as shown in the diagram.

Slide the floss between your teeth.

Slide the floss between your teeth.

Then slide it down between your teeth in a backwards and forwards motion and back up again, being sure to go right down to the gum line and making sure that you don’t snap the floss against your gums.

If you prefer to use floss picks, the following image shows you how to use them.

Using a floss pick

Using a floss pick

Either way is good. It is more important that you floss than whether you use picks or single string floss.

Now for the fun stuff…….

Did you know that floss comes in a variety of flavors other than mint?

For instance, how about……..

Breakfast flavored floss.

Breakfast flavored floss.

Coffee, waffle or bacon or,

Cupcake Floss

Cupcake Floss

Cupcake?

Pickle flavored floss

Pickle flavored floss

Or even Pickle, YES! Pickle….

Then of course, there are the other wonderful things you can use floss for apart from cleaning your teeth.

Training vines for climbing plants; slicing cheese, cake and other foods; hanging pictures and ornaments; threading popcorn for decorations; using waxed floss as kindling to start a fire; sew on coat buttons, restringing jewelry; makeshift fishing line; traveling/camping clothesline and many other things.

So, floss can not only safe your life quite literally in helping to avoid serious gum disease and infections, it can also save your life, or at least get you out of some sticky situations when you haven’t got the right tools.

Bottom line is…..FLOSS! FLOSS! FLOSS! If only so you can start a campfire!

EVEN A HIPPOPOTAMUS NEEDS HIS TEETH CLEANED!

Aside

Brushing Hippo's teeth!

Brushing Hippo’s teeth!

Why do you need to clean your teeth? Here are ten pretty scary reasons why:-

  1. SAVE MONEY: Cleaning your teeth regularly will help keep bacteria at bay. Visiting your dental office every 6 months will let your dentist and hygienist examine your mouth and keep a look out for any cavities, bad bacteria and gum disease that may be developing.

    $$$ Saving money $$$

    $$$ Saving money $$$

  2. PREVENT GUM DISEASE: Regular brushing helps prevent gum diseases such as Gingivitis and Periodontitis. Some 80% of American Adults have some form of gum disease  so, since gum disease if often the gateway for other more serious infections, it is advisable to maintain a regular oral hygiene regime.

    Periodontal diease

    Periodontal disease

  3. STOP ARTHRITIS and DIABETES: If you have gum disease your are 8 times more likely to develop Rheumatoid Arthritis and infections introduced via gum disease can lower the effectiveness of insulin in your body.
  4. HAVE A BETTER SEX LIFE: Not only does a nice smile help attract the opposite sex. As Prevention magazine reports, chronic gum disease may help men avoid ED (erectile dysfunction). Studies suggest the gum disease is slightly more common  in men who had a moderate to severe level of ED, compared with men who don’t have erectile dysfunction.
  5. PROMOTE FULL-TERM HEALTHY BABIES: Women suffering from periodontal disease can pass on infection through the placenta to their unborn infants. Low weight babies and pre-term babies can also result if gum disease is present. Also, conception may be delayed in women suffering from gum disease.

    Healthy Babies

    Healthy Babies

  6. PREVENT HEART DISEASE AND STROKES: With all the bacteria in your mouth, the added stress of gum disease can lead to a build up of harmful bacteria in your bloodstream – which ultimately leads to your heart. In some cases the bacteria can spread to your brain and induce a stroke.

    Healthy Heart

    Healthy Heart

  7. WARD OFF DEMENTIA AND ALZHEIMER’S: In 2010 the New York College of Dentistry published a report showing that gum disease may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Gum disease could also increase your chance of developing dementia by 30%-40%.
  8. REDUCE RESPIRATORY INFECTIONS: The Journal of Periodontology, in 2011, showed that oral infections and diseases can raise the risk of respiratory diseases, including pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Bronchitis may also be more prevalent for those with gum disease. All respiratory tract infections are caused by bacteria getting into the lower respiratory tract by passing through (or coming from) infections in your mouth. The cleaner you keep your mouth, the less chance of infection getting through.
  9. EAT HEALTHY: Eating calcium and fiber rich foods will help contribute to your overall health. It also stimulates production of saliva which helps to protect your teeth. Although brushing twice a day is recommended, additional brushing of your teeth after a meal can help you avoid eating more than you need as brushing signals to your brain that you are full.

    Eat Healthy

    Eat Healthy

  10. KEEPING THAT BEAUTIFUL SMILE: Cleaning your teeth regularly helps keep your mouth fresh, bad bacteria at bay, your smile white and in general a happier and more attractive person.

SO!!! I guess we can safely say that cleaning your teeth should part of your daily oral hygiene routine!

How should you clean your teeth?

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommend that you clean your teeth at least twice a day, with a soft bristled toothbrush. They also recommend that you clean between your teeth with floss or an interdental cleaner. The type of toothpaste you use can vary as there are many varieties that address different problems, however as long as you ensure that the toothpaste you use has the ADA seal of approval you should be OK.

American Dental Association Seal of Approval

American Dental Association Seal of Approval

While most of us do a fairly good job of cleaning our teeth, even the really good jobs sometimes need extra help. This is why the ADA recommend that we visit our dental office at least twice a year for check-ups and a professional tooth cleaning performed by the hygienist. For people who develop gum disease, it may be necessary to visit the hygienist more frequently or even be referred to a Periodontist – a specialist in gum disease.

Here is a link to a video explaining how a hygienist cleans your teeth.

Happy cleaning to you all, and remember……..

Gotta look after those teeth!!!

Gotta look after those teeth!!!

 

WILL SMOKING AFFECT MY TEETH?

Will smoking affect my teeth?   The short answer is……..YES!!!

How badly will it affect them?

The Smokers Smile

The Smokers Smile

The Non-Smokers Smile

The Non-Smokers Smile

Well, which smile would you like to have?  The first one or the second one? It is very easy to see some of the detrimental effects of smoking on your teeth.

We all know that smoking is bad for our health, so it shouldn’t surprise us either that smoking (cigarettes, cigars or pipe) and chewing tobacco is also bad for us.

Never mind that socially these days, smoking in public is more or less unacceptable here in the US with many States now having prohibited smoking in public spaces, we now have a more thorough understanding of the way smoking affects not just our own bodies but those of the people around us.

Dental health impacts of smoking and using tobacco products include:

  • stained teeth and tongue
  • increase of plaque and tartar on the teeth
  • bad breath
  • your sense of taste and smell may be dulled
  • healing after tooth extraction or other surgery may be slower
  • gum disease
  • oral cancer

Note that, this list is not ALL that can happen, it is just a list of some of the things that can happen if you are a smoker or user of tobacco. Admittedly, there are other reasons you may suffer from some of these symptoms, but smoking will, at the very least, exaggerate them.

Smoking leads to gum disease because it interferes with the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. It actually interferes with the normal function of gum tissue cells and leads to smokers being more susceptible to infections, such as periodontal disease.

Whether you smoke  pipe, cigar or cigarettes you can have tooth and bone loss at a similar rate. Even if you don’t inhale and incur the additional medical health issues of the lungs, you still are at risk for oral and throat cancers and other consequences such as stained teeth, bad breath and gum disease.

Unfortunately, trying to go the smokeless route is not any better as smokeless tobacco products, including snuff and chewing tobacco, contain at least 28 chemicals that have been show in studies to increase the risk of oral and throat cancer. surprisingly, chewing tobacco contains  a higher levels of nicotine that cigarettes and a can of snuff delivers more nicotine than over 60 cigarettes!!! As well as the harmful chemicals in the smokeless products, there may also be added sugar for taste which as we all already know contributes to tooth decay and the formation of cavities.

So – now that you have even more information on WHY you should quit, your questions might now be….HOW do I quit?

Quit Smoking

Quit Smoking

There are many programs out there to help people who want to quit and who just can’t sumon up the will power to do it by themselves. Firstly, don’t be disappointed if you’re not successful at quitting by yourself. Tobacco products contain many addictive elements, so making it harder to withdraw easily from the habit.

Here in Michigan you can call the above number or go online at Michigan.Gov to find information on smoking cessation program, contact them at;  http://www.michigan.gov/mdch/0,1607,7-132-2940_2955_2973_53244—,00.html

Good luck!!!!