9 Stocking Stuffers To Brighten Smiles This Christmas

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Candy canes and chocolate are usual “go-to” items for stuffing Christmas stockings. This year, why not add some mouth-friendly items that will enhance your child or partner’s oral health and help brighten their smile?

We have nine ideas for you this Christmas that are sure to light up the faces of the recipients.

Chewing Gum With Xylitol: Putting gum infused with Xylitol in stockings will provide a double bonus. Chewing gum following a meal stimulates saliva in your mouth, and saliva is extremely efficient at acting as a buffer to acid and removing food particles from your mouth. And if the gum contains the natural sweetener Xylitol, the user will get a second benefit – studies have linked regular use of Xylitol to reduced tooth decay.

Toothpastes With Flavor: You’ve probably heard of bubble-gum flavored toothpaste, or mint-flavored toothpaste. But how about chocolate, ice cream, cupcake, or bacon-flavored toothpaste. In fact, you can even get pickle-flavored toothpaste (we say ‘ick’ to that)! Get your kids (and even adults) excited about brushing with a flavored toothpaste. Just make sure it contains fluoride, an essential cavity-fighter.

Flavored Floss: Spice up your daily oral health routine with some flavored floss. Most floss is pretty boring, but change that this Christmas by putting flavored floss in stockings. You’ll find everything from cinnamon to banana – and lots of other options. Remember, the best oral hygiene routine includes brushing and flossing. If flossing is something your family struggles to do, make it easier for them. Put floss picks in their stockings rather than regular string floss.

Fun Toothbrushes: You should be replacing your toothbrush – and your child’s toothbrush – every three to four months. Give everyone a new toothbrush this Christmas, and then replace it again at Easter and just before they go back to school in late August. Buy toothbrushes that are fun – and appropriate – for the different members of your family. Be sure to get soft-bristled toothbrushes for toddlers. There are lots of favorite characters for school-aged children, and “smart” toothbrushes that play tunes or light up to help a child keep track of how long to brush.

Colgate Wisps: These are tiny disposable toothbrushes that are perfect for when you’re on the go – at work, school or even a night out with friends. They’ve been around awhile, but are so convenient and cute that they are always a good oral health stocking stuffer.

Electric Toothbrush: This is a great alternative to a manual toothbrush. The basic models are very affordable and you can get them with oscillating, vibrating or sonic brush heads. Some even are themed for kids and play a tune for a couple of minutes to encourage the right amount of time spent brushing.

Cool Toothbrush Holder: Stuff your child’s stocking with a toothbrush holder that’s sure to get their attention. You’ll find everything from robot to animal-shaped toothbrush holders available. Many depict a favorite character of the child’s and have space for both their toothbrush and toothpaste.

Plaque-Disclosing Tablets: These are both functional and fun. You use them after brushing your teeth, and any areas that are colored red means you missed that area when you brushed or flossed, since the tablet has a red-colored ingredient that clings to plaque.

FLIX - Interdental Stick: This is another “go-to” for cleaning your teeth in-between regular brushings when you’re away from home. FLIX will remove plaque, freshen your breath, massage gum tissue, reduce odor-causing bacteria, and provide a fluoride treatment.

Sources: Delta Dental, Colgate, FLIX

 

 

Do You Know How to Floss Properly?

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Flossing is an important part of the Healthy Teeth Trio – which also includes brushing and regular visits to your dentist for a dental cleaning and check-up. Floss plays a unique role in oral health because it can remove a whole variety of things you don’t want between your teeth - food particles, plaque and bacteria – that a toothbrush usually can’t remove. Leaving all of those items stuck between your teeth can lead to gingivitis, which is a disease of the gums that can produce major oral health problems.

Floss was originally made from silk. However, floss has evolved since the 1800s and is now made from plastic beads. Yes, you read that right – plastic beads. The beads are melted and the squeezed into long, thin strands to make them stronger and very hard to break. The plastic is layered with wax and flavoring to make the process more palatable.

So what happens to your oral health if you don’t have time to floss or don’t think it’s worth the effort? To begin with, plaque will begin to build up between your teeth. The plaque will eventually begin to irritate your teeth and make your gums more sensitive. If you have neglected flossing and then decide to begin, your gums will probably bleed. So be sure you begin flossing slowly. But after a couple of weeks, your gums will get used to the floss and your oral health will begin to improve!

You have several options to choose from in terms of types of floss. Most people stick with regular floss, although there are many types of regular floss – unwaxed, waxed, mint flavored, etc.  The differences aren’t important and don’t improve your flossing effectiveness. What does impact the effectiveness is your technique.

Floss picks are also popular for flossing because they hold the floss for you. That makes it very convenient to floss because you only have to use one hand to floss. However, floss picks are not as effective as regular floss because they don’t give you the opportunity to reach the angles necessary for effective flossing.

So how do you floss properly?

  • Starting with about 18 inches of floss, wind most of the floss around each middle finger, leaving an inch or two of floss to work with;
  • Holding the floss tautly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth;
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gumline. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise delicate gum tissue;
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth; and
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth

Sources: Colgate.com

 

6 Tips to Flossing Effectively

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Using Proper Techniques Are Important if You Want to Be the Boss of Your Floss

How Often Should You Floss?

Daily according to the American Dental Association (ADA) if you want to effectively remove the plaque from places between your teeth where you toothbrush can’t reach. Remember, plaque that isn’t removed hardens into calculus or tartar and eventually can lead to cavities. Plus flossing helps fight cavities and prevent gum disease.

Before or After Brushing?

It doesn’t really matter if you floss before or after you brush or the time of day when you floss. The important thing is, as Nike says, “Just Do It!” Many people think they should floss just before they go to bed and end up never flossing because they are always too tired at the end of the day. So pick a time when you have a couple of extra minutes every day and floss.

Nylon or PTFE Floss?

When you are flossing, you have two types of floss to choose from – nylon floss (multifilament) or PTFE floss (monofilament). Nylon floss is made of multiple strands of nylon, so it sometimes tears of shreds if you have “tight teeth”. You can get it waxed or unwaxed depending on your preference. PTFE floss is more expensive but slides between your teeth easier, especially if the spaces between your teeth are tight. It generally won’t shred. Check with your dentist or oral hygienist for their floss recommendations for your teeth.

Flossing Flawlessly

Gum disease begins at the gum line and between teeth. Daily flossing is an important part of your oral health care routine to help remove the plaque from these areas where a toothbrush doesn’t completely reach. But to truly reap the benefits, you need to use proper flossing technique.

You can floss flawlessly if you follow these four easy steps, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association:

Wind: Wind 18 inches of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a one- to two-inch length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.

Guide: Keep a one- to two-inch length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.

Glide: Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. Don’t snap floss between your teeth. Contour floss around the side of the tooth.

Slide: Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.

Toss the floss once you’re finished. Remember, flossing should not hurt when you do it. If it does, you may be in jeopardy of damaging the tissue between your teeth. You’ll probably feel some discomfort when you first start flossing, but after a week or two the discomfort should go away. Recurring pain means you should get in touch with your dentist.

Flossing With a Flosser

Some people prefer to use a flosser for convenience. Hold the flosser handle firmly and point the flossing tip at an angle facing the area you want to floss first (either top teeth or bottom teeth). Guide the floss gently between two teeth, and be sure to avoid snapping or popping the floss. Use the same zigzag motion that you would us with standard floss. Bend the floss around each tooth and slide it under the gum line and along each tooth surface.

Don’t Forget the Kids!

If you have a child that has at least two teeth that touch, you should be flossing their teeth regularly. You usually have to wait until they are around 10 years old before they can handle this daily oral health routine themselves.

Sources: MouthHealthy.org, Oral B, Colgate, American Dental Association

Prevent the “Dangerous Duo” From Impacting Your Oral Health

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There are two words related to oral health that you should think of as the “dangerous duo” – plaque and tarter. Together, they work to wreak havoc in your mouth, causing gum disease, tooth decay, and teeth stains. They can be defeated by the “superheroes” of oral health – your toothbrush and floss - but if you skip using them, you’ll more than likely get to know personally the “dangerous duo”.

An Inside Look at the “Dangerous Duo”

The more you know about plaque and tartar, the better your odds of winning the oral health war. So what is plaque? It’s a colorless, sticky layer of bacteria and sugars that constantly forms on your teeth. It’s the leading cause of gum disease and cavities, and if you don’t remove it daily, its buddy tartar will arrive. You can’t avoid plaque since bacteria are constantly forming in our mouths. These bacteria feed on ingredients in your diet and saliva to grow. Plaque creates acids, which attack your teeth after you eat and eventually cause cavities. That happens because the repeated acid attacks break down your tooth enamel and a cavity may form. Also, if you don’t get rid of the plaque, it can irritate the gums around your teeth, leading to gingivitis (red, swollen, bleeding gums), periodontal disease and tooth loss.

And what is tartar? Again, it is plaque that had hardened onto your teeth and become a mineral. It is also called calculus. It is fairly easy to spot when it’s above your gumline because it will create a yellow or brown color on your teeth or gums. Tartar can also form at and underneath the gumline and can irritate gum tissues. It provides a fertile breeding ground for additional plaque to adhere and eventually turn to tartar. Plus, your teeth will get stained more easily because tartar is porous and absorbs stains from beverages like coffee or tea.

Stopping the “Dangerous Duo” From Gaining Traction

If you’ve let plaque turn into tartar in your mouth, there isn’t much you can do except visit your dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs. But you can prevent plaque by using the “superheroes” of oral health on a daily basis. That means brushing twice a day and flossing daily. In addition, you can have an even better chance to win the battle against plaque by watching what you eat.

Lehigh Valley Smile Designs suggests this game plan for taking on plaque and tartar:

Be sure to brush at least twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste to get rid of plaque from all of your teeth’s surfaces. Don’t scrub hard back and forth when you brush. Instead, use small circular motions combined with short back and forth motions.

Use your floss each day to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gumline, (where your toothbrush may not reach). Remember to ease the floss between your teeth. Snapping it into place may damage your gums. The best time to floss is before you go to bed.

Another way of removing plaque between teeth is to use a dental pick — a thin plastic or wooden stick. These sticks can be purchased at drug stores and grocery stores.

Limit sugary or starchy foods, especially sticky snacks. Food residues, especially sweets, provide nutrients for the germs that cause tooth decay, as well as those that cause gum disease. So less is better when it comes to sweets.

How Do I Know If I Have Plaque?

Dental plaque is difficult to see unless it's stained. You can stain plaque by chewing red "disclosing tablets," found at grocery stores and drug stores, or by using a cotton swab to smear green food coloring on your teeth. The red or green color left on the teeth will show you where there is still plaque—and where you have to brush again to remove it. Stain and examine your teeth regularly to make sure you are removing all plaque.

How Is Tartar Removed by a Dentist?

Once tartar has formed, only your dentist or hygienist can remove it. The process for removing tartar is called scaling. During a scaling, the hygienists at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs use special instruments to remove tartar from your teeth above and below the gumline.

Sources: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; American Dental Association; Colgate-Palmolive, Inc.

 

 

7 Ideas to Enhance Your Family’s Oral Health

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If tooth decay and gum disease are two oral health problems you want your family to avoid this year, then we have 7 great tips to help your family have a healthy year for their teeth and gums. Remember, most gum disease and tooth decay is preventable if you practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure you and each member of your family spend a couple of minutes a day flossing and brushing and that you make good choices to enhance your oral health. For a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, that’s not a lot to ask, is it?

Begin at six months. Start your child’s dental care around six months, which is when their first tooth generally appears. Initially, use a damp cloth or soft brush to wipe your baby’s teeth. Once a child turns two, they can brush for themselves with adult supervision.

Consider sealants. Just 33% of kids in the United States receive dental sealants, but it is a great way to protect your child’s permanent molars when they come in at age 6. The sealant is applied by your dentist to the chewing surfaces on the molars and provides protection against decay.

The daily duo. Be sure to brush twice a day and floss once a day to avoid gum disease and tooth decay. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, so it’s not something you want in your mouth.

Finish your meals the right way. Rinse your mouth right after a meal with water and/or an antibacterial rinse. Another tip is to chew a piece of sugar-free gum right after you eat to enhance the flow of saliva, which washes away bacteria and reduces acid.

Practice smart eating. Be sure to include whole foods in your diet because they will provide your teeth and gums the nutrients they need to stay healthy. That means to be sure to eat nuts, grains, dairy products, vegetables and fruits on a daily basis.

Say no to soda. Sugary sodas are “double trouble” because of their high sugar content and because people tend to sip them over extended periods of time. Bacteria in your mouth love sugar, because they produce acid when they break down the sugar. Acid erodes the enamel on your teeth, which can then lead to decay.

See your dentist regularly. Make an appointment for a dental check-up and cleaning every six months if you want to stay on top of your oral health. Your dental hygienist will get rid of built-up plaque on your teeth and check for tooth decay. Your dentist will also check for signs of oral cancer or gum disease.

 

SOURCE: WebMD

 

11 Tips to a Happy and Healthy Mouth in 2018

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If you’re a fan of making New Year’s resolutions – and sticking to them – then we have 11 helpful tips for keeping your smile bright and your mouth happy in 2018. Even if you aren’t a fan of New Year’s resolutions, our list is still a great place to start on the road to good oral health this year.

Modifying your diet can whiten your teeth

If you’re a fan of black tea or red wine - or a smoker - your teeth are going to suffer. Dark foods and beverages stain your teeth which equals a dingy smile. Gravies, dark juice and colas are also hard on your smile. To counter these dark foods, brush right after you eat or drink them. Eating an apple is also a great on-the-go solution to clean your teeth.

Toss your toothbrush regularly

Get yourself in the habit of getting rid of your toothbrush every three months. That includes the head of your electric toothbrush. Bacteria settle into the bristles of your brush over time, and after a couple of months, you are just transferring a bunch of bacteria to your mouth every time you brush. Plus, worn bristles don’t clean your teeth as well. In fact, plan for the year by getting out your 2018 calendar now and note every 90 days to change your toothbrush.

Eat foods that “scrub”

Raw carrots, celery and popcorn – along with apples – are great foods that naturally scrub your teeth. Eat them at the end of a meal if you know you won't be able to brush your teeth right after eating. They are great for when you can’t get to your toothbrush and they have the added value of being high in vitamins and fiber.

Use a natural mouthwash like apple cider vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a great natural multi-purpose mouthwash. Gargle with it in the morning before your brush. It will help remove stains on your teeth, whiten them, and zap bacteria in your mouth.

Brush your teeth with baking soda once a week

Baking soda will naturally remove stains and make your teeth whiter. Use it the same way you would your toothpaste.

Be a boss of your floss

Less than half of Americans say they floss daily – which is a definite oral health mistake for those who don’t floss regularly. It just takes two minutes once a day. To make it easier to get in a daily floss, stash packages in your purse or backpack, in your desk, and next to your bed. That will make it much more difficult to find excuses not to floss.

Switch your gum

If you like gum, then be sure to use sugar-free gum. For an even better result, purchase gum with xylitol, a non-sugar sweetener that has been proven to reduce plaque. Plus, gum produces saliva, which washes away food particles in your mouth and acid from your teeth.

Brush at optimal times to enhance the results

Brush when you first get up in the morning and just before you go to bed at night. Why? Because saliva – which is a natural plaque fighter – dries up when you sleep, so you should be sure to avoid getting into bed with a mouth full of plaque. When you get up in the morning and brush, your toothbrush will remove any plaque that built up during the night. Plus it will get rid of bacteria, which causes bad breath!

Twice a day keeps the dentist away

Spend two minutes twice a day brushing your teeth and you are almost guaranteed to reduce the bad news (cavities) when you visit your dentist the next time.

Moderate your sugar intake

Bacteria in your mouth love sugar. When sugars aren't cleaned off your teeth, bacteria feed on them and produce acids. The acids then combine with bacteria, food particles and saliva to form plaque, a sticky film that covers the teeth. Once plaque forms, the acids wear away the enamel, which is the tooth's hard outer surface. These tiny openings in the enamel represent the first stage of cavities. So cut down on your sugar intake. Swap water for soda, or sugar-free gum for your regular gum.

See your dentist regularly

Twice a year is how often you should be seeing your dentist. Book a dental hygiene appointment every six months for a professional cleaning of your teeth and gums. Plus, your dentist will take a thorough look in your mouth and spot any potential issues before they become full-blown emergencies.

Sources: Delta Dental, Colgate, WebMD, Stealth Health/Reader’s Digest

 

 

Top Tips to Choosing the Best Toothbrush for Your Smile

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How do you decide what is the best toothbrush for your oral health needs? Do you go with a favorite color? Maybe the type of bristles – soft or hard? How the toothbrush feels in your hand when you are brushing?  Or the cost? All of those are important (even the color of your toothbrush) because you want to be sure that you are doing everything possible to encourage you to brush twice a day. Remember, if you are brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, you will end up spending about 1,000 hours during your lifetime brushing your teeth. You definitely want to give yourself every opportunity to make those hours as enjoyable as possible. 

Here are some simple tips to give you the best “toothbrush experience” possible:

When Should You Buy a New Toothbrush?

As soon as the bristles on your toothbrush begin to look worn or frayed, buy a new one. That usually happens every three months if you are brushing regularly. Remember, a worn-out toothbrush isn’t helping to keep your teeth clean. After an illness replace your toothbrush because germs can linger and make you sick again. Also, if you can’t remember the last time you changed your toothbrush, it’s probably time for a new one.

The Parts of a Toothbrush – Bristles, Head Shape and Handle

Bristles: Soft is Safe

Most dentists agree on using a toothbrush with soft bristles and to brush gently. You may think that scrubbing your teeth with a stiff-bristle toothbrush will improve your oral health, but you’re probably wrong. Instead, you’ll end up damaging your teeth and gums. How? The hard bristles will cause gum tissue to pull back from teeth, which can expose the tooth root and lead to increased sensitivity to heat, cold or certain foods and drinks. Plus the hard bristles will create damage to enamel on teeth, which can leave them exposed to cavity-causing plaque.

Head: Size Matters

Consider the toothbrush’s head shape when selecting your tool of choice. Some toothbrush shapes will suit some mouths better than others. Make sure the head allows your toothbrush bristles to comfortably reach your back molars, as some brush heads may be too large or wide. Brush in front of the mirror to make sure you cover every tooth. If it doesn’t, swap your toothbrush for one that does.

Handle: Get a Grip

The handle of the brush should be long enough to hold comfortably. It should neither be too thick nor too thin to hold. Some toothbrushes today have wide handles. This helps you control the toothbrush better. So, choose a toothbrush with a handle that is long enough and wide enough for you to use. 

Do You Go Cheap on What You Pay for Your Toothbrush?

Five no-name toothbrushes in a package may seem like a steal at a handful of pennies each, but consider the risks. Seeing as you put a toothbrush in your mouth two or more times per day, it’s worth going with a reputable manufacturer. If you buy a cheap toothbrush, you may be getting a product could be from a manufacturer who doesn't care about safety or efficacy. Plus, the toothbrushes could be made of inferior or unsafe materials. Bottom line, cheap toothbrushes are better suited for cleaning grout than oral hygiene. 

Why Is the ADA Way Important?

Buy toothbrushes that have the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. A company earns the ADA Seal for its product by producing scientific evidence that the product is safe and effective. The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs carefully evaluates the evidence according to objective guidelines for toothbrushes.

Does Color Matter?

Sure it does if color is important to you. Using an icky-colored toothbrush won’t motivate you to brush twice a day. Buy one that has a color attractive to you!

The Bottom Line on Selecting Your Toothbrush

At the end of the day, the best toothbrush is the one you’ll actually use. That means the toothbrush handle should fit comfortably in your hand and the toothbrush head should feel comfortable in your mouth and be able to reach every tooth surface. Look for the ADA Seal, your assurance that the product has been objectively evaluated for safety and effectiveness. 

Sources: The American Dental Association (ADA)

 

 

Bad Breath Remedy Plan for Holiday Parties

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Bad Breath Can Be Uncomfortable for You and Those Around You

There's so much to worry about at Christmas, from the presents to what you should wear to event - but we often forget about our breath.

Bad breath can not only be embarrassing but it can also be a sign of something more serious like gum disease.

Whether it’s rich food, office drinks or pre-party exercise, you'll be shocked to learn how lifestyle changes during the festive season can impact bad breath.

Horrified at mouth odor, many people immediately reach for the mints. But this can create a vicious cycle in which they eat more sugar, which creates more bacteria and more bad breath. And then they eat even more mints, exacerbating the problem. Here’s some tips to keep your breath smelling great for the festivities.

Eat Smart

We’re all tempted to eat more of the things that we shouldn’t over Christmas and often don’t realize the effect that constant grazing can have on our breath.

·        Beat the buffet: Be aware that Christmas party favorites like walnuts, brazil nuts, smoked salmon and cream cheese canapés can contribute to bad breath, as they provide a source of sulphur-producing bacteria which can cause oral odor. Other foods with sulphur-producing bacteria include dairy, meat, fish, egg, nuts and beans, so mix it up when you’re piling up your plate.

·        Pass the parsley: Christmas platters are filled with parsley and mint, so don’t leave them on the buffet table! Chew on a fresh sprig of parsley, as the chlorophyll in these green plants are a known breath deodorizer and neutralize odors.

·        Munch on Veggies: Vegetables can also help to keep your breath fresh. Carrots and celery are full of water and vitamin C that flush out your mouth and kill odor-causing bacteria. Head to the crudité table at the party to snack on the veggies between each breath-spoiling course.

·        Bite on a Lemon: Citrus fruit causes your mouth to produce more saliva, which acts as a cleaning agent to rinse away plaque and bacteria. If you find yourself in a smelly situation, ask for a lemon with your water. Bite into the lemon, and swish the juice around your mouth for a few seconds.

Brush Your Teeth

Before you head out to the party, make sure to brush your teeth to get rid of all the bacteria that you have accumulated throughout the day. Pay special attention to your tongue; a lot of foul-smelling bacteria like to hang out there. For office parties, keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in your desk at work so you can slip off to the bathroom before your office turns into a party zone.

Drink Water

When you have a dry mouth, it can make bad breath worse. Since alcoholic drinks are drying agents, they can exacerbate a bad breath problem. Sip on a glass of water in between each drink to stay hydrated. Bonus: This can also help to prevent hangovers caused by dehydration.

Chew Sugarless Gum

If you still can't shake that feeling that your breath smells terrible, or if you simply overdid it on the garlic, chew on a stick of sugarless gum. Chewing sugarless gum will not replace brushing your teeth, but it can cover up odors and increase saliva production to rinse away foul-smelling bacteria.

Source: Colgate.com, Express.CO.UK

 

 

 

12 Significant And Quirky Facts That Make Flossing Essential!

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How important is flossing in the health of your teeth? According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), flossing is the single most important weapon against plaque. In fact, it can be even more important than brushing (and takes less time!) when it comes to preventing tooth loss, cavities, and periodontal gum disease.

Floss removes plaque and debris that sticks to teeth and gums in between teeth, polishes tooth surfaces, and controls bad breath. By flossing your teeth daily, you increase the chance of keeping them for a lifetime and decrease the chance of getting gum disease.

Most people cite lack of time as a reason for not flossing. However, the AGD says flossing even two or three times a week has its benefits and is far better than not flossing at all.

So let’s get right down to it! Here are 12 significant facts that make flossing essential!

·        Flossing removes plaque between our teeth that our toothbrushes miss. This is something we all know, but did you know that when you don’t floss, food that sits between your teeth is actually rotting and can be a main cause for bad breath? Gross!

·        It has been thought that flossing before brushing can help the fluoride from our toothpaste better reach between our teeth.

·        In order to floss efficiently, you need to use a piece of floss that is 18 to 20 inches long.

·        Improper and irregular flossing leads to bleeding gums.

·        You should use a clean section of your floss to clean around each tooth. This will avoid transferring food and bacteria from one tooth to another.

·        There are two main types of floss: monofilament (plastic/rubber type) and multifilament (nylon/silk floss).

·        Both types of floss mentioned above come in flavors (and unflavored) such as mint, cinnamon, bubblegum and even bacon. Yes, I said bacon-flavored floss.…

·        Flossing saves you money. It plays an essential role in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. An unhealthy mouth can lead to a number of ailments and diseases, including heart disease and diabetes.

·        Seventy-three percent of Americans would rather go grocery shopping than floss!

·        Americans spend $2 billion a year on dental products—toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental floss.

·        Men floss less than women do.

·        Brushing your teeth without flossing is like only washing 70 percent of your body.

Teeth Are Always in Style!

Flossing takes up very little time in your day, but the impact of not flossing is greater to not only your teeth, but your overall health as well! Americans are living longer and keeping their own teeth, too. Yes, it is possible: with a good oral health routine and regular dental checkups, you can have your own teeth for as long as you live!

 

Sources: ModernDent.com, DeltaDentalIns.com

 

Not a Fan of Flossing? Try These Alternatives

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Options to Assist in Cleaning those Tough In-Between Spaces

When you brush, you're really only cleaning about 60 percent of your teeth - flossing cleans the rest. It’s true that flossing is the ideal way to clean in between the teeth but, for some people, flossing is difficult and often impossible.

People with limited dexterity and some types of dental restorations can make it challenging to clean with regular floss. And, for some people, flossing just plain isn’t going to become part of the oral hygiene regimen at home. Unfortunately, studies by Crest, Oral B, and the American Dental Association (ADA) have shown that not even half of the American population admits to flossing every day. The number could be lower in reality. As if bloody gums don't give you away, a study by the American Academy of Periodontology found that 27 percent of people straight-up lie to their dentists about flossing.

Here is a list of alternatives, or adjuncts, to flossing.

Hand Held Flossers – Tired of numb, floss-strangled fingertips, and sticking your hands in your mouth? These Y-shaped pieces of plastic have a piece of floss strung across them that you can easily push between your teeth and pull out stubborn plaque and pieces of food. Essentially this is the same as the traditional way of flossing but allows for easier access and control with the fingers. There are different size handles and some have a small “pick” on the end that people often use to clean around the gum-line.

Because the floss is strung tightly, it really can’t wrap around the tooth or reach under the gums. Also, you can’t reach the back of the tooth as well as you can with regular floss. However, if it’s between using a floss stick and not flossing at all, the choose the floss stick.

Interproximal Brushes – For larger spaces, a smaller brush (that looks like a bottle brush) can be used. This can be a very effective way to clean as it mechanically disrupts the bacteria. Some people use brushes that affix to a longer handle and there are smaller “travel size” brushes as well. These can be used with or without paste. The brushes need to be replaced fairly frequently as the metal wire, that the bristles are attached to, starts to become flimsy.

Soft Picks – A relatively newer product that is much like the interproximal brushes but intended for a one-time use. Again, there are a couple of different sizes available.

Water Irrigation/Water Picks – Water picks were the rage for a while then seemed to lose their luster. In more recent years, the water pick has made a resurgence and can be an effective tool in helping to prevent and control periodontal disease. Water picks dislodge food particles, reduce plaque, irrigate around the gum-line and newer technology has designed a specialized tip for periodontal pockets which can also be used with antimicrobial solutions for irrigation. Water picks are often recommended for people that have braces as it can aid in cleaning around the metal arch wires and brackets that can easily trap food and plaque.

Although studies show that water flossing is a better alternative to string flossing, some dental hygienists, who deal with teeth all day long, disagree over how effective water flossing can be.  They say in order to floss properly; the only way is to use string floss. If you do not properly use water flossers, they can cause a negative effect. If not properly used water flossers can push plaque further into your gums, cause irritated gums and excessive bleeding. It is also a bacteria feeding ground if not cleaned properly. Speak with your hygienist and dentist next time you go in for a cleaning to learn their position on water flossing.

Air Flossers - A powered device that uses compressed air to push a spray of water or mouthwash between the teeth. Studies seem to show that they are on par with flossing for effectiveness. If you are averse to flossing, but you are okay with spending a little cash and using some new technology, this could be your answer.

Avoid Using Toothpicks

One other “picking point”: Don’t use a toothpick to clean your teeth. Despite the name, a toothpick is not designed for dental cleaning, and it could break off and become stuck between your teeth

Ask Your Dentist and Hygienist About Flossing Alternatives

Proper and traditional flossing is still the best way to prevent gum disease, remove plaque and bacteria. With the above alternatives to flossing your teeth, you will be able to develop a habit much like a tooth brushing habit. A final, slightly radical, idea: Come clean to your dentist and hygienist. Tell her them you hate flossing, and tell them why. They should be able to offer a perfect solution you didn’t know about.

Sources: OralB.com, Shape.com, HuffingtonPost.com