It's time for your daily oral hygiene session, so you reach for your toothbrush. Or…do you pick up your floss dispenser instead?
Or, maybe you're just paralyzed with indecision?
No need for that! Although there are pros and cons for performing either task first, choosing one or the other to open up your oral hygiene session won't interfere with your primary goal: removing harmful dental plaque. In the end, it will likely come down to personal preference.
You might, for instance, prefer brushing first, especially if you seem to generate a lot of gunky plaque. Brushing first may help remove a lot of this built-up plaque, leaving only what's between your teeth. Flossing away this remaining plaque may be easier than having to plow through it first, and creating a sticky mess on your floss thread in the process. In the end, you might simply be moving all that plaque around rather than removing it.
So why, then, would you want to floss first? Flossing initially could loosen the plaque between teeth, thus making it easier for your toothbrush to remove it. Flossing first could also serve as your reconnaissance "scout," helping you to identify areas of heavy plaque that may need more of your attention during brushing. And, you might find your mouth feels cleaner if you finish off your session with brushing rather than flossing.
There's one more good reason to floss first: You might not do it otherwise. It's not a secret that flossing is many people's least favorite of the two hygiene tasks. Once you finish brushing, it's tempting to simply shrug off flossing. Doing it first gets what may be for you an unpleasant task out of the way.
So, which approach is best for you? It may help to simply experiment. Try one way for a while and then try the other way to see which one feels best to you. What's most important is that you don't neglect either task—brushing and flossing together is your "secret sauce" for maintaining a healthy mouth.
If you would like more information on effective oral hygiene practices, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Brushing and Flossing: Which Should Be Done First?”
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) isn't just painful, it can severely interfere with one of life's essentials—eating. For a person with TMD, an enjoyable meal with family and friends can turn into an agonizing, painful experience.
Especially during flareups, the action of chewing can be extremely uncomfortable for someone with TMD. The condition also makes it difficult to open the mouth, which can interfere with the types of food you can eat.
Managing TMD in general often requires a combination of treatment techniques, including medication and physical therapy. For meals in particular, making some adjustments in the types of foods you eat, how you prepare them, and how you eat them can help you enjoy your mealtime experience more.
If you have TMD, here are 4 things that could ease your discomfort and bring the joy back into eating.
Peel fruits and vegetables. Although the hard skins of some foods like apples or cucumbers are edible, the extra jaw effort to eat them can trigger pain if you suffer from TMD. Take the time, then, to peel fruits and vegetables with tough outer skins.
Cut food into small bites. With limited ability to open your mouth, normal-sized portions can prove challenging. Make it easier by cutting foods into smaller than normal bites. Taking the extra time to do this can give your jaws relief and reduce the discomfort and pain associated with opening your mouth.
Chew slowly. Chewing normally may still be too vigorous for someone with TMD—the chewing action increases the pressure on your jaw joints and can result in painful spasms. By slowing down your chewing, and taking breaks along the way, can make it less likely your jaws will become overworked.
Moisten tougher foods. Although delicious, a number of meats and vegetables are by nature "chewy." You can make them easier to eat with a little liquid. Use cooking methods like braising or stewing to make these foods more tender; you can also add gravies or sauces where appropriate to help make chewing easier.
If you would like more information on coping with TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “When TMJ Pain Flares Up.”
British pole vaulter Harry Coppell had an unpleasant mishap right before the Tokyo Olympic games. During a training vault, Coppell glanced the top bar to loosen it, which then fell on top of his face on the mat. The impact broke one of his front teeth nearly in two and severely damaged others.
Coppell posted the accident on Instagram, along with a photo of the aftermath. "I hope @tokyo2020 has a good dentist around," he quipped in the caption. Alas, after several hours with a dentist, one of the injured teeth couldn't be saved, although the chipped tooth remained. Needless to say, the Olympian's smile took a beating along with his teeth.
Fortunately, through the marvels of cosmetic dentistry, Coppell can eventually regain his attractive smile. Still, though, his experience is a blunt reminder that sports and other physical activities do carry some risk for dental injury, especially for active young adults and children.
A chipped tooth is the most common outcome of a traumatic dental injury, but not the only one: you might also suffer from a displaced, loosened or even knocked-out tooth. And, even if the teeth don't appear injured after face trauma, there could be underlying gum and bone damage that requires prompt emergency care from a dentist.
Of course, preventing a dental injury is far better than treating one that has occurred—and wearing an athletic mouthguard is your best bet for dodging such a bullet. A mouthguard's soft plastic helps absorb the force of a hard impact so that the teeth and gums don't. This important protective gear is a must for anyone who plays sports like football or basketball, or enjoys physical activities like trail biking.
When it comes to mouthguards, you have two general categories from which to choose. The first is called a "boil and bite," often found online or in sporting goods stores. These usually come in general sizes that can be customized further by softening in hot water and then having the wearer bite down while it's soft (hence the name). This personalizes the guard to fit the individual wearer.
The other category is a custom mouthguard created by a dentist from an impression of the wearer's mouth. Because of this specialized fit, custom mouthguards aren't usually as bulky as boil and bites, and are typically more comfortable to wear.
The key point, though, is that a mouthguard can help you avoid a serious dental injury, regardless of which category you choose. It could mean the difference between a forgettable incident or dental damage that could impact your life for years to come.
If you would like more information about preventing and treating dental injuries, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Athletic Mouthguards.”
Most parents well remember the day they brought their new baby home from the hospital. And then—in what seems like the blink of an eye—that same child is heading out the door to go on their own. "Empty nest" parents can easily regret not having more time to help their children get a solid handle on life.
With what little time you do have, it comes down to priorities—focusing on those things that are most important for their future well-being. Health, of course, is a big part of that—and oral health in particular.
In fact, the state of their teeth and gums could have a big impact on the rest of their health as they get older. That's why it's crucial to foster good dental care and reinforce tooth-friendly habits during their childhood years. Here's how.
Practice daily hygiene. A lifetime of great teeth and gums depends on a continual, daily habit of brushing and flossing. One of the best gifts you can give your child is to teach them how to properly brush and floss.
Start dental visits early. Regular dental visits support daily hygiene, and provide an early warning system for possible dental disease. Starting visits by their first birthday may also help a child avoid anxiety, making it more likely they'll continue the practice in adulthood.
Give their teeth a healthy head start. Losing even a primary tooth to decay could affect their future dental health. And despite diligence about dental care, some children may still be prone to decay. Give your child an added boost with topical fluoride or sealants to help prevent the buildup of dental plaque.
Practice what you preach. Children often do what they see their parents doing. If you're making dental care a priority—brushing and flossing every day and visiting the dentist at least twice a year—and with a positive attitude, your kids are more likely to follow your lead.
There's so much you want to instill in your children to better ensure they'll have a happy and prosperous life. Make sure these dental care tips are on your short list.
If you would like more information on dental care for kids, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids.”
Millions of people wear an oral appliance for replacing their teeth, preventing functional damage, or as a part of ongoing dental treatment. If you're among them, then cleaning and maintaining your appliance can protect you from disease, as well as extend the longevity of your device.
Here, then, are 4 great tips for taking care of your appliance, for its sake—and yours.
Use detergent for cleaning. Because it's an oral appliance, you might think toothpaste is a good cleaning option. But toothpaste contains abrasives that, although just right for removing dental plaque without damaging tooth enamel, can be too harsh for some materials in your appliance. Using toothpaste could create micro-scratches in your appliance's plastic or porcelain that collect bacteria. Instead, use an antimicrobial dish detergent or hand soap to clean your appliance.
Stay away from boiling or bleaching. True, both hot or boiling water and household bleach kill bacteria. Both, however, could also damage your appliance. Very hot water can soften and distort the heat-sensitive plastic contained in many dental appliances, which can ruin their fit. Bleach can also break down the plastics in many appliances, and may "blanch" or whiten areas like denture bases that are meant to resemble natural gum tissue.
Handle carefully while out of the mouth. In the "outside" world, your appliance can be at greater risk for damage or breakage from hard surfaces, kids or pets. As a precaution while cleaning your appliance, be sure to place a towel or other soft item in and around the sink to cushion the appliance should you accidentally drop it. And, be sure while storing it out of your mouth that you place it high enough out of the reach of tiny hands—or paws.
Avoid 24/7 denture wear. If you wear your dentures while you sleep, they're more likely to accumulate bacteria and make your mouth more susceptible to infection. It's better, then, to take your dentures out at night and store them in clean water or a cleaning solution designed for dentures. Removing your dentures during the night will help you avoid disease, as well as minimize unpleasant odors or filmy buildup on your dentures.
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