Oral Care Tips For the Holidays

Like every year, the holidays are a time to reflect on the past year, toast to the future, and spend time with loved ones. While it is natural for us to look forward to certain holiday dishes & treats, it is important to remember that every bite has an impact on our health.  Regarding your oral health here are a few key things to think about during your holiday meals & festivities.

Try to avoid sweets that are too hard to chew. Biting on a hard candy may be painful and can cause a tooth to crack. Furthermore, prolonged contact to sugar might raise the risk of cavities if the substance is left in the mouth.

Both soda and alcohol are known tooth irritants. Too much sugar and acid may quickly dissolve tooth enamel. Decay and gum disease are a few dental issues that may develop from drinking alcohol.

Water is essential, and certain holiday foods, like cheese, may actually be good for your teeth and gums. Cheese, with its cavity-fighting chemicals, phosphates, and calcium, helps strengthen teeth and maintains the mouth’s neutral pH.

Remember to eat three square meals a day, rather than grazing all day, to give your teeth enough time to remineralize the enamel that comes in contact with food. Limit your intake of starchy foods like cookies and cakes and instead enjoy sweets with your meal, when your saliva may help neutralize the sugars.

Always brush your teeth and use dental floss after consuming food or drink, but particularly if it contains sugar. Wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth to prevent enamel wear.

Foods to Avoid

Eggnog

Eggnog has a high sugar content, giving it an acquired taste that many people seek during the holidays. Similarly, alcohol is not ideal for your teeth, but drinking occasionally or in moderation will not harm your dental health.

Brushing your teeth twice a day, and particularly before night, will help combat sugar from causing plaque build up.

Dried Fruits

Stickiness is a common complaint among those who consume dried fruit. Having fruit stuck to your teeth might increase your risk of cavities because it supplies food for plaque and germs to grow.

Candy Canes

To a large extent, candy canes consist of the sugars sucrose (table sugar) and high fructose corn syrup. Although they may be tasty in moderation, they may seriously damage your teeth if you consume too many of them. They are bad for your teeth in more ways than one, since eating the hard candy may actually cause damage to your enamel.

Breads, cereals, and other starchy foods

A staple at a Holiday dinner is stuffing, which consists of some form of bread, veggies and spices.

Contrary to popular belief, stuffing is can be harmful to teeth, despite its relatively low sugar content. Bacteria produced by the stuffing’s starches enhance plaque’s adherence to teeth, which in turn raises the probability of developing cavities.

Dental X-rays, Safe or Not?

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Most individuals understand the need of getting regular dental x-rays and know that they are a standard part of any checkup. The question of whether or not these X-rays are safe is still asked from time to time. The simple response is yes, but more explanation may be of greater use. In comparison to medical X-rays, the quantity of radiation exposure during a dental X-ray is quite low.

A dental checkup does not use nearly as much radiation exposure as a medical procedure would. Dental x-rays, for instance, expose patients to less radiation than a plane ride and approximately the same amount as spending a day in the sunshine. With a dental X-ray, the patient’s mouth and teeth are the only parts of their body that come into direct contact with the radiation; the rest of them are shielded by a lead vest.

The American Dental Association (ADA) has implemented a safety policy known as ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Allowable) to reduce unnecessary radiation exposure. Other scientific groups, such as the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the US Food and Drug Administration, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements, and the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, have also published guidelines or rules on the safe, appropriate, and effective use of X-rays in dentistry.

To sum up, it is clear that dental X-ray safety is a hot topic of debate.

The Takeaway: Dental x-rays have a very high safety profile.
It is the radiation exposure from dental x-rays that causes the most anxiety about their security. These techniques, when carried out correctly, produce little radiation.

Radiation Dose Comparisons
X-rays taken during a dental examination. The Typical Millisievert Dose (mSv):

  • 0.004 Bitewing (4 images)
  • Serie de 0.007 Mouth Full (18 images)
  • Oral surgery 0.035
  • Cone Beam Scans 0.009
  • Abdominal CT at 8.00
  • Imaging Procedures: Mammogram 7.7
  • PET Scan 0.700

The NCRP estimates that the average yearly radiation dosage per person in the United States is 6.2 mSv due to environmental exposure. This is the same quantity as in 7,000 dental Cone Beam (CBCT) scans, 9 mammograms, or 15,500 sets of Bitewing x-rays. Dental x-rays pose no threat to patients, as you can see.

If you are a new patient, we recommend taking X-rays to have a look at your teeth and gums to see their current condition and provide a point of reference for spotting any changes that may arise later. In order to check for new cavities, assess your gum health, and monitor the development of your teeth, annual X-rays may be necessary.

Tooth Pain from These Halloween Treats

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Halloween Treats & Teeth
Halloween is all about the sweets, not just the pumpkins or the costumes. Seventy-one percent of parents whose children have had to go to the dentist three times or more to treat cavities claimed their kids eat too many sweets around Halloween.In order to prevent the increased intake of sugary candies and snacks from playing undesired tricks on your dental health, here are some tips to help you create healthier options for the whole family.

Treats to Avoid

  • Did you know the puckering effect of sour candies comes from the acidity? The acidity speeds up the process through which teeth become brittle and raises the likelihood of developing cavities. Beware the terrifying sour patch kids!
  • Many do not know how damaging lollipops are to teeth (the longest-lasting sweets). These candies are savored slowly, allowing the sugary saliva to accumulate in the mouth. In turn, this hinders saliva from performing its normal function of keeping the mouth healthy.
  • It is a sticky scenario brought on by gummy candy. Developing cavities is elevated due to the presence of these sugary substances. Sugary foods are a feast for the bacteria in your mouth, which digest them and produce acid.
  • Popcorn balls are a food that many patients think to be healthy, but when they are covered in caramel or sugar, they pose a threat to teeth.

If you are looking to satisfy your sweet tooth, try one of these healthier options instead.

  • Dark chocolate as a tooth friendly treat?  For those concerned about tooth decay, this treat is a safer option because it does not stay on teeth for very long. Antioxidants found in dark chocolate can help decrease the risk periodontal disease and can help fight bad breath.  Another tooth friendly dark chocolate ingredient, cocoa butter, which helps prevent plaque from forming on teeth.
  • Xylitol is another option if you are addicted to chewy snacks but would prefer a more healthful option. The xylitol in gum and sugar-free candies helps prevent tooth decay by neutralizing the acids bacteria create.
  • Get nutty! Smaller nuts in candy bars help remove some of the sugar that could otherwise adhere to teeth.
  • Miniature treats are less scary and better for your teeth than full size. While still delicious, these bite-sized snacks will leave less of a sugary film on your teeth.

Although it is important to focus on your child’s dental health all year round, Halloween and the many other holidays celebrated thereafter is the perfect opportunity to educate children on their sugar consumption & how it affects their dental health.  It is important to instill in your kids a lifetime of excellent dental hygiene practices, such as twice-daily brushing and flossing and regular trips to the dentist.

The Difference Between Cold Sores and Canker Sores

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Cold Sores and Canker Sores. What are they, and how to find the difference between the two?
Despite having different causes, canker sores and cold sores both cause oral lesions that may look and feel the same. The two, however, are very distinct. It is essential to determine the type of mouth sore you have to treat it effectively and for a timely recovery. Differentiating between a canker sore and a cold sore can be easy if you know what to look for.

Canker sores develop only in the soft tissues of the mouth, such as your gums or the inside of your cheeks. Several factors, such as vitamin deficiency and internal mouth injuries, can lead to development.

Cold sores can sometimes develop inside the mouth but typically appear on and around the lips. Herpes simplex virus infection is the root cause (HSV).

Cold Sores
A more common moniker for cold sores is “fever blisters.” They are also referred to as oral herpes since they are a sign of a herpes simplex virus type 1 infection.

Causes of Cold Sores
If you had cold sores in the past, the virus may stay in your body and reactivate if something triggers it. Several factors can cause cold sores, including:

  • Common Cold
  • Fever
  • Flu (Influenza)
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Stress
  • Hormonal changes that occur between menstruation and pregnancy
  • Facial injuries like cuts or facial surgery

Symptoms of Cold Sores
Cold sores appear as painful blisters or clusters of blisters on the:

  • Lips
  • Gums
  • Top of the Mouth
  • Tongue

These sores may itch, burn, tingle, and drain fluid during the infection, lasting around 7 to 10 days.

The doctor can examine and diagnose cold sores based on their clinical experience. If there is any doubt, Herpes simplex virus type 1 can be detected in secretions from the lesions. Most of the time, no medications are required, but doctors may advise antiviral therapy in the cases of severity or recurrence.

Are Cold Sores Contagious?
Cold sores are, unfortunately, quite contagious. Contact with an infected person is one of the most common causes to get cold sores. You can get sick this way even if the person is taking medication for their symptoms or if they aren’t showing any symptoms.

Children and young adults are particularly susceptible to contracting the virus since they may be unaware of the risks of kissing and sharing eating utensils with other people. Cold sore patients spread it until the lesions are entirely covered in scabs.

To protect yourself from cold sores or to prevent others from contracting them:

  • Avoid kissing when you have an outbreak.
  • Keep your distance from others when you have cold sores.
  • Stay away from those with compromised immune systems, such as young children or cancer patients.
  • Never exchange personal things like towels, razors, or lip balm.
  • Never share food or drinks.
  • Do not touch your cold sores.
  • Regularly wash your hands.

Canker Sores
Aphthous ulcers, also known as canker sores, are painful round or oval lesions that develop on the tongue, the inside of the lips, or the cheeks, among other soft tissues inside the mouth. Women experience canker sores twice as frequently as males, and they typically first develop between the ages of ten and twenty, though they can appear as early as two.

Causes of Canker Sores
Canker sores can show up alone or in groups, similar to cold sores. The exact cause is unknown, but several other factors can induce an outbreak.

Canker sores are frequently aggravated by:

  •     Food allergies
  •     Stress
  •     Hormone changes
  •     Vitamin deficiency
  •     Infections
  •     Spicy and hot food

Symptoms of Canker Sores
If you have canker sores, you may see one or more small, circular lesions with red rims and a gray, white, or yellow center. Your mouth may experience these sores in many different places, including:

  •     Inside the lip
  •     Inside the cheek
  •     Beneath the tongue
  •     Back of your throat

Canker sores can be excruciatingly painful, but they typically disappear on their own within one to two weeks.

How to Treat Oral Sores?
Both types of sores typically heal on their own within two weeks. Cold and canker sores cannot be cured, but several therapies can accelerate the healing process or stop them entirely.

Treatment of Cold Sores
Sunscreen, lip balms, and ointments can all be used to treat cold sores. These remedies can lessen your symptoms and decrease the spread of the virus. Even if you don’t currently have cold sores, lip balm and sunscreen can help prevent them.

You can use painkillers if your sores are painful. Eat less items that are acidic to prevent irritating the sores. Additionally, you can keep them cool by using ice, cold towels, and cooling creams.

Treatment of Canker Sores
Ointments, creams, and mouthwashes are the main treatments for canker sores. These therapies lessen the discomfort, delay the outbreak, and make occurrence less frequent. Like cold sores, canker sores can be prevented by avoiding spicy and hot foods. When necessary, painkillers can also be used to reduce pain.

Depending on the severity of the sore you may want to see your dentist at SDCYour dentist can assess the canker sore and prescribe medicine such as antimicrobial mouth rinse that can promote healing.

Smile Confidently with Dental Bonding

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Did you know that 50% of all Americans experience insecurity about their smile?  A smile functions as a gateway to a person’s character.  If you experience problems like a slightly chipped tooth or enamel erosion you may experience teeth insecurity.  Fortunately, there are affordable procedures such as dental bonding, that can help give you a confident smile.  Dental bonding can help improve your smile by correcting issues such as a chipped tooth, gaps between teeth, and discoloration.  Now you can have a smile that fits your personality.

What is Dental Bonding? 
It is a technique that uses composite resin (usually plastic) to hold decaying or broken teeth in place. Composite resin is a material that adheres to teeth over a long period, and it is one of the easiest and cheapest dental procedures. A material that matches your tooth color is used to repair chipped or blemished teeth and make them look more attractive and extended. This aesthetic dental procedure can also fill gaps in teeth and correct its shape. It is also able to protect a small portion of the root that is visible due to the receding gums.

Bonding Vs Other Procedures
Bonding is the best alternative to amalgam filling and can be completed with a single visit to the dentist. Moreover, you do not need a custom mold to get the ideal bond that fits your teeth. Lastly, unlike other dental treatments such as veneers, bonding does not require lab preparation unless it is used to fill cavities.

How is Dental Bonding Done?
In this process, the dentist uses a shade guide to determine the color of the composite resin that matches the teeth to be glued. Next, a portion of the tooth surface is removed with a tool, the surface is moistened with liquid and adhesive is applied. Just a few minutes left.

When the teeth are ready, resin is applied and carved and smoothed into the correct form. Your dentist will then laser-cures and cut the material to achieve the perfect shape. The final step is to polish the material to match the soft, smooth, glossy appearance of the tooth surface. A perfect smile is just a few minutes away!

How to Maintain the Appearance of Your New Teeth?
Whether you underwent dental bonding or not maintaining a good oral hygiene, such as regular brushing, dental floss, and daily mouthwash is a must. Avoid forceful situations that can cause the chipping of bonded teeth. Also, avoid smoking or drinking caffeinated beverages and red wine as they can cause teeth staining. It would be best if you always drank plenty of water or gargle to eliminate food debris.

Dental bonding is a great way to get your dream smile without having to go through surgery or other expensive procedures. This cosmetic dentistry treatment can correct a wide variety of flaws, from small chips and cracks to major gaps between teeth. If you are considering dental bonding, our team at Sahara Dental can help you get started.  Contact us today and let us help you achieve the perfect smile!

Oral Health and the Heart

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Oral health affects the overall well-being of our bodies, that is what we have been told to encourage us to visit the dentist regularly, but is there an actual link? You might be surprised that recent studies have made a connection between poor oral health and heart disease, although further research is still needed to fully understand it.  Let’s discover how oral bacteria can trigger heart disease, the associated symptoms and how to prevent such incidences.

How oral bacteria affect the heart?
Our mouth harbors many bacterial species, some of which are harmless and considered a natural habitat of the oral cavity, yet most of them, if found in large numbers, will lead to oral infections, such as dental decay and gum inflammation. In certain cases, where a person is immunocompromised, due to old age, medical conditions or as a side effect of taking certain drugs, bacteria will become opportunistic and travel through the bloodstream affecting many organs such as the heart.

What heart conditions are associated with oral bacterial?
Arteriosclerosis; plaque (made of fats, cholesterol and other substances) gets deposited inside the wall of arteries that supply the heart muscle, with time, this plaque mass will get inflamed and repute, leading to blood clots which will restrict the blood flow to the heart muscle. Unfortunately, oral bacteria such as streptococcus viridians have been implicated in such blood clots.

A person with this type of condition will suffer from coronary heart disease; they will develop a sudden dull heavy pain in the middle of the chest, radiating to the arm and shoulder, along with difficulty in breathing, dizziness and sweating. If this is not managed in a timely manner, it can be fatal.

Infective endocarditis; this is a fatal condition where there is an infection in the inner lining of the heart. A patient with prosthetic heart valves or congenital heart disease is practically at higher risk of getting this. Oral bacteria, mainly streptococcus viridians will travel along with the blood until it reaches the heart, where it will adhere to its inner surface leading to severe inflammation.

The infected individual will have chest pain while breathing, shortness of breath, night sweats, fever and chills.

Other organs; lung infection (pneumonia) and joint infection (rheumatoid arteritis) are linked to the presence of oral bacteria as well. Although, as mentioned, further research needs to be done to fully understand this association.

So, how can we prevent such incidents?
Oral hygiene is the keyword, when we practice proper oral hygiene measures; we control the number of harmful bacteria in our mouth, thus reducing the risk of developing general health disorders.

You can do that by following these simple steps:

Lastly, it is important to keep your dentist informed regarding your heart problems; you need to state your full medical history along with the medications you are taking. Certain elective procedures can be postponed, if your dentist sees it might pose a risk of developing a heart infection.

Wisdom Teeth: Should They Be Removed or Not?

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You have probably heard that wisdom teeth need to be removed, but is that really the case? Or could leaving them in be a smarter decision? In this blog post, we will go over the pros and cons of having wisdom teeth removed so you can make the best decision for your dental health.

What Exactly are Wisdom Teeth?
Most people have four wisdom teeth, which are the molars (large grinding teeth) at the very back of your mouth. Wisdom teeth typically appear in your late teens or early twenties. For some people, wisdom teeth cause no problems, and they never need to be removed.

But for others, wisdom teeth can be problematic. They may grow in crooked, become impacted (stuck), or grow only partially through the gum. When wisdom teeth are not removed, they can crowd or damage surrounding teeth and make it difficult to keep your mouth clean.

Common wisdom teeth pain symptoms can occur when wisdom teeth become impacted or start to grow in. If you experience pain, you may notice:

  • •Swelling and tenderness in your gums
  • •Pain when biting down
  • •A bad taste in your mouth
  • •An unpleasant odor coming from your mouth

If you are experiencing any wisdom teeth pain symptoms, see your dentist or oral surgeon to discuss whether you need your wisdom teeth removed.

Are Wisdom Teeth Really All That Necessary? 
For years, wisdom teeth have been seen as a necessary evil. While they may eventually provide some extra chewing surface, they often cause more problems than they are worth. Wisdom teeth removal is a common surgery, and even then, wisdom teeth can cause problems like crowding, infection, and damage to surrounding teeth.

So why do we have wisdom teeth in the first place? Scientists believe that wisdom teeth were once helpful for our ancestors who had to chew tougher foods. However, as our diets have softened over time, wisdom teeth have become less and less necessary.

Keeping Your Wisdom Teeth  
There are a couple of good reasons to keep your wisdom teeth. For one thing, they can provide extra support for the jawbone as we age. Overall, asymptomatic or pain-less wisdom teeth do not pose a threat to other teeth like the second molars and can be kept to avoid the hassle1.

Second, there is also a risk of damaging nerves during wisdom teeth removal, which can cause numbness in the lips or chin.

When Wisdom Teeth Should be Removed 
While wisdom teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth, they often cause problems when they become impacted, or fail to erupt properly. When wisdom teeth become impacted, they can grow at an angle and push against other teeth, causing pain and crowding. In some cases, wisdom teeth may even become fused to the jawbone.

If wisdom teeth are not removed, they can lead to a host of dental problems, including:

  • •Infections
  • •Cysts
  • •Gum disease
  • •Inflammation

A 2020 study points to some evidence that suggests that keeping pain-less disease-free impacted wisdom teeth can increase the risk of gum diseases like periodontitis2. Another 2015 study suggested that dentigerous cysts may actually become increasingly common as a person ages as the inflammation becomes prolonged3.

Wisdom teeth removal is a relatively straightforward procedure, and removal pain can be effectively managed with over-the-counter or prescription medications. In most cases, wisdom teeth pain relief is just a matter of waiting for the healing process to complete.

While there are pros and cons to keeping your wisdom teeth, we believe that making an informed choice is always best.

 

 

References:

  1. Kaye E, Heaton B, Aljoghaiman EA, Singhal A, Sohn W, Garcia RI. Third-Molar Status and Risk of Loss of Adjacent Second Molars. Journal of Dental Research. 2021;100(7):700-705. doi:10.1177/0022034521990653
  2. Ghaeminia H, Nienhuijs MEL, Toedtling V, et al. Surgical removal versus retention for the management of asymptomatic disease-free impacted wisdom teeth. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2020;5(5). doi:10.1002/14651858.CD003879.PUB5
  3. Asnani S, Mahindra U, Rudagi B, Kini Y, Kharkar V. Dentigerous cyst with an impacted third molar obliterating complete maxillary sinus. Indian Journal of Dental Research. 2012;23(6):833-835. doi:10.4103/0970-9290.111275

Questions About Dental Implants and Cleanings

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Most people cannot imagine losing their adult natural teeth. Unfortunately, this could become a reality, whether a tooth gets accidentally knocked out or a tooth may need to be pulled it is best to know your replacement options.  Some common options are crowns, bridges, dentures, or dental implants.   To see which option will work best for your condition it is best to have a consultation with your dentist.  Depending on condition and budget — dental implants are usually the best choice.  Dental implants are a permanent solution to replace missing teeth, look similar to natural teeth and can improve mouth function. However, you should not take your dental implants for granted. 

 

Dental implants must be given the same care as if they were your actual teeth (because, in a sense, they are your teeth). When properly cared for, they are durable with a 98% success rate and can last your whole life. 

 

Are Regular Cleanings Necessary with Dental Implants?

Whether you have a few (with your regular teeth) or a mouthful, dental implants still need dental cleaning from a dentist. It is only natural to question why there is a need for a dentist if you have dental implants. 

 

The reality is that dental implants need the same kind of care as natural teeth. This means brushing them, flossing them, and using mouthwash. Plus, it means going to see the dentist regularly for check-ups. At the dentist, the hygienist will use another regimen for cleaning with special tools. They will not be looking for cavities but instead they will inspect your gums for possible disease and symptoms of dental implant infection known as Peri-implantitis. 

 

What is Peri-implantitis?

Peri-implantitis is a pathological condition occurring in tissues around dental implants, characterized by inflammation in the Peri-implant connective tissue and progressive loss of supporting bone.

 

Your dental implants need as much cleaning as regular teeth to ensure good oral health.

 

How Often Should You See a Dentist with Dental Implants? 

Every patient’s oral health is unique, and the protocol for them will also differ. It all depends on their situation; your dentist will recommend the best course of action and time-frame for you. Most dentists recommend that dental implant patients come in two times a year for a cleaning, more if there are any issues. 

 

Is A Dentist Necessary with A Removable Implant Prosthesis?

Absolutely. You may remove your prosthesis every day to brush and keep them looking their best, but you should still make an appointment every six months to be professionally cleaned and determine if the implants are still in good condition. Your Sahara dentist in Las Vegas can also determine if there are any possible complications with them – snaps, clips, or attachments – that must be addressed.  

 

A dentist will also do x-rays of your mouth to ensure the implants are healthy with supporting bone. 

 

Minimize the Impact of Sugar on Teeth

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Bacteria in the mouth may be both useful and dangerous.  When sugar is consumed the bacteria in the mouth quickly start producing acid.  Infectious bacteria feed on sugar, which produces acids that eat away at teeth’s protective enamel.  Cavities and holes in teeth are a result from the bacterial infection caused by the acids. If left untreated, cavities may penetrate into the inner layers of teeth, causing discomfort and tooth loss.  Fortunately, there are steps we can take to repair the harm that acids produce.

Start by educating yourself with the amount of sugar in foods and drinks.  It is also important to be informed of the many different forms and names of sugars in the foods and beverages we consume. What are the foods and drinks consumed daily?  For instance most of us drink coffee or tea daily, slowly start decreasing the amount of sugar you sprinkle in your tea or coffee.  Over time, taste buds become accustomed to the subtle taste difference and it is an easy step to help reduce your sugar consumption. Switching to agave nectar rather than sugar in your daily coffee is another option.  Agave’s glycemic index is lower than sugar’s, it will not cause as much of a jump in blood sugar levels.  In addition to being available in most supermarkets, agave nectar is also becoming more common in coffee shops. When agave is not readily available at local coffee shops, or if the taste of agave is an issue, simply reduce the amount of sugar.

When consuming something sweet or sticky try to shorten the amount of time the residue stays on teeth.  Leaving sugary, sticky residue on teeth for longer periods of time may cause additional harm to your teeth since they will be exposed to more acidic conditions.  To help reduce the residue on your teeth schedule a dental deep cleaning and checkup twice per year.

Whenever the sweet tooth urge starts to kick in be equipped with nutritious sugar-free snacks.

Or make one half of the snack nutritious sugar-free before you indulge. An excellent example is pairing chocolate with almonds, oats, or strawberries.  There are many useful resources on the internet that can help you discover and create healthier teeth friendly snacks.

Cleaning between teeth: The secret behind a truly healthy smile

Sahara Dental - Flossing

The secret to having a beautiful, healthy smile is maintaining impeccable oral hygiene. We all know how important it is to brush our teeth twice a day to keep them clean and devoid of debris and bacteria. Ideally, it would be best to use a good quality dentist-recommended toothpaste and soft nylon toothbrush to clean your teeth. However, some of us forget one small but integral addition to our regular oral hygiene practice: cleaning between the teeth.

Why is it important to clean between teeth?
Brushing teeth is one of the most effective ways of keeping our teeth clean, but it only reaches about 60% of a tooth’s surface. The surface between two teeth is not reachable by a usual toothbrush and often gets missed. The tiny space between two teeth, also known as interdental spaces, is a favorable hiding spot for disease-causing bacteria.

Our mouth is a host of millions of bacteria, and while most of them are harmless and even essential, some can be disease-causing under suitable conditions. These suitable conditions are provided to the bacteria by the food debris that gets dislodged between two teeth.

Plaque is a sticky, yellowish film that forms daily on the surfaces of the teeth and houses these disease-causing bacteria. Proper toothbrushing eliminates plaque from the tooth’s outer surface but fails to remove the plaque that forms between the teeth.

Bacteria from this plaque metabolize the sugars from the food debris and release toxic by-products in the mouth responsible for oral ailments like dental cavities and gum diseases.

Interdental cleaning ensures proper and complete plaque removal, thus reducing your risk of contracting dental infections, dental decay, and gum diseases.

Tools for proper interdental cleaning
To ensure you are correctly cleaning between your teeth, you must have the right tool. Fortunately, there are various options for you to choose from, and you can select one which fits your needs and requirement.

Floss
Floss is the most commonly used interdental cleaning aid. It is usually made from nylon, can be waxed or unwaxed, and comes in a plastic case.

To properly floss your teeth, break off about 18 inches of floss and wrap the two ends on the middle fingers of both your hands. Hold the floss and make it taut. Next, guide the floss between your teeth and push it down, forming a c-shape on one tooth while coming up. Continue till you have covered all the teeth. Make sure you discard this piece after a single-use.

In recent times, single floss sticks have also been made available in pharmacies to ensure a hassle-free flossing experience.

Interdental Brush
It is a specially designed toothbrush that has a small, conical shape tip and is used to clean the small gaps between the teeth, gums, and areas around braces. The shape of the brush allows it to pass through the tiniest of spaces and ensures adequate cleaning.

Oral Irrigators (Water Irrigators)
Oral irrigators or water irrigators have gained immense popularity in recent times. These devices let out a jet stream of water which flushes out the bacterial debris lodged between two teeth. It is a safe and reliable interdental cleaning and has shown effective results.

Cleaning between teeth is vital for a healthy smile and must be done at least once every day. If you have any doubts about interdental cleaning or which tool to use, you can also consult with your dentist. After all, excellent oral health and a healthy smile are key to our physical and mental well-being.