The holidays are still in full swing! Tis the season for hot cocoa, candy canes and sweet, decadent holiday pastries! While many indulge and worry about the effect these goodies have on our waistline, we forget about the effect our sugary treats have on our teeth.
If you eat solid sugars like pies, cakes and cookies; it’s a good idea to brush afterwards. Chewing foods laden with sugar can leave larger-than-normal amounts of sugar residue on your teeth. You also should remember that liquid treats, such as cocoa, egg nog and carbonated drinks also contain sugar. Sugar consumed in a liquid form can reach every nook and cranny of your mouth and will require a more thorough cleaning.
Your saliva will not wash away sugar residue, so bacteria will begin to eat away at your enamel. Over time, sugar can break down the enamel of your teeth and cause cavities and erosion. In cases of severe erosion, you may even experience extreme changes in your bite, a significant reduction in the size of your back teeth and even tooth loss!
Be sure to follow your daily brushing and flossing routine! If you have consumed a lot of sugar, it is a good idea to step it up a notch and clean your teeth after that sugary snack! In general, you can try and reduce the amount of sugar you eat and drink. You won’t want to cut back on your cleaning because a food label says that it is “low-sugar” or “sugar-free.” Many of these low-sugar or sugar-free products use artificial sweeteners. There are potential health risks associated with use of artificial sweeteners. Research shows they can still create an acidic environment in your mouth.
There are many pictures to take and memories to make this holiday season! Don’t let the magic of the holidays distract you from having a bright smile!
Should I floss?
Last week we discussed the importance of brushing and how you should choose a brush that will access those hard to reach areas. Well, even with the right brush, there are areas between the teeth that can only be reached by flossing. Plaque generates acid, which can cause cavities, irritate the gums, and lead to gum disease. Flossing will help remove plaque from spaces your brush can’t get to, giving you a thorough cleaning and healthy mouth.
How should I floss?
Now that we’ve established the reason for flossing, you will want to make sure you are doing it properly. Please make sure you are flossing daily, in a gentle sawing motion, between all of your teeth. It does not take much time to do, but you will want to take care in the way you do it. Snapping the floss can cause trauma to the tissue. The floss should be angled so it hugs the tooth in a “c” shape. Gently slide the floss up and down the surface of the tooth making sure it goes slightly below the gum line. You can either brush your teeth before or after you floss. The focus here is not the order in which you floss, just that you clean between your teeth every day.
Mechanical Vs. Manual Toothbrushes
When it comes to brushing, the manual toothbrush has shown us over the years that it is up for the task. In later years, when the mechanical toothbrush was introduced, it challenged not whether it could brush teeth, but how well and consistently it could get the job done. Both tools are effective in their own rights, but which toothbrush is right for you? Here are some pros, cons and tips to help you make that choice!
Firstly, both brushes should be selected carefully. You will want to make sure you select a soft bristled brush that is the right size for your mouth, so you can reach all your back teeth. One pro for the mechanical brush, is that the brush is typically smaller and can access harder to reach areas.
Brushing in general is intended to remove plaque and stimulate the gums. Both products can accomplish this when used properly, but how do you use them properly? Manual toothbrushes should be held at a 45-degree angle. Starting at the gum line, you will use a gentle circular motion and move the brush up and down each tooth.
A mechanical brush takes most of the guess work out of how to move the brush. The movement, whether oscillating or vibrating, will depend on the model of brush you’ve chosen. Another pro for the mechanical brush, is that some come with timers. Ensuring that you have finished cleaning either individual portions or your entire mouth during a two-minute cycle.
You always want to make sure you spend enough time brushing. While it may seem more intuitive to use the brush with the timer, you must factor in the weight of the brush. Due to the power brush holding batteries, a pro for the manual is that it is significantly lighter and may be easier for some to hold for longer periods of time.
With cost being factored in, you can count on a manual brush being the cheaper option. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better, but for the ease of use, the investment may be a sound one for you.
Please be sure to consider all dynamics of each brush before making a purchase. You want to brush correctly, efficiently and make a decision that keeps you smiling!
Let's Talk About Your Breath - Part 1
Brushing your teeth plays the lead role in your hygiene routine, but it may not be as simple as you think. Several factors come into play that contribute to good oral hygiene. Lucky for you, we've done the dirty work and assembled some helpful tips to keeping a clean mouth!
Brush your teeth at least twice a day to remove plaque and tartar. The brushing process should take about 2 minutes. Don't forget to replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months (more often if the bristles are fraying).
You should brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums. Gently brushing with short strokes. .Be sure you brush the outer, inner and chewing surfaces of teeth. Don't skip your tongue! A build-up of tongue plaque is a leading cause of bad breath! Use a brush or plastic tongue scraper to clean your tongue daily.
Choose a soft brush (harder ones can irritate the gums) in a shape and size that fits your mouth. Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride helps strengthen your tooth enamel to prevent tooth decay.
Your toothbrush can't go everywhere! Floss and use an interdental cleaner in-between teeth to remove bacteria-ridden plaque. You may also want to add an anti-bacterial mouth rinse to your daily routine. Be sure to go have a professional cleaning twice a year or more. Also, visit your dentist if you have pain, swelling, bleeding or notice strange changes in your teeth or gums.
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