Should I be using mouthwash?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAYou probably do a pretty good job at brushing and an ok job at flossing. However, it is likely that you don’t use mouthwash very often. Are you missing out? Just how important is using mouthwash? This article will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using mouthwash. It will also share the perspective of the American Dental Association on the matter.

In the ancient civilizations of China and Egypt, people were known to have used products such as charcoal and fruit in attempt to freshen their mouths, but any positive effects of these products have not been discovered.

It wasn’t until later in the 1800’s that actual mouthwash products were developed. The vast majority of these products contained alcohol as a stabilizing agent. In today’s world, many products have been discovered that serve as a replacement for alcohol in mouth rinses, making more people comfortable with using the product.

Today, hundreds of options exist when it comes to mouthwash. The ADA has stated that mouthwash is not a replacement for proper oral health care, including brushing and flossing, but also that mouthwash can enhance your oral hygiene when using the right product at the right time. There are many reasons one might choose to use mouthwash, and there are many different types of mouthwash, based on your reason for using it. Some of the more common reasons for rinsing with mouthwash include freshening breath, removing plaque and tartar, and treating gingivitis. The ADA recommends consulting with your dentist to find out if mouthwash is right for you, and if so, which mouthwash would most appropriately fit your needs. One should also not that not all mouthwashes have the ADA’s seal of approval, and that you should always look for that seal before purchasing any mouthwash. You may have to try out several different mouthwashes until you find a good fit. I for example, get dry mouth when using certain brands of mouthwash.

Check out this list of mouthwashes that have been officially approved by the ADA.

Got a dentistry related question? Email us with your question and we’ll build a post just for you, giving a simple, easy to understand explanation. Click here to see basic explanations for many other dental procedures and practices.

Jake the Dentist: brushflossandmouthwash@gmail.com

Where did carbonated drinks come from?

file0001477605411Have you wondered where your delicious soda came from? How in the world did someone trap air inside of your drink? This article will explain how carbonated drinks came into existence and provide resources for you to try it yourself!

It all started back in the year 1676, when a lemonade company in Paris called the Compagnie de Limonadiers ran a monopoly selling soft drinks, which consisted of water, lemon juice, and honey to sweeten the drink.

Fast forward about 100 years to 1767, when a man by the name of Joseph Priestley, one of Benjamin Franklin’s buddies, discovered a way to “impregnate water with fixed air” as he called it. He placed a bowl of water over fermenting liquor. The water then adapted a taste quite similar to what we now know as mineral water.

After altering his methods, he created an apparatus that was capable of infusing equal amounts of air and water into one in just a half an hour. That apparatus can be seen here. This page also contains information on how to create your own carbonated water!

Apart from the invention of soda water. Priestley is also credited with the discovery of Nitrous Oxide, Hydrochloric Acid, Carbon Monoxide, and Sulfur Dioxide. (Reference)

As a dentist, I actually refrain from carbonated drinks, but if you choose to drink them, that’s fine. Your teeth will be much better off if you at least rinse with some water immediately after drinking soda. To keep your teeth healthiest, I recommend brushing after you consume sugary treats or drinks. I also recommend using an electric toothbrush as this makes it much easier to get your whole mouth clean. My favorites are Sonicare and Oral B.

Got a dentistry related question? Email us with your question and we’ll build a post just for you, giving a simple, easy to understand explanation. Click here to see basic explanations for many other dental procedures and practices.

Jake the Dentist: brushflossandmouthwash@gmail.com

Do I need a Root Canal?

surprisedThe innermost layer of your tooth is called the pulp. This layer is filled with blood vessels and nerves, and is referred to as the “living” portion of your tooth. When bacteria get access to this area, usually from cavities or a traumatic injury, it becomes inflamed and can swell up. This inflammation causes pressure which your body interprets as pain inside the infected tooth.

Sometimes the tooth in question requires a root canal. But not always. When you visit your dentist, there are a variety of tests he will do to figure out what is causing your toothache, which will help him know which treatment is necessary.

First, an x-ray will be taken. Sometimes the cause for a toothache is visible on a radiograph, and sometimes it is not. If it is visible, you will probably be needing a root canal.

Your dentist will also tap on your tooth with the handle end of his mirror. Based on whether or not this causes pain or irritation will tell your dentist if the problem involves tiny ligaments called periodontal ligaments. These are ligaments on the outside of your tooth that hold the roots to the inside edge of your gums near the bone. Pain with the tapping implies that these ligaments are involved or damaged, and again that you will probably be needing a root canal.

The dentist will also more than likely place his finger on your gums above the tooth. A sensitivity or a bump may imply that the infection has spread to your bone. If it is very sensitive to the touch, you will probably be needing a root canal.

Another important test is the cold test. The dentist will apply a cold spray on a little piece of cotton and place it on your tooth. If you experience no pain, the pulp is dead and you will need a root canal. If you experience pain, but it goes away quickly, there is damage that may be reversible. If you experience pain that lingers for more than a few seconds after the cold stimulus is removed, you will probably be needing a root canal.

In order to treat your tooth, your dentist should be able to alter your symptoms or pain. This may mean removing the pain momentarily, and it may mean making the pain more intense for a brief moment. By altering your symptoms, he knows he has found the right tooth, and he knows what needs to be done to fix the problem.

Visit your dentist to ensure proper treatment of all oral health related problems!

While you can’t guarantee that you’ll never have this condition, proper oral care certainly helps. Brush and floss every day, and hopefully you won’t ever have to deal with a toothache! If you are using a manual brush, you might consider switching to an electric toothbrush, for example, Sonicare or Oral B. While manual brushes can get the job done, electric do an incredible job of keeping your teeth clean and healthy! Personally, I use a manual in the morning, and an electric (Oral B) at night.

Got a dentistry related question? Email us with your question and we’ll build a post just for you, giving a simple, easy to understand explanation. Click here to see basic explanations for many other dental procedures and practices.

 

Is it Safe to Whiten My Child’s Teeth?

niño_risa_felicidadIf your child has yellow or stained teeth, you may be wondering if it’s okay to use whitening on them. The problem with using tooth whitener on a child is the comparison between baby teeth and permanent teeth. If you use whitening while the child still has baby teeth, then when the child’s permanent teeth come in, they will not match the baby teeth in color. It is best to wait until all of the child’s permanent teeth have erupted, usually around age 12-13. (Except for wisdom teeth)

*It is also important to note that staining of your child’s teeth is often caused by poor dietary habits as well as disease. If your child has staining, consult with your dentist to address the root of the problem.

Once the child’s permanent teeth have come in, your best bet is usually to use over-the-counter whitening strips. These strips take a couple weeks before you notice a difference, but they are typically the best option for a number of reasons. First, it is less expensive. Tooth whiteners are not typically covered by insurance companies, so you’ll save a lot of money by using OTC strips. Second, even though they are less expensive, they are just as effective, and sometimes less abrasive on your child’s teeth!

If you elect to use tooth whitening on your child, try to pre-treat by having your child brush with a desensitizing toothpaste for at least a couple weeks. If your child is using a manual brush, you might consider switching to an electric toothbrush, for example, Sonicare or Oral B. This will help avoid throbbing and pain when the whitening strips are being used.

Got a dentistry related question? Email us with your question and we’ll build a post just for you, giving a simple, easy to understand explanation. Click here to see basic explanations for many other dental procedures and practices.

Should I Buy an Electric Toothbrush? (Sonicare vs Oral B)

file0001560288812As time goes by, more and more people are purchasing electric toothbrushes. However, there are still those who remain faithful to their manual brushes. In this entry we will breakdown the advantages and disadvantages of each and let you decide for yourself which method will work best for you.

Before diving in, here are a few things to consider. How often do you brush? How long do you brush? Do you think about every surface you are brushing to make sure you have your whole mouth covered? How often do you visit the dentist? If you’re not confident with your answers to the above questions, these habits must be fixed before any comparison can be made between manual and electric toothbrushes.

Ok, now ask yourself if your current method is working. How often do you have cavities? Does your mouth feel clean after you brush? Do you enjoy brushing? By asking yourself these questions, you may determine that your current method may not be best for you, even before beginning our comparison. If you don’t like your answers to these questions, it never hurts to try something new!

Electric Toothbrush vs. Manual Toothbrush:

A thorough, good job can be done with both a manual toothbrush and an electric toothbrush. However, the electric toothbrush is much more efficient, meaning you can get a good job done in much less time. An electric toothbrush may oscillate or vibrate at a rate between 6,000 and 30,000 strokes per minute. This makes it easier to cover all tooth surfaces more quickly.

Another advantage to the electric toothbrush is that it is more enjoyable to use. Especially if you are struggling to get your children to brush. Children are much more inclined to brush their teeth if they have a fun electric toothbrush instead of a “gross, boring, manual one.” They are also much more likely to get their teeth clean as children typically don’t have a long enough attention span to do a good job with a manual brush.

The seemingly clear advantage to using a manual brush is the price. While it’s true that the initial investment can be a bit costly, replacement heads are actually very affordable. For example, on Amazon you can get 16 Oral B Electric Toothbrush Replacement Heads for $26.99, or, about $1.68 per toothbrush head. And the electric brush itself lasts for a LONG time. I’ve had my Oral B Electric toothbrush for about 6 years and it’s still going strong, with no signs of slowing.

Going Electric? How to choose Sonicare Vs. Oral B (Reviews and Products)

To be brief, both brushes do an excellent job. If you click on the above link, you will be directed to several listings of many different electric toothbrushes where you will be able to compare the product specifications along with reviews left by people who have tried all kinds of different kinds of brushes. You can also check out our Sonicare Vs. Oral B page.

The Bottom Line

Personally, I use both an Oral B Electric toothbrush and a manual toothbrush. I have not seen any research put out regarding this technique, but it makes sense to me that by using two different styles of brushing, I will remove more plaque and buildup from my teeth as each method works a little differently. My oral health has been proof enough for me that this is the best method to go with!

Got a dentistry related question? Email us with your question and we’ll build a post just for you, giving a simple, easy to understand explanation. Click here to see basic explanations for many other dental procedures and practices.

How to Suture: The Simple Interrupted Suture

Ever wondered how the doctor or dentist sutures someone up? This step-by-step guide explains exactly how to do it. While we don’t recommend doing sutures on your own, it can be fun to practice. If you’d like to try it out, you can click on this link to buy a high quality, inexpensive suture set! You can practice on banana peels, orange peels, or your cat!

Click Here to Buy a Suture Kit

Got a dentistry related question? Email us with your question and we’ll build a post just for you, giving a simple, easy to understand explanation. Click here to see basic explanations for many other dental procedures and practices.

Mythbusting the Tongue Map

file0001330442574We were all taught in elementary school that each area of the tongue is responsible for a specific taste. Multiple scientific studies have been conducted and proven that this is simply not true. It all started when a psychologist from Harvard named Edwin G. Boring wrote a research paper on the subject. Unfortunately, the data presented in the paper was a bit hazy, and was left open for interpretation. This encouraged the incorrect assumptions about each area being responsible for one specific taste.

What the paper stated in actuality was that each area of the tongue has a different threshold before detecting different sensations. In other words, all areas can taste all flavors, but each area requires a different level of intensity to recognize a given sensation. Once that threshold is reached, the intensity of the sensation is equal across the tongue.

To keep your tongue healthy, many recommend using an electric toothbrush such as Sonicare or Oral B. This helps you keep your tongue and the rest of your mouth as clean as possible!

Tongue-Map-Myth

Got a dentistry related question? Email us with your question and we’ll build a post just for you, giving a simple, easy to understand explanation. Click here to see basic explanations for many other dental procedures and practices.

What’s causing my toothache?!

patientendo2If you can’t make it to the dentist right away, check out these home remedies with user reviews to help you survive!

The best way to avoid a toothache is to keep your mouth clean! An electric toothbrush, such as a Sonicare or an Oral B can do a great job keeping away the plaque and tooth decay!

If you’ve ever had a toothache, you know that they aren’t a whole lot of fun. Several factors can cause a toothache, the most common being Pulpitis brought on by extensive tooth decay. Pulpitis is an inflammation of the innermost layer of your tooth (the pulp). This layer is where your nerves and blood vessels are found in the tooth. When tooth decay extends past the outer two layers of your tooth (enamel and dentin), it creates a pathway for bacteria to enter your pulp. In attempt to take care of the bacteria, your body causes inflammation of the pulp tissue. Since the pulp is surrounded by dentin, a harder substance, the inflammation has nowhere to go and puts pressure on the nerves in your pulp, thus causing the toothache.

If the Pulpits (swelling of the pulp) is extensive, it can be very difficult for you to know where exactly the pain is coming from. You may think it is coming from a different tooth. You may be experiencing increased sensitivity to stimuli, as well as a throbbing pain for a prolonged period of time. Through the use of radiographs, hot/cold tests, and electric stimulation, your dentist will be able to locate the culprit and treat it properly.

There are two types of Pulpitis: Reversible and irreversible.

Reversible Pulpitis – This usually occurs when you have extensive tooth decay, but the decay has not yet reached the pulp. This causes an increase in sensitivity of the pulp, but drilling out the decay and filling it with a composite material usually fixes the problem.

Irreversible Pulpitis – In this case, irreparable damage has occurred in the innermost layer of your tooth. The only solution in this case is to perform a root canal. In a root canal, the pulp is extracted from inside your tooth, and replaced with a material called gutta percha. Once the pulp is removed, the tooth no longer contains blood vessels or nerves and is termed “non-vital” or dead. A dead tooth may remain in your mouth for years without any complications, but without performing a root canal, the tooth may cause large amounts of pain. Blood may also pool inside the tooth causing the color to darken.

Got a dentistry related question? Email us with your question and we’ll build a post just for you, giving a simple, easy to understand explanation. Click here to see basic explanations for many other dental procedures and practices.

Everything you need to know about tooth whitening

Smile-white-teeth-1024x732Tooth whitening has been a priority for us humans for a long time. Anciently, people wanted white teeth so badly they would use urine and goat milk in an attempt to achieve a brighter smile. Today, the art of tooth whitening includes thousands of different methods. This article is aimed to guide you toward the best whitening method for you.

The first thing you need may want to know is that simply switching to an electric toothbrush, like Sonicare or Oral B, can whiten your teeth more than a couple shades.

While some methods are aimed to restore the teeth to their natural color (tooth whitening), other methods are aimed to whiten the teeth beyond their natural color (tooth bleaching). When people speak of the harmful effects of tooth whitening, they actually are most often referring to the harmful effects of tooth bleaching. Extra care must be taken when bleaching your teeth to avoid damaging your enamel and other oral structures. Please refer to your dentist before beginning any bleaching regiments.

Most treatments involve the use of Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2) which works by penetrating your tooth and breaking down complex structures which reflect light and cause a perception of discoloration.


At Home Remedies (Click For Examples/Reviews)

It is difficult to really know which at home remedies are most effective as many have not been tested by the American Dental Association (ADA). These remedies include gums, gels, toothpastes, rinses, etc. We strongly recommend referring to your dentist before investing any money or effort into these methods. It can also be of value to get the opinions of people who have actually tried the product. Click on the link above to see many of the whitening products available along with reviews for those products from the people who have actually tried them out.


In office bleaching

In this method, the dentist typically paints a protective layer over the gums before bleaching to protective them from being burned. Hydrogen Peroxide is then applied to the teeth in a concentration of up to 44%, which is quite high. (The kind you buy at the store is usually about 3%).


Light-accelerated bleaching

This method uses light energy to speed up the process. Halogen lights excite the peroxide molecules without overheating the pulp of the tooth, allowing the peroxide to penetrate and break down the reflective molecules more rapidly.


Internal bleaching

Direct injury or trauma can often kill a tooth. When this happens, blood and other fluids rush into the tooth, causing a discoloration. This is where internal bleaching comes in. A hole is drilled into the pulp chamber, and a whitening agent is sealed inside and replaced as needed.


Natural whitening

Many fruits and vegetables, such as apples, carrots, and celery, do a great job at natural removing surface stains without causing harm to the actual tooth surface. They also increase saliva flow which is important in fighting tooth decay. They also get rid of many of the bacteria known to be responsible for bad breath. Malic acid, an acid found in apple juice, gives fruits their pleasantly sour taste and also further helps in the whitening process.


Many factors are involved in determining which tooth whitening system is right for you. These include how white you want your teeth, your budget, and your oral health. By consulting your local dentist, as well as the above mentioned customer reviews, you can make a confident decision on which whitening system will best serve your needs.

Got a dentistry related question? Email us with your question and we’ll build a post just for you, giving a simple, easy to understand explanation. Click here to see basic explanations for many other dental procedures and practices.

How Orthodontic Braces Work

imagesHave you ever stepped back and thought about what is actually happening when your teeth are moved by orthodontic braces? Each tooth has a designated position in your mouth, and is secured by surrounding bone and ligaments, so how in the world can the orthodontist simply move them?! The reason this phenomenon is possible is that there is a lot more movement happening apart from just your teeth.

There are two main outer portions to your tooth, the crown (visible) and the root (beneath the gums). Though braces are placed directly on the crown, the pressure will be applied to both the crown and the root. This pressure transfers from the root of your tooth to your jawbone (Alveolar bone), and activates cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts.

The osteoclasts eat away the bone where the pressure is being applied in order to create space for the tooth to move into within the bone. As the tooth moves to it’s new position, there is space behind it where it used to reside. This is when the osteoblasts come in. They work hard to build new bone structure, filling in the space and allowing the tooth to remain firmly fixed within the bone even after being relocated.

Braces are used to apply controlled forces and controlled movement to your teeth.

Many other forces, including but not limited to mouthbreathing, finger sucking, thumb sucking, pacifier sucking, nail biting, pen biting, pencil biting, abnormal posture, and swallowing disorders greatly influence the development of the dental arches. These forces, if applied on a regular basis, will also cause tooth movement and bone resorption, resulting in less than ideal positioning of teeth.

It is important to note that when you have braces, it is much harder to keep your teeth clean. An electric toothbrush, Sonicare or Oral B for example, can make it easier to keep your mouth clean, healthy, and happy!

Got a dentistry related question? Email us with your question and we’ll build a post just for you, giving a simple, easy to understand explanation. Click here to see basic explanations for many other dental procedures and practices.