Oral

Dental Floss

Did you know?

Regular flossing plays a crucial role in your dental hygiene. When you skip flossing, plaque can build up between your teeth and along your gumline. Over time, this can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), interdental cleaners such as floss play a vital role in removing plaque and debris from areas that a toothbrush can’t reach.

Read on to learn more about the key benefits of flossing and how often and when you should floss. If you’re looking for alternatives to floss for interdental cleaning, we have that covered, too.

What are the benefits of flossing?

Digging out a lingering piece of popcorn or removing some leftover spinach from between your teeth feels really good.

But, in addition to helping your teeth and gums look and feel good, flossing also has many other benefits. Let’s look at these benefits in more detail.

1. Gets rid of plaque

Plaque is a colorless sticky film that collects around and between your teeth and along your gumline. Although it’s difficult to see, plaque isn’t something you want lingering in your mouth for very long.

Plaque forms on and around your teeth when bacteria in your mouth mix with starchy or sugary foods and drinks. These bacteria release acids that break down carbohydrates. If you don’t brush your teeth, the bacteria, acids, and carbohydrates can mix together to form a film of plaque on and around your teeth and gumline.

The bacteria in plaque can release acids that attack your tooth enamel. If these acids aren’t removed with brushing and flossing, it can, over time, lead to cavities.

What’s more, a buildup of plaque can harden and turn into tartar, which collects along your gumline. When this happens, you increase the risk of developing gum disease, according to the ADA.

Regular flossing can help remove food particles from around your teeth, as well as plaque that’s built up between your teeth.

2. Reduces the risk of cavities

Tooth decay can result in a cavity, which causes a tiny opening or hole in the hard surface of your teeth known as enamel.

Although this process takes time, the more plaque you have on the enamel of your teeth, the higher your risk of developing a cavity.

Flossing between your teeth at least once a day can help get rid of hidden food particles and plaque buildup, and lower your risk of tooth decay.

3. Helps prevent gum disease

Gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease. One of the first signs of gingivitis is inflammation around your gums. Your gums may also bleed when you brush or floss your teeth.

If gingivitis isn’t treated, it can lead to a more serious infection known as periodontitis. This can cause your gums to recede or pull away from your teeth. Your teeth may lose bone support and become loose. If not treated, periodontitis can cause an inflammatory response throughout your body.

Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once a day can help reduce your risk of gum disease. Professional cleanings done by your dentist every 6 months can also help keep your gums healthy.

4. Reduces bad breath

Bad breath (halitosis) is a common problem. But flossing is one of the tools you can use to keep bad breath away.

When food gets trapped between your teeth, it slowly starts to decay. If you don’t remove the food particles, it can cause you to have foul-smelling breath.

Also, if plaque builds up around or between your teeth and starts eroding your tooth enamel, it can cause cavities and gum disease, which contribute to bad breath.

5. May help your heart health

Good dental hygiene doesn’t only benefit your teeth and gums. It may benefit your heart health, too.

According to a large 2019 study, participants who adhered to a high standard of oral hygiene had a decreased risk of atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

That said, the American Heart AssociationTrusted Source says a connection between oral health and heart health may have more to do with a link between the health of your mouth and the overall health of your body.

Regardless, flossing your teeth is a simple, low-cost way to help boost your oral hygiene as well as your overall health.

How often should you floss and when?

The ADA recommends brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Some people prefer to floss during their morning routine, while others like one final cleaning before bed.

It’s generally recommended that you floss your teeth before brushing them. When you floss, you typically loosen food particles and plaque around your teeth. The brushing action then helps to remove the plaque and particles that you’ve removed from your teeth and gum line.

Types of floss

Standard dental floss generally comes in two varieties: waxed and unwaxed. Choosing between the two often comes down to personal preference, especially since the ADA claims there’s no difference between the effectiveness of the two types. If your teeth are closer together or crowded, a wax coating may make it easier to get into those tight spaces.

Floss also comes in tape form, which is broader and flat and works well if you have gaps in your teeth.

Additionally, if you have braces, bridges, or gaps, you may want to try a super floss. This type of floss has a regular floss thread, spongy floss, and a dental floss threader with a stiff end.

If you find traditional floss hard to use, there are some floss alternatives you can try, such as:

These tools allow you to use water, air, or small brushes that are similar to a mascara wand, to clean the sides and between your teeth.

According to the ADA, these are all acceptable tools for removing food and debris from your teeth.

Flossing instructions for Normal Teeth

  1. Break off about 18 to 24 inches of dental floss. To hold the floss correctly, wind most of the floss around both of your middle fingers. Leave only about 1 to 2 inches of floss for your teeth.
  2. Next, hold the floss taut with your thumbs and index fingers.
  3. Place the dental floss in between two teeth. Gently glide the floss up and down, rubbing it against both sides of each tooth. Don’t glide the floss into your gums. This can scratch or bruise your gums.
  4. As the floss reaches your gums, curve the floss at the base of the tooth to form a C shape. This allows the floss to enter the space between your gums and your tooth.
  5. Repeat the steps as you move from tooth to tooth. With each tooth, use a new, clean section of floss.

Flossing instructions for braces

Break off about 18 to 24 inches of waxed dental floss.

Stand in front of a mirror so you can make sure the floss is going where you need it to.

Start by threading the floss between your teeth and the main wire. Twist the loose ends of the floss around your index fingers so you can move the floss around easily.

Press the floss between the two teeth as gently as you can. Then, move the floss up and down along the sides of both teeth.

When working on your top teeth, try to make an upside-down U with the floss. To do this, go up the side of one tooth until you get to the gumline. Then, glide the floss down the side of the other tooth.

Gently remove the floss and carefully unthread it from behind the wire. Avoid popping the floss out of your tooth, as you could dislodge a wire.

Now, move on to the next two teeth, and use the same technique until you’ve flossed between all your teeth.

When should you floss?

Knowing the right time to floss also contributes to good oral health. Some people have a routine of brushing their teeth first and then flossing. However, it’s generally recommended to floss and then brush your teeth.

Flossing helps lift and release food and plaque stuck in between your teeth, while brushing removes these particles from your mouth. If you brush first and floss afterward, food and plaque remain in your mouth until the next time you brush.

The American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once per day and brushing twice per day.

Types of dental floss

Dental floss comes in many varieties. Which type of floss is best for you depends on your preferences, the amount of space in between your teeth, and whether you have braces or bridges.

Some dental floss is easier to use in wider spaces, whereas other types of floss are easier to use in tighter spaces.

Different types of dental floss include:

  • Dental tape. This type of dental floss is broader and flat like a ribbon, making it easier to handle if you have braces, gaps, or large spaces in between your teeth.
  • Standard floss. This is a thin, nylon strand that can fit in between teeth. It comes flavored or unflavored as well as waxed or unwaxed. If your teeth are crowded or closer together, dental floss with a wax coating can make it easier to get in between them.
  • Super flosses. This dental floss threader can work with braces, bridges, and gaps. It has three components: a stiffened end for flossing underneath appliances, spongy floss to clean around your appliances, and regular floss to eliminate plaque underneath your gumline.

Other tools to make flossing easier

In addition to dental tape, waxed floss, and floss threaders, other tools can make flossing easier and faster.

  • One option is to use an electric flosser or a water flosser, which uses water and pressure to remove plaque and food from in between teeth. Both are great options if you have trouble using regular floss. A water flosser is also useful if you have braces. This device can clean in between brackets and wires.
  • Another option is to use disposable floss picks. They’re easy to maneuver and can help you floss hard-to-reach teeth in the back of your mouth.

Final thoughts…

Good oral hygiene involves more than just brushing your teeth. It also involves flossing and knowing how to floss correctly.

Flossing helps remove bacteria, plaque, and food from between your teeth, and it reduces the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease. Along with regular brushing and flossing, make sure you also schedule regular dental cleanings at least twice a year.

Health Oral

Bad Breath(Halitosis)

What is bad breath?

It is also known as halitosis or fetor oris. Bad breath can cause significant worry, embarrassment, and anxiety but it is relatively easy to remedy.

Fast facts on bad breath

Here are some key points about bad breath. More detail and supporting information is in the main article.

  • Bad breath is estimated to affect 1 in 4 people globally.
  • The most common cause of halitosis is bad oral hygiene.
  • If particles of food are left in the mouth, their breakdown by bacteria produces sulfur compounds.
  • Keeping the mouth hydrated can reduce mouth odor.
  • The best treatment for bad breath is regular brushing, flossing, and hydration.

What is halitosis?

Share on PinterestAlthough bad breath is associated with certain diseases, oral hygiene is the most common cause.

Bad breath is a common problem that can cause significant psychological distress. There are a number of potential causes and treatments available.

Anyone can suffer from bad breath. It is estimated that 1 in 4 people have bad breath on a regular basis.

Halitosis is the third most common reason that people seek dental care, after tooth decay and gum disease.

Simple home remedies and lifestyle changes, such as improved dental hygiene and quitting smoking, can often remove the issue. If bad breath persists, however, it is advisable to visit a doctor to check for underlying causes.

Treatment

The best method to reduce halitosis is good oral hygiene. This ensures that cavities are avoided and reduces the likelihood of gum disease.

It is recommended that individuals visit the dentist for a check-up and cleaning twice a year.

The dentist may recommend a toothpaste that includes an antibacterial agent or an antibacterial mouthwash.

Alternatively, if gum disease is present, professional cleaning may be necessary to clear out the build-up of bacteria in pockets between the gums and teeth.

Causes

Potential causes of bad breath include:

  • Tobacco: Tobacco products cause their own types of mouth odor. Additionally, they increase the chances of gum disease which can also cause bad breath.
  • Food: The breakdown of food particles stuck in the teeth can cause odors. Some foods such as onions and garlic can also cause bad breath. After they are digested, their breakdown products are carried in the blood to the lungs where they can affect the breath.
  • Dry mouth: Saliva naturally cleans the mouth. If the mouth is naturally dry or dry due to a specific disease, such as xerostomia, odors can build up.
  • Dental hygiene: Brushing and flossing ensure the removal of small particles of food that can build up and slowly break down, producing odor. A film of bacteria called plaque builds up if brushing is not regular. This plaque can irritate the gums and cause inflammation between the teeth and gums called periodontitis. Dentures that are not cleaned regularly or properly can also harbor bacteria that cause halitosis.
  • Crash diets: Fasting and low-carbohydrate eating programs can produce halitosis. This is due to the breakdown of fats producing chemicals called ketones. These ketones have a strong aroma.
  • Drugs: Certain medications can reduce saliva and, therefore, increase odors. Other drugs can produce odors as they breakdown and release chemicals in the breath. Examples include nitrates used to treat angina, some chemotherapy chemicals, and some tranquilizers, such as phenothiazines. Individuals who take vitamin supplements in large doses can also be prone to bad breath.
  • Mouth, nose, and throat conditions: Sometimes, small, bacteria-covered stones can form on the tonsils at the back of the throat and produce odor. Also, infections or inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses can cause halitosis.
  • Foreign body: Bad breath can be caused if they have a foreign body lodged in their nasal cavity, especially in children.
  • Diseases: Some cancers, liver failure, and other metabolic diseases can cause halitosis, due to the specific mixes of chemicals that they produce. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can cause bad breath due to the regular reflux of stomach acids.

Rarer causes of bad breath

As mentioned earlier, the most common reason for bad breath is oral hygiene, but other situations can also be to blame.

Rarer causes of bad breath include:

  • Ketoacidosis: When the insulin levels of a person with diabetes are very low, their bodies can no longer use sugar and begin to use fat stores instead. When fat is broken down, ketones are produced and build up. Ketones can be poisonous when found in large numbers and produce a distinctive and unpleasant breath odor. Ketoacidosis is a serious and potentially life-threatening condition.
  • Bowel obstruction: Breath can smell like feces if there has been a prolonged period of vomiting, especially if a bowel obstruction is present.
  • Bronchiectasis: This is a long-term condition in which airways become wider than normal, allowing for a build-up of mucus that leads to bad breath.
  • Aspiration pneumonia: A swelling or infection in the lungs or airways due to inhaling vomit, saliva, food, or liquids.

Symptoms

The specific odor of breath can vary depending on the cause of the problem. It is best to ask a close friend or relative to gauge your mouth odor, as it can be difficult to assess it yourself.

If no one is available, one way of checking the odor is to lick your wrist, leave it to dry, and then smell it. A bad smell on this area of the wrist is likely to suggest that you have halitosis.

Some individuals are concerned about their breath even though they may have little or no mouth odor. This condition is called halitophobia and can lead to obsessive mouth-cleansing behavior.

Home remedies

Share on PinterestOral hygiene is the key to most bad breath issues.

Other lifestyle changes and home remedies for bad breath include:

  • Brush the teeth: Be sure to brush at least twice a day, preferably after each meal.
  • Floss: Flossing reduces the build-up of food particles and plaque from between the teeth. Brushing only cleans around 60 percent of the surface of the tooth.
  • Clean dentures: Anything that goes into your mouth, including dentures, a bridge, or a mouth guard, should be cleaned as recommended on a daily basis. Cleaning prevents the bacteria from building up and being transferred back into the mouth. Changing toothbrush every 2 to 3 months is also important for similar reasons.
  • Brush tongue: Bacteria, food, and dead cells commonly build up on the tongue, especially in smokers or those with a particularly dry mouth. A tongue scraper can sometimes be useful.
  • Avoid dry mouth: Drink plenty of water. Avoid alcohol and tobacco, both of which dehydrate the mouth. Chewing gum or sucking a sweet, preferably sugar-free, can help stimulate the production of saliva. If the mouth is chronically dry, a doctor may prescribe medication that stimulates the flow of saliva.
  • Diet: Avoid onions, garlic, and spicy food. Sugary foods are also linked to bad breath. Reduce coffee and alcohol consumption. Eating a breakfast that includes rough foods can help clean the back of the tongue.

If breath odor persists despite controlling these factors, it is recommended that an individual visits a doctor for further tests to rule out other conditions.

Diagnosis

Often, a dentist will simply smell the breath of a person with suspected halitosis and rate the odor on a six-point intensity scale. The dentist may scrape the back of the tongue and smell the scrapings as this area can often be a source of the aroma.

There are a variety of sophisticated detectors that can rate odor more precisely.

They include the following:

  • Halimeter: This detects low levels of sulfur.
  • Gas chromatography: This test measures three volatile sulfur compounds: Hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan, and dimethyl sulfide.
  • BANA test: This measures levels of a specific enzyme produced by halitosis-causing bacteria.
  • Beta-galactosidase test: Levels of the enzyme beta-galactosidase have been found to correlate with mouth odor.

Our dentists at Astradental services will then be able to identify the likely cause of the bad breath.

Children Dental Oral Teeth

Endemic fluorosis-Discoloration of Teeth

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Endemic fluorosis

Endemic fluorosis caused by the consumption of high-fluoride groundwater is a public health problem in Nakuru, in the Kenyan Rift Valley. The present study was carried out during the period January–February 2017 to determine the prevalence and severity of dental fluorosis among patients of two Nakuru healthcare facilities. The patients consisted of both young and old members of the Nakuru population served with groundwater containing high levels of fluoride ranging from 0.1 to 72 mg/l.

How common are discoloured or stained teeth?

While no one knows for sure how many of us suffer from stained teeth, it’s clear that how healthy and white our teeth are is something we care about. These days, we see a shiny smile as a sort of social status symbol, making whitening products and procedures pretty popular. Most of us (99%) consider our smile our most important social feature, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.

A simple stroll down any drugstore oral care aisle reveals a wide assortment of whitening trays, strips, toothpastes and mouthwashes. Now more than ever, we are putting our money where our mouths are, spending more on both over-the-counter and professional whitening products and procedures every year. If you’re ready to whiten your smile, there are options for every budget — but it pays to know which are safe and effective — and which may do more harm than good.

PROFESSIONAL TEETH WHITENING

Professional teeth whitening is much preferred over over the counter whitening products. Over the counter whitening systems often come in one size fits all, leading to uneven whitening. It can also lead to the bleaching agent getting on your gums and causing issues with sensitivity. Professional whitening helps to prevent that.

We offer both in-office and take-home whitening treatments. The in-office version is great for getting a whiter smile quickly, such as for an event. A bleaching agent is painted onto the teeth, with guards to prevent it from getting on the gums. A special light is used to activate the bleaching agent. In about an hour, you’ll have a smile up to eight shades whiter!

Take-home whitening is used to whiten your teeth gradually and for touchups after in-office whitening. We’ll take impressions of your teeth to create custom whitening trays. The bleaching agent is evenly spread in the trays and you wear them for a few hours every night. As the weeks go by, you’ll see your smile whitening to the shade you’re looking for.

PORCELAIN VENEERS

For a more permanent whitening solution, as well as if you have stains resistant to traditional treatment, porcelain veneers are perfect. Usually from certain medications, you can get stubborn stains that resist traditional treatment. Porcelain veneers are made of a thin shell of dental ceramic that goes over the front and sides of your tooth. They can cover the entire tooth that’s stained.

Porcelain veneers are ideal because they’re durable and stain-resistant. They’re a permanent solution for stains on your teeth. They can be color-matched to the rest of your smile and are shaped and sized to blend in seamlessly. Veneers can be placed on a number of teeth or just certain ones that are impacted.

DENTAL BONDING

Dental bonding is an economically sound choice, as well as a solid alternative to porcelain veneers if you’re not ready for a permanent solution. The bonding material is a biocompatible resin. This resin can be molded and shaped to fit whatever tooth has discoloration. The resin can also be color-matched to the rest of your smile or made to be as white as you’d like.

Dental bonding can be done in a quick visit to your dentist. The surface of your tooth is prepared for the resin to adhere to. The resin is painted onto your tooth, shaped to your liking. Once you’re happy with the result, a special light is used to harden the resin. It’s polished so that it matches the natural sheen of the rest of your smile.

COSMETIC DENTISTRY IN ASTRADENTAL SERVICES

Are you ready to get a whiter smile? Call us or schedule an appointment online.

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