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27
Jun
2019

Are electric toothbrushes better than manual ones?

The truth is, when topped with fluoride toothpaste to harden the surfaces of your teeth and protect against cavities, either electric or manual toothbrushes can help keep your mouth as  clean as possible. It really just depends on your situation.

Research will typically tell you electric toothbrushes have a slight edge, but it’s honestly not that huge.

Electric toothbrushes generally use vibration, rotation (going around in a circle), or oscillation (moving back and forth) to get the job done. They also tend to have larger handles than manual toothbrushes. These aspects make electric toothbrushes good options for people with dexterity issues due to conditions like arthritis and osteoporosis, or just aging in general.

Since the bristles on electric toothbrushes can sometimes be thinner and pointier clusters, they can deliver the kind of targeted cleaning that can aid someone with braces or dental restorations. It may even just be that the vibrations intrigue an easily distracted kid, helping them spend the recommended two minutes brushing their teeth.  Some electric toothbrushes actually have timers, which can be a great way to make sure you’re spending enough time on your teeth and gums.

Electric toothbrushes can also help if you brush your teeth and gums too hard, which can lead to gum recession that causes sensitivity while eating and drinking. Since electric toothbrushes do a lot of the work to remove plaque, putting too much pressure on your gums becomes less of an issue. Some even have pressure sensors that freeze the toothbrush’s motion if you’re pressing too hard.

No matter what kind of toothbrush you use, you should shop with a few guidelines in mind.

Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles, whether manual or electric. Anything harder can damage your gums and even form little notches in your teeth.

During your twice-daily, two-minute brushings, dentists suggest holding your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle against your teeth and gum line, moving back and forth in short strokes, then tilting vertically and making up and down strokes on the insides of your teeth, too. (If you’re using an electric toothbrush, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.)

Beyond that, buy a new toothbrush every three to four months (or swap out the head of your electric toothbrush as instructed). If the bristles are frayed, they’re not going to be able to get into the little crevices around each of your teeth and get the job done and you won’t be as efficient in plaque removal.

The bottom line is that you don’t automatically need an electric toothbrush for great oral health, but it can help in certain situations. People have individual needs and abilities and skills. If an electric toothbrush helps them stay healthy and avoid having additional decay, it can wind up being a good investment. Sometimes it really makes a difference in people who are struggling to stay healthy.

Speak with Dr. Appleton or Dr. Bana at your next dental appointment about the benefits of an electric toothbrush.

Call 905-668-6301 to book an appointment.

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20
Jun
2019

Effective Toothbrushing

We all want to have healthy teeth, fresh breath and nice smiles. Gum disease and tooth decay are the two most common oral diseases worldwide.

Studies have identified links between gum disease and general health such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease and so it has never been more important to look after your teeth.

Effective daily tooth brushing and oral hygiene is an essential part of your health and well-being.

Recommended Toothbrushing Technique

A gentle scrub technique with very short horizontal movements to dislodge plaque at the gum margins is effective for most people and is easy to teach and readily accepted. Thus, careful use of a gentle scrub method using a toothbrush with densely packed, round-ended synthetic filaments of soft to medium texture should be encouraged for effective plaque removal.

A toothbrush with a small brush head may also be recommended, as a small brush head enables better access to the back of the mouth and to tooth surfaces than a large brush head.

While a variety of powered toothbrushes have become increasingly available, only powered toothbrushes with a rotation oscillation action (i.e., brush head moves in one direction and then the other) have been found to be better than manual toothbrushes at removing plaque and reducing gum inflammation, and are no more likely to cause injuries to gums.

Incorrect toothbrushing techniques involving excessive pressure may considerably increase gingival recession (i.e., the gum line recedes leading to exposure of the roots of the teeth), and loss of tooth substance by mechanical abrasion, and must therefore be avoided.

Hold the toothbrush in a pen grip using just the thumb and forefinger.  This results in less pressure being applied when toothbrushing and is therefore recommended.

Toothbrushing Routine

  1. A gentle scrub technique involving very short horizontal movements is recommended
  2. Use a soft to medium textured toothbrush
  3. Hold toothbrush in a pen grip to avoid using excessive pressure
  4. Spit out fluoride toothpaste and do not rinse after brushing
  5. Twice a day – at bedtime and in the morning (ideally after every meal)

Please call Dr. Appleton’s office to schedule your next regular dental checkup.

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12
Jun
2019

Flossing: How Important Is Flossing To You?

 

People hate flossing. Why? Well, for some people, taking out a piece of floss, wrapping it around their index and middle fingers, placing it between two teeth, and then moving it to remove food or dental plaque can be too much of a process. There are easier options to clean between the teeth like dental flossers, toothpicks, interdental brushes and even battery-powered or electrical flossing devices.

Regardless of the method, if you’re someone who just doesn’t like flossing or you don’t fully understand it, it’s crucial to remember why flossing is an important part of a healthy smile.

What Are the Facts?

Recently, the Associated Press has reported that “there’s little proof that flossing works.” This is a bold statement to make to the public, dental professionals and oral care companies who make dental floss. This report claims that there is no scientific research out there that proves flossing helps prevent gum disease and cavities. However, published research in the Journal of Dental Hygiene shows that flossing and tooth brushing will help reduce gingivitis at one, three and six months, but not reduce plaque at one or three months.

So what does this flossing news mean to you?

The Downfalls of Not Flossing

When you don’t floss, you’re at risk for two major dental issues in your mouth: Gingivitis, and cavities between your teeth. Without flossing, you are not able to remove dental plaque buildup. There are over 1,000 bacteria in dental plaque. These bacteria can irritate the gum tissue, causing it to become red and inflamed and bleed easily, which breeds more bacteria and causes gingivitis to occur.

Another risk of not flossing is that cavities are more likely to form between your teeth. The same dental plaque that causes gingivitis can lead to the growth of harmful bacteria that will destroy the enamel between your teeth, consequently forming a cavity.

Oral Health and Overall Health

Gingivitis, if left untreated, can progress to periodontal disease. The bacteria from periodontal disease can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of your body like your heart and respiratory tract. Periodontal disease has also been linked to diabetes and can contribute to the risk of low birth weight in newborn babies. An easy way to reduce your risk of other serious side effects from periodontal disease, however, is by practicing optimal oral hygiene at home, which includes flossing and tooth brushing.

Conducting Great Oral Hygiene

You should floss at least once a day, the best time being right before you go to bed to remove any food and plaque from between the teeth and along the gumline. Flossing should be done with waxed floss, as it won’t shred between the teeth.

Use a soft-bristle toothbrush at least twice daily to remove plaque, reduce gingivitis, prevent cavities and provide your mouth with an overall clean healthy feeling.

So, when you see that container of dental floss at your bathroom sink, be motivated to start flossing and help prevent dental diseases from occurring in your mouth!

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5
Jun
2019

Receding Gums


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Receding Gums: Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Gum recession is when the margin of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth wears away, or pulls back, exposing more of the tooth, or the tooth’s root. When gums recede, gaps can form between the gum and tooth, allowing disease-causing bacteria to build up. If left untreated, the surrounding tissue and bone structures of the teeth can be damaged, sometimes resulting in tooth loss. Receding gums is a widespread dental condition. Most people aren’t aware that they have receding gums since it occurs gradually.

Receding Gums Symptoms

As receding gums progress over time, you may notice the following symptoms:

Long Teeth
One symptom is the visible lengthening of the teeth. When gums recede because of periodontal disease, the teeth have the appearance of being much longer than normal.

Exposed Roots
Exposed roots are another symptom, and can be extremely sensitive and uncomfortable. They are often a sign of periodontal disease or can be attributed to brushing overly aggressively with a toothbrush with hard bristles.

Loose teeth
When suffering from receding gums, you may notice loose teeth, attributed to the bacteria and periodontal disease under the gums around the teeth. As receding gums worsen, the gum pockets deepen due to loss of attachment structure.

Causes of Receding Gums

Numerous factors can cause your gums to recede, including:

Periodontal diseases

  • These are gum infections, caused by bacteria, that destroy gum tissue and the bone that holds your teeth in place. Periodontal disease is the main cause of gum recession. The early stage of periodontal disease is not often painful, therefore symptoms often go unnoticed. Left untreated though, early symptoms can develop into periodontitis.

Early stages of  gum disease can be seen with minor symptoms that include:

  • Red, swollen, or purple gums
  • Gums that feel tender to the touch
  • Bleeding gums
  • Chronic bad breath

Genetics
Some people are more susceptible to periodontal disease. Studies show that 30% of the population may be predisposed to gum disease, even if they take good care of their teeth.

Brushing too hard
If you brush your teeth too aggressively or incorrectly, it can cause your tooth’s enamel to wear away and your gums to recede.

Poor dental care
Inadequate brushing, flossing, and rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash, can make it easy for plaque to turn into tartar, a hard substance that forms on and between your teeth and can only be removed by a professional tooth cleaning.

Hormone levels
Changes in estrogen levels over a woman’s life, like puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, can make gums increasingly sensitive and vulnerable to gum recession.

Tobacco products
Smokers, and other tobacco users, are more likely to develop sticky plaque which can cause gum recession.

Grinding and clenching your teeth
Clenching or grinding your teeth can exert too much force on the teeth, causing gums to recede.

Crooked teeth or a misaligned bite
When teeth don’t come together evenly, too much force can be exerted on the gums and surrounding bone, allowing gums to recede.

Receding Gums Treatment

Mild gum recession can be treated by a professional deep cleaning in the affected area. During the deep cleaning, plaque and tartar is removed and the exposed root area is smoothed over, making it more difficult for bacteria to attach itself. Antibiotics can also be used to kill any remaining bacteria.

If a deep cleaning is not sufficient to treat the condition, because of excess loss of bone and deep pockets, receding gums surgery may be required.

Questions About Receding Gums

Q: What causes your gums to recede?
A: There are a number of factors that can cause your gums to recede, including periodontal diseases. These are bacterial gum infections that destroy gum tissue and supporting bone that hold your teeth in place, which is the main cause of gum recession.

Q: How Can I Prevent Gum Recession?
A: Taking good care of your mouth is the best way to prevent gum recession. Brush and floss daily and see your dentist at least twice a year. Your dentist may want to see you more often If you have gum recession.

  • Quitting smoking, if you smoke.
  • Eating a healthy, well-balanced diet.
  • Monitoring possible changes to your mouth.

Q: How can I make my gums healthier? 

  1. Use an electric toothbrush.
  2. Brush your teeth correctly at least twice a day.
  3. Use a toothbrush with a tongue scraper.
  4. Floss daily.
  5. Massage your gums.
  6. Use a receding gums mouthwash and a receding gums toothpaste, with fluoride.

If you see signs that your gums may be receding, please call Dr. Appletons office to schedule an exam.  905-668-6301.

(Information provided by Oral-B)
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