Why, When, What Type, and How to Floss

Did you know that by simply brushing, you’re only getting 50% of the job done? That’s because when you brush the bristles can only reach 60% of your tooth’s surface. That means 20% between your teeth is a hot spot for bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease. When you don’t floss it gives the bacteria longer to build up and bind with your teeth creating a firm sticky substance known as plaque. Flossing, however, removes those food particles before they can harden into tartar, also known as calculus, which cannot be removed by regular flossing. After the tartar begins to build up it will take over the surface of the tooth under the gum line. Once there, tartar causes inflammation and irritation that leads to the development of gum disease.

When to Floss

Now that we know why we should floss; do you know why only 4 in 10 Americans floss every day? The largest percent says that it’s too time-consuming but once you get the hang of it, flossing takes just a couple minutes. Since we only floss once a day, it’s recommended to do it before you brush. When you floss after brushing all the loose plaque and bacteria floats around your mouth, giving it the chance to reattach to the tooth’s surface. So, at the very least, rinse your mouth.

How to Floss

We’ve got the basics down, why it’s important to floss, and when we should floss. Can you guess what’s next? That’s right, the correct way to floss. If you are flossing every day and still see a lot of plaque buildup, chances are you’re missing some crevices. When you floss incorrectly it can cause bleeding and damage to your gums and any surrounding dental work. Now before we get into the proper ways to floss, we really need to go over the different types of floss and what they are used for.

Types of Floss

  • Floss can come waxed or unwaxed and everyone can use it! It’s great to get those food particles in tight spaces. Typically, it comes rolled up in a small plastic box. Body (1).pngWhich makes flossing on the go much easier!
  • Dental Tape: This is similar to regular floss where it comes in either waxed or unwaxed. However, dental tape is much wider than floss and can clean more surface. If you have bigger hands or more space between your teeth, it’s recommended to use this.
  • Floss Picks: Are small plastic flossing sticks that are somewhat shaped like a candy cane. Used in the same way regular floss is, floss picks make it easier for people with less dexterity and they are great for kids!
  • Floss Threader: This is a firm stick with a loop at the end. It is used to thread theBody (2).png floss through dental appliances, which can make some teeth hard to reach. Typically, floss threaders are used with braces or bridges.
  • Interdental Brush: This is a pick with wired or non-wired bristles at the tip. These can be used for regular flossing; however, they are also useful in cleaning dental implants and braces.
  • Superfloss: Has a floss threader at one end, regular floss in the middle, and a soft spongy floss at the other end. The thread is used to pull the floss between an appliance then the regular floss is used on the adjacent tooth. The spongy floss is then used to clean around an implant-supported bridge or under a normal bridge.
  • Wooden Plaque Remover: Looks a lot like a toothpick but it has a tapered end with a triangular shape. Set the tapered end in your mouth for a few seconds to soften it. Then place the softened side between your teeth with the flat side on your gums. This is to stimulate blood flow which helps fight gum disease. Gently move the pick in and out to break up any food particles and disturb any forming plaque. This can be used by anyone and is preferable for flossing on the go.
  • Water Flosser: The water flosser is a different type of device known as an oral irrigator. Instead of manually scraping the plaque off, the water pressure does it for you! If you have braces it’s an easy way to make sure you are fully cleaning those pearly whites, however, anyone can use a water flosser.

How Really to Floss

  • Flossing: Pull 18-20 in of floss from the container, then loosely wrap it around both middle fingers. Make sure to leave at least 1-2 in of floss in the middle. Hold the floss taut with your thumb and index fingers and glide it gently up and down the side of your teeth. When you get to the gum line form a C-shape and slide the floss down. Finally, remove the floss and continue with the same method on the rest of your teeth.
  • Flossing with Braces: It’s recommended that you use waxed floss to avoid getting strands stuck in the brackets. Pull 18-24 in of waxed floss out of the container, thread it through the floss threader and carefully pull it through the wire; then continue to floss as normal. You can also use interdental brushes by pushing the bristles in an out 2-3 times for every tooth.
  • Flossing Dental Implants: Since implants can’t decay the plaque will still stick which can cause swelling and implant failure known as Peri-implantitis. This means it is still vital to floss around your implant. Use a non-wired interdental brush to avoid scratching the titanium or porcelain. Gently push it in and out 2-3 times, then continue to floss the rest of your teeth.
  • Flossing a Dental Bridge: Start by pushing the threader end of Superfloss through the space between the bridge and the real tooth. Use the regular floss on the real tooth, then gently slide the super floss under the bridge 2-3 times and repeat on the other side. After, floss the rest of your teeth normally.
  • Flossing Implant-Supported Bridges: Use Superfloss to thread the spongy floss under the bridge, and gently use the spongy side to clean around the titanium implants. You can also use a non-wired interdental brush to clean them.
  • Flossing and Cleaning Implant-Supported Overdentures: Remove the dentures from your mouth, brush the dentures with detergent and place them in water. Then take a one-tuff brush and gently clean around the part of the implant that sits above your gums, commonly known as an abutment.

Flossing is simple, yet so crucial for your dental health. Remember, the floss most dentists recommend is any type that you will use every day!

Stanford Ranch Family Dentistry

*ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS*

5800 Stanford Ranch Rd. #110
Rocklin, CA 95765
Phone: 916-435-4222

 

 

What is a Bone Graft and Do I Need One? 

It’s key to understand the importance of your teeth in relation to your jawbone. Bone tissue, much like muscles, are maintained through usage. Teeth are rooted in the alveolarbone graft body (3).png bone or the part of the jaw that holds teeth in the mouth. When we’re actively chewing or biting it stimulates the jawbone. This tells our brain to keep pumping calcium and other nutrients to stimulate bone growth. With tooth loss the bone no longer receives stimulation, the brain stops sending nutrients, and the bone begins to atrophy leading to that sunken jaw look.

Why do I need one?

There are many reasons for needing a bone graft. The underline justification is to make your jaw strong enough to support an implant after the loss of one or several teeth. Here are four other causes of jawbone atrophy:

  • Gum Disease: This is the most common cause of tooth loss and bone atrophy. When you don’t brush or floss consistently all the plaque from previous days build up the surface and into the cracks of your teeth. The bacteria irritates your gums causing them to get inflamed and red. This leads to the gums beginning to pull away from the tooth.

 

  • Facial Injury: Accidents can happen anywhere, From car collisions to sports injuries. This includes teeth being knocked out, cracked, and damaged to the point they need to be pulled. Facial trauma can also end in a fracture or even break your jawbone, which can affect the overall health of your jaw including the ability to eat.

 

  • Misaligned Teeth: When your teeth are incorrectly aligned, it can cause a lack of stimulation. Leading to parts of the jaw and alveolar bone to not receive enough nutrients which then causes bone deterioration.

 

  • Missing Teeth: After a tooth extraction the bone holding your roots in place will begin to collapse. When this happens, it causes shifting of all the other teeth in your mouth. That can lead to further tooth loss and mouth deformation.

What is bone grafting?

Bone grafting rebuilds and repairs jawbone. During this procedure, your surgeon will make a small incision in your gums and fold them back to expose the deteriorated bone. After cleaning out all the infected tissue and bacteria, the grafting material is placed and the site is closed. Not only does this procedure help prepare for a perfect implant site, bone graft body (2).pngbut it also lowers your chances of losing more teeth! There are many options when it comes to types of bone grafts and which material to use.

Common Bone Grafting Material 

  • Autograft: Bone transferred from your own body, typically coming from the hip or thigh, then transplanted to the jaw. This option requires two surgical sites; however, you have less risk of infection using your bone.

 

  • Allograft: Laboratory-processed corpse bone from a tissue bank.

 

  • Xenograft: Bone taken from an animal, commonly a cow, and placed in the jaw.

 

  • Alloplast: Synthetically made material that is placed in the jaw to stimulate bone growth. It is sometimes paired with the allograft and autograft.

Common Types of Bone Grafts: 

  • Socket Graft: This is the most common graft. Human bone is placed directly into the socket to keep it from collapsing. This is done immediately after tooth extraction to prevent atrophy.

 

  • Lateral Ridge Preservation Graft: Used to add width to the jawbone to support an implant. This is typically done with a human bone when the alveolar bone has already atrophied.

 

  • Block Graft: Used for large atrophies of the jawbone, this procedure harvests a small block of bone from the back of the jaw. Then the block is placed in the defected area and secured with small titanium screws.

 

  • Sinus Lift Procedure: This is used when the bone in the upper jaw atrophies and the sinus begins to sink in. Typically, using equine bone mixed with the human bone for the procedure. It has the longest healing time of 8-12 months.

Aftercare

After receiving a bone graft, some swelling, bruising and minor bleeding are normal. It only takes a few weeks for your graft to heal. However, it can take anywhere between 6 to 12 months for your body to grow new bone. Once your jawbone is strong enough your dentist will examine your progress and advise on when you’re ready for an implant. If you’re in need a of bone graft don’t delay and contact us today!

 

Stanford Ranch Family Dentistry

*ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS*

5800 Stanford Ranch Rd. #110
Rocklin, CA 95765
Phone: 916-435-4222

 

10 Ways to Love Your Teeth

Ah, February, the month of love. Which also happens to be American Heart Month! Did you know that to keep your heart healthy you need healthy gums as well? Your gums are there to hold the roots of your teeth in place. When you don’t properly take care of your teeth and gums by brushing twice a day and flossing at least once, they’re at a higher risk of periodontal disease.

More commonly known as gum disease, its effects vary from redness and swelling, to complete destruction of the tooth’s bone support. Which often ends in tooth loss. The bacteria that cause gum disease can also travel into your bloodstream, causing blood vessel inflammation and damage to your heart. It also leaves tiny blood clots in its wake, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. Luckily there are a bunch of things you can do to keep that smile, and heart, safe and healthy!

Here are 10 tips and tricks to keep your mouth, and your heart healthy this Valentine’s Day!

  1. Brush your teeth correctly:  Brushing is extremely important to your oral and brush-floss.pngoverall health. The ADA recommends that you brush gently, in short strokes, and at a 45-degree angle for 2 minutes. This prevents the bristles from removing the enamel that protects your teeth. When brushing the backs of your teeth, it’s best to turn the brush vertically and make multiple short strokes on every tooth.
  2. Know when to toss it: Your toothbrush only needs to stick around for about 3 months, or until the bristles start to fray. When they begin to fray, your brush won’t do its job properly leaving your mouth defenseless against harmful bacteria. Speaking of which, after a while, your toothbrush will start to gather food particles and bacteria that can’t be rinsed away with water. When you don’t replace your brush, all that bacteria gets reintroduced posing a bigger threat to your dental and heart health. This is why it’s important to pay attention to how long you’ve had your brush, notice what condition it’s in, and take action when it’s time for a new one.
  3. Use fluoride toothpaste:  Fluoride, known as natures cavity fighter, is a mineral found in the earth’s core. Before our teeth come in, our body is absorbing fluoride through our nutrients to help build a resistance to tooth decay, this is called a systemic benefit. Once our teeth are in, brushing or using other dental products with fluoride helps rebuild the eroded enamel and reverse the effects of tooth decay. With the risk of tooth decay lowered by using fluoride products, your chances of a heart attack or stroke also decrease.
  4. How to rinse: Contrary to common belief, you are not supposed to rinse your mouth with only water immediately after brushing. When you do this, you are taking all that wonderful fluoride we talked about in #3 and spitting it down the drain. By rinsing right after you brush you aren’t giving the fluoride enough time to attach to your teeth and patch up all that worn-down enamel. It’s best to rinse with water before you spit the foamy left-over toothpaste out. This allows your teeth to absorb the fluoride while rinsing out all the toothpaste.
  5. What to do about sweets: As you may know, sugar is possibly one of the worst things out there for you. Besides its obvious risks of excess sugar, obesity, and diabetes, sugar can have a bad effect on your teeth, gums, and heart. Sugar can increase the triglyceride (fat) in the blood, that fat can then get clogged in your arteries which could result in heart failure. Sugar also puts your teeth and gums at risk of acid attacks. When sugar binds with the bacteria in our mouths it creates acid. This acid can stick to enamel and cause it to erode. It’s best if you eat and drink sugar in small portions; and, if you’re craving something sweet have a bowl of fruit or some dark chocolate. They are both great for your heart and your smile.
  6. Valentine’s candy and ortho appliances: If you have braces, the same candy rulesbraces-candy.png still apply, chewy or sticky candy can get stuck in your brackets. The sugar then reacts with the bacteria in your mouth creating a white film around the brackets. This substance is nearly impossible to clean and can cause extended acid attacks and increases your risk of cavities.
  7. Floss daily: While flossing may be the most tedious part of your dental routine it is also the most important. The bristles on your toothbrush are too wide to get all the yucky plaque that gets stuck between your teeth. When you don’t floss that plaque sits in-between your teeth and hardens. After it has adhered to your tooth it will then make its way down to the root which can cause gum disease and recession.
  8. Cut the Tobacco: Another thing that may be worse for your mouth than sugar is tobacco products. Usage minimizes the amount of blood flow to the gums which can cause and hide signs of gum disease. While using tobacco you are 3 times more likely to develop gum disease, which elevates your risk of heart disease. The nicotine in tobacco reduces saliva flow and causes dry mouth. Both can end in tooth loss due to the lack of moisture in your gums.
  9. Tongues are important: When you forget to brush your tongue all the bacteria that cause bad breath, and plaque that causes cavities just sits there. Even after you have brushed your teeth if you don’t brush your tongue all the bacteria and plaque will attach itself onto your tooth roots and gums. This can lead to gum disease as well.
  10. Checkups: This is the most important part of your dental routine. By visiting your dentist twice a year you are showing your teeth the necessary TLC with a little professional help. Your dentist can clean your teeth, check for cavities, and catch issues in your mouth before they turn into bigger problems

Remember to brush 2x a day and floss at minimum once a day because dental hygiene is a vital part of your overall health. These are only a few tips and tricks, ask us at your next appointment how you can give your teeth some love. Make your heart and teeth happy by scheduling your appointment today!

Stanford Ranch Family Dentistry

*ACCEPTING NEW PATIENTS*

5800 Stanford Ranch Rd. #110
Rocklin, CA 95765
Phone: 916-435-4222