February 2015 Entries


Which Toothbrush Is Right For Me: Electric or Manual?

02/05/15

            When choosing between an electric toothbrush and a manual toothbrush there are certain factors to keep in mind.  Both toothbrushes will do the job of cleaning your teeth, fighting plaque, removing bacteria and wiping bacteria off the gums.   However, when it comes to efficiency and quality versus price and availability your decision may be a bit more difficult.  In this article we will examine the two types of toothbrushes and the pros and cons of each.

 

            Toothbrushes have been around since the early part of the 20th century.  Those nylon bristles have not evolved much through the years, keeping the same general plastic handle and only really changing the length and position of the bristles themselves.  It wasn’t until the latter part of the 1980’s and early 1990’s did the electric toothbrush start to gain steam.   They became a nice alternative to the manual toothbrush.  But is the ease of use of the electric toothbrush the only reason for its popularity?

 

Pros of the Electric Toothbrush:

1) Ease of Use

Using an electric toothbrush allows the user to do less and clean better.  The pulsating bristles allow the toothbrush to gently and efficiently scrub away plaque without the user over scrubbing and potentially harming your gums. 

2) Timer

Most electric toothbrushes have the ability to set a timer, allowing the user to start and stop the rotating bristles for  a certain amount of time.  The recommended time dentists agree on to brush your teeth is 2 minutes. 

 

Cons of Electic Toothbrush:

1) Cost

The cost of an electric toothbrush will range from about $30 - $150.  A manual toothbrush will cost between $2 and $10. 

 

2) Charging or battery operated only

Because the toothbrush runs on electricity, the toothbrush must be charged or run on battery.  An outlet will be necessary and if its battery operated you will have to spend money on batteries.

 

3) Durability

If you drop your electric toothbrush you may break it!

 

A manual toothbrush may be right for you if you are less concerned about practicality.  Lets examine some of the benefits and disadvantages of a manual toothbrush.

 

Pros

1) Inexpensive

Manual toothbrushes are cheap to buy and often given away for free when visiting the dentist. 

 

2) Practical

No need to charge or change batteries.  Easy to travel with or carry with you wherever you go.

 

3) Less stringent on gums

Sometimes the pulsating and revolving bristles from an electric toothbrush may be too much for your gums.  With a manual toothbrush you control the pressure applied to you gums.

 

Cons:

1) May not brush teeth correctly

When using a manual toothbrush you may not be as effective nor as accurate as when using an electric toothbrush.  You will have to really do your homework on proper brushing technique.

 

2) Timing

Many electronic toothbrushes have a two minute time that starts and stops.  Two minutes is the recommended time for brushing.  With a manual you will have to use your judgment.

 

It will be up to you to decide which toothbrush is best for you.  The important thing is to make sure to brush your teeth and keep up your dental hygiene.  Either will accomplish that goal!

What To Do If You Have A Cracked Tooth

02/11/15

Although our teeth are durable, there may be instances that cause a tooth or many teeth to become cracked.  Having a cracked tooth is in most cases curable, but still an annoyance to deal with.  With proper care and a good dentist, you can have your smile back to its best. 

 

            First lets examine the most common ways that someone can crack a tooth.  Cracking your tooth can occur in a variety of ways.  Sometimes, if we are not careful, a tooth may crack from biting into hard foods such as candy, certain types of nuts, frozen foods or maybe an ice cube.  Excessive grinding of the teeth or pressure when clenching your teeth may cause a cracked tooth.  Finally, if you have had a filling, or some other type of reconstruction on your teeth, the overall wear and tear of these fillings can result in a crack.

 

            Some people may not be able to determine that their tooth or teeth are cracked.  There are signs to watch out for which include: a quick and sharp pain that results when you bite, pain when you eat or drink, periodic and sporadic pain throughout the day.  If you think that your tooth may be cracked it is a good idea to visit your dentist.  Your dentist will often times perform an x-ray which in most cases will show the crack.  But, believe it or not, x-rays may not always be able to show if a tooth is cracked.  Beyond performing the x-ray, your dentist will perform a full examination of your mouth and help determine if your tooth or teeth are cracked. 

           

            If your dentist determines that you do in fact have a cracked tooth he may recommend treatment.  Treating the cracked tooth varies based on the area and the size of the crack along with they type of pain and other symptoms you experience.  Here are the most common treatments:

1) Fill the cracked tooth.  You may opt to fill the crack with porcelain, composite resin, or silver amalgam. 

2) Perform a root canal if the crack has reached the pulp.  The pulp is the soft tissue that contain the blood vessels and nerves.

3) Removing the tooth.  If the dentist deems the crack to be too large and already infecting other areas then removal may be best.

4) Crowning the tooth to protect it from further injury.  A tooth may be crowned with stainless steel, gold, porcelain, resin or ceramic.

5) Do nothing if the dentist determines the crack is too tiny.  Tiny cracks that are not noticeable should probably be left alone as they are more common than you may think!

 

            As with anything else, proper dental hygiene as well as education and regular trips to the dentist will help to prevent future cracks from occurring.   However, if it does occur, make sure not to delay for fear that the crack may grow larger and more painful.  Your dentist will most certainly be able to get you back to form.

How And Why You Should Whiten Your Teeth

02/18/15

            When we smile we project a strong, positive vibe that can impact the people around you.   That’s why having a bright, white smile should be an important part of your dental hygiene.  A brighter smile casts the impression of vitality, warmth, and good health.  Your smile can also help in your career, in your social life, and in your relationships.  Being confident in your smile should be a priority and one way to do so is by having radiant, white teeth.

 

            Over years of extended use your teeth will start to become discolored and turn from white to shades of yellow or grey.  Foods and liquids such as coffee and tea can discolor your teeth.  Extended tobacco use from smoking or chewing can cause discoloration.  Certain medications as well as genetics can also cause tooth discoloration.  Finally, not having good oral hygiene, such as normal brushing and flossing of your teeth, can lead to tooth discoloration

            Curing tooth discoloration and whitening your teeth can be accomplished both naturally and with the help of a dental professional.  First lets examine how to naturally whiten your teeth.  By the act of eating certain foods you can naturally whiten and strengthen your teeth.  Eating healthy and crunchy foods such as apples, pears, carrots and celery, you may naturally be scrubbing your teeth.  The acidity in those foods also helps to remove stains.  The crunchier the food you eat the better it will be to scrub your teeth.  Strawberries also can help with discoloration due to the high levels of Malic acid, which can remove stains on teeth.  These foods will lose their potency if juiced so be sure to eat them whole.  The way you consume food can help prevent discoloration as well.  If you drink colas, wines, or colored drinks be sure to do so with  a straw.  Rinsing with baking soda can also help clean and whiten your teeth.  Finally, brushing your teeth is probably the best and most efficient way to naturally whiten your teeth.  Be sure to use an electric toothbrush if it fits into your budget.

 

            If you opt to have a dental professional handle the whitening of your teeth you will find excellent results.  The best and most commonly used teeth whitening system a dental professional will use is the use of a gel that is applied usually to the teeth directly.  In just one visit your teeth can be brightened up to 10 times higher of a shade.  Thereafter, the dental professional will provide an at home whitening strip or gel that is to be applied in the weeks to come.  This type of whitening is the mose effective and will last at least a year but probably longer. 

 

            Finally, you can utilize over the counter tooth whitening strips, mouth trays and gels from your local pharmacy.  While safe, the effectiveness of these systems pales in comparison to that of one your dentist can provide.  Some can be even more costly.  Consult with your local dental professional to examine your options in more detail. 

Proper Flossing Technique

02/25/15

            Learning the proper way to floss your teeth and finding the right technique is essential for good oral hygiene.  The reason why we floss is to serve as a compliment to regular brushing of your teeth.  Sometimes when we brush, we miss the plaque and food particles that get caught between our teeth in under the gum line.  If these particles do not get removed by flossing, the bacteria that makes up plaque will attack the enamel in your teeth or reach deeper into the gums.   This can lead to more serious problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.  Flossing will also help to conserve and prolong the life span of your teeth.  Proper oral hygiene doesn’t just help with the mouth, but in all facets of your overall health.

 

            To achieve the highest results when flossing it is a good idea to learn and study how exactly to floss.  Below are the steps to proper floss technique:

- Choose your floss wisely.  There are two major types of floss: Nylon based and Monofilament floss.  Nylon is the more common and less expensive type of floss.  You can buy it waxed and un-waxed. depending on your preference.  The monofilament floss is a bit more durable and won’t shred as quickly as nylon.

 

- Cut the right amount of floss and wrap correctly.  The recommended length is 18 inches.  That should be sufficient to wrap both index fingers to make the floss taut.  Adjust accordingly for larger fingers.  Make sure to hold the floss between your thumb and index fingers for a nice firm grip.

 

- Gentle sliding motions.  Once you’ve designated an area to start, push the taut floss between two teeth and the gum line separating them.  Make sure to do this gently.  Push the floss up and down.  When you reach the gums try to make a motion tracing the letter “C”.   When not hitting the gums, simultaneously and gently move your floss up and down and side to side

 

- Make sure you use clean sections of floss from tooth to tooth.  You should have enough slack to comfortably move to each tooth using a clean section.

 

- Remove the floss the same way it went in.  The up and down motion you used to get into the teeth, should be the same way you exit. 

 

            Be sure to keep this guide in mind when flossing to reduce the negative effects of improper flossing technique.  Improper technique when flossing can cause soft tissue damage in the gums or even bone damage.  It may cause your gums to be infected and lead to gum disease.   For further information on proper flossing technique speak to your local dental professional.