Posts for: May, 2017
If you don’t floss your teeth, you’re about to find out from your El Paso dentist why you should start.
How you care for your smile between professional cleanings is one way to ensure that you get a clean bill of health from our El Paso, TX, dentist, Dr. Steve Yi. While maintaining a healthy diet and avoiding smoking are two great ways to keep teeth and gums healthy, brushing and flossing are also crucial for good oral health; however, if you don’t floss you probably should start right away.
Why is flossing so important?
While brushing your teeth is a great way to clean food and plaque from the front and back surfaces of your teeth, it’s rather difficult for your toothbrush to clean in those tight crevices between teeth. Brushing alone will actually leave quite a bit behind if that’s the only way you clean between teeth.
Flossing, on the other hand, is the only way to thoroughly clean between teeth. By flossing the teeth and gumline, you can remove plaque before it hardens into tartar (the leading cause of gum disease). Flossing will always be the most effective way to prevent decay and gum disease.
How often should you floss your teeth?
Since most people hate having to change up their daily habits, you’ll be happy to hear that you only need to floss once a day. That’s it! How easy is that? And it really doesn’t matter when you floss, just as long as you take your time and do a thorough job.
Of course, it’s never a bad idea to floss in the evening before bed, so that plaque and food doesn’t sit on your teeth overnight. Also, flossing before you brush is a great way to dislodge food and clean between teeth so that the toothpaste is able to clean more areas of the tooth.
Also, remember that being vigorous or aggressive with flossing won’t give you a better clean, but it could damage the gums or your teeth. Take your time and be gentle when you floss. If you don’t floss regularly you may notice that your gums may bleed a bit. This is normal if you are getting back into the habit of flossing, but your gums will toughen up as you start flossing more regularly, so don’t worry!
Whether it’s time to schedule your six-month cleaning or you have questions about how to floss your teeth, the experts at El Paso Viva Dental are here to help. Call us today to learn more.
While most tooth loss stems from dental disease or injury, another major cause is a condition known as cracked tooth syndrome. What begins as a microscopic crack in an individual tooth’s enamel could ultimately grow to a fracture that endangers its survival.
Most often related to age-related brittleness, expansion and contraction of the enamel surface because of hot foods followed by cold foods and beverages, or grinding habits, cracked tooth syndrome usually occurs in three phases. The first phase is the emergence of miniscule cracks in the outer enamel known as craze lines. These can be very difficult to detect even with x-rays, and usually calls for specialized detection methods such as probing with a sharp instrument (an explorer) or fiber-optic lighting with dye staining to highlight enamel abnormalities. If you have pain symptoms, we may ask you to bite down on a bite stick or rubber pad to locate the area by replicating the sensation.
In the next phase, the craze line grows into a crack that penetrates below the enamel into the tooth’s dentin. Pain becomes more prominent and the risk of infection increases. Left untreated, the crack may enter the third phase, a full break (fracture) occurring deep within the inner layers of the tooth. The deeper the fracture occurs, the more serious the danger to the tooth, especially if the pulp is exposed.
The best treatment approach is to attempt to detect and treat a crack as early as possible. Craze lines and moderate cracks can usually be repaired with restorative materials like composite resins. A deeper crack extending into the pulp may require a root canal treatment and the tooth covered with a permanent, protective crown.
If, however, the fracture is too deep, the tooth may be beyond repair and will need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant or permanent bridge. In any event, the sooner a cracked tooth is discovered and treated, the greater your chance of avoiding pain, discomfort, and, ultimately, tooth loss.
If you would like more information on cracked tooth syndrome, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cracked Tooth Syndrome.”
When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.
“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.
Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”
Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.
Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.
“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”
It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”