Dental Tips Blog

Jan
5

Use the Floss that Suits Your Smile

Floss should be used by everyone, but it isn’t exactly a one-size-fits-all item!

The goal of flossing is to physically disrupt bacterial colonies that form in the plaque on your teeth…especially in areas where a toothbrush can’t reach.

Here are a few guidelines for effective flossing. Floss should:

  • Have direct contact with the side of the tooth
  • Reach below the gum line
  • Not harm the gums

Not all teeth are spaced out the same way. People’s mouths vary, and even your own teeth may be positioned and spaced differently. This means that different areas will have unique needs for cleaning them.

Take into consideration the shape of the tooth. The crowns of teeth have mostly outward curves, but if roots are exposed, they could have concavities (inward curves), where plaque can hide.

When you look at the space between two teeth, how much gum tissue is there? Healthy gums are shaped like a triangle of pink that prevent you from seeing between teeth. These areas benefit from traditional floss. If teeth are crowded, a tape or ribbon-style floss that stretches out will be more comfortable.

Where there are large gaps between teeth, a wider material will be gentler and easier to control. Some types of floss have fluffy fibers on them, making them look like yarn. This makes them absorbent and easier to wrap around teeth that don’t have contact with their neighbors.

What about teeth with exposed roots? A wedge-shaped wooden stick or “Proxa Brush” is usually gentle on sensitive roots and lets you access all of the tricky curves.

Water flossers can be helpful in hard-to-reach areas around bridges or the back teeth.

At your next dental cleaning and check up, ask your dentist or dental hygienist about the most effective way to floss your unique smile!

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

Nov
28

Plaque and Tartar – Is There a Difference?

Plaque and tartar are often regarded as one and the same. If it’s all buildup on your teeth – does it really matter what you call it?

Actually, there is a difference. The two materials affect you mouth in slightly different ways, but they are closely related. By understanding what plaque and tartar are, you’ll be ready to remove and prevent them, keeping your teeth healthy.

What Dental Plaque Really Is

Plaque is a mixture that’s mostly made up of bacteria. It also contains food debris mixed with fluids from your mouth. The bacteria produce a slimy layer to protect themselves as they grow in colonies.

Dental plaque is invisible at first, but it picks up stain as it accumulates.

Plaque is very acidic! Left on the tooth too long, it causes demineralization of the enamel. Chalky white spots form on the tooth and mark the start of cavities.

Speaking of cavities, plaque is made up of the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. So it’s not great to leave plaque undisturbed.

Fortunately it is easy to remove, but also easy to overlook.

Where Tartar Comes From

Tartar, on the other hand, is not so easy to remove.

Also known as calculus, tartar forms from plaque that has hardened with minerals found in saliva. Tartar isn’t as serious as plaque because it isn’t made up of live bacteria, but the roughness of it can still harbor lots of plaque.

How do you get rid of tartar and plaque?

A professional dental cleaning will get you started! Visit a dental office near you to learn more about keeping your smile healthy and debris-free.

Posted on behalf of:
Dentistry of Highland Village
3651 Weslayan St. #208
Houston, TX 77027
(713) 360-7700

Sep
18

Why is Dental Plaque So Bad?

Brush, floss, rinse your plaque away. It’s all about the plaque. Plaque, plaque, plaque… What is this stuff, anyway, and why does your dentist make such a fuss over it?

Understanding what dental plaque is and the risk it poses to your smile is critical to keeping your teeth and gums healthy for life.

It’s Not Just From Food

Some people are under the impression that dental plaque is just the buildup that collects from the food you chew. In reality, food is only part of the equation. Dental plaque starts with the fluids that your mouth naturally produces. Your teeth need moisture to stay clean and comfortable.

There are millions upon millions of bacteria that thrive in every person’s mouth. Bacteria grow and multiply in clusters. They even produce a slime of their own to protect their colonies. This slimy layer of bacteria clings to teeth and gums and mixes with debris from food you eat. This is dental plaque!

The Danger of Dental Plaque

Dental plaque – with all its oodles of bacteria – is an irritant to your gums. It’s never a great thing to leave it on your teeth for long! The biofilm develops within hours after brushing your teeth and can begin causing gum inflammation within days, if not removed.

Plaque is stickier if it has a high carbohydrate content. Sweet foods stick around and provide added fuel to the acid-producing bacteria. This acid (in addition to acid found in foods) wears enamel and causes cavities.

What You Can Do

Fight the plaque! Yes, we’re back at it again…

Brushing after every meal is ideal for reducing carbohydrates in your plaque. Daily flossing is a must! Antimicrobial mouthwashes can also slow down plaque formation, but don’t give up flossing completely.

Talk with your local dentist or hygienist for more tips on plaque control.

Posted on behalf of:
Cane Bay Family Dentistry
1724 State Rd #4D
Summerville, SC 29483
(843) 376-4157

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