We all understand that flossing is one of the most important components of a good oral health routine, however, there are many common flossing mistakes we can all be guilty of making and that could be causing serious damage to our teeth and gums.

Avoiding flossing or flossing incorrectly can actually undermine your health in a myriad of ways, leaving you prone to gum infection and even heart disease in the long run.

Keep reading in order to identify a few common flossing mistakes and how to avoid them.

Common Flossing Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making.

Not paying attention while you’re flossing

Sure, flossing can be a pretty boring task, however, one of the most common flossing mistakes most of us are guilty of is not paying attention while doing it. Truth is, just by looking at the state of your flossing thread you can actually get some good information regarding your oral health.

Next time you’re flossing your teeth take a look at the segment of floss you just used: Does it have any strange colors or smells? Is there blood in it? Paying close attention to your floss can indicate whether there’s an infection growing between your teeth that you haven’t noticed yet, so that you can address it before it gets any worse.

Using too little floss

There’s no reason to go cheap with floss, in fact, the length of your flossing thread should be at least 18” per session so that you are able to cover the space between each tooth without reusing the thread. This common mistake can actually cause you to transfer bacteria from one infected gum pocket to another one that isn’t infected yet.

Sure, bacteria can move through the mouth on its own, but making this common flossing mistake can actually help them multiply and thrive more rapidly than they would on their own.

Flossing too hard

Gum tissue can be very delicate and while flossing is a good way to keep it healthy, you should be careful not to do it so violently that you end up hurting your gums. Allow your floss to be a bit slack when going through the teeth instead of keeping it tight. Snapping into the gum pocket and banging on the tissue aggressively can cause extensive damage over time, leading the tissue to recoil and turn into gum recession.

Remember to wrap the floss gently around the curve of each tooth and slide gently as far as it reaches without irritating the gum. Do this a couple of times before moving on to the next tooth.

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The treatment for dry mouth highly depends on what’s causing it in the first place. People who suffer from this condition have a reduced salivary flow in their mouth that causes dryness, difficulty swallowing and speaking, as well as aversion to eating certain foods such as acidic, crunchy or spicy foods.

The reasons for suffering from this condition can be associated with certain medications or health conditions. Blood pressure medications and non-steroidal anti-inflammatories can have something to do with it as well as conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma, diabetes or thyroid disease. If you’re experiencing symptoms of dry mouth it’s important to talk to your doctor in order to identify what’s causing it and get on your way to solving the problem.

In the meantime, however, there are certain tips for treating dry mouth that anyone can easily follow as a way to placate the symptoms and lower overall discomfort.

8 Tips For Treating Dry Mouth You Can Start Trying

#1. Drink lots of water:

Water is necessary to keep your mouth moist and loosen mucus. Carry a bottle of water with you at all times and keep it by your bed at night so that you can stay hydrated.

#2. Suck and chew:

Sucking on sugar-free candies, chewing sugar-free xylitol containing gum, ice chips or sugar-free popsicles can help increase the levels of saliva flowing through your mouth. However, although they don’t contain sugar these types of treats can still soften your teeth’s enamel so keep their ingestion moderated.

#3. Moisten your food:

Avoid foods that are too dry and eat broths, sauces, soups, creams or gravies as dressings. Eating soft, moist foods that are cool or at room temperature will help treating dry mouth. Also, avoid foods that are too salty or dry as well as food and beverages that are high in sugar.

#4. Avoid alcohol or peroxide in your mouthwash

One essential tip for treating dry mouth is to avoid mouthwashes containing alcohol or peroxide, since these types of ingredients will only make your symptoms worse.

#5. Avoid alcohol and caffeine

Both alcohol and caffeine are detrimental for your oral health but especially if you’re suffering from dry mouth. They not only dry out your mouth but alcohol increases dehydration by triggering frequent urination. While you’re at it, keep acidic beverages such as juices containing orange, apple, grape or tomato out of your reach.

#6. Quit smoking

If you’re a smoker you should know by now that smoking is one of the worst things for your oral health. Make an effort to quit this habit and you’ll surely be experiencing much less discomfort.

#7. Use a soft bristled toothbrush

Toothbrushes that are too hard can damage your teeth and gums. When treating dry mouth, it’s even more important to protect your oral health using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride-containing toothpaste.

#8. Keep your oral health in check

If you have a dry mouth then you are more vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease, since saliva plays an important role in keeping your mouth clean. In order to avoid complications, you must pay special attention to your oral health routine, brushing after every meal, flossing every day and visiting your dentist often.

When suffering from this condition, it’s important that you visit your dentist soon in order to figure out the underlying cause and address it properly. However, these tips for treating dry mouth will surely help you alleviate the symptoms and go back to your normal life soon.

Most of us think we know how to brush our teeth, as we’ve been doing it since we were kids and almost automatically, but the truth is that there are many common brushing mistakes we make without even realizing it, negatively affecting our oral health.

The main problem with brushing incorrectly is that it allows bacteria to grow freely around your teeth, causing tooth decay, gum disease and many other oral health issues that can only be prevented through effective brushing techniques. Find out more about which tooth brushing mistakes to avoid.

Tooth Brushing Mistakes You Didn’t Know You Were Making

Using your toothbrush for too long

Toothbrushes need to be replaced at least every three months. As something that should be used everyday, their bristles start fraying and breaking after a while, making the task of properly cleaning your teeth harder.

Picking the wrong toothbrush

Once it’s time to change to a new toothbrush, a common brushing mistake to avoid is picking the wrong one, meaning one that is too small or too big for your mouth or one with bristles that are too hard and can damage delicate gum tissue.

Look for toothbrushes marked as soft and choose a size or shape that fits easily into your mouth and provides good and easy access to every area of it.

Brushing too hard and too quickly

Many people tend to think that by adding more force into their brushing that they are helping remove bacteria and plaque better, however, this may actually be causing damage to your gums and wearing away at the protective enamel covering your teeth.

The proper way to brush your teeth is to do so as lightly as possible, as if it were a massage more than a scrubbing technique.

Additionally, your tooth brushing time should be at least twice a day for two minutes to get the most out of your brushing experience.

Brushing in circles

Although many of us have been instructed since we were kids that brushing in circles is the right technique, the ADA recommends a different approach to get all of the plaque off. This involves gently moving your brush back and forth in short strokes, while reaching the outer and inner surfaces of each tooth and the chewing surfaces.

In the case of front teeth, you should apply several up-and-down strokes with the brush in a vertical position in order to properly remove all of the debris and plaque.

Forgetting to brush your tongue

The tongue also accumulates plenty of bacteria, so brushing it properly should be an important part of your routine. Once you’re done brushing your teeth, drag the toothbrush across the tongue to remove bacteria or use a brush with a tongue scraper on the back of it.

Skipping the floss

While flossing can be a time consuming task, it is also one of the main things you can do in order to maintain great oral health throughout the rest of your life. Flossing at least once a day is mandatory, given that toothbrushes aren’t enough to get all of the tooth decaying bacteria and food remains that can accumulate between your teeth and gum line.

By knowing which tooth brushing mistakes to avoid, you’re putting yourself on track to better oral health, making sure your smile shine bright for many years to come.

 

Bad breath can happen to anyone, but that doesn’t mean there are not any ways to avoid it. The first thing to do when suffering from halitosis is to identify the cause. There could be a wide range of factors, such as a dry mouth, gum disease, tooth decay, smoking and even the consumption of foods high in protein, sugar or acid.

Promoting good oral health is the number one way to prevent bad breath and here are 5 specific practices to keep in mind.

5 Ways To Prevent Bad Breath

#1 – Brush and floss properly

Properly brushing and flossing your teeth is the best way to prevent bad breath. Brushing should be done for at least two minutes twice a day, making sure that you’ve covered all of the areas in your mouth, especially where teeth meet the gums.

Don’t forget to use the proper tooth brush, one small and soft enough to not damage your gums or erode the enamel of your teeth. Brush your tongue and floss at least once a day, making sure to remove all of the debris accumulated in between your teeth.

#2 – Get regular dental check-ups

The ADA recommends that you visit your dentist twice a year, or every six months. A regular dental check-up provides the opportunity for your dentist to examine your mouth thoroughly and spot any signs of tooth decay, gum disease or anything else that might be harmful before they start causing bigger problems.

A dentist will be able to spot the causes of your bad breath and provide guidance on eliminating it. In case it’s coming from something more serious than certain foods or drinking habits, they’ll be able to pinpoint and address the issue head on.

#3 – Avoid smoking

There are plenty of reasons you should avoid smoking or chewing tobacco, and preventing bad breath is just one of many. Smoking causes your breath to retain the smells of stale tobacco smoke, sometimes called “ashtray smell”, and also make you more vulnerable to gum disease, another cause of halitosis.

#4 – Use mouthwash

Adding mouthwash to your dental care routine is a good way to prevent bad breath. Choosing an antiseptic mouthwash to use after brushing and flossing will kill the bad bacteria. Try using one that contains chlorhexidine, cetylpyridinium chloride, chlorine dioxide, zinc chloride and triclosan, all elements that eliminate the bacteria causing your halitosis.

#5 – Make changes in your diet

Drinking more water and eating foods that are high in fiber can be beneficial ways to prevent bad breath.

Because having a dry mouth can often be a cause of halitosis, drinking a lot of water helps improve saliva production which, in turn, cleanses the mouth and eliminates the bacteria.

On the other hand, foods that are fresh and crunchy can actually help clean the teeth and prevent halitosis given that they improve digestion, helping your body get rid of toxins more easily.

Acidic, sugary drinks and foods should be avoided as much as possible because they wreak havoc on your oral health and can feed the bacteria causing bad breath. Instead of sodas and candy bars, try an apple and a glass of water for your next snack.

Alcohol and sugar can dry out your mouth and promote the growth of bacteria. Therefore, they should be left out of your diet as much as possible if you’re looking to keep good oral health and prevent bad breath.

There’s much more to a healthy mouth than just brushing your teeth and flossing everyday. In fact, there may be a few unhealthy habits you’re falling into without realizing that can be contributing to tooth damage. This is why we have gathered 5 common habits that are hurting your teeth in order for you to never commit them again!

1. Brushing too hard

Brushing twice a day for at least two minutes is the main oral health tip to install in your routine. However, be careful when you do so since brushing too hard is one of the most common habits that hurt your teeth.

Using a hard toothbrush or too much strength can result in gum irritation and tooth damage. It is recommended to always use a soft bristle brush and approach the task as one that is “massaging” rather than “scrubbing”.

2. Nail biting

Nail biting isn’t just bad for your hands, it can also be hurting your smile by causing strain on your jaw and chipping away at your teeth. It is recommended that, if you bite your nails, you find other ways to deal with stress and anxiety by reducing the triggering factors and setting small, realistic goals towards ending this nasty habit.

3. Using teeth as tools

Teeth were meant only for eating, and not to be used as scissors, bottle openers or other types of tools. Whenever you do this, you’re putting yourself at risk of cracking and chipping your teeth, and even injuring your jaw or swallowing something you shouldn’t have.

4. Constant snacking

Snacking all day, especially on sugary foods and drinks, puts you at a high risk of cavities. The bacteria guilty of causing them eats the leftover food hanging around your teeth, which produces an acidic reaction and in turn damages your enamel.

If you can’t help but to snack, try to do so on low fat and low sugar foods, and follow any sugary treats with a big glass of water to wash it all up.

5. A diet of cigarettes, coffee, wine and sugary cola:

Smoking is not only bad for your overall health but actually stains and debilitates your teeth. Similarly, continuously drinking wine, coffee and sugary, dark cola drinks will expose your teeth to acid and sugar, and put you at greatest risk of cavities and teeth staining.

Now that you’re aware of these 5 common habits that are hurting your teeth, this is your opportunity to stop them from taking part in your daily life and start taking better care of your smile. A regular dentist checkup and daily oral care routine will keep you on the right track of perfect oral health.

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While you may think you’ve got it all covered by brushing your teeth every day, a little more effort is necessary for an outstanding smile and oral health. Here are 7 oral hygiene tips you can start implementing today for better teeth tomorrow.

1. Use an adequate brushing technique

When getting rid of the leftover food particles left around your teeth after a meal, a quick brush won’t do. The American Dental Association (ADA) offers a series of oral hygiene tips regarding a proper brushing technique.

First, your brush should be held at a 45-degree angle facing your gums, so that the brushing is done along the sides and tops of the teeth. The brush should be held vertically and stroking along the backs of the front anterior teeth, so that the most vulnerable places are targeted.

Brushing must be done for at least two minutes at a time, so be sure you’ve reached it all before you’re done.

2. Pick the right brush

A major oral hygiene tip is making sure you’ve picked the right brush. Usually, for adults the right brush will be a small or medium-sized one that is small enough to reach the cracks in your molars where debris usually hides.

3. Floss properly

When it comes to flossing, the same effort should go into it as brushing does. An 18” piece of floss will do the work as you wrap it up around each tooth in a “C” shape and rub against the surface of the teeth in order to remove all of the bacteria that accumulates in between them.

4. Use a mouthwash

An ADA approved mouthwash is a great way to reach the parts of your teeth that brushing and flossing didn’t cover. By adding mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine, you’re ensuring you’ll get the most thorough clean possible, while protecting the gums and avoiding conditions such as gingivitis.

5. Properly clean and change your brush

While covering your toothbrush is unnecessary and unrecommended, the ADA stands that this may actually increase bacteria growth,  you should clean it properly after every use by rinsing it with water and leaving it to air dry. Remember to change your brush after three or four months so it can do its job more efficiently.

6. Use a tongue scraper

You may find a ridged area on the back of the head of your toothbrush. This is called a tongue scraper and is meant to be used on your tongue to remove remaining bacteria after you’re done brushing. Adding this extra step to your oral hygiene routine will ensure fresh breath and a bacteria free mouth.

7. Stop snacking

One of the most important oral hygiene tips to consider is to give up snacks. Sugary snacks are especially harmful because sugar feeds bacteria living between your teeth and encourages it to reproduce.

Having a midnight snack after already having brushed your teeth can be harmful. This will make the bacteria and debris stay in your mouth the entire night, a long enough time for them to spread around.

Follow these oral hygiene tips and incorporate them into your daily routine so you can take direct control over your oral health. Along with regular dental checkups, following these oral hygiene tips will ensure your mouth stays clean and healthy, and your smile shining.  

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If you see blood when brushing or flossing your teeth, this isn’t normal and is a warning sign of gum disease, a condition that affects both children and adults and can lead to more serious infections, such as periodontitis or even the loss of teeth.

Treating any condition during its early stages is key to reduce the risks and reverse it. There are a few tips you can follow when it comes to your oral hygiene that can help reverse gum disease.

Detecting the signs early

Gum disease is a result of harmful bacteria clinging to your teeth in the form of plaque. The factors that can make it worse are bad oral hygiene, smoking, medications that cause dry mouth, hormonal changes, genetics, diabetes, or other conditions that affect your immune system and compromise your ability to fight infection.

Recognizing and treating early signs of gingivitis is crucial to attacking the condition and stopping it from evolving and affecting the bones surrounding your teeth. If you’re experiencing red or swollen gums, chronic bad breath, bleeding when brushing or flossing, sensitive teeth and/or heavy tartar build up, you need to take action now.

Besides scheduling a visit to your dentist, there are several oral hygiene tips you can apply in order to fight gingivitis, such as learning how to brush your teeth to reduce gum disease.

How to brush your teeth to reduce gum disease

Since brushing helps remove bacteria and food particles that when left hanging around the teeth can irritate the gums and lead to gum disease, it’s important that you brush at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and floss at least once a day.

It’s important to be gentle when brushing so that you don’t wear away your tooth enamel, but you should be thorough and make sure you’ve covered the outer and inside surfaces of the teeth, reaching in between the crevices and hard to reach spots.

Be sure that you’re using the right toothbrush, one that isn’t too old or large, but actually small enough to get to the hard spots. By brushing at a 45-degree angle with the brush pointing down towards the gums, you’ll be making sure to clean the gum line, which is one of the top places where plaque builds up.

An electric brush or interdental brush can be great allies when trying to reduce gum disease. Don’t forget to clean your tongue thoroughly with a tongue scraper, since bacteria likes to build up in there as well. Add a fluoride mouthwash to rinse your mouth after brushing and flossing and you’ll be sure to reduce gum disease in no time.

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A common question patients asks dentists is in regards of electric vs. manual brush, “which should I use?”. There may not be a right or wrong answer because it all depends on each person’s specific preferences and necessities.  

When it comes to picking between an electric toothbrush and a manual toothbrush, it’s best to look at the differences between them.

Electric toothbrush vs. manual toothbrush

Electric toothbrush bristles vibrate and rotate to help remove plaque buildup from the teeth and gums. This vibration allows for more micromovements when brushing your teeth, making them slightly more effective at removing plaque and gingivitis.

A review of studies showed that in general, plaque can be reduced about 21% after only three months of using an electric toothbrush vs a manual toothbrush.

Since electric toothbrushes work by rotating and vibrating, they do most of the work for you, an especially great benefit for people with arthritis or other conditions that limit dexterity. However, for people with sensitive teeth and gums, unless they use an electric toothbrush with variable speeds, it can be more difficult to regulate the amount of pressure being applied than when using a manual brush.

For people with orthodontics, electric brushes make brushing teeth easier and kids will probably find an electric brush more interesting than a manual one, therefore feeling more motivated to take care of their teeth.

Many electric toothbrushes also come with a built-in timer that lets you know whether you’re brushing your teeth for the right amount of time (2 minutes) or not. Some also provide guidance in where in your mouth you should be brushing, helping you to achieve a more thorough result.

The main con to electric brushes is their high costs. Prices can range from $15 to $250 per brush. New replacement brush heads usually come in packs and can cost between $10 to $45. Manual toothbrushes, on the other hand, are significantly cheaper and easier to find, since any drugstore or supermarket will carry a variety of them.

If you travel often, you may find a manual toothbrush more convenient, since they’re smaller and easier to pack. If you use a plug-in electric brush when travelling internationally you may need a backup brush.

Both electric and manual brushes will need replacement after three months. For electric brushes, the heads should be replaced and for manual brushes, the full brush should be replaced.  

When using the proper technique, both electric and manual brushes are effective at removing plaque and keeping your teeth clean. The main difference between each are the prices and accessibility.

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If you avoid hot or cold beverages because they hurt your teeth, you may be dealing with sensitive teeth. This common dental condition can be caused by tooth decay, worn filings or tooth enamel, or exposed roots. While you should definitely go see your dentist asap to handle this issue, here are a few tips and tricks on how to care for sensitive teeth.

Dealing with sensitive teeth

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing tooth sensitivity. Your tooth enamel, the hard, protective layer over your teeth can wear down, causing your nerve endings to be exposed and result in that pain you feel when eating ice cream or even exposing your smile to the cold air.  

The type of treatment will depend on the cause but could consist of using desensitizing toothpaste or fluoride gel, applying a surgical gum graft in cases where gum tissue has been lost from the root, and a root canal or application of a crown, inlay or bonding.

However, if you’re already experiencing discomfort there are a few things you can do to care for sensitive teeth:

Don’t brush too hard

Brushing your teeth with too much strength can cause your enamel to fade away faster, especially if you’re used to brushing right at the gum line. A soft-bristled brush and working around a 45-degree angle to your gums is the proper way to brush your teeth and care for your enamel.

Avoid problematic foods

Acidic and sugary foods or drinks are the ones that cause the most damage to tooth enamel. Soda, carbs high in sugar, or sticky candy are best to be avoided. Instead, snack on fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, plain yogurt or drink green or black tea. These will moisten your mouth and help produce more saliva, which in turn flushes away the acid and bacteria eating at your teeth.

Take a break from bleaching

Bleaching treatments can cause temporary sensitivity. If it persists or becomes too much, talk to your dentist about to figure out how the treatment may be affecting you and whether or not you should keep with it.

How to alleviate the pain

The best way to care for sensitive teeth is to go straight to your dentist’s office and handle the problem from its root, but there are a few home remedies you can use to alleviate the pain and discomfort in the meantime.

Salt water or green tea rinses can help reduce the pain, since both lower inflammation and salt act as an effective antiseptic.

It all comes down to oral hygiene

The best way to care for sensitive teeth is to go to the root of the issue and take proper care of your oral health.

As we mentioned earlier, sensitive teeth are simply the symptom of something else going on beneath the surface like cavities or fractured teeth, and gum disease or a worn tooth enamel. All can be prevented and alleviated by taking proper care of your oral health and visiting your dentist frequently, so that any situations can be caught before they’ve gotten too far.

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Oral hygiene is should never be ignored, especially if you’re on the way to a brand new, perfectly aligned smile thanks to the use of orthodontics. While it may be a little more complicated to brush and floss with braces, it becomes much more necessary for you to do so thoroughly because plaque and food particles easily accumulate amongst all the brackets and wires.

Flossing regularly helps prevent gum disease and tooth decay, so here are a few tips and tricks on how to floss with braces to make the process easier and faster.

Flossing the traditional way

The most common flossing techniques are great ways to clean food and plaque from between teeth, but threading the floss around your braces can definitely require some more time and patience.

First, give yourself 10 to 15 minutes to floss if you decide on this method, for which the only tool you’ll be needing is waxed floss. Unwaxed floss tears and gets stuck around the brackets much more easily so it’s best to avoid.

After cutting an 18 to 24-inch piece of floss, thread it between the main wire and your teeth while facing a mirror, so you can make sure the floss is going where you want it to. Wrap the ends of the floss around your index finger for better handling and gently press it between the two teeth, sliding up and down along the sides.

When doing the top teeth, it helps to make an upside-down U shape, going up the side of one tooth to the gumline and then going down the side of the other tooth. Remove the floss and un-thread it carefully from behind the wire, avoiding any popping since you could end up knocking the wire out of the bracket accidentally. Now move on to the next pair of teeth and repeat.

Choose a special tool

There are certain special tools in the market designed to improve the way you do your oral hygiene such as water flossers, floss threaders and dental tape.

A water flosser cleans between the teeth and along the gum line using a steady stream of water.

One of them can cost around $50 and with this device you can floss in less than 5 minutes.

For a more inexpensive solution though, you can choose a floss threader, a tool that can be found in almost any place that sells toothbrushes and regular floss. This small, plastic item can help you floss behind the wires easily and save a few minutes out of your dental care routine.

Dental tape is ideal for more sensitive teeth because it’s thinner than typical floss and wider, like a ribbon, which makes it more smooth and easier to glide between the teeth.

Other tips and tricks for a better hygiene

Other than regular flossing, there are a few good practices use to take extra care of your smile while wearing braces. Regular cleanings scheduled every three months with a professional dentist are suggested to take advantage of a deep cleaning, and an electric brush can give you better results than a manual one.

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