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.


Taking care of your gums is an essential part of good oral health. Even if you’re cavity free and your teeth are shining, gum disease is a silent enemy not many people take into consideration, but can lead to infections, tooth decay and even bone breakdown.

The early stages of gum disease are usually painless and many people don’t even realize there’s anything wrong. However, plaque build up under and along the gum line can lead to infections damaging the gum and bone. Learning how to identify and prevent these infections by taking care of your gums is important.

What Causes Gum Disease?

The main cause of gum diseases is a buildup of plaque along and under the gum line. Plaque is a sticky film like substance filled with bacteria that forms on your teeth and covers them. When plaque stays on your teeth too long it can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Plaque develops when food containing sugar and starches such as soft drinks, milk or sweets, are frequently left on the teeth. The bacteria living in your mouth thrive on these foods and produce acids as a result. If left unattended, these acids can destroy tooth enamel causing tooth decay, while plaque developing under the gum can lead to gingivitis or periodontitis, which impacts the bone supporting the tooth, causing serious damage to the gums, bones and tissues connected to your teeth.

A few symptoms of gum disease include tender, red or swollen gums that are prone to bleeding, consistent bad taste or breath, and teeth that are separating or loose. Fortunately, when caught early this damage can be reversible.

Certain people are more prone to plaque build up, such as older adults and pregnant women, as well as people suffering from diabetes or cancer. However, healthy habits like brushing and flossing, can prevent plaque buildup and everything associated with it.

Taking Care of Your Gums In a Few Simple Steps

Good oral health doesn’t require much sacrifice, and taking care of your gums is simply a matter of adding a few healthy habits to your daily routine.

Daily Flossing and Brushing

Brushing your teeth twice a day using a soft bristle brush and toothpaste with fluoride helps protect teeth from decay. It’s important to brush for about 2 minutes each time, taking the time to gently brush along the gum line and your tongue.

Flossing helps remove plaque and any food between your teeth that may have been missed by your toothbrush. Don’t forget to rinse your mouth with water afterwards.

Get Regular Dental Cleanings

Visiting your dentist is an important aspect of taking care of your gums and oral health in general. You should schedule a cleaning and checkup every 6 months, or at least once a year.

By visiting your dentist on a regular basis, early gum disease symptoms can be detected and treated before they become serious, and a professional cleaning is the only way to remove tartar which is plaque that’s been on the teeth for too long and has solidified.

Use a Therapeutic Mouthwash

Therapeutic mouthwashes with the ADA seal can help reduce plaque and prevent or reduce gingivitis by slowing down the speed in which tartar develops. A good rinse helps remove food particles and debris from your mouth. This is a great complement to your regular brushing and flossing routine.

Avoid unhealthy habits

Cutting down on sugary foods and drinks, maintaining a balanced diet, and limiting the number of between-meal snacks is a sure fire way to help prevent plaque buildup. Smoking and drinking alcohol regularly weaken your immune system which makes it harder to fight off gum infection and healing once your gums have been damaged. Therefore, it’s important to drink alcohol in moderation and quit smoking.

As you can see, taking care of your gums is a matter of mostly prevention and adopting healthy habits. By paying close attention to your oral health you’ll be reducing the risk of not only gum disease, but many other conditions that can negatively affect your smile and oral health.


The benefits of straight teeth are far beyond a beautiful looking smile. According to the American Dental Association, having straight teeth can significantly improve your overall health.

When your teeth are crooked, your gums are more susceptible to collecting harmful bacteria that can lead to many health complications, such as gum disease and periodontitis.

Along with boosting your self esteem, a straightened smile strengthens tooth enamel, protects and prevents tooth injuries, and can even alleviate neck and head pains.

All the Health Benefits of Straight Teeth

Teeth are easier to clean:

Crowded teeth make it harder for you to floss and brush appropriately in between them which leads to plaque buildup and tooth decay.

Healthier gums:

Overly gapped or crowded teeth can cause gums to swell, a clear sign of periodontal disease. Straight teeth allow the gums to fit more securely around them, creating a strong defense against any kind of gum disease and periodontal problems.

Preventing abnormal tooth wear:

When bottom teeth are too crowded and overlapped with each other, it can cause one or more of them to jut out and rub against the upper teeth. This can lead to problems in your chewing function, causing your tooth enamel to wear out faster.

Less risk of tooth injury:

In the case of an accident, crowded and protruding teeth have greater chances to be damaged.

Less headaches and neck pain:

Crooked teeth put greater stress on the gums and the bone supporting the teeth. This leads to uneven wear due to bad bites as well as headaches, neck, or face pain due to untreated jaw misalignment.

Improved overall health:

Uneven teeth can lead to a greater chance of contracting gum disease and tooth decay. The bacteria that accumulates in between crooked teeth causing said diseases, can also lead to mouth sores or even tooth loss.

ADA studies have proven that oral infections caused by an overload of bacteria can lead to more serious ailments that affect your overall health and put you at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, strokes, and pneumonia.

Improved self esteem:

Being healthy involves the state of your body and mental health. Having straight teeth will cause you to smile more and make you feel more confident, improve your self esteem and even lower your stress levels.



If you want to keep your natural teeth white,  or if you have just completed a teeth whitening treatment, there are five important dentist-approved tips you should follow to preserve your sparkling smile.

5 Tips for Keeping Your Teeth White

#1 – Avoid beverages that stain.

Avoid all staining beverages if you’ve just had your teeth whitened. Any beverage that is dark colored, such as coffee, dark tea, cola, or red white, should not be consumed.

If you do decide to consume any of these liquids, try drinking them with a straw so that they come into as little contact as possible with your front teeth.

#2 – Eliminate tobacco products.

There are various oral risks associated with tobacco. Using tobacco not only stains teeth; it also causes tongue discoloration and puts you at an increases risk for oral diseases, such as gum disease and oral cancer. Being tobacco-free is a great boost for your overall oral health and general well being.

#3 – Maintain a good oral hygiene routine.

We cannot stress enough how important it is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, flossing daily and rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash keeps your mouth free of bacteria and your smile bright and shiny.

#4 –  Select a whitening toothpaste.

Whitening toothpaste contains an extra boost to your regular toothpaste. Using it on a regular basis, two to three times a week, will help keep your teeth polished and will remove any surface stains your teeth may have.

#5 – Use an electric toothbrush.

Electric toothbrushes are much more efficient at breaking up bacteria and removing remnants from your teeth because their bristles vibrate, rotate and oscillate. These features allow the toothbrush to reach the pits and grooves of your teeth in order to keep them clean and white.

Keeping your teeth white only requires a few changes in your daily routine, and nothing beats the confidence of showing the world a bright, beautiful smile.



The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends getting your teeth cleaned twice a year to obtain better oral health. Getting your teeth cleaned also gives your dentist the opportunity to screen for gum disease, oral cancer and any other infections or lesions all while removing plaque and tartar with professional grade instruments that leave your mouth clean and healthy.

Many people wonder how long they have to wait after getting their teeth cleaned before it is ok to eat. The answer depends on whether or not a fluoride treatment was included in your dental cleaning procedure and what foods you’re expecting to ingest.

If you didn’t have a fluoride treatment then you’re safe to eat immediately after your cleaning. However, it is recommended that you only eat soft foods. Bananas, yogurt, applesauce, soups or hard boiled eggs are all good options.

Avoid extremely hot or cold foods as well as anything sticky or crunchy since it is common to experience some sensitivity after a teeth cleaning.

Spicy foods, sugary drinks and high acidic foods can also be harsh on your mouth. You should wait a while before consuming these types of foods.

If you did receive a fluoride treatment during your cleaning, dentists recommend waiting at least half an hour before eating. This gives the treatment enough time to seal around your teeth. Waiting will ensure you’re getting the full advantage of the fluoride treatment.

Getting your teeth cleaned is an excellent way to maintain your oral health. It also allows you to detect and prevent problems early on. Having your dentist catch any issues that may have gone unnoticed will prevent early decay, cavities, gum disease, and more – all while getting your teeth in good shape and leaving you with a fresh and clean mouth.

Schedule your appointment at least once a year to give your teeth the attention they deserve.



September 18, 2018 · 0 comments

Tartar buildup is a common dental health problem in which dental plaque stays on your teeth and hardens into tartar, also known as calculus.

Tartar usually forms below and above the gum line, leading to receding gums and gum disease and needing to be removed with special tools at the dentist’s office. However, what causes tartar buildup and how can you prevent it?

Accumulation of Dental Plaque

The first thing that leads to tartar buildup in your mouth is the accumulation of dental plaque. Once mixed with proteins and food byproducts, the natural bacteria that grows in your mouth forms a sticky yellowish film known as dental plaque. Dental plaque covers your teeth and gets under your gum line, and it can stick to fillings or other dental work.

Tartar Formation

For people with good dental hygiene, plaque is easily removed with a daily brushing and flossing routine. However, when plaque stays on your teeth, it hardens and forms tartar. Tartar is easily recognizable as a yellow or brown colored deposit that covers the gum line. Since it bonds to the tooth enamel, it can only be removed by a dental professional.

High Sugar Intake = Higher Chance of Tartar

Eating foods high in sugar and starches such as cakes, sweets, milk, soft drinks and even fruit can cause an increase in plaque bacteria that evolves into tartar. However, people with braces, crowded teeth or dry mouth, as well as smoking and aging are at a higher risk of developing tartar buildup.


As with most dental conditions, staying on top of your dental health is the best way to prevent tartar buildup. Other ways to avoid tartar buildup include:

  • Brushing and using mouthwash twice a day
  • Regular, daily flossing
  • Regularly scheduled visits to your dentist every 6 months for oral exams and cleaning
  • Using anti-plaque fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash
  • Using a quality electric toothbrush (has been shown to diminish the effects of calculus development

Sneaky Plaque Buildup: Beware!

Plaque usually has a pale yellow color, however it can also be colorless and difficult to see, which is why it’s recommended to get a dentist check-up twice a year: Using dental mirrors to spot plaque in hard to see places, your hygienist or dentist will be able to remove it with a dental scaler.

If you start seeing any signs of tartar buildup, don’t hesitate to visit your doctor. The sooner you take care of the problem and start removing it, the easier it will be for you to avoid unpleasant consequences such as receding gums, gingivitis, bad breath and even periodontal disease and tooth loss.


There are many reasons a tooth can be broken or cracked, stemming from accidents to common daily activities. When this happens, chipped tooth bonding is one of the leading types of treatments dentists choose to fix the problem.

Bonding consists of a process in which the dentist applies a tooth-colored composite resin over the dental damage in order to seal the chipped or broken tooth. The composite used to bond the teeth can also be made out of porcelain, which is known as a veneer. A veneer is actually the strongest of both options. Both of these cosmetic solutions can also serve as a solution for people with discolored teeth who want them to appear shinier and healthier.

Dental bonding is a relatively painless technique that doesn’t usually require anesthesia. For this procedure, the dentist first roughens the surface of the teeth that are going to be treated. A conditioning solution is then applied to help the bonding material stick to the tooth. Afterwards, the bonding material is applied to the teeth and shaped to fit, while an ultraviolet light or laser is used to harden it into place.


Taking Care Of Your Chipped Tooth Bonding

Take care of your chipped tooth bonding by avoiding dark colored foods or drinks, since it can stain the composite.  Hard candy, ice cubes and biting pens or your nails should also be avoided as they can all crack the material.

Since composite resin is not nearly as strong as your the natural enamel of your teeth, imperfect bites or grinding your teeth when you sleep can also shorten the life of the bond.

If you brush your teeth twice a day and schedule regular cleanings and check-ups with your dentist, a composite bonding can remain intact for up to ten years, allowing you to have a beautiful, healthy smile.




If you happen to be suffering from receding gums, you may be wondering: Can this condition be reversed? While gums can’t grow back on their own, in order to reverse gum recession you’ll need to visit your dentist or periodontist to talk about the number of treatments available for you.

Gums are meant to protect the teeth by securely connecting them to the bone. The edge of the gum tissue that surrounds your teeth is known as gingival margin, but when it pulls away from the teeth and leaves your roots exposed, space for bacteria to grow becomes available, leaving your teeth much more sensitive to decay, infections and tooth loss.

A common cause of gum recession can be improper tooth brushing techniques, such as brushing your teeth too hard or using a hard bristle toothbrush. Other causes include: smoking, poor fitting partial dentures, poor oral hygiene or even medical conditions such as diabetes.

Treating And Reversing Gum Recession

Depending on how advanced your gum recession is, there are a number of treatments that your dentists may recommend; and although you can’t reverse gum recession, it is possible to stop it from getting worse.

When visiting your dentist and identifying the cause, different kinds of treatments can be suggested, all of them based directly on what the root of the problem was: For instance, if the cause of your gum recession is due to hard brushing or poor oral hygiene, changing your brushing and flossing behaviors will make a great difference.

It’s important to use a soft bristle brush to prevent your gums from getting hurt. This, combined with a daily mouth rinse to fight plaque and regular flossing, can help you prevent gum recession from advancing.

If there’s a considerable amount of gum recession already taking place, you may be in need of occasional deep cleaning treatments such as scaling and root planing, a procedure in which your dentist will clean tartar and plaque from the surface of your teeth and their roots. In more extreme cases, a gum graft procedure may be necessary. This type of procedure involves taking tissue from the roof of your mouth and transferring it to the gums.

Also, if the cause behind your receding gums is a misaligned bite or crooked teeth, correcting said issues can make a great difference.

Wherever it comes from, receding gums is not something to be ashamed of nor should it be left alone. If you’ve noticed that your teeth look longer or that your teeth feel more sensitive than usual, consider visiting your dentist in order to determine the cause of the problem and start treating it as soon as possible.,Although it’s not possible to reverse gum disease, it’s up to you to stop it from advancing and turning into a more serious problem.



Cavities, also known as tooth decay, are one of the main reasons people visit dentists every year, and although the myth says this is a problem that only affects children who eat too much candy, the truth is cavities can be an issue at any stage of life.

Destruction of Tooth Enamel

Cavities are one of the main causes of the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. Cavities can transform from small openings in a tooth into large holes over time.. Cavities can be caused by pieces of food stuck between your teeth and accumulation of plaque, the sticky film comprised of bacteria that forms on your teeth.

Whenever you drink or eat something sugary like fruit, raisins or even milk, the bacteria in plaque produces acid that attack your tooth enamel. Over time and when not addressed properly, the plaque can keep this acid in contact with your teeth long enough so the enamel breaks down, causing a cavity to form as a little hole in your tooth.

How To Tell If You Have a Cavity

But how can I tell if I have a cavity? Symptoms such as toothache or constant bad breath (halitosis) may indicate something significant is wrong. Be aware of these symptoms, and visit your dentist as soon as possible if they develop:

  • Toothache: Any type of pain or swelling in your mouth is a warning sign and enough of a reason to visit your dentist. Cavities can be very painful and become infections when not treated properly.
  • Halitosis: Cavities are a place for bacteria to hide in your mouth and can contribute to bad breath or halitosis.
  • Sensitive teeth: If your teeth hurt whenever they’re in contact with hot or cold beverages, it may be due to cavities and/or tooth decay.
  • Visible holes or splits in your teeth
  • Pain or discomfort when eating and biting

Don’t Leave Cavities Untreated

When left untreated, cavities can result in a series of problems such as pain that worsens over time, tooth abscess, chewing problems, and even the loss of affected teeth. In more extreme cases, cavities may even lead to more serious or life-threatening infections.

Anyone can experience cavities at any point in their lives. In order to prevent cavities, a good dental hygiene routine is a must: Brushing your teeth after every meal with a fluoride toothpaste and regularly visiting your dentist are just a few of the very simple steps you can take in order to prevent tooth decay.




pregnant woman with her friend with child relaxingA recent scientific study was prompted by anecdotal reports that bisphenol A (BPA) might be a cause of a condition that causes problems with the enamel on first molars and permanent incisors. This relatively recently identified problem, officially known as molar incisor hypomineralization (MIH), causes the teeth to be oversensitive and more prone to decay. This condition, which is not reversible, is now showing up in about 18 percent of children between the ages of 6 and 8.

We know what happens with rats…

The recently released French study, published in the American Journal of Pathology, involved rats being exposed to low doses of BPA daily – from the time of their conception until day 30 or 100 after their birth. By day 30, the rats were showing signs of hypomineralization on their teeth. So it was during the early developmental stages of the rats that the BPA was causing damage to their teeth.

What does it mean for humans?

Similar studies have not been conducted with humans. However, the hypomineralization observed on the rats’ teeth shares many characteristics of the MIH observed in humans. As with the rats, we know that the effect on human teeth is showing up after the early childhood development stage. We know that BPA has been detected in significant amounts in human amniotic fluid, placentas, blood, and urine. And we also have studies that show that one of the most common human exposures to BPA is through food. The inner lining of most metal containers contains BPA. Even baby food in glass jars contains BPA, which is attributed to the liner in the metal lids.

What does the FDA say?

In July 2012, the FDA banned the use of BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups in order to address growing public concern about possible health implications of this estrogen-like industrial chemical.  The FDA approved the use of BPA in the 1960’s, and it has been widely used in making hard plastic bottles and to line food and drink cans since that time. The FDA again declared the use of BPA to be safe in 2008, but in April 2010 opened up the issue for public comment and further evaluation.  (Europe banned the manufacture and sale of baby bottles with BPA in January 2011, and France will ban its use in all food containers after July 2015.)

What can you do as a pregnant mom or parent of a young child?

Pay attention to what you and your young children are eating. Take special advantage of locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables available to you this summer!  Limit the use and storage of products in containers that are made with BPA until we know the full story on BPA’s effects on human health. While not every plastic container marked with a recycling symbol of 7 contains BPA, that is one indicator that may help you to make a more informed decision. If you are the parent of a young child, make sure that you begin regular dental check-ups early to monitor and control signs of early decay that are associated with this problem (MIH) with young children’s tooth enamel.