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This Is How To Pick A Toothbrush & Floss

We all know to brush our teeth. Check. We all know to floss our teeth. Check (okay, we know some of us skip this step but we’ll let it slide this time). But do we know which type of toothbrush and which dental floss is the best to keep our pearly whites, well, pearly and white? Today we clear the air on this important topic, particularly for those of us who sport braces – which we know require a little extra attention and care.

Toothbrushes & Brushing

Before getting into all your purchasing options, let’s do a quick brush up (pun intended) on proper brushing techniques to ensure your dental labors are as effective as possible.

When brushing, you don’t want to apply a lot of pressure; plaque is removed with gentle and thorough cleaning. By being too aggressive you are more likely to damage your gum tissue than clean properly. To start, place the head of the brush at a 45-degree angle and point the bristles just into the gum line. This helps disrupt buildup gathering at the base of the tooth. Avoid brushing all your teeth at once; rather, target a group of 3-4 and gently clear the surfaces before moving on to the next set. Be sure to clean all surfaces of the tooth: fronts, backs, chewing surfaces, and the sides of those hard-to-reach molars. For braces, use small circles to clean the brackets and remove any debris that may be nestled in them. Perfect!

Which Toothbrush Is Best?

Electronic toothbrushes are a fantastic option and do a lot to help agitate food particles and really cleanse your teeth. Manual toothbrushes also work well provided they are used effectively with our above tips. For bristles, many make the mistake of purchasing them too tough. The flexibility and gentleness of soft bristles is precisely what you want to clean without damaging. For toothbrush size, just ensure it isn’t too large that it prevents access to those back molars that can be tricky to reach. There is no single toothbrush that is perfect for everyone, so be sure you’re using the one that feels the best to you and will encourage regular use – if you have any questions, we are always here!

Dental Floss & Flossing

Onto floss – but first, the brush up:

When it comes to flossing, you make a C-shape to curve around each tooth as you bring the floss down. The point is not to drag the line straight up and down, which can irritate the gums, but rather to hug the surface of each tooth and clean from the top to the root with a gentle motion. Use about 18” of floss for a fresh portion each pass. Remember to clean both neighboring teeth each time you bring the floss down, and don’t miss any teeth!

Which Floss Is Best?

There are a few variables to keep in mind when finding your ideal floss. First is the thickness of the floss – some people have larger gaps between teeth, and others have very tight spaces that can make it hard to floss. The ideal thickness is one that is comfortable to use, but still thoroughly cleans between each tooth – for tight spaces, try a flat, ribbon-like floss. There are also options like the material the floss is made of, and then waxed versus unwaxed floss. Some suggest waxed floss may be slightly more effective, but whichever choice is most comfortable for you is the choice we recommend. Braces-wearers may need a special floss to thread between brackets. Some floss come in single-use packages with a stiff end that can be guided through the narrow spaces. Or, there are threading tools available that can help accomplish this using normal floss – the choice is yours! Yes, a lot of our advice is related to your preferences, but if you find a dental product you like with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you can be sure you’ve found a winner!

In fact, that is our biggest suggestion for when it comes to both brushes and floss: the right option for you is the one you will actually use. If you have more questions, give us a call – we are always happy to ensure our patients feel confident with their oral health and have all the facts.

Dr. Pedro Alquizar

Miami Orthodontist Group

Phone: (305) 279-3968
9125 SW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33176
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Keep Calm and Floss On

On August 2nd, this New York Times article was published and caused quite a bit of controversy in both the dental community and with the general public. While it is not conclusive in its findings, the overarching claim is that flossing may not be as beneficial as once thought. As dental professionals, we take very seriously the responsibility we have ensuring our patients receive the best possible education and care regarding the health of their smiles. For this reason, we feel compelled to express our disagreement with the suggestion that flossing may be overrated, and why that’s a harmful position to propagate.

Let’s first look at the article, which uses a lot of language such as:

  • “…flossing may be
  • “…most of the current evidence fell short…”
  • “That flossing has the same benefit is a hunch that has never been proved.”
  • “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known asgingivitis.”

There is a stark difference between something ‘not having been proved’ and something being ‘disproved’. Please know that there is no evidence remotely close to suggesting the latter. In fact whether the evidence is “mediocre” or not, the only evidence the article does mention (quoted above) is in favor of flossing. A lack of ability to prove something is not cause to discourage an entire population from participating in a highly beneficial component of their health care. This is particularly true because evidence is acquired by conducting large-scale studies, which are extremely costly. It would hardly be economical to spend the research funding to prove something we already have no doubt offers a variety of benefit for your oral and overall health.

We do not agree with the article’s brash call to action, or more accurately, call to inaction, and we fear how this may increase the number of people inflicted with preventable damage to their smile. Looking again at the line “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known as gingivitis.” Gingivitis is the first stage in periodontal disease – the very condition flossing aims to combat. To reduce gingivitis is to reduce your chances of progressing into advanced gum disease, a condition more than half of Americans already suffer from (CDC).

It is unfortunate the scale of damage this article has the potential to incite; too many readers will take this “lack of evidence” as being evidence to the contrary, and feel it gives them permission to neglect a very essential part of their oral health care.

We can only do our best to keep our patients like you educated and on the path to a lifelong happy and healthy smile – a path that certainly includes consistent flossing.

CDC: “Periodontal Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Mar. 2015. Web.

 

Dr. Pedro Alquizar

Miami Orthodontist Group

Phone: (305) 279-3968
9125 SW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33176
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Do Adults Really Need Braces? (I mean, I waited this long already!)

The short answer is ‘No’. But, in much the same way a broken bone doesn’t need resetting…it’s highly recommended for your long-term health and not just aesthetics.

Your teeth affect more than just your smile and confidence – they affect the health of your entire mouth, bone structure, as well as other parts of your mouth.  We are in the business of making sure your mouth is in perfect working order, and if your teeth are crooked or your bite is misaligned, there are more side effects than just aesthetic discomfort. Braces aren’t just about giving you the smile you’ve always wanted (though that is a fantastic benefit!). In much the same way as a broken bone, it’s about making sure everything is in place so you don’t develop problems down the road.

Misaligned teeth can result in excessive plaque build-up, which can contribute to gum disease. More abstractly, if a cross-bite is severe enough, it can actually lead to gastrointestinal problems as chewing is the first step in the digestive process. The structure of your jaw can also be compromised, and the jaw has the amazing ability to place anywhere between 55 and 268 pounds of pressure – that’s not pressure you want exerted improperly because it can lead to further damage.

Thankfully, since you were a child the dental industry has made fantastic strides in technology which means you can avoid metal mouth! One of the most common concerns for adults who are candidates for orthodontic correction is a mouthful of braces, appearing juvenile and unsightly.

A newer alternative to metal braces are clear or ceramic brackets. While still physically adhered to the teeth, they are far less noticeable and offer nearly identical benefits to traditional metal brackets and wires.

Additionally, Invisalign is an even more subtle option that is preferred by many adults. Unlike metal or ceramic braces, nothing is adhered to your teeth at all! Instead, you receive a custom fit tray that is changed every two weeks; each time being  modified slightly to gradually adjust any misalignment issues.

An often overlooked, but equally viable option is Veneers – an instant fix to many aesthetic issues. This will not correct any health issues relating to crooked teeth, but if your problems are strictly aesthetic and you just want a quick boost to your confidence, Veneers may be your answer. Veneers are extremely thin porcelain covers that are adhered on top of your teeth. They are symmetrical and white and everything you want for your perfect smile. However,  Veneers do not fix any cross-bite issues and your misaligned teeth are still just below the surface.  Although it is a viable cosmetic procedure, not everyone is a good candidate for Veneers and may instead need something that is actually corrective.

So do you need braces? Maybe not, but it could be an invaluable investment in your oral health and your confidence. Straightening your teeth doesn’t have to mean a mouth full of metal; now you can get it done with style.

 

Dr. Pedro Alquizar

Miami Orthodontist Group

Phone: (305) 279-3968
9125 SW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33176
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Pre-Medication for Dental Work After Joint Replacement

What is pre-medicating? What do artificial joints have to do with dental treatment? Why is this related to my oral health and not just overall health?
Good questions! Although artificial joints can seem like a far cry from concerns with your dental health, the two are more related than one may think. When it comes to artificial joints, there is an increased risk of infection due to the inorganic material in the body that should be taken into consideration. This is true from the time of placement, but it may also play a role with future medical treatments. It has long been suggested that pre-medicating should be a standard prerequisite to dental and other procedures, but what is pre-medicating and why would it help?

Pre-Medication Before Dental Procedures

Pre-medicating is the act of giving medication prior to a medical or dental procedure, which is done with the intention of staying ahead of potential infection problems. The theory is that bacteria from the mouth can enter the blood stream, and those with artificial joints are already more susceptible to infection. Pre-medication is meant to help mitigate this risk prior to the procedure to keep your overall health in check from start to finish.

Sounds simple – what’s the dilemma?

Your replacement joints may not affect treatments at all! Many question pre-medication as it does not appear to be necessary. In fact, the ADA directly states “In general, for patients with prosthetic joint implants, prophylactic antibiotics are not recommended prior to dental procedures to prevent prosthetic joint infection.” There is evidence that dental procedures are not associated with prosthetic joint implant infections, along with the fact that there is evidence to suggest that there are potential harms in taking medication when not completely necessary. As such, the risks do not outweigh the benefits of pre-medication. In individual cases, there may be exceptions; however, as a rule pre-medication is not a necessary prerequisite for effective dental treatments.
Please be sure to let us know if you have artificial joints, or any out of the ordinary medical circumstances. We will be sure to take them into consideration when it comes to developing your treatment plan. For the most part, your artificial joints will not require special treatment on your end – we can treat you as we would any other patient to keep your smile looking sharp!

Dr. Pedro Alquizar

Miami Orthodontist Group

Phone: (305) 279-3968
9125 SW 87th Ave.
Miami, FL 33176