O-G Family & General Dentistry

Battle of the Toothbrushes: High-Tech versus Traditional

In the battle of the toothbrushes, where would you place your bet—on the benefits derived from brushing with a slick, high-tech rechargeable electric toothbrush or on the traditional, manual, low-tech option that’s been around since 1938? It seems like a simple question with an easy answer, but is it? The real answer: It depends.

First, in assessing the effectiveness of an electric toothbrush against the manual version, most studies seem to suggest that, depending on brushing skill and total brushing time, brushing with an electric toothbrush can be, in fact, more effective at removing plaque and promoting healthier gums. shutterstock_372807865 To be sure, the Cochrane Oral Health Group undertook a review of 56 different published research studies to specifically assess the effectiveness of the electric toothbrush in comparison to the traditional, manual version. Their team carefully examined all aspects of the studies–structure, participant composition, randomization, results validity, etc. And through their work, the authors discovered that participants who used an electric toothbrush between one and three months experienced an 11% decrease in plaque accumulation and a 6% reduction in gum disease.

Another research study, albeit a bit older, examined as part of a larger study, the effectiveness of the electric toothbrush in comparison to the manual version and yielded similar results. Documented in JADA, The Journal Of The American Dental Association, this particular study honed in on one particular electric toothbrush, the Braun Oral-B® Ultra Plaque Remover, and with the help of clinicians, assessed the effectiveness of this brush on oral health. Similarly, the findings indicated that the majority of dental patients, specifically 80.5%, experienced improvements in plaque removal and healthier gums. The study participants liked the electric toothbrush so much that nearly 90 percent of them said they planned on continuing to use an electric toothbrush. The dental professionals that participated in this study also considered the “power toothbrush to be the most effective way of brushing.”

Likewise, in our practice, we favor the electric toothbrush for brushing effectiveness. Our favorite brand, if you want to wade into the world of high-tech toothbrushes and hedge your bet, is a base model: Oral-B Vitality Dual Clean Electric Rechargeable Toothbrush. The retail price is $29.99. However, if you prefer more features and functionality, we recommend the Oral-B Pro 5000 or the Philips Sonicare FlexCare Platinum. While a bit more pricey, these rechargeable toothbrushes include many more features, such as multiple cleaning modes, pressure sensors, and a timer to chart your total brushing time, as well as offer the assurance of better oral health. You can purchase any of these options conveniently through our office.

In the battle of the toothbrushes, is there really a clear winner? The answer: You get to decide. We have given you the facts and the findings, but choose the brush that is best for you–whether it’s a high-tech, rechargeable electric toothbrush or the traditional, manual kind. You’re a winner either way!

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The ADA Seal of Acceptance: Why is it important?

The small, often grass-green ADA Seal of Acceptance actually means something. It’s not a fake mark. And it can’t be bought. But it can be earned by companies who are willing to voluntarily submit scientific data that documents the ingredients, claims, and benefits of their commercial dental products for review against the rigorous scientific standards enacted and endorsed by the American Dental Association (ADA).

Since 1931 when the first Seal of Acceptance was awarded, the ADA’s team of experts in biology, chemistry, medicine, pharmacology, and dental science, convene regularly to review the scientific evidence of various dental product submissions to determine whether these products are both safe and effective and thus, merit the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Together these experts closely review ingredients lists; thoroughly evaluate the accuracy of the results derived from clinical studies; explore manufacturing practices for the likelihood of production variability; and study packaging and labeling details for communication accuracy in order to decide whether a particular dental product qualifies for the ADA Seal of Acceptance. And if the review team needs more information to aid the decision-making process, the ADA is unafraid to request it from a manufacturer. This rigorous, but fair-minded process ensures that every dental product that wears the ADA Seal of Acceptance has been carefully evaluated by the ADA’s team of experts for its safety and effectiveness.

Currently, the Seal of Acceptance can be found on over 300 dental products, including toothpaste, manual and electric toothbrushes, dental floss, mouthrinse, interdental teeth cleaners, and denture-related products. But there are a few atypical products on the list too: sugar free chewing gum, a sports mouthguard, and a few options for temporary pain relief. You can find the full dental product list here.

Finally, the Seal of Acceptance, upon issuance, is valid for a period of five years. Thereafter, a company can choose to continue in this iterative but important process by resubmitting their dental products for ADA review and approval. However, if a company makes a change to a dental product previously approved by the ADA, the process to qualify for the Seal voluntarily begins anew.

So look for the small, often grass-green, square ADA Seal of Acceptance–see it here–the next time you need to buy a special dental product and purchase it with confidence knowing that the product has been deemed both “safe and effective” for your family and you by the American Dental Association. Now that should make you smile!

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The Five Foes of Your Pearly Whites

Sugar and spice and all things nice, or so the saying goes, but did you know that hard candy, ice, citrus, coffee, and even crunchy foods are not so nice for your teeth? They’re hard, sugary, tooth-staining, and generally non-nutritious. The American Dental Association (ADA) identified nine not-so-good foods and drinks that we should all try to limit—or, in some instances, abstain from altogether—that we have culled to a short list of the “Big 5.” Here they are…

1. Hard Candy – Hard candy, while pleasurable, can be problematic to healthy teeth and gums. That’s in good part because of the sugar content, which upon entering the mouth, interacts with naturally occurring bacteria to produce acids that can damage tooth enamel. If that’s not fearsome enough, worse yet, chewing hard candy can end in a chipped or broken tooth. The ADA recommends, instead, any sugarless gum as a replacement. Choose the brand that carries the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

2. Ice – Like hard candy, ice is, of course, hard. And chewing ice, just like hard candy, can be harmful to your teeth. So we suggest you steer clear of hard stuff altogether—hard candy, ice, and the like—to protect your teeth and gums from damage and decay. Water, in its liquid form, is your best choice.

3. Citrus – Whether it’s fruit itself or fruit drinks, citrus anything comes with a lot of acid that can be harmful to tooth enamel. And because of the high sugar content, it can also trigger an “acid attack” and, over time, leave you susceptible to decay. Plain water is a perfect replacement for sugary juices.

4. Coffee – Coffee and tea can stain your teeth and even leave your mouth parched, which isn’t good for your teeth either. Limit coffee and tea drinking, but if you can’t part with your daily java, quickly follow coffee or tea with a glass of water to help neutralize the acid and spare your pearly whites future problems.

5. Crunchy Foods – Potato chips—and other crunchy foods—can get trapped between your teeth, not unlike other foods, and contribute to plaque build-up. We offer a simple solution: twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing to combat tartar and plaque accumulation.

To learn more about diet and nutrition, visit ChooseMyPlate.org for a complete list of the foodstuffs that are good for your teeth and gums–and your body besides.

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Gum Disease: A Public Health Emergency?

Gum disease. Ick! You don’t want to think about it, right? It’s somebody else’s problem. Well, maybe not. According to a study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “one out of every two American adults aged 30 or over” suffers from some form of gum disease. That averages out to nearly 65 million Americans. Yikes! That’s a big number, a really big number—are you one of them?

Oral Hygiene Routine Blog

Yes, quite possibly. First, let’s get straight to the facts. There are two types of gum disease—gingivitis and periodontitis. You’ve probably heard of gingivitis. That’s the first stage of gum disease. It’s caused by plaque and tartar that accumulate on teeth, but it’s reversible. Twice daily brushing and flossing once a day will go a long way toward removing plaque on and around your teeth.

Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease. And there are a host of “risk factors”—from not brushing and flossing daily and skipping your dental check-up and professional cleaning, to smoking, certain medications, hormonal changes in females, and even diabetes and other types of chronic health conditions that can affect the health of your teeth and gums. Any of these things—independently or in combination—can contribute to the development of periodontitis. In a nutshell, gingivitis, if untreated, can progress to the point of periodontitis—the worse type of gum disease that can ultimately result in tooth loss.

So how do you know if you have gum disease? You can survey your teeth and gums for symptoms: red or receding gums, swollen, irritated gums, loose teeth, etc. If you notice any of these symptoms, call our office to make an appointment with Dr. Nigro or Dr. Askins. You should also visit the dentist regularly for an examination, x-rays, and professional cleaning.

If you practice good oral health habits, eat nutritionally, and make a visit to the dentist part of your twice-annual routine, you’ll help protect yourself from the perils of gum disease and, quite possibly, feel better besides. Now that would make anyone smile! To test your knowledge and learn about common myths, visit MouthHealthy.org.

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To floss or not to floss? That is the question.

Or so it seems these days. Who would have thought the benefits of flossing would have been called into question, but that’s exactly what happened earlier this month when the Associated Press and other members of the media learned that flossing was omitted from the 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines. Apparently some people understood this exclusion as a sign that the government was rejecting the long-held belief in the benefits of flossing, but not so.

Flossing

In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a statement to clarify their position on dental flossing and said in sum, “Flossing is an important oral hygiene practice.” But it’s not only important; it’s imperative if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy and gorgeous all life long. So read these tips and watch this short video from the American Dental Association (ADA) on “How To Floss Your Teeth” to learn all you need to know about flossing.

Why should I floss? ADA research tells us that there are over “500 bacterial species” that can be identified in plaque. That’s no small number. But it’s true. So you should floss daily to remove plaque before it has a chance to harden into tartar and harm your teeth and gums.

How often should I floss? You should floss once daily. You can decide on the best time and place, but it’s most common to floss in the evening prior to bedtime. However, choose the time and place that works best for you and your schedule. That will help make it a permanent part of your routine.

What floss is best? The best floss is the brand that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. It’s that simple. The type of floss you choose, after that, pertains to your preferences. Choose waxed, unwaxed, floss threaders, organic floss, comfort, dental tape, etc. The list is almost endless. The good news is that you have numerous options—and, if they have the Seal, then you can bet they are O-G approved. Go here to see the complete ADA Seal Product List or just check the product packaging during your next trip to the grocery store.

When should I floss—before or after brushing? Good question. The good news is that you get to decide whether to floss before or after brushing. According to the ADA, “The most important thing about cleaning between your teeth is to do it.” But it doesn’t really matter when. What matters is that you adopt the habit of daily flossing—lunchtime or bedtime, you decide, but floss.

Do children need to floss? Yes, according to the ADA, even children need to floss. When your children have teeth that touch, then introduce flossing. Make it fun! Choose flavored floss, try a dental app, or challenge each other in a friendly flossing duel. But, whatever you do, make flossing part of their daily or nightly routine.

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Oral Cancer: Know your risk factors!

Oral cancer is on the rise. In fact, for more than a decade, the rates of occurrence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers—mouth, tongue, tonsil, and throat—have been steadily increasing according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. This year alone, almost 50,000 people will receive an oral cancer diagnosis. So what do you need to know to protect yourself?

First, know the risk factors, so you can make the right lifestyle changes and reduce your chances. And the risk factors start with tobacco. Tobacco—in any form—is downright dangerous. That’s not news. But did you know that mouth cancers will be diagnosed, just today, in 132 people alone! And one person succumbs to oral cancer “… every hour of the day,” so says the Oral Cancer Foundation.

Add to that unrestrained alcohol consumption—over 15 alcoholic drinks per week—and your risks of oral cancer increase. There are several other risk factors—unprotected exposure to sun, nutritional intake, even gender—but the most direct route to oral cancer comes from tobacco, overuse of alcoholic beverages, and the combination thereof.

So now that you know your risks, what else do you need to know? For starters, regular screenings by your dental care professional are an important part of monitoring your oral health situation combined with knowing the signs and symptoms. Courtesy of the American Dental Association, common signs and symptoms include:

• a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
• red or white patches
• pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
• a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
• difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
• a change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

If you notice any of these symptoms, call us to schedule an evaluation with Dr. Nigro or Dr. Askins. They will assess the situation and help guide you to know your options and next steps—whether it’s a visit to a specialist or another solution.

Additionally, remember to maintain good oral health by seeing your dental care professional regularly—every six months is recommended—and practice good oral health habits—brushing, flossing, etc. And drink plenty of water!* But that’s always a good habit.

*Source: National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

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Smile Emergency: Facial Trauma and Cosmetic Dentistry

Accidents happen! Facial trauma can occur anywhere from sporting events and motor vehicle accidents, to work or home. Something as simple as an accidental fall could leave you with severely damaged teeth – but there’s no need to worry! Oral surgery and cosmetic dentistry offer a world of solutions for traumatic tooth injuries. Take a look at some common tooth injuries and available treatment options!

Smile Emergencies Facial Trauma and Cosmetic DentistryTooth Injury:

Broken blood vessels in the tooth’s pulp can cause tooth discoloration. Tooth trauma causes blood to leak into the dentin layer and become visible through the enamel.

Treatment

Veneers are porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of teeth to improve appearance. They’re designed to match the color of your natural teeth, making them a perfect solution for treating discoloration – chipped teeth, too! Veneers are durable and, if properly cared for, will only have to be replaced after 10-20 years of use.

Whitening is another treatment for trauma-induced discoloration. There are a variety of whitening options to restore your tooth’s natural color, from at-home whitening treatments to in-office bleaching.

 

Tooth Injury:
Chipped and fractured teeth are among the most common results of sports injuries and falls.

Treatment

As mentioned above, veneers don’t just treat tooth discoloration – they also fix chips and fractures. However, they’re not always necessary. Bonding is sometimes all it takes to fix minor chips. During a bonding treatment, we etch the surface of the tooth and place a plastic, tooth-colored resin with a bonding liquid to replace any missing tooth fragments.

Crowns are porcelain caps that are secured over damaged teeth and cemented in place to restore appearance and function. They also correct tooth decay and fractured fillings, stabilizing teeth after root canal therapy. Porcelain crowns resemble natural teeth and can last anywhere between 5 and 15 years.

 

Tooth Injury:
Avulsed (knocked out) teeth need to be replaced to maintain your jawbone health. Without teeth to support, the jawbone deteriorates from underuse.

Treatment
In some cases, the missing tooth can be reattached. However, this isn’t always an option. Dental implants are artificial teeth that are secured in the gum with a metal screw and serve as placeholders for missing teeth. They look just like real teeth and are equally functional.

 

Give us a call if you want to transform your smile emergency. We are more than happy to discuss treatment options and get you back on track after your facial injury!

Dental Implants: High Tech Teeth

What are dental implants? Dental implants are replacement tooth roots that provide a foundation for both fixed and removable replacement teeth. Like roots, dental implants are secured within the jawbone and not visible once surgically placed. Teeth replacement is not new to dental technology. Early civilizations practiced teeth replacements; archaeologists have discovered skulls where teeth have been replaced by cast iron and sea shells. Despite their primitive methods, some of these implants were fused with bone like modern dental implants! However, unlike the ancient cast iron or sea shell implants, modern implants are composed of titanium. Titanium is lightweight, strong, and biocompatible.

Dental Implants-High Tech TeethAccording to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), dental implants have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device — 98%. Dental implants are available in several designs that meet individual needs: single tooth replacement, multiple tooth replacement, implant supported prosthesis (removable), and an implant stabilized denture. Aside from meeting individual needs, there are a few other advantages to having dental implants:

  1. Improved appearance. Dental implants are designed to fuse with bone, and look and feel like your natural teeth.
  2. Improved comfort. Because dental implants become an extension of your natural mouth, implants remove the discomfort associated with removable dentures.
  3. Easier eating. Dental implants act as your natural teeth, allowing you to eat without the pain and discomfort that often accompany slipping of dentures.
  4. Improved self-esteem. Dental implants give your best natural smiling, helping build self-confidence!
  5. Improved oral health. Dental implants are the only proven way to prevent bone loss after the loss of natural teeth. The jawbone needs consistent chewing action to stimulate continual bone growth. Tooth/teeth replacement with dental implants offers a solution to prevent bone loss.
  6. With proper care, consistent brushing, flossing and routine dental visits, dental implants can last 40-years to life.

If you are interested in dental implants, or have any questions regarding the procedure, call the office today!

World Blood Donor Day: Blood Connects Us All

Safe blood supplies are a scarce commodity – especially in developing countries. Despite about 108 million yearly blood donations worldwide, safe blood is constantly on high demand!

World Blood Donor Day, celebrated every 14th of June, aims to encourage people to give blood and save lives without asking for anything in return. Blood is the most precious gift that anyone can give to another person — the gift of life. A decision to donate your blood can save a life, or even several if your blood is separated into its components; cells, platelets and plasma.

Blog, Blood Connects Us All

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), these are some key facts on blood availability worldwide:

  • Of the 108 million blood donations collected globally, approximately half of these are collected in the high-income countries, home to 18% of the world’s population. This shows an increase of almost 25% from 80 million donations collected in 2004.
  • In low-income countries, up to 65% of blood transfusions are given to children under 5 years of age; whereas in high-income countries, the most frequently transfused patient group is over 65 years of age, accounting for up to 76% of all transfusions.
  • Blood donation rate in high-income countries is 36.8 donations per 1000 population; 11.7 donations in middle-income and 3.9 donations in low-income countries.
  • An increase of 8.6 million blood donations from voluntary unpaid donors has been reported from 2004 to 2012. In total, 73 countries collect over 90% of their blood supply from voluntary unpaid blood donors; however, 72 countries collect more than 50% of their blood supply from family/replacement or paid donors.

This year, the WHO and World Blood Donor Day aims to do the following:

  • Thank blood donors for their life-saving gift of blood.
  • Generate public awareness for the need for regular, unpaid blood donation, and inspire those who have not yet donated blood to start donating, particularly young people in good health.
  • Promote and highlight the need to share life by donating blood.
  • Focus attention on blood services as a community service, and the importance of community participation for a sufficient, safe and sustainable blood supply in your community, and globally.
  • Persuade ministries of health to show their appreciation to regular voluntary unpaid donors, and commit to self-sufficiency in safe blood and blood products based on 100% voluntary, unpaid donations.

This June 14th get involved, donate blood- save a life. Follow the link and find a blood drive near you!

Rubber Tipping: A Guide to Gum Health

Brushing and flossing are important aspects of our daily dental routine, but they’re only two parts of the oral health equation. Good oral hygiene goes beyond a simple teeth cleaning. While gum health is often overlooked, a quick trip to the drugstore is all it takes to find the right tools for keeping gums healthy! If you want to avoid the risk of gum disease, it’s time to introduce rubber tipping to your routine.

Rubber Tipping A Guide to Gum HealthWhat is rubber tipping?

Rubber tipping is a technique that strengthens the gums with the use of a handheld dental instrument called a rubber tip gum stimulator. You simply apply pressure to the gums to help prevent gingivitis, a mild form of gum disease, and periodontitis, a more serious form of gum disease.

How do you use a gum stimulator?

  1. Brush and floss your teeth first to remove as much food debris as possible.
  2. Run the rubber tip of the gum stimulator under hot water to soften it for gentler use.
  3. Gently massage the gum line with the rubber tip. You can also run the stimulator between your teeth to remove any remaining food debris.

Why should I use a gum stimulator?

Gum stimulators are time-efficient, multipurpose instruments that improve overall oral health. They primarily stimulate the gum tissue to strengthen it against infection, but they also help with cavity prevention by assisting food and plaque removal.

How does rubber tipping affect jawbone health?

Jawbone loss is a serious concern that is linked to poor gum tissue health. Tooth loss is a primary symptom of gum disease, and it has a devastating impact on the jaw. With missing teeth, the jawbone no longer has something to support, and it begins to deteriorate from underuse. Jawbone loss drastically worsens jaw function and facial structure overtime.
Because gum stimulators are crucial in preventing gum disease, they also eliminate the need for procedures such as bone grafting, which promotes bone regeneration after the jaw has atrophied.

If you have any concerns about your gum health, consider adding rubber tipping to your dental care repertoire!