Austin Smile Creations – Austin Dentist Blog

A blog about implant dentistry, cosmetic dentistry, general and family dentistry and a healthy living.

Archive for dental education

Do you really know how to brush your teeth???

Brushing Your Teeth the Right Way

This topic never gets obsolete and we cannot emphasize enough how important it is. Proper brushing is probably the most important way to keep your mouth healthy.  Brushing correctly and with the proper frequency can help you prevent problems before they appear.  There are four important things you will need to properly brush your teeth:  a toothbrush with soft bristles, toothpaste with fluoride, the correct angle of brushing, and brushing in a pattern.  Use the following tips to help you get the most out of your brushing.

  • It is important to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bed.
  • You should use a toothbrush with soft bristles.  Soft bristles with rounded tips are gentler to your teeth and gums, and they also make it easier to remove plaque below the gum line where periodontal disease starts.
  • Use about a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride.  Fluoride hardens the outer enamel layer of the teeth.  It can stop a cavity before it worsens as well as provide you with more resistance to future cavities.
  • Angle the brush along the gum line at a 45-degree angle and apply firm pressure so that the bristles slide under the gum line.
  • Vibrate the brush while you brush in short back and forth strokes and in small circular motions.  Brush two or three teeth at a time and then move to the next two or three, allowing some overlap.
  • Tilt the brush and use the tip to brush the backs of the front teeth.
  • It is OK to brush in any regular pattern you choose but since the insides of the teeth tend to get less attention, you might start with the insides of the upper teeth and then move to the insides of the lower teeth.  Then switch to the outsides of the upper teeth and then the outsides of the lower teeth.  Brush the chewing surfaces of the upper teeth, then the same on the lower teeth.  Complete your routine by gently brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth.  This will remove germs that can cause bad breath.
  • Change your toothbrush at least every three months or when the bristles are worn or bent.  Old bristles don’t clean well under the gum line and they host more plaque and disease-causing bacteria than new ones.

We also recommend electric toothbrushes, like Sonicare, as they do a really great job. Call us with any questions or for more instructions on oral hygiene. (512) 329-5555.

We always love to see you smile!

Mom’s gum disease treatment safe for baby

Pregnant women can safely be treated for gum infections without having to worry about their baby’s health, according to a new study.

The concern among dentists had been that treating the problem could cause bacteria to get into the mothers’ bloodstream, where they could harm babies’ development.

Gum disease — caused by a bacterial infection that breaks down gum tissue and can cause tooth loss and serious health problems — is a particular problem during pregnancy.

Hormonal changes appear to make a pregnant woman more susceptible to developing it, yet the standard antibiotic-based therapy is not recommended because it stains the baby’s teeth.

What’s more, dentists have shied away from aggressive teeth-cleaning, which is also effective, out of fears they’d help the bacteria get into the bloodstream. In principle, that could harm the brain development of the fetus.

But those fears are baseless, the new study shows.

“Women can be confident that it’s not going to have clinically meaningful effects on their child’s development,” said Dr. Bryan Michalowicz, whose findings are published in the journal Pediatrics.

Michalowicz, a dentist at the University of Minnesota School of Dentistry in Minneapolis, and his colleagues tested more than 400 two-year-olds, who’d been born to mothers with gum disease.

Half the mothers had been treated with aggressive teeth-cleaning — called scaling and planing — during pregnancy, while the rest had not.

The researchers found the kids did just as well on language, motor and mental tests regardless of whether their mothers had been treated.

On the other hand, treatment didn’t seem to benefit the kids either. That was the researchers’ original hypothesis, because earlier studies have linked gum disease to developmental delays.

“We asked the question, does treatment of periodontal disease in pregnant women improve child development?” said Michalowicz. “We found it doesn’t.”

The researchers did find a slight increase in toddlers’ test scores when the mothers’ gum disease improved. But the effect was so small it doesn’t have any practical consequences, they say.

Nonetheless, he said, “As a dentist I think that improving oral health is a goal in its own right.”

Dr. Marjorie Jeffcoat, a dentist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia who wasn’t involved in the study, said it couldn’t rule out that treatment might benefit the baby in some cases.

“You need to have a higher risk population in order to draw a conclusion,” she told Reuters Health. “I wouldn’t jump to the conclusion that we should let periodontal disease run rampant in pregnant women.”

But, she added, women should try to maintain good oral health in the first place.

“They need to use a soft toothbrush and floss the right way,” wrapping the floss around the tooth, she said. “The first goal with almost all dental disease is prevention, prevention, prevention.”

SOURCE: http://bit.ly/e3YPjA Pediatrics, April 11, 2011.

The Ugly Truth About Your Toothbrush

Your toothbrush may be nastier than you think. Find out when to ditch it.
By Stephanie Watson
WebMD Feature
Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD

Do you know what’s lurking on your toothbrush?

Your toothbrush is loaded with germs, say researchers at England’s University of Manchester. They’ve found that one uncovered toothbrush can harbor more than 100 million bacteria, including E. coli bacteria, which can cause diarrhea, and staphylococci (“Staph”) bacteria that cause skin infections.

But don’t panic. Your mouth wasn’t exactly sterile to begin with.

Mouthful of Bacteria

“The bottom line is, there [are] hundreds of microorganisms in our mouths every day,” says Gayle McCombs, RDH, MS, associate professor and director of the Dental Hygiene Research Center at Old Dominion University.

That’s no big deal. Problems only start when there is an unhealthy balance of bacteria in the mouth. McCombs says.

“It’s important to remember that plaque — the stuff you’re removing from your teeth — is bacteria,” says dentist Kimberly Harms, DDS, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association. “So you’re putting bacteria on your toothbrush every time you brush your teeth.”

Could Your Toothbrush Be Making You Sick?

Probably not. Regardless of how many bacteria live in your mouth, or have gotten in there via your toothbrush, your body’s natural defenses make it highly unlikely that you’re going to catch an infection simply from brushing your teeth.

“Fortunately, the human body is usually able to defend itself from bacteria,” Harms says. “So we aren’t aware of any real evidence that sitting the toothbrush in your bathroom in the toothbrush holder is causing any real damage or harm. We don’t know that the bacteria on there are translating into infections.”

Still, you should exercise some common sense about storing your toothbrush, including how close it is to the toilet.

Don’t Brush Where You Flush

Most bathrooms are small. And in many homes, the toilet is pretty close to the bathroom sink where you keep your toothbrush.

Every toilet flush sends a spray of bacteria into the air. And you don’t want the toilet spray anywhere near your open toothbrush.

“You don’t store your plates and glasses by the toilet, so why would you want to place your toothbrush there?” McCombs says. “It’s just common sense to store your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as possible.”

You also wouldn’t eat after going to the bathroom without first washing your hands. The same advice applies before brushing your teeth, McCombs says.

Toothbrush Storage Tips

Once you’ve moved your toothbrush away from the toilet, here are a few other storage tips to keep your brush as germ-free as possible:

  • Keep it rinsed. Wash off your toothbrush thoroughly with tap water every time you use it.
  • Keep it dry. “Bacteria love a moist environment,” Harms says. Make sure your brush has a chance to dry thoroughly between brushings. Avoid using toothbrush covers, which can create a moist enclosed breeding ground for bacteria.
  • Keep it upright. Store your toothbrush upright in a holder, rather than lying it down.
  • Keep it to yourself. No matter how close you are to your sister, brother, spouse, or roommate, don’t ever use their toothbrush. Don’t even store your toothbrush side-by-side in the same cup with other people’s brushes. Whenever toothbrushes touch, they can swap germs.

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