Posts Tagged ‘flossing’

Are Your Gums Going To Pot?

Tuesday, June 7th, 2016

A new study published in JAMA Psychiatry suggests that long term marijuana use may increase the risk of gum disease. The study did not find a link between long term use of pot and increased risk of other health problems.

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal (in most places) drug used in the United States. A 2014 survey found that 22.2 million Americans reported using the drug in the past month.

The study analyzed the data of 1,037 adults who were part of the Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study of New Zealand.Lead researcher Dr. Madeline Meier of Arizona State University  and her team looked at the frequency of marijuana use among participants between the ages of 1-38 and evaluated whether this usage had impacted their physical health at age 38. The researchers looked at whether the marijuana use affected periodontal health, inflammation, metabolism and lung function. Study participants who were heavy marijuana users for up to 20 years showed a greater risk of gum disease at the age of 38.

The research team points out study limitations, such as the drug use was self-reported. Some may not have disclosed their marijuana use.

The study authors reported, “In general, our finding showed that cannabis use over 20 years was unrelated to health problems in early midlife.” The researchers also noted that previous studies have shown that pot smokers tend to brush their teeth and floss less frequently and they are more likely to abuse alcohol, which is also a risk factor for gum disease. Smoking cigarettes is another huge risk factor for gum disease.

Good oral hygiene habits including brushing, flossing and visiting the dental hygienist regularly can help keep your gums and your smile healthy and beautiful.

To schedule your next visit please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.


Do You Hate To Floss?

Friday, April 1st, 2016

If you hate flossing you aren’t alone. Patients tell us that they floss, when we know that they don’t. But if you hate to floss there are some alternatives that you can choose to get the gunk from between your teeth.

First, lets talk about why we insist that everyone clean between their teeth. Brushing is great for cleaning the surfaces of the teeth, but a toothbrush can’t reach between the teeth where bacteria and plaque build up. Without removing the plaque it hardens into a substance called calculus (not the math kind) which can only be removed by professional cleaning. Calculus is made up of dead bacteria and minerals — because it has a rough surface it is the perfect place for even more bacteria to congregate. These oral bacteria lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

Why Do You Hate Floss?

First, figure out why you hate flossing? Is it a problem battling those long strands of floss, wrapping it around your fingers (sometimes too tightly) and putting your fingers in your mouth? Maybe you feel like you don’t really know HOW to floss. Perhaps you have extensive dental work like dental bridges that make flossing difficult. Whatever the reason, there are options other than regular dental floss.

What Else Can You Use To Clean Between Teeth?

If you hate flossing simply because the whole idea of wrapping string around your fingers and sticking them in your mouth bothers you, try floss threaders or floss piks. These handy gadgets have a little piece of floss on a plastic handle. Use one for each quadrant of your mouth and say goodbye to plaque. You can purchase a big back of floss piks (even mint flavored ones) at the dollar store. Try keeping a bag in the car so you can floss when stuck in traffic!

Water flossers have been around for a long time – you probably remember the Water Pik brand. Water flossers are great at cleaning between teeth and many even come with many different tips to help clean in tight spaces. The water flosser will sit next to your bathroom sink so it is a great reminder to water floss before brushing your teeth. These work whether you have bridges or braces.

Prophy brushes are another great way to effectively clean between teeth. These are tiny little brushes that are gently moved between the teeth to remove debris and bacteria. Prophy brushes come in several different sizes depending upon the spacing of your teeth. Try a few different ones to find the perfect fit for your smile.

Keep that clean smile healthy by visiting Wilbanks Smile Center regularly. Please contact us at 706391-8777 to schedule your next visit.

Happy National Gum Disease Month!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016

February is National Gum Disease Awareness Month. Of course it is also National Canned Food Month and National Snack Food Month, but those don’t really affect a dental office.

Gum disease awareness sounds like a joke, but it is serious business. Gum disease is completely preventable in the majority of cases and it can have serious health consequences ranging from the obvious – tooth loss, to the not-so-obvious like heart disease, poor blood sugar control and even pre-term birth. The bacteria that cause gum disease can travel throughout the body. Prevention is as simple as brushing (twice each day with fluoride toothpaste), flossing every day, and visiting the dental hygienist regularly for professional cleanings.

It is estimated that about 50 million Americans have moderate to severe gum disease and 40 million of those don’t even know it! The warning signs of gum disease include:

  • Puffy, red gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Painful or sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or teeth that appear longer

Some people avoid the dentist because they are afraid of gum disease treatment. Treatment for gum disease today is much simpler and less uncomfortable than it was years ago. Treatment will, of course, depend upon the severity of of the gum disease.

For those patients who are afraid of dental treatments and suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia, there is a solution. You can receive treatment for your gum disease while remaining relaxed and anxiety-free using sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry offers various levels of relaxation and sedation for those who feel anxious. Not only can gum disease be treated, but often years of dental neglect can be corrected in just a few visits.

Find out more about dental sedation options and gum disease treatment by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.


Is Bad Breath Making You Avoid Socializing?

Thursday, December 24th, 2015

You don’t need to avoid socializing with friends and family because of bad breath. Halitosis has many causes and discovering why your breath doesn’t smell fresh is the first step to solving the problem.

All of us experience bad breath from time to time, especially after ingesting certain foods or drinks. If you suspect that your bad breath occurs on a regular basis it is time to investigate. Here are the usual suspects in cases of bad breath:

  1. Oral bacteria. Lots of bacteria live in our bodies and when the ones that live in the mouth aren’t cleaned out on a regular basis they begin to give off odors. The solutions is simple – keep your oral bacteria count low by brushing the teeth and tongue for at least two minutes twice each day. FLOSS! Flossing is necessary to remove the bacteria and food debris stuck between teeth. Visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings to ensure that bacterial colonies below the gum line are removed.
  2. Tonsil Stones. The tonsils are full of nooks and crannies that collect bacteria and mucus. This goop eventually hardens into a “stone” which is really stinky and can cause a nasty taste in the mouth. Gargling with warm salt water or using a water flosser can help remove debris before stones form and you can gently remove stones with a cotton swab or toothbrush. If you form stones often and experience frequent throat infections you may want to discuss removing the tonsils with your doctor.
  3. GERD. People who experience gastric reflux may also experience bad breath. Talk to your physician about keeping your GERD under control with medication and lifestyle changes.
  4. Food. We think of smelly foods like onions and garlic causing bad breath but your morning coffee can pack a malodorous punch! Some of these foods cause a stink in the mouth and again, when they have been digested. The chemicals in the food travel through the bloodstream to the lungs where you breath them out. The cure – in the short term you can brush and floss but until that garlic has worked its way through your system you will possess garlic breath. Avoid these foods unless they are cooked.
  5. Dry Mouth. Dry mouth is common as we age and is a side effect of many medications. Our saliva cleans debris from the mouth and without it, bacteria can breed and cause odors and oral disease. Drink lots of water, try chewing sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva production and check out the saliva substitutes now available.
  6. Oral Disease. If you have active gum disease, tooth decay or infection in your mouth it will smell bad. Visit the dentist to see what is going on and get your mouth healthy again!
  7. Smoking. Smokers breath is always bad. The only cure is quitting the habit. Chewing tobacco or other forms of tobacco also leave a bad smell and taste in the mouth. Smokers are also more likely to develop gum disease which is another cause of bad breath.

If you suspect bad breath but can’t pinpoint the cause, contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777  to schedule a visit. We can get to the bottom of your bad breath and make you more comfortable going out and socializing!

Chewing Gum Helps Remove Bacteria

Saturday, June 20th, 2015

Dentists have been telling patients about the benefits of chewing sugarless gum for several years. Chewing gum has been shown to fight cavities and increase the flow of saliva. A new study funded by the Wrigley gum company has shown that chewing gum can also remove bacteria from the mouth.

This small study showed that chewing gum may remove as much bacteria as brushing without toothpaste, or flossing your teeth. “This study was initiated as a method development study to determine the number of bacteria that are trapped in a piece of sugar-free gum,” said study author Stefan Wessel. “According to our knowledge, this is the first time that an estimate of the number of bacteria trapped in a piece of chewed gum is determined.”

The study found about 108 bacteria detected per gum piece. The volunteer gum chewers had been asked to chew the gum for up to 10 minutes. The research showed that most of the bacteria were trapped during the initial chewing period. The researchers emphasized that brushing and flossing are much more effective in reaching many areas of the mouth, and that chewing gum would not replace these methods of cleaning the teeth. Chewing sugarless gum can be a useful addition to a good oral health regimen. Many sugarless gums are sweetened with a substance called xylitol which has also been shown to be effective against bacteria growth.

When should you chew sugarless gum? After meals is a perfect time, the extra saliva will help wash away food debris and now we know that some bacteria will be removed as well which may help with afternoon bad breath.

Find out more about keeping your smile healthy and beautiful by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.

Gum Disease Treatment May Reduce Heart Risk for Kidney Patients

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015

Patients with chronic kidney disease often have poor health outcomes due to their increased risk for heart disease. As the kidney disease worsens kidney function, the blood pressure rises and can cause heart disease. Add the inflammation from gum disease to this mix can make the problem worse.

About 85% of people with chronic kidney disease have inflammatory gum disease. Previous research has shown that the bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream causing inflammatory response throughout the body. A new study that is underway will look at proving that managing gum disease reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease for these patients. According to researcher Dr. Irundika Dias “In conjunction with our study I will be talking to dental schools about alternative ways of helping periodontitis patients. It is vitally important to keep your gums healthy and have regular dental check-ups to avoid the onset of a disease that is very common, poorly appreciated by the public and causes tooth loss resulting in reduced quality of life.”

Study after study has proven that poor oral health and active gum disease takes a toll on overall health and leads to more expensive medical treatment. Brushing, flossing and visiting the dental hygienist regularly can help you avoid gum disease. Patients who have certain chronic health conditions or who have  gum disease will need to see their hygienist more often, usually every three months.

Find out more about how your oral health can affect your overall health by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777.

Your 5 Step Plan for Plaque Prevention

Saturday, February 14th, 2015

Yes, you can prevent dental plaque if you have a plan and stick to it. Plaque is a buildup of bacteria on your teeth – you probably know it as that “fuzzy” feeling when you haven’t brushed in a while.

When plaque is left on teeth for too long it hardens into a substance called calculus which is much harder to remove than the soft, slimy plaque. Bacteria that cause gum disease and tooth decay thrive in this environment. How do you prevent plaque problems?

  1. Brush your teeth twice each day. Use a soft-bristle brush and a fluoride toothpaste. Make sure you get all areas of your mouth, including the front and back of teeth, gums, tongue and inside of the cheeks. “Brushing twice daily prevents plaque from forming in the first place and disrupts any plaque that has already started to form…” shared Dr. JoAnne Gurenlian of Idaho State University.
  2. Floss! Cleaning between the teeth has a major impact on oral health (which can affect overall health). Floss once each day – interdental brushes, water flossers or floss handles count!
  3. Rinse it away. Mouth rinse and mouth wash are not the same thing. Mouthwash is usually sugar-filled, minty tasting stuff. Anti-bacterial rinses are a different animal and can actually help reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth. Using a mouth rinse may reduce plaque buildup more than brushing and flossing alone.
  4. Watch what you eat. Sticky, sugary foods cling to your teeth and are hard to remove. “If sugar is not removed from your teeth shortly after you eat it, plaque uses it to help create tooth decay” says Dr. Gurenelian. If you eat candy, raisins or granola bars you want to get that sugar off your teeth as soon as possible. If you can’t brush immediately, try chewing sugar free gum containing xylitol. The chewing action scrubs at the food debris and the xylitol has been shown to inhibit bacteria growth.
  5. Get your teeth cleaned regularly. Visit the dentist for a dental hygiene visit at least every six month (more often if you have active gum disease). Your dentist and hygienist can keep an eye on your healthy mouth and spot any oral disease before it becomes a problem.

If your teeth feel like they are wearing a fuzzy sweater it is time to get them cleaned! Please contact Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-391-8777 to schedule your next visit.

Most Americans Need to Brush Longer – and More Often

Saturday, March 29th, 2014

American life seeming is hectic amd it seems as though we’re all forced to take time away from some tasks to make more time for others. One area that should never be neglected, however, is dental care. We all need to brush longer — and brush more often than we are!

Unfortunately, studies are showing that Americans are cutting more and more time from their dental routines – and their teeth are showing the effects of this. Shaving off a minute from your nightly tooth-brushing may not seem like a significantly harmful thing to do, but this rushed routine can severely damage your teeth in the long run. . A recent study found that Americans only brush for about 31 to 60 seconds – much less than the recommended minimum of two minutes for each brushing session.

It seems that Americans are aware that their brushing habits are sub par, or that they could at least dedicate more time to taking care of their smiles. Only one-third of Americans say they do an “excellent” job of taking care of their mouth, teeth and gums, according to the American Dental Association.

Adults aren’t the only ones who are neglecting their dental health. A recent report from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research focused on how well American children are brushing, and whether their parents are addressing the issue when their kids don’t brush enough. About a third of the survey respondents, or 35 percent, reported that they know their child brushes his or her teeth less than twice a day.

When you don’t adequately brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day as recommended by the American Dental Association, you leave behind harmful bacteria that multiplies and spreads throughout your mouth. Improperly cleaning your teeth can result in cavities, tooth decay, gum inflammation, gingivitis and other periodontal disease.

Not brushing and flossing thoroughly and often enough can also result in halitosis, or bad breath. By devoting a full two minutes each time you brush and making sure to floss daily, you’re investing in your future oral health and preventing a handful of dangerous and unpleasant dental conditions.

Dental Health in Toccoa

If you would like to learn more about oral health, annual dental check ups or any of the dental treatments that the Wilbanks Smile Center offers, contact us today and schedule your consultation. Our offices are located in Toccoa, GA, and we can be contacted at 706-886-9439. We look forward to hearing from you.


Sore Gums? Here Are Reasons Why

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Do you have sore gums? Are your gums also a little red, puffy and prone to bleeding when you brush? The reason is probably gingivitis.

The term gingivitis gets used often, especially on toothpaste ads, but what does it really mean? Simply put, gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. Most people develop gingivitis at some point in their lives and the red, puffy gums are symptoms that may be ignored. Painful gums usually get some attention!

Gingivitis is caused when we forget to brush and floss every day. If the sticky film of bacteria and food particles around our teeth (dental plaque) is not removed it hardens into tartar. Tartar can’t be brushed away and must be removed by a professional dental cleaning. Tartar deposits form along the gum line and eventually these plaque and tartar deposits irritate and inflame the gums, causing gingivitis.

What to do -

You can turn the tide on gingivitis and get your gums healthy again. The American Dental Association recommends the following:

  1. Brush your teeth in the morning and at night with a soft bristled toothbrush. If your bristles tend to splay out – you are brushing too hard. Use a fluoride toothpaste and remember to replace your toothbrush every 3 months.
  2. Floss! Every single day! Daily flossing removes plaque buildup below the gums and between teeth. Can’t floss or just won’t floss? Try interdental brushes, which are little brushes made to fit between teeth. These are sold in various sizes in the oral care aisle of your store.
  3. Antimicrobial rinses (not minty mouthwash) may help. Look for the ADA seal which means it has been proven effective.
  4. Get a cleaning every six months. If it has been a while since your last cleaning and your gums are tender it is time to make the call.
  5. Don’t smoke. Smoking may be the cause of 75% of periodontal disease.
  6. Watch your diet and your drinks. Soda and sweet sticky foods feed the bacteria in your mouth, causing them to release acids that attack teeth.

Stick with these good habits and your sore gums will be a distant memory. Please contact Toccoa, GA full service dental office, Wilbanks Smile Center at 706-886-9439 today to schedule your next visit.

Candy That Protects Against Cavities?

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Can there really be a candy that protects against cavities? It seems researchers have created a candy that can lower the bad bacteria in your mouth without harming the good bacteria.

We have lots of bacteria in our mouths and some are good for us and others cause tooth decay and gum disease. Researchers created a candy that contained dead bacteria, L.paracasei, that bind to live bacteria and prevent cavities. The study showed that the participants who ate the candy had 75% less of a certain bacteria in their mouths than the control group.

This study doesn’t mean they will market a candy like this, but it does give researchers better ideas about how to protect the good bugs in our mouths while controlling the bad ones.

Tooth decay happens when the bacteria in our mouths release acids which damage the surface of the tooth. Current toothpastes and mouthrinses that are designed to kill bacteria can’t differentiate between the good bugs and the bad ones. Finding a way to control or kill only the bacteria that negatively affect our health would be a huge step forward.

Protect Yourself Against Tooth Decay

You can protect yourself against tooth decay, without eating candy laced with dead bacteria! Brush every day with fluoride toothpaste, use a soft bristle toothbrush and brush for 2 minutes each time. FLOSS! If you aren’t flossing it is like not brushing 40% of your teeth. Even if you can’t motivate yourself to floss for cavity prevention and gum health — just think about all that stuff in between your teeth that the toothbrush can’t reach. Your breath will be much fresher if your teeth are completely clean!

Do you ever run your tongue over your teeth and they feel kind of fuzzy? You aren’t imaging things, this is a biofilm that is made up of bacteria, food debris and saliva. Removing this biofilm is important because if not removed every day it can harden into a substance that can only be removed by a professional dental cleaning. If this tartar is left on teeth then gum disease will result because of the safe haven for bacteria that has formed at and below the gum line.

Schedule your next visit by contacting Wilbanks Smile Center in Toccoa, GA today at 706-886-9439.

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