Oral Hygiene Essentials to Live By

All About Keeping the Mouth Clean

Take note of these practices that dentists say are the most important when talking about oral hygiene.

Brushing with the right technique. Your toothbrush is your teeth’s best friend, but use it correctly. Small circular motions to brush all the tooth surfaces per tooth is the right way, not that sawing back-and-forth motion. Don’t brush too aggressively and don’t use hard bristle toothbrushes. They can damage enamel and the soft gums. Use soft bristles and change the brush every couple of months.

Using fluoride in your toothpaste. Fluoride is well studied to cause the prevention of tooth decay by strengthening enamel through mineralization. Studies show that tooth brushing without fluoride is not as effective in preventing cavities.

Flossing once daily. Flossing helps in a way brushing may not. Those hard-to-reach areas, spaces between the teeth, and areas below the gumline all benefit from flossing.  It is recommended to gently push the floss all the way down to the gum line before hugging the side of the tooth with up-and-down motions.

Using mouthwash. Mouthwashes complement tooth brushing and flossing, and certain mouthwashes contain antibacterial agents to fight plaque and gingivitis. And control bad breath.

Quitting smoking. Smoking does not only stain teeth into yellowish to yellowish brown color but also contributes to bad breath. Nicotine compromises the immune system and makes it difficult for the body to fight infections, like infections in the oral cavity. It delays wound healing and worsens gum disease.  

Controlling sugar and starches intake. Studies have shown what a high sugar diet can do to oral tissues. Cakes, candies, soft drinks and juices have high caloric content and loads of sugar, increasing the risk for cavities.  Starchy foods like crackers, bread, chips, and pasta, can linger in the mouth and break down into simple sugars that acid-producing bacteria feed. This acid can cause tooth decay. Fiber-rich foods are better recommended, such as fruits and veggies.

Drinking lots of water. Water is a better alternative to sugary drinks, even energy drinks. It keeps the mouth hydrated without leaving sugar or acid. Sugar-sweetened beverages are the most common cause of high cavity risk in a typical American diet.

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Better Oral Health with Song Dental Lynnwood

Good oral hygiene is a cornerstone of dental health. We can teach you more and show you more health tips when you see us in Lynnwood.

The Case of Sparkling Water on Oral Health

Is Sparkling Water Better than Regular Water?

Sparkling water is just the craze today. Everybody seems to love sparkling water, perhaps convinced that it is better than ordinary water, which is somewhat acidic. What does the American Dental Association, or the ADA, have to say about that?

Some dentists say sparkling water, per se, should not be harmful to teeth, A recent study revealed that certain brands of the modern drink has a pH of 5, putting it in the acidic department. Many dental experts claimed, and the ADA as well, what they already knew all along, that sparkling water is generally more acidic than regular water that has a pH of 7.

However, though ADA has no research of late to prove that drinking normal amounts of sparkling water is dangerous to the enamel, it does not mean it will cause any harm. Acidity is harmful to the enamel and drinking exclusively sparkling water may prove perilous to the teeth. Many brands of sparkling water are infused with sugar, too, which if exclusively drank can increase the risk of cavities.

Some experts say that apart from the natural acidity of sparkling water some brands have added citrus-flavors which lowers the pH more and which can potentially damage tooth enamel. Citric acid is specifically responsible for enamel erosion, ADA says. The body recommends that if people should opt to hydrate themselves with citrus-flavored sparkling water, it better be drank in one serving rather than have it sip throughout the day, exposing teeth to the continuous onslaught of acid.

ADA recommends drinking fluoridated tap water in addition to sparkling water. But overall, people can enjoy normal amounts of sparkling water without worrying about their teeth.

There is one major exception, though. If you suffer from dry mouth syndrome,  where production of saliva is decreased, plus you drink a lot of sparkling water (worst if you prefer the citrus-flavored varieties), it will tend to exacerbate the already acidic environment of the oral cavity. All the more will your mouth become dry and increase the risk for cavities.

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Ask Our Lynnwood Dentist

Lynnwood dentistry says that it’s alright to enjoy sparkling water every now and then. Your natural, fluoridated water is most recommended for healthier teeth.

Gingivitis: Signs, Causes and Risk Factors

Understanding Gingivitis

You could regard gingivitis as a non-destructive form of gum disease, but if it doesn’t get treated, it can turn into to its destructive type – periodontitis. If you’re noticing red and puffy gums that bleed easily when you brush your teeth or are painful to touch, you may have gingivitis. Many people may not know if they have gingivitis as most times the condition does not have severe symptoms. More advanced signs are halitosis or bad breath, inflammation, or swollen gums, and receding gums.

There are two main categories of gingival diseases.

One is dental plaque-induced gingival disease, which can be caused by plaque, systemic factors, medications, or malnutrition. The other is non-plaque induced gingival lesions. This can be caused by a specific bacteria, virus, or fungus. Other causes are genetic factors, systemic conditions (including allergic reactions and certain illnesses), wounds, or reactions to foreign bodies, such as dentures. Sometimes, there is no specific cause.

What exactly causes gingivitis?

The most common cause of gingivitis is the accumulation of bacterial plaque between and around the teeth. Plaque is a biofilm that accumulates naturally on the teeth, formed by colonizing bacteria sticking to the tooth. When plaque is not removed adequately it can harden into calculus usually at the gumline. The presence of plaque and calculus can irritate the gums, inflaming them.

Want to know the risk factors for gingivitis?

These are the conditions that make you prone to develop the inflammation. Apart from advancing age and strong family history, which enables one to develop it early in life, other risk factors are: smoking, poor diet (especially lack of vitamin C), and certain medications like anticonvulsants and anti-angina drugs. Changes in hormones occurring during puberty, menopause, the menstrual cycle, and pregnancy can make the gums more sensitive, raising the risk of inflammation. Also some diseases like cancer, diabetes, and HIV which are linked to a higher risk of gingivitis.

If caught early enough, gingivitis is treatable and reversible. Treatment involves cleaning by a professional, called scaling. It can be uncomfortable and the procedure’s duration can be as short or as long depending on the extent of plaque and calculus present on teeth. Home care tips will be given involving proper oral hygiene, follow-up appointments may be required, or corrective procedures may be suggested by your dentist, like fixing a cracked tooth or a bad overbite.

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Fighting Gingivitis in Lynnwood

The final results of a thorough cleaning by a professional is a satisfactory feeling of cleanliness, freshness of breath and brightness of the smile. Experience this and more at Lynnwood Song Dental Center.

Early Dental Visits: Can Prevent Obesity in Children

Eating Behaviors Can be Good or Bad

When talking about children’s dental health, parents have a huge role in guiding their child towards proper hygiene routine and eating habits. It has been proved that what children eat is a determinant of their state of health. The types of food and drinks they take, how often and how much are behavioral patterns that parents should check. One of the effects of bad eating behavior is weight gain, a potential hazard.

From the University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska Academy, Sweden, a thesis was published on the dental health of 271 pre-school and primary school children in the country. A sub-study included their eating behavior and BMI. The children’s height, weight, and food intake over one day were compared with the prevalence of cariogenic microorganisms in saliva. There was no doubt about the link. The children who had higher amount of caries bacteria also had significantly higher BMI and worse eating habits. They consumed more sugar-rich foods and ate more frequently.

Fortunately in Sweden, children meet their dentists at an early age so there is timely intervention and children become aware about good and bad eating habits. However, there is a need for a good level of collaboration between the general dentistry, the child health care and schools.

Children who followed to a higher extent the general dietary recommendations – whole grain products, 400-500 grams of fruit and vegetables per day, fish two to three times a week and a low intake of sugar and saturated fat – reported better outcomes. They had better mental well-being, increased self-esteem, better relationships with friends and fewer emotional problems. Research further shows that good self-esteem could be linked to the healthier eating habits, two years later. It was reported that the effects were achieved regardless of socio-economic background, and regardless of the children’s weight.

The study also highlights that children between the age of 2-10 who were stopped from eating by their parents were generally overweight 5-6 years later. It doesn’t work that way. Parents have to look at other methods to control their child’s eating habits. The researchers say that parents have to also make healthy choices for themselves. The entire thesis is based on data from a large European study, the aim of which is to document and prevent childhood obesity.

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Children’s Oral Health in Lynnwood

Early dental visits are key to molding parents and children to the awareness of right eating habits. Here at Song Dental in Lynnwood, we inculcate the proper eating behavior to avoid the perils of obesity.

How To Enjoy Food Without Staining your Teeth

No Worries About Teeth Staining

Some of the foods and drinks we consume everyday are quite notorious teeth stainers. You want to enjoy them yet you know they can discolor your teeth or make their discoloration even worst. It can be tiresome to keep your teeth clean. Yet your favorite foods and drinks are hard to resist. Many tasty foods are either sugary or acidic; they can slowly and progressively weaken enamel.

Some of the most notorious teeth stainers are red wine, coffee or tea, curry, soda, beets, tomato sauce, soy sauce. There’s also pigmented fruit, like blackberries, blueberries, and pomegranates, as well as fruit juices, and, of course, balsamic vinegar. Smoking is likewise a teeth stainer. However, you do love to indulge in your favorites. How do you do it without getting those awful teeth stains? Here are a few tips to how one can enjoy the food and drink you want and still avoid or minimize staining.

Drink through a straw. If you sip your drink using a straw, you are aiming your drink towards the back of the mouth. This way, contact of the liquid with your teeth and gums is limited, lessening the staining effects.

Brush teeth often. Brush at least twice a day, or a third time if need be, after consuming acidic or sugary products. It has been advised that after a highly acidic intake, wait at least 30 minutes before you brush your teeth. Not immediately after, or vigorously gargle with water first and waiting a while before brushing. You are avoiding scrubbing the acid all over your teeth. Of course, floss daily.

Avoid brushing with natural toothpaste. These products tend not to have any fluoride in them, hence, will not be able to re-mineralize enamel. We know that fluoride makes teeth stronger and more resistant to decay by mineralization. You can also alternate the use of non-abrasive toothpaste and whitening toothpaste with silica which scrub away stains that may build up between your regular cleanings. For sensitive teeth, use paste with calcium hydroxide.

Use an alcohol-free mouthwash. Alcohol dries out your mouth, limiting salivary production and, if overused, can dry out the gums and can stunt nourishment, causing gum recession.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Water neutralizes the pH in the mouth, freshens it, and washes away debris. Also eat green, leafy veggies which tend to brush away debris and remove some stains.

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More Dental Tips by our Lynnwood Dentist

Have more fun with your favorite food and drinks when you come see us in Lynnwood. You can always enjoy eating and drinking with the proper guidance, and keep your mouth healthy and fresh.

New Dental Product: Rebuilding Teeth After Caries

An Idea that Works in Theory

Dental cavities are one of the leading causes of poor oral health, affecting nearly every age group and accompanying by serious health concerns. While there are other causes, still the progress of cavities can variably lead to periodontal disease and tooth loss. The cost of treatment is a huge economic burden for individuals and the health care systems in general. Good oral hygiene is the best prevention, yet there are disproportionate sufferers across some socio-economic groups.

According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of dental cavities in Americans is again on the rise, suggesting a regression in the progress of combating this disease.

Researchers at the University of Washington have designed a convenient and natural product that uses proteins to rebuild tooth enamel and treat dental cavities. The team is looking into the body’s own natural tooth-forming proteins as a way to repair tooth enamel. One of them, amelogenin, is crucial to forming the hard crown enamel, so they designed amelogenin-derived peptides that biomineralize and are the key active ingredient here. The repair process restores the mineral structure found in natural tooth enamel.

The peptides are proven to bind onto tooth surfaces and attract calcium and phosphate ions. This peptide-enabled technology allows the deposition of 10 to 50 micrometers of new enamel on the teeth after each use. The process here is remineralization guided by peptides.

The new biogenic dental products can, in theory, rebuild teeth and cure cavities without costly and cumbersome treatments. It’s a natural, healthy alternative to current dental health care. Peptide-enabled formulations will be simple and would be implemented in over-the-counter or clinical products.

Once this technology is fully developed, it can be used in private and public health settings, in biomimetic toothpaste, gels, solutions and composites as a safe alternative to existing dental procedures and treatments. It will enable people to rebuild and strengthen tooth enamel on a daily basis as part of a preventive dental care routine. It is expected to be safe for use by adults and children.
The research finding was first published in ACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering.

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Looking To The Future of Caries Treatment

While this new technology is promising in theory, it does look like to have a chance in the future. In the meanwhile, Lynnwood dentistry offers the time-tested restorative treatments for carious teeth.

Jaw-Popping: Party Trick Or Something Serious?

What’s Behind The Jaw Pop and What You Can Do

Did you know that your Temporomandibular Joints (or TMJ) are some of the most complex joints in your body? They are quite unique than other joints in that they’re not only able to open and close – they can slide back and forth and go from side to side. Sometimes the TMJ can pop or make clicking noise and sensation when you open your mouth wide. Fortunately, it’s not always a problem.

If popping your jaw causes you pain or uncomfortable symptoms like jaw stiffness, then you might be dealing with some form of TMJ disorder. When you open and close your mouth, you might feel any one of these symptoms – painful clicking or popping, jaw stiffness, feeling your jaw is “locking”, trouble opening your mouth, general jaw pain, or a change in your bite. This is according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR).

What causes TMJ disorders?

Sometimes it’s not always clear, but there seems something wrong with the cartilage disc inside each of the joints. They’re called articular discs, slippery pieces of tissue supposed to prevent the skull and jawbone from grinding against each other. For instance, when you pop your jaw, there might be pain when one or both of the articular discs have been pushed forward from their usual location. This is a form of internal temporomandibular joint derangement, due to habits like clenching and grinding teeth severely or chewing gum until the jaw is exhausted.

Some experts say that jaw popping itself without associated pain does not require any intervention. The disc or both of them could be worn or irregularly shaped, but not severely enough to cause discomfort. Or maybe, the ligaments just happen to be extra-elastic and allow the lower half of the jaw to shift down causing a popping sound.

A dentist or doctor will physically examine you, listening to and feeling your jaw when you open and close your mouth, investigating the range of motion in your jaw, and pressing on areas around your jaw to see where you feel pain or discomfort. A CT scan can show problems with your jaw’s discs. In some cases, a TMJ arthroscopy can be done which involves inserting a small thin tube into the joint space, followed by a small camera.

If the diagnosis is a TMJ disorder, your specialist may recommend pain relievers like NSAIDs with muscle relaxants for a few days or weeks. An oral splint or special mouth guard, doing physical therapy, and behavioral changes (example, techniques to avoid teeth grinding) may be prescribed. In severe cases, it may be surgery to repair the joints or corticosteroid injections to ease inflammation and pain.

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Examining Your Jaw Pops in Lynnwood

Are you experiencing popping in your jaws every now and then? Is it accompanied by pain and discomfort, or not? Come to us and let’s have a look-see so you’ll know if there’s nothing to worry about.

Is There A Rule About How Often You Should Floss?

To Floss or Not To Floss

There’s this nagging question at the center of oral hygiene debate. How often should you floss? Some people floss three times daily, others, whenever they remember. Others, only a few times after a dentist visit, then forget all about it.

In the 2015-2020 version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the government removed its recommendation for daily flossing. Before this, the Associated Press asked the Agriculture and Health and Human Services for their evidence that flossing was actually beneficial. The government acknowledged the effectiveness of flossing had never been researched, as required.

However, the American Academy of Periodontology quickly responded saying flossing is an important part of daily oral hygiene. They admit that studies are generally lacking, but in the absence of quality research, patients should continue to include flossing as a part of their daily hygiene. Later, the ADA released a statement saying that flossing is an essential part of taking care of teeth and gums.

What do you have to know about flossing?

Flossing helps to remove food particles and bacteria from between teeth and along the gum line. Gingivitis may result when bacteria builds up and forms plaque. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease that can develop into periodontitis. When left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss. Dentists see bleeding gums, a high rate of cavities, bone loss, and bad breath in people who don’t make flossing a habit.

According to oral-health experts, no matter what the science says or doesn’t say, food particles would remain in between your teeth even after you brush. If you floss after you brush, then the debris you took out would not create future problems. It is hard to believe that flossing is not beneficial. Flossing may not be ‘essential’ as suggested, but it definitely is important in maintaining dental and periodontal health.

Ideally, flossing is every time you brush your teeth, at least twice a day – morning and night – and maybe after lunch, too. We should brush and floss after every meal to make sure there is no food or bacteria accumulating between the teeth. Other experts advice at least once daily. Flossing is only effective, however, if you do it correctly. The bottom line is, when combined with brushing, flossing every day is a great way to keep your mouth healthy.

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Finding Flossing Advocates in Lynnwood

We at Lynnwood Song Dental encourage interdental hygiene via the use of flossing instruments. Lynnwood dentistry believes in the importance of this routine in attaining optimal oral health.