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How to Floss Your Teeth

The surfaces that are between teeth are not accessible to toothbrushing; Therefore, the best way to clean them is with dental floss.  The frequency of flossing is like brushing and ideally after each meal, though once per day (preferably at bedtime) is the minimum necessary.

To start, cut a piece of dental floss (approximately 2 feet).  Wrap both sides of the floss around your middle fingers.  Using your index and thumb, move the floss in between all your teeth one by one.  When flossing, make sure you are not cutting your gum.  The goal is to clean the teeth surfaces, not the gum.  In each space in between the teeth, press the floss against each tooth and gently move it back and forth and up and down.  Do this in between all the teeth.


Bad Breath

There a several causes for bad breath.  From cold or flu symptoms to stomach problems due to diet or tooth and gum problems.

Most causes are from the bacteria growing in the mouth.  Cigarette, cigar or pipe smoke contributes to the bacteria growth.  Not brushing and flossing regularly, gum disease, dentures or partials not cleaned and even alcoholic beverages can cause bad breath.

If you are concerned about bad breath, the first step is to call your dental office for a "check-up".  This visit will help determine the causes and assist you in putting your breath in check.

Following a good oral hygiene routine and getting regular check-ups with your dentist are the best ways of preventing bad breath.


Dental Health and Your Diet

Sugar is the main cause of dental decay when there is bacteria present.  More important than the amount of sugar you use, is how often you eat it.

Probably the worst thing you can do to your teeth is to drink a sugared drink such as juices or soda over a long period of time; the same is true about snacking.  Eating continually throughout the day keeps the supply of sugar in your mouth; this sugar feeds the bacteria that causes tooth decay.  Beware of the hidden sugars in breads, cereals and milk products.

At the other side of healthy eating is acidic foods; the nature of these healthy eats is the damage that can be done to the structure of your teeth.  While eating tomatoes, oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are a healthy alternative to chips or cookies, over consumption can cause significant damage to the tooth structure.


Fluoride and Decay Prevention

Many years ago scientists started to notice that children who were born and raised in areas with natural fluoride in their drinking water had less cavities than children in areas without fluoridated water.

Fluoride that is absorbed by your body when teeth were forming (during mother's pregnancy to early childhood) integrates into the structure of enamel and makes it stronger.

After teeth eruption, fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash and fluoride treatments during your preventative dental visits still have a positive effect on your teeth.  It strengthens the enamel and reduces the chance of decay. 

If you have children and live in an area that has no Fluoride in the drinking water, you should consult your dentist and pediatrician about a prescription for Fluoride tablets.

In adults, fluoride is used to treat hypersensitive teeth.