Nothing is more devilishly delicious than hearing someone dish on some celebrity gossip—especially if the "disher" is intimately involved with the "dishee." Consider this juicy morsel: Singer Katy Perry revealed on the British radio show Heart Breakfast that her fiancé, popular actor Orlando Bloom—hope you're sitting down—leaves used dental floss "everywhere."
Although Perry is thrilled with her beau's commitment to oral hygiene ("He has brilliant teeth"), she's not as equally thrilled with floss left "beside the bed, in the car and on the kitchen table."
Okay, maybe not. Although this might absolutely gross some people out, it's pretty ho-hum as salacious celebrity dirt goes. What's keen to note, though, is that at least Mr. Bloom flosses—putting him in a distinct minority of adults (about one-third) who actually floss regularly. That's far fewer than those who brush, a task that takes about the same amount of time.
So, why are so many "meh" about flossing? Simply put, many people find traditional flossing to be cumbersome and messy. And when they're done, they're left holding a wet, slippery piece of floss covered in "eww."
It doesn't have to be that way. Here are 4 tips to help make flossing easier and more pleasant.
Improve your technique. We're not born to floss—it's a learned skill, which, like others, we can improve over time. In that regard, your dentist provider can serve as your "personal trainer," giving you valuable tips in how to work with floss. And if you truly want to get to "floss town," practice, practice, practice every day.
Floss after you brush. Dental professionals actually debate over which is best to do first, brushing or flossing. One of the advantages for the former first is that brushing can get the majority of plaque out of the way, so there's less to deal with during flossing. If you tend to draw out a lot of sticky plaque while flossing, try brushing first.
Use floss picks. If the thread-around-the-fingers method isn't your cup of tea, try floss picks. These are disposable plastic handles with a sharp pick on one end and what resembles a bow at the other, with a tiny piece of floss strung between the bow. Some people find this device much easier to maneuver between teeth than plain floss.
Switch to a water flosser. A water flosser is another option that might be even easier than a floss pick. It consists of a small motorized pump that supplies a pressurized water spray through a handheld wand, which you use to direct the spray between your teeth. Studies have shown it to be as effective as floss thread, especially for braces wearers or people with limited hand dexterity.
Children love to be active, and need to be to grow up healthy. But participating in sports and similar physical activities does harbor a risk for injury—especially involving the mouth.
Many oral injuries can be prevented, though, by wearing an athletic mouthguard during sports or other physical activities. Available in retail stores or custom-made by a dentist, mouthguards help cushion the mouth against hard contact.
But although a mouthguard minimizes oral injury risk, it can't eliminate the risk altogether. There's still a chance for oral trauma during physical activity. Here are some common injuries that could happen, and what you can do to lessen their impact.
Chipped teeth. A hard knock could cause a piece of tooth to chip off. If this happens, try to retrieve any chipped pieces and carry them with the child to a dentist as soon as possible. Teeth should be examined immediately after this kind of trauma and the dentist may be able to re-bond the broken pieces.
Displaced tooth. A severe blow could move one or more teeth out of place, loosening them or pushing them deeper into the jaw. Teeth with these kinds of injuries are in serious danger, so you should contact your dentist immediately. If after office hours, they may tell you to visit an ER for prompt attention.
Soft tissue injuries. The lips and other soft areas of the mouth can also become cut or bruised from a hit. Clean the area as well as possible, making sure there are no imbedded bits of dirt or tooth. Apply gentle, continuous pressure to stop any bleeding and cold compresses for swelling. If it's a deep cut, go immediately to an emergency room.
Knocked-out tooth. Although a serious injury, a tooth knocked completely out of its socket might still be saved through prompt action. First, find the tooth; handling it only by the crown end, clean off any dirt or debris with clean water. Gently place the tooth back into its socket and have the child bite down on gauze or a clean cloth to hold it in place. You should then go to a dentist or ER immediately.
If you would like more information on children's dental needs and care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Children's Dental Concerns & Injuries: Would You Know What to Do?”
In the last few years, energy drinks have begun to offer strong competition to traditional "pick-me-up" drinks like tea or coffee. But while the proponents of energy drinks say they're not harmful, the jury's still out on their long-term health effects.
With that said, however, we may be closer to a definitive answer regarding oral health—and it's not good. The evidence from some recent studies doesn't favor a good relationship between energy drinks and your teeth.
For one, many energy drinks contain added sugar, which is a primary food source for the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Increased bacteria also increase your chances of dental disease.
Most energy drinks also contain high levels of acid, which can damage the enamel and open the door to advanced tooth decay. The danger is especially high when the mouth's overall pH falls below 5.5. Energy drinks and their close cousins, sports drinks, typically have a pH of 3.05 and 2.91, respectively, which is well within the danger zone for enamel.
A research group recently put the acidity of both types of beverages to the test. The researchers submerged samples of enamel into different brands of beverages four times a day for five days, to simulate a person consuming four drinks a day. Afterward, they examined the samples and found that those subjected to energy drinks lost an average 3.1 % of their volume, with sports drinks faring only a little better at 1.5%.
Although more research needs to be done, these preliminary results support a more restrained use of energy drinks. If you do consume these beverages, observing the following guidelines could help limit any damage to your teeth.
- Limit drinking to mealtimes—eating food stimulates saliva production, which helps neutralize acid;
- After drinking, rinse out your mouth with water—because of its neutral pH, water can help dilute concentrated acid in the mouth;
- Wait an hour to brush to give saliva a chance to remineralize enamel—brushing before then could cause microscopic bits of softened enamel to slough off.
There's one other alternative—abstain from energy drinks altogether. In the long run, that may turn out to be the best choice for protecting your oral health.
If you would like more information on the effects of sports or energy drinks on teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Think Before You Drink.”
Just a century ago a heavily decayed tooth was most likely a goner, but that all changed in the early 1900s when various treatments finally coalesced into what we now call root canal therapy. The odds have now flip-flopped—you're more likely to preserve a decayed tooth than to lose it.
By decay, we're not referring only to cavities in a tooth's enamel or outer dentin. That's just the start—decay can quickly spread deeper into the dentin close to the pulp, the central portion of a tooth containing bundles of nerves and blood vessels. It can then move into the tooth's pulp chamber, causing the pulp to die and producing infection that will eventually infect the surrounding supporting bone.
Root canal treatments are often a lifeline to a tooth in this perilous condition. After numbing the tooth and surrounding tissues with local anesthesia, we start the procedure by drilling a tiny hole to access the central pulp and root canals. We then use specialized tools to remove all of the infected tissue within these interior spaces.
After thoroughly disinfecting the tooth of any decay, we shape up the root canals for filling. We then inject a rubbery substance known as gutta percha and completely fill the tooth's resulting empty spaces. This filling helps to prevent a recurrence of infection within the tooth.
Once we've filled the tooth, we seal off the access hole to complete the procedure. You may experience a few days of mild discomfort, but it's usually manageable with over-the-counter pain relievers. Later, we'll cement a crown over the tooth: This provides additional protection against infection, as well as adds support to the tooth structure.
One more thing! You may have encountered the notion that undergoing a root canal is painful. We're here to dispel that once and for all—dentists take great care to ensure the tooth and the area around it are completely dead to pain. In fact, if you were experiencing a toothache beforehand, a root canal will alleviate the pain.
To get the best treatment outcome for tooth decay, it's important to uncover it as soon as possible. The earlier we begin treatment, the more likely we can bring your tooth back to good health.
If you would like more information on root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment.”
It's easy to assume our favorite performers were born with perfect looks. And, while that may be mostly true, many of them still put in a lot of time and expense to make themselves more attractive. One area in particular that gets a lot of focus from celebrities is their smile.
That's because even the most endearing famous smile may still have a few dental flaws. You'll often find a celebrity addressing those flaws to improve their physical appeal—and in ways not necessarily exclusive to the rich and famous. In fact, anyone could benefit from many of the same procedures the stars use to make their smiles more attractive.
Here, then, are 3 celebrities who addressed specific issues with their smile in ways that could benefit you.
Hugh Jackman. Best known as X-Men's Wolverine, Jackman says he once had a dentist look at his teeth and exclaim, "My God, you've got gray teeth." Fortunately, the dentist followed up his outburst with a viable solution: professional teeth whitening. Depending on the exact nature of a discoloration, having your teeth whitened by a dentist with a bleaching solution can turn up the brightness on a dingy smile. Jackman chose a professional application because it offered better control on the degree of whiteness.
Zac Efron. The famous actor who got his start in the movie High School Musical had a defect common among celebrities—a gap between his front teeth. While many celebs like Michael Strahan or Madonna choose to keep their trademark gap, others like Efron opt to lose it. He had his gap "closed" with porcelain veneers, thin shells of dental material that are bonded to teeth. If you have a slight gap that you'd like to close, veneers might be a great solution.
Celine Dion. This beautiful Canadian singing sensation has been going strong for three decades. Although she now looks stunning, she once had a smile only Dracula could love—elongated eye teeth that looked like fangs and overly large front teeth. Unlike our first two stars, though, Dion's experience was truly a "smile makeover" that included oral surgery, orthodontics and veneers. Even so, such a comprehensive smile upgrade is still within the realm of possibility for the average person.
These are just three of the many celebrities who've turned to cosmetic dentistry to improve their smiles. So can you! Visit us for a complete assessment of your smile needs, and we'll provide you options for making your wonderful smile even better.
If you would like more information about cosmetic dental options, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: Fix Your Smile With Veneers, Whitening and More.”
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