One Way to Improve Gum Health Gum disease is so common and often happens so gradually, most people don’t know they have it. It can also have serious long term consequences if left to progress unchecked, so it’s important to know what signs to look for and how to prevent it. Here is one way to improve gum health that’s surprisingly simple.

Oral Hygiene’s Best Kept Secret (That’s Not a Secret)

It may sound too good to be true, but one of the most effective ways to improve your gum health is to floss. Dentists recommend flossing daily to keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean of food debris and plaque. Flossing can reach lots of areas that brushing alone cannot, which is important because it’s those hidden and hard-to-reach areas where plaque and tartar can accumulate and lead to cavities.

Why Do My Gums Bleed if Flossing is Good for Them?

It probably seems counterintuitive to do something that makes your gums bleed with the hope that it’s going to improve the health of your gums, but that’s exactly why it’s important. If you haven’t flossed regularly in a while and your gums bleed, it’s a sign that they are inflamed or unhealthy, and gum inflammation is usually caused by exposure to bacteria. This one way to improve gum health makes all the difference in the world. Food debris and plaque can stick to teeth, especially in the areas between teeth, and become a safe harbor for bacteria to thrive and erode the enamel or outer surface layer of the tooth as well as irritate your gums. When you brush and floss your teeth, it helps to keep this bacteria off your teeth and away from your gums, protecting them from inflammation and infection. As you get into a regular daily habit of brushing and flossing, your gums should soon become healthier, less tender, and less prone to bleed.

When to Talk to a Dentist About Your Gums

Now that we’ve talked about flossing as one way to improve your gum health, you’re probably feeling fairly confident about your home care routine. That’s great! It’s also important to follow up with your dentist, especially if you’re noticing signs of inflammation like bleeding, to ensure that there isn’t any preexisting infection or tooth decay below the gum line. A professional dental cleaning is also a great idea, along with an exam, to help give your gums a head start on the road to good health. During a professional cleaning, the dental hygienist can clean along and under the gum line with a pressurized water tool, if needed, to help deep clean areas that may have gone unreached by brushing or flossing.

How to Floss Correctly

It’s true that one way to improve gum health is to floss and it’s crucial to make sure you’re doing it correctly, so here’s some simple instructions. Cut 14-18 inches of floss. It seems like a lot, but it’s important to have a fresh, clean section of floss for each tooth. Wrap the floss loosely around the middle fingers on both hands, then use your index fingers and thumbs, with about 2 inches of floss stretched between them, to control the floss and guide it between each tooth and back and forth under your gum line. Your dentist will also be happy to demonstrate the correct way to floss and answer any questions you may have at your next visit, so don’t hesitate to ask for help! Many people don’t floss or don’t floss correctly, so they’ll be glad to hear you’re flossing and glad you asked. Call our Leawood Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health. The Benefits of Mouthwash Brushing and flossing are great for your teeth, but is there more? Let’s talk about the benefits of mouthwash and why it can be a great addition to your oral home care routine. Here are 5 benefits of mouthwash and why they matter.

1. It Freshens Your Breath

This is probably the most common reason that many people use mouthwash. Mouthwash is super refreshing and leaves your breath smelling great. Fresh breath is important for making a good impression whether you’re chatting with a client for business or meeting a date for dinner or drinks.

2. It Washes Away Plaque and Food Debris

More than just making your mouth feel and smell fresh, mouthwash actually helps to clean your teeth and mouth by washing away plaque and food debris. Mouthwash is a great last step after brushing and flossing in the morning, but it can also be used as a stand-in that you can keep in your purse or bag when you’re unable to get to a sink to brush your teeth after a meal. Mouthwash doesn’t replace the cleaning power of brushing and flossing, so it’s still just as important to brush your teeth as soon as possible after you eat.

3. It Adds Fluoride

Some mouthwashes contain fluoride, so be sure to check the active ingredients label if you’re looking for the benefits of mouthwash that you can get from added fluoride. Fluoride is useful for fighting decay and preventing cavities because it works to remineralize and protect your teeth. If you suffer from tooth sensitivity to hot or cold foods or sweets, fluoride may help for this same reason.

4. It Kills Bacteria

Many mouthwashes contain antiseptic ingredients that work to help you fight bacteria. Did you know that there are billions of bacteria in your mouth and that bacteria in your mouth is what causes bad breath, cavities and gum disease? Your saliva naturally fights that bacteria, but sometimes the food and drinks that we consume, especially sugary or acidic ones, can throw off the delicate pH balance leading to the bacteria that causes these problems having the upper hand, and your body needs some help fighting to restore balance.

5. It Reduces Inflammation

Because mouthwash helps to fight bacteria, it can also help to reduce inflammation in your gums and the rest of your mouth. Inflammation may be caused by neglect of oral hygiene or irritation from dental appliances like dental bridges, braces or retainers because they can be prone to attracting and holding bacteria in places that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush and floss. Mouthwash can help to reduce this bacteria and the resulting inflammation.

Talk to Your Dentist

If you’re considering using mouthwash, it’s a good time to talk to your dentist about the benefits of mouthwash and which kind might most benefit you. Your dentist can help you determine which ingredients to look for to best address your needs and compliment your oral hygiene routine. Call our Leawood Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health. 5 Ways to Improve Oral Hygiene Taking time to improve oral hygiene can be well worth the investment in your oral health, and will pay off over time. So what are some strategic changes you can make to your oral hygiene routine to improve your oral hygiene?

1. Brush Better

Making the most of your toothbrushing routine can go a long way to improving oral hygiene. It isn’t enough to just hit all the main areas in the mouth with the toothbrush, thorough and careful brushing can eliminate more plaque and bacteria than a quick brush around would. Time yourself, ensuring you brush for at least a full 2 minutes. One fun way to accomplish this is jamming out to your favorite tune, as most songs are roughly 2-3 minutes long. Using brushing apps, electronic toothbrushes, all can give the old toothbrush a bit of a glow up.

2. Floss Consistently

Flossing is even more important, knowing that brushing alone doesn’t reach the most important places at risk for the most cavities. To improve oral hygiene, being thorough is the foundational goal. A good brushing does a lot, but floss reaches in those tight, hard to reach spaces your brush just can’t hit. Flossing thoroughly after a good brush can give your mouth a refreshing clean that brightens your day and your smile.

3. Use The Right Tools

Depending on your needs and situation, you may need different tools for a cleaner mouth. Denture users still need to clean their mouth, but a good gentle brush will go a long way. Folks with braces may need special tools to reach between brackets and wires. Depending on your needs, ask your dentist what tools will make the difference in taking the time to improve your oral hygiene routine.

4. Eat Well

As much as hearing this from mothers, doctors, and other loving friends and family, that you need to eat well seems to really put a damper on grabbing that last cupcake, eating well really does have its benefits. This doesn’t mean the occasional treat should be skipped at all times, but that prioritizing fresh produce, and avoiding too much sugar and acid can help keep your teeth clean, and your mouth healthy! Enjoy those treats, but in moderation, and always followed by great oral hygiene!

5. Drink Well

Soda, energy drinks, sugary teas, all can have a detrimental impact on your teeth, as they contain the perfect cocktail of enamel softening acids and sugars. Water and milk are both wholesome alternatives that support excellent oral health. Water especially can improve oral hygiene, as it washes away food debris and plaque producing bacteria with every cold sip. Call our Leawood Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health. What Are Dental Implants? Losing a tooth to injury, decay, or other factors has been an issue throughout all of man’s history. Dentures have been the traditional answer to tooth loss, but dental implants have become the new standard for tooth replacement. So, what are dental implants? Are you a candidate for this tooth loss solution?

Like Natural Teeth

Dental Implants are fixed in place by a titanium screw that acts as the new tooth’s root. Over time this screw may fuse with the bone in the jaw, creating a permanent fixture to replace lost teeth. This solution can give a patient natural feeling and functioning teeth that don’t slip or move within the mouth. This long term solution seems ideal for patients who have lost teeth.

How Does the Procedure Work?

Each patient may expect a full dental exam prior to the procedure. This helps to inform later discussions about your needs and situation. Patients may be expected to review medical history as well, so that the oral surgeon can be aware of any specific concerns or situations. Lastly, the oral surgeon may present a treatment plan, with details for your specific case.

Are You a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Many patients may be a good candidate for dental implants. Some of the criteria can include whether or not the patient has healthy gums, and their jaws have stopped growing. Each patient will need healthy bone to anchor each implant. If the situation calls for it, the oral surgeon may suggest bone grafts to ensure the implant has a strong sturdy structure for placement.

Implants Take Time

There may be several visits to your oral surgeon both to prepare for, plan, and carry out your treatment plan. Ask your oral surgeon any questions you may have during your appointments, so that you can be well prepared for each step as you continue your journey to a healthy smile. Call our Leawood Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health. 7 Flossing Facts When a dentist mentions brushing every day, not far behind they mention flossing too. Why is flossing so important? Does it really make a difference? Here are 7 flossing facts sure to give you the inside scoop on what makes flossing so great!

1. Not All Floss Is The Same

One of the most important flossing facts is that not all floss is the same. Floss can come in all different shapes and sizes, including dental tape, a wider floss that is helpful for those with wider gaps in between their teeth. Also it comes in waxed or unwaxed, waxed being more suitable to slide through the close spaces between teeth. There are also flossing piks that can help reach a little more easily than traditional floss string. Knowing your mouth, and what you need, can help you choose floss that will help you do your best when flossing.

2. Flossing Cleans Your Mouth More

With toothbrushing alone, you may clean up to 70% of your mouth. With flossing, you can increase the areas you clean just by getting into those gaps and spaces, getting a much larger percentage of your mouth area fresh and clean!

3. Keep it Up

Don’t be put off by tenderness or a little bleeding in the gums with irregular flossing. The more you floss, the less that may happen. Do let your dentist know if you are concerned at any time by these symptoms, and they may be able to help you determine the cause.

4. Don’t Skimp

Another important tidbit in the lineup of flossing facts: When flossing, string should be between 18 and 20 inches of floss. Don’t be afraid to use a string long enough to be securely wound about your fingers, and able to reach into every little space.

5. Flavors Abound!

Floss includes many different flavors, not just mint. There’s a little something for everyone, from bacon to bubblegum.

6. Flossing Is for Everyone

People with braces can floss too! Your orthodontist may be able to recommend the best tools to help you do the job as well as you can! Don’t let orthodontia get in the way of these flossing facts, and ask your orthodontist to show you the best way to keep your beautiful smile clean!

7. Freshen Up

If you remember any flossing facts, remember this as well, flossing has more benefits than preventing tooth decay. It can also combat bad breath, by clearing away food particles that can leave an unpleasant smell. Want fresher breath? Floss well two times a day. Call our Leawood Dental Office to make an appointment with a dentist who may be able to help you find out more about this topic, and improve your oral health.