Tips for Keeping Your Toothbrush Clean

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In the fight against plaque and dental decay, a toothbrush is your most essential tool. While most of the patients at our Edmond dental office brush daily to keep their teeth clean, not as many clean their toothbrushes as regularly. Let’s look at the how and why you need to keep your toothbrush clean.

Bacteria and Your Toothbrush

Your mouth is host to millions if not billions of bacteria. When you brush your tongue and teeth, the food debris, bacteria, saliva, and toothpaste remain on your toothbrush. Studies have shown that even after rinsing a toothbrush off with water, it can still be contaminated with various microorganisms.

Researchers say that thousands of different microorganisms can grow the bristles and handle of a toothbrush. While many of these organisms are harmless and grow naturally in the mouth, some can cause illnesses.

Researchers say that no evidence suggests that using a toothbrush with normal bacteria will cause oral infections or other health problems. But it’s still a good idea to keep your toothbrush clean. After all, it goes in your mouth, so the fewer foreign substances, the better.

How to Disinfect Your Toothbrush

First, let’s start by saying you should never put your toothbrush in the microwave or the dishwasher. Both options may cause your toothbrush to melt or damage it somehow. Instead, try one of the following methods recommended by the dentists at our Edmond dental office:

UV sanitizer. One study showed that an ultraviolet toothbrush sanitizer is more effective at cleaning a toothbrush than an antiseptic mouthwash or saline. A UV light would be the gold standard for keeping your brush clean, but it is a little bit of an overkill.

Disinfecting solutions. Research has shown that soaking your toothbrush in a 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution will kill lingering bacteria.

To use and make this solution:

  • Mix 1 teaspoon of peroxide with a cup of water
  • Soak the bristles of your toothbrush in the solution for 15 minutes
  • Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly in clean water before using
  • If you decide to use this method, make sure you change the solution every day

For a more straightforward solution, you can also disinfect your toothbrush was swirling it in an antimicrobial mouthwash for 30 seconds. If you don’t have mouthwash, you can mix two teaspoons of baking soda into a cup of water instead.

Keeping Your Toothbrush Clean

By keeping your toothbrush after each use, you reduce the number of bacteria that can build up to cause you trouble.

Rinse with hot water. After brushing, take a few seconds to rinse your toothbrush with hot water. This will help to soften the bristles and release any lingering food particles or toothpaste. Rub your thumb over the bristles under the water, and then rinse the brush again in cold water so the bristles firm up.

Air dry your brush. A moist environment promotes the growth of bacteria like mold. Studies have shown that toothbrushes stored in a closed container, travel case, or cover have more bacteria when compared to brushes allowed to air dry. Ideally, the best place to store your toothbrush is standing up with the bristles fully exposed.

Tips

Store your toothbrush away from the toilet. Fine droplets of toilet water are propelled into the air every time you flush the toilet. These droplets can linger in the air for up to two hours, and it’s best not to think too hard about what they may contain. If you can’t move your toothbrush far away from the toilet, always shut the lid before flushing to minimize droplet spread.

Keep the area around your brush clean. It makes no sense to clean your brush if you lay it on a dirty surface once done. Use disposable wipes to keep the area around your brush free of dirt, dried toothpaste, and other slimy items that could contaminate.

Change your brush every 2 to 3 months. Daily use will wear down your toothbrush, making it less effective at cleaning your teeth. It’s a good idea to change out your brush every 2 to 2 months. If you need a new brush, we can provide you with one during your next visit to our Edmond dental office.

Vaping Poses a Serious Risk to Your Health

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As more research about vaping emerges, it’s becoming clear that the habit no longer offers the safer alternative to cigarette smoking as e-cigarette manufacturers maintain. In fact, at our Santa Fe dental office, we would counsel our patients to think of vaping and smoking as equally bad for their health. In addition to vaping causing users to inhale toxic metals, a new study now suggests that if you vape, you may be seriously jeopardizing your bone health.

Vaping a Dangerous Habit

While the number of Americans who smoke has continued to decline in recent years, vaping as a habit has increased in popularity largely due to the product’s marketing pitch as a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes.

However, in 2019 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hit the e-cigarette manufacturer Juul hard for making these erroneous claims. The agency questioned Juul for its practice of marketing their product as “modified risk tobacco products” since, as the science now clearly shows, it’s a controversial claim that’s not backed up by any solid research.

In reality, numerous studies actually indicate that the opposite is true. While vaping may not have the types of direct cause and effect relationship with cancer as smoking, the habit is no less dangerous to a user’s health.

Data now suggests a connection exists between vaping and a variety of health risks that include:

·  An increased risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

·  An increased risk of heart problems, according to a study published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

·  A potentially higher risk for cancer due to the toxic chemicals used in vape pens, as reported by the American Lung Association.

Based on this research, it’s clear why we recommend avoiding vaping to patients at our Santa Fe dental office.

How Does Vaping Impact Bone Health?

Traditional cigarette smoking is a well-established risk factor for the development of osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and increases the risk of a fracture, according to the National Institutes of Health.

In a recent study, published in the American Journal of Medicine Open, a team of researchers examined over 5,500 adults who vaped to determine whether the habit posed a similar risk. Their findings suggest that vaping “may be detrimental to bone health,” even in young adults. The study determined that individuals who vaped had a 46 percent higher risk of experiencing a bone fracture when compared to those who did not use e-cigarettes.

The research team also discovered that individuals who both smoke and vape actually have a higher risk of experiencing a fracture when compared to those who just smoke.

Vaping Undermines Your Oral Health

When bones weaken, it’s more than just breaking an arm or a leg you have to worry about. Your jawbone works as the underlying foundation on which your oral health is built. When bone loss occurs in the jaw, your teeth may start to loosen and eventually fall out.

As a habit, vaping not only attacks the foundation of your oral health, the harsh chemicals used in vaping liquids also destroys the soft tissue in the mouth. This combines to make vaping a serious challenge to your oral health. Not only does the habit weaken and destroy gum tissue, it also does the same to the jaw. This could lead to permanent tooth loss, troubling eating, or persistent oral pain.

For patients who thought vaping offered a safer solution, don’t be fooled by the marketing. The habit can do some serious damage, not only to your smile, but your body as well.

If you have any questions about the risks associated with vaping, make sure to ask for more information during your next visit to our Santa Fe dental office.

How Often Should You Really Floss?

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You don’t need to search for a “dentist office near me” on Google to know the importance of a healthy, great-looking smile. At Santa Fe Dental, our doctors provide patients with quality dental care their teeth and gums need to look and feel their best. However, quality dental care alone won’t help patients to prevent common oral health problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Patients also need to practice quality oral hygiene at home if they want to continue having a smile they can confidently show.

While most people make it a habit to brush their teeth at least once or twice a day, the majority of Americans skip out on flossing. Surveys conducted by the American Dental Association have shown that less than 50 percent of adults in the U.S. floss on a daily basis. Unfortunately, that means far more oral health problems and far more searches for a “dentist office near me.”

Let’s take a look flossing, why dentists say you need to do it, and just how often do you need to floss to make a difference to your oral health.

Why Bother Flossing in the First Place?

Flossing ranks as such an important habit because it does things that brushing cannot. Namely, it allows you to clean those hard to reach areas between your teeth and below the gum line. These areas of the mouth account for nearly 33 percent of the total surface area. By not flossing, you allow nearly 1/3rd of your mouth to go uncleaned.

When you fail to floss, you allow harmful oral bacteria to accumulate in the mouth. Plaque, a sticky biofilm comprised of food particles that linger in the mouth after eating and harmful oral bacteria, clings to the surface of your teeth and uses the sugars you consume to produce harmful acids that slowly erode tooth enamel. Given enough time, plaque contributes to the development of tooth decay and gum disease.

If you don’t consider flossing important to the long-term health of your teeth, consider this important fact – The most common place in the mouth for cavities to develop is actually between a patient’s teeth, the exact area you clean when flossing.

The Benefits of a Cleaner Mouth

A healthy mouth requires maintaining the right balance of good and bad bacteria. Good bacteria can help with digestion, promotes stronger teeth and gums, and works to prevent disease. Bad bacteria work to destroy tooth enamel and gum tissue.

When harmful bacteria are allowed to accumulate in-between your teeth and below the gum line, it begins to disrupt the balance of bacteria in the mouth. As plaque continues to buildup, your mouth will become far more susceptible to a variety of oral health problems. And since the mouth acts like a gateway to the rest of the body, the more harmful bacteria in the mouth the higher the risk becomes for you to develop a range of chronic health problems.

Studies have shown that individuals dealing with tooth decay and gum disease have a far higher chance for developing such disease as diabetes, hypertension, dementia, and even cancer.

So How Often Should You Floss?

Ideally, patients will floss at least once a day. The best time to floss is at night before bed and before you’ve brushed your teeth. It’s important to floss before brushing, as brushing will help displace any of the substances you dislodge from between your teeth from your mouth.

If you find it more convenient to brush at other times of day, that’s okay. What’s most important is that you floss at all, regardless of when and where. Flossing will keep you from needing to search for a “dentist near me” because you’re experiencing discomfort or problems with your oral health.

If you have any questions about the importance of flossing, what the habit can mean for your oral health, or the best methods for flossing, feel free to ask any member of our team during your next visit to Santa Fe Dental.

OSA Linked to a Higher Risk of Death

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At our family dentistry in Edmond, Oklahoma, our doctors offer patients with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) the opportunity to comfortably treat their sleep disorder. Many patients with OSA avoid receiving treatment because they’d rather avoid wearing a CPAP device. Fortunately, at our family dentistry in Edmond, Oklahoma, we offer patients an alternative to CPAP with Vivos, an innovative and nonintrusive option for treating sleep apnea.

Unlike CPAP, which requires the use of a facemask and hoses, Vivos treats sleep apnea without the need to use any machines. The treatment offers lasting results that have the potential for permanently correcting the underlying issues that cause OSA.

Getting treatment for OSA is incredibly important for patients that have a sleep disorder. In fact, it could be a matter of life or death.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Penn State College of Medicine found that people living with OSA have double the risk of experiencing sudden death when compared to those without OSA. Researchers also discovered that OSA, which is estimated to affect over 1 billion people worldwide, increases an individual’s risk of developing certain cardiovascular conditions that include congestive heart failure, coronary artery disease, and hypertension.

Untreated OSA can Have Deadly Consequences

As part of their study, researchers examined over 42,000 patients globally and conducted a systematic review of sleep apnea-related studies. Researchers discovered that patients with OSA have an increased risk of dying suddenly due to various causes, including cardiovascular death.

“Patients with sleep apnea experience shallow or interrupted breathing, which disrupts their sleep,” wrote the research team in their findings. “Our research shows this condition can be life-threatening. Those with OSA were at nearly double the risk of sudden death and cardiovascular mortality when compared to those without OSA.”

The data collected in the study suggests that OSA is linked with several cardiovascular issues that can result in death, including congestive heart failure and hypertension. Patients with untreated OSA experience oxidative stress, or a lack of available oxygen to the cells, which can contribute to an imbalance of antioxidants in the body. Over the years, this imbalance damages the cells and can work to quicken the aging process, leading to a variety of health problems.

“This study highlights the importance of appropriate prevention measures to reduce the incidence of OSA and OSA-related sudden death. Patients with this condition need to treat it like the matter of life and death that it is,” wrote researchers.

Protecting Your Long-Term Health

Considering the serious health issues linked to OSA, patients need to have their sleep disorder treated.

With Vivos, our doctors can offer patients a treatment option that doesn’t rely on uncomfortable masks and cumbersome hoses. This non-invasive option offers remarkable success for patients who experience troubled sleep due to anatomical issues that narrow the airway to impede their ability to breath. In roughly 98 percent of patients with OSA, the sleep disorder is the result of an abnormal anatomical feature of the soft tissues or a patient’s jawbone.

As an oral appliance therapy, Vivos works to gradually correct the underlying structural issues that cause a patient’s sleep disorder. By correcting these issues, Vivos offers a permanent solution for OSA in ways other treatment options cannot.

If you suffer from loud snoring and poor sleep, you need to schedule a consultation at our dentistry in Edmond, Oklahoma. Sleep apnea shouldn’t be taken lightly. Get the better night’s rest you deserve by contacting our team today.

Study Finds Dental Care Not a COVID Risk

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Even as vaccination rates continue to rise in the U.S., many patients may still feel uneasy about returning to see a family dentist in Edmond, Oklahoma for routine cleanings and exams. Nationally, the American Dental Association reports that only 80 percent of patients have returned to the dental chair following last year’s shutdown of most dental offices. According to surveys, a concern over contracting COVID has kept many patients from receiving the vital dental care they need to protect the health of their teeth and gums.

While getting vaccinated against the coronavirus dramatically lowers an individual’s risk of contracting the virus, notable breakthrough cases – when a vaccinated patient still contracts a virus – in sports and entertainment have continued to stoke concerns over engaging in activities that increase the risk of contracting COVID. To many patients, visiting a family dentist in Edmond, Oklahoma remains too risky.

The results of a new study may hopefully help to alleviate patient concern. According to researchers from Ohio State University, dental treatment won’t put a patient at risk of contracting COVID.

“Getting your teeth cleaned does not increase your risk for COVID-19 infection any more than drinking a glass of water from your dentist’s office does,” wrote the research team in their findings.

Public health professionals hope the result of this study will help patients overcome any concerns they may have about visiting the dentist now that the pandemic is nearly at an end.

Dental Care Doesn’t Present a COVID Risk

Since COVID-19 primarily spreads through the inhalation of airborne droplets, concerns have persisted throughout the pandemic that saliva released during a dental procedure could help to spread the virus.

To assess the validity of that concern, researchers analyzed the genetic makeup of organisms found in air samples collected during a variety of dental procedures.

Researchers discovered that the water solution from dental tools – not saliva – was the primary source of any bacteria or viruses in the splatter or spurts from the mouths of patients. Even when low levels of the virus were discovered in the saliva samples, the aerosols created during dental work showed no signs of the coronavirus, reported the research team.

This study shows conclusively that COVID simply doesn’t spread during dental care. The aerosolized droplets produced during routine dental work don’t carry the virus and are incapable of infecting a patient or dental care worker.

When coupled with the increased safety precautions taken at our office, it becomes clear that patients have no reason to avoid visiting a family dentist in Edmond, Oklahoma.

In fact, research shows that avoiding dental care is actually the biggest threat to a patient’s health.

Avoiding Dental Care a Serious Risk

As we’ve covered before on our Santa Fe Dental blog, the state of a patient’s oral health greatly influences their overall health. Decades worth of research have found that patients with tooth decay, gum disease, or who are missing teeth have a significantly higher risk for developing a range of chronic health conditions that include heart disease, diabetes, dementia, stroke, and even cancer.

Additionally, more recent research has found that the last year has placed a great deal of strain on many patient’s oral health. The added stress generated by the pandemic has caused dentists across the country to see far more patients dealing with cracked or broken teeth – conditions commonly caused by teeth grinding and clenching.

Even if your teeth haven’t suffered from pandemic related stress, skipping out on dental care can seriously impact the health of your teeth and gums. Studies have shown that many people are simply not giving their teeth the attention they need over the last year. Working from home, combined with pandemic-related depression, has led many people to stop brushing and flossing like before.

A dip in your daily oral hygiene routine allows plaque to build up on the surface of your teeth and along the gum line. During dental cleanings, our hygienists work to remove plaque before it can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Skipping out on your yearly cleanings means allowing plaque to remain and your oral health to suffer as a result.

Hopefully the results of this latest study will provide nervous patients peace of mind when it comes to returning to the dentist. We hope you know that your health and safety will always remain our top priority, and we look forward to seeing all of your faces real soon at Santa Fe Dental.