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The Different Kinds of Floss and Choosing the Best One for You

Did you know that there isn’t just one kind of floss that you can buy and use?

Most people only think to purchase the typical small plastic container of nylon floss – and that is perfectly okay. But there are other types of floss that might not only be more effective, but may also suit your lifestyle better, encouraging you to actually floss daily.

Why flossing is important

Before we get into the tools for flossing, let’s discuss why flossing is necessary.

Study after study has shown the effectiveness of interdental cleaning, and just how healthy teeth and gums can be when patients take the time to floss daily. This particular study examined twins who were given different flossing regimens, and found that the twin who flossed daily had significantly less bacteria that was associated with periodontal disease and reduced plaque.

If flossing can greatly reduce of the risk of gum disease, why wouldn’t you want to do it daily?

Different flossing tools

There are a variety of ways to floss your teeth, and there is no reason why you can’t use more than one type of tool. Traditional nylon yarn floss can be great for traveling, but while at home you may want to enjoy the benefits of an electric irrigation device. People with braces need something different, and children can be especially picky with tools, too.

Waxed & Unwaxed Floss

These nylon yarns are the most popular type of floss because they’re inexpensive and easy to use. They’re great for traveling since they are small, and the benefits are still vastly greater than if you were to not floss at all.

Some people may prefer a waxed floss with a minty flavor to give them a cleaner feeling, or to freshen their breath while traveling without mouthwash. Waxed floss may also be easier for people whose gaps in their teeth are tight.

Dental Tape

For those with wider gaps in their teeth, dental tape is a better option. They are thicker than traditional floss, so it’s better for cleaning in between teeth that are more spaced apart from each other.

Superfloss and Floss Threaders

Different tools with similar purposes, these are perfect for individuals who need more control because of implants or braces. Superfloss is thin yet stiff, allowing you to guide through special dental work, and a floss threader helps you push traditional floss with more accuracy and control.

Floss Picks and Holders

This “Y” shape tool is great for children who have trouble using their fingers to guide floss through their teeth. It’s also great for people who cannot fit their fingers in their mouths for whatever reason.

These holders may be easier to use, but they’re generally not as effective as traditional tools. It’s harder to achieve the “c” motion around a single tooth, which is the preferred method of flossing. But, again, any floss is better than none!

Interdental Brushes and Swabs

Much like dental tape, this tool is great for people who have wider gaps in their teeth that need cleaning. But these tools are also great for cleaning in between braces and bridges from food debris. You can find ones with bristles at the end, similar to the strands of a toothbrush, or ones with a thin sponge.

Be sure to purchase brushes that are coated so that they are not damaging to your braces.

Rubber Tip and Gum Stimulators

It’s not uncommon for people to not feel completely clean just using floss, seeing how traditional floss cleans primarily in between your teeth. A gum stimulator, as you may have seen in your dentist’s office, is a tool that offers better cleaning in your gum lines.

When combined with your regular floss and brushing routine, this tool is generally used last before rinsing to remove any leftover debris and plaque.

Oral Irrigators

This electronic tool sends a stream or pulsating stream of water in a jet-like method into a targeted area of your mouth. This method of flossing can get a little messy, so it’s recommended you use this tool over a sink.

Water jet cleaning may have the same benefits as traditional flossing, like debris and plaque removal, but recent studies have shown additional benefits for folks with a greater risk of gingival diseases. Water flossing was proven to be more effective at reducing bleeding caused by various mouth diseases and reducing bacteria associated with them, too.

Knowing the right ones to purchase

As always, you can work with your dental care team to find the right tools for your situation. But if you’re shopping on your own at a local retailer, be sure to look for the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Acceptance on the packaging.

If you need a consultation with a dentist, you can book your appointment with us by contacting us here or calling us today at 562-434-6414.

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How You Can Make Time to Better Care for Your Teeth?

When half of American adults suffer from some varying degree of gum disease, it’s no secret that people struggle with caring for their oral health.

With a busy schedule, it’s hard for many to find the time to go to the dentist and floss in between hectic work lives and commuting to soccer fields for their children. But if you intend to talk, eat, and smile without any issues in the future, then you’ve got to make time now for taking better care of your teeth and gums.

Here are some of our suggestions that may help you find the time you need to care for your teeth properly and effectively…

Use mobile apps for education and setting a routine

Proper care at home usually just starts with getting the right information at your fingertips. But if you also struggle with reminding yourself to carve out time to brush your teeth, then the mobile app Brush DJ might be for you. The core function of the app is to help you make sure you’re brushing for at least two minutes, by not only providing a timer, but also by playing music to make the experience more fun. You can also set daily reminders to brush your teeth and to visit the dentist, and it also has a library of instructional videos for proper methods of cleaning.

Of course, you can always use your default calendar and alarm app on your phone too. If you use a calendar to manage your daily schedule, then find 15-minute openings in your evenings to make time for brushing, flossing and general oral care. You can also use a daily to-do list if you get satisfaction from crossing a task off your list.

Schedule your appointments in advance

Many dental offices allow you to schedule appointments months in advance. The benefit to doing this is to allow you to schedule around your appointment, rather than fitting your appointment into an already-crazy schedule. Select two days out of the coming year for your biannual appointments, talk to your dental team, and add them to your calendar.

Also, while many offices will already do this, you may ask to be reminded of your appointments a week or so in advance. That way, if you have missed it on your calendar, you’ll have a week to rearrange your schedule if you happened to have overbooked that day.

Schedule your appointments at the beginning of the day

If you book your time at the dental office earlier in the day, the likelier you are to make your appointment and then still get what you need done the remainder of the day. Our offices are conveniently open at 7:00am for those early birds!

Get affordable dental insurance

Another reason why people may not make the effort to see a dentist is because they don’t have dental insurance. At the end of 2016, an estimated 77% of the population had some kind of dental health coverage, which is better than in the previous years, but that still means that some 74 million Americans do not have dental insurance.

Even if your employer does not offer dental insurance, or you’re a senior who can’t get it through Medicare, there are still options available to you. There are various marketplaces online and brokers in your city that can help you find the plan to best fit your financial situation and needs. eHealth and Dental for Everyone are great places to start browsing through available plans in your area.

Another way to start your search is by reaching out to a local dental office and talking with them on the insurance plans they accept, and then researching online ways to apply.

Realize that your oral health is of utmost importance

Another factor for why people may not encourage themselves to make time for the dentist, is because they simply don’t prioritize it.

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What is Fluoride Treatment and is it Necessary?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that appears in the water and food we eat, and it’s so omnipresent that you might be led to believe that you’re getting enough of it to enjoy all its wonderful benefit. However, that’s not often not the case!

A fluoride treatment may be necessary for those who are at risk for cavities and tooth decay.

Treatment is simple, and will vary depending on your situation. Some treatments are just topical applications of a gel-like substance on your teeth, and others may be pills or medical-grade fluoride water if your particular case calls for it. Most patients may require just one or two treatments per year.

Who needs fluoride treatments?

Any patient who has had cavities in the past or is at risk for future cavities should consider speaking to their dentist about fluoride treatments. These people may be those who:

  • Are children or young teens
  • Are those with poor oral hygiene
  • Have a family or genetic history of dental issues
  • Live in places where fluoride isn’t common in the water source
  • Have eating disorders or are malnourished
  • Are drug or heavy alcohol abusers
  • Are undergoing radiation around the mouth, or chemotherapy
  • Have no access to dental insurance or ongoing dental care

Everyon’s case is different, so it’s important to talk with your dentist to see if you’re a risk for tooth decay.

Is fluoride safe?

A common misconception that many have about this mineral is that abnormal amounts of it can be cancerous or dangerous to your health. While it’s true that an intensely high exposure to anything can be detrimental, ample research around this topic has proven that fluoride is perfectly safe for human use and that there is no direct link between fluoride and cancer.

In fact, the CDC considers the fluoridation of drinking water to be one of the top 10 greatest public health achievements of the 20th century in the U.S. However, with the use of bottled water on the rise these days, people are drinking less tap water and thus not getting enough fluoride as they used to.

One way to think about fluoride’s benefits is to consider that fluoride is to your teeth as chlorine is to swimming pools. Without chlorine, a whole host of bacteria and possible diseases can grow in the swimming pool’s water. However, with a little bit of chlorine and cleaning, these dangers are greatly reduced. That’s similar to how fluoride works on your teeth – it cleans off the damaging bacteria and helps keep your mouth healthy!

If you’d like to speak to us more about fluoride treatments or if you’re ready to add this to your dental care regimen, please contact us here or call 562-434-6414.

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What You Need to Know About Oral Cancer?

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and we’re doing our part to make sure you’re educated on the risks and treatment surrounding this disease.

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, “Close to 49,750 Americans will be diagnosed with oral oropharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 9,750 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 49,750 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years.”

Those are some pretty astonishing stats. Oral cancer may not be one of the most common cancers, but its seriousness cannot be understated.

The high death rate is not necessarily due to the difficulty of diagnosing or treating the cancer. Rather, it’s because oral cancer is generally discovered late into the disease’s development. As it is with any cancer, early detection is essential for the patient to overcome this disease and to continue living a happy and full life.

Additional Facts About Oral Cancer

Here are some other important facts about oral cancer to keep in mind:

  • The median age of diagnosis is 62 years old
  • A high percentage of deaths occur within the 55-64 age group
  • Men are twice as likely to develop the cancer
  • Approximately 90% of oral cancer patients have used tobacco
  • Oral cancers makes up approximately 85% of all head and neck cancers

Risk Factors

There are several factors that increase your risk of contracting oral cancer, which include:

  • Tobacco use (e-cigs, cigarettes, pipes, chewing, dip, etc.)
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Abnormally high sun exposure
  • Family history of cancer
  • Having HPV
  • Chewing on betel nuts

It’s important to note that even if you’re not a smoker, it is still very possible for you to contract this disease. Lowered exposure to any of the risk factors above may lower your risk of getting cancer, but it does not mean you should not get checked by a health professional.

Signs and Symptoms

Here’s what to look out for when it comes to oral cancer:

  • Sores in the mouth that will not go away
  • Unexplained bleeding or numbness in the mouth
  • Appearance of white and red speckles in the mouth
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • Hoarseness, change in voice, and soreness in the throat
  • An unexplained shift in your teeth or jawline

Remember that in some cases of a cancer diagnosis, signs and symptoms may not appear until later in the development of the cancer. If you find that you’re at a higher risk for contracting the disease and are starting to experience some of the symptoms above, make an appointment with your dentist immediately.

Diagnosis

The process for diagnosing oral cancer does not differ much from other cancers. The first step is to set up an appointment with your dentist to discuss your concerns. The dentist will look at your symptoms and determine whether your symptoms are caused by some other issue that may exist. If no such cause is found, they may refer you to an ear, nose, and throat specialist to run more tests.

Depending on what the specialist finds, a biopsy may be ordered. A CT scan, endoscopy, or MRI may also be ordered for accuracy. In a biopsy, a sample of your tissue is sent to a pathologist for further examination. A report is sent to your specialist, and that combined with the results from other tests like a CT scan will help the doctor determine whether you have oral cancer.

Has the cancer spread to other areas of the body and to your lymph nodes? Is the cancer from a different part of your body that has spread to your mouth? How early or advanced is the cancer? All of these questions will be answered through this diagnosis process.

Treatment and Prevention

The stage at which your cancer is at will determine the path for treatment. Some patients may only require radiation, which is the use of high-energy waves targeted at tumors and cancerous cells. Otherwise, for those who have discovered their cancer later in the disease’s development, you may need to undergo chemotherapy.

The length of treatment is different for everyone, but patients with early stage cancer may expect at least one to two months of daily treatment. If you’re undergoing radiation, you can expect side effects to appear after one or two weeks, and the severity differs for everyone. Your oncologist will go over what to expect and how to treat the pain and symptoms from treatment.

If your cancer is at an advanced stage, or if the cancer comes back after treatment, sometimes surgery is required to remove the affected tissues.

Preventing oral cancer is about limiting your exposure to the aforementioned dangers. Other measures you can take include:

  • Stop smoking and using tobacco products
  • Limit alcohol intake
  • Wear chapstick with sunscreen or lipstick with UV protection
  • Eat healthier, adding broccoli and mushrooms to your diet
  • Get regular STD tests to check for HPV

If you believe you’re at risk for oral cancer, do regular check-ups at home and with your dentist. Check often for sores and visit your dentist regularly!

Need to set an appointment? Contact us here or call 562-434-6414.

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Do You Have Dental Anxiety?

Do you get anxious just thinking about going to the dentist? Does the idea scare you so much that you haven’t had your teeth checked out by a professional in almost a decade? Well, you’re not alone.

Dental anxiety, or the fear of receiving dental work or going to the dentist – sometimes referred to as dental phobia or odontophobia if the condition is serious – is pretty common. In one study, it was estimated that about 58.8% of people have some degree of dental anxiety, and that it was slightly more prevalent in women.

Having anxiety isn’t the problem, but not getting treated because of it is. The CDC conducted a study that found that over 64 million U.S. adults (over the age of 30) had periodontitis – an infection that can destroy gums and jawlines. That’s only slightly less than half the U.S. adult population, which is pretty serious.

To make sure you have good oral health for years to come, you need to visit the dentist regularly. Depending on the condition of your health, it is suggested you go into a dental office about twice a year. Here’s how you can overcome your fears and get your teeth checked:

  • Get a diagnosis from a health professional: You can book an appointment with a dental office to simply receive a consultation. No tools or medication needed! There, you and the dentist can discuss your dental anxiety, and depending on the severity of your condition, the dentist may refer you to a specialized clinic to get an official diagnosis. It’s important to know whether you have an anxiety or a phobia, which is more severe and requires a different path to treatment. Simply understanding where you’re starting at is a great first step in overcoming this.
  • Go with family or friends to their dental visits: Tag along with someone when they go to their next dental appointment so you can see firsthand that it doesn’t have to be a scary experience. This won’t be a magic fix for your anxiety, but it’s a great exercise that can help relieve some of your fears!
  • Find a dental anxiety support group: Because it is so common to have it, support groups exist in just about every corner of the U.S. You can either search online for one in your city, or call any local dental office to see if they can refer you to one.
  • Do some meditation exercises before your visit: We may not be mental health professionals, but we all know that meditation and breathing exercises have helped people with anxiety for a myriad of issues. There is plenty of content online on how mindfulness exercises have helped others deal with dentist visits.
  • Find your best distraction tool: Many of us have a few things that can completely take over our focus. For some, it’s a good audiobook or a conversation with a loved one. But the power of music is often used to reduce stress in many situations, both at home and across various health and therapy practices. Dentists will often encourage patients to bring earbuds and listen to music, and many offices provide TVs in the rooms that you can watch. Having these kinds of distractions while getting your oral exam can help with pain and fear management.

Need to talk to a dentist about your anxiety? We’re here to help! Click here or call us today at 562-434-6414.

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How to Handle a Dental Emergency

When something goes wrong and we have a dental emergency, it’s easy to panic. But it’s important to take a deep breath, and remember that there are things you can do to help save your teeth! Here are some great tips for frequent dental emergencies…

I’ve Knocked out a Tooth
When adult or permanent teeth are knocked out, be sure to keep it moist. If possible, return it to the socket but don’t let it touch the root. If you can’t put it back, place the tooth on the inside of your cheek or into a container of milk. Then pay a visit to your dentist as soon as possible!

My Tooth is Cracked
First, cleanse the area by rinsing your mouth immediately with warm water. Then put a cold compress on your face to help keep the swelling down and make an appointment with your dentist for a more permanent solution.

I Have a Toothache
There could be a few reasons for your toothache, but there are a few things you can do before your next dental appointment. Rise your mouth with warm water to cleanse it, then gently floss to remove any debris caught between your teeth. Feel free to take a painkiller, but do not put aspirin onto the aching tooth or onto the gum tissues!

I’ve Bitten Myself
If you’ve bitten your tongue, lip, or the inside of your cheek, clean the bitten area gently with warm water. Then apply a cold compress to decrease the swelling. If you’re bleeding a lot, apply pressure to the wound and if you think you need stitches, it’s time to go to the emergency room.

It’s important to keep in mind that if you are in excruciating pain or your wound is bleeding profusely and won’t stop, you should go to the emergency room for immediate medical assistance. If these temporary solutions do work, remember that they are temporary and you still need to make an appointment with your dentist.

If you have more questions on what to do in a dental emergency or to make an appointment for a more beautiful smile, call our office today at (562) 434-6414.

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Common Clues That You Have an Infected Tooth

Even if you take great care of your teeth, you can still get the occasional toothache. But how do you know if it’s something serious? We’ve all heard horror stories of dangerous tooth infections that turn deadly, so it’s important to know what to look out for.

An infected tooth, or tooth abscess, is caused by bacterial infection that can occur for many different reasons. The most frequent causes include an untreated cavity, an injury, or even prior dental work. But there are several measures that dentists take in the face of tooth infections, so don’t worry yet! We’ve put together a simple list of what to look for when it comes to an abscessed or infected tooth:

Clues and Symptoms of Tooth Infection:

  • Hot and cold temperature sensitivity
  • Pressure sensitivity with chewing or biting
  • Swelling in your cheeks or face
  • Fever
  • Swollen or tender lymph nodes around your jaw or neck
  • Persistent, severe, throbbing toothache (may radiate through the jaw, ear, or neck)
  • A sudden rush of foul, salty fluid in your mouth (particularly if followed by pain relief if the abscess has ruptured)

If you have any of these signs or symptoms, we strongly recommend a visit to your dentist.

However, if you experiencing face swelling and a fever and you cannot reach your dentist, it’s time to go to an emergency room. You should also head to the ER if you’re having trouble with swallowing or breathing. These particular symptoms could indicate that your infection has spread to other areas of your body, and you should seek immediate medical assistance even if your dentist is unavailable.

If you’re concerned that you or a loved one has a tooth infection or you’re interested in taking preventative measures to avoid these dangerous abscesses, call our office to schedule an appointment at (562) 434-6414.

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Does Your Practice Stand out

In this dental podcast with DENTAL UP, Dr. Coates discusses his successes in excellent customer service and how he stands out as the quality professional that clients choose above all the rest in Long Beach, CA! In this podcast, Dr. Coates sinks his teeth into topics such as his dental background, his passion for dentistry, as well as the tremendous impact of online reviews from happy clients.

Listen in now:

Do you have questions for Dr. Coates, or want to set up an appointment to see how he can help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile? Call our office today at (562) 434-6414!

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How to Prevent Yellow Teeth

Yellowing teeth has many causes, from what you eat and drink to your age. By understanding what colors you teeth, you’ll be able to keep them whiter than ever! And if your teeth are already yellow or discolored, we also have some tips on how to whiten them.

Preventing Yellow Teeth

Avoiding coffee, soda, and smoking helps prevent discolored teeth as well as any other staining materials like wine, energy drinks, hard candies, and sauces made from berries, tomatoes, and soy. Basically if it can stain your shirt or carpet, it will also stain your teeth. Using a straw to drink will help reduce the damage, and we also recommend drinking plain water after consuming something acidic to help minimize the acid’s erosion. Flossing and brushing your teeth will also help prevent discoloration!

Whitening Discolored Teeth

Daily flossing and brushing can lighten yellow teeth gradually, but other treatments exist for more immediate results. Discoloration is usually responsive to bleaching, which can be done professionally by your dentist or by purchasing a DIY over-the-counter whitening treatment. A professional whitening done by your dentist is typically the most effective way to brighten your smile, and the results tend to be better and last longer than DIY solutions. Furthermore, it’s important to continue to maintain your teeth and take preventative measures such as avoiding certain foods and drinks after a whitening treatment to avoid future discoloration.

To find out what treatment is right for you, consult your dentist or call our office to schedule your next appointment at (562) 434-6414.

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Top 5 Questions About Invisalign

If you’re considering the Invisalign solution to correct your teeth, you’ve probably wondered about these common questions before. Some of them you might even be too embarrassed to ask your dentist! But don’t worry, we’re here to get you the answers you need:

1. Does it hurt?

Some people do experience pain when using Invisalign, due to the oftentimes odd shapes that it conforms to inside your mouth. However, you can consult with your dentist to file down any sharp edges that are bothering you. If you’re more interested in a DIY method, some people use wax to cover rough or sharp edges on the aligners. However, we recommend having a chat with your dentist to see what will work best for you!

2. Will I talk funny?

While Invisalign is custom-molded to your teeth, it’s still a foreign object in your mouth that will take some getting used to at first. It can affect your speech, sometimes causing a slight lisp that some find noticeable and others don’t. Ultimately, the more you speak with the aligner in, the faster you’ll adjust. If it’s been weeks and your lisp hasn’t gone away, speak with your dentist – as it may be a sign that your aligners aren’t fitting correctly.

3. Can I still kiss people?

One of the biggest concerns we’ve heard about Invisalign is if it’ll affect romance! And the answer is… it depends. Some people find that it doesn’t change a thing, while others encounter more of a struggle. Most of that is embarrassment, such as worrying your significant other will be bothered by it. But a kiss is a kiss, and your loved one probably won’t even notice. People have been smooching with brackets in their mouths for years, and there are some things in life that just won’t be stopped!

4. How long does it take to see results?

On average, it takes about a year for adults to complete their Invisalign course. However, you’ll start noticing results much sooner than that! It typically takes 2-3 months for most patients to see results, and not much longer before others notice as well.

5. How much does Invisalign cost?

There are two primary factors that dentists need to consider for the cost of your Invisalign. First is the treatment’s complexity, which means that the more extensive the corrections are, the longer the treatment time and the more aligner trays will be needed. This results in additional expense.

The second factor to consider is aftercare. You may need things like bite guards, retainers, and bite adjustments – so be sure to ask your Invisalign provider what is included in your initial price quote.

For more information about Invisalign or to find out of Invisalign is right for you, call us today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment!

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