Is Water Flossing Better Than String Flossing?

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Water flossers or water picks, technically an oral irrigator, if you’re asking, are increasingly popular, but are they effective? Only 32% of adults floss daily, so there is absolutely a need for an easier way to clean between teeth. Going without daily flossing, or some form of interdental cleaning, leaves all of those people, most of us, at serious risk of gum disease. So lets find out if water picks live up to the hype.

Are Water Flossers Better Than String Floss?

Water flossers seem to be very effective according to current research. A 2013 study on the effectiveness of water flosserscompared to string floss found that water flossers were “significantly” more effective than string floss. Specifically, they found that after a single use water flossers were 29% more effective at removing plaque. They were particularly better at removing plaque and accumulations from between teeth, and that’s most of why we floss isn’t it?

Something that may be worth considering is that one of the authors of the 2013 study, Deborah Lyle, was employed by the Waterpik corporation from May 2004 until January 2022 as their Director of Clinical Research. Waterpik’s page for clinical research about water flossers lists many studies that include Deborah Lyle as a contributor.

However, other researchers were involved, and other studies exist that point to the effectiveness of water flossers. A 2021 study on the effectiveness of water flossers compared to string floss is an example, though they did not have such strong conclusions as the 2013 Deborah Lyle study did. They found instead that water flossers were just as effective as string floss, not more so. That is why they recommended water flossers to those with braces, retainers or who have fine motor skill issues.

So, water flossers do seem to work and could potentially replace string floss or floss picks in your oral health routine. But are they superior to string floss? They might be, but considering, there doesn’t seem to be a reason to knock yourself if you haven’t hopped on the bandwagon just yet.

Are There Any Downsides to Water Flossers?

While great at cleaning your teeth, there are a few things to consider before you run out and get one. Water flossers can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria, according to a 2021 study. Put simply, because water flosser heads touch your mouth and stay wet, oral bacteria can grow on it. Even in spite of following provided cleaning recommendations. That’s not all, this study limited itself to studying only the nozzle, not the hose or water reservoir itself. So while trying to clean your mouth there is the possibility that you could be spraying your teeth with bacteria.

It’s no secret that tooth brushes can be a source of illness and can serve as a breeding ground for bacteria. However, proper storage and sanitary precautions, even ones as simple as rinsing your tooth brush and letting it dry, have been shown to reduce bacteria considerably. Allowing it to dry is crucial and would be much more time consuming to practice with a water flosser. Because a water flosser is a reservoir of water with an attached hose it seems proper cleaning would require draining it and it’s components and allowing them to dryafter each use, at minimum. Certainly more time consuming than standard care and cleaning instructions have you to think is necessary for proper use.

Besides cleanliness, it’s also worth considering that no one is likely to travel with a water flosser. That just means that you’ll need to keep using string floss for overnight stays. That is to say, even if you get a water flosser, don’t throw out all your old string floss. You’ll still need it if you intend to keep up a daily hygiene routine.

If I Get One, What’s The Best Water Flosser? 

The ADA, the American Dental Association, has an approved list of water flossers. The ADA only allows its seal to be used on products which “include data from clinical and/or laboratory studies that demonstrate safety and efficacy according to product category requirements developed by the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs”. The ADA is one of the largest professional organizations for dentists meaning that any product bearing the ADA seal can be reasonably trusted. If you are considering trying a water flosser we strongly encourage you to factor the ADA’s recommendations into your decision.

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What Does Flossing do?

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Flossing prevents gingivitis, or gum disease, by preventing the build-up of plaque on and between your teeth. Plaque is a form of biofilm a sticky bacteria that if left unchecked can cause serious harm to your teeth by causing cavities, decay, and even risking infections if you have an oral injury.

Flossing can also prevent halitosis, or bad breath, by removing excess food particles from your mouth. Some bacteria that naturally occur in your mouth also cause bad breath if left unchecked. The American Dental Association recommends flossing, stating that it can remove the vast majority of plaque. By flossing you prevent the bacteria from growing and spreading to the point where it can smell. Much of the bacteria in your mouth that causes bad breath will also feed on food stuck in your teeth.

Is Flossing Really Necessary?

Some people might feel like they already have oral health issues or that since they’ve neglected flossing so far, so there’s no reason to start now. But the truth is that there is never a point where starting good oral hygiene habits won’t help.

The long-term effects of allowing bacteria to grow are serious and can range from cavities to gum disease and eventually loss of teeth and bone loss. Losing bone from your jaw is a serious and effectively irreversible consequence of long-term oral health neglect. But preventive maintenance, including flossing, can greatly reduce the risk of any of these problems.

Tips for Effective Flossing

A study published in a journal by the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) found that flossing before brushing is the most effective. This is particularly true when using toothpaste that contains fluoride.

Traditional string flossing has also been shown to be more effective than pick-style flossers. However, the most effective form of flossing is what works for you and will make you more likely to floss. While we might recommend that you try to floss the old-school way, the most important thing is that you figure out a style and routine for flossing that you’re able to maintain.

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Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Whitening Procedures at Suburban Dental

Teeth whitening has been around for decades and millions of people use whitening products – including plenty of dentists. According to dental professionals, they haven’t seen an increase in problems like cavity risk or tooth fractures after teeth whitening procedures. Suburban Dental works to provide safe teeth whitening services for our patients in Germantown.

The Side Effects

  1. Teeth sensitivity: your teeth may become more sensitive after getting them whitened. You may experience this after your first or second treatment, and it can diminish with time. Ask your doctor if they can recommend products for treating sensitivity at your next appointment.
  2. Irritated gums: you may also experience gingival irritation, which happens when your gums become irritated. If the whitening products touch your gums, then they may become irritated, but Suburban Dental takes precautions to eliminate this risk.

The Benefits

  1. Safety: The American Dental Association (ADA) has stated that hydrogen peroxide whiteners are safe and effective.
  2. It is a quick process: you can have whitened teeth in just one session rather than waiting months for at-home products to take effect.
  3. It saves time: you don’t have to have your teeth professionally whitened very frequently, in fact, whitening your teeth frequently can actually damage your teeth. With just a couple of sessions of professional whitening, you can achieve the desired color of your smile.
  4. You don’t have to worry about safety: we take care of your teeth like they are our own at Suburban Dental. We only provide the safest procedures at our office, the side effects of teeth whitening usually only apply to at-home products that can damage your smile.

If you are worried about your upcoming teeth whitening procedure or worried about an at-home product you are using, you can always ask your doctor if the product is safe. Suburban Dental offers professional teeth whitening that is safe and effective. If you would like to schedule a teeth whitening appointment, use the button below to schedule online, or learn more about teeth whitening at our Germantown, MD office.

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Is Vaping Bad For Your Teeth?

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Vaping, or e-cigarettes, is popular with older former smokers and younger first-time nicotine users. As the health effects of vaping are discussed and researched, most attention has been on lung health. But you may be wondering, does vaping affect oral health, and is vaping bad for your teeth? Whether trying to make an informed decision about the health of your teeth, are about to get braces or are prepping for oral surgery we’ll look at what effects vaping can have on your oral health.

Is Vaping Bad for Your Teeth?

Vaping does have many negative effects on overall oral health. These range from increased bacteria, to damage to tooth enamel, and cosmetic changes. 

  • It increases the amount of bacteria stuck to your teeth. Vegetable glycerin is a common base for vape liquids which can trap bacteria on your teeth. This increases the risk of cavities. This additive alongside other additives can also soften enamel, presenting more opportunities for cavities to form.
  • An ingredient called propylene glycol lowers saliva levels. Saliva naturally reduces the amount of bacteria present in the mouth and stuck to teeth. Dry mouth can cause cavities and other issues such as gum sores.
  • Vaping could worsen other oral health issues. Because vaping can soften enamel, trap bacteria, and lower saliva levels it has the potential to worsen other ongoing oral health issues.
  • Teeth stains can be caused or worsened by vaping. Vaping’s effects on enamel hardness and bacteria retention can create the conditions for or worsen teeth discoloration or yellowing.
  • There is evidence of a range of health problems caused by vaping. Research indicates that vaping can disrupt the oral microbiome, increase the risk of gum disease and expose users to chemicals that can cause oral and other cancers.

Vaping, Braces, and Oral Surgery

Vaping can negatively impact the effectiveness of orthodontic treatments. Nicotine use can change the rate at which teeth move when wearing metal braces, Invisalign, or other aligners. This could lead to slower corrections and prolonged treatment. 

Any oral surgery that requires healing can be slowed by vaping. Nicotine use lengthens the body’s natural healing time. Boston University research has shown no evidence of harm reduction between smoking and e-cigarettes. Advice to avoid smoking after certain dental procedures covers any nicotine use because of the increased healing time associated with it. This is doubly true of any oral nicotine use because they increase bacteria in the mouth and the risk of infection after certain procedures. 

Harm Reduction and Surgery Recovery

If you’re concerned about the effects vaping or other nicotine use can have on your oral health, stopping is the best way to prevent further damage. Of course, nicotine cessation is not easy. If quitting isn’t possible but want to limit any negative effects it’s best to stick to the fundamentals of oral hygiene. Twice a day brushing, flossing, using a fluoride mouthwash, and scheduling regular checkups can all help.

If you are planning a treatment for which it is recommended you temporarily cease nicotine use or if you want to quit for your long-term oral health the Mayo Clinic has an online guide to help.



How To Avoid Dry Socket After Wisdom Tooth Removal

Wisdom teeth removal is a common procedure where the back set of molars is removed. This is typically done because many people develop impacted molars. Impaction occurs when there is not enough room in the mouth for the teeth to develop normally.  When teeth are removed, either through wisdom teeth removal or through a tooth extraction, a socket is left in your bone where the tooth was removed. A blood clot is supposed to form in the hole, that heals overtime. This blood clot serves as a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. Dry socket occurs when the blood clot becomes dislodged, exposing the socket to nerves, air, food, and bacteria. At Suburban Dental, we want to provide you with tips to prevent you from getting dry socket.

How to Avoid Dry Socket

  1. Avoid straws. Using straws creates a suction in your mouth, which can cause the blood clot to move or become dislodged, and result in dry socket. You should avoid straws for a least one week after your procedure.
  2. Do not consume tobacco in any form, including chewing tobacco and electronic cigarettes. The chemicals and suction created during smoking can easily disrupt the healing processes or result in dry socket.
  3. Avoid beverages and foods that are extremely hot or cold. These can dissolve your blood clot, exposing the nerves and resulting in pain.
  4. Drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is a critical part of the recovery process. Acidic beverages can also cause the clot to become dissolved.
  5. Eat soft foods. Soft foods are less likely to disrupt the clot or get stuck in your socket.
  6. Continue proper oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing twice, daily.

Symptoms of Dry Socket

If you experience any of these symptoms, you could be experiencing dry socket.

  • Severe pain within a few days of your extraction
  • Loss of the blood clot, either partial or complete loss within the socket
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth
  • Bad breathe

Summary

Dry socket can occur as a result of bacterial contamination or trauma at the surgical site, after you’ve had one or multiple teeth removed. It can result in complications if left untreated, including delayed healing, infection in the socket, or infection in the bone. If you’re experiencing pain after your extraction, over-the-counter pain medication can help relieve any discomfort. If your pain levels continue to increase in the days following your extraction, contact Suburban Dental in Germantown, MD right away.

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How To Prevent Cavities & Tooth Decay

Cavities, often referred to as tooth decay, are tiny holes that develop in the hard surface of your teeth. They are most common in children and teenagers, but they can affect everyone including infants and toddlers. Join Suburban Dental as we take a closer look at what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.

Causes of Cavities

Cavities typically occur as a result of poor oral health habits but other various factors can increase the risk of getting a cavity, including:

  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food stuck on the teeth and it counters the acid produced from bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the chance for cavities.
  • Foods and drinks. Certain foods aren’t as easily washed away from saliva, making them more likely to cause decay. Foods you should limit include: ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, cake, chips, cookies, and hard candy.
  • Constant snacking or sipping. Drinking or eating frequently throughout the day results in increased bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria produce the acids that attack tooth enamel.
  • Lack of fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities and can reverse the early stage of tooth decay. Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to help reduce your chance of cavities.

Cavity Prevention

Regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing are the best protection against cavities. If you get a cavity, it should be treated right away. But, cavities left untreated get larger and larger, affecting the deeper layers of your teeth. Deeper cavities result in higher chances of experiencing severe toothache and infection. So, when it comes to cavities, prevention is key. Below are some of our cavity preventions tips:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Brush and floss twice a day, ideally after each meal.
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings remove plaque that builds up overtime which isn’t removed by regular brushing and flossing. Going to the dentist twice a year is one of the best cavity prevention options.
  • Dental sealants. Sealants protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria.

If you think you have a cavity or tooth decay, call our Germantown, MD office at (301) 916-8570.

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What Is The Best Teeth Whitening Option?

Teeth can become discolored for a variety of reasons and many people want their teeth to be bright and white, so they look into teeth whitening. When it comes to getting a brighter smile, you can whiten your teeth at home or get a professional treatment. At home whitening typically includes over-the-counter products like whitening strips, pens, or toothpaste. Professional whitening includes custom-made whitening trays you take home or an in-office appointment. What might work best for some, might not necessarily work best for another. Suburban Dental wants to help you select what the best teeth whitening option is for you.

Both over-the counter and professional treatments use peroxide bleaching agents as the main active ingredient. The difference between each option is the amount of peroxide it contains. Over-the-counter solutions use 3 – 20 percent where professional solutions contain 14 – 43 percent. Solutions with higher amounts of peroxide should be left on for a shorter amount of time. Keeping the solution on longer will dehydrate your teeth and make them more prone to sensitivity.

Professional Whitening

Professional teeth whitening options are much safer and more effective. Additionally, it ensures that all of the proper precautions are taken. So, when it comes to protecting your gums, the whitening agent only gets on your teeth.

At-Home Whitening Products

Over-the-counter products are cheaper, generally take longer to see results, and have limitations depending on your tooth color and health prior. If used incorrectly, at-home teeth whitening kits can lead to burned gums, tooth sensitivity, or pain. It’s always best to talk with your dentist to decide the best treatment option for you. If you have questions about teeth whitening products, contact Suburban Dental in Germantown, MD.

If you choose to go for an over-the-counter solution, we recommend that you use one from the list of bleaching products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Bleaching Products with ADA Seal of Acceptance

 

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Root Canal Symptoms To Watch Out For

Each year, over 60 million Americans visit the dentist. Many of these visits can be attributed to cavities, which are small holes in your teeth that allow bacteria to get inside. But sometimes, other dental issues occur that require additional treatments. Root canals are considered the best option for saving a damaged tooth when an abscess is present. Suburban Dental is providing some root canal symptoms to watch out for below.

Signs You Need A Root Canal

1. Persistent Pain

Having persistent pain is one way to tell if you need a root canal. The pain might be constant, or it might go away, but it always comes back. You may feel the pain deep in the bone of your tooth, or it might be in your jaw, face or other teeth.

Tooth pain may have other causes, such as gum disease, cavities, or an impacted tooth, but it’s always a good idea to talk with your dentist if you have tooth pain.

2. Tooth Discoloration

An infection in the pulp of your tooth can cause your tooth to become discolored.Trauma to the tooth or the breakdown of the internal tissue can damage the roots and give the tooth a grayish-black appearance. While there might be other reasons a tooth is discolored, it could be cause for a root canal so talk with your dentist!

3. Sensitivity to Heat and Cold

When your teeth start to hurt from drinking a hot cup of coffee or drinking ice water, you may need a root canal.

The pain can be just a dull feeling, or it can be a sharp pain that lingers for an extended period of time, even after you’ve finished eating or drinking. If your tooth hurts when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it may be an indication that the blood vessels and nerves in your tooth are infected or damaged.

4. Swollen Gums

Swollen gums near the painful tooth can be a sign of an issue that requires a root canal. The swelling may come and go. It may be tender when you touch it, or it may not be painful to the touch.

There also might be a pimple like abscess on your gum, which may ooze pus from the infection of the tooth. This can give you an unpleasant taste in your mouth and make your breath smell bad.

5. A Chipped or Cracked Tooth

If you’ve chipped or cracked your tooth in an accident, in a contact sport, or by chewing on something hard, bacteria can set in and lead to inflammation and infection. Even if your tooth didn’t crack but you did injure it, the injury can still cause damage to the nerves of the tooth. The nerve can become inflamed and cause pain and sensitivity, which may require root canal treatment.

These are just a few signs that you may need a root canal. If you have any of these root canal symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with Dr. Kuhns. Contact our Germantown, MD dental office and we can talk you through possible solutions.

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Is A Custom Mouth Guard Right For Me?

Mouth guards are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Even though mouth guards may look similar, they can provide different functions. They can be used for preventing teeth grinding, reducing snoring, sleep apnea relief, and protecting your mouth when playing sports. There are three different types of mouth guards: stock, boil and bite, and custom. Learn more about each option from our mouth guards service page.

Prevent Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding can cause soreness, tenderness, and tightness in the muscles of the jaw, neck, and face, commonly resulting in tension headaches. Mouthguards worn while you sleep prevent the bottom and top teeth from clenching together so damage does not occur. Custom mouth guards are recommended to prevent teeth grinding because they provide the best fit for your teeth, last longer over time than stock or boil and bite mouth guards, and will be the most comfortable option for you while you sleep.

Reduce Snoring or Manage Sleep Apnea

Snoring occurs when air flows past the relaxed tissues in your throat, causing the tissues to vibrate when you breathe. While sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. There are two different types of mouth guards, or oral appliances that can be used for snoring and/or sleep apnea:

  • Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD): Pushes the lower jaw forward to open your airway while you sleep.
  • Tongue Retaining device: Grips your tongue to prevent it from falling into the back of the throat.

These oral appliances must be fitted by a dentist and worn in your mouth at night. There are many over the counter mouthguards that claim to prevent snoring or help sleep apnea but the best course of action is to consult with your dentist or doctor to see what is right for you.

Sports Mouth Guards

Sports mouth guards can help prevent damage to the face and minimize the risk of broken teeth or injuries to your face, jaw, tongue, and lips. Certain sports have higher risks than others. It is very important to wear a mouthguard if you play any of the following sports: football, boxing, hockey, or wrestling. Basically, when it comes to mouthguards, the better the fit, the better the protection. Stock mouth guards are the least expensive option for protecting your teeth while playing sports. Boil and bite mouthguards are slightly more expensive but they provide a better fit, reducing the risk of injury. Custom mouth guards will provide the most protection as they will have the best fit/coverage of your mouth.

We know you have many options for mouth guards, if you are not sure if a mouth guard will help you or if you would like a custom-fit mouth guard consultation, contact our Germantown, MD office today!

Dental Savings Plans

Going to the dentist can be a daunting task, especially if you don’t have dental insurance or your insurance isn’t in network for a certain clinic. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get regular dental care. Many dental offices offer dental savings plans, sometimes referred to as membership plans, for those that don’t have insurance.

Signing up for a membership plan with Suburban Dental can help make sure you get the dental care you need – even without insurance!

What Are Dental Savings Plans?

Dental Savings Plans are membership based discount plans for dental health care. These plans are a great alternative to dental insurance, and plan members typically save between 10-60% on the regular price of dental care and treatments. By joining a dental savings plan, you gain access to member only discounts that participating dental care providers have agreed upon. You pay the discounted rate directly to the dentist- no insurance needed!

What Do Dental Savings Plans Cover?

This all depends on the practice, but typically they cover the following:

  • Cosmetic Dentistry
  • Restorative Dental Care
  • Specialist Dental Care
  • Preventative Dental Care

Talk with your dental office to see what they provide with their own membership plan.

Choosing a Plan That’s Right For You

One big plus of having a dental savings plan is that you have options. Simply by searching for the following, you can choose a plan that’s right for you:

  • By savings: Choose the plan that has the best overall savings
  • By dentist: Choose the plan that your dentist accepts
  • By procedure: Choose the plan you want based on your dental care needs.

Here at Suburban Dental in Germantown, MD, we want to make sure everyone has the option to get dental care. That’s why our dental savings plan can help you have peace of mind when you come to the dentist. To find out more about our membership plan, click here or call us at (301) 916-8570. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t get the dental care you deserve.