Alzheimer’s Disease Is Linked to Oral Bacteria | Alhambra Dentist

Abnormal inflammation within the brain is thought to play a pivotal role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to a study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study further states that inflammation from the body may worsen that brain inflammation, specifically gum disease being a chronic infection associated with elevation of serum inflammatory markers (C-reactive protein), has been found to be associated with several systemic diseases, including AD. This study reports on the mechanisms through which gum disease can contribute to the onset and progression of AD.

In simple language, gum disease can cause the inflammatory level of the whole body to go up. This can raise the inflammatory level in the brain. Thus, heightened inflammation caused by gum disease can lead to AD. The good news is because chronic periodontitis is a treatable infection, it might be a readily modifiable risk factor for AD. In other words, treat gum disease and you will lower the risk of getting AD.

In confirmation of the above study, Dr. Judith Miklossy, the director of the International Alzheimer Research Center in Switzerland, states in an interview that, “Yes, six different periodontal pathogen spirochetes [gum disease bacteria] were found to be present in the brain in Alzheimer’s patients. Recently, we have reviewed all the data in respect to the detection of spirochetes in Alzheimer’s disease and the analysis of this data showed a very strong statistical association between the spirochetal infection in Alzheimer’s disease. So, it is extremely important to take care of the oral health.”

Spirochetes is a group of very toxic germs, some of which are associated with syphilis and Lyme disease, while others are found in the oral cavity. It is postulated that these oral types of spirochetes actually find their way to the brain to compound the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

So, the conclusion is very clear. See your dentist regularly. When you go to your regular dental check-up, seriously consider any advice given by your dentist about your gum condition. Remember, it’s not only your teeth, it’s your brain and the rest of your body that will benefit when your gums are healthy and free of any infection.

If you would like more information about Alzheimer’s disease, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Drinks Destroy Teeth. Every Sip is an Attack. | Alhambra Dentist

Fizzy drinks make fuzzy teeth! Keeping teeth healthy for a lifetime means preventing tooth decay and erosion. Tooth erosion is a newer phenomenon, and one that is preventable, according to the Indiana Dental Association, which provided the following information:

Erosion is the chemical loss of enamel due to acid. Acid is found primarily in soft drinks, sports drinks, juices and acidic foods. Acid reflux, vomiting and other illnesses that produce stomach acid in the mouth can also erode tooth enamel.

Enamel is the protective outer layer of teeth. Throughout the day, your enamel undergoes a continuous dissolving and repairing cycle. Milk, fluoride, water and fluoridated toothpastes can repair and build back the minerals essential to healthy teeth. Low pH beverages such as soft drinks, sports drinks, fruit juices and wine dissolve enamel. Sour candies can also erode enamel.

When acid continuously attacks teeth, they cannot repair themselves and will gradually begin to turn fuzzy and dissolve. Dentists consider every sip of a low pH drink an acid attack. Even one bottle of soda or sports drink sipped over hours can do extensive, irreversible damage to tooth enamel.

Decay is literally a soft spot in the enamel which penetrates the dentin, or a hole in the tooth. Decay is caused when the mouth’s bacteria react to sugar. The chemical interaction between bacteria and sugar produces acid. The acid-producing bacteria eat the enamel until a hole is made in the tooth, also known as a cavity. Preventing cavities involves brushing, flossing and keeping sugar to a minimum.

Acid attacks do the most damage when you are very thirsty or have a dry mouth. Saliva, your mouth’s natural defense shield, covers your teeth and provides some protection against acid attacks. When you’re dehydrated, you lack saliva and your teeth are more vulnerable to acid attacks.

Stop the continuous acid and sugar attack on your teeth by limiting the quantity of soft drinks and sports drinks. Instead, choose healthy drinks such as milk and water. Reduce the size of the drink and use a straw to draw the damaging liquid away from your teeth. Food consumed with acidic drinks can often help counteract acid attacks. Most important is to brush your teeth before bed to reduce bacteria and to help harden your enamel. Wait at least one hour after drinking an acidic drink to brush your teeth to allow your saliva to begin the repair process.

If you would like more information about the effects of acidic drinks, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

What Causes Loose Teeth and How to Save Them | Alhambra Dentist

A loose tooth in a child often signals an exciting rite of passage. Once a person reaches adolescence, however, a loose tooth is no longer a normal occurrence. Adults may be alarmed when they notice loose teeth. Adult teeth are permanent and designed to last a lifetime. Some causes of loose teeth in adults are harmless. Others require the care of a dental professional to save the tooth, remove it, or replace it with an implant or bridge.

Gum disease. Poor dental hygiene may cause a loose tooth. Also known as periodontitis, this stage of gum disease involves inflammation and infection of the gums, usually caused by poor dental hygiene habits. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States report that half of the country’s adults aged 30 or older have gum disease.

When brushing and flossing efforts do not remove plaque, gum disease can develop. Plaque contains bacteria. It sticks to teeth and hardens over time until only a dental health professional can remove it. Hardened plaque, known as tartar, causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, creating gaps that can become infected. Over time, this process can break down the bone and tissue supporting the teeth, causing the teeth to become loose.

Other signs of gum disease include:

  • Gums that are tender, red, painful, or swollen
  • Gums that bleed when the teeth are brushed
  • Gum recession
  • Changes in the way the teeth fit together

Any signs of gum disease should be checked by a dentist as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment can prevent tooth loss.

Pregnancy. Raised levels of estrogen and progesterone during pregnancy can affect the bones and tissues in the mouth. Having more of these hormones can alter the periodontium, which is the collection of bones and ligaments that support the teeth and keep them in place. When the periodontium is affected, one or more teeth may feel loose.

The changes to this part of the body will resolve after pregnancy, and they are not a cause for concern. However, anyone experiencing pain or loose teeth during pregnancy should see a dentist to rule out gum disease and other oral health problems. It is safe for pregnant people to have dental checkups, cleanings, and X-rays, according to the American Dental Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In fact, because of a possible link between gum disease and premature birth, pregnant women are encouraged to see dentists regularly.

Injury to the teeth. Injuries sustained because of contact sports may cause loose teeth. Healthy teeth are strong, but an impact from a blow to the face or a car accident, for example, can damage teeth and surrounding tissue. The result may be chipped or loose teeth.

Similarly, clenching the teeth during times of stress or grinding them at night can wear down the tissues and loosen the teeth. Many people are unaware of their clenching or grinding habits until they result in jaw pain. A dentist may be able to detect the problem before the teeth are permanently damaged. Anyone who suspects that an injury has damaged the teeth should see a dentist as soon as possible. Sports injuries, accidents, and falls, for example, can cause dental damage.

Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis is a disease that causes the bones to weaken and become porous. As a result, even minor bumps and impacts can lead to broken bones. While osteoporosis commonly affects the spine, hips, and wrists, it can also damage the bones in the jaw that support the teeth. If the jaw bones become less dense, the teeth may loosen and fall out. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) in the U.S. also report a possible link between bone loss and an increased risk of gum disease.

Certain medications used to treat osteoporosis can cause dental health problems, though this is uncommon. In rare cases, drugs called bisphosphonates, which help to treat bone loss, can lead to lose teeth. This is known as osteonecrosis of the jaw.

Authors of one study suggest that osteonecrosis rarely occurs in people who are taking bisphosphonates in pill form, but that the condition may develop in people who receive the medication intravenously. Trauma and surgical procedures, such as tooth extraction, can also cause osteonecrosis.

How to prevent teeth from coming loose:

Loose teeth cannot always be prevented, but a person can take steps to reduce the risk. Tips for tooth and gum health include:

  • Brushing the teeth thoroughly twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Refraining from smoking
  • Attending dental checkups and cleanings as often as recommended
  • Wearing a properly fitted mouth guard while playing sports
  • Wearing a bite splint, when nighttime grinding or clenching is an issue
  • Asking a doctor about calcium and vitamin D supplementation to help prevent osteoporosis
  • Keeping diabetes under control, as diabetes is a risk factor for gum disease
  • Being aware of medications that may affect the teeth

Treatment options for a loose tooth:

A range of treatments can help, and the best option will depend on the cause of the looseness. Treatments include:

Splint loose teeth to firmer teeth.  Splinting means a way of stitching your teeth together with hidden wiring.  You have probably seen a retainer-type of wiring the back of the lower front teeth to prevent teeth from moving after braces. That’s what your dentist can do for your loose teeth.    In some select cases the loose teeth can be splinted together with crowns.

Scaling and root planing. This is a type of deep cleaning procedure that can treat and help to reverse gum disease.

Medications or mouth rinses. These can help infected gums to heal and combat bacteria in the mouth.

Surgery. The aim will be to remove inflamed gum tissue and bone that has been damaged by gum disease.

Bone grafts. These can help to rebuild bone lost to gum disease.

Soft tissue grafts. Also known as gum grafts, these can prevent further gum or tooth loss in people with gum disease.

Dental appliances, such as bite splints. These can reduce damage from grinding and may help the mouth to heal after dental surgery.

Treatment for diabetes. Appropriate treatment is important for dental health.

So, if you have loose teeth or suspect you might be prone to have them, see your dentist as soon as possible.  As the old saying goes, “A stitch in time saves nine.”  What we dentists can also say, “Splint your teeth in time, you will be fine.”

If you would like more information about loose teeth, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Marijuana Use May Lead to Gum Disease | Alhambra Dentist

Long-term marijuana use may lead to gum disease, according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Marijuana (cannabis) is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States.

According to a 2014 survey conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), as many as 22.2 million people used cannabis in the previous month.

Marijuana use is common among teenagers. NIDA reports that nearly 20% of 12th graders are currently using marijuana. Short term detrimental effects include feelings of fear, anxiety, delusions, psychosis and hallucinations.

In the context of prior research, marijuana use may raise the risk of accidents and injuries, bronchitis, cardiovascular problems, infectious disease, and poor mental health, according to authors of the JAMA article.

The JAMA 30-year study tracked 1037 individuals from 3 years old to when they turn 30. This study found “clear evidence of an adverse association with cannabis use – namely, periodontal disease”. This study was able to isolate risk factors associated with smoking cigarettes from those associated with marijuana use. The evidence regarding marijuana use include loss of bone that support the teeth. This loss is generally the main detrimental result of periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease is the major cause of the loss of teeth in adults. Nearly 50% of American adults 30 years of age or older have gum disease. Poor oral hygiene, smoking and diabetes are known causes of periodontal disease.

If you are using marijuana under the care of a medical provider, it is recommended that you see your dentist regularly to check for gum disease. Certainly, you should discuss with your dentist the additional ways you can prevent gum disease. This may consist of developing thorough (but gentle) hygiene habits, more frequent regular checkups and the proper use of hygiene aids, such as appropriate mouth rinses and flossing devices.

If you would like more information about the dental effects of marijuana use, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Ten Things Not to Put in Your Mouth | Alhambra Dentist

Everyone knows that certain things present high risk of harm when put into the mouth. Tobacco, raw meat, toys, gun barrels or your own foot are some well-known examples. Other not-recommended items are:

Toothbrush with too much toothpaste. This may keep you from seeing what you are brushing. Studies show that people who dry brush their teeth first, then brush again with toothpaste, have less gum bleeding and tartar than those who brush only with toothpaste. The overwhelming taste of the toothpaste may also cause a hastening of the teeth brushing routine.

Contact lenses. Cleaning or moistening your contact lenses by putting them in your mouth is not a good idea, because bacteria in the mouth can cause conjunctivitis.

Pencils, pens or pipes. Chewing on these items can cause both the wearing down of the teeth and invisible cracks or fissures to form in the enamel of the teeth. Under certain circumstances, these cracks or fissures can make it more likely for your teeth to crack or chip. TNJ (jaw joint) problems can be aggravated by chewing on foreign objects.

Tongue studs and lip or cheek rings. Puncture of the tongue can lead to excessive bleeding or infection, such as hepatitis. It’s amazing how many people with tongue studs or lip rings tell their dentists they hate Novocain shots.

Hot food followed by cold. Hot coffee or drinks followed immediately by an icy drink or ice cream can lead to cracks in your teeth. Dental enamel is highly mineralized and hard, when it is exposed to extremes in temperatures, tiny cracks may form on your teeth.

Metal nails. Holding nails in your mouth may be convenient, but a slip or fall can cause nails to puncture the lip or mouth.

Small (onilateral) partial dentures. Partial dentures or removable bridges that are not attachable to both sides of the mouth are small enough to be swallowed during sleep and can cause choking.

Aspirin on the gum. Because aspirin is so acidic, leaving an aspirin on your gum to relieve pain can end up leaving you in more discomfort. Aspirin can denude the surface of the gum and leave it extremely raw and sore.

Super glue to glue back a loose crown. Gluing back a loose crown with super glue or any other commercial glue may seem like a good self-help idea. But the strong chemicals in these glues can cause terrific toothaches and result in the entire tooth being dissolved by the glue in a very short time.

Ice, seeds, jawbreakers, etc. Chewing on hard items like these can fracture your teeth, especially if you already have large fillings in your teeth. Incidentally, restaurants and markets are generally fair about reimbursing you for the cost of restoring a tooth that broke from biting into a foreign object in your food. In either case, you must report it immediately to the restaurant or store manager. Then see your dentist as soon as possible. If it happened from food purchased at a market, you must show the manager the food item, the receipt, the foreign object and tooth fragments, if any. Then see your dentist for a brief report stating the cause and estimated cost for treatment.

If you would like more information about tooth damage, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Jowl Lines May Be Caused by Grinding Your Teeth (Bruxism) | Alhambra Dentist

There is a muscle that attaches the corners of our mouth to the border of the lower jaw.  It is called the “depressor anguli oris”. It is also called the “triangularis.” Triangularis is a muscle of facial expression. Specifically, it allows us to frown. It stands to reason if we frown a lot, we are likely to over-develop this muscle. The consequence is “jowl lines” that go at an angle from the corners of the mouth to the bottom of the lower jaw.

The bad news is that you don’t have to frown a lot to get jowl lines. You can get jowl lines just from unconsciously clenching and grinding your teeth. You would be doing something a lot of people do unconsciously during sleep, and even during the awake hours. This unconscious habit is called bruxism. According to the American Sleep Disorders Association, the prevalence of bruxism varies from 5 to 20 percent. The wide range is due to reporting something you are not, by definition, aware of. Your dentist can, with some confidence, diagnose you as having bruxism if you have obvious signs of excessive wear on your teeth that cannot be attributed to what you eat and chew. If you are told you have bruxism, don’t fight it. Excessive wear of your teeth is forensic evidence you are unconsciously doing it during the daytime, or you are doing it while you are in certain stages of sleep.

So, what do you do with habit? It needs to be changed. How? Your dentist can make you a specially-designed and calibrated oral appliance that gives you an ideal bite. This ideal bite will lessen the tendency to clench and grind. But to change the habit, you will need to wear this appliance 24 hours per day for at least 6 months, and often as long as two years. While you wear the appliance, you must remember to use it as a “biofeedback appliance” that will train your muscles not to clench and grind. Every time you bite into it, you will be able to tell you are doing so. After a period of time, the muscles will learn not to clench or grind. This is just like training your muscles to golf or play tennis. It takes practice.

The bite appliances are not obtrusive nor obviously visible, especially if your dentist makes it to fit over your lower teeth. The benefits would be that you won’t wear your teeth down and you won’t get “frown” or “jowl” lines in your face.

Seeing the dentist can give you good dental health, as well as save you from facelifts, botox injections or dermal fillers. Don’t forget your regular checkups.

If you would like more information about bruxism, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

When Your Breath Is Cutting into Your Social Life | Alhambra Dentist

Many patients inquire about their foul breath when it begins to affect all aspects of their lives: work environment, social interactions, and feeling good about oneself. The main questions? What is the bad breath coming from and how do you fix it?

A few of the factors that affect your breath are the diet you maintain (the food you ingest), the condition of your teeth (if cavities are present or not), as well as the bacteria in your mouth. A variety of foods can cause different scents, but the factor that plays the largest role is the bacteria in the mouth.  Every mouth has bacteria, some of which are good, and some which aren’t. Removing the bacteria is essential to keeping good overall health, as well as reducing the possibility of halitosis (bad breath).

It is necessary to brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day, but ideally after every meal. When brushing, it is essential to also brush your tongue. It is also critical to see your dentist and hygienist on a regular basis so they can take x-rays, and measure your gum pockets to determine the extent of the bacteria in your mouth, as well as remove the bacteria from above the gums. Occasionally, it is noted that bacteria may be able to get inside the gums and cause gum infections (gum disease) and tooth loss. This is the leading cause of bad breath, and removal of the bacteria is essential. Generally, when this is noted, a deep cleaning might be recommended to remove the bacteria causing the problems. This can be done with lasers and small cameras that show where the bacteria are. Removing these bacteria also removes the bad breath.

Once it has been determined you have gum disease, it is recommended to have cleanings done every three months to maintain the health of the gums. Generally, gum measurements are made to determine how well the gums are responding to treatment and cleaning, and to ensure the continued improvement of the bacteria removal. It is necessary to always brush and floss as often as possible throughout the day.

If you would like more information about bad breath prevention, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Diabetes Leads to Gum Disease; Gum Disease leads to Diabetes | Alhambra Dentist

Poorly controlled diabetic patients are at risk for numerous oral complications, such as periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, infection, neuropathy, and poor healing.

Diabetes mellitus (diabetes) is a common chronic disease of abnormal carbohydrate, fat, and protein metabolism that affects an estimated 20 million people in the United States, of whom about one third are undiagnosed. There are two major forms recognized, type-1 and type-2. Both are characterized by inappropriately high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia). In type-1 diabetes, the patient cannot produce the hormone insulin, while in type-2 diabetes the patient produces insulin, but it is not used properly. An estimated 90% of diabetic patients suffer from type-2 disease. The causes of diabetes are multiple and both genetic and environmental factors contribute to its development. The genetic predisposition for type-2 diabetes is very strong and numerous environmental factors such as diet, lack of exercise, and being overweight are known to also increase one’s risk for diabetes. Diabetes is a dangerous disease which affects the entire body and diabetic patients are at increased risk for heart disease, hypertension, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, neuropathy, and infection when compared to nondiabetic patients. Diabetic patients also have impaired healing when compared to healthy individuals. This is in part due to the dysfunction of certain white blood cells that fight infection.

The most common test used to diagnose diabetes is the fasting blood glucose. This test measures the glucose levels at a specific moment in time (normal is 80-110 mg/dl). In managing diabetes, the goal is to normalize blood glucose levels. It is generally accepted that by maintaining normalized blood glucose levels, one may delay or even prevent some of the complications associated with diabetes. Measures to manage diabetes include behavioral modification (proper diet, exercise) and drug therapies (oral hypoglycemic, insulin replacement). The choice of therapy prescribed takes into consideration the type and severity of the disease present and patient compliance. The physician may request the patient to keep a log of their daily blood glucose measurements to better assess therapeutic success. Another commonly obtained test is the hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), which is a surrogate marker used to assess blood glucose levels over an extended period (2-3 months). This test provides the physician with a good picture of the patient’s glucose levels over time.

Oral changes are evident in poorly managed diabetics. These patients are at risk for numerous oral complications, such as periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, infection, neuropathy, and poor healing. None of these complications are unique to diabetes. However, their presence may serve as an early clue to the possible presence of diabetes, prompting your dentist to perform or request further testing.

Periodontal disease is a commonly observed dental problem for patients with diabetes. It is similar to the periodontal disease encountered among nondiabetic patients. However, as a consequence of the impaired immunity and healing associated with diabetes, it may be more severe and progress more rapidly. The potential for these changes points to the need for periodic professional evaluation and treatment.

In conclusion, we can summarize the above by citing the American Dental Association, which states that those with diabetes are more at risk for getting periodontal disease; and those with periodontal disease are more likely to contract diabetes. Good hygiene and regular visits to the dentist will lower our risk for gum disease, as well as diabetes and other diseases. Keeping your blood sugar level within the normal range by proper diet and exercise will keep your body healthy and lower the risk of gum disease.

(This column is partly based on statements of the American Academy of Oral Medicine.)

If you would like more information about diabetes, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

Maintaining Good Health by Taking Care of Your Toothbrush | Alhambra Dentist

Most dentists agree you should change your toothbrush at least every two to three months. According to a recent report, “20 Things You Should Throw Away For Better Health” by TIME (1/30, Jones), a toothbrush is one of these things. The American Dental Association (ADA) spokesman, Ruchi Sohota, was quoted to say, “Toothbrush bristles start to fray after two months and should be replaced by three months”.

After daily wear, a toothbrush can get worn and become less effective in cleaning teeth and gums. Bacteria, germs and fungus can flourish in between the bristles. Putting a wet toothbrush in an enclosed case can cause mold to grow on it. Let your toothbrush dry before putting it a case.

It is very important to change your toothbrush after you have had a cold, flu, mouth infections, cold sores, and sore throat. This will help you from re-infecting yourself and others. Even if you are not sick, bacteria and fungus can still grow on your toothbrush.

Always rinse, shake any excess moisture, and air dry your toothbrush after you brush your teeth. Also try to keep your toothbrush away from any flushing commode because of germs that may travel with any aerosols.

Taking care of your tooth brush can help you have a healthier 2018!

If you would like more information about toothbrushes, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.

10 Fun Facts About Toothbrushes | Alhambra Dentist

1. When selecting your toothbrush, look for the ADA seal.

The ADA Seal of Acceptance is the gold standard for toothbrush quality. It’s how you’ll know an independent body of scientific experts, the ADA Council on Scientific Affairs, has evaluated your toothbrush to make sure bristles won’t fall out with normal use, the handle will stay strong and the toothbrush will help reduce your risk for cavities and gum disease.

2. The toothbrush is 5,000 years old.

In various forms, that is. Ancient civilizations used a “chew stick,” a thin twig with a frayed end, to remove food from their teeth. Over time, toothbrushes evolved and were made from bone, wood or ivory handles and stiff bristles of hogs, boar or other animals. The modern nylon-bristled toothbrush we use today was invented in 1938.

3. The first mass-produced toothbrush was invented in prison.

In 1770, an Englishman named William Addis was jailed for inciting a riot. He saw fellow prisoners using a rag covered in soot or salt to clean their teeth. Addis saved an animal bone from dinner and received bristles from a guard. Accounts state he bored tiny holes into the bone, inserted the bristles and sealed them with glue. After his release, he modified his prototype, started a company and manufactured his toothbrush. That company, Wisdom Toothbrushes, still exists in the United Kingdom today.

4. Manual or powered? Your teeth don’t care, if you do it right.

In the manual and powered toothbrush debate, it’s a wash. You just need to brush twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. Both types of toothbrushes can effectively and thoroughly clean your teeth. It all depends on which one you prefer. People who find it difficult to use a manual toothbrush may find a powered toothbrush more comfortable. Talk to your dentist about which kind is best for you. If you do decide to use a powered toothbrush, you must hold it with your fingers, like how you would hold a flute. Don’t hold it in the palm of your hand. Palming your power toothbrush is likely to cause excessive pressure on your teeth and gums.

5. There is no “correct” order for brushing and flossing.

Brushing before flossing, flossing before brushing – it doesn’t matter to your teeth, as long as you do both. However, be very careful not to cut your gums when you floss. Over-zealous flossing can cause spaces (dark triangles) to form between your teeth as well as gum recession.

6. Toothbrushes like to be left out in the open.

Cleaning your toothbrush is easy: rinse it with tap water to remove any remaining toothpaste and debris. Store it upright and allow it to air dry. If you store your toothbrush with other toothbrushes, make sure they are separated to prevent cross contamination. And do not routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers. A moist environment such as a closed container is more conducive to the growth of unwanted bacteria than the open air.

7. Lifespan = 3-4 Months

Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do as good of a job cleaning your teeth.

8. When it comes to choosing a brush, go soft.

Whether you use a manual or powered toothbrush, choose a soft-bristled brush. Firm or even medium-strength bristles may cause damage to your gums and enamel. When brushing your teeth, don’t scrub vigorously – only brush hard enough to clean the film off your teeth.

9. Remember: 2 minutes, 2 times a day.

Four minutes a day goes a long way for your dental health. Put the time in each day to keep your smile healthy and keep up this twice-a-day habit.

10. Sharing is caring, but not for toothbrushes.

Sharing a toothbrush can mean you’re also sharing germs and bacteria. This could be a particular concern if you have a cold or flu to spread, or you have a condition that leaves your immune system compromised.

If you would like more information about toothbrushes, call Dr. Chao in Alhambra, CA at (626) 308-9104 or visit www.alhambradental.com.

Dr. Chao proudly serves Alhambra and all surrounding areas.