Is Water Flossing Better Than String Flossing?
Learn About Water Flossing With us at Platte Valley Dental
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 let’s 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 flossers compared 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 toothbrushes 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 toothbrush 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 its components and allowing them to dry after each use, at a minimum. Certainly more time-consuming than standard care and cleaning instructions would have you 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 that “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.Learn About Our Office Request Appointment
Blue Covarine Toothpaste: Does it Really Whiten?
Learn About Teeth Whitening and Blue Covarine With Platte Valley Dental
There’s always a demand for new ways to whiten teeth. From at-home tips like brushing with charcoal to new professional whitening techniques like ultra violet light activated gels, there’s no end in sight. One ingredient that has been getting attention for the past few years is called blue covarine.
Blue covarine is an ingredient in some toothpastes that is supposed to gently whiten teeth through consistent usage.
Does Blue Covarine Toothpaste Really Whiten Teeth?
The evidence is mixed. A 2015 article in the Journal of Applied Oral Science found that toothpastes containing blue covarine were no more effective than standard whitening toothpaste. In that same study at-home teeth whitening products containing carbamide peroxide, a similar ingredient to hydorgen peroxide, and professional in-office teeth whitening treatments were both far more effective at whitening teeth than either toothpaste.
Another study investigating the effectiveness of blue covarine toothpaste found that it was no more effective than a regular toothpaste. Most of it’s effectiveness came from the abrasive effect of brushing itself rather than the toothpastes ingredients.
A 2019 study from the Journal of Applied Oral Science found that blue covarine toothpaste was less effective than either standard whitening toothpastes containing hydrogen peroxide or toothpastes containing microbead abrasives. Interestingly, toothpastes containing microbeads were the most effective at whitening teeth.
In conclusion, blue covarine toothpaste does not seem to compare to other whitening methods, even other mild teeth whitening products. There’s no reason to use blue covarine over other whitening toothpastes with better ingredients.
Professional Teeth Whitenings
Navigating the best way to whiten teeth are home can be overwhelming. You want whiter teeth, but you don’t want to risk damaging or risk wasting your money on something that doesn’t work.Learn About Teeth Whitening Request Appointment
What Foods Stain Teeth: Common Culprits
Many people wish that their teeth were whiter. One thing that you may not realize is causing your teeth to be discolored is the things that you eat. The foods you eat can actually have a significant effect on the color of your teeth. Join us at Platte Valley Dental Group as we dive into some of the most common foods that can stain your teeth.
Coffees & Teas
Tea and coffee are both highly acidic, which can weaken the surface of your teeth, making them more susceptible to staining. Tea and coffee also both contain tannins, which help their coloring stick to your teeth. There is some evidence that having milk in your tea or coffee can help reduce the amount of staining.
Dark-colored sauces such as soy sauce, tomato sauce, and curries also cause staining. Switching to lighter or creamy sauces can help mitigate some of the staining.
Fruits & Berries
There are many vibrant fruits that can stain your teeth. Think of the fruits that can stain your clothes – pomegranates, cherries, blueberries, and blackberries just to name a few. In the same way that they can stain your clothes, they can stain your teeth.
Sodas are highly acidic thanks to their carbonation. In addition, the dyes in these drinks – including light-colored ones – can cause staining. There are also chemicals in the drink that eat away at your enamel.
How to Mitigate Staining
There are several things you can do to mitigate the effects of food on the color of your teeth. While cutting out the food listed above would be the number one way to reduce their effect, even we enjoy having them so we’ve included things you can do to reduce the staining while still enjoying your favorite foods.
- Use a straw. Using a straw when drinking your favorite beverage helps reduce the amount that the acidity and coloring of the drink come into contact with your teeth.
- Brush after you eat. Brush your teeth about 30 minutes after you eat food that can stain. It’s important to wait a little bit of time to allow the acidity in your mouth to get balanced out so you don’t cause additional damage.
- Rinse your mouth. If you cannot brush your teeth after eating, rinsing your mouth with water can help reduce the acidity of your mouth and remove some of the staining agents from your mouth.
- Visit your dentist. Having regular checkups and teeth cleanings at your dentist is a great way to help your smile stay beautiful.
In addition to providing teeth cleanings, we also proudly offer teeth whitening services in the Scottsbluff, Nebraska area. Please give our dental office a call at 308-633-1111 or use the link below to schedule an appointment for teeth cleaning or whitening.Request Appointment Learn About Teeth Whitening
Is Nicotine Gum Bad For Your Teeth?
It’s well known that smoking and other types of tobacco use have a negative effect on our health. Even vaping, popularly considered to be less harmful than traditional methods of using nicotine is harmful to your overall health, including your teeth. Smoking and vaping can cause delayed healing, bone loss, increased risks of gum disease, and more. If you’re trying to quit it’s natural to wonder if cessation products can still harm you and your teeth. But with all that in mind, is nicotine gum itself bad for your teeth?
Nicotine Gum and Oral Health
One major advantage for your oral health that nicotine gum has compared to smoking or vaping is that it doesn’t cause dry mouth. Chewing any gum stimulates the production of saliva which helps to fight cavities, bad breath, and staining. Nicotine gum is also sugar-free so there’s no cause for concern about it causing cavities because of excess sweeteners.
Nicotine gum can cause harm, however. Nicotine taken in any form has health risks. In particular nicotine gum restricts blood flow which can increase the odds of developing gum disease. Nicotine gum can also cause dry mouth and gum sores in some users.
However, nicotine gum is only intended to be used for a few months as a cessation method. So these negative effects should be weighed against those of continuing to smoke, chew tobacco, or vape as normal. Nicotine gum is highly effective for quitting smoking.
Some Things to Consider About Cessation Methods
Nicotine gum like any gum can cause or worsen certain dental problems through the action of chewing. TMJ or a previous traumatic oral injury could be worsened or inflamed as a result of consistent gum chewing. Certain dental work like fillings, veneers, and crowns could also be dislodged or damaged. For that reason, if you are looking to smoke it might be worth considering nicotine patches or lozenges as an alternative or supplement to nicotine gum. Nicotine gum is a form of harm reduction and while harmful, is less harmful than alternative means of nicotine intake.
Nicotine Use and Teeth Stains
If you’ve been a long-term smoker or are worried about the cosmetic effects of using nicotine gum several different treatments can help.
- Teeth Whitening. For teeth yellowing or staining, professional teeth whitening offers a great solution. In-office teeth whitening treatments use stronger, more effective, and faster-acting whitening solutions than those available to consumers.
- Veneers. Dental veneers are a cosmetic dental treatment where thin pieces of porcelain or composite material are placed over your existing teeth. This is an effective solution for teeth with deep stains or damage and can restore a smile easily.
- Dental Implants. Effectively an artificial tooth or crown is rooted into your gums by an artificial root. These can even restore bone loss caused by smoking. Patients with severely damaged or missing teeth may be good candidates for dental implants.
If you’re looking for recommendations on how to use nicotine gum as a cessation method the CDC has information available. Nicotine gum and alternatives are also covered in a guide by the American Cancer Society.
What is Biofilm?
The mouth contains a complex microbial ecosystem or system of microbiomes, that can both help and harm teeth. Biofilm, which plaque is an example of, is any collection of microorganisms that cling to each other and to a surface. It’s impossible to completely remove bacteria or eliminate microbiomes from the mouth. However, as in any ecosystem, there is a balance that is necessary to maintain a healthy equilibrium. Good oral hygiene habits, healthy choices, and a balanced diet are our way of maintaining that equilibrium so that more dangerous and harmful bacteria are reduced and kept in check.
Oral Hygiene and Biofilm
If good hygiene habits aren’t maintained then plaque and the microbiome it contains can harden and grow. This can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and cavities. After oral surgeries in particular there is a risk of infection if good habits aren’t maintained. For this reason, twice daily brushing, regular flossing, and using a mouthwash are critical.
Since teeth make up a relatively small part of the overall surface area inside the mouth using an anti-bacterial mouth wash is a great way of fighting back harmful oral bacteria. By regularly brushing you force the biofilm and bacteria in your mouth to regenerate and prevent it from growing out of control.
Diet and Bacteria
Too much sugary food, or improper hygiene after consuming sugary food, can feed bacteria. Sugar is a sort of fuel for certain harmful bacteria present in your mouth. This is why candy, soda, and other sugary foods and drinks are associated with causing cavities. Similarly, too many acidic foods can throw off the oral microbiome and fuel harmful bacteria.
Healthy Choices and the Oral Microbiome
Certain habits and behaviors like smoking or nicotine use can also throw off the oral microbiome. Nicotine usage can cause dry mouth which reduces saliva which naturally helps keep the mouth at equilibrium. Additionally, a thin film can form on teeth from smoking and vaping that can trap excess bacteria. Chewing tobacco similarly can fuel particular types of bacteria.
Regular dental checkups and examinations for more serious issues are also a crucial part of maintaining good overall oral health. At Platte Valley Dental we are happy to help new clients learn about good oral hygiene. Request an appointment or call us today at (308) 633-1111