Gentle Dentistry 173 Terrace Street, Haworth, NJ 07641 (201) 384-1611


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Posts for tag: oral hygiene

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
December 09, 2018
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: oral hygiene  

If there’s one essential tool for protecting your dental health, it’s the humble toothbrush. The basic manual brush with a long, slender handle and short-bristled head is still effective when used skillfully. The market, though, is full of choices, all of them touting their brand as the best.

So how do you choose? You can cut through any marketing hype with a few simple guidelines.

First, understand what you’re trying to accomplish with brushing: removing dental plaque, that thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces that’s the main cause of dental disease. Brushing also stimulates gum tissue and helps reduce inflammation.

With that in mind, you’ll first want to consider the texture of a toothbrush’s bristles, whether they’re stiff (hard) or more pliable (soft). You might think the firmer the better for removing plaque, but actually a soft-bristled brush is just as effective in this regard. Stiffer bristles could also damage the gums over the long term.

Speaking of bristles, look for those that have rounded tips. In a 2016 study, less rounded tips increased gum recession in the study’s participants by 30%. You should also look for toothbrushes with different bristle heights: longer bristles at the end can be more effective cleaning back teeth.

As far as size and shape, choose a brush that seems right and comfortable for you when you hold it. For children or people with dexterity problems, a handle with a large grip area can make the toothbrush easier to hold and use.

And look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance, something you may have seen on some toothpaste brands. It means the toothbrush in question has undergone independent testing and meets the ADA’s standards for effectiveness. That doesn’t mean a particular brush without the seal is sub-standard—when in doubt ask your dentist on their recommendation.

Even a quality toothbrush is only as effective as your skill in using it. Your dental provider can help, giving you tips and training for getting the most out of your brush. With practice, you and your toothbrush can effectively remove disease-causing plaque and help keep your smile beautiful and healthy.

If you would like more information on what to look for in a toothbrush, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sizing up Toothbrushes.”

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
September 10, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   oral health  

Starting college is one of life’s biggest transition moments, the first time many young people can truly say they’re on their own. Their freshman year can be both exhilarating and frightening.

The reason for this seeming dichotomy is that both exciting opportunities and harmful pitfalls abound in college life. One such pitfall that’s often overlooked involves dental health: it’s all too easy to neglect good habits and adopt bad ones. But while it may not seem as harmful as other dangers, inattention to your dental health could create consequences that plague you long after graduation.

But being diligent about dental care can help you avoid serious problems now and in the future. At the top of the list: brush and floss your teeth daily and continue seeing a dentist at least twice a year. Hopefully, your parents or guardians have trained you in these vital habits—and they’re definitely habits you should continue for the rest of your life.

Close in importance to good oral hygiene is a healthy diet. Besides eating primarily “natural” food—fresh fruits and vegetables and less-processed foods—you should also set limits on your sugar consumption. This carbohydrate is a primary food for disease-causing bacteria, so limiting as much as possible the sugar you eat to just meal times will lower your risk for tooth decay.

Another area in which you should tread wisely is alcohol consumption. Besides the obvious consequences of alcohol abuse, immoderate drinking can also cause dental problems. Alcohol (and smoking) tends to dry out the mouth, which can increase the levels of oral bacteria and in turn increase your risk of both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

Finally, avoid getting piercings involving the lips, mouth or tongue even if it’s the thing to do. Piercing hardware can chip teeth and contribute to the shrinking back of the gums (recession). And be sure you practice safe sex: unprotected sexual activity could expose you to viral infections that cause oral problems including cancer.

Your college years should be an exciting and memorable experience. By practicing these and other common sense dental habits, you’ll be sure to remember these years fondly.

If you would like more information on dental care during college, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “10 Health Tips for College Students.”

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
July 24, 2018
Category: Oral Health

Keep your smile healthy by visiting a Haworth, NJ, dentist regularly.

Dental Visit

You’ve probably already heard that it’s important to have a dentist you can turn to, especially because even the healthiest people require routine checkups. That’s right, no matter how healthy you are or how healthy your smile may look you still need to be visiting one of our Haworth, NJ, dentists every six months for routine checkups. After all, taking those preventive measures now could prevent serious problems in the future.

Preventive dentistry is the smartest way to protect your smile against decay or gum disease. After all, a lot of these problems don’t always have symptoms, so you may not even know that something is happening to your smile until you visit your Haworth, NJ, general dentist for a routine checkup.

During your checkup, many things will occur. Most people know that they will have their teeth cleaned. This will ensure that we thoroughly remove all plaque and tartar that may be stuck to teeth, reducing your risk for cavities or gum disease. Furthermore, this cleaning will also remove surface stains to give you a brighter smile.

While you might not know it, we will also perform a quick oral cancer screening. This is important because oral cancer can happen to anyone. Those patients at an increased risk for oral cancer (e.g. smokers) should come at least twice a year (or more often) just to keep teeth clean and to check for early signs of oral cancer. These screenings are painless and only take a minute, but they could just end up saving your life.

Once a year, our dental team will also perform x-rays. These x-rays will allow us to view your mouth in more detail, detecting everything from dental fractures below the gumline to bone loss. These are often issues that our dentist won’t be able to see just by looking at your teeth. Plus, these x-rays are also sensitive to cavities, making it easier to spot cavities between teeth.

Healthy individuals should visit twice a year but those who are susceptible to dental problems such as a smoker, diabetics and pregnant women, to name a few, may want to talk to us about coming in every 3-4 months for preventive dental care.

Is it time for you to schedule your next dental cleaning? We know that everyone leads busy lives, which is why Gentle Dentistry in Haworth, NJ, prides itself on making scheduling your next cleaning simple. We will work with your schedule to make sure you get the dental care you require.

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
July 22, 2018
Category: Oral Health

Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.

First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all  Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.

What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.

Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.”  If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
April 05, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Avoiding cavities doesn't have to be difficult. A good oral hygiene routine not only reduces your risk of tooth decay but also lowers the oral hygienechance you'll develop gum disease. The Bergen County, NJ, dentists at Gentle Dentistry explain how you can improve your oral hygiene habits.

Less is definitely not more

When it comes to cleaning your teeth, a regular routine is particularly important. Failing to brush in the morning or evening can increase your risk of tooth decay. Plaque, the bacterial film that regularly forms on your teeth, can quickly grow out of control if you skip a single morning or evening brushing session. Although you can't see plaque, you may notice that it makes your teeth feel a little rough. Luckily brushing for two minutes in the morning and evening removes the coating from your teeth.

Daily flossing is very important, as plaque also forms between your teeth. If you're only an occasional flosser, you may be more likely to develop painful cavities between teeth. Flossing and brushing also help reduce tartar formation. Tartar is the hard brown or gray deposit that tends to form at the base of teeth. Tartar is very irritating and may cause gum disease if it's not removed during bi-annual cleanings in our Bergen County office.

Your tongue needs a little attention too

Brushing and flossing your teeth removes bacterial-laden plaque, but your efforts will be in vain if bacteria remains on your tongue. In fact, bacteria can move from your tongue to your teeth just minutes after you finish brushing. Brushing both sides of your tongue will help lower the amount of bacteria in your mouth and reduce your tooth decay risk. Do you avoid brushing your tongue because it makes you gag? Tongue scrapers, available in the oral care aisle of drugstores, can make the process more comfortable.

Choosing the right tools is important

Soft is the best choice when it comes to choosing a toothbrush. Medium bristles can damage your enamel and irritate your gums, particularly if you apply too much pressure when you brush. Replace your toothbrush at least every three months or when the bristles are splayed or flattened.

Thanks to the variety of dental floss and flossing tools available, there's never a good reason to skip flossing. String floss usually works best if your teeth are fairly close together, while tape floss makes flossing widely spaced teeth easier. Water flossers, flossing brushes, and other flossing tools make it easy to clean hard-to-reach spots.

Keep your smile healthy with good oral hygiene habits and regular dental checkups. Call the Bergen County, NJ, dentists at Gentle Dentistry at (201) 384-1611 to schedule your appointment.