This Is How To Pick A Toothbrush & Floss

We all know to brush our teeth. Check. We all know to floss our teeth. Check (okay, we know some of us skip this step but we’ll let it slide this time). But do we know which type of toothbrush and which dental floss is the best to keep our pearly whites, well, pearly and white? Today we clear the air on this important topic.

Toothbrushes & Brushing

Before getting into all your purchasing options, let’s do a quick brush up (pun intended) on proper brushing techniques to ensure your dental labors are as effective as possible.

When brushing, you don’t want to apply a lot of pressure; plaque is removed with gentle and thorough cleaning. By being too aggressive you are more likely to damage your gum tissue than clean properly. To start, place the head of the brush at a 45-degree angle and point the bristles just into the gum line. This helps disrupt buildup gathering at the base of the tooth. Avoid brushing all your teeth at once; rather, target a group of 3-4 and gently clear the surfaces before moving on to the next set. Be sure to clean all surfaces of the tooth: fronts, backs, chewing surfaces, and the sides of those hard-to-reach molars. Perfect!

Which Toothbrush Is Best?

Electronic toothbrushes are a fantastic option and do a lot to help agitate food particles and really cleanse your teeth. Manual toothbrushes also work well provided they are used effectively with our above tips. For bristles, many make the mistake of purchasing them too tough. The flexibility and gentleness of soft bristles is precisely what you want to clean without damaging. For toothbrush size, just ensure it isn’t too large that it prevents access to those back molars that can be tricky to reach. There is no single toothbrush that is perfect for everyone, so be sure you’re using the one that feels the best to you and will encourage regular use – if you have any questions, we are always here!

Dental Floss & Flossing

Onto floss – but first, the brush up:

When it comes to flossing, you make a C-shape to curve around each tooth as you bring the floss down. The point is not to drag the line straight up and down, which can irritate the gums, but rather to hug the surface of each tooth and clean from the top to the root with a gentle motion. Use about 18” of floss for a fresh portion each pass. Remember to clean both neighboring teeth each time you bring the floss down, and don’t miss any teeth!

Which Floss Is Best?

There are a few variables to keep in mind when finding your ideal floss. First is the thickness of the floss – some people have larger gaps between teeth, and others have very tight spaces that can make it hard to floss. The ideal thickness is one that is comfortable to use, but still thoroughly cleans between each tooth – for tight spaces, try a flat, ribbon-like floss. There are also options like the material the floss is made of, and then waxed versus unwaxed floss. Some suggest waxed floss may be slightly more effective, but whichever choice is most comfortable for you is the choice we recommend. Yes, a lot of our advice is related to your preferences, but if you find a dental product you like with the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you can be sure you’ve found a winner!

In fact, that is our biggest suggestion for when it comes to both brushes and floss: the right option for you is the one you will actually use. If you have more questions, give us a call – we are always happy to ensure our patients feel confident with their oral health and have all the facts.

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
            and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

The Dangers of Crunchy Munchies

Blog Title-Hard Candy2

Easter means many things to different families everywhere, but one thing that remains consistent is the appearance of candy! Whether it’s hidden in eggs or just passed around, it comes at a nice nearly halfway mark in the year from Halloween. Sweets make for some excellent treats, and there is no reason not to indulge (in moderation of course)! However, all candies are not created equal, and it may be worth knowing which ones you can have relatively guilt free, and which could spell trouble for your wonderful smile.

When it comes to Easter indulgences, chocolate may make it onto the nice list – we know, this is great news to many of you. The less forgiving candies are the ones that make that all-too-familiar CRUNCH! Hard candies, like lollipops or jolly ranchers, can be an awfully tempting treat to bite. But best case scenario is they can pack hard-to-reach pieces of sugar into your gums that end up sitting there, as saliva can have a difficult time breaking them down. Worst case scenario, that crunch sound may be coming from a broken tooth, and sending you straight from your Sunday activities into our office.

We do love seeing our patients, but not at the expense of their healthy smile! It happens more often than you think, and it’s not just because of the sugar – even some who are prone to absentmindedly crunching on ice have discovered the dangers of biting down on crunchy munchies when they find a piece of their tooth broken off. Your teeth are durable for normal eating and chewing, but anything that causes too much stress can run the risk of chipping or breaking one of your pearly whites. Before you try to impress your friends with breaking that jaw breaker in half, remember that it’s earned that name for a pretty good reason.

Even if you resist that satisfying crunch, there are still a few other points of concern for hard candies that you don’t run into with other options (like chocolate!). Hard candies that you suck on tend to spend a concentrated period of time in a single location, which over-exposes particular areas of your mouth to sugar and lead to a very concentrated build-up of acid, which can be a quick way to damage the enamel. Consider this next time you find yourself unwrapping that tootsie pop or after-meal mint, and perhaps enjoy a stick of gum instead. It’s not often that the solution for a sweet treat is yet another sweet treat, but you’re in luck because this time it is! After enjoying your holiday treats, consider enjoying a piece of sugar-free gum – the increased saliva productions while chewing can actually help dislodge and break down the remaining sugar in your mouth.
Overall, we don’t want to take the enjoyment out of candy-filled holidays – enjoy your time with your friends and family, and definitely don’t be afraid to pop open that plastic egg and see what treats hide inside. If you do find yourself going crazy for the crunchy candies, we hope you chew safely…and if things go wrong, you always have your friends at our office to set things straight (:

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

Dental Health and Pregnancy

Blog Title-ExpectingPregnantLady

Pregnancy changes a lot about the female body, which is no surprise considering all the physical and hormonal effects that take place over the course of those 9 months. All that considered, the profound connection between pregnancy and dental health can still be a shock to many.

As an example, the rapid surge in hormones, such as estrogen and progesterone, can alter the manner in which gum tissue reacts to plaque. Plaque buildup affects everybody, so it’s always important to make sure your teeth are being cleaned thoroughly. However, ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ is a condition that affects the vast majority of mothers-to-be and should be carefully monitored. Prevention is always more useful than treatment, and for that reason we encourage a diet high in Vitamin C and B12 – don’t forget, baby’s teeth are developing too so it’s important to have a diet that’s nutritious for your teeth and theirs! Be sure to brush twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste and floss each evening as well.

In addition to ‘pregnancy gingivitis’, pregnant women are also at risk for ‘pregnancy tumors’. These tumors are inflamed, but non-cancerous, growths that may develop when the gums become swollen and irritated. Usually the tumors will resolve themselves post-birth, but if you find one and it’s uncomfortable or painful, don’t hesitate to call our office so we can help you proceed with the right treatment for you.

In general, if you are either currently pregnant or planning to become pregnant, you should always let your dentist know immediately in order to best proceed to minimize the risk of pregnancy-related complications. If needed, most procedures can be performed during pregnancy, particularly if you are in pain or have any concerns. However, we do not recommend any elective procedures until after the baby’s birth in order to minimize health risks to you or the child. Pregnancy does come with health concerns to be monitored, but as was the case before you received the news about your bundle of joy, consistent and thorough cleaning is always your best bet. Above all else, relax and enjoy this special time!

 

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

A Time To Give Thanks

A Time to give thanks

As Thanksgiving swiftly approaches, here is a little insight as to how to not over indulge when turkey day hits!  We all know the famous expression “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!” or “You eat with your eyes first!”  This is usually the case with most of us when it comes to sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner.  Let’s just put this out there…  Gorging yourself on snacks, cakes, pies, and starches just means a really big stomach-ache and a miserable rest of the night, not to mention the potential for damage that it can have on your teeth and gums!

This year, why not give your smile the attention that it deserves?

Instead of the incessant snacking on all of the empty calories, head over to the veggie tray!  A variety of veggies can do wonders for you!  Not only for your oral health, but also for your health in general.  Reaching for a nice healthy snack is a great decision!

When you are loading up your plate with all those delicious foods, try and plan out your plate.  Be mindful of the items you are scooping on as well as how much of what, you are dishing.  Instead of piling on mashed potatoes, rolls, stuffing and marshmallow covered yams, try this combination instead; A bigger scoop of green beans, some turkey, yams (minus the marshmallow), a smaller portion of the potatoes (minus that extra butter) and a little fruit salad on the side without the whipped topping.  Your plate will be well balanced with more appropriate portions and without all of the sticky, bad-for-your-teeth toppings.

Thanksgiving desserts are a must for most! After you have yourself a small slice, if you are able to excuse yourself and go rinse your mouth and (if at all possible) brush and floss your teeth, you will be well on your way to a happier and healthier smile!  If you brush those teeth and gums after eating the sweets and dinner, they are not able to sit on your teeth allowing time for bacteria build-up and all that comes along with the damaging sugar ingredients that cause harm.

With proper oral health care and limited portion control when eating, you CAN quite literally “Have your cake, and eat it too!”

Aside from eating, here’s something fun to do.  Sit down with a friend or loved one and think about a couple of specific moments when someone’s smile impacted you, or when your smile meant something to someone else; even as little as holding a door open for a stranger and the exchange of smiles that was made at that point in time.  This will open up a conversation about smiles and positivity!  And really, what could be better than that?!

All-in-all, we hope you have a wonderful and love-filled Thanksgiving!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

To Trick Or To Treat? That Is The Question!

HalloweenBlog

Halloween is a night full of spook-tacular thrills and terrifying fun!  It can also be a dreaded nightmare with the overload of candy that can spark the start of a cavity!  This year, why not try something new?  When you are gathering your cauldron full of trick or treat goodies, try and opt for some alternatives to the sugar jitters that are bound to commence!  There is no written rule that you HAVE to give out candy.  This year, let’s stand out from the crowd and spice it up a little bit.

Here are some unique alternatives:

  • Mini Play Doh
  • Snack Packs (pretzels, popcorn, fruit chews… etc.)
  • Temporary tattoos or stickers
  • Spooky vampire teeth
  • Halloween themed goodies (pencils, rings, toys, activity books… etc.)
  • Glow sticks
  • Mini juices or waters
  • Small chalk packs
  • Costume jewelry
  • Mini bubbles
  • Travel size floss and toothbrushes 😉

A couple of tips to keep in mind before the kiddos are ready to hit the town:

– Feed your child a well-balanced meal before they go trick or treating.
– Use smaller candy loot bags instead of pillow cases or large grocery bags

Now, let’s be real, we all know that Halloween is a time to indulge, a little (or a lot) in the sugary goodness.  Let this be a special day that your child can have a couple of pieces of candy out of their loot bag.  But limit the amount they consume.  Not to mention, no one likes a belly ache after too many sweets.  Just keep in mind, when your child comes home from the wicked Halloween trick or treating, go through their candy.  If there are any candy wrappers that are open or look to be tampered with, throw away without hesitation.  And don’t let your kids keep their candy stash!  If you are in control of it, you can monitor when they have a piece and how much they are eating.

If you only want to allow for a couple of pieces of candy, and get rid of the rest, consider these options:

  • Dental Office Candy Buy Backs
  • Donating the candy to the troops
  • Make your child a deal. For every piece of candy they hand over, give them a dime and then let them pick something special they would like to do with their earnings! Instant allowance! Perhaps a movie of their choice?  A dinner date?  Or a new toy?

No matter what the decision you choose to go with this year, we hope you have a safe and frightfully fun-filled Halloween!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles
Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524
and
696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

39 Tips and Alternative Uses for Everyday Dental Hygiene Items #LifeHack

Life Hacks – The Dental Edition!Life Hacks

Today we’re sharing our office’s best tips, tricks and secrets to making difficult tasks easy and fixes for the most annoying problems. Get ready to have your mind blown because ALL of these use dental related items!

 Denture Tabs

Did you know they can also be used to help clean common household items? Here are six alternative uses for denture cleanser tablets:

  1. Put them in with a diamond to spruce up that sparkle
  2. Remove mineral deposits from glass
  3. Pop a denture tablet into your coffee pot, run the water through and then rinse. Cleans up stains in a snap! BONUS: also great at removing coffee and tea stains in mugs
  4. Toss a tab in to a full toilet or bathtub and watch the grime dissipate
  5. Use to clean enamel based cookware
  6. Great for unclogging drains

Dental Floss

Be sure to use the dental floss that is flavorless, otherwise you are going to have some unsatisfactory results for some of these hacks.

  1. When your shoelace breaks and you need a fix in a pinch— lace up with floss until you can get a replacement!
  2. Got long hair? When your ponytail’s elastic band snaps off, wrap some floss to create a new hair tie
  3. Sentimental pictures stuck to your scrapbook page? Or cookies stuck to the baking sheet?  Wiggle some floss gently in between to release
  4. Slice clean pieces of bread, cheese or cakes by holding the floss taunt and gliding down the soft item you are wanting to “cut”
  5. Are you travelling and you need to “lock” you luggage? Wind some floss through the zippers to secure
  6. Create a makeshift clothes line out of floss
  7. Use as string for crafts and jewelry making
  8. Leaky faucet? Tie floss around the spout and let the rest hang into the drain to eliminate the dripping sound

Toothpaste

The miracle worker!Toothpaste

  1. Remove scratches from DVD’s and CD’s by applying a little white toothpaste and gently rubbing over the surface
  2. Ring Around the Collar: take some toothpaste on a toothbrush (double dental life hack!) and scrub in a circular motion over the stain before normal washing
  3. Got Kids? Do they have crayons? Use toothpaste as an abrasive to scrub the crayon right off the walls
  4. Scuffs happen. Shoes, furniture, other surface areas, etc.  Put some toothpaste on a toothbrush and scrub away to watch the scuffs vanish
  5. Did someone forget to use a coaster? Rub toothpaste over the ring and wipe clean with a damp cloth
  6. Use as a deodorizer for baby bottles. Remember to rinse thoroughly after soaking!
  7. Rub toothpaste over mirrors, glass, and water goggles then wipe clean to create a fog deterrent
  8. Make your sink and faucets shine by polishing with toothpaste!
  9. Ink and lipstick stains are no longer a problem with the help of toothpaste
  10. Helps remedy stubborn pimples: dab a little toothpaste on the problem area before bed and wash your face in the morning.
  11. Foul scents lingering? Wipe some toothpaste over the area and rinse thoroughly
  12. Remove carpet stains by using the paste with a scrubber

Mouthwash

Mouthwash can help out with more than just bacteria in your mouth and odorous breath!

  1. Use mouthwash as an antiseptic replacement when you run out
  2. “That’s going to leave a bruise!” Heal up faster by rubbing it with some mouthwash on a cotton ball
  3. Poison ivy itches! Smooth over the affected area and discard the used cotton ball to avoid cross contamination
  4. Hand sanitizer substitute!
  5. Did you forget deodorant? Swipe a little mouthwash to remove “ripeness”
  6. Great as a disinfectant
  7. Soak nails and toes in mouthwash to help with fungus and athletes foot
  8. Also works as a great for helping to soften and soothe feet
  9. Can be used as a temporary face astringent
  10. Soak smelly containers in mouthwash and rinse. Say goodbye to stink!

Toothbrush

Toothbrushes make excellent cleaning tools and are great scrubbers. Here’s a few of our favorites uses!

  1. If you need to touch up your roots, use a toothbrush to assist in the hair dying process
  2. Works wonders as an exfoliater
  3. Nail brush – work out the dirt under your nails gently

If you carry little travel sizes of mouthwash, a toothbrush, white toothpaste and some denture tabs, you are fit to solve almost any spill, scuff or stain! These items are great to always have on hand.  Next time one of these problems tries to kick you when you’re down, remember these dental life hacks!  Give them a try and let us know how well their magic works for you!

Dr. Ernesto Mireles

Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524

and

696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501

Here’s What You Should Know About Dental Myths

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COMMON DENTAL MYTHS DEBUNKED

With the magnitude of information available to us these days, it’s harder than ever to separate facts from myths; especially when it comes to your health. There are a million dental related myths that might steer you in the wrong direction when it comes to a healthy smile. It’s important to be informed and know the facts. Here are a few common dental myths, followed by the facts.

Oral Hygiene Only Affects Your Teeth

Many people hear the phrase “oral hygiene” and they think of the simple act of brushing or flossing. While oral hygiene is important for keeping your teeth healthy, poor oral hygiene can be linked to several other health problems- including heart disease. Taking care of your mouth actually means taking care of a lot of things within your body. Untreated periodontal disease contributes to more low birth weight babies than both drinking and smoking combined.  Having poor oral hygiene can cause a multitude of problems- not all of them related to your teeth.

You Shouldn’t Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out Until They Start to Hurt

Typically, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, and your dentist will generally advise you of the same. If you wait for your wisdom teeth to become painful, they might have already done other damage to your gums or teeth. Many people believe that as long as they have no pain, there’s no reason to have an unnecessary surgery. In rare cases, wisdom teeth can stay intact as long as they are not interfering or causing damage. One of the most common reasons to remove wisdom teeth is because they are so difficult to keep clean and rather than incurring costly repairs to those teeth many dentists will suggest having them removed.  Frequent exams are necessary in this case to monitor and maintain your health. It’s generally better to have your wisdom teeth removed before any pain, rather than take the gamble.

White Teeth Are Healthier Teeth

Teeth are actually not meant to be pure white. Tooth color can vary widely, for example, depending on your race, pigmentation varies greatly.  Also, as you get older, your teeth will naturally take on a more faded color as things do with time, however they can still be perfectly healthy. A color beyond a light yellow could be cause for concern, but generally the pinkness of your gums is a better indication of oral health as opposed to how white your teeth are.

If Teeth Look Healthy, and Are Not Hurting, There is No Reason to Visit a Dentist

The most common mistake people make regarding their dental health is skipping regular preventive visits because they do not see or feel any problems. Even in the absence of a visible problem or discomfort, regular visits for x-ray exams, cleaning and necessary restorative care are necessary to maintain your teeth and gums for life. Discovering diseases in the mouth earlier rather than later will typically reduce cost, recovery time and severity of dental treatment that may need to be performed.

It’s important to educate yourself on the facts surrounding whole body health and well-being. Muddled information and common misperceptions can leave people confused. The best way to combat myths and augment dental health is to see and speak with your dentist regularly. Have open dialogue and productive conversations about what is and is not true. Being informed, savvy and educated will keep you and your dentist smiling.

Dr. Ernesto Mireles | Salinas Dental and Implant Centers

608 E. Boronda Rd., Suite B
Salinas, CA 93906
(831) 443-3524

696 Walnut Ave., #1
Greenfield, CA 93927
(831) 674-5501