Colony Square Dental Associates

Tips to Keep Our Children in Good Dental Health | Even During a Pandemic

Over the past several weeks life seems to have hit the proverbial “pause” button for many of us. We are spending more quality time with our partners, spouses and children. While slowing down the pace of our day-to-day lives could be a good thing for mental health, it is equally as important to make sure we are keeping our bodies healthy, both orally and physically. This should be a conscious family effort – with our children at the forefront.
Why is it so important to highlight the kids? Put simply, they are quite easily the second most vulnerable, aside from our elderly age group. Many factors play a part, but one very important reality is they are truly at a “carefree” stage of life. Meaning, they do not understand the seriousness of COVID-19 or the precautions that must be set in place. It is our job as their parents, guardians and healthcare providers, to ensure we do our part to keep them healthy and happy.
We have compiled a list of healthy dental to-do’s to incorporate into your household’s new daily routines:
> Assist with hand washing prior to routine dental care, such as brushing or flossing. It is important to remember this involves touching our faces. A good rule of thumb is to sing your ABC’s twice through before picking up your toothbrush.
> Remember to remind your little ones to brush at least twice a day – preferably in the morning and right before bedtime. These are good times to remove all of the sugar-bugs!
> Flossing is equally important, especially now that we have so much time on our hands. No excuses to forget this healthy habit! Did you know that if you don’t floss you are leaving 35% of your teeth’s surfaces unprotected and susceptible to plaque? 
> Encourage your family to eat a well balanced diet. Quarantine snacking gets the best of all of us from time to time. However, we must hit the brakes and limit our intake of sticky, sugary snacks, like cakes, candies, and cookies. Watch when your children snack; keep it limited; constantly eating and snacking all day can increase your family’s risk for cavities.
> We have attached a link to the American Dental Association’s website (ADA), that has provided us with  for those rainy days when keeping indoors is a must! It is a great reminder for your children and they learn about oral health in a very fun way. These range in difficulty for several age groups. We encourage you to take a look!


Now that we have our mouths healthy, it’s important to get our bodies moving too! We have listed some fun, safe, and physical activities you can do as a family to get everyone off the sofa.
> Plan an “at home” Field Day with both indoor and outdoor activities! Designate a leader and have 6-10 work-stations with engaging projects that are fun for all age groups. Use household items you already have, there is no need to go out and buy supplies! YouTubeis a great source for at-home science projects and organized outdoor games. Additionally, many local school districts are offering fun ideas to keep your children busy. We recommend visiting your child’s school website for more information on what they are offering in your area.
> Create a sidewalk chalk obstacle course in your driveway and have everyone participate. There are many ways to stay active. Each member of the family can come up with something, we are sure of it!
> Go for a walk or a nice bike ride if the weather is pretty. We should get our heart rates up daily. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends 60 minutes of play/physical activity for children daily and at least 150 minutes per week of moderate to intensive aerobic activity for adults.
At Colony Square Dental Associates, we take our jobs seriously by keeping our patients well informed of the rapidly changing world around us. For many, we are the only healthcare facility a patient, adult or child alike, visits routinely during the year. Although that may seem surprising, it is not uncommon. And as so many health concerns have been directly linked to one’s oral well-being, we urge our patients, young and mature, to keep healthy from the inside – out. 
Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Diora would love to hear about how your family has been taking a team approach to health during this time. Feel free to send us pictures or video messages on our Facebook page. We miss all of your smiling faces and would love to hear from you!

Dental Emergencies | In the Time of the Coronavirus – What Ifs?

It’s human nature to worry about the ‘What Ifs’. What if I go on a trip and leave something important at home? What if I don’t do well on a test, a presentation, an interview? What if I forget a birthday, an anniversary, an important meeting? But today we have much more important ‘What Ifs’ to consider. Be it – What If I become ill? Or – What if my job is not secure? And while we wish we could be of assistance with answers to these, and other pressing and important questions that will arise during this pandemic, there are a couple of ‘What If’ questions we can answer. Those are: What is a dental emergency? And, What if I have a dental emergency?

It’s almost been a month since the CDC, the ADA (the American Dental Association) and the U.S. government recommended that dental offices restrict appointments to emergency care only until further notice. Though we understand that this is a disruption for patients scheduled for treatment, we concur that this action has been essential to help control the spread of the Coronavirus. Hopefully, taking these precautions will increase the opportunity to ‘open the doors’ sooner, so that we can see patients safely for general care, when deemed reasonable to do so by the experts.

So, what is a dental emergency? In the past, the definition of ‘emergency’ at Colony Square Dental Associates was somewhat broad; we always did our utmost to accommodate our patient’s perception as to what they felt was an emergency. These emergencies could range from teeth that are discolored with a wedding around the corner, to a tiny chip off of a tooth, to a patient up all evening in pain from a tooth that had abscessed and needed either a root canal or an extraction ASAP. However, with the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, in order to help preserve the health and safety of both our patients and our treatment team, we are using the newly released ADA guide on ‘Dental Emergencies’ to help provide us with some direction as to what is emergency, urgent and routine care. And while these provide a framework, as always, the best way for our patients of record to determine if an emergency office visit is needed is through speaking with us. While today this conversation may incorporate use of a cell phone or a Zoom Video chat, which now have a name – ‘Teledentistry’, it’s the old-fashioned phone call to get started. Both Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Diora are available to speak with you. Give the office a call (404-874-6464) for directions as to how to reach them. Or contact us via email: [email protected]; both emails and phone messages are checked periodically throughout the day.

And should you need to visit our office for emergency care, we want you to be assured that we while we have always followed standard universal precautions issued by the ADA such as:

· Single-use gloves and masks when treating patients

· An open-concept sterilization bay, designed to sequence the processing of instrumentation is based on aseptic protocol. Visible to all, our state-of-the-art center is equipped with an ultrasonic cleaner, an automated instrument washer, autoclaves, individual instrument cassette packaging with sterile verifying tape, verified by Emory, complies with OSHA and ADA standards

· Autoclave sterilization (a high-pressure steam oven) of instruments after each use, which kills infectious organisms, including Coronavirus

· Thorough wipe-down of all dental operatories, after each patient visit, with a medical-grade surface disinfectant

· Disinfection of clinicians’ hands following the CDC hand-washing technique or an alcohol based antiseptic cleaning solution prior to gloving

In addition to our everyday efforts to offer care in a safe environment, supplementary precautions were implemented as recommended by the ADA. These additional protocols include:

· Pre-screening patients: Let us know if you have a cough, fever, or chills or experienced those symptoms within the past two weeks. If you have been around anyone who has, or has been exposed, to the virus. If you have traveled/resided away from your home within the past two weeks.

· We ask patients to social distance: Should you come for emergency care, please show up no earlier than 10 minutes prior to your scheduled appointment. If a driver accompanies you, we ask that they remain in the car or 100 building lobby during care.

· Touch point items have minimized as well. Our front office will check in for you; magazines, newspapers and our coffee machine, have been removed. We will provide you with a new pen, to take with you, should any paperwork be needed; bottle waters are available – will be placed on the counter-top by team members, wearing gloves, so you can remain hydrated. Periodically we will wipe all common surfaces with a CDC approved disinfectant. Extra hand-sanitizers will be placed throughout our office for your convenience.

We care about all of our patients and hope that you, your family and your friends remain in good health. If you have any questions, we are here for you; don’t hesitate to reach out.

Diet and Dental Health | ‘You are what you eat’

‘You are what you eat’… is a phrase thought to be as old as the early 1800s that has come to be well known over the years Today, with TV ads, the Internet, and advice from our doctors, we know that the foods we eat and the drinks we drink help determine our overall health. Of course, the challenge is to figure out the specific ‘good foods of the day’ as we know that oftentimes these may change. One year it’s spinach; the next year it’s broccoli and for a few years we have new loves – avocado toast, kale and everything green smoothies. The plus is that with more information we can become more actively involved in maintaining a healthy body. And what doesn’t change from year to year are the vast numbers of research studies creating an increasing knowledge base showing the direct correlation between foods and our body’s ability to fight off illness, sleep better, be more alert and just plain feel better.

 

Just as we make choices to reduce the risk of diabetes by watching processed sugars and our weight and keeping our heart health in mind by avoiding foods high in saturated fats or sodium and an increase in aerobic activities – our teeth do not exist in a vacuum. They are positivity or negatively impacted by our personal nutrition. With oral health, it’s a two-way street. Many patients, with certain types of general health issues, are more cavity-prone and tend to have periodontal (gum tissue) disease. And on the other hand, many oral manifestations are signals that there are undiagnosed underlying health issues. As the saying goes … ‘Bright and white teeth are a window into our overall well-being.’ To highlight the importance of raising the public’s awareness of making the best choices, The Academy of Dietetics and Nutrition designates the month of March as National Nutrition Month with their campaign this year entitled ‘Eating Right Bite by Bite’. So, it’s a good time to review some tips to help YOU stay your healthy best.

 

Around the third month of pregnancy, baby teeth begin to form. The maxim of ‘you are what you eat’ holds true even for unborn little ones. If you are a mom-to-be, the food you eat will, in part, help determine the strength of your baby’s teeth. And once your baby is born, and even before their first tooth erupts, the teeth’s strength is impacted by the correct amount of fluoride that he or she gets through both the water you drink and the foods you eat. After birth, once solid foods are introduced and into your child’s teen years, diligence towards diet will direct the development and health of your child’s adult teeth. But it doesn’t end there; we know that no matter our age – be it soon after the teenage years, in our 40’s to 60s and into our 90s, the importance of attention to nutrition is equally as important. As we age, for our teeth to last our lifetime, we need to maintain the same levels of care that helped us keep our teeth through the years. Factors, such as smoking, alcohol intake, medications and just ‘getting older’ take their toll on our oral health as they do to the rest of our body.

 

So, what can we do to be our own best advocate as we sit down to our next meal, and the next one and the one after that? Look at our choices and make them wisely. Choose lean meats, leafy green vegetables, fresh fruits, instead of fruit juices, whole grain products, less processed foods, foods low in sodium and those with no added sugars, choose your carbohydrates wisely (starchy carbs, like chips, are just as bad as candy!) dairy products (an excellent source of calcium important for both bones and teeth) that are low in fats, and as important as all that we chew – drink fluoridated water! Right from the tap. Decrease alcohol and coffee intake – they are dehydrating, which can decrease the flow of saliva, hence increasing the risk of recurrent tooth decay. Saliva is our own build in ‘oral rinse’.

 

Our teeth are an integral part of our body; if ‘you are what you eat’ be sure that you can eat in comfort and smile with confidence. If you have questions regarding understanding the correlation between what we choose to eat and drink and the link with your oral health, ask Drs. Hochberg and Diora; they’d be happy to discuss the topic in detail with you.

Children’s Primary Teeth and How to Care for Them

5 Creative Ways to Celebrate National Children’s Dental Health Month with your child

It is increasingly important to encourage children at a young age, to take care of their teeth. Encouragement combined with happy visits to the dentist assists with promoting a lifetime of oral health. This year, in addition to community outreach and internal office efforts, Drs. Hochberg & Diora wanted to also provide parents/guardians with their top five creative ways to celebrate children’s dental health!

 

  1. Tooth Trinkets- Whether it be a fun tooth pillow, box, or dish, the time will come when your child loses his/her first tooth. It is a time to celebrate! Encourage your child by providing them with a way to “deliver” their tooth to the tooth fairy, or perhaps they might enjoy decorating their own box. Then, leave a little something from the tooth fairy for them. Two-dollar bills, half-dollar coins, notes, and fairy dust (glitter) are all creative ways to let your little one know that the fairy was really there! Think outside the box, and they will appreciate the effort.
  2. Brushing/Flossing Chart- It isn’t always an easy task reminding your child to brush & floss every morning and every night. However, there are ways to incentivize them until it becomes a habit. One fun way is by printing or drawing a weekly brushing/flossing chart with an AM and PM box. Place a sticker in each box daily and together, choose a suitable reward for successfully filling up the chart. Before long, it will become second nature to them. They will feel as though they have earned the treat, and you will be proud of them. It’s something we consider to be a win-win!
  3. Fancy Toothbrushes- Children tend to engage more when tasks are made to be fun. Throw away the boring brushes and step up your game. Let them pick! Many companies have cartoon, light-up, electric, and multi-colored toothbrushes to choose from that they are sure to enjoy. It also helps when they like the flavor of paste they are using. The American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval is always an easy indicator of an approved toothpaste that has the right amount of anti-cavity fighting ingredients and fluoride. It’s your job to find the seal and their job to seal the deal!
  4. Brush Together- Have you ever heard the old saying, “Monkey see, monkey do?” As parents, we know this to be true in many stages of childhood. This also applies to dentistry. With that in mind, try intentionally planning a time to brush your teeth with your child. It helps to see how they are brushing and for how long. You might even have them pick a favorite toon and brush along to a song to make sure all the sugar bugs are gone. The goal is to develop a routine that they enjoy and make a few memories along the way.
  5. Visit the Dentist- Does your child have teeth? It’s probably time to schedule a “Happy Visit” to the dentist. By bringing them in early, they become familiar with riding in our big dental chairs, meeting the doctors, and growing accustomed to more routine visits as they grow. We make it fun by counting their teeth, providing them with a handmade comfort sock-puppet, and informing you of any concerns we may find. It’s also a great time to ask any questions you have about how to properly care for your child’s primary teeth.

Please keep in mind, if you have any unique dental tips that have worked for your little ones, we would love to hear about them! We are always looking for new ideas to share with the schools we visit during the month of February each year in celebration of Children’s Dental Health Month! Leave us a comment on Facebook.

‘Tis the Season for Giving Back | CSDA Partners with Dress for Success

As the year comes to an end, our dental family is preparing for all of the traditional holiday festivities. No matter if you are celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus, or otherwise, the most important thing is that you’re spending valuable time with close family and friends.

From our spring continuing education classes at Hinman, to our trip to California in September for the American Dental Association (ADA) seminar, we have successfully kept up with the ever-changing dental technologies on the market. And we are excited to share what we have learned with all of you in 2020.

But, as we reflect on the last 12 months, we know that we couldn’t be the family-style dental practice that we are, without our loyal patients and staff members. Each and every one of you has contributed to molding Colony Square Dental Associates into the dental practice we are today. For that, we are incredibly thankful. And because of your continued loyalty, we are able to give back to the community each year.

This year we teamed up with Dress for Success Atlanta to support their mission in preparing ladies in need with the right tools to re-enter the workplace. After speaking with Candice, a coordinating volunteer, we understood that they needed undergarments in all shapes and sizes. In true CSDA fashion, our office team was whisked off to shop for “the girls.” It was no easy task finding some of the unique sizes, but we have quite the competitive bunch who got the job done!

The bins at the donation center are empty no longer and it does our hearts good knowing we were able to help so many women acquire the confidence they deserve. We often take for granted the little things that make a life-changing difference to others who may not have access or the means to get them.

So this holiday, Drs. Hochberg and Diora would like to wish you all a healthy, prosperous, and fulfilled season surrounded by joy and love. Spread kindness as often as you can. And don’t forget to enjoy the delicious goodies guilt-free (as long as you brush and floss, of course.)

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

Keeping your Breath Fresh

Keeping your Breath Fresh?

Hummus with garlic tastes great! So do tuna fish sandwiches and burgers loaded with onions on top Pure joy! However, we know there’s a price to pay by eating certain foods – the potential for bad breath. We enjoy our favorites and then run to brush our teeth, use a mouthwash or grab a piece of gum. Once the remaining offending food particles are washed away and some time has passed, typically the bad breath has resolved. But not always.

Many factors can contribute to frequent occurrences of chronic bad breath, halitosis, some of which are harmless to one’s overall health, others are symptoms of underlying medical issues and some are side effects from certain medications.

Causes of Bad Breath

Food Choices

As stated, on occasion everyone can have less than fresh breath. Foods react to the ever-present bacteria in the oral cavity. Keep eating the foods that are known culprits and the bad=breath remains. Stop eating them and it goes away. While no one wants to offend with bad breath, sometimes those onion rings just call our name. It’s not harmful to our health; it’s merely a ‘social issue’.

Dental Disease

When halitosis occurs frequently and it’s not related to food intake, further investigation is necessary to determine the underlying cause or causes. Visit your dentist. The problem could be dental disease. Both cavities and gum disease are known to cause an unpleasant oral odor. The reason? The bacteria that cause bad breath are more difficult to brush or floss away when there are pockets between the teeth and the gum tissue or when a void – a cavity – exits in the tooth’s structure. Restoring the tooth with a filling and/or improving the health of the gums not only removes the dental disease – there’s also the plus of eliminating this as the cause of bad breath.

Dry mouth

Saliva, which serves as the mouth’s bathing agent, washes away harmful bacteria. It helps break down our food and protects our teeth. When the amount of saliva production is insufficient, for whatever reason, bad breath is often a result. There are many causes for dry mouth, (xerostomia). Some are easy to identify – smoking, caffeine intake or alcohol consumption. By avoiding, or at least limiting these substances, the saliva production can return to normal levels.

But dry mouth can be a symptom of many medical conditions. While there may be a blockage in the salivary glands, there are many illnesses, seemingly unrelated to the oral cavity, which exhibit symptoms, such as dry mouth, in the mouth. It is important to first determine whether the cause is an undiagnosed medical problem. Allergy and sinus sufferers with a post-nasal drip and patients with gastric reflux find that bad breath is common. Other illnesses, such as diabetes, liver or kidney diseases need to be ruled as well. And, of course, once diagnosed, these conditions need to be treated.

Another cause of dry mouth is medications. Many medications, necessary to help us fight disease, cause is reduction in the body’s production of saliva. They may have a dehydrating effect. The good news is that there are many over-the-counter medications to help eliminate dry mouth. Drs. Hochberg and Diora are happy to offer recommendations and oftentimes have samples on hand for you to try. Not only do these products help increase your comfort level, but also by alleviating the dryness your breath will be fresher.

What is the best way to eliminate bad breath?

Once all medical and dental issues have been addressed and there is nothing left undiagnosed or untreated, there are effective ways to have fresher breath. To begin, be sure that you are following a good home healthcare regimen. Ask your dental hygienist to suggest the best products for you. Then be sure to brush and floss at least twice a day. Keep that timer on! Remember the two-minute rule of 30 seconds per each quadrant of your mouth. Limit your intake of caffeinated drinks; they reduce the production of saliva. Increase water consumption. Chew a sugar-free gum after a meal; the activity increases saliva production while removing much of the remaining food particles until you can brush. Swish a mouthwash; it helps neutralize odors.

The main take away? At some point in time everyone will have an unwelcome occurrence of bad breath. However, if the problem persists it’s important to investigate further. Be sure that it’s not a telltale sign of an underlying dental or medical problem. Visit us a Colony Square Dental Associates; we’re available to evaluate the status of your oral health to ensure that dental decay or periodontal (gum) disease is not the culprit.

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September is “Dental Implant Awareness Month”

Choosing an Implant Dentist

Though for many decades dental implants have been a widely accepted treatment option, today more and more patients are seeking out qualified dental implant healthcare providers for care. Considered state-of-the-art dentistry – an alternative to bridges or dentures – dental implants replace one or more missing teeth. So prevalent is this treatment modality, September 2019, has been designated Dental Implant Awareness Month by the preeminent dental implant organization, the American Academy of Implant dentistry (AAID). It’s time set aside time to focus on raising the public’s understanding of the benefits of implants.

While most would expect that the number one question asked is, “What is a dental implant?”, that’s not the case. With TV advertising and the amount of information readily available on the Internet, the big question the general public now asks is, “How do I select the best dentist to provide me with dental implants?” Selecting a healthcare provider, for any procedure, can be a daunting task. We ask friends, relatives, read reviews and Google away so we can make the best-informed decision. We take into account the clinician’s training, expertise, and more often than not, their credentials. While a decades old, and widely accepted treatment modality, there is not a dental specialty in ‘Implantology’ as there is for Endodontics or Oral Surgery. It then becomes incumbent upon the patient interested in learning about replacement of a missing tooth or teeth with dental implants to do their homework. There is a significant difference in training between a dentist who takes a weekend course compared to one with years of training who has passed the rigorous testing criteria required to become credentialed from a well-recognized educational organization.

For over 67 years, the leader and the oldest academy that provides dentists with training in Implantology is The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID). Dentists who have expertise in both the surgical placement of dental implants and the restoration of the implants are uniquely qualified to provide not only the technical proficiency to place an implant, he or she does so with the understanding of how the final restoration of the implant or implants will work functionally, so their patient is able to chew in comfort. And, equally important, they have the skill needed to incorporate the implant into an esthetically pleasing smile – one their patient is proud to share. Dr. David G. Hochberg is such a dentist. With a Diplomate in the ABOI and Fellow in the AAID, along with over 35 years of providing both the surgical and restorative phases of care for his patients along with patients of referring dentists, Dr. Hochberg is sought out for his diagnostic capabilities, comprehensive approach to care, both his surgical and restorative skills and, as important, his ability to understand the unique needs, concerns and expectations of patients. And, after serving on the board of the AAID, last year as its president, he understands the importance of helping educate the public on all aspects of dental implant care.

When you stop to ask yourself who you should see, consider scheduling an evaluation with Dr. Hochberg and raise your awareness of the benefits of Implant Dentistry.

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Is chewing gum good for your dental health?

Can chewing gum be healthy?

There have been several clinical studies showing that chewing sugarless gum for at least 20 minutes following meals can aid in helping fight against tooth decay. When you chew sugarless gum, it increases the flow of saliva in the mouth and helps wash away food particles. Increased amounts of saliva, which contains the disease-fighting substances of calcium and phosphate, is carried throughout the mouth serving to strengthen tooth enamel as it washes away harmful bacteria and debris and neutralizes cavity-causing acids.

What kind of chewing gum is best for your teeth?

Patients ask Drs. Hochberg & Diora, and our team of dental hygienists, which chewing gum is best. Be sure to look for the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal on the wrapper to ensure that you are purchasing a truly sugar-free gum. Most commonly, the sugar-free gums approved by the ADA contain the following as non-cavity producing sweeteners:  aspartame, xylitol, sorbitol or mannitol. These sugars are commonly referred to as sugar alcohols.

What exactly are sugar alcohols? Sugar alcohols are naturally occurring acids that are found in some foods; they typically come from fruits and berries. Many consumers choose these sweeteners, as they want fewer calories. Sugar alcohols can contain about a half to a third less calories than regular sugar. But, it’s not only our waistline that dictates selecting sugar-free chewing gum. Oftentimes gums that are not sugar-free contain sugars, preservatives, dyes, and artificial flavorings, which are slowly released into the mouth. When they mix with saliva, like all sugars, this liquid bath becomes one of the prime contributors to the development of dental decay.

Are there risks in chewing gum, even if it’s sugar-free?

There is such a thing as ‘too much of a good thing’. And it’s the same with chewing any gum. In excess, gum chewing, even if it doesn’t contain cavity-causing sugars, can be problematic to certain individuals. After a meal is finished and our stomach has processed the food, it rests. If gum chewing takes place for extended time periods, the stomach doesn’t have the opportunity to take a break; it’s still working hard to process the excess salvia produced during gum chewing. This can create stomach issues. And, there are those who are allergic or sensitive to artificial sweeteners. They are not all the same and care must be taken in selecting one that agrees with your digestive system. And, let’s not forget the jaw joint. Many have experienced times when their TMJ (temporomandibular joint) is painful, called TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction). Gum chewing can cause, or exacerbate the problem.

So, while chewing sugarless gum for short time periods – instead of regular gum – can decrease the risk dental cavities, like everything, it should not be in excess. And it does not take the place of a healthy diet, avoidance of sugary drinks and foods, or a home health care regimen that includes regular twice a day brushing, with fluoridated toothpaste, and flossing. And, of course, periodic dental examinations, oral cancer screenings and dental hygiene visits with your Colony Square Dental Associates’ hygienist, round out the picture.

Is Flossing Helpful or Harmful?

Is Flossing Helpful or Harmful?

 

You can count on hearing, ‘don’t forget to brush and floss’ during visits to the dentist, on oral health educational videos and on TV. You may wonder why and when this refrain took hold and the reasons your dentist and hygienist stress the importance of this home healthcare routine.

Surprising though it may be, the practice of flossing isn’t new. There is evidence that even prehistoric man had a mechanism to remove foods from between their teeth. And while it’s been over two hundred years since an American dentist first introduced packaged flossing to the public, the toothpick was the #1 choice to remove those stubborn particles until the end of WW II. While the first flosses were made out of a silk thread, typically today’s floss is made from waxed or non-waxed nylon.

Why does the dental profession stress flossing along with brushing?

The majority of oral healthcare professionals began advising patients to floss for health reasons, not merely to remove a lodged popcorn kernel or a piece of lettuce from between our teeth. After years of research, dentists were provided scientific data to better understand the causes of decay, gum inflammation, periodontal disease, and bone loss. As our oral healthcare knowledge base grew, products, such as floss, were introduced to help prevent or mitigate the causes of dental disease. This became increasingly important as more recent research studies provided additional evidence showing the correlation between oral health and diabetes, heart disease and even cancers. Maintaining one’s oral health not only puts a happy, healthy smile on your face but also serves to enhance your general wellbeing.

Where does floss fit in the discussion of oral health? Brushing is important. It helps clean the surfaces of our teeth, but a toothbrush, even an electric, does not fully reach in between the teeth – spaces where it’s easier for these bacterial colonies to coalesce. This is where flossing comes into play. Bacteria live in our mouths. And that’s okay. In fact, there are hundreds upon hundreds of strains of bacteria; and each individual’s oral bacterial makeup is different. Most strains of oral bacteria do not pose a problem. But there are types that do. Sugars and starches, even found in many healthier foods, pose problems. It’s those carbohydrates. There is a type of oral bacteria that enjoys carbs as much or more than we do. The problem is that this bacterial strain, as it feeds on these substances, produces lactic acid that is known to dissolve the enamel of your tooth’s surface – one of the primary causes of dental decay. Other strains, though not as prevalent, are known to impact the health of the bone tissue of the jaw. With all these bacteria, our goal is to educate you on the techniques available to help prevent the ‘bad’ bacteria from forming colonies of harmful sticky substances. Floss breaks up the soft and sticky bacterial plaque. When our saliva does not wash it away and brushing does not reach all surfaces, this substance will adhere to the tooth’s surface. Left undisturbed, the production of lactic acid from the colonies of bacteria dissolve the enamel of the tooth surface. The result? The potential for tooth decay. Also, when plaque is not removed, in combination with products found in our saliva, it calcifies. This hard substance, calculus, if not removed regularly, cause gum tissue inflammation – leading to periodontal disease and potential bone loss. It’s the combination of brushing and flossing that disrupts the bacteria, stops the formation of the sticky substances and helps prevent the damaging build up. A good thing!

Why the recent hype about: ‘no need to floss’ or ‘flossing is harmful to your health’?

If flossing does all this hard work for us, why the recent articles? We don’t always have a definitive study that says that if you do ‘A’ you will be assured that ‘B’ will occur. There is not, as yet, fully definitive evidence-based research showing that if you floss you will not get cavities. But we do know that it makes sense as it removes harmful substances and reduces the buildup of cavity-causing plaque. And there is evidence-based research findings that flossing is beneficial in reducing the risk of gum diseases (and hence potential bone loss), which is a good enough reason in itself to floss. Just ask Drs. Hochberg and Diora. After years of practicing, they along with the preponderance of dentists and hygienists, have observed that the patients who brush AND floss regularly, present with healthier gums and teeth. As Karen, one of our hygienists of over 25 years at Colony Square Dental Associates says, “From my observation, patients that do floss have healthier gum tissue in comparison to those who do not. Patients that do not floss typically have bleeding and inflamed gum tissue. Water flossers are also effective and can help aid in keeping your oral health up to par.” And, what about articles asking, Is flossing dangerous? There was a small study that was released earlier this year reporting that women using a popular waxed floss were found to have higher levels of a specific type of PFAS (a chemical used to coat the floss). After reviewing the study the American Dental Association (ADA) determined that the cause and effect finding was not conclusive – as this chemical is found in the air, the water and even fast food containers. While further study is certainly warranted, according to the ADA Statement: “Study Involving Dental Floss”, released on January 14, 2019:

 

            “PTFE is often used in food and beverage, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic applications. The fact that the researchers were able to find the PTFE marker in several brands of floss does not mean that it is the source of the PFHxS in the women. Given that this was a retrospective study including self-reported use of products, there are likely many other differences between women who did and did not report having used the brand of floss mentioned. The ADA sees no cause for concern based on current evidence, and above all continues to encourage people to clean between their teeth daily with floss or other interdental cleaners as part of the ADA’s daily oral hygiene recommendations. 

 

At Colony Square Dental Associates we still say, “May the Floss be with You!”

The jury may still be out on whether waxed floss actually contains this chemical. And if it does, it is yet to be determined whether the chemical is released from the floss and ingested or whether it poses a risk. But, this is not an excuse to stop flossing! You may wish to read more about this topic before continuing with your current brand of floss. We encourage you to do so. And feel free to discuss alternatives with Drs. Hochberg, Diora and our hygienists – Karen, Cheryl & Gina. There are various options to break up the buildup of harmful bacteria on and between the teeth and at the gum line. Some floss is manufactured without chemical coatings and, as Karen says, there are other interdental devices such as the WaterPik®. So, we stand by the same old, same old mantra: Brush – twice a day! And Floss – at least once a day!

 

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When Is The Last Time You Checked Your Tongue?

When Is The Last Time You checked Your Tongue?

When you brushed your teeth this morning did you look at your tongue? If you answered no…it’s okay. Although we know oral health is important, many are unaware of the importance of examining their tongue.

The tongue is one of the most vital barometers to one’s oral health. Your tongue can serve as a detection tool, alerting you of health issues occurring inside of your body. At Colony Square Dental Associates, Drs. Hochberg and Diora examine the tongue of each patient they see; they know that an oral examination is not complete without a thorough evaluation of the top surface – and the undersurface – of this important muscular organ.

What does a healthy tongue look like?

If your oral hygiene isn’t up to par oftentimes symptoms are evident on the tongue. A healthy tongue will appear bright pink with small white nodes (little dots) throughout. Although tongues do come in all shapes and sizes, your tongue should not appear to be swollen nor should it protrude from your mouth.

What diseases can show symptoms on the tongue?

There are numerous diseases that Dr. Hochberg, Dr. Diora, and our dental hygienists are on the lookout for. They can be the result of stressors, infections or medications. The most frequently seen ailments are listed below.

Thrush: Thrush is an infection of the mouth caused by Candida fungus or yeast. Thrush occurs most commonly as a side effect of medications such as antibiotics or corticosteroids. The prescriptions affect the PH balance in your body. It is also seen in those with immune systems that are weaker, such as toddlers, those with cancer, or persons under stress. Indicators of thrush are white patches or a creamy white substance on the tongue that resembles cottage cheese. If you notice anything similar to the symptoms described, call us immediately. We will schedule for an examination to diagnose and provide treatment.

Vitamin Deficiency: Take your vitamins! Your daily vitamin intake plays a major role in your oral health. If you notice your diet doesn’t include all of the recommended vitamins, your tongue will be sure to let you know. A bright red tongue that appears smooth and may be a bit uncomfortable could be an indicator that you may be deficient in certain vitamins such as folic acid, iron or B vitamins.

Oral Cancer: Sores that don’t heal, pain, odd discoloring and chronic issues with swallowing or chewing, should not be neglected as these are possible signs of oral cancer. If any of these issues persist for longer than a week be sure to check in with your dentist. Don’t let symptoms linger! Be vigilant. If you notice changes, seek a professionals opinion. Early diagnosis and care save lives!

You are the best person to act as the first line of defense. When your brush and floss your teeth in the morning and evening, add a step to your home oral healthcare regimen. Scrape any residue off your tongue. This is buildup on your tongue, with unwanted bacteria, contributes to bad breath. As you do so, look at your tongue. Check the front, the back and the top of the tongue’s surface. Stick your tongue out. Do you notice any changes, growths, discolorations, and patches? Lift up your tongue. Look underneath. Any concerns?

As we finish April’s National Oral Cancer Awareness month, it’s critical to remember the word ‘awareness’. This month and every month hereafter, make it your mission to pay close attention to the signs your tongue is giving you. If you feel like you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, please call. Our goal is to help you stay healthy.