Mouth rinse manufacturers might face prosecution

Manufacturers of mouth rinse products often claim that their products are effective against gum disease and plaque. But that is simply not true.

Mouth rinse productsManufacturers of mouth rinse products often claim that their products are effective against gum disease and plaque. But that is simply not true. At least, it is not a proven fact that they have this effect. That is the conclusion of a report by the FDA, which has resulted in warning letters being sent to three manufacturers and marketers of mouth rinse products.

Only one proven effect of mouth rinse products

The only ingredient in mouth rinse products that has a scientifically proven effect is fluoride. Fluoride is only effective against cavities in that it helps remineralize teeth. Although the fluoride in mouth rinse products might have a beneficial effect against cavities, it will not remove the plaque itself nor the diseases caused by plaque. Only a toothbrush can remove plaque, and only by regularly removing plaque can gum disease be effectively prevented.

Are mouth rinse products beneficial?

Since gum disease is a medical problem, products claiming to have therapeutic effect must have presented scientific proof supporting this claim. The manufacturers of mouth rinse products have not presented any such proof and are thus not permitted to claim that their products have any such therapeutic effect. False claims as to the effect of mouth rinse products might have a harmful effect on the oral health of buyers, since they put too much trust in the product and pay too little attention to the oral health habits that are actually effective in preventing oral diseases, such as brushing and flossing.

Since the amount of fluoride needed to protect teeth against cavities in most cases is met just by using toothpaste for brushing twice a day, many dental health professionals find mouth rinse products to be an unnecessary supplement to the daily oral health routine.

In the warning letters from the FDA, the three companies were given a deadline of 15 days to take action to correct the matter. Otherwise they would risk prosecution and the removal of their mouth rinse products from the shelves.

Bad breath – causes and solutions!

Bad breath is hard to talk about but not so hard to cure. Why do people have bad breath and what can be done about it?

Bad breath causes and solutionsBad breath is a big problem for many and is still a big taboo in most places. It is a pity that bad breath is so hard to talk about, because it is not very hard to do something about. This article will deal with two questions concerning bad breath: Why do people have bad breath and what can be done about it?

Why do I have bad breath?

Many people are convinced that their bad breath comes from their stomach, but recent research has proved that most cases of bad breath are caused by germs on the surface of the tongue. In fact, it is estimated that germs on the tongue account for as much as 90% of all cases of bad breath. Simply put, the germs release gases that cause the bad smell. If you examine your own tongue in the mirror you will discover that it’s surface is actually very rough. Especially the area near the root of your tongue is a perfect breeding ground for the germs that cause bad breath.

Another connection between germs and bad breath is that germs can build up as plaque and eventually cause gum disease (periodontitis) and cavities. Plaque in itself can cause bad breath, but especially periodontitis and cavities can cause a very bad smell from the mouth because of the kind of germs that live in cavities and deep periodontal pockets.

Tonsil stones (or tonsilloliths) are yet another reason why some people suffer from bad breath. Tonsil stones are whitish/yellow little lumps that sometimes accumulate in the small pits on the surface of your tonsils. The lumps consist of sulfur-producing bacteria and debris from your mouth and nose and they can both taste and smell bad.

What can be done about bad breath?

If your bad breath is caused by plaque, you will need to work harder on your dental hygiene. Maybe you already brush your teeth at least twice a day or even more often – but are you thorough enough? Do you make sure to brush every surface of all your teeth (even the difficult-to-reach ones in the back of your mouth) or do you tend to brush the same few teeth every time?

If your bad breath is caused by cavities or periodontitis you will need to see your dentist for treatment. These problems cannot be solved by improving your oral hygiene alone. Your dentist or dental hygienist will probably also advise you on how to maintain a high standard of oral hygiene and how to avoid bad breath in the future. You can talk openly to your dentist or dental hygienist about your bad breath. It is their profession to deal with these things and there are no taboos in the dental clinic.

If your teeth are already healthy and your dental hygiene is good but you still suffer from bad breath, you might need to start cleaning your tongue as well. Your tongue can be cleaned by brushing it with your toothbrush. If brushing your tongue with your toothbrush makes you gag, you could try to use a tongue scraper which is especially designed for cleaning the tongue and treating bad breath.

If you see little white lumps or tonsil stones on your tonsils and you think they are the cause of your bad breath, you might be able to squeeze them out by pressing a finger or a Q-tip against the bottom of the tonsil and pushing upward. If your gag reflex prevents you from sticking fingers or Q-tips in your throat, the tonsil stones might be removed if you simply flex your throat and swallow. If you are not successful at any of these methods, your dentist can help you.

Hopefully the advice in this article can help you do something about your bad breath. Do not accept bad breath as part of your life. It might be a sign that something is wrong or – to look on the bright side – it might be a surprisingly easy problem to solve!

Good tooth care – important for your oral health

Every day your teeth are under attack and your mouth is at risk of developing different oral diseases. The most prevalent oral diseases can be prevented through good tooth care. What does proper tooth care involve and how can you overcome obstacles to achieving good oral health?

Good tooth care to prevent oral diseasesWhy is tooth care important?

Every day your teeth are under attack and your mouth is at risk of developing different oral diseases. The most prevalent oral diseases that can be prevented through good tooth care are cavities and periodontitis (loosening teeth). Cavities develop as a result of two factors: Plaque and sugar. Plaque is the yellowish-white layer that starts to form on the surface of your teeth already a short time after you’ve brushed them. Plaque consists of many different kinds of bacteria that reproduce and grow in numbers very quickly. This means that the longer time the plaque is left on the teeth, the thicker the layer gets. When sugar is added to the plaque, it results in acid which breaks down the tooth substance and eventually make a cavity in the tooth.

Periodontitis is another common result of inadequate tooth care, since it is also caused by plaque. When plaque has been left on the tooth surface for more than two days, the bacteria start to irritate the gums. The gums will become red and inflamed and maybe even bleed, when you brush them. If the process continues, the bacteria and the inflammation will spread and start to break down the bone that supports the teeth. Eventually the teeth will loosen and fall out.

These two common but serious oral diseases can be prevented through proper tooth care. How?

What does good tooth care involve?

Since the main cause of both cavities and periodontitis is the presence of plaque, good tooth care involves daily removal of plaque from your teeth. Dentists and dental hygienists normally recommend brushing at least twice every day with a medium soft toothbrush. You can read more about choosing the right toothbrush here. A guide on how to brush your teeth can be found here. For some people good tooth care involves more than brushing. Flossing, tongue scraping or the use of interdental brushes might be necessary in order to clean between your teeth and prevent bad breath. Read more about bad breath here

Regular visits to the dentist or dental hygienist are also an important part of good tooth care. Depending on your individual needs, your dentist will advise you on how often to come in for check-ups and maybe dental cleanings. Don’t be quick to think that your dentist is just trying to make an extra buck, if he or she asks you to come in more often than you expected. Some people need to come to the dentist once every three months for a check-up and a cleaning in order to avoid oral diseases. Others only need to come once every year. It might have a little to do with genetic factors and how strong your teeth and gums are, but it mostly depends on how well you care for you teeth. Tooth care is primarily your own responsibility and without your co-operation your dentist will not be able to help you avoid oral diseases – even if you visit the clinic every three months.

Obstacles to good tooth care

The main obstacles to good tooth care are probably forgetfulness and lack of proper routines. In a busy schedule it is not always easy to remember to fit in time for dental hygiene. You can read some advice on how to build good routines for oral health and tooth care here

For many people economy also plays a role, when it comes to deciding when to visit the dentist. While dental care can be expensive, however, the tooth care that you perform at home does not have to cost much. By taking good care of your teeth, you can save a lot of money and trouble in the long run.

Picking the right toothbrush

Although there are many brands of toothbrushes on the market that all claim to be special in one way or the other, there are actually only a couple of things that really make a difference when you pick your toothbrush. Should your brush be hard or soft and are electrical toothbrushes better than manual ones? Read more here…

Picking the right toothbrushWhat brand of toothbrush is best?

Although there are many brands of toothbrushes on the market that all claim to be special in one way or the other, there are actually only a couple of things that really make a difference when you pick your toothbrush: 1) Hardness and 2) size. Different toothbrush brands offer different ranges of hardness and size and it is not possible to say that one brand of toothbrush is better than the other one. It all depends on what kind of toothbrush suits you best.

Hardness

Although many people think that a hard toothbrush must clean more effectively than a soft one, most dentists or dental hygienists actually recommend a medium soft toothbrush. The reason is that a toothbrush that is too hard can damage your teeth and cause your gum line to recede. On the other hand, a toothbrush that is too soft, might not be able to clean thoroughly enough.  If you would like to know whether your toothbrush is effective enough, you can try chewing something that sticks to your teeth in the same way as plaque – e.g. cornflakes or biscuits – and see if you can brush it away. If not, you might need a slightly harder toothbrush.

Size

The size of the toothbrush is important, because a toothbrush where the head is too large might not be able to reach into the narrow spaces – for example in the back of your mouth. This is often the case, when the brushes are too long making the head of the toothbrush too high. With children it is especially important that the toothbrush is not too large. This is one good reason to buy a children’s toothbrush which is normally more suitable for the size of your child’s mouth.

Electric toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes have not been proven to brush any better or any worse than their manual counterparts. Both an electric and a normal toothbrush can brush your teeth completely clean if you know how to use them properly. Some people prefer an electric toothbrush – especially if they have problems with their hands or shoulders or for other reasons do not have the motor function to handle a normal toothbrush. When brushing on children some parents find it helpful to use an electric toothbrush. Others do not like the electric toothbrush because of the sound it makes or the way it feels in the mouth.

Although there are many different toothbrushes in the market that offer different levels of technology, you will still need to be thorough and regular when it comes to keeping your teeth and gums healthy and clean. Picking the right toothbrush is an important part of maintaining good dental health – but it is still only a part.

How to brush your teeth

When it comes to keeping your teeth clean, there are many means to the same end. How should you brush? When should you brush and when should you not? How do you avoid damaging your gums and teeth? Find the answers in this article…

How to brush your teethThe goal when you brush your teeth is to remove plaque from all surfaces of all your teeth. A tooth has five sides. With your toothbrush you will normally be able to brush the front, back and ‘top’ of your teeth clean. The sides of the teeth (which is between your teeth) are normally only accessible with floss, toothpicks or interdental brushes (tiny brushes developed especially for cleaning between the teeth).

When to brush – and when not to…

Dental professionals normally recommend that you brush your teeth twice a day. Some people brush their teeth after every meal. There is nothing wrong in this, as long as you use the right brush and the right technique in order to avoid causing damage to your teeth and your gums. However many times you choose to brush your teeth every day, it is important that you brush very thoroughly at least once a day.

Some dental professionals recommend that you do not brush your teeth immediately after having eaten something sour (e.g. fruit juice and sour fruit), since the surface of the teeth will be more porous and easier to damage. If you wait around one hour after every meal before you brush, you should be on the safe side.

How to brush?

When you brush your teeth it is a good idea to be systematic. You can do this by dividing your mouth into sections – e.g. upper, lower, right and left. Always start the same place and brush your way around all your teeth. You can for example start on the outside of the upper right section. Start with the back teeth. Make sure to brush all around the tooth at the very back and continue brushing your way one tooth at a time towards the left side. When you have reached the back teeth in the left side, you brush your way back on the inside. Do the same with the lower teeth. Afterwards brush on top of your teeth in both sides of both upper and lower jaw.

Make sure that every single tooth is clean. Teeth that are standing in a straight line are easier to brush clean. On the other hand, if your teeth are cramped for space it might take a greater effort to keep them clean. Some teeth might be ‘hiding’ behind other teeth and are not so easy to reach with the brush. You might be able to clean them simply by turning your brush vertically and brushing up-down instead of from side to side. Otherwise it is possible to buy toothbrushes with just one very small brush, which is ideal for cramped spaces.

Remember to brush the gums

The edge between your teeth and your gums is especially important to keep clean. It is very easy for germs to hide here. At the same time, it is the germs that sneak in under the gum line that eventually cause periodontal disease. When you brush your gum line, you should place the toothbrush in an angle of 45 degrees with the brushes pointing against the gums. When you brush the gums it is especially important not to be too rough in order to prevent the gum line from receding or drawing back, exposing the root surface of the teeth.

Circular or straight movements?

Whatever way you like to move your toothbrush, it is important that the movements are small. If you imagine that you were painting your teeth rather than brushing them, it might be more clear how thorough you need to be. When painting a rough surface with pits and cracks in it, you won’t just give it a few long, superficial strokes with the brush. You will make sure to get the paint into every little crack, using small precise movements. Use the same principle when you brush your teeth. Make sure that the brushes reach into all the cracks and pits.

Be regular and thorough

As you can see there are many possible means to the same end, when it comes to keeping your teeth clean. However you prefer to maintain your dental hygiene, the important thing is to be regular and thorough without overdoing it. Get into the habit of checking your teeth in the mirror and feeling them with your tongue to check whether they are clean. Teeth covered in plaque feel ‘furry’, while clean teeth feel smooth and nice.