Tag Archive for: teeth

How Often Should You Floss?

By Celeste Ouyoung, RDH | Dental Hygienist

We all know that the number one rule for healthy teeth and gums is brushing and flossing, but knowing and practicing are two very different things.

Just because we know it by heart does not mean we follow it. Many people think just brushing twice a day is enough to keep their teeth and gums healthy and that flossing is just an extra step, but that is incorrect. Flossing is harder to follow because the action required to remove plaque buildup can become tedious and difficult, especially with a full set of teeth and brushing at least twice a day.

The American Dental Association (ADA) and Bloorwest Smiles recommends flossing between your teeth at least once a day. Cleaning between your teeth can help prevent cavities and gum disease. If you do not floss between your teeth to remove plaque, that sticky deposit will continue to build up and eventually harden into tartar. This result can lead to gum disease or even cavities between teeth!

Ensure your flossing technique is effective at removing plaque by flossing up and down between your teeth and below the gumline. It can take time to practice and get better at flossing. If you have any problems flossing, consult with a NOAH dentist or dental hygienist for tips and suggestions to an alternative flossing device that will work for you.

What is the Best Kind of Toothbrush to Use?

By Celeste Ouyoung, RDH | Dental Hygienist

Need help deciding on the toothbrush that is right for you? We’ve got you covered.

The best kind of toothbrush is one with a soft bristle. Using a soft bristled toothbrush is the safest and most comfortable toothbrush to use. It will minimize the risk of scratching and damaging the tooth surfaces and gums as opposed to a medium or hard bristled toothbrush. There are many toothbrush head design options available. Toothbrushes with multi-level bristles or angled bristles perform better than the traditional flat-level bristles in removing bacterial plaque. The varying sizes of bristles are useful for getting into hard-to-reach areas.

Both manual and powered toothbrushes can be used effectively in removing plaque. Some may find it easier to use a powered toothbrush if they have difficulty with a manual toothbrush, especially those with dexterity issues like the elderly, people with disabilities, or children.

You should change your toothbrush or toothbrush head to a new one every 3 months. Food debris and bacteria can get trapped in the bristles of the toothbrush over time. The bristles of the toothbrush will start to wear down or fray the longer it is used and can reduce effectiveness in removing plaque and food debris from teeth.

Look for toothbrushes with the ADA Seal of Acceptance logo on the package. A product with this seal indicates that it is safe and effective for removal of plaque and reduction of gingivitis. You can also search on the ADA website for products that are listed to ensure you are getting a product that is safe and effective: ADA Seal of Acceptance | American Dental Association

To learn more, visit our NOAH Dental page for helpful videos and tips. If you are ready for you or your child to see a NOAH dentist, schedule an appointment today!

How Can I Prevent Cavities?

By Jane Roots, RDH | Dental Hygienist

“Brush and floss your teeth to avoid cavities.” Sound familiar? 

While we all know we’re supposed to brush and floss to keep our teeth healthy, cavities remain a common problem that we all have to contend with at one point or another, but there are some very important things we can do to prevent cavities from happening.

  • Brush with a Fluoride toothpaste after meals. Brushing regularly and properly with a soft brush gets rid of bacteria/plaque, especially after meals and before bedtime.
  • Flossing gets rid of food lodged between the teeth.
  • Visiting your dentist/hygienist regularly for a comprehensive exam and cleaning.
  • Rinse with mouthwash.
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid frequent snacking and drinks – cut back on acidic foods and beverages high in sugar.
  • Consider dental Sealants.
  • Consider a Fluoride treatment.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Quit smoking – this leads to gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer.

According to Amy Nowinski of the UIC College of Dentistry, a comprehensive exam and discussion with your dentist/hygienist is the first step in taking control of your oral health. Your dentist/hygienist can inform you of your cavity risk levels, suggested treatment options, and any necessary changes you may need to make. Once you know your risk level, then you can take a more specific, effective approach to improving your oral health.

Expert Tips for Combatting Bad Breath

By Jane Roots, RDH | Dental Hygienist

According to a study published by the National Institute of Health, while wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID, 34% of participants realized they had bad breath. Guess what? It wasn’t the mask. Just like breathing into cupped hands to check your breath, talking or exhaling through your mouth while wearing a mask traps air causing you to smell your own breath. Thankfully, knowing is half the battle. As we move away from mask requirements in public places, you may breathe a breath of fresh air, but let’s not forget about the the monster in your mouth.

For some, restoring fresh breath can be as easy as grabbing a mint or a piece of gum, but for those with chronic bad breath, or halitosis, the key factor in preventing it is determining the cause. From something as minor as changing your brushing habits to screening for a serious health condition, try these tips for fresher breath.

Brush and Floss

The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing between your teeth once a day. Proper brushing means spending at least two minutes brushing all sides of your teeth. Divide your mouth into four sections: upper, lower, left and right and spend 30-seconds brushing the inside, outside and chewing surface of each section. Finally, give your tongue a quick brush as well. Proper brushing and flossing helps to get rid of plaque and leftover food particles that affect your dental health and cause bad breath.

Visit the Dentist Regularly

You should schedule dental visits every six months for routine cleanings and checkups. Removing plaque and calculus buildup keeps your teeth healthy and can detect oral health issues like gum disease and cavities that might be harboring stinky bacteria.

Oral Appliance Care

Be sure to follow care guidelines for cleaning and maintaining any oral appliances such a dentures, retainers, or mouth guards. Failing to properly care for these items can not only cause bad breath but can also make you sick or prevent the appliance from working properly.

Stay Hydrated

Keeping your mouth moist maintains a healthy saliva flow which is important for fresh breath. Be sure to drink plenty of water and consult your health care provider about any contributing factors for dry mouth, such as taking certain medications or any underlying health conditions.

Quit Smoking

Smoking is also a contributing factor to bad breath and can increase your risk for gum disease. Discuss quitting smoking with your healthcare provider, it might be easier than you think.


Eating a balanced diet is important for fresh breath and oral health. Check out our Mouth-Healthy Cookbook for tips and tasty recipes.

Talk to Your Health Care Provider

Diabetes, liver or kidney conditions and gastrointestinal disorders can cause chronic bad breath. If you have or suspect you might have an underlying health condition, talk to your health care provider.

No More Bad Breath by Jane Roots, RDH

Do you suffer from bad breath? Well, if so, you’re not alone. Every morning most people wake up with the dreaded “Morning Breath” or “Bad Breath” but for some bad breath is an everyday, all day reality.
Halitosis is chronic bad breath. It shows up every day. It’s the breath that makes you embarrassed to whisper secrets in someone’s ear and the breath that makes you avoid kisses at all cost. Typical fixes like mints, mouth sprays or mouth wash will not get rid of chronic bad breath.

“As many as 1 in 4 people have bad breath. It is one of the most common reason why people go to the dentist.”

Jane Roots, RDH

There are several reasons why some people have daily bad breath. To prevent bad breath the key factor is to determine the root cause.

Here’s a check list of things you need to know about the prevention of bad breath:

  1. Brush two times a day and floss every night – You need to brush your teeth two times a day and floss every night. Proper brushing means spending at least 2 minutes brushing all sides of your teeth, for example the fronts, backs and tops, which helps to get rid of food particles and the bacterial film (also known as dental plaque or tooth plaque) that forms on our teeth. Don’t forget about flossing. It’s very important to floss your teeth every night before you go to bed. Food particles get caught in between your teeth and if these food articles are not removed, it can buildup and form a substance call calculus or tartar which causes the gums to swell up and bleed. This can cause bad breath. You should also brush your tongue. The tongue has tiny hair like filaments that can trap food particles and bacteria and therefore not brushing your tongue can contribute to bad breath.
  2. Visit your dentist and or hygienist at least every 6 months – You should visit your dentist/ hygienist for routine cleaning and checkups every six months. The dentist/hygienist can clean your teeth by removing plaque and calculus buildup and can detect problems such as any abnormalities in and around the mouth, gum disease and cavities. Cavities are not the cause of bad breath, it is the bacteria that gets stuck in the decayed pockets of the teeth that make it difficult to keep your mouth clean and your breath fresh.
  3. Dry mouth – Keeping your mouth moist is important for fresh breath. A healthy saliva flow is one of the best defenses against bad breath. It helps to keep the mouth clean. Be sure to drink plenty of water and consult with your doctor about any contributing factors for dry mouth, such as taking certain medications and any underlying health conditions.
  4. Smoking – Smoking is also a contributing factor to bad breath and can increase your risk for gum disease. Please ask your doctor for ways to help you quit.
  5. Systemic issues – Eating healthy foods are key to a good digestive system. A bad digestive system can cause bad breath. In fact, your bad breath could stem from your gut, better known as your gastrointestinal system. Acid reflux otherwise known as heartburn is a related cause for bad breath. People who are diabetic, have liver or kidney conditions or gastrointestinal disorders should see their physician, urologist or gastroenterologist for insight on how bad breath can be reduced regarding these systemic diseases.
  6. Other Factors – Other factors that can contribute to bad breath are the use of dentures or oral appliances. Follow your dentist’s/hygienist’s recommendations for cleaning your appliances daily to prevent bad breath.

Seeing your dentist/ hygienist for routine exams and cleanings every six months can ensure that your mouth stays healthy. A professional cleaning can remove bacteria and food that your toothbrush or even flossing may miss. Your dental professional will also check for decay that may harbor bacteria. If they do detect any cavities, they can fill them to stop the cavities from getting worse. While cavities do not directly cause bad breath, you can prevent both bad breath and cavities by practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist and hygienist regularly.

NOAH Dental Teeth Whitening Education by Marianne Youssef, Dentist

We all want to have white teeth, but how do we achieve that bright healthy smile? Our expert dentist, Dr. Marianne Youssef explains what causes staining and offers a few tips on how to achieve those pearly whites!

Back-to-School Tips for Healthy Teeth

Gretchen K. Henson, DDS – NOAH Heuser Pediatric Dentistry

“In the hustle and bustle of back-to-school, dental care often falls by the wayside,” says Dr. Henson, who notes that dental disease is the most common chronic disease of childhood—five times more prevalent than asthma.

“Tooth care is very important, but in the rush to get out the door in the morning, tooth brushing can get short shrift,” she says, adding that too much sugar and excessive soda and juice can lead to a serious tooth decay. “Children should see the dentist twice a year, but adequate home care, healthy diets and trauma prevention can ensure that children’s teeth stay healthy when they get back to school,” says Dr. Henson. At NOAH, we educate our families on the importance of good oral health at all ages and stages of teeth development. Check out our 11 tips below and consider adapting some or all of these strategies in your home so you to, can prevent dental disease.

1 – Strategic Brushing.

On school days, kids often have breakfast and are out the door—sometimes even eating breakfast on the way to school—and in the rush, they forget to brush. Dr. Henson says it’s not necessary to wait until after breakfast to brush. She suggests beating the morning rush by having kids brush before breakfast.

“The goal is to prevent the PH of the mouth from dropping in to an unsafe zone since cavities form in an acidic environment,” she says. “Studies show that if we brush and eat, the mouth’s PH will not dip low enough to form cavities.”

2 – Double Up.

Before school, many parents spend a lot of time brushing, braiding and putting hair in ponytails. Try giving your child a toothbrush while you brush his or her hair so you can get both jobs done at the same time.

3 – Eating Right.

At home, kids often spend the day grazing and snacking. In school, meals are more structured but less healthy since school lunches often feature foods that are highly processed or high in sugar. If you are packing your child’s lunch, send as many perishable foods as possible—anything that “requires refrigeration,” such as fruits, vegetables and meats, for healthy alternatives.

4 – Don’t Worry About Being Creative.

It’s okay to give your child the same healthy lunch every day. Kids don’t need that much variety and it makes life easier to cut up and pack fruits and vegetables in a baggie that you can grab along with a container of hummus and a few slices of pita.

5 – If It Sits On The Shelf, It Sits On The Teeth.

Even the most ubiquitous “healthy snacks”—low-sugar goldfish, pretzels and crackers—have starch that coats the teeth, feeding tooth-rotting bacteria that loves carbohydrates. Schools tend to rely on these products because they can sit in the pantry. Teachers also tend to give kids these products as snacks, so parents shouldn’t double down. Give children real, whole foods, such as whole fruits, instead of packaged or sticky foods such as gummy bears, fruit roll ups or dried fruits such as raisins.

6 – The Best Beverage Is Water.

Packaged juice tends to have more sugar than a child should have in an entire day. Kids who drink juice at lunch will have their teeth coated for the rest of the day unless they clean their mouth well after they eat, which is unlikely. The best beverage is water. Tap water in a water bottle is not only environmentally friendly, but is better than bottled water that does not have fluoride. Save juice for dinner…or better yet, give your child whole fruits. Sweets are addictive, so teach your child to like water.

7 – Protecting Teeth.

Make sure kids have mouth protection when they participate in organized sports at school, especially soccer, baseball and basketball. Don’t automatically assume that kids will be issued mouth protectors; aside from football, parents generally need to initiate this.

8 – Helmets Should Be Like Seatbelts.

Children should always wear helmet when riding bicycles, roller skating or roller blading or using scooters even if they are just riding around the block or in the neighborhood. Teach your children that helmets are like seatbelts—not optional.

9 – If Child Falls.

If your child has a fall of any kind—whether they are in pre-school or high school—they should see the school nurse immediately, followed by a visit to the dentist. Sometimes problems do not appear right away, but–like a bruise–develop over time. Something that may appear as a small cosmetic defect can actually affect the root of an adult tooth. That is why it’s important to bring your child to the dentist after a fall in order to establish a base line over time.

10 – If A Tooth Gets Knocked Out.

From third grade up, if a child has a front tooth knocked loose, it may be a permanent tooth. If a tooth is knocked out, it needs to be put back in the mouth immediately. Do not scrub the tooth even if it is visibly soiled (you can very gently rinse it), but even water can kill cells on the root of the tooth. There is a 30 minute differential between keeping and losing the tooth, so make sure the tooth is put back into the mouth within five to 10 minutes.

11 – Kids and Pain.

Most kids don’t complain about tooth pain because cavities don’t hurt until they are infected. Children who don’t have good teeth—missing, discolored or damaged teeth—are often treated differently by both peers and teachers. Studies have shown that teachers are less likely to call on children with bad teeth, and a child who is in pain due to infected teeth cannot concentrate or pay attention.

12 – Braces.

It’s very important for children to take care of their gums when they have braces. Good oral hygiene is even more important during the teenage years when hormones change the flora of the mouth. Because it can be difficult to brush around braces, plaque can build up and cause “demineralization,” leading to permanent damage to adult teeth, such as white spots. Imagine the disappointment when braces are removed to reveal straight, spotted teeth. This can be prevented through the use of special mouth washes for children with braces.

Our Care Team at NOAH are here to help you create and manage your healthy lifestyle habits. Need help setting or sticking to your goals? Request an appointment or call 480-882-4545 today!