YouTube Twitter Facebook Facebook Blog

Our Blog

health

Ask AIP: Incorporating Interdental Brushing Into Your Routine

September 25th, 2015

Last month, I extolled the benefits of interdental brushing. Since then, I've heard back from a number of you who've tried out this flossing alternative, both with rave reviews and with questions. For that reason, this edition of Ask AIP answers the most common question I've been receiving: How can I successfully incorporate interdental brushing into my routine? I know starting something new can be a challenge, and as always, I'm here to help.

The trick is to turn interdental brushing into a habit, much like brushing your teeth already is. I'm willing to bet you don't even think about brushing at this point; you sub-consciously allot the necessary time each morning and evening (that's right, I said morning and evening). So if you're struggling to integrate interdental brushing into your routine, here's some advice:

Use brushing your teeth as a cue! Say to yourself: "I will pick up my spiral brush before picking up my toothbrush every night.” One patient even hung a post-it note on the mirror as a reminder (thanks for the great suggestion, MW!). Integrating the behavior into your existing routine will positively affect the likelihood of it becoming habitual.

You can even start slowly by only using the interdental brush on the weekends and then start adding weekdays one by one. Keep this up and soon enough you'll have a new, healthy habit that we'll be sure to notice next time you come in for a visit.

We want to know how it’s going! Share your experience and thoughts in the comment section below and bring us any questions at your next appointment.

Brian

What Could Be More Effective Than Flossing? We’ll Tell You!

August 25th, 2015

In the American Academy of Periodontology's recent national survey, more than a third of Americans admitted they would rather sit in traffic or even clean a toilet before committing to flossing daily. In an ideal world, toilets would clean themselves, sitting bumper to bumper at the dreaded 5-Corners in Essex would be a thing of the past, and we could all maintain good oral hygiene without having to use floss.

While the first two are likely to remain pipe dreams for the foreseeable future, the 2014 XI European Workshop on Periodontology recently came to a surprising consensus on flossing that will change the way you clean between your teeth forever.

Leading researchers reviewed the literature and found that flossing is not the most effective prevention method when it comes to fighting periodontal diseases. In fact, the experts determined that there’s a new Periodontal Disease Prevention Sheriff in town: the interdental brush (also known as the proxy, spiral, or interproximal brush)!

Evidence shows that by using the correctly sized interdental brush, you’ll see greater plaque reduction and improved disease prevention than by using floss alone. As if that’s not motivation enough for you, interdental brushes are easier to use than their somewhat unwieldy counterpart! Coming in many shapes and sizes, this prevention method lets you say “so long!” to floss for any site that can fit an interdental brush instead.

Many of you have already integrated this highly effective tool into your oral health routines, and we here at AIP have already seen the stellar results. For those of you who haven’t given the interdental brush a try yet, be sure to ask me, the staff, Dr. Levi, or Dr. Gruwell about the benefits at your next appointment!

Brian

Should You be Worried About Microbeads in your Toothpaste?

November 15th, 2014

Remember a few years ago when plastic beads became all the rage in personal care? Suddenly they were everywhere: your face wash, your body scrub, and your toothpaste (yes, that’s where I come in). Though we haven’t completely bucked the trend, people have started worrying that maybe, just possibly, having a plastic that isn’t biodegradable in your toothpaste isn’t such a good idea, including patients!

When Jane emailed me asking, “Should I throw away my Crest Pro-Health toothpaste? If so, what toothpaste do you recommend?” I thought she might not be the only one out there wondering. Let’s explore this.

Let’s start with the plastic: polyethylene. It’s really an anomaly – simultaneously the most common plastic in the world, and the most contested. Containers, bottles, and grocery bags – all of these are made out of the same stuff as those little blue pebbles in your toothpaste. We’re up in arms about landfills overflowing with polyethylene bottles, and are absolutely adamant about bringing reusable bags to the grocery store; so yes, maybe we should be making a fuss about this plastic that lives forever when it comes to our toothpaste.

The fact that we are constantly finding these little blue plastic beads stuck in our patients’ gum lines, paired with the fact that these little blue plastic beads don’t break down, isn’t a great combination when we’re considering your oral health. Just like anything else that gets stuck in your gums, the beads become a breeding ground for bacteria. This can lead to all kinds of reasons you might come to me in pain: gingivitis, infection, or even severe periodontal disease. While I love seeing you, I don’t want to see you go through that.

Crest has claimed that the beads are there for decorative purposes only. They serve literally no purpose besides looking pretty, and putting your oral health at risk. Luckily, Crest plans to phase the beads out of their toothpastes by 2016. Until then, I urge you to toss your toothpaste if it contains polyethylene beads, and make the switch.

Not sure if your toothpaste is putting you at risk? Check out this website for a list of toothpastes we know contain polyethylene, and also for a great article on the subject.

Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.

Brian

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2014

Happy Halloween from AIP!

I’ll never forget the year that my daughter Alexx  told me she no longer wanted me dressing up as a dalmation for Halloween, but rather that it was about time that I start dressing as Darth Vader.  An avid Star Wars fan who always let his daughters decide his Halloween costume, I was ecstatic!

This year, with one daughter off in Boston, and one at the age where bringing her dad trick-or-treating simply is embarrassing and isn’t going to happen, I’ll be happily handing out candy with my lovely wife.

Now, as your periodontist, it would be downright irresponsible of me to leave out the importance of brushing and flossing during this time of year.  Chewy treats and hard candy can be particularly damaging, as they stick to your teeth longer, and are more difficult for your teeth to break down.  If you’re concerned about the health of  your children’s (or your own!) teeth this Halloween, but laying off the candy isn’t in the cards (my favorite is Three Musketeers and caramels), just be sure to brush really well after finishing the sweet treats. Check out www.trickytreats.org to see what Delta Dental has to say about keeping your kids’ teeth safe from cavities during this sugar-heavy time of year.

Whether you’re looking goofy, looking like a “force” to be reckoned with, or handing out candy this year, I hope this Halloween results in lasting memories.

May the floss be with you.

Brian

Gum disease linked to chronic health problems

August 19th, 2014

I read a great article in The American Journal of Preventative Medicine that I wanted to share.  It's a study where researchers found that treating gum disease may reduce heart disease, diabetes, and other conditions.

The study showed that within four years of periodontal treatment, patients had lower medical costs and fewer hospitalizations compared to people who hadn't received treatment: "People with cardiovascular disease and diabetes who had gum disease treatment had health-care costs that were between 20% and 40% lower".

The article continued to say that the link between gum disease and chronic health conditions is inflammation and can worsen. The health of your gums ARE important to your over all health!

You can read the whole article on The Conversation.

Brian

An interesting study about smoking and your overall health

August 5th, 2011


Everybody knows that smoking causes lung cancer, but did you also know that smokers and tobacco users are susceptible to a variety of other health problems at a faster rate than non-smokers?

It’s true! According to a recent study in Annals of Internal Medicine, women who smoke 15 or more cigarettes a day are 10 times as likely as nonsmokers to develop peripheral artery disease (PAD), which narrows and blocks your leg arteries. This disease is caused by the buildup of plaque, and results in serious cramping and fatigue in the hips. PAD is also associated with an increased risk of heart attack or stroke. Women in this study were all U. S. women health professionals, all whom were 45 years old and older. The study monitored 39,825 women for an average of 12.7 years.

At Associates in Periodontics, we strongly recommend that patients not use tobacco products. Please let Dr. Shuman, Dr. Levi, Dr. Kolesar and Dr. Halliday know if you need support to quit smoking. We can help by recommending different options to help you quit, and above all we will support you throughout the quitting process. We are dedicated to helping you protect your oral health – and quitting smoking is significant step in the right direction.

Back to Top