Back to Basics: Effective Flossing

Back to Basics: Effective Flossing

shutterstock_1083892You know how it goes: you visit the dental office, and your dentist tells you to floss more often. Perhaps your dentist finds a spot of mild gum disease, giving you even more reason to start flossing regularly. The truth is, you really can’t maintain long-term oral health without flossing. Brushing and using mouthwash play a big role in a healthy smile, but nothing gets between teeth and below the gum line like flossing.

Part of the problem for some is that they don’t know how to floss properly. Many people think they’re supposed to pop the floss in and out between teeth and use the floss as a way to simply dislodge pieces of food that have become stuck. In reality, flossing helps remove the invisible bacteria that live on your teeth and around your gums. That’s why flossing every day is so vital. You might not see anything on the string of floss when you’re done, but that doesn’t mean the floss isn’t working. In fact, flossing regularly can help you avoid the buildup of that white, gooey stuff (a mixture of mucus and bacteria known as materia alba to your dentist) that you might sometimes see on your floss if it’s been a while.

So, now that you know why you should floss every day (yes — every day!), let’s talk about the best techniques to get the job done well.

Flossing 101

First, wind the floss around your middle fingers, not your index fingers. Your index fingers need to be free to act as guides for the floss. Wind the floss so there’s a one- to two-inch section between your fingers.

Keeping the floss pulled taunt, use your index fingers to lead the floss between your teeth. Be gentle — don’t pop the floss in between teeth, but do it slowly.

Once the floss is between teeth, lead it slowly up and down, pressing against the sides of each tooth. Pull the floss around the curve of each tooth so that all the sides are scrubbed. Lead the floss down below the gum line slowly. This part is especially important. Part of the reason flossing is so essential is that dental floss can get below the gum line in ways that brushing alone cannot.

When you’re done flossing between two teeth, move on to the space between the next two teeth with a clean section of floss.

Make sure you floss behind your back molars as well!

Gum disease causes gum and bone loss, eventually leading to tooth loss. Floss every day to help yourself avoid complex dental care problems in the future!

If you have any thought or comments kindly post them below or call the Harrow Dental Centre on 020 84272543 or contact us via our web site  www. harrow-

With acknowledgements to Best Dentist News


Save water and your teeth

 Turning off the tap when cleaning your teeth could save over 12 litres of water per person, according to new research.

The research, conducted by Save Water Save Money and the British Dental Health Foundation for National Smile Month, has revealed that nearly two thirds (64%) of 7 to 10 year olds admitted to leaving the tap running while brushing their teeth.

The research has also shown that in homes using a water-saving aid, only six per cent of 7 to 10 year olds left the tap running, saving more than 4,230 litres of water in the process.

The Foundation and Save Water Save Money are encouraging people to think about saving water as well as saving their teeth during the Foundation’s annual campaign, National Smile Month.

Chief executive of the Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said: ‘Many people believe after brushing their teeth they should rinse their mouth with water, when in fact it is better for oral health to spit the toothpaste out. This ensures that the fluoride found in most toothpastes will remain on the teeth and therefore continue to remain effective.

‘Using water in the right way can be of benefit to oral health. Still water is a great drinks choice for children, while it is also beneficial to have a glass of water after eating or drinking anything sugary.’

Tim Robertson, Director of Save Water Save Money, said: ‘Linking one of National Smile Month’s key oral health messages with the “turn off the tap: campaign makes it an action everyone can relate to.

‘That is why products such as the Toothy Timer, carrying the Foundation’s key oral health messages, can help to make a difference. While two thirds of the children in the first survey left the tap running, after the introduction of the Toothy Timer this figure dropped to just six per cent.’


Taking place from 20 May to 20 June, National Smile Month is theUK’s largest oral health campaign.

Save Water Save Money is working in conjunction with theUK’s Water Companies to encourage water efficiency by raising awareness of the high levels of water wasted in the bathroom. Some participating Water Companies are offering their customers free or discounted Toothy Timers, a two minute teeth timer with a funky crocodile attachment, in support of National Smile Month.

Advice on how to use water wisely and details as to what’s on offer from your water company can be found on specific water company websites or at For further information on National Smile Month, head to

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this post kindly post your comments below or email us via our website or call 020 84272543

 Aknowledgements to

Dental Plaque – a clue to our past

Christina Warriner  analyzes DNA from the bones and teeth of ancient people to study human evolution in response to changes in infectious disease, diet and the environment over the last 10,000 years. Using samples from ancient skeletons and mummies, she investigates how and why lactase persistence, alcohol intolerance and HIv-resistance have evolved in different populations around the world. As an archaeogeneticist, she’s particularly interested in bridging the gap between archaeology, anthropology and the biomedical sciences.

Listen to this brief talk by Christina Warriner….dont forget to brush and floss.

High Blood Pressure and Oral Health

Get your blood pressure checked before your dental appointment!

High blood pressure, also called HBP or hypertension, can affect your ability to receive oral healthcare. Performing dental treatments on patients with hypertension can be detrimental! If your blood pressure is too high, many dentists won’t schedule procedures until you receive a health assessment from your medical doctor.

What is high blood pressure?

The two forces measured for your blood pressure reading are the blood pumping out of your heart and into your arteries (systolic), and the heart resting between beats (diastolic). Normal blood pressure readings for a healthy individuals who are 20 years and older should be below 120 for systolic and below 80 for diastolic. If blood pressure readings are consistently higher than 120/80 then you’re probably suffering from hypertension.

According to, the website of the American Heart Association, “Untreated high blood pressure damages and scars your arteries.” High blood pressure increases risks of blood clots, organ damage, heart attacks, and strokes. High blood pressure also results increased plaque build-up and weakening blood vessels.

How does high blood pressure affect my dental health?

In a white paper released by the American Diagnostic Corporation, it states: “…elevations of blood pressure can increase a patient’s risk of experiencing a stroke or myocardial infarctions in the dental chair.” Patients with hypertension can also be in danger from local anesthetics that use vasoconstrictors, such as epinephrine, which increase blood pressure and heart arrhythmia.

High blood pressure medications can also affect your dental wellbeing. Some prescriptions cause dry mouth and may also alter your sense of taste. Meds with calcium blockers can also create gum overgrowth, which can affect a patient’s ability to chew and may require periodontal surgery to correct.

Will my dentist still treat me if I have high blood pressure?

Most dentists will not treat patients who have(untreated) high blood pressure, especially if your numbers are in the Stage 1 or higher range for hypertension.

This chart reflects blood pressure categories defined by the American Heart Association.

Blood Pressure
mm Hg (upper #)
mm Hg (lower #)
less than 120 and less than 80
Prehypertension 120139 or 8089
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 1
140159 or 9099
High Blood Pressure
(Hypertension) Stage 2
160 or higher or 100 or higher
Hypertensive Crisis
(Emergency care needed)
Higher than 180 or Higher than 110

* Your doctor should evaluate unusually low blood pressure readings.

 If you’re being treated for high blood pressure, it’s important for you to discuss your condition and your medications with your dentist before beginning any treatments. Most patients being treated for high blood pressure can still have dental procedures, take anti-anxiety medications (often used for oral conscious sedation), and safely receive local anesthetics.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this post kindly post your comments below or email us via our website or call 020 84272543

With acknowledgements to Best Dentist News


Sports drinks cause alarm

 Due to the  level of acidity ,sports drinks are  increasingly responsible for irreversible damage to teeth, especially amongst adolescents and younger adults, their predominant target market.

The report is published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry,  confirms the findings:

“Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ for them than soda … Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”

The acidity levels are responsible for eroding tooth enamel, the hard, shiny, white outer surface of the teeth. Once this is compromised, the inner softer dentine can start to decay quite easily, with the tooth cavity making a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Researchers looked at acidity levels in 13 different sports drinks and found levels varied greatly between both brands and different flavors of the same brand.
Energy drinks cause double the damage of more balanced sports drinks. Some fifty percent of US teenagers are reported to consume energy drinks and as many as sixty two percent consume at least one sports drink per day. Parents and young adults should be made aware of the downside to the heavily marketed products, says the report.

It is suggested that people minimize their intake of sports and energy drinks and also consider chewing sugar free gum to promote saliva production, as well as washing the mouth with water, to assist the body in returning the mouth to its natural pH. a little quicker. Always wait at least an hour before brushing teeth to avoid rubbing the acids directly onto the tooth surface.

Natural fruit juices and especially coconut water which has excellent re-hydrating properties, might make a better alternative to smart drinks, which are often loaded with sugar, caffeine and artificial ingredients, and can be costly, not only in purchase price, but also in dentistry bills.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this post kindly post your comments below or email us via our website or call 020 84272543

With acknowledgements to Rupert Shepherd and Medical News Today