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. Continue reading Back to Basics: Effective Flossing

High Blood Pressure and Oral Health

doc & adminHigh 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 high blood pressure, especially if your numbers are in the Stage 1 or higher range for hypertension. (View the chart at the American Heart Association’s website.) 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.

What Should I Look For When Choosing a Dentist?

choosing a dentistNo matter your age, your profession, or how busy your schedule might be, finding a good dentist is one of the most important things you can do. It can also be a struggle. So, how can you get started? What should you keep in mind as you look for a dentist for yourself and your family? Here are five things to consider.


Find out beforehand if the doctor you’re considering has any testimonials or before-and-after pictures you can see. Some states—Texas, for example—don’t allow testimonials, but others do and this can be a great way to get to know a dentist and his or her work.


Knowing where a dentist studied, how long they’ve studied, what associations they’re a member of, and what awards they’ve one can all help you decide on a dentist. Typically, you can find information like this on a doctor’s webpage, under the “About the Office” or the “About Our Team” page. If the practice you’re considering is a new practice, what does this mean to you? Are you comfortable with the dentist’s expertise and training? Continue reading What Should I Look For When Choosing a Dentist?