Archive for June, 2019

Should You Try a Water Flosser?

Technology has made daily life easier in so many ways. For example, you can use electronic water flossers to support your oral health. But should you? Dentists tend to agree that while water flossers can be helpful for removing food debris, they can’t entirely replace manual flossing. Here’s why.

How Water Flossers Work

Water flossers funnel water from a small reservoir through sterile tubing and out of the applicator head. Users aim the applicator head at the teeth and gum line to wash away food particles. For best results, users should slowly move the applicator head from one side of the mouth to the other before switching to aim the water jet at the same teeth from the back side. 

Why Water Flossers Fall Short

Although water flossers can be an effective way to remove food particles, they are far less effective at removing sticky plaque. Plaque is a substance made up of bacteria. If left on the teeth and along the gum line, it can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing your teeth will remove plaque, but toothbrushes have trouble cleaning between the teeth. And since water flossers can’t remove plaque effectively, it’s still necessary to use manual floss to scrape away plaque from between the teeth.

What Dentists Recommend

In short, a water flosser is a great oral care tool to add to your daily routine. However, it can’t replace flossing. Dentists still recommend flossing at least once daily. Some patients decide to use a water flosser in the morning and manual floss in the evening, or vice versa. If you’re having trouble using manual floss because of dexterity issues or the presence of braces, your dentist might recommend trying a floss holder or proxabrush in addition to a water flosser.

Has it been longer than six months since your last professional dental cleaning? You can schedule an appointment at the Tucson dental office of John R. Carson, DDS by calling (520) 514-7203. We specialize in friendly, judgment-free patient care.

How to Reduce Your Risk of Sleep Apnea

People with sleep apnea repeatedly stop and restart their breathing while they sleep. Often, they’re unaware they are waking up dozens of times each night. If left untreated, sleep apnea can increase the risk of serious complications, including heart disease and diabetes. Fortunately, it’s possible to treat many cases of sleep apnea with oral appliance therapy from a dentist. In addition, many people are able to lower their risk of developing sleep apnea, such as by taking the following precautions.

Losing Weight

Overweight and obesity are major risk factors of obstructive sleep apnea. In fact, according to Harvard Medical School, about two-thirds of patients with this sleep disorder are overweight or obese. Extra pounds increase the risk because the excess fat deposits can obstruct the airway. If you’re overweight, getting back to a healthy weight range can manage your risk of sleep apnea. Your primary care physician is an excellent source of personalized guidance regarding weight loss. Talk to your doctor about your meal plan, activity level, and habits, and develop a plan to lose weight in a healthy manner.

Quitting Smoking

Not only does smoking increase your risk of oral cancer and premature death, it also raises the risk of sleep apnea. And in patients who already have sleep apnea, smoking can make the condition worse. It’s thought that smoking contributes to this sleep disorder by causing upper airway inflammation, relaxing the upper airway muscles, and affecting neural reflexes. It’s definitely challenging to overcome an addiction to nicotine. Many smokers try to quit dozens of times before they finally succeed. The key is to never give up. Talk to your doctor about smoking cessation options.

Treating Chronic Nasal Congestion

People with chronic nasal congestion are more likely to develop sleep apnea, probably because of the narrowing of the airway. This condition can be caused by underlying problems, like nasal polyps, an infection, allergies, or a deviated septum. Patients who suffer from chronic nasal congestion can talk to their doctors about a treatment plan to improve their quality of life and reduce their risk of sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea treatment is one of our specialties here at the dental office of John R. Carson, DDS. We provide Tucson-area sleep apnea patients with gentle and effective oral appliances that keep the airway open during sleep. To request a consultation with our dentist, call (520) 514-7203.

What to Know About ARESTIN® for Gum Disease

Gum disease affects countless people. If left untreated, it will progress and worsen. Eventually, gum disease leads to tooth loss and the breakdown of the jawbone density. Because the loss of a natural tooth can be a devastating event, dentists want to do everything possible to help their patients preserve the health of their teeth. ARESTIN® is one effective treatment option that can help patients recover from gum disease and improve their oral health.

What is ARESTIN®?

ARESTIN® is a medication that’s placed directly into an infected pocket. The pocket is the space between the gums and the teeth. In patients with gum disease, the gum tissue starts to recede and pull away from the teeth, which creates a larger pocket. Bacteria accumulate within this pocket, making the problem even worse. By placing this medication directly inside the pocket, the dentist can treat the infection at its source.

How is ARESTIN® applied?

Although ARESTIN® is clinically proven to be effective, it isn’t used by itself. First, the dentist or hygienist performs scaling and root planing. This is an intensive, deep cleaning treatment that targets the buildup of tartar and plaque beneath the gum line. The tooth root is then smoothed to encourage the gums to reattach to the tooth. After this treatment is performed, the dentist can insert ARESTIN® microspheres into the periodontal pocket. The insertion process isn’t painful. It doesn’t require needles or bandages. The microspheres release medication over time to treat the infection.

What happens afterward?

Over time, ARESTIN® will naturally absorb into the body. There’s no need to return to the dentist to have the microspheres removed, although you may need a recheck of your periodontal pockets. Your dentist will give you aftercare instructions, which you should follow carefully. For the first seven days, you must avoid eating crunchy, hard, or sticky foods, and avoid chewing gum. For the first 10 days, you must avoid flossing or using a dental pick on the treated teeth.

John R. Carson, DDS is pleased to offer ARESTIN® and other effective treatments for gum disease. It’s our mission to help each of our patients enjoy beautiful, healthy teeth that last a lifetime. You can call our dentistry office in Tucson at (520) 514-7203 to request an appointment.