Beverly Hills · Dubai

« Back to Blog

Category: Flossing

Electric vs. Traditional: Floss and Toothbrushes

For most of us, dental hygiene is fairly high on our list of priorities. We brush, we floss, and we dread dental checkups, but we go anyways—or at least convince ourselves that we’ll set up the appointment. We all desire that pearly white, healthy smile and want to prevent things like cavities and gum disease, but with so many dental products on the market, it can be difficult to know which ones are right for us. Is traditional flossing better than water flossing? Will an electric toothbrush clean better than a traditional one? With every commercial telling us something different, it’s tough to decipher the advertisements and get to the facts.


Water Flossing

home water flosser tool for deep clean your teeth and gum feel fresh

Water flossing uses an electric machine to shoot a pressurized stream of water into the mouth, using the water pressure to clean food, bacteria, and plaque from between the teeth and to massage the gums. Since there is no scraping against your gums, water flossing is thought to be easier on them and can more easily get to the back of the mouth where traditional flossing might have trouble. It is easy to use for people with braces or dental work like crowns and bridges and can be softer for those with sensitive gums. The Waterpik® Water Flosser was the first powered interdental cleaner to receive the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. The Waterpik® can be expensive, especially when you compare it to the few dollars of a pack of dental floss; however, it will last longer than the floss, and there are less expensive alternatives to the Waterpik® that work similarly. Water flossing may not remove all plaque from the teeth, and since it is electric, you will also need access to an outlet and plenty of water to fill the machine, which makes it difficult if traveling.

Traditional Floss

Dental hygiene and careFloss has been around since the 1800s and is still considered a gold standard for dental hygiene. The string removes bacteria, plaque, and food particles from between the teeth and the gum line that brushing does not. Dental floss is easy to control and is efficient, portable, and cheap; however, since you are passing a string between your teeth and in the tight crevices, it may be difficult to reach areas in the back of the mouth. It can also cause minor bleeding and gum sensitivity, especially if not done on a regular basis.


Electric Toothbrush

Close up of brushing teeth with electric toothbrushElectric toothbrushes have become increasingly popular over the years and for good reasons. Several studies have indicated that certain types of electric toothbrushes may be better at preventing plaque and gum disease than the manual toothbrush, specifically the ones that have a rotational oscillating brush head (meaning that they have bristles that move in one direction and then the other). Electric toothbrushes are easy to use since the brush does all the work, and some even have a built-in timer to let you know when you are finished. This convenience, however, does come with some caveats. Because it is electric, it needs to be charged, which makes traveling with it a chore. It is also much bulkier than a manual toothbrush and is easier to break, especially if dropped. It also costs much more than a manual toothbrush.

Traditional Toothbrush

close up of young man with toothbrush cleaning teeth and looking to mirror at home bathroomAlthough not as fancy, a manual toothbrush still gets the job done. Traditional toothbrushes are reliable products that will thoroughly clean your teeth as long as you brush correctly, meaning twice a day for two minutes each time. They’re cheap, sometimes even free with a trip to your dentist, and offer several varieties including color choices, brush size, and bristle strength, ranging from extra soft to hard. With manual toothbrushes, there is no need to worry about charging or batteries, and it is small enough to fit in a purse. As the word “manual” implies, a traditional toothbrush is more work since you have to provide the brushing movement with good technique to get your teeth clean.

Which Is Better?

This decision boils down to personal preference. What feels better for your mouth? Is it the ease of using a water flosser and an electric toothbrush, or do you prefer the traditional feeling of string floss and a manual toothbrush? Even with constant studies performed, there is still no clear winner. Some studies say that water flossing and electric toothbrushes have a higher percentage of plaque removal and a greater reduction of gingivitis, but truthfully, all of these products will do the job well. The most important thing is consistency. It is recommended to brush and floss your teeth twice a day and attend regular check-ups with your dentist.

How to Floss Your Teeth With Braces

Man flossing with braces onIf you’ve ever been to the dentist, you know that daily brushing and flossing are important for dental health. However, because flossing with braces can be more difficult and time-consuming than flossing without braces, it’s all too easy to neglect it. You should continue to floss daily throughout your teeth straightening treatment if you want to ensure that your teeth are healthy, beautiful, strong, AND straight when your orthodontic treatment is over. Knowing how to floss with braces will help you tackle it head on and keep up with your oral hygiene.

Choose Your Floss

There are many types of dental floss. It is best to use a thin, wax-coated floss when you have braces. Unwaxed floss tends to be more thread-like and can easily get caught and shredded in your braces. You may also want to invest in a floss threader, which is a small dental tool that will make it easier to thread the floss around your wires.

Steps to Flossing With Braces

  1. Rinse your mouth to loosen any food particles.
  2. Brush your teeth for at least two full minutes, carefully cleaning all around each bracket.
  3. Floss the parts of your teeth that are easily accessed (that don’t require you to thread floss around the wires. Place a string of floss between each tooth and use a sawing motion to remove any loose particles.  
  4. To floss the base of each tooth near the gums, thread the string of floss under the main wire. A floss threader can help you do this more easily.
  5. Pull the floss between the two teeth to the base of the gum line.
  6. Hug the floss to the side of one tooth and gently move it up and down. Then hug the side of the adjacent tooth and do the same.
  7. Repeat steps 4 through 6 with the next pair of teeth. Some teeth may have a larger gap between them while others may be quite snug. Do your best to floss between each pair as carefully as possible.  
  8. Be sure to floss around the outside of your last set of molars as well. Simply hug the floss around the tooth and move it up and down.

Consider an Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes offer much more power and are scientifically proven to be significantly more effective than manual toothbrushes at getting rid of plaque and improving gum health. An electric toothbrush can help get between the brackets and wires to remove bacteria before it becomes a problem.

Choose Invisalign® Instead of Braces

If you haven’t begun your teeth straightening treatment, consider choosing Invisalign® instead of braces. Many patients in need of teeth straightening will qualify for Invisalign®. Invisalign® can straighten your teeth with a better appearance, improved comfort, no dietary restrictions, a more flexible schedule, and greater convenience in maintaining oral health. Your Invisalign® trays can be removed for regular flossing and brushing, so as long as you know how to floss correctly, you will be able to continue doing so throughout your treatment.

If you need help with teeth straightening or other cosmetic procedures, request your consultation with Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Kevin Sands. Dr. Sands will help you achieve the dental appearance you desire with a personalized treatment plan designed especially for you. To schedule your appointment with Dr. Sands, call (310) 273-0111 or contact Dr. Sands online today.

Are Bad Teeth Hereditary?

Are Bad Teeth Genetic?“Brush your teeth” and “floss more often” are the two phrases that most people expect to hear when they sit in the dentist’s chair. Yet, while some people have poor oral hygiene habits and rarely get cavities, others take excellent care of their teeth and still get cavities and gum disease. Good oral hygiene care is still the most critical factor in having good teeth, but there is indeed a genetic element to having bad teeth.

Genetic Factors for Bad Teeth

Much like the color of your eyes, the makeup of your teeth and gums is inherited. Children who inherit their father’s large jaw but their mother’s small teeth will likely have large gaps between their teeth. Those who inherit a small jaw and large teeth will likely have overcrowded, crooked teeth. Simple genetic factors such as tooth shape, tooth size, and jaw size all affect how crooked or straight your teeth may be. Additionally, you may inherit teeth with softer enamel that are more vulnerable to cavity-causing bacteria. Gum disease is yet another hereditary factor. Other genetic factors have a more indirect effect: a preference for sugary foods, heartburn or acid reflux, and behavioral tendencies can all be inherited and lead to poor oral hygiene habits that ultimately harm your teeth.

Oral Hygiene and Behavioral Factors for Bad Teeth

While there is a distinct genetic component to having bad teeth, oral hygiene is the far greater predictor of tooth health. Oral hygiene habits, diet, and behavioral factors established at a young age are key predictors of having either bad teeth or healthy teeth. Neglecting dental care for very young children well before permanent teeth come in (and even before all baby teeth have grown) can lead to tooth problems. During tooth development, a lack of calcium in the diet can lead to weak teeth that are more vulnerable to cavities. Bad habits such as sucking on pen caps, chewing on straws, prolonged thumb-sucking, or using your teeth to open packages can cause crooked teeth as well as tooth chips and cracks. Avoiding six-month or yearly dental appointments prevents your dentist from being able to catch warning signs early on, when the problems are easier to manage. Partaking of nicotine and tobacco products can cause gum disease, tissue damage, and tooth decay. Most of all, excess consumption of sugary or acidic foods and drinks can wear down tooth enamel.

Despite the hereditary factors, good oral hygiene habits remain the greatest predictor of having healthy teeth. Follow your dentist’s advice and remember to brush and floss regularly, use fluoride, avoid sugary and acidic foods and drinks, avoid smoking, and take care of your teeth so that they can last you a lifetime.

To receive more expert dental advice and improve the health and appearance of your teeth, schedule your consultation with Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin Sands. Call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form to request an appointment for a consultation today.

Oral Health for Overall Health

If you’re like most people, you probably think that brushing and flossing are just for keeping those pearly whites healthy and beautiful. However, did you know that your oral health can affect the health of the rest of your body? Your mouth is an entryway into your body, so problems in your mouth can easily allow bacteria and other harmful germs to travel into your body and cause problems. So, while good oral hygiene can help keep your body healthy, not taking care of your teeth can have negative effects on your body.

Oral problems commonly lead to problems associated with the following body systems:

  • Heart​Oral Health for Overall Health
  • Brain
  • Bones
  • Blood pressure

Gum Disease and Body Diseases

Bacterial growth in your mouth as a result of poor oral hygiene usually leads to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which often leads to gum disease as the bacteria in plaque builds up. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease (periodontitis), is a chronic inflammatory condition that can have detrimental effects on the body. Gingivitis and gum disease allow bacteria to enter the bloodstream and lead to inflammation and diseases in the body. Gum disease is associated with multiple body issues and diseases, including heart disease, respiratory disease, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, premature birth, and diabetes. Diabetes also has a reciprocal relationship with gum disease; treatment of diabetes improves the condition of the mouth, and treatment of gum disease reduces the need for insulin.

Good Oral Hygiene Practices

To prevent poor oral health and the negative effects it can have on the body, it is important to practice good oral hygiene. You should brush twice daily and floss at least once a day, preferably before bedtime, in addition to visiting your dentist for regular cleanings and checkups. There are also many benefits of chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating and drinking.

If you’re having an issue with your teeth, Dr. Kevin Sands offers a variety of services to help you maintain or improve your oral health, including porcelain veneers, Invisalign®, Zoom!® teeth whitening, dental implants, sedation dentistry, and dental bonding.

If you would like to improve the appearance and health of your teeth, Dr. Kevin Sands can help. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sands, please call (310) 273-0111 today. You may also fill out our online contact form for more information.

The DOs and DON’Ts for a Hollywood Smile

Kevin Sands, DDS - Cosmetic Dentist to Hollywood StarsMaintaining a healthy, beautiful smile is mostly about how you care for your teeth. If you want to protect your teeth and maintain a Hollywood-worthy smile, it’s important to do what your dentist tells you. Proper dental care is critical for your teeth’s health, for your body’s health, and even for your social status. Hollywood’s stars typically have the straightest, whitest, and most beautiful teeth you’ve ever seen, and there are two reasons for that. First, they take care of their teeth. Second, when they need extra help, they know to take advantage of cosmetic dentistry. Whether you’re on the red carpet in Hollywood or the red carpet of your personal life, here’s how to make your pearly whites shine so that you can look your absolute best.

Here’s a list of DOs and DON’Ts to keep your teeth healthy:

  • DO brush at least twice daily. Spend two full minutes twice a day brushing for optimal tooth cleanliness. Brushing is especially important after eating sugary foods because the sugar sits on your teeth and eats away at the enamel, eventually causing cavities.
  • DON’T brush too hard. Using abrasive toothbrushes or brushing too hard can scratch the enamel on your teeth, which can wear down over time. Brushing too hard can also damage your gums, and weak gums lead to weaker teeth and a weaker smile.
  • DO floss once a day. Twice a day is even better. Brushing your teeth is not enough because food particles can remain stuck between the teeth. You may choose to floss right after brushing or right before, but definitely be sure to do it.
  • DO go to the dentist regularly. Regular teeth cleanings and checkups are essential to maintaining proper dental health.
  • DON’T put objects like pens or pencils in your mouth. Not only is it a bad habit, but it’s also hard on your teeth and can damage them.
  • DON’T clench your jaw or grind your teeth. Forcing your teeth to scrape against each other like that is really bad for them. Doing this enough will eventually cause your teeth to chip and crack. A custom-made mouthguard can protect your teeth from grinding at night.
  • DON’T chew ice or bite your nails. Both can crack, chip, or otherwise damage your teeth.
  • DON’T drink coffee, tea, or soda. Avoiding these beverages may be difficult, but these drinks hurt your teeth! Not only can they discolor your teeth, but they also wear down the enamel. If you choose to drink one of these teeth-staining drinks, drink it through a straw to minimize your teeth’s exposure.
  • DON’T use your teeth as a tool. Opening packages with your teeth, holding items with your teeth, or ripping anything with your teeth can cause all kinds of damage and ruin your smile.

If you’re doing everything you can to protect your teeth and you still need extra correction, you may wish to consider cosmetic dentistry. Invisalign® can straighten your teeth the modern way and porcelain veneers can protect and cover damaged teeth. Call us today at (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form to schedule your consultation with Cosmetic Dentist to the Stars, Dr. Kevin Sands.

How to Floss Correctly

Illustration of a man flossing his teeth“Have you been flossing?”

This is a question you’ve probably been asked many times at your regular dental visits, and for good reasons. Flossing is very important to maintaining oral health because it removes plaque and bacteria that a toothbrush cannot reach. This is common knowledge, yet so few people floss on a regular basis. Common excuses for not flossing are, “It hurts when I floss,” “My teeth are too close together,” and “I never get food stuck in my teeth.” The reality is, if you are flossing correctly and using the right kind of floss, these excuses will no longer apply!

Why Floss?

If your excuse for not flossing is, “I never get food stuck in my teeth,” you might not understand the main objective of flossing. While flossing does remove noticeably annoying food particles that get caught between your teeth, the main purpose of flossing is to scrape away the thin film of bacteria that collects on the teeth during the day. Between the teeth and the gums is a small pocket that easily traps bacteria and is difficult to reach with a toothbrush. As you scrape the floss down the side of each tooth and gently down into the gum pocket, you remove a film of bacteria that would otherwise linger and eventually cause plaque buildup.

How to Floss

If it hurts to floss, you may have gingivitis, or you may simply not be flossing correctly. Here is how to floss the right way:

  1. Insert the floss between two teeth.
  2. Slowly place the floss beneath the gum line at the base of one tooth.
  3. Curve the floss around the tooth, and scrape it along the edge of the tooth.
  4. Repeat step 3 in the same space between those teeth, but scrape the floss against the neighboring tooth, making sure to go all the way to the base of the tooth beneath the gum line.
  5. Repeat steps 1 through 4 between each two teeth using a clean section of floss each time. This prevents transferring bacteria to neighboring teeth.

The Right Floss

If your teeth are very close together or if you have braces, flossing might be a little more challenging. Try waxed floss, glide floss, or use a threader that is made to get around the brackets of braces. If your floss shreds, you might have a problem with your dental work, or you could have a cavity. A visit to your dentist can help to identify the problem.

If you are interested in general or cosmetic dental services offered by Dr. Kevin B. Sands, please schedule your appointment today. Call 310-273-0111 or fill out our online contact form for more information.

Tel: (310) 273-0111

[ Get Directions ]


Contact Dr. Sands

Request an appointment for a consultation with cosmetic dentist Dr. Sands, or feel free to call our Los Angeles (north of Orange County) office at (310) 273-0111 for more information.