Dental Floss-How Long Should it Be?

Flossing is something dentists recommend you do each time you brush your teeth. Dental floss is a great tool to make sure that food or plaque isn’t left in between your teeth where it can cause decay and cavities. So, do you know how to floss correctly?

Dental Floss-How Long Should it Be?First, know how much floss you should be using. To get the best benefit, start with about 18 inches of floss. Why so much? Well, for a few reasons. First, you need to be sure you use a fresh part of the floss between each tooth. If your teeth are tight, the floss sometimes gets a little shredded. You’ll have to use a new area if this happens. Another reason may be that if you have a lot of food particles or plaque, you’ll need fresh areas of floss so you don’t transfer it to between other teeth. If you use flossers, you’ll need one or two for the same reason.

Wind the dental floss around your middle fingers and leave an inch, maybe two between your fingers. Use your pointer fingers and thumbs to guide the floss between your teeth. Slide it or rock it between your teeth. If you force it too hard, you can damage your gums. Curve the dental floss around each tooth and go beneath the gum line. Then use the same rocking motion up, or down, depending on whether you are flossing the top or bottom teeth, to remove the floss from between your teeth.

Flossing with flossers uses similar motions. They can be easier for children or older people with arthritic hands to use since they don’t have to wind the floss around their fingers. Whatever you use, flossing two or three times a day is optimal for great tooth and gum health.

If you want to find a great dentist in Denver to help you with flossing and all your dental health needs, visit Makowski Dental online at

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Your First Denver Dental Visit

Starting out with a new dentist can be scary! Will they yell at you for not doing a good job with your brushing? Will they ask if you are flossing every day? Will they be as bad as the last guy? GREAT NEWS! Dr. Jim is an AMAZING dentist who guarantees that your first visit will include no pain…but how can that be?

Your First VisitUnlike other dentists, Dr. Jim is focused on helping his patients have great teeth for life! With that in mind, he sits down with you to review what your current dental issues are, why you are here and what your goals are (things like, do you need some cavities filled, have you had dental surgery in the past, basically a whole history of your mouth!)

We may have some Xrays taken so we can see what is going on and that is it! You wouldn’t want your mechanic to start tinkering with your car without knowing what is going on and we don’t want to start messing with you or your mouth without knowing what needs to be done!

More About Your First Visit!

After arriving, Dr. Jim and his staff will greet you and begin the comprehensive examination process. It is important to get to know each other for that is the basis of a good relationship. We will discuss your dental concerns, your desires and expectations from dental care now and in the future. Are there any specific matters you wish to discuss: cosmetics, ability to chew, missing teeth, food getting caught, bad breath, bleeding gums, past dental problem, etcetera. During those conversations you may find that the topics go off on tangents that may not be just dental, but related to your total health and well being. Optimal care involves you…not just your teeth.

Your medical history is reviewed and its relevance to your dental care is discussed in detail. Many people today take medications and have medical conditions that directly affect their dental health. It is nice to know that you are being well cared for.

You are encouraged to ask questions at any time. If it is important to you, it is important to us.

The chair is reclined and we start with an Oral Cancer Screening. We first take a close look at your face and skin that is visible. We will evaluate your lips, cheeks, floor of your mouth, roof of your mouth and tongue. While our hope is that we will find nothing of concern, if there is something, it is best to catch it as early as possible. This screening is also performed at each hygiene visit.

There are three types of dental disease.

  • Periodontal (gum) disease affects the gums and bones that support your teeth in your jaw.
  • Tooth disease has to do with decay (cavities), old fillings, inlays/onlays and crowns (caps) in and on teeth that may be worn or crumbling and not functioning the way they were originally designed. Any prosthesis (bridge, denture or partial denture) is evaluated for proper working condition.
  • Occlusal (bite) disease is affected by the way the teeth hit each other as our jaws move consciously or while we sleep.

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss after the age of thirty-five. We will evaluate your status and make recommendations for professional care and personal home care to achieve a level of optimal health and stability. Keeping the bacterial infections of periodontal disease under control will not only keep your gums healthy, but will help keep other parts of your body healthy too! (See Q&A)

Anything that is subjected to mechanical forces will wear and tear over time. Our teeth and bodies are no exception. Given the fact that we subject our teeth to enormous forces, stresses and strains on a daily basis, it is no wonder that our dentistry can wear out. Sometimes there is not enough time in the day to brush and floss properly. Sometimes our diets are not the best. Xerostomia (dry mouth) also can have an effect on how susceptible we are to decay. (See Q&A)

All of these situations have an effect on tooth disease.

Occlusal disease, bite disease, occlussal dysfunction, or TMJ (jaw joint) are several names that affect how our teeth move and function. Your teeth will be evaluated on how they have worn and their effects on the masticatory (chewing) muscles and jaw joint. Many times people are told they need root canal or have defective dentistry when the source of their problem is their bite. Your TemporoMandibular Joint (TMJ) will be evaluated for its stability and motion.
Additional aspects of a comprehensive evaluation include a complete set of x-rays and diagnostic photography of your face and teeth.

This initial consultation usually encompasses ninety minutes. From this we can either start to plan a course of care or if your needs are greater, we will schedule more time for a more detailed comprehensive evaluation. Once all the data is gathered, Dr. Makowski and his staff will take time to study all the gathered information and develop a plan that addresses your concerns and a road map towards predictable, lifetime dental care. At a subsequent visit there will be a discussion of how to best proceed to meet your goals.

You will leave our office realizing your initial experience was focused solely on your needs.

Give us a call today to get started! (303) 751-5558

The Two Types of Power Toothbrushes Electric Toothbrushes and Sonic Toothbrushes

Other than manual toothbrushes, there are two types of power toothbrushes: electric and sonic toothbrushes. They each have pros and cons, and finding the right one comes down to your preference. So you decided to change up your routine and switch to a different type of toothbrush. Your manual toothbrush just doesn’t seem to be doing the trick, and you wonder if you should choose something less manual. Do you choose an electric one or sonic one and which is better for your oral health?

The Two Types of Power Toothbrushes Electric Toothbrushes and Sonic ToothbrushesElectric Toothbrushes are battery powered and clean your teeth with rotating motions of 3,000 and up to 7,500 motions a minute. They are designed to do what your hand does, just faster than you ever could. So the electric toothbrush does the muscle work for you. The bristles on these toothbrushes either rotate or move back and forth, or sometimes both, to help remove plaque and food particles from your teeth. In doing so, they are good at reducing gingivitis.

Sonic Toothbrushes clean your teeth anywhere between 30,000 to 40,000 strokes per minute, sonic toothbrushes rotate in a back and forth vibrating motion. They are at least 10 times faster than an electric toothbrush. The vibrations create energy and motion and that pushes the toothpaste into areas between the teeth and below the gum line. These areas often don’t get that kind of cleaning from a manual or electric toothbrush. If you aren’t as good at flossing as you should be, a sonic toothbrush would be a good choice. As with the electric toothbrush, the movement replicates what you would do with a manual toothbrush, but faster and more thoroughly.

Studies have shown that the two types of power toothbrushes are better at reducing plaque and gingivitis, but if you brush effectively with a manual toothbrush, that can be just as effective. Electric or sonic toothbrushes are a good idea if you have any kind of problem with hand dexterity, such as arthritis or nerve problems. For anyone, especially children, they can be “cool” enough to motivate them to brush more regularly. Just keep in mind that cost may be an issue, as they can range from $15 to several hundred dollars and brush heads must be replaced regularly, as a manual toothbrush should be.

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How Often Should You See the Dentist?

How Often Should You See the Dentist?Often the question comes up, how often should you see the dentist. The general rule is twice a year or every six months. But is that the right advice?

The true answer to that question is, it depends. For the majority of people that is a good rule of thumb. Most children and adults should see a dentist every six months for a cleaning and check up. But sometimes there are situations that make that number change. Many factors can change that twice a year rule of thumb.

One thing is reality. If you are uninsured, or your insurance will only pay for once a year, going every six months may not be an option. Dental care, unfortunately, is not a priority in many benefit packages, and can be that “set aside” thing when times get tough. It shouldn’t be. Talk with your dentist and find out if he or she is willing to work with you to keep your mouth healthy.

On the other end of the spectrum, if you are at greater risk for oral disease you need to go more often. You may need to go more often if you are a regular tobacco and alcohol user, have diabetes, are pregnant, already have periodontal or gum disease, have poor oral hygiene or other medical conditions.

So let’s say you are a regular brusher and flosser, six months should be for you, right? Not so fast. Tartar and plaque form in the mouth at different rates. So people have no problem, others, have it build up quickly no matter how often they brush and floss. So your best bet is to be honest with your dentist, let him or her know your actual oral habits, any prescription drugs you take, any health conditions you have and so forth, and also your financial abilities to pay for care, and then come up with a plan to keep your teeth healthy.

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Why Flossing Helps Your Teeth So Much

Why Flossing Helps Your Teeth So MuchFlossing isn’t easy; so many people skip that step. Skipping flossing is a bad idea for a number of reasons…you’ve heard from your dentist that flossing is an important part of your oral health and we are not kidding about the benefits.

Ask any dentist and he will tell you, brush and floss after each meal. Ask most people and you’ll find that brushing twice a day is sometimes a stretch! Flossing? Yeah, maybe tomorrow. But really you should floss, at least twice a day. Flossing accomplishes a few things for your oral health and overall health.

First, it helps keep your teeth cleaner. Brushing, even with electric or sonic toothbrushes, can only reach so far in vulnerable areas of your mouth. The bristles can’t get between teeth or below the gum line. Food can get trapped there. When food is left behind, bacteria grows, plaque builds up, hardens and becomes tartar, and that causes gingivitis, or gum disease. When that happens your gums start to retreat away from your teeth. Gums are the support system for your teeth. If they retreat far enough, your teeth can fall out! Then there are cavities that eat away at your teeth themselves. Flossing removes food and plaque between teeth and below the gum line, keeping your gums healthy.

Have you heard about plaque in your arteries or veins? While the plaque in your arteries or veins is different than dental plaque, poor oral care has been shown to lead to heart disease or stroke. Why? One theory is that the bacteria in your mouth can get into the bloodstream through your damaged gums and travel into the arteries. There it damages the arterial lining which then makes it susceptible to build up of arterial plaque.

Flossing also helps keep your breath fresher too! With food stuck and bacteria building up, breath will suffer. So brushing and flossing it away removes the “food” for the bacteria. So floss at least twice day. You can even get portable “flossers” to keep in a pocket, backpack, purse or desk drawer to have them handy. Do it for your whole health!

Taking care of your teeth!

How To Have A Great SmileWe have been told for years and years that brushing our teeth is so important. Have you ever stopped to consider why?

The first reason brushing is important is that it removes plaque which is clear film of bacteria (yes you read that right, bacteria) that builds up on your teeth. These bacteria are actually attacking the sugar that is on your teeth and breaking it down into acids. These acids eat away at your tooth enamel and over time can cause cavities. Plaque can also cause gingivitis. Gingivitis is a gum disease that makes your gums swollen, sore and red. Long story short on this one, brushing your teeth can solve A LOT of problems.

So now that you are convinced about brushing (twice a day, right?) Let’s move on to flossing. We see more problems caused by not flossing than we see for any other tooth care problem! Using your toothbrush to clean off plaque is great but brushing doesn’t get rid of plaque between teeth. Only flossing will make sure that plaque is not sitting right there on your gum line. Once you develop gingivitis disease from not flossing, it is a skip and a jump to periodontitis which hurts the alveolar bone that holds teeth in the jaw. It is at this stage that bone loss or tooth loss occurs.

So now you are scared about plaque, what about her ugly cousin tartar. Tartar is created when plaque is calcified by the saliva in your mouth. Tartar is a much more tricky thing to get rid of (plaque is removed with brushing and flossing, tartar requires scaling or regular cleanings at the dentists’ office).

Basically, taking the time to brush and floss each day can mean that you never have to hear the word plaque or worse yet tartar come out of your dentist’s mouth!

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Why should you use an electric toothbrush?

Take Care Of Your Teeth - Denver DentistsEver wonder why using an electric toothbrush is such a great idea! When you visit Dr. Jim’s office for a cleaning, one of the first things they are going to ask you is if you have been using your electric toothbrush. We thought you might like to know why we are such nags about it!

5 Reasons To Use An Electric Toothbrush

Reason #1 – An electronic toothbrush can make up to 3,000 motions a minute (most of us can’t come even close to that manually!)

Reason #2 – If left to our own devices without a timer handy, we probably don’t brush as long as we should. The electric toothbrushes have a handy feature that pauses to let you know when you are done!

Reason #3 – Some configurations of bristles have been shown to be better at plaque and preventing gum disease. It seems that “rotating-oscillating — appear to be more effective than manual brushes and other electric brushes that spin in only one direction.”

Reason #4 – While they may cost a little more up front, the maintenance cost has been found to be lower as the bristles last longer than conventional tooth brushes. Additionally, you can get heads for each family member and just one base that you can keep charged up!

Reason #5 – If you have any any trouble with your hands, like carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis, using an electric toothbrush is a great solution. Instead of adding more repetitive (painful) tasks to your day, spend just a couple of minutes being nice to your teeth AND your hands!

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Tips For A Great Smile

Having a great smile is not just about having clean teeth and nothing stuck in the front. Here are some tips about how to make your smile shine!

Tips for a great smile - Denver DentalStart with confidence! Too many of us remember when we were smiling and someone told us that we looked silly, or said something not so complimentary about our teeth. Well, it is time to move beyond that and just start grinning at people. The more you smile, the more they will smile back!

Brush and floss! Okay, you didn’t think that Dr. Jim was NOT going to tell you to brush and floss did you? Your teeth are one of your great smile assets and you should take care of them.

Practice your smile! Seriously? Like in front of a mirror? YES! Feeling good smiling is a skill like any other and you want to practice it until you feel good about what you see in the mirror….some great smile tips from wikiHow

Take some tips from the stars! When we don’t like our teeth (or our smile) we tend to look funny in pictures because we are trying to avoid them all-together. How about instead you commit to looking GREAT in every picture. Instead of ducking, ham it up a little bit!

Stop picking yourself apart. Last but not least, not everyone spends as much time obsessing about your crooked tooth or stained teeth as you do (shocking right?) I guarantee that if you ask three of your friends what they notice about you when you are smiling they will say things like, “how your eyes crinkle” or “how happy you look”. NONE will say, “well you are such a pretty gal but hey that tooth is just so distracting I can’t see past it”.

Smiling is about more than how your teeth look. That said, if how your teeth look is stopping your smiling, give Dr. Jim a call today and let’s get started with making your smile stunning! 303.751.5558

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