Airport Road Dental Associates - 3465 Airport Road, Portage, Indiana 46368 - (219) 763-2727

Flossing should be part of your regular oral health, but many Americans ignore this dental hygiene practice. A third of Americans don't floss at all, and even more than that only floss when they remember to. Remember, children should begin flossing regularly starting at around age two.

When you floss your teeth, you take extra measures to remove plaque and food that is stuck between your teeth and under your gumline. These are areas that the typical toothbrush can't reach and, without proper flossing, these hard-to-clean oral spots become susceptible to bacteria and infection. To keep cavities and gum disease at bay, floss or use a dental pick or other flossing tool at least once a day.

Flossing is more than running a string between your teeth. Use this guide, along with the advice of your dental practitioner, to keep your teeth in quality condition.

Flossing also regularly does not eliminate the need for regular dental checkups, so schedule for a dental cleaning twice a year or as recommended by your dentist.


Floss Under Your Gums

Plaque easily builds up between your teeth and under your gumline. Plaque has bacteria that thrives on food and sugar in your mouth. Plaque releases acids that eat away at your tooth enamel. When you don't clean up plaque with regular brushing and flossing, the material turns into hard tartar, which inflames gums and leads to gum disease.

Flossing under your gumline reaches the plaque buildup before the material turns into hard to remove tartar. When you floss correctly, you also remove food particles that you can't see.

Hold your floss string taut between your fingers and swoop your floss into a curve, following your tooth's natural shape, when you reach your gumline. If your floss all but disappears into your gums, you've gone far enough. Be careful not to tear or snap your gums when flossing, especially near the base of your teeth.


Floss Correctly

Don't jerk back and forth when flossing your teeth. Gentle strokes or simple up and down movements of your floss will dislodge most particles between your teeth and in your gums. This quick flossing technique will remove more of the bacteria that makes your mouth unhealthy and will help keep your gums free of disease and deterioration.

Use a new piece of floss when yours starts to fray, tear, or has ample amount of debris on the string from flossing.

If your gums bleed or feel painful after flossing, there are a few reasons why.


You Have Gum Disease Already

Bleeding gums is a leading sign of gum disease. If your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, gum disease may be to blame.


You Don't Floss Enough

Irregular flossing makes your gums tender and can lead to pain following flossing. Floss every day, taking care to reach the back teeth especially, to help your gums get used to regular flossing.

Report sharp, stinging pains in single areas of your teeth to your dentist if you experience strange sensations only when flossing. Cavities or other signs of tooth decay may be to blame for the pain you feel.


Use Correct Floss

Floss comes in many varieties, including waxed or unwaxed nylon, Polytetrafluorethylene, or even a thick yarn-style material call Super Floss. If you wear braces, then thicker, more durable Super Floss is best for your needs. Polytetrafluorethylene floss is ideal for you if you constantly tear or wear out traditional nylon floss. 

Your dentist will show you the correct way to hold and use dental floss. Flossing correctly helps preserve your oral health. Call our dental professionals at Airport Road Dental Associates to keep your smile healthy and beautiful today.

Dental decay doesn't just affect adults. Nearly 20 percent of kids between the ages of 5 and 11, and 13 percent of teens age 12 through 19 have at least one untreated cavity, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Hearing that your young child has a cavity may seem like a shock. You've had cavities, but you probably didn't expect that your oral hygiene–conscious child would too.

Poor dental care (not brushing or flossing) as well as consuming high-sugar and high acid foods and beverages can lead to dental caries (decay).   Some children may still develop cavities despite a healthy mouth routine. If your child's dentist diagnoses a cavity, the next step is a restoration (filling).

Children, and parents too, may feel some anxiety before the dentist fills a cavity. Learning about pediatric dental fillings can help to ease some of the pre-procedure stress. Take a look at what you need to know about cavities, restorations (fillings), and your child's dental health.

Why Does Your Child Need a Filling?

Leaving a cavity untreated is likely to lead to the spread of infection. This includes both primary (baby) and permanent teeth. The dentist needs to remove the decay in order to stop the decay process. Once the dentist removes the decay he will replace it with something else so the tooth will have the correct shape or support.

The restoration (filling) does exactly what you'd expect based on the name — it restores (fills) the tooth. This leaves your child's tooth decay-free and whole again.

What Types of Pediatric Fillings Are Available?

Several different types of fillings are available. Adults often have silver amalgam or even gold fillings. Some adults also have composite fillings, which are made from resin and plastic, ceramic porcelain fillings, or glass ionomer fillings.

How Will the Dentist Choose the Filling?

Several factors go into the dentist's choice of filling material. These include the location of the cavity (where in the mouth and on what part of the tooth), your child's age, your child's individual dental history, and durability issues related to your child's age and activities.

Will the Filling Hurt?

The dentist will do everything they can to make your child comfortable. This includes numbing the area with topical (brush on) anesthetic. This is done before proceeding with other techniques for making your child comfortable, like nitrous oxide and local anesthetic.

Does your child have a cavity? Contact Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, for more information on dental filling options.

As a parent, you want to give your child a strong start in life. This includes establishing the foundation for good dental health as early as possible. Here are a few things you can do to help establish a high level of dental hygiene for your child.


1. Discuss the Utility of Dental Sealants

Sealants are liquid coatings that harden on the chewing surfaces of teeth and are showing a great deal of effectiveness in preventing cavities—even on teeth where decay has begun.

The pits and grooves of your teeth are prime areas for opportunistic decay. Even regular brushing sometimes misses these intricate structures on the chewing surfaces of your teeth.

The sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces and are designed to prevent the intrusion of bacteria and other debris into the deep crevices on the tops of teeth.

Sealants actually were developed about 50 years ago, but didn't become commonly used until the 1970s. Today, sealants are becoming widely popular and effective; young children are great candidates for preventative measures like sealants (especially on molars) because in many cases, decay has not set in. Even on teeth where decay is present, sealants have been shown to fight additional damage.



Sealants are applied by first cleaning the tooth surface. The procedure is followed by "etching" the tooth with a chemical substance, which allows the sealant to better adhere. After the sealant is applied, a warm light source is directed to the site to promote faster drying. Sealants usually need re-application every five to 10 years.


2. Help Your Child Break Bad Habits

Many children suck on their fingers, thumbs, or another object to soothe themselves when they are upset. Though this is a normally behavior in babies and young children, thumb sucking can cause a multitude of dental issues if left unchecked.

Some of the issues that thumb sucking contributes to include:

  • Narrowing of the jaw
  • Development of a crossbite
  • Formation of a weakened area in the roof of the mouth

Not only can these issues affect the structure of your child's mouth and the placement of their teeth, but they can also contribute to speech issues, such as a lisp.

If your child is preschool age (between two and four years of age), take action now to help your child stop sucking their thumb. You might want to encourage your child to swap the thumb sucking for another soothing behavior, such as cuddling a stuffed animal or talking to a trusted adult. 

Your child may suck their thumb out of habit; if so, call attention to the behavior every time is happens. Some parents have success with encouraging their children to slowly cut back on thumb sucking instead of ceasing the behavior all at once.


3. Rethink Your Child's Snacks

The foods that your child chooses to snack on can affect their dental health. Encourage your child to select healthy items across multiple food groups, such as vegetables, fruit, dairy, and whole grains. Try to limit snacks to a single session instead of allowing your child to graze for extended periods.

There are certain snacks that are known to contribute to the formation of tooth decay. Sticky foods (such as fruit snacks and dried fruit) are notorious for contributing to the development of plaque, in part because the stickiness makes them adhere to the teeth. These items are also relatively high in sugar; sugar acts as a fuel for the bacteria that cause plaque.

Crunchy snacks, like cookies, chips, and crackers, are another potential issue. The starch in these items causes crumbs and particles to accumulate in and around the teeth. Bacteria congregate and feed on these particles, forming plaque on the teeth.

If possible, have your child brush their teeth after snack time to rid the teeth of leftover food particles.

Keep your child's mouth healthy with regular dental examinations. Contact Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, today to request an appointment.

Even if you brush, floss, and regularly go to the dentist, you may wonder if you should do more for your teeth. 

You've probably heard that going on a no-sugar, low-carb diet would be great for your teeth. That's because putting sugar (or even carbs) in your mouth feeds the acid bacteria that grow on your teeth and generate acid all over them until they start to erode. And exercise is great too, but sometimes life just doesn't leave time for going on a new diet and fitting in more exercise.

So here are three natural ways to help your teeth out without worrying about diet and exercise. If you have any questions about these, please ask your dentist.

1. Switch to a Xylitol-Containing Gum

Note: You should only do this if you don't have a pet who might get into your gum. Xylitol can be highly toxic to pets, especially dogs.

If you don't have any pets (or you know your pet would never eat anything other than kibble), you might want to give xylitol gum a try. Any gum (as long as it doesn't have sugar) can be helpful for your teeth, because it helps to get saliva moving around in your mouth. So if you already chew gum after a meal, you get more than freshening benefits.

But xylitol has a few extra tricks up its sleeve. It can trick the acid-making bacteria into eating it, keeping them from eating actual sugars that would allow them to produce acid. Plus it helps neutralize any acidity from the sugars you last ate.

2. Add a Quick Step to Your Cleaning Regimen

The next option is that you could adopt one of several potentially beneficial additions to a basic oral hygiene routine. If you brush twice daily and floss at night, you could consider using a water flosser in the morning, which can only take a minute or two. 

Or you can try this trick: after brushing with your fluoride paste, spit but don't rinse. This gives your teeth access to the fluoride for longer. And, if you don't already do it, a quick tongue cleaning each time you brush (whether you do it with a tongue cleaner or just with your toothbrush) is a must.

If you add these additional steps to your daily oral hygiene, your teeth can continue to stay strong between dental cleanings.

3. Optimize Your Supplements

Naturally sourced supplements can be a real boost to your teeth. And of course, good mineral supplements can ensure you have sufficient minerals present in your body that will keep your teeth healthy. But did you know that certain vitamins, such as vitamin C and vitamin D, also play a role? 

If you choose a multivitamin/mineral supplement designed for bone health, the supplement may contain calcium, magnesium, and other necessary minerals as well as the vitamins your body needs to optimize assimilating these minerals into your teeth. Check with your doctor before you start taking the supplement to make sure it's right for your situation.

These three tips will help you improve tooth health naturally with steps that work together with your current cleaning schedule. Be sure to discuss any major changes in your cleaning regimen with your dentist, and run any supplements by your doctor before beginning to take them. 

Airport Road Dental Associates is here to help prevent and treat any and all dental issues you may have and to help you take the best possible care of your teeth. Feel free to call today for an appointment if you're experiencing any problems or if your next cleaning is coming due soon.

This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.