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Don’t Forget To Clean Your Tongue!

April 27th, 2018

A HEALTHY TONGUE is incredibly important for a healthy mouth. We know we talk a lot about your teeth, but it’s time we told you more about your tongue, that amazing muscle that allows us to speak, taste, and swallow!

Get Rid of Bacteria by Cleaning Your Tongue

You’ve already brushed your teeth for two minutes and you’re ready to be done. Not so fast! Cleaning your tongue is just as important as cleaning your teeth. Did you know that almost 50 percent of the bacteria in your mouth is on your tongue?If you don’t worry about cleaning your tongue, that bacteria will transfer to your teeth even after you’ve brushed. Your oral health care routine should always include a good tongue cleaning!

Here’s another interesting fact: 90 percent of bad breath comes from a dirty tongue! Until you learn how to clean your tongue, you may not be able to get rid of that lingering halitosis.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0FAVR6_ZEQ

Cleaning Your Tongue Is Easy

There are three tools to choose from when it comes to cleaning your tongue: a tongue scraper, a tongue brush, or your handy dandy toothbrush.

  • Use a tongue scraper for a thorough cleaning. This tool is usually made of soft, flexible plastic, sometimes metal. It gently peels the thin mucus-based layer of debris from your tongue. You should scrape from the back of your tongue to the front. Rinse the scraper after each swipe of the tongue.
  • A tongue brush works just as well as a scraper. Some opt for a tongue brush that has bristles specifically designed to clean out the crevices of the tongue. Again, start cleaning at the back of your tongue and work your way forward. Rinse the brush well after use.
  • Toothbrushes work best for teeth. While it’s better to use a toothbrush on your tongue than nothing at all, toothbrushes were designed to clean the hard enamel of your teeth, not the soft surface of your tongue. You may not get as thorough a clean using your toothbrush. However, the mechanism is the same; start at the back and work your way to the front.

Your Mouth Will Thank You

Your mouth will thank you for a clean, healthy tongue. Cleaning your tongue once or twice a day before or after brushing will greatly improve your oral health, not to mention your breath! It’s a win-win!

Our patients rock!

Image by Flickr user Chase Elliot Clark used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Happy Fourth of July

June 28th, 2017

Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the area.

The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations

Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.

First States to Recognize the Fourth of July

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.

Fun Facts About the Fourth of July

  • The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
  • Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
  • Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
  • The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.

For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.

Dr. John Shefferman and our team at Shefferman Orthodontics wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

What’s so great about an orthodontist?

June 21st, 2017

A lot of our patients are curious about the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist. In fact, one of the most common questions we hear at Shefferman Orthodontics is, “Dentists and orthodontists are all the same, right?”

A general dentist is your primary dental care provider. Dentists diagnose, treat, and manage your overall oral healthcare needs, including gum care, root canals, fillings, crowns, veneers, and bridges.

Orthodontists, such as Dr. John Shefferman, are more concerned with diagnosis, prevention, interception, and treatment of malocclusion, or what we call “bad bite,” of the teeth. Orthodontists focus on tooth and jaw alignment and bite problems such as overbites and underbites, and are responsible for straightening teeth via bands, wires, braces, and other fixed or removable corrective treatment options, like braces and clear aligners. Orthodontists treat children as well as adults who wish to improve the function of their bite and appearance of their smile.

Before becoming an orthodontist, doctors such as Dr. John Shefferman start out in dental school and earn a dental degree, just like your general dentist. After dental school, those doctors who decide they are interested in the orthodontic field, stay in school for a few more years and become experts in orthodontia, which is one of nine specialties within the dental field.

Isn’t it nice to know we have orthodontic experts here at Shefferman Orthodontics to help you through any type of treatment your teeth and jaw might need? To schedule your initial appointment at our Washington DC office, please give us a call today!

The Hazards of Smokeless Tobacco

June 14th, 2017

Many smokers believe that chewing tobacco is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. This simply isn't the case! In fact, smokeless tobacco can cause serious health concerns.

Smokeless tobacco comes in many forms and goes by many names: dip, snuff, snus, or simply chewing tobacco. Use of these products usually involves sucking or chewing on shredded or loose tobacco leaves, sometimes flavored, for a prolonged period. There are even products that emulate a dissolvable candy-like consistency which are made of compressed tobacco powder.

What are risks and smokeless tobacco?

Whichever form a tobacco product takes, the dangers of using or consuming them is very real. According to a 2007 study by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer, there are upwards of 28 cancer-causing chemicals in smokeless tobacco that are known to cause cancer. And these products are habit-forming just like any other tobacco product that contains nicotine. Using them will increase your risk for many serious diseases including but not limited to: cancer (especially oral and esophageal), gum and heart disease, cavities, and pre-cancerous mouth lesions.

At the end of the day, long-term use of smokeless tobacco can cause serious health issues. These products really take a toll on both your oral and overall health. They put a strain on your immune system and make it less capable of warding off infection and disease.

Dr. John Shefferman and our team strongly advise you to stop using smokeless tobacco—or any kind of tobacco product—and not to pick up the habit if you aren't. There is no safe level of tobacco use, smokeless or otherwise.

Need to quit smoking or using smokeless tobacco products?

You can and should always talk to your doctor, healthcare practitioner, or Dr. John Shefferman for help quitting. But there are many other resources available today for those who'd like to quit. The National Cancer Institute offers information, support (local and online), and tools to help smokers and smokeless tobacco users quit. They offer live online chat with cessation counselors Monday through Friday and even have a smartphone application available to help people who are serious about quitting.

You can take a look at their website at smokefree.gov or call them toll-free at 1–877–44U–QUIT (1-877-448-7848). There is also help available from your state's quit line at 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669).

Make the best choice for your health and well-being; avoid the bad habit of tobacco products. If you have any questions about how tobacco related products affect your oral health and hygiene, please don't hesitate to ask one of our Washington DC staff members.

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