Frequently Asked Questions

We all have questions about dental care from time to time, so here are some of the most frequently asked questions our office has addressed over the past year. If you have questions other than these, or would like more, in-depth responses to any of these, please feel free to call and schedule an appointment. We’ll be happy to answer your questions and any other curiosities you may have. Need dental care? No worries, we gladly accept new patients.

Click on a question below to reveal the answer.

I get brushing teeth twice a day, but flossing every day stumps me. Why every day?

You’re right about twice daily brushing. Brushing twice a day is the minimal amount of brushing we recommend, as it not only keeps your breath fresh, but prevents oral health disorders like gingivitis, plaque buildup and removing minute food particles that cause all of these.

Flossing ensures that every part of the tooth gets a thorough cleaning every 24 hours. That is all the time it takes for plaque to turn into calculus (tartar) which may require special dental instruments to remove.

Flossing daily is necessary to perform once a day to ensure that you have gotten all of the plaque and food particles between teeth and around back teeth just in case your brush may have missed them. The spaces between vary, and often are too tight for the bristles of your toothbrush to reach between teeth and beneath your gums. Plaque, bacteria and calculus can reside easily beneath the edge of your gums at the base of your teeth. Flossing daily removes that efficiently to avoid oral health issues.

Why the need for checkups every 6 months?

It is necessary to have your oral health checked every 6 months, although many of our patients need more frequent exams than that. They are the patients that have let their exams go for a year or two and have developed serious dental diseases. You’ll want to maintain a regular semi-annual checkup regimen. We check to avoid the following:

  • Oral cancers of the gums, soft tissues, throat, face, lips or tongue
  • Tooth decay
  • Changes in “below the gum line” concerns like cysts, bone loss, root position shifts, root decay
  • Review of new medications that might cause oral health concerns
  • Removal of plaque and calculus
  • Evaluate your gums for periodontal disease

Because it can only take a few months to have dental health issues come into being, a review of all these and a frank discussion of all medical issues keeps both you and us on top of any potential problems, and aware of any new developments that have occurred since your last checkup.

Remember, our patients that have contracted various forms of periodontal disease or other dental concerns have checkups as frequently as every other month or quarterly because they chose to ignore our recommendations. Do yourself and your dental health a favor and have a dental checkup every 6 months. Your smile will be glad you did.

What type of mouth wash is best to use?

First and foremost, you should rinse your mouth with water after each and every meal or snack. Doing so will help remove a vast majority of any remaining food particles and a lot of bacteria that always forms in our mouths.

Before you settle on any rinse other than water, please have a discussion with us so that you address any concerns you may have, and not expose yourself to anything that is unnecessary or possibly even harmful.

There are so many from which to choose, and each of them used for a different reason. Without a discussion with your dentist or dental hygienist you may make the wrong choice. We simply do not want to offer a laundry list on this page, as the information may cause you to make a poor or harmful decision. Your health is our main concern, so have a discussion with us prior to using an over-the-counter mouth rinse.

As for other dental rinses, there are a variety of rinses; fluoride rinses, those with and without alcohol, plaque and calculus enhancers, and special medicated rinse. The fluoride type rinses you receive at the dentist are given for a reason, but taking in too much fluoride can permanently damage your teeth. As for alcohol and non-alcohol rinses, the manufacturers want you to believe that those containing alcohol will kill bacteria best. The American Dental Association believes that proper brushing twice daily and daily flossing will remove sufficient bacteria so as not to require a mouth rinse for additional help in controlling bacteria. Much of the bacteria (microbiomes) always present in our mouths are good bacteria which helps us digest food, keep our digestive systems functioning properly and controlling oral health.

When it comes to plaque and calculus enhancers, more known as strained expectorates, color the bacteria, plaque and calculus, usually red, so that proper brushing can be done until the coloration is removed. Sometimes chewable tablets are used to perform this parlor trick, but unless recommended by your dentist or dental hygienist, try to avoid these.

Medicated or Compounded Rinses — Your dentist will prescribe a compound rinse, which your pharmacist will have for you should you require special treatment. Certain oral cancers have been treated with particular compound rinses, but this decision, as in all rinse decisions should come from a licensed dentist.

There is so much advertised in the various media concerning mouth rinses that it is difficult to make an informed decision without a professional consultation. We’re happy to discuss all of the options available, but remember, those advertising are trying to sell you something and care little whether it is really proper for you.

Silver amalgam fillings contain mercury. Doesn’t that make them poisonous?

There is significant controversy regarding mercury in silver amalgam filling materials. The American Dental Association has supported the use of this type of compound filling material for decades as safe, and continues to this day to do so. However, the countries of Norway, Denmark and Sweden have banned the use of silver amalgam fillings because of the presence of mercury. Safe levels of mercury are ingested by all human beings through food items, and the leaching of mercury in the mouth from these type of fillings is no different. The typical silver amalgam filling consists of silver, copper and mercury. The mercury leaches out of the filling from as little as 1-3 to 27 micrograms a day, which is considered safe. Know this however, that the disposal of silver amalgam is strictly monitored. We advocate that silver amalgam fillings are safe, but many of our patients have elected the composite, tooth colored filling type in lieu of amalgam.

How do I know if I have gum (periodontic) disease?

Periodontal disease is one of those that is sometimes difficult to spot the symptoms. Most of the time, the early stages of periodontal disease reveal itself through red, inflamed or bleeding gums. Because there are over 500 different microbiomes (bacteria) in the mouth at any given moment, it is difficult to discern which are responsible for the onset of gingivitis, which is considered the early stage of the disease. Although they may not be bleeding unless brushed, gingivitis, or early-stage periodontal disease is underway, and should be treated. Proper brushing and flossing prevents gums from becoming inflamed and susceptible to periodontal disease.

Established lesions, or pockets, mouth sores, inflamed gums and receding gums require more advanced treatment.

What is not visible in all stages of periodontal disease is the bone loss that occurs from the disease. Unless properly treated in the early stages, bone loss is inevitable. Should the gums return to normal from showing signs of inflammation or bleeding, bone loss may be underway, offering no symptoms whatsoever.

I brush twice a day but still have bad breath. What is wrong with me?

There may be nothing wrong with you, other than the fact that you might be eating the wrong foods. Some physicians and natural healers believe our bodies may be “allergic” to certain foods, and one of the symptoms seems to be chronic halitosis (bad breath). However, foods like garlic quickly enter the bloodstream and in doing so, pass through the lungs. Garlic in foods will cause halitosis merely because it is expressed through our breath. Don’t believe me? Try this: rub a small clove of garlic on the sole of your foot. You should notice the taste and smell of garlic on your breath within 5-10 minutes or less.

Other reasons why you constantly have bad breath:

  • When waking up, the natural production of saliva has been interrupted by sleeping. Regardless of nightly brushing before bed, because of little saliva production, bacteria grows uninhibited by the cleaning power of our own saliva, thereby causing morning breath.
  • Poorly fitted dental appliances can cause constant bad breath because they allow bacteria to populate unchallenged by brushing.
  • If you are dieting, your body produces ketones (natural chemicals) that are released through our breath, causing halitosis.
  • Skipping meals, being dehydrated or an empty stomach in general will always produce toxic bacteria. These actions will dry out the mouth, reducing the cleansing from saliva.
  • Using tobacco products, beyond harmful to our bodies in general will produce unseemingly bad breath.
  • There are other, more serious reasons for halitosis, such as certain cancers, lung disease, stomach disorders and more. If you suspect any of these types of circumstances, you should consult a physician immediately.

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FAQs


Here you can find answers to the most frequently asked questions from our patients.

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Dr. Joel Moskowitz, DMD
The Dental Center
28 Bowling Green Parkway
Suite 6
Lake Hopatcong, NJ 07849

tel: (973) 663-4220
fax: (973) 663-6136
email: jmmdmd@msn.com

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