Flossing Under Fire

Flossing has come under some heavy fire in recent months. This article is intended to inform anyone who is curious as to why dental hygienists will still be encouraging their patients to floss. In the interest of accuracy, I’ll be referring to “cleaning between teeth” rather than “flossing”; after all, there are more ways to clean between teeth than just using floss.

Daily “cleaning between teeth” is incredibly relevant and will continue to remain so to your ethical dental hygienist simply because hygienists, given the nature of their profession, are strategically placed to observe evidence which supports their recommendation. Patients who are reluctant to make a habit of “between teeth cleaning” consistently demonstrate more severe gum inflammation, gum bleeding, and off-putting breath odor than their eager-to-floss counterparts. All of the previously mentioned symptoms stem from some level of gum disease.

So what really triggers gum disease? Research has produced evidence which indicates that single bacteria are NOT responsible for gum, tooth, and structural damage in the mouth. Instead, it is when these individual bacteria form a colony – termed a “Biofilm” – with numerous other bacteria, that destruction really sets in. Biofilms – essentially a bacteria slime layer – have far more destructive potential than an individual bacteria. A Biofilm will release collective bacteria by-products which are highly acidic. It is this acid which “melts” tooth structure (creating cavities), and which has a level of potency which triggers strong inflammatory responses from our own bodies resulting in gum puffiness, soreness, and eventually, collapse of the supporting structures of the tooth (if inflammation is allowed to continue unchecked).

Like a castle fortress, Biofilms, once established, are incredibly difficult to infiltrate and remove (unlike individual bacteria). Such tools as high-frequency sonic instruments, high-pressure water, and sharp manual instruments are some of the few appliances which can successfully eradicate Biofilm. How then can Biofilm formation be prevented? Consistent disturbance of oral bacteria on every surface of a tooth (including between) will effectively reduce the chances of Biofilm establishment. Individual bacteria have been found to require two to three days in an undisturbed environment to create a stable Biofilm; this is why hygienists encourage all of their patients to find a comfortable “between the teeth cleaner” and to use it daily! It’s all about disturbing bacteria!!

Please don’t let hatred of floss stop you from caring for your teeth and gums – there are plenty of alternative “between cleaners” out there to try! Ask your hygienist for his/her recommendations!

Hosting Oregon Food Bank Food Drive!


The start of October marked the beginning of our campaign to fight hunger as we host another annual Food Drive. We have partnered with the Oregon Food Bank Organization and we are asking for your help family and friends!

oregonfoodbankNow, holiday season is almost here and to our office it means only one thing… fighting hunger. Many families face economic difficulties but more importantly children shouldn’t be punished for circumstances they didn’t cause or can’t help change. That’s where we come in to save their season! We will be accepting donated goods through mid December.

Please help our cause by bringing in wanted following items.

  • Shelf-stable milk
  • Foods high in protein: canned meats like tuna, chicken, or salmon, canned or dried beans
  • Foods high in nutrients: canned fruits and vegetables (preferably with reduced sodium and reduced sugar)
  • Canned & Boxed Meals
  • Peanut Butter
  • Whole-grain foods: brown rice, whole grain cereal and whole-wheat pasta
  • Soups, chilies and stews (preferably with reduced sodium and reduced fat)
  • 100 percent fruit juice (canned, plastic or boxed)
  • Unsaturated cooking oils
  • Other nutritious foods (preferably with reduced fat, sodium and sugar)

What We CAN’T Accept:

  • Rusty or unlabeled cans
  • Perishable items (unless you’re a food industry donor)
  • Homemade items
  • Non-commercial canned or packaged items
  • Alcoholic beverages, mixes or soda
  • Open or used items

NOTE: If you donate glass products, please box or bag them separately and label the box or bag “GLASS” on all sides.

Together we can make a difference in our community, thank you for your time and donations.

Dr. Little Likes Drugs


Penicillin is made by the blue and white penicillium molds

Ninety percent of North American adults consume coffee on a daily basis. Caffeine (in coffee) is the most
widely used psychoactive drug in the world but we don’t think of it as a drug. How about Penicillin? It opened the way for the treatment of microbial diseases. Without it, 75% of the population today would not be alive because their parents/grandparents would have succumbed to infections. Before penicillin if you had a serious infection… you died!!

What’s the difference between a medicine and a drug?

A ‘medicine’ is ANY substance that is designed to prevent or treat a disease but, a ‘drug’ is designed to produce a specific action in the body. That can be confusing. I guess Sigmund Freud was just using ‘over the counter’ medicines (cocaine) for a disease called depression??! Oh wait depression wasn’t a disease back then…it was a psychosis caused by….but I digress! What is not confusing is that used under the correct supervision drugs can be a fantastic way to help prevent diseases! That’s right!! Periodontal diseases, cavities, dental abscesses etc. are all health risks that need treatment. If a sedative allows you to get treatment to cure a disease then I say that a drug is a medicine…in a safe environment, confusing??

What is not confusing is the fear of the dentist! IT’S REAL!!

drugsblog330 to 40 million people in the United States avoid the dentist because of fear. This fear is understandable. The dental experience is not inherently pleasant. Think about it this way…. You are in a private room with a light in your face! You are leaned back into a vulnerable position. Your mouth is propped open and may even have water sprayed in it…your gag reflex may be triggered not unlike the reflexes during waterboarding!! Further your mouth is examined with sharp tools and maybe drills. To make it worse you are going to have a very private place (mouth) ‘judged’! I am surprised the fear of the dentist isn’t higher! We all here in this office understand how traumatic this can be for some patients. We have been performing IV sedation for over 10 years and it has changed lives! 40% or more of our patients have suffered dental anxiety at one time or another. You’re not alone! Besides, research shows (Journal of American Dental Society of Anesthesiology) that a sedative prior to anesthetic is safer than no sedation. Think about it….if you are relaxed your adrenalin/anxiety/blood pressure are down requiring less anesthetic. Also, the calmer you are the calmer the doctor is! The more the doctor can stay focused on dentistry the better quality the work! The ultimate win win!

Call us and ask about your options, some might surprise you but either way…there is no reason to fear the dentist. It should be Fear Free Dentistry….Sorry, I had to get that one in.

Dr. Steven Little