Flossing 101


What is the Right Way to Floss?

Flossing removes plaque and food particles in places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach — under the gum line and between your teeth. Because plaque build-up can lead to tooth decay and gum disease, Dr. Jensen recommends flossing every day!

Try the following techniques:

  • Start with about 18 inches, wind most of the floss around each middle finger and leave an inch or two of floss to work with
  • Hold the floss tight between your thumbs and index fingers and slide it gently up-and-down between your teeth
  • Gently curve the floss around the base of each tooth, making sure you go beneath the gum line. Never snap or force the floss, as this may cut or bruise your gums!
  • Use clean sections of floss as you move from tooth to tooth
  • To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth

What type of floss to use:

Any floss is better than no floss!  But there really are only two types of floss:

  • Nylon floss
  • Single filament floss

Nylon floss is available waxed and un-waxed, and comes a variety of flavors. Because this type of floss is composed of many strands of nylon, it may sometimes tear or shred, especially between teeth with tight contact points.

Single filament floss is a little more expensive, but slides easily between teeth, even those with tight spaces and is virtually shred-resistant.

Both are great choices, and now-a-days there are many different products, flavors and flossing tools available in your local grocery or pharmacy.

Keep floss handy, visible, and ready to use in order to make using it on a regular basis harder to pass up. 

Dr. Jensen likes to keep some in his car, in the office and at home.  You never know when you’ll get something stuck between your teeth – and there’s nothing more annoying that not being able to get it out!

We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment, and we’ll send you home with a new toothbrush AND some floss.  Give us a call at 616-866-7720 to schedule your next cleaning!

Dr. Jensen on FOX-17 talking summer sports, protecting your teeth

Dr. Jensen on FOX-17

Dr. Jensen was back on FOX-17 this morning talking with health reporter Erica Francis about mouth guards and how to protect your kid's teeth during summer play.  She visited the office and was even fit for her own mouth guard.  

Check out the story on FOX-17's website

Looking for a new dentist in Rockford Michigan?  Give us a call and schedule your next appointment for your family -- 616-866-7720.  

How to handle a cracked or broken tooth

Your child may have been riding his bike or playing baseball with friends and in he walks holding a tooth in his hand with a bloody lip.  As a parent you’ll likely immediately think the worst and begin to panic.  

Or you are munching on a bucket of popcorn and bite down too hard on a popcorn kernel and immediately know you have broken or chipped your tooth…we’ve all been there.   

Not to worry – Dr. Jensen and his team have got you covered!    

For children and adults alike, the treatment for a broken or cracked tooth is similar.  The most important thing to remember is not to panic.  When a tooth breaks or chips, it may not hurt right away, but your tongue will quickly find the new sharp area in your mouth.  If you’re missing a large portion of your tooth, or it has broken off entirely, you may feel some pain.

First steps:

  • Rinse your mouth well
  • Apply pressure with a tissue or gauze to stop any bleeding.  If that doesn’t work, try a tea bag with pressure until bleeding stops.  
  • Apply some ice or a cold pack to any bruised cheek or lips
  • Try an over the counter pain reliever to reduce pain and swelling
  • Call Dr. Jensen’s office at 616-866-7720

Toddlers and children
One consideration with a baby tooth that is bumped, broken or damaged is the possibility of damage to the underlying adult teeth.  The most common treatment for a missing baby tooth is to let the adult tooth grow in – no implant or further treatment needed.  However when the impact has been severe and your child has cuts or lacerations on the gums or lips, it may be a good idea to visit Dr. Jensen for an antibiotic or your pediatrician for a tetanus booster.  

Teens and adults
The most common insult to permanent teeth is the result of sporting injuries or accidents.  The best preventative measure is a mouth guard made by your dentist for use during sports. Treating a damaged adult tooth depends on the severity of the break and the age of the patient.  Sometimes a simple filling will fix the problem when others may need a root canal or even an extraction.  

If an adult tooth has completely come out (avulsed tooth), the best thing to do is to pick up the tooth by the crown, gently rinse it and soak in milk on your way to the dentist.  An avulsed tooth has the best chance of survival if it can be addressed and re-implanted within an hour, so call Dr. Jensen right away!   

Most common treatments

  • Minor cracks: Surface cracks rarely need treatment, but sometimes a light polish of the area will smooth out any rough spots.
  • Cracked tooth: Cracks can sometimes be repaired with a filling, but often require a crown to prevent further cracking in the future. If the nerve is damaged, you may need a root canal.  
  • Chipped tooth: Minor chips can often be polished and don’t always need treatment.  Dr. Jensen will sometimes recommend a filling to keep the tooth from getting worse.
  • Broken cusp: A break that affects the chewing surface of the tooth can be repaired but sometimes require an onlay or a crown.   
  • Serious broken tooth: When the nerve is exposed causing pain and bleeding – you will likely need a root canal to remove exposed nerve and get you back to chewing and eating normally.  
  • Decay-induced broken tooth: Your tooth has broken due to a cavity or old filling – in some cases the tooth may need to be removed, but can likely be treated with a crown or onlay.     

If you have any questions about any of the outlined conditions above, please don't hesitate to call Dr. Jensen and his team - 616-866-2270.  

Sugary drinks and your teeth

Having a glass of your favorite soda or pop with a meal or drinking one several times a day is routine for many Americans.  The truth is, however, sugary beverages are not good for you or your oral health.   

How it works
We all have bacteria in our mouths that eat the sugars we consume. These same bacteria (sugar bugs as I call them) gain energy from sugar and produce acid. The acid they produce damages your teeth and causes cavities.    

Skip the juice
And I have more news for you – If you think you’re safe with juice, think again! A glass of apple juice can often contain the same amount of sugar as a glass of soda.

Slow down on the sugar
According to the USDA, sugar should make up no more than 10 percent of your daily caloric intake. For women, that is 10-15 tsp. per day. For men, it’s 12.5-18.75 tsp.  One glass of apple juice or one can of soda will easily put you at (or near) your daily sugar limit.

I encourage patients to try and eliminate sugary beverages from their diets, but understand that can often be a tall order for a busy adult.  Simply reducing the number of sugary beverages you consume and substituting healthier options that contain less sugar is a step in the right direction.

Here are a few popular choices and some better options to consider:

A few more tips

  • Drink, don’t sip. Sipping gives the sugar bugs more time to eat the sugar and create cavities. Drink quickly to give your body time to wash away the bad stuff. Try to drink sweetened coffees, teas or sodas in one sitting instead of sipping on them over a longer amount of time. If you give your child juice, have them drink it with meals only, and put only water in a sippy cup they might carry around during the day.
  • Fluoride is your friend. If your community’s water is fluoridated, drink tap water to improve your dental health. Fluoride protects teeth and continues to reduce cavities.
  • Brush and floss regularly. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and clean between your teeth once a day (floss!).  And help your children to brush and floss well too.  Leading by example or making a team activity out of it can be a way to make sure it’s getting done

Don’t forget to schedule your next cleaning with Dr. Jensen at Rogue River Family Dental – give us a call at 616-866-7720.

Your child's first dentist appointment: What to expect

Your child’s baby teeth are just as important as permanent (adult) teeth, and tooth decay can occur as soon as your child’s first tooth comes in. 

As a parent you may wonder if you need to worry about decay in baby teeth since they will be eventually replaced by permanent teeth.  Dr. Jensen will tell you the answer is yes.  Decay in baby teeth can bring on a higher risk of decay in your child’s permanent teeth later in life.  And if the decay is severe, it can harm the child’s overall oral health. 

So what do you need to know about your child’s first dentist appointment?  And when is the best time to make this appointment?

The American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry both say that the first dental visit should occur within six months after your child’s firth tooth appears, and no later than the child’s first birthday.   It’s a great idea to introduce your child to the idea of the dentist before problems arise – getting them used to the idea of regular visits and not always needing a filling when visiting Dr. Jensen.

At Rogue River Family Dental, the first visit is usually short and involves little treatment.  It is an opportunity for your child to meet Dr. Jensen and get them used to sitting in the dental chair.  During the initial exam, Dr. Jensen will check all of your child’s existing teeth for decay, will examine his/her bite and will look at gums, jaw and other oral tissues.  If needed, the hygienist may clean any teeth and assess the need for fluoride treatment.  Dr. Jensen will also discuss oral health basics for children and discuss any developmental dental issues and answer your questions as a parent.   

Some topics Dr. Jensen might discuss include:

  1. Fluoride needs
  2. Good oral hygiene practices and cavity prevention for your kiddo  
  3. Oral habits (thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, lip sucking, etc.)
  4. Developmental milestones
  5. Teething
  6. Schedule for future dental checkups

You will be asked to complete medical and health information forms during your first visit, so come prepared with the necessary information.

Dr. Jensen loves working with children and looks forward to building a relationship with your entire family! To schedule a visit for your little one with Dr. Jensen, call Rogue River Family Dental at 616-866-7720.  

Easy tips for cavity prevention

It may sound simple, but Dr. Jensen says thinking about your oral health is something to consider when thinking of resolutions for the year ahead.  In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  

Make your teeth a priority in 2017 and follow a few of Dr. Jensen’s easy tips to avoid getting cavities:

1.       Brush twice daily.  You should be brushing your teeth a minimum of twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes per session.  It’s easy to skip a session, but try not to make it a habit.   

2.       Floss.  You hear it from your dentist every time you visit – don’t forget to floss!  Take the extra minute to floss daily, and if that’s not realistic, try for once a week to start.  There are flossing tools available such as flossing picks or flavored floss which makes this habit much less of a chore.  Ask Dr. Jensen about his recommendations at your next cleaning.  

3.       Use a fluoride mouthwash.  For added protection, use a fluoride mouthwash like Act after brushing and before bed.   

4.       Avoid sugary sweets and soda.  If you like to snack on candy, sugary sweets or drink soda throughout the day, make a point to brush after you do so.  The worst thing you can do for your teeth is eat candy or drink soda and not brush or go right to sleep. 

5.       Chew sugar free gum.  Chewing sugar free gum has long been recommended to avoid cavities.  Xylitol, a natural sugar substitute in most sugar free gum, is an effective cavity fighter and can prevent decay from occurring. 

6.       Visit your dentist every six months.  Professional cleanings protect you from tooth decay and should be scheduled every six months.  Call Dr. Jensen and his team at 616-866-7720 and schedule your next appointment today!

7.       Drink tap water vs. bottled water.  The city of Grand Rapids was one of the first in the US to add fluoride to its water supply.  Most other municipalities have since added fluoride to their tap water as well.  Drinking water helps your teeth by promoting saliva production and also by rinsing away bacteria and other leftover residue from snacks and meals.

8.       Talk to your dentist.  Dr. Jensen loves talking with patients about their oral health, and he’ll make the time to chat with you about your own habits and help you create a personalized approach to your dental care. 

Make an appointment today by calling Rogue River Family Dental at 616-866-7720.  

Top 3 electric toothbrush recommendations

Looking for an affordable gift for your kids or a loved one this holiday season?  Dr. Chas Jensen at Rogue River Family Dental in downtown Rockford MI says it’ll be a great investment that will keep your mouth healthy all year long. 

Of course brushing your teeth is a part of your everyday routine, but are you truly brushing as thoroughly as you should?  More than 30 percent of people don’t brush twice a day and their average brushing time still remains below two minutes – the recommendation of the American Dental Association. 

Dr. Jensen says an easy way to step up your brushing game is to invest in an electric toothbrush. Not only do they keep your teeth clean, but they also do a better job powering away plaque than you would with an old school toothbrush.  Another reason to go electric: most models come with an automatic timer so you’ll get your two minutes in every time you brush!   

Here are a few of Dr. Jensen’s favorite electric tooth brushes that won’t kill your budget:   

Don’t forget to schedule your next cleaning with Rogue River Family Dental – give us a call at 616-866-7720. 

Did you always want to become a Dentist?

The Morning Show with Shelley Irwin on WGVU Radio interviewed Dr. Jensen about the opening of Rogue River Family Dental and Dr. Mette's retirement.  She also asked if he had always wanted to become a dentist... 

"I have always been fascinated with science.  In high school I was thinking about going into something in the medical field but wasn't sure what specifically to focus on.  Once I started pre-med in my undergraduate years at Michigan State University, I knew I truly wanted to become a dentist." 

Want to learn more about Dr. Jensen and Rogue River Family Dental? 

Check out the entire interview on WGVU.org