how to floss the right way chauvin dental lafayette

How to Floss the Right way

Pretty much everyone knows that brushing your teeth is important. If you don’t make this oral hygiene process part of your routine, close talking might lead to friend loss, but flossing doesn’t seem to carry the same importance for many people.

According to the American Dental Association, only four out of ten Americans floss at least once a day, and two out of ten never floss.

Flossing is vital to your oral health. Using floss helps to remove plaque build-up, food debris, and stimulate gum health. It has an abundance of pros, very few cons (other than being slightly annoying), and those who don’t make it a routine are putting themselves at a higher risk for cavities, halitosis, gum disease, and more.

Let’s say you decide it’s time to make flossing your newest consistent habit. How do you know if you’re even doing it right? In this post, we’ll let you know the dentist-recommended flossing techniques for scaring away all the no good teeth maladies.

Make sure to do the following:

  • Take about 18 inches of floss, wrap each end around the middle fingers, leaving a little hanging at the end so you can adjust your hold
  • Using your thumb and index finger, hold the floss until it is taut and place between teeth, moving slowly up and down
  • Make sure to move the floss along the base of each tooth going beneath the gumline
  • Do NOT use floss that makes a “snapping” sound when put between the gum and the tooth. This could cause damage.

What Floss is the Best?

This depends on the type of teeth you have and your gum sensitivity. Flosses that are waxed and resemble “tape” are often good for going into tight spaces between your teeth, though some people fare just fine with unwaxed floss.

Others prefer to use flossing tools…

  1. Water flossing tools (like “Waterpik”) – this is a tool that pushes water into the spaces between your teeth at high speeds in order to remove debris. These tools are great for people with braces as they get to those hard to reach crevices that hold food and plaque that cause major problems.
  2. Flossing picks – these little tools are made of a plastic and already have floss attached to the head of the device. The benefit is that those hard to reach molars in the back are easier than ever to get to – without putting your whole fist in your mouth.
  3. Threader Floss – this tool is designed specially for those with braces. Though using the threader isn’t exactly time efficient, it may be necessary to get the thread between the wires and metal.

If the fancy stuff isn’t for you, just go with the old original string floss! There are plenty of coatings and minty flavors to make the whole event a little more enjoyable.

So do yourself a favor and be in that 40 percent of Americans that floss once a day…your gums, dentist, and friends will thank you.

are dogs mouths cleaner than humans chauvin dental lafayette la

Are dogs’ mouths cleaner than humans’?

If you’ve ever witnessed a person enjoying a sloppy, wet dog kiss and recoiled ever so slightly, you’ve probably heard the follow up justification when they see your reaction: “you know, a dog’s mouth really is cleaner than a human’s.”

No matter how much we love our pups, it’s not uncommon for us to hesitate to go nose to nose with the tongue we’ve seen in action. We’re talking trash cans, dirt, dead animals, you get the picture. So why is it that people cling so tightly to this idea that a dog’s mouth is somehow populated by fewer germs than a human’s? Is there any truth to that?

Yes and No…

Our K9 friends unfortunately house just as many germs and colonies of bacteria as we do in our mouths, but theirs are different and sometimes pose less of a threat. According to Colin Harvey who teaches surgery and dentistry at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Veterinary Medicine, “it’s like apples and oranges.” The truth of the matter is that dogs have tons and tons of tiny microbes living in their mouths, but they are completely different than the ones in human mouths.

This means that even when we do indulge in a bath of puppy kisses, the risk of the dog transferring some harmful germ to us is lower than if we were to engage in the same behavior with a human. For example, if you had a strep or staph infection, you wouldn’t pose a risk to your dog like you might to your family and friends. This is because many germs and diseases are “species specific” and pose a risk only to those in a specific group. However, that is not to say that dogs can’t transmit any harmful germs to you, they’re just less likely to do so than another human (file that one away somewhere).

So where does the myth come from?

According to Marty Becker, veterinarian and author of “Chicken Soup for the Dog Owner’s Soul,” the misunderstanding most likely comes from years of observing dogs do a very strange thing with fantastic results – licking wounds. As you’ve probably seen before, dogs lick their wounds, and they tend to heal quickly and without issue. Instead of infecting the wound further, the licking motion actually works to remove the dead tissue and clean the wound rather than aggravate it further. The motion additionally stimulates blood flow to the area, further speeding up recovery. It is not because their mouths are as germless or especially hygienic.

So now what?

Turns out that our loyal companions aren’t as squeaky clean as our gullible friends would like to believe, but dog lovers, never fear. You can still get down on the floor and enjoy as many wet kisses as you so choose, but just do so after your furry friend has gotten all necessary vaccinations and parasite controls. And maybe double check that your trash can is safely out of reach.

vitamins and minerals for teeth dr chauvin lafayette la dentist

The best vitamins and minerals for your teeth

At this point, we should all know the basics for taking proper care of our teeth from an oral hygiene standpoint. (If you don’t, click here.) Brushing and flossing properly aside, there are dietary factors to taking care of our teeth as well. In addition to avoiding refined carbohydrates, excess sugar, and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, there are some essential vitamins and minerals that your teeth need in order to stay healthy.


Of course we need calcium! It’s one of the primary components of our bones and our teeth. The good news is, it’s in a lot of stuff, such as milk, cheese, yogurt, beans, and oysters, to name a few. Low calcium levels could lead to tooth decay and gum disease, so make sure you get enough!

Vitamin A

This vitamin helps inflamed gums to heal, as it maintains mucous membranes and soft tissues in the body. You are also more susceptible to infections when low on vitamin A. Good sources of it include: beef, liver, milk, cheese, and eggs.

Vitamin B2, B3, and B12

Vitamin B also contributes to the health of the mucous membranes, and a deficiency could result in mouth sores and bad breath. When it comes to vitamin B3 and B12, you can kill two birds with one stone, as they’re both found in chicken and fish. B12 is also found in red meat, pork, and dairy products. B2 can be found in spinach, almonds, pasta, and bagels.

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is very important when it comes to dental health, as too little can cause bleeding gums and loose teeth. Ever heard of scurvy? It was caused by a lack of vitamin C. If you need to up your intake, citrus fruits are rich in the vitamin, but use caution. They are acidic, which can erode the enamel of your teeth. You can also eat sweet potatoes, red bell peppers, strawberries, and broccoli.

Vitamin D

This vitamin is especially important. It helps the body absorb calcium. It also helps prevent gum inflation. A vitamin D deficiency may result in burning mouth syndrome – which gives the mouth a burning sensation, a dry mouth, or a bitter/metallic taste. The best way to get vitamin D? Go outside. We get it from the sun! You can also eat milk, eggs, and fish.

Taking good care of your teeth doesn’t end at the toothbrush. You have to eat right too. You can also take vitamin supplements, but make sure you read the directions carefully. Some need to be taken with food, others require you to avoid certain foods. If you are concerned that a vitamin or mineral deficiency is affecting your teeth, contact Dr. Chauvin’s office and we can take a look!

Is over brushing your teeth possible?

Have you ever heard of “toothbrush abrasion?” If you think that sounds like a complicated way to say “you’re brushing too hard,” you’d be right! Proper brushing technique is very easy, but a lot of us put way too much force into it. It is possible to have too much of a good thing!

Are you over brushing?

Proper brushing technique is as follows:

  • Don’t think of toothbrushing as scrubbing, think of it as massaging
  • Use a soft bristle brush (that you change out as soon as the bristles fray or become discolored, usually around 3-4 months, although some dentists recommend changing your brush every four weeks)
  • Have the bristles at a 45 degree angle from the gums, and if the bristles splay out, you’re applying too much pressure
  • Make small, circular motions – instead of just moving back and forth
  • Brush for a full two minutes

Many people don’t actually brush for this long, trying to compensate for the shortened time by applying more pressure. This does not work. In fact, brushing too hard can cause the following:

Wearing down the enamel of the teeth – ultimately resulting in sensitive teeth

Receding gums (which open the door to things like periodontal disease, cavities on the roots, etc)

Other damage to the tooth structure

In reality, plaque is very soft and could be removed with a rag! However, with all of the nooks and crannies in our teeth, it would be impossible to completely clean the surface, which is why we need toothbrushes.

How does over brushing damage the teeth?

If you were to take a new toothbrush and look at it under a microscope, you’d see that the nylon bristles (which have sharp jagged edges normally) have been rounded at the ends. This makes them way less abrasive. Over time, those rounded edges are worn away. Between those jagged edges, and the extra pressure, you are essentially sanding down your teeth. That’s why it’s so important to replace your brush often and use minimal pressure.

Our teeth do not heal. The enamel does not grow back. If your teeth get damaged, a dentist is the only person that can fix it. That’s why it’s so important to take proper care of your teeth, and to maintain regular dental check-ups. A dentist will notice if problems start to develop long before they get serious, as long as you see them when you’re supposed to. So come in for an exam and let’s make sure everything is on the up and up!



3 tips to improve your dental routine

As adults, everyone is pretty set in their ways as far as our dental routines go. Maybe some of us have perfect teeth and an impeccable dental routine, while others simply brush their teeth and leave it at that. However, improving your dental routine can do wonders for you! After all, your dental health affects your entire body. On average, it takes 66 days to develop a habit (not 21 days, as the saying goes). Is it worth it to work at a new dental routine for roughly two months? Absolutely. Here are three tips to help you improve your dental routine.

Eat better.

Do you know what bacteria loves to eat? Sugar. Every time you reach for a soda or fruit juice instead of a water, you’re feeding all sorts of unwanted guests in your mouth. These bacteria will then multiply, and start causing damage to your teeth and gums. Carb-heavy foods tend to be high in sugar as well. By eating better, you’re starving the bacteria in your mouth. Opt for some celery or an apple when you get the munchies instead of a candy bar. In addition to limiting your sugar intake, eating better will also provide your body with the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy!

Regularly switch out your toothbrush.

This is a big one that a lot of people miss. Think about all the food particles and bacteria that are removed every time you brush your teeth… Sure, we rinse our toothbrushes – but that’s not enough. Over time, the toothbrush becomes a bacterial hotbed. Additionally, the bristles weaken with use, reducing their scrubbing power (and their effectiveness at removing debris from our teeth). You should switch out your toothbrush once you notice the bristles start to fray, or after an illness, typically 3 to 4 times a year.

Don’t rinse with water.

Do you use a toothpaste that supposed to reduce sensitivity, and it doesn’t seem to be working? Rinsing with water could be the culprit. Toothpaste is not just tooth soap. Depending on your choice of toothpaste, it can contain elements that strengthen your enamel, reduce sensitivity, prevent bacterial buildup, and so on. When you rinse your mouth after brushing, you’re washing all of those elements away and they can’t do their job properly! When you’ve finished brushing, spit out the excess, but leave the residue on your teeth to give it time to work its magic! If you don’t like the aftertaste, consider switching toothpaste flavors.


If you’ve got questions about how to improve your dental routine, schedule an appointment with Dr. Chauvin! You can walk us through your process, and we can tell you how to improve it.

Flossing chauvin dental lafayette la

Why you should continue flossing

The first week of August, the news was inundated with a story about flossing. In case you missed it, the article stated that the medical benefits of flossing had been unproven. As a result, flossing was removed from the government’s latest dietary guidelines. Many different studies were cited, and the results can be boiled down to the following: “The majority of available studies fail to demonstrate that flossing is generally effective in plaque removal.” We respectfully disagree. Flossing is a very important component of proper oral hygiene! Here’s why you need to keep flossing.

Flossing affects longevity

Flossing can actually help you live longer! We all know that oral and heart disease are closely linked: an unhealthy mouth is going to negatively affect cardiovascular health. Flossing is actually recommended by the geriatrician who created the Living to 100 Life Expectancy calculator.

The Leisure World Cohort Study also determined that flossing affected longevity. After following over 5,600 older adults for a decade, they found that adults who didn’t floss had a 25% – 29% higher risk of death than those that did floss.

Flossing helps with bad breath

Every time we eat, food particles get stuck between our teeth. And the best brushing in the world will never remove it all. If the food isn’t removed, it begins to decay. There are thousands of bacteria in our mouths, and when we leave food between our teeth, we’re just leaving them lunch! When certain bacteria eat, they also produce noxious gases. Between the two, a person’s breath could get pretty nasty.

The original story is misleading

The story doesn’t say that flossing has no benefits, merely that the evidence supporting those benefits is based on poor-quality studies. The argument being that basically, because the studies that support flossing were not “high quality”, their results can be ignored. The Cochrane review (a source that reviewed the studies) actually recommends flossing, and states: “There is some evidence from 12 studies that flossing in addition to toothbrushing reduces gingivitis compared to toothbrushing alone.”

Flossing is still very important. You can use traditional floss, a water flosser, an interdental brush, or a floss pick, as long as you’re flossing! Although we recommend regular floss, anything is better than nothing at all. Only using mouthwash isn’t going to cut it. If you don’t know how to floss properly, or have more questions, call Dr. Chauvin’s office! We’ll be happy to show you the right way to floss!

childs first dental visit dr chauvin lafayette la

Your childs first dental visit and what to expect

childs first dental visit dr chauvin lafayette la common question that many new parents have is, “At what age do I take my child to the dentist?” The answer? Your child should see the dentist for the first time by their first birthday. That may seem early, but considering that some children develop cavities before they’re age two, it’s not entirely outlandish. National studies have shown that 1 in 4 kids have a cavity by age 4! And decay in baby teeth actually increases the risk of having decay in their permanent teeth.

Finding a pediatric dentist

Pediatric dentists actually have additional schooling beyond the average dental degree. Working with children is completely different than working with adults! So even if you want to bring your child to your dentist for the sake of ease, it’s better to find a dedicated pediatric dentist in your area. They’ll have a more kid friendly environment, and the sight of other children may put your child at ease.

What happens at the first dental visit?

The first dentist visit is important because it’s going to evaluate your child’s risk for cavities. There is usually very little treatment. They’ll examine your child’s bite, check for decay, and look for potential gum, jaw, teeth, or other oral issues. If needed, they’ll do a teeth cleaning, and determine whether or not your child needs fluoride.

Depending on the dentist, you may be asked to hold your child, or wait in the waiting room. The ultimate goal is to build up a relationship between child and dentist – that way they aren’t scared of going to the dentist, a problem that affects up to 75% of adults! Their dentist will also cover some topics with you, including:

  • How to properly care for your baby/toddler’s mouth
  • How to properly use fluoride
  • Ways to prevent accidents that could damage their teeth
  • What oral habits to watch out for and curb (thumb/finger sucking)
  • Teething milestones
  • Link between oral health and a proper diet

After the assessment, the dentist will set up a schedule for visits. It will depend on the state of your child’s teeth and if they are at risk for any dental issues. Typically, children should be seen every 6 months. As time goes on, that schedule may change.

In between visits, make sure to care properly for your child’s teeth. If they’re under age 8, you should help them with their teeth cleaning. Need to find a dentist for your child? Visit the AAPD website.

Oil pulling- Benefits and side effects dr chauvin lafayette la dentist

Oil pulling: Benefits and side effects

Oil pulling- Benefits and side effects dr chauvin lafayette la dentistNatural remedies are becoming increasingly popular. People are using essential oils for everything from treating bug bites to freshening up their laundry. You can do a web search for practically any medical issue + essential oils, and find countless solutions. One thing that has taken the internet by storm is something called oil pulling. In a nutshell, you take a plant oil, and swish it around in your mouth for an extended period of time (anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes), then spit it out. The most popular oils to do this with include sunflower, olive or coconut oil. Why are people doing this? It’s an ancient Ayurvedic practice, dating back to 700 B.C., and it has quite a few benefits!

The benefits of oil pulling

Although the American Dental Association holds that due to a lack of evidence, they recommend you do not replace your normal oral hygiene routine with oil pulling, you can still add it to your existing routine and reap the benefits. A 2011 study determined that oil pulling is just as effective as an antimicrobial mouth rinse called chlorhexidine. When done correctly (depending on the oil used), oil pulling can:

  • Kill the bacterium responsible for tooth decay (streptococcus mutans)
  • Reduce plaque
  • Prevent gum disease
  • Kill other harmful microbes, like viruses or yeasts
  • Help with bad breath
  • Whiten teeth
  • Detoxify the body

If you do choose to start oil pulling, remember that these are still oils. Coconut oil actually solidifies at room temperature! So instead of spitting it down the drain, spit it out into a trash can. That way you avoid clogging any of your drains.

The risks of oil pulling

As beneficial as oil pulling is, there are some risks associated with it. The biggest one lies with replacing brushing with oil pulling. While oil pulling does reduce plaque, it does not eliminate it entirely. You still have to remove plaque and food buildup manually, with a toothbrush. Another factor you should consider is that many of the oils marketed as specific “oil-pulling” oils are not food-grade. Therefore, they may contain harmful additives – since they aren’t up to the rigorous testing standards of actual food-grade oil.

Adding oil pulling to your dental routine, as long as you choose a reputable, food-grade oil, in the very least, will reduce the number of microbes and plaque in your mouth. And it’s never a bad thing to have less bacteria in your mouth! Have additional questions? Give Dr. Chauvin’s office a call.

5 dental health tips for travel dr. chauvin dentist lafayette la

5 dental health tips for travel

5 dental health tips for travel dr. chauvin dentist lafayette laThere’s nothing quite as satisfying as clocking out for the last time right before a vacation. You rush home, eager to hit the road, and start packing. Ordinarily you take really good care of your teeth! However, there’s only so much room in your bags, so you settle for toothbrush and toothpaste. Or maybe in all the hustle and bustle you simply forgot to grab your floss! Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help keep your mouth healthy when you travel.

Use proper toothbrush storage

One of the worst things you can do, is throw your toothbrush into a plastic bag. There’s no circulation, so any lingering moisture and bacteria that were on your toothbrush now have a veritable playground! You’ll want to make sure you have a toothbrush travel container that has proper ventilation.

Clean your travel case

Make sure to keep your toothbrush case clean as well! Just because it can dry properly doesn’t mean there aren’t any bacteria inside. A survey found that a third of travelers don’t wash their toothbrush cases… Gross, right? It doesn’t take much! Little bit of hot soapy water and you’re good to go. Allow it to dry completely before putting your toothbrush inside.

Avoid sugary snacks – eat healthy ones!

If you’re taking a long car trip somewhere, instead of loading up on chips and gummy bears or chocolate at the gas station, bring along some healthy snacks! Pack up a small cooler with things like broccoli, baby carrots, or grapes. Sodas and other sugary drinks won’t do you any favors either. Drink water instead! If you feel yourself getting tired, try some green tea instead of an energy drink, as it can kill cavity causing bacteria, while still giving you a caffeine boost.

Brush your teeth when you stop for bathroom breaks

Brushing your teeth after meals is a bit difficult when you’re on the road. So take a few extra minutes when you stop to use the restroom to brush your teeth! You can also bring along some of those disposable floss sticks in the event that you’re trying to hurry and don’t have time to floss properly. Although we recommend you always floss the right way, the disposable option is better than nothing!

Clean your teeth thoroughly when you arrive

When you do reach your destination, you’ll undoubtedly be tired. Traveling is exhausting! Before you fall into bed, make sure you do a thorough teeth cleaning. Brushing before bed is an important part of any daily dental routine, so be sure you don’t skip it!

What does it take to become a dental hygienist - dr chauvin lafayette la dentist

What does it take to become a dental hygienist

What does it take to become a dental hygienist - dr chauvin lafayette la dentistAsk any child what they want to be when they grow up and you’ll get answers like doctor, fireman, astronaut, dentist, chef, and so on. Kids don’t think about all of the work that goes into obtaining jobs like these, they simply have their dream and that’s all that matters. As adults, we realize that a lot of time, money, and hard work goes into a career. However, many of these career options have other avenues you can pursue. Instead of a medical doctor, you could be a nurse or lab technician. Or you can be a dental hygienist instead of a dentist! Interested? Here’s what it takes to become a dental hygienist.

What skills do I need to become a dental hygienist?

Much like a nurse, there are several things that are absolutely necessary for any aspiring dental hygienist:

  • Compassion – chances are, if you want to work in the medical field, you’re already a compassionate person. Being able to empathize with your patient is a must.
  • Communication skills – you’ve got to be able to talk to people, as you’ll be working closely with the patient and the dentist.
  • Detail-oriented – as a hygienist, you’ll have to memorize the process for multiple procedures, as well as keep an eye out for certain things as you clean a person’s teeth.
  • Manual dexterity – people’s mouths aren’t very big, so you have to have nimble fingers to get to all of the nooks and crannies
  • Patience – teeth cleaning takes time, especially if a person hasn’t been to the dentist in awhile!

What kind of education and training are required?

Hygienists receive their education via academic programs at community or technical colleges, dental schools, or universities. The school you choose must be accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) in order for your degree to be valid in the eyes of the USDE. A dental hygienist program takes at least two years to complete, and at the end of it, you’ll have an associates degree. Depending on the type of school you attend, further education may be required. For example, some university dental programs offer baccalaureate and master’s degrees, both of which take another two (or more) years of classes.

Clinical education will be a large part of your dental education. These are essentially “on-the-job” trainings, where your teacher, or a certified medical professional will be monitoring your progress. You’ll start out with observations, and eventually move on to working with patients on your own. The number of clinical hours you have to complete will depend on your program of choice, and the state you’re learning in.

What happens when my training is complete?

Once you’ve completed your education, you’ll be eligible for any state boards or licensing tests. Each state has their own licensing service, so make sure you take the test in the state that you want to work in! Meaning, you can’t take the test in Louisiana, then move to California and use your previous certification to practice.

As with anything that’s worth doing, becoming a dental hygienist takes a lot of work! Good news is, it’s a rewarding profession, and you’ll never get bored. Everyone’s mouths are different!