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Brushing and Flossing May Save Your Life!

April 9, 2018

Brushing and flossing – a lifestyle that may save your life!

Why do I say this?  In a study published in the Postgraduate Medical Journal by Bale, Doneen and Vigerust, in November 2016, they note evidence that pathogens (bacteria) found in periodontal disease are considered a contributing cause of arteriosclerotic vascular disease including heart attacks and strokes.  Wow!  So taking care of periodontal disease aids in getting rid of the bugs hanging out under diseased gums that travel to the bloodstream.

Periodontal Disease: All the signs of inflammation are here; bleeding, redness, and swelling. All treatable with the help of your dentist and hygienist and brushing and flossing!

Diseased and infected gum pockets as found in periodontal disease are likely to contain harmful bacteria that increase LDLs or Low Density Lipoproteins in the bloodstream.  These same bugs aid in marking your arteries more porous which allows even more LDLs to get into the blood.  LDLs can accumulate into plaques – a contributing cause of atherosclerosis.  If you have heart disease and periodontal disease it should be an easy decision to treat the periodontal disease with the help of a dentist, dental hygienist, and brushing and flossing.  The infection in periodontal disease causes bone loss which is usually permanent.  You may not even know that you have this infection!

What can you do?

  • Brush and Floss – we can show you ways to make this fun
  • Be aware of signs of infection: bleeding, redness, swelling, bad breath
  • See your dentist and dental hygienist, ask them questions!
  • Don’t neglect your overall health or your oral health

The reason that I am writing this blog is because sometimes it is difficult to think of ideas for blogs! And, because I believe that this statement is true!  And because, with the right attitude, brushing and flossing is fun!  And, it may save your life.   Know that gums are just skin and you wouldn’t neglect bleeding areas on your skin would you?  Especially if you didn’t know why your skin was bleeding!  Our office would be happy to help you take the very best care of your mouth, for you and for anyone close to you.  I recently went backpacking with my family.  We spent a wonderful week summiting mountain passes, and enjoying the outdoor splendor.  And brushing and flossing together.

Call our Grand Junction, Colorado office with any comments related to this blog or to schedule an appointment.  (970) 242-3635


Individualized Dental Care Should Be the Norm!

February 9, 2018

Individualized oral health care – Individualized dental care. 

The way it should be!

Our office believes in individualized dental care for optimal health. 

Dental care should be individualized to the patient.  What works for you is not necessarily what works for other patients.  Every patient deserved individualized oral health care. 

Take something as simple as the notion that every person needs to brush twice daily and floss once per day.  While this may be nice in terms of warding off bad breath, it does not really apply to all people when they want their teeth and gums to be as healthy as possible.   I see patients who really do brush and floss based on these guidelines and they still have issues with gum disease, tooth decay,  and periodontal disease!  So, there is more to this story.  Achieving oral health should be the goal of our oral hygiene procedures.  Well health and nice breath!

Treating people as individuals is not a new concept but it is one that I don’t think gets applied often enough.  This is, of course, true in medicine as well as dentistry.  Two patients with the same presenting symptoms and tests cannot necessarily be treated equally and achieve the same results.

Probably not the best way to have individualized oral health care!


My son in law, Jeremiah Joyce, wrote this piece recently published in the Mayo Clinic’s KER blog. It looks at the risks and benefits of adopting guideline-driven care.

This from Jeremiah, “Minimally disruptive medicine (MDM) is one of the aims of the KER unit (http://www.mayo.edu/research/labs/knowledge-evaluation-research-unit/overview) here at Mayo and they are doing some cool personalized medicine research dealing with not just disease but what individual patients themselves bring to the table.”


Is Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) the way to best treat patients?  Does this apply to dental patients?  I think it does!

Jeremiah is a third-year student at the Mayo Clinic School of Medicine.  Mr. Joyce responded to a writing prompt meant to develop his thoughts about the role of a primary care physician. The prompt: “The ideas behind MDM or contextualized care ask us to respect the needs and circumstances of the patient before us as we construct our care plans. But that puts us in a weird spot, yes? Because just as MDM is this decade’s push, last decade’s push was evidence-based medicine: the idea that, through science, we can find a ‘best’ way to handle a problem, a ‘best’ treatment. It becomes our job to apply the evidence with less and less spin to it, if we dedicate ourselves to EBM purity.” 

With that in mind, what is your opinion of the Minnesota Community Measures’ “D5” criteria (http://mncm.org/reports-and-websites/the-d5/)? What are the risks and benefits of adopting guideline-driven care? Do the D5 measures reflect a friendly contextualization of care?” 

Mr. Joyce’s response follows:

The Mayo motto “the needs of the patient come first” uses the singular noun; the patient is an individual. In practicing evidence based medicine, however, I think we often make the mistake of using population-based recommendations for individuals. There is an interesting precedent for the idea that a “one size fits all” model fits no one perfectly. In his book The End of Average, Todd Rose describes a U.S. Air Force study of pilot average body measurements, designed to tailor a cockpit that fit the average pilot. Out of over 4,000 pilots measured to determine the perfect dimensions, not a single one was within the average range in all of the 10 primary dimensions (Rose, 2016). This article is a fascinating physical example of a truth that undoubtedly applies to medical recommendations as well. 

In practicing medicine, we should focus on tailoring the recommendations to fit the patient, rather than forcing the patient to fit the recommendation. We are all aware of the benefits of D5 recommendations on the long-term health of populations, but we also know some patients have ASA-induced asthma and others have statin-induced myositis. Still others haven’t been able to quit smoking despite their best intentions. We as future providers risk losing a therapeutic alliance with patients if we push too far or too hard. Someone with a recent diagnosis of diabetes may quickly be overwhelmed if we add on all the D5 as soon as their A1c is at 7.1%. As Rose describes in his book, the Air Force’s solution to their cockpit dilemma was increasing flexibility in the design, allowing pilots to adjust their planes. This approach resulted in a dramatic decrease in casualties. We may see the same effect when we work with patients to achieve the greatest benefit to their health. Across a panel of patients, we would be much more satisfied with a population of half-treated and gradually improving diabetics than we would be with losing many patients to follow-up due to frustration and disappointment with a rigid healthcare system.

(Rose, 2016) “When U.S. air force discovered the flaw of averages.” https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/01/16/when-us-air-force-discovered-the-flaw-of-averages.htmlhttps://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2016/01/16/when-us-air-force-discovered-the-flaw-of-averages.html 

Jess, Jeremiah and Tigris

I love the part in the title above that states, ‘the flaw of averages’!  This ties right in to the need for individualized dental care.

So what do dentists need to address if we want our patients to have optimal oral health?  In my practice, we do a complete oral health assessment for every patient and tailor our recommendations based on our findings.  If someone shows no signs of gingivitis, trauma, or periodontal disease then their current regimen of oral hygiene is adequate from an oral health standpoint.  If we see signs of disease then we determine what changes can be made to improve their oral health.  Then we continue to monitor for signs and symptoms of disease to see if modifications need to be made.

I know that I want to be treated as in individual and I believe our patients do too.

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS

Caring For and Enhancing Your Smile



Flossing, necessary or optional??

December 14, 2016

Filed under: Dental floss,Dental Hygiene,Oral Hygiene,Uncategorized — Dr Gillis @ 1:43 am

Flossing, necessary or optional??

People are still asking is it necessary to floss?  They read the recent news article that said in effect that no studies have proven that flossing is beneficial.   Many people were left questioning, ‘flossing, necessary or optional?’ It is amazing to me what a controversy a news article can cause.  The simple answer is YES we should floss!

Let me be more clear.  We should floss or do some activity to clean between our teeth that is as good as flossing every day!

Just a tip - do this to avoid strangling your fingers when you floss!

Just a tip – do this to avoid strangling your fingers when you floss!

This is in response to ‘an ADA News inquiry about why flossing was not included in federal dietary guidelines released in 2015.  The Associated Press noted the omission in an August news story that questioned the benefits of using dental floss’. (See ADA News August 8th, 2016 ‘National media focus on floss; government confirms importance’ for many comments in this blog)

Dental floss or the use of tools such as between the teeth cleaners really is important oral hygiene if you want to have healthy teeth, and gums.  Professional cleanings remove the hard deposits and stain that you cannot do at home.  Brushing your teeth and cleaning between the teeth has been shown to remove gooey plaque.  Plaque is the sticky film that contains bacteria and food that builds up constantly and must be removed daily to maintain or to obtain health.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agreed to this in a statement August 3rd, 2016 (also from the ADA News article August 8th, 2016).

Flossing, necessary or optional Wrap the floss gently around the tooth in a "C" shape to clean the side of the tooth.

Wrap the floss gently around the tooth in a “C” shape to clean the side of the tooth.

Flossing is beneficial starting at an early age - whenever there are teeth touching!

Flossing, necessary or optional? Flossing is beneficial starting at an early age – whenever there are teeth touching!

The ADA News asked the governmental agency why the guidelines did not mention flossing.  The U.S. Department of health and Human Services sent a statement that called flossing “an important oral hygiene practice” and said that by not mentioning flossing it did not imply otherwise.


The ADA News August 8th, 2016 article goes on to say that the ‘primary emphasis (of the guidelines) was on the nutrition-based recommendations to reduce added sugars’.

In our office, we routinely see the improved health changes that result from using dental floss.  Flossing is great especially when done well but there are alternatives out there for people that just don’t like to floss.

If you are one of the people that wants the benefits of floss without sticking your floss holing fingers in your mouth, try one of these:

  • soft picks or go betweens
  • floss holders
  • the air flosser
  • water pics
  • toothpicks (especially when used carefully in a toothpick holder that allows better access to the insides of the teeth)

Our office loves to help our patients improve their oral health and we will be glad to come up with a plan that works with your life to help you achieve and maintain ideal oral health!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS, PC

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health


Test Drive an Electric Toothbrush in Our Office!

September 7, 2016

Test Drive an Electric Toothbrush in Our Office!

Would you like to Test Drive an Electric Toothbrush in Our Office?  How about the Oral B Pro 5000?

Now you can do just that in our office and here is how:

Purchasing an electric toothbrush  to improve your oral hygiene is a good idea.  But which one do you buy?  How do you know the differences or whether or not you would even like using the electric toothbrush?  Our office and Oral B have made this easier for you.  You can now use an Oral B Pro 5000 in our office and test it on your own teeth.  You can see how this electric toothbrush feels in your mouth and how your teeth feel after using the brush for free in our office.

Our office is always trying to think of ways to make getting and keeping your mouth healthy as comfortable as possible.  Although you can clean your teeth very well with a regular manual toothbrush, studies have proven that you will be more effective when you use an electric toothbrush.  The Oral B Pro 5000 is a great one to try!  My hygienist, Melanie, explains how our patients can text drive the Oral B Pro 5000 in our office.  How the electric toothbrush handle is protected and how each patient wanting to test drive the toothbrush gets their own toothbrush.

Call our office in Grand Junction, Colorado at (970) 242-3635 for more information.  We would love to have you visit us on Facebook and see all the fun things going on in our office!

Yours for better dental health,

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

Can Tooth Decay Cause Bad Breath? Absolutely!

April 22, 2016

Filed under: Crowns,Decay,Dental Hygiene,Oral Hygiene — Tags: , , — Dr Gillis @ 11:28 pm

Can Tooth Decay Cause Bad Breath?

Tooth decay can and does cause bad breath!  So the answer is one of the following:

  • Yes
  • Absolutely
  • Are you kidding? Sure!
  • Heck yes!
  • Bad breath and more!

The reason for this is easy to understand if you think of tooth decay as an infectious process that causes tooth destruction and creates openings (holes, cavities) in the teeth where bacteria can and do live.  Think ‘decay’ = rotten! Bacteria take up residence in an area where there has been tooth decay and depending on where the decay is in your mouth, you may not be able to clean this area well so the grossness gets worse!

Tooth Decay below crown evident as dark areas below the white metal crown. Root canals have been completed on both molars. First molar has a more normal radiographic appearance.

Tooth Decay below crown evident as dark areas below the white metal crown. Root canals have been completed on both molars. First molar has a more normal radiographic appearance.

Tooth Decay below crown evident as dark areas below the white metal crown. Root canals have been completed on both molars. First molar has a more normal radiographic appearance.

Tooth Decay below crown evident as dark areas below the white metal crown. Root canals have been completed on both molars. First molar has a more normal radiographic appearance.

One place tooth decay occurs that is difficult for a patient (you!) to clean is below an existing crown.  Bacteria hang out at the edge of all crowns where the crown meets the tooth.  As decay begins, pores open up in the tooth structure and the decay may penetrate up under the crown and really spread there.  You can only brush, floss, or toothpick at the edges of your crowns to eliminate – at least for awhile – bacteria that are present there.  You cannot get to the areas of tooth decay up under a crown but bacteria and food can.  This is a recipe for bad breath!

The patient shown here had been experiencing an occasional bad odor from the lower right side of her mouth for a couple months.  She increased her efforts of brushing, flossing, and using antibacterial mouth rinses.  The odor did not improve so she came to our office.

When the crown was removed you could see a large void containing tails of the previous endodontic (root canal) filling material, severe decay, and the most awful odor!

When the crown was removed you could see tails of the previous endodontic (root canal) filling material coated in slime, severe decay, and the most awful odor!

Close up of the reason for the foul odor.

Close up of the reason for the foul odor.

The odor from this tooth was bad enough that you could smell bad breath as the patient described her symptoms.  Although her oral hygiene was excellent, there was no way she could eliminate the odor emanating from this tooth.  The decay was so extensive that the tooth could not be saved and an extraction was required.  When the crown was removed you could tails of the previous endodontic (root canal) filling material coated with debris, severe tooth decay, and the most awful odor!

We removed the bulk of the decay and the loose strands of root canal filling material and after copious rinsing the odor became much more bearable.  This will clear up once the tooth is removed. If we had seen this patient when she first noticed symptoms, we may have been able to save her tooth!

Close up after much of the decay and loose root canal felling material removed.

Close up after much of the decay and loose root canal felling material removed. Because the tooth is smoother, it is much easier to maintain!


Our office cares about you and your teeth and we try to never make you feel uncomfortable about the condition of your teeth or your mouth. There are two important messages here:

  1. Tooth decay is one of the many causes of bad breath.

  2. If you notice this, have your dentist evaluate your concerns ASAP!

Please call our Grand Junction, Colorado office at (970) 242-3635 if you have any questions or concerns.  Or visit our office’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/juliegillisddspc

Julie Gillis DDS

Restoring Smiles/Restoring Health

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