…The Right Way to a Flawless Floss


At Mitchell Dentistry, we take every opportunity to guide and educate our patients on how to maintain their healthy, beautiful smiles. We are great fans of the “perfect flossing technique” and are happy to share it with you. And don’t worry if you struggle with your technique at the beginning, flossing is a learned skill and you will get better with practice.

Thanks for the American Dental Association and MouthHealthy.org for creating an easy guide to the proper way to floss.  Remember: at least once a day the right way to keep your mouth healthy!

Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers. Wind the remaining floss around the same finger of the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.

Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.


Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.


When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.


Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth. Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.

Once you’re finished, throw the floss away. A used piece of floss won’t be as effective and could leave bacteria behind in your mouth.

Let us know if you have any questions about what types of oral care products will be most effective for you. Look for products that contain the ADA Seal of Acceptance so you know they have been evaluated for safety and effectiveness.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy summer from our Mitchell Dentistry family to yours!

All the best, Dr. Jim






Enjoy your vacation, but please take care of your smile!


Memorial Day Weekend heralds the official start of summer, and for many of our patients, that means vacation time. Sandy beaches, cool mountain tops and family reunions beckon, and our team at Mitchell Dentistry wishes you a warm bon voyage – with one caveat: please remember your oral health while you are away.

We want to make sure you have fun and fond memories of your summertime travels, without the worry of a dental emergency or other oral health issues as a result of being away.


Here are 10 recommendations to make sure you have a great time, and return with your healthy smile intact:


  • Schedule a regular dental checkup before you head out for vacation. Wherever you’re going, you’ll be happy to have a clean, fresh professional cleaning before you go.
  • Make sure to keep our contact information handy in your phone or datebook, In case of emergency while you’re out of town.
  • Pack small – the more compact your oral hygiene items, the more likely you are to keep them handy – and use them. Opt for foldable toothbrushes, mini toothpaste and small bottles of mouthwash that will fit in your purse.
  • Remember your electronic toothbrush. It may seem more cumbersome but they come with a travel case for a reason. Easy to pack into your suitcase, and so much better for your teeth in the long run!


  • Forgot your toothbrush? Rinse vigorously with water, or use toothpaste on your finger just to tide you over until you can buy one.
  • Store your toothbrush in a sealable plastic bag for travel, but don’t forget to open the bag when you arrive to give your toothbrush ventilation, preventing against the growth of bacteria.
  • Brush teeth with bottled water if you aren’t certain the local water is safe for drinking.


  • Just as we try to keep up with our exercise regimen, it’s also a good idea to maintain oral health through twice a day massage of your gums and teeth by brushing and once a day flossing. Your summer will be worry free with a brighter smile!
  • You will likely be drinking more fluids to compensate for sweating, and there is no better fluid for your body and teeth than plain water. Soda and lemonade taste good, but those acids and sugars will cause erosion and decay. Water is best!
  • We all tend to snack more on vacation, but try to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, and watch out for high fructose corn syrup – it’s not good for your teeth, or your waistline.

And one bonus tip for those weekend warriors who are highly active and athletic on vacation: remember a mouth guard for those sports where your mouth is at risk for injury. We want you to bring your beautiful smile back to Southwest Florida!

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. We love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy summer from our Mitchell Dentistry family to yours!

All the best, Dr. Jim

National Gum Care Month is here!

unknownThe month of September brings our attention to back-to-school, football season and for those up north, autumn leaves. But did you know that September is also National Gum Care Month? Don’t laugh…caring for your gums is as important as caring for your teeth, and at Mitchell Dentistry, we’re excited that there is a whole month dedicated to creating awareness about this topic.

Healthy Gums Matter

We all tend to be more attentive to what we can see: are my teeth white enough? Are my teeth straight enough? But remember that it takes healthy gums to support your healthy smile. Many people are at risk of gum disease, or suffering from it already, and they may not even know. During the month of September, learn what to look for to keep your gums healthy.


Protect Your Body

Unhealthy gums can lead to many afflictions, all over the body. Through periodontal disease, bacteria and inflammation can enter the bloodstream, which can cause problems with

  • the brain and nervous system
  • the heart
  • blood
  • joints

Your overall health depends on healthy gums. Learn what the signs of gum disease are so you can recognize them and take action:

Symptoms to Watch For

Here are some symptoms to look out for so that you can take the next steps, and make an appointment with our office. Hopefully we can address some of these symptoms early on, before it is necessary for us to recommend a visit to your periodontist for further evaluation.

The most common signs of gum disease are tenderness, swelling, or redness in the gums. If your gums are receded from the teeth or your teeth feel loose, it is also a signifier that your gums may be unhealthy. Of course, if you notice bleeding, you should make an appointment with our office immediately.

Knowledge is Power

Our goal is to help spread awareness about healthy teeth and gums throughout the year. Because September is National Gum Care Month, this gives us an extra opportunity to pass on helpful information to our patients.

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. We love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

All the best,

Dr. Jim



Protect your heart and brain with a healthy mouth

At Mitchell Dentistry, we continue to learn about the science-based connections between oral health and overall health. Paying attention to the whole person has often helped us notice many of the warning signs that have led us to advise patients to seek further diagnosis, in some cases culminating in life saving results.


That’s why we were interested in a recent research study published in Science Daily describing how patients entering the hospital for acute stroke displayed an association between certain types of stroke and the presence of the oral bacteria (cnm-positive Streptococcus mutans).

The Link between Stroke and Oral Bacteria

Co-authored by Robert P. Friedland, M.D., the Mason C. and Mary D. Rudd Endowed Chair and Professor in Neurology at the University of Louisville School of Medicine, researchers at the National Cerebral and Cardiovascular Center in Osaka, Japan, observed stroke patients to gain a better understanding of the relationship between hemorrhagic stroke and oral bacteria. Among the patients who experienced intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH), 26 percent were found to have a specific bacterium in their saliva, cnm-positive S. mutans. Among patients with other types of stroke, only 6 percent tested positive for the bacterium.

Strokes are characterized as either ischemic strokes, which involve a blockage of one or more blood vessels supplying the brain, or hemorrhagic strokes, in which blood vessels in the brain rupture, causing bleeding.

The researchers also evaluated MRIs of study subjects for the presence of small brain hemorrhages which may cause dementia and also often underlie ICH. They found that the number of these was significantly higher in subjects with cnm-positive S. mutans than in those without.

The authors hypothesize that the S. mutans bacteria may bind to blood vessels weakened by age and high blood pressure, causing arterial ruptures in the brain, leading to small or large hemorrhages.

Oral Health is Important to Brain Health

“This study shows that oral health is important for brain health. People need to take care of their teeth because it is good for their brain and their heart as well as their teeth,” Friedland said. “The study and related work in our labs have shown that oral bacteria are involved in several kinds of stroke, including brain hemorrhages and strokes that lead to dementia.”

The cnm-negative S. mutans bacteria is found in approximately 10 percent of the general population, Friedland says, and is known to cause dental cavities (tooth decay). Friedland also is researching the role of oral bacteria in other diseases affecting the brain.

“We are investigating the role of oral and gut bacteria in the initiation of pathology in the neurodegenerative disorders Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s with collaborators in the United Kingdom and Japan.”

Extending a healthy life with a healthy mouth

Why are we sharing this information? Because our Mitchell Dentistry team is concerned for our patients – not just from the standpoint of their oral health, but for their health in general. Based on science, we know that helping you maintain a healthy mouth can extend your healthy life.

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns. In the meantime, enjoy a safe and healthy summer!

All the best,

Dr. Jim

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by University of Louisville. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.




A Breath of Fresh Air


imagesSummer brings longer days, weekend barbecues, and July 4th fireworks – at Mitchell Dentistry, it also brings a bevy of dental appointments with our patients who are college students. Home on summer break, they can catch up on all their obligations at home, including taking care of their oral health. For most, an exam, x-rays and a professional cleaning are all they need to go on their way. Others have more serious needs.  One issue that comes up time and time again is the question of bad breath, or halitosis. Whether a summer romance has blossomed, or time is spent in close proximity to their friends, this is a concern shared by many teens and college students. The good news is that bad breath can often be prevented with some simple steps.

Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. If you do not brush and floss regularly, bacteria accumulate on the bits of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria make your breath smell.

Certain foods, especially ones like garlic and onions that contain pungent oils, can contribute to bad breath because the oils are carried to your lungs and out through your mouth. And in addition to several other negative effects, smoking is also a major cause of bad breath.

Based on our experience here at Mitchell Dentistry, and some helpful tips from the University of Florida’s School of Dentistry, here are some mythbusters that might help freshen your breath.

Myth #1: Mouthwash will make bad breath go away.

Mouthwash only gets rid of bad breath temporarily. If you do use mouthwash, look for an alcohol-free, antiseptic (kills the germs that cause bad breath) and plaque-reducing one with a seal from the American Dental Association (ADA). Also, remember to ask us for recommendations.

Myth #2: As long as you brush your teeth, you shouldn’t have bad breath.

The truth is that most people only brush their teeth for 30 to 45 seconds, which just does not suffice. To thoroughly clean all the surfaces of your teeth, you should brush for at least two minutes at least twice a day. Remember to brush your tongue, too — bacteria love to congregate there. It’s equally important to floss because brushing alone won’t remove harmful plaque and food particles that become stuck between your teeth and gums.


Mitchell Dentistry emphasizes the importance of brushing your tongue to prevent bad breath.

Myth #3: If you breathe into your hand, you’ll know when you have bad breath.

We all do this, right? However, when you breathe, you don’t use your throat the same way you do when you talk. When you talk, you tend to bring out the odors from the back of your mouth (where bad breath originates), which simply breathing doesn’t do. Also, because we tend to get used to our own smells, it’s hard for a person to tell if he or she has bad breath.

If you’re concerned about bad breath, make sure you’re taking care of your teeth and mouth properly. Some sugar-free gums and mints can temporarily mask odors, too.

If you brush and floss properly and visit our office for regular cleanings, but your bad breath persists, you may have a medical problem like sinusitis or gum disease – so please call us if you suspect a problem.  We are here to answer your questions, and help you take care of it.

Enjoy your summer!

All the best,

Dr. Jim



Home for the Holidays: The ultimate toothpaste guide


Thanksgiving is quickly approaching bringing on the flurry of the holiday season. Whether you are having out of town guests, children home from college, or just cozying up at home, chances are you are going to have to buy toothpaste within the next few weeks. With so many different types on the market today it may be somewhat confusing to know what is best.

Every person and every mouth is unique, so keep in mind that no one type of toothpaste will address the needs of all. Here is a handy guide to types of toothpaste we hope will help you make good decisions for you and your loved ones:

Tartar control toothpaste: If you have buildup of tartar on your teeth and gums and you want to prevent it from getting worse, this type might be right for you. A reminder in case you have forgotten: tartar is basically the plaque that wasn’t removed from the teeth and has now hardened onto them. If too much tartar builds up under your gums, it creates the potential danger of gum disease. Most of these types of toothpaste have fluoride and other useful ingredients.


Baking soda toothpaste: the name says it all. If you prefer a different flavor than typical mint varieties, baking soda toothpaste might be an option. Baking soda based toothpaste is great for effectively removing any surface stains. It will help reduce gum irritation and pain, and it is definitely less abrasive than other types.

Smoker’s toothpaste:  This type is specially designed to remove nicotine and tar stains from your teeth as well as bad breath caused by smoking. A note of caution: this toothpaste may be particularly abrasive.

Sensitive teeth toothpaste: If you experience sharp pain when consuming hot or cold foods and drinks, sensitive teeth toothpaste and its active ingredients will help desensitize the nerve endings and reduce tooth sensitivity. They are also less abrasive and designed to be gentle to your teeth and gums.

Teeth whitening toothpaste: The question is:  do they really work? Actually, different types vary in results and strength. The key ingredients of most types of whitening toothpaste are hydrogen peroxide or calcium peroxide, and they are both highly abrasive. That is why dentists consider many of them too harsh for teeth. And the constant use of this type of toothpaste might cause tooth sensitivity. And most significantly – they do not actually whiten your teeth; they only polish them by removing surface stains. Before buying teeth whitening toothpaste, keep in mind that some brands are too aggressive and may damage your teeth. And definitely consult your dentist first.

Children’s toothpaste: Many children are put off by the taste of mint or baking soda, so a special type of toothpaste has been designed to make your job as parent easier and the child’s brushing routine more enjoyable. These tend to be fruity and sweet.

As you can see, there are so many choices. Brushing the teeth with toothpaste that suits your needs at least twice per day, plus flossing, plus seeing us regularly for your professional cleaning, is the best recipe for healthy, beautiful white teeth.

Enjoy the holidays, and please don’t hesitate to ask us about any aspect of your oral care. We welcome your questions and your feedback!

All the best,

Dr. Jim


Happy New Year!

By now we’re sure you’ve all determined a New Years’ resolution and are newly
resolutioncommitted to eating a healthier diet, exercising more often and spending more time doing activities that you love. In order to maintain overall health it is extremely important to maintain good oral health. Studies have found that poor oral health is directly associated with a variety of more serious health concerns, such as cardiovascular disease, respiratory infections, breast cancer, diabetes and auto-immune disorders.

Until recently, scientists weren’t sure whether these serious health issues were simply more common among individuals with poor dental health or if they were directly correlated. However, we now know that symptoms such as inflammation, bacteria and periodontal disease can lead to thickening of the arteries, increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

ripe red apple with green leaf isolated on white

As always, to maintain proper oral hygiene you should try to eat a balanced diet, brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, floss at least once a day and visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and oral exam. If you are having discomfort or are noticing new symptoms between dental appointments, please don’t hesitate to call us, 239.939.5556. The symptoms that we would be most concerned about are the following: persistent bad breath, tooth pain or increased sensitivity to hot or cold, puffy gums, bleeding gums, receding gums, white spots on your teeth, loose teeth or changes to your bite.