12 ways to ensure your child enjoys a lifetime of smiles
Even before birth, your baby’s teeth start to develop. The first tooth will erupt (come through) the gum line at around six months of age.Caring for your baby’s teeth right from the start will help your child enjoy a lifetime of smiles.
Primary (baby) teeth are just as important as the adult teeth to come
rinse, which will remove important minerals that stick to and protect the teeth.
The team at North Lakes Dental Centre wish you and your family a lifetime of smiles!
How pregnancy affects your oral health
Ever heard the saying, ‘Lose a tooth with every pregnancy’? Thankfully, this isn’t quite the truth! Pregnancy is a time when it’s especially important to protect your oral health, though. Here’s why.
During this time, you’ll experience a surge in pregnancy hormones. These have many functions – after all, you’re creating a brand new life inside of you! But the same hormones can also mean that you’re at increased risk of gum disease and tooth decay.
Some of the oral health problems you might experience during pregnancy include:
You may be more prone to inflammation because pregnancy hormones affect the way you respond to plaque, the sticky substance that oral bacteria hide under.
You may notice changes in the health of your gums around the second month of pregnancy.
Signs of gum disease include:
Continue to regularly and gently brush and floss. Getting gum disease under control is important because if gingivitis isn’t controlled, it can lead to severe gum disease (periodontitis). In pregnancy, periodontitis can also affect your baby – triggering low birth weight and premature birth. Getting appropriate dental care can help reduce this risk.
Early elective or leave
Remember, you’re less likely to have problems during pregnancy if you begin your pregnancy with good oral hygiene. So, if you’re planning a pregnancy and you would like some elective treatment, try and get it done before pregnancy. Non-urgent procedures are often done after the first trimester. Or, your dentist may suggest you leave these until after your baby is born.
Always tell your dentist if you are pregnant because he or she may suggest delaying X-rays until after your baby is born. If they are absolutely necessary, though, your dentist will take precautions to ensure your baby’s safety.
Another gum condition that can occur during pregnancy is pregnancy epulis or pyogenic granuloma – an enlargement of areas of the gum, which is prone to bleeding. This requires professional treatment – come in and talk to us.
Tackling gum disease
Morning sickness, vomiting and reflux
So, you may be more prone to vomiting early in the pregnancy and acid reflux in later stages. The acid in your stomach is very strong (it is needed to kill germs and start the digestion of proteins). But during pregnancy, the ring of muscle that keeps food inside the stomach and preventing it from regurgitating upwards becomes softened due to the hormones. The acid can damage tooth enamel, especially at the back of your teeth.
If you’re having problems with vomiting and reflux:
Cravings for sugary foods
Again, pregnancy hormones may trigger cravings for certain foods. And if sugary foods are your top of your must-have list, take extra care to protect your oral health. Try not to eat sweet foods constantly, because you’ll continue to feed oral bacteria throughout the day. See if a ripe, fresh piece of fruit will help to satisfy your sweet tooth. And rinse your mouth after eating if you can.
Without enough mouth-cleansing saliva, you’re at more risk of dental problems. So drink plenty of water to help the action of saliva. Try chewing sugar-free gum – the chewing action stimulates saliva flow. And try to increase your intake of water-rich foods such as veggies and fresh fruits.
Getting enough calcium
You are building a new human being inside you, together with a full skeleton and teeth, so you need to ensure that you have enough bone-building calcium.
Healthy sources include:
Your body needs enough vitamin D to absorb the calcium from your diet. Careful sun exposure can help you do this (unlike other vitamins, vitamin D is made by the action of sunlight on your skin). Dietary sources include fatty fish, such as tuna, mackerel, sardines and salmon (you won’t get as much from farmed fish compared with wild caught fish), free-range eggs and mushrooms.
A great time to stub it out
Smoking while you’re pregnant harms you and your unborn baby, and it can also lead to gum disease and other mouth problems. If you smoke, get help to quit – your GP can help you.
Taking care of your oral hygiene is so important during pregnancy (as well as before and afterwards) not just for you, but for your baby, too. So come in to see us for a professional clean and personal advice. Our family is here for your family!
Medicines and your mouth
|Did you know that many medications affect your mouth as well as your body? Even herbal medicines and vitamins can impact your dental health – and not in a good way. Here’s how …|
Medicines that reduce the production or flow of saliva can damage your oral health over time if you’re not careful. Many medicines can do this – some studies suggest that over 400 can contribute to dry mouth[i]. These include antihistamines and decongestants, diuretics, painkillers, inhaled corticosteroids and antihypertensive medicines.
Saliva plays many vital roles in protecting your oral health
Lack of saliva also makes the oral tissues more prone to infection, may make you more susceptible to mouth sores, bad breath and gum disease. Plus, it can make wearing full and partial dentures difficult while affecting your ability to chew and swallow food.
You are more likely to be affected by dry mouth if you are older because you may be more likely to be taking multiple medications for a range of chronic (long-term) conditions.
If you have dry mouth
Try to remain hydrated with sips of water throughout the day. Chew sugar-free gum and talk to us about products to help ease symptoms. You may also want to talk to your GP if you have dry mouth – there may be alternative medicines you can use with fewer side effects.
Blood thinners such as warfarin are prescribed to help reduce the blood’s ability to clot and they affect all of your body – including the tissues in your mouth. Aspirin and fish oils have similar effects and some herbal supplements - including garlic, gingko
If you’re taking blood thinners
Because the blood in your mouth takes longer to clot, it's important to let your dentist know if you’re taking this kind of medication. This is especially significant if you’ll be undergoing treatment that involves bleeding.
Altered taste sensations
Some medicines can cause a metallic taste in your mouth and/or altered taste sensations. Taste changes may also be a part of ageing. Nicotine replacements, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories such as ibuprofen and inhaled medicines for asthma can trigger taste changes, as can antihypertensive, glaucoma and osteoporosis medications. The majority of people – 80% – being treated for cancer treatment report changes in the flavour of food[ii]. Plus, colds and other infections can result in taste changes.
If you’re experiencing taste changes
Try to drink plenty of water – you experience taste when flavours are diluted in water. Try chewing sugar-free gum – the chewing action stimulates the flow of saliva. Rinse your teeth after meals. And, if you are using an inhaler, rinse your mouth afterwards. Rinsing after using a corticosteroid inhaler will help to reduce your risk of oral thrush, too[iii].
Try experimenting with different foods, spices, and seasonings too (try not to add lots of salt or sugar to your food – too much sugar can cause tooth decay and excess salt is linked with hypertension). And, if you smoke, think about giving up, as this distorts taste sensations, too. Your GP may be able to help if taste sensations mean that you’re not enjoying food the way you would like to.
Sugar lurks in surprising places. For example, in antacids used to ease heartburn. Antacids can also contribute to dry mouth. If you’re using antacids regularly, speak with your GP about getting to the cause of the problem. If you’re using chewable antacids, try to rinse your mouth afterwards to help remove pieces that can get stuck between the teeth and to help remove the sugar from lingering on your teeth, increasing the chances of decay. Syrupy medicines can cause tooth decay, also, because they contain sugar, so think about using a sugar-free variety if possible.
Soft tissue problems
Sores, ulcers and other soft tissue problems can be a side effect of using medicines such as immunosuppressants.
If you are about to have chemotherapy, talk to your dentist first if you can. Get any dental work, which might affect your mouth, teeth and jawbone done before treatment.
Your dentist can help by:
Prescribing you with a personal oral hygiene regimen to protect your mouth.
If you are having chemotherapy and/or radiation, we can prescribe customised solutions. This might include special dental trays with re-mineralising cream to help
And for your general dental health
Your dentist is a detective!
Did you know that the health of your mouth gives clues about your physical health? And it can even signal your health-to-be? As a specialist in oral health, your dentist is trained to spot the signs of ill health. So you could say, as far as your mouth is concerned, your dentist is a detective!
Conditions ranging from eating disorders to sleep problems, stress and more can be seen in your mouth. So, the next time your dentist checks out your oral health, he or she may also pick up clues about the health of the rest of your body. For example …
You need to stress less
Stress hormones have many functions – they’re pumped out in times of stress in a primaeval reaction that dates back to early evolution.
One of the effects of stress hormones is to mobilise blood glucose levels to the large muscles such as the legs giving you the energy to fight or take flight – or sometimes just freeze – in the face of danger.
Today stress hormones are still vital – the surge in stress hormones help you get you out of bed in the morning and start your day. But stress is ever-present for many of us and even small stressors can trigger a
One physical sign of stress overload can be tooth grinding (bruxism). Bruxism can also be the result of a dental disorder, the result of jaw problems and is also more common in people who have sleep apnoea – where the affected person stops breathing for short periods during sleep, though.
Your dentist can pick up the signs of bruxism which includes worn down tooth surfaces and reduced height of your teeth.
If your dentist does see the signs of grinding, you may be advised to wear a
An eating disorder or gastric reflux
Your stomach contains very strong acid – it’s there to kill potentially harmful germs in food and to start the process of protein digestion. So, any kind of frequent vomiting (such as bulimia) that allows acid to leave the stomach and come up through the throat and into the mouth can erode the teeth, especially the enamel and dentine layer that covers the back teeth. Enamel erosion can also be caused by acid reflux (where acid is regurgitated upwards) and it can be genetic, too.
Your dentist can talk with your about appropriate treatments to protect your teeth. And, your GP may be able to refer you to a specialist if needed.
Problems with alcohol and drugs
Alcohol is a diuretic – which means that you lose water if you drink too much of it and don’t hydrate enough and this can trigger dry mouth. Dry mouth increases the risk of dental problems since saliva is your mouth’s natural cleanser.
Alcoholic drinks can also provide sugar (on its own or in the form of mixers). Other drinks, such as such as wine, are acidic which can damage your precious enamel. People who drink too much alcohol may have gum damage too – advanced gum disease (periodontitis), increases with frequency of alcohol consumption.
Drinking too much alcohol and using drugs can also mean that good dental hygiene habits fall by the wayside. If you need help with alcohol and drug problems – including smoking which also damages your dental health – talk to
Diabetes, heart disease and more
Your gums are spongy and in constant communication with your body. So unhealthy gums can affect your body and vice versa. Research has shown that patients who take better care of their teeth and gums may have better blood sugar control. People with diabetes are three times more likely to have periodontitis, the most severe form of gum disease. People with diabetes with better blood sugar control may have less severe cases of gum disease, too.
Research suggests a link between gum disease (which is a bacterial infection) and heart attack/stroke. It is thought that the bacteria infecting the gums may enter the bloodstream and attach to fatty deposits in blood vessels. This can cause harmful inflammation of blood vessels and may cause blood clots, which can lead to heart attack.
Bleeding, red, puffy gums are common signs of gum disease. But it's also an indicator of overall inflammation, which your body in general. Your dentist will speak with you about underlying conditions and how they’re affecting your dental health and what you can do to boost your oral health. If you are having trouble controlling blood glucose levels or any other symptoms, your GP can help.
Dry mouth (xerostomia) is where your mouth does not produce enough saliva. Saliva protects your teeth washing away food debris and remineralising your teeth, so too little of it increases your risk of dental decay. Plus, your gums may become inflamed and bleed, you may have trouble tasting foods (since food needs to be dissolved in water before you can taste it) and there may also be problems with delayed wound healing.
Xerostomia may be the result of medications or due to other medical conditions. Your dentist can suggest treatments to help boost saliva flow. And you may want to chat with your GP about
Your dentist can show you effective and gentle ways to clean teeth, gums and tongue to help keep your mouth and body healthy. And, suggest suitable products to help.
Osteoporosis is a condition where bones become weak and brittle, may be
Careful and regular cleaning, brushing and flossing can help keep your mouth healthy because bacteria under gums can cause inflammation and aggravate the condition.
Your dentist will urge you to keep all of your dental appointments and not delay or postpone them – and also make an appointment if you are concerned in any way.
A healthy diet that includes plenty of calcium and vitamin D, bone-strengthening exercises and avoiding smoking and too much alcohol may help but it is very important to see your GP for appropriate treatment.
Your dentist may be able to detect lesions in your mouth including ulcers as well as the early stages of oral cancer, which may show as white and red lesions on the tongue, the floor of the mouth, and the soft palate tissues in the back of the tongue.
Early treatment can help to improve the prognosis of the condition.
One of the most common nutritional deficiencies in the world, anaemia can happen when there aren’t enough circulating iron-containing red blood cells. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics[i], the risk of anaemia is highest amongst older Australians. Oral signs include pale gums and the tongue can lose its typically bumpy texture and become smoother in appearance.
There are so many reasons to look after your teeth and gums – for your oral health and your physical and emotional wellness too. Come and see your dentist – at North Lakes Dental Centre, we’re here for you – and your good health!
Four reasons why straighter teeth are healthier for you
Four reasons why straighter teeth are healthier for you
Your smile is one of the first things that someone notices when they meet you and every time they see you. And, there’s no doubt that a straighter smile can boost your confidence. But a straight, white smile isn’t just about self-esteem and appearance – it can also boost the health of your teeth and gums. Straighter teeth could even help you to keep your pearly whites for longer. Here are three reasons why …
You already know that removing plaque and plaque-producing bacteria is vital for good oral health and it’s easier to clean your teeth if they’re straighter. It’s harder to reach all of the surfaces if your teeth are crooked or crowded. A cleaner mouth and cleaner gums also help to reduce the risk of gum disease. This is vital because the gums hold your teeth in place (although the roots are lodged in the jaw) and gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss in Australia[i].
If the upper and lower jaws don’t align properly, you might have
A healthier smile may mean you want to smile and laugh more – and there aren’t any downsides to that!
Ready for a straighter smile?
You don’t have to be a teenager to gain a greater smile – our dentists can provide you with the best treatment to suit you whatever your age. New advances mean that there are many options available. Treatments are faster, more comfortable and more discreet than ever, too. Removable options mean that you can clean and floss your teeth effectively.
Newer forms of fixed brace options, which can be clear, and tooth coloured and very discreet. And newer options are surprisingly fast – you could have straighter smile confidence in months! Plus, there may not be any metal needed either – you can say goodbye to train tracks!
At North Lakes Dental Centre, both Dr Henry and Dr Derek can advise you about the right kind of treatments for you and help you with your individual questions. They can recommend the perfect treatment for you. Talk to us and you could be smiling straighter, faster and more often than ever before!
Six reasons for tooth sensitivity
The enamel on your teeth is the hardest substance in the body. But you only have a thin layer of it. And, it can be worn downed and etched away by acids. The trouble is that your teeth can't regrow or regenerate enamel. That’s why it’s so important to look after your enamel so you can enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles. But damage can be done early – the majority (78%) of primary teeth in 5–15-year-old children already show signs of acid erosion. And this usually gets worse with age.
Signs of tooth sensitivity
The pain of tooth sensitivity happens because there are patches or tiny holes in tooth enamel. And it’s why you may feel pain when eating hot or cold foods and drinks – and even breathing in cold air. This is because the holes allow access to nerves and hence, pain.
Want to protect your enamel? Here are six ways!
What you can do
Come and see us for your regular preventive dental check-ups – don’t let small problems build into major problems. Plus, if you need special treatment, it’s better to begin it earlier rather than leaving it until later.
Your dentist may recommend the use of special products – such as gels, rinses or varnishes. Advanced damage may be able to be treated with a filling or a crown.
If you grind your teeth, your dentist may suggest you wear a special mouth guard. Or you may want to consider some of the newest tooth straightening treatments – these are faster, more discreet and more affordable than ever.
Rinse your mouth out with water after acidic foods and drink. And neutralise acids with protein-rich nuts of a cube of cheese afterwards or chew sugar-free gum after eating to help stimulate the flow of mouth cleansing saliva.
Think about using toothpaste for sensitive teeth. These can either reduce the nerve’s response to sensitivity or plug the tiny holes in enamel reducing the pain of sensitivity.
Come and talk with us at North Lakes Dental Centre – we’re here to serve you and help you keep smiling for life!
 [i] Australian Dental Journal. A literature review of dental erosion in children. http://www.ada.org.au/app_cmslib/media/lib/1101/m282609_v1_dental%20erosion%20in%20children.pdf
Everyone has bad breath from time to time. After waking, for example – also known as morning breath. After eating pungent foods – such as garlic, onions and spices. For some people, though, horrid halitosis is an ongoing problem. And, if you’re that one in four, it’s a problem those closest to you may not want to mention …
More about morning breath
When you're asleep, saliva flow slows down or shuts off. You might sleep with your mouth open and/or snore. All of these give time for the bacteria already in your mouth to multiply rapidly.
Here are more causes of halitosis and what you can do to get fresher breath confidence.
Smoking – this chemicals and noxious gases that you inhale plus the drying action of smoking causes halitosis. But it can cause a lot more serious and even life-threatening conditions on the mouth and the entire body.
Alcohol - this has a drying action in the mouth. Lack of saliva can be one of the causes of halitosis.
Trapped foods – tiny bit of putrefying food trapped in your teeth mouth and gums become meals for oral bacteria and the byproduct is foul-smelling chemicals. Called volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) these gases include such as hydrogen sulphide (think of rotting eggs) putrescine and cadaverine (the same gases that given off by decaying corpses – yuck!)
Gum disease – in its early stages, this is called gingivitis, and its more advanced stages
Infections – unhealed wounds, tooth cavities (caries), abscesses, and other sores in the mouth like ulcers can give off powerful pongs as can infections of the body and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD).
Some medicines – anything that causes dry mouth can lead to halitosis since you need mouth cleansing saliva to keep your mouth fresh.
Salivary gland problems – if your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva, this can cause a dry mouth (xerostomia), which can cause bad breath.
Fasting – this can lead to ketoacidosis, a condition that develops when fat in the body breaks down and releases chemicals called ketones
What you can do
2, Clean your tongue. Bacteria live in the grooves of your tongue so use your brush or a special tongue brush to clean it and the insides of your cheeks, too.
If bad breath persists, it may be a sign of another problem – a sinus, tonsil or adenoid problem for example. So, go along and see your GP.