Your Smile Dental Care blog


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How to Whiten Teeth Naturally

People want beautiful, healthy smiles and getting their teeth whitened is one of the more popular ways to achieve this!  In fact, it is the number one requested cosmetic dental procedure in Canada.

50 Shades of White

Teeth come in many shades of white and in dentistry we use shade guides to select or determine the colour of teeth. Natural Image 7teeth range from light greyish to yellow in colour, but there are many factors that affect the appearance or perception of these colours such as lighting, skin tone and staining.

Nature’s Whiteners

While there is no shortage of teeth whitening solutions available to consumers, increasingly, people are asking about natural ways to whiten teeth. If natural is the way you want to go, our disclaimer helps you to be informed because knowing the truth is the best thing you can do for the health of your teeth.


Disclaimer*

Before discussing treatments that naturally whiten your teeth, we must caution you. We’ve noticed that because whitened teeth has become so popular, many people are determined to use any means necessary to achieve a whiter, brighter smile despite the warnings.

You may have noticed that almost all webpages offering information on how to whiten your teeth naturally also mention the acidic nature of some of the remedies suggested. Results may not always be as immediate as one would like to see and this can lead to over use of a home treatment.

We cannot emphasize enough how important it is not to dismiss the damaging effect of acids in the mouth. If acids can cause cavities, which are essentially holes in your teeth, then it stands to reason that the repeated, daily use of some of these treatments will also cause your enamel to begin to soften and have the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve – great looking teeth! 

There is not some world-wide conspiracy amongst dentists and dental product manufacturers to steer you away from natural whiteners in an attempt to convince you to use professional products. It’s a matter of simple science. When too much acid or abrasive substances are used on enamel, erosion (wearing away) occurs.

Enamel does not grow back! Once you have scrubbed it off, it’s gone – along with it’s shine. Believe it or not, we want you to be happy and keep teeth for life. It’s as simple as that.

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There are four main ways to whiten teeth naturally:

1. Good oral hygiene
2. Home remedies
3. Avoiding stains
4. Professional care

The rule of thumb for natural looking white teeth: “If you would like to have white teeth that still look natural, your teeth should ideally be no whiter than the whites of your eyes.”


Oral Hygiene

Nothing is more affordable or easier than brushing your teeth 2-3 times a day and flossing daily. It is the only way to rid your teeth of food and plaque and takes so little of your time. There are many whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes on the market that have been approved by the Canadian Dental Association.  You can visit their website to find the list of toothpastes and mouthwashes that are safe for your teeth and gums.

Group of Fruits and Vegetables

Crunchy Foods – There are some foods like apples, celery and carrots that are crunchy enough to act as a natural toothbrush by scrubbing away plaque and stain from the surfaces of your teeth. These types of foods also cause the body to produce more saliva in the mouth to help naturally cleanse teeth.

Cheese – Eating cheese will leave a fine film on your teeth that can protect them from foods that stain or are highly acidic. Get in the habit of adding cheese cubes to your packed lunches or choosing them at the buffet table.

Home Remedies

Food whiteners

Malic Acid*Some foods, like apples and strawberries contain a low acid called malic acid which can dissolve stains on your teeth. A pasty mixture of the mashed up fruit and baking soda can be used as a toothpaste to whiten teeth. However, like most acids, it is capable of eroding enamel. If you are determined to use this type of natural whitener, make sure that you do so only every 3 months or so and rinse with water or a neutral mouth rinse immediately afterwards.

Lemons* – are highly acidic and can erode enamel quickly if used frequently. It is mixed with salt and used as a toothpaste for a couple of days 2-3 times a year. You must remember to rinse with water or a neutral mouth rinse immediately afterwards.

Apple-Cider Vinegar* – is used as a watery toothpaste, but results can take up to a month or later.  It is an effective method, but is a highly acidic way of whitening teeth and will erode enamel away over time.

Banana Peels* – this involves peeling one strip of the banana’s outer covering and rubbing the fleshy side of the peel against the front surfaces of your top and bottom teeth. You are to do this until your teeth are completely coated in a layer of banana paste and then you must try to leave your mouth slightly open with your lips away from your teeth for approximately 10 minutes. After this time, you take your toothbrush and gently brush this paste against your teeth then rinse your mouth out with water.

Baking Soda* – Good old baking soda mixed with water and a pinch of salt to make a paste is a common “homemade toothpaste.” In fact, people used this recipe long before commercial toothpastes were invented. It works wonders, however, there’s truth to the saying, “too much of a good thing.” This baking soda mixture is abrasive and can actually wear your enamel away if it is used too often. We recommend only once a week, being careful not to scrub your teeth too hard during brushing.

Hydrogen Peroxide – This is considered one of the most effective bleaching agents available and is an active ingredient in most mouthwashes and toothpastes. Again, you can make a paste by mixing equal parts of water and hydrogen peroxide (some people add baking soda also) and apply it to the front surfaces of your teeth with a toothbrush or with your finger. Let it sit for a few minutes then rinse your mouth with water immediately afterwards. Claims that hydrogen peroxide is carcinogenic and can weaken teeth have been dispelled and it has been declared safe to use.

We do not recommend that you brush your teeth immediately after any of the home food remedies that contain acid. This is because the enamel surface of your teeth has been softened by the acid and any further brushing action within the next 60 minutes will continue to erode and damage your weakened tooth.


Avoiding Stains 

How teeth become discoloured.

There are many things that can contribute to the discolouration of teeth. Although, teeth tend to darken with age,  items like coffee, tea, red wine, soft drinks, dark fruit juices, colour-dyed foods/drinks, tobacco products, and some spices can easily stain tooth enamel. Poor oral hygiene results in the buildup of plaque and tartar into which food and drink can deposit. As professionals, we have seen a whole host of other colours, such as orange or green, appear on teeth.

05-05-2014 10-15-00 AMTobacco Products –  Some of the ingredients in smoking and chewing tobacco products leave behind deposits that work their way into the surface of the teeth causing an unsightly, brownish/blackish discolouration. Most times, the stain is so stubborn that it can only be removed by professional cleaning.

The Wine Trick!
They don’t make it a wine and cheese party for nothing! Eating a piece of cheese before taking a sip of your wine will coat your teeth and help protect them against the staining and acidic erosion effect of wine.


Professional Care

You may not have considered professional care as a way of naturally whitening your teeth, but the fact is, when plaque hardens on your teeth or stains cannot be removed by regular home brushing, your natural course of action should be to see your dentist or dental hygienist. The better your home care routine and lifestyle habits are the less time will be spent needing06-05-2014 9-56-15 AM professional cleaning.

Dental Hygienist

Whitening should never be used as a substitute for professional dental cleanings. Maintaining regular visits to your dental hygienist is the only way that tartar buildup and stubborn stains can be removed and is an opportunity to ensure that your home care routine is effective.

Dental check-ups

Caring for your teeth is a “team effort!” Without regular dental check-ups by your dentist, there is no other way to ensure that your teeth are healthy and cavity free. A white smile is of little importance if your teeth are not healthy. Your overall health depends on a healthy mouth.

A Word about Realistic Expectations

It is important to know that whitening techniques are not for everyone. Teeth that are stained permanently because of medications like tetracycline or have been repaired with white filling material, veneers or dental crowns cannot be whitened with products. If your teeth are not suitable for whitening there are plenty of other options available such as veneers or crowns.

While most tooth whitening procedures are safe and effective, it is also important to consult with your dentist to ensure that your teeth are in a clean, healthy, and cavity-free condition before whitening. Your dentist will be able to give you some realistic expectations about the degree of whitening you can expect depending on your natural tooth colour, your degree of staining and the type of whitening treatment you choose.

A white, healthy smile is a tremendous confidence booster and If you would like more information regarding teeth whitening or any of the our other smile options  we offer, give us a call today. You’ll be glad you did!
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Yours in Better Health,
The Your Smile Dental Team

Added Bonus Tip

Lipsticks

04-11-2014 1-26-52 PMBy simply switching your lipstick colour you can downplay the colour of your teeth. The trick is to off-set the natural yellow colour of teeth which is considered a warm tone by choosing a lipstick that has a cool tone. So, colours that contain a hint of blue like reds and wines or have a cool, neutral tone rather than shades in the coral or orange range will make your teeth appear whiter in appearance.  Also, to help your teeth look moist and shiny instead of dingy and dull, shop for lipsticks that are glossy rather than one that are matte in their finish.


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Porcelain Veneers

Improving the Look of Healthy Teeth…

20-10-2014 1-09-38 PMWhen our patients first see their new dental veneers before placement they are surprised at how thin and delicate they appear. We often describe them as being similar to false fingernails.

They are very thin, aesthetically pleasing fabrications that are bonded into place to change the appearance of reality.

The tooth is prepared in such a way that a thin, custom-made porcelain veneer can be bonded on. The dental veneer fits on precisely and leaves only a very small gap for the composite resin cement. This cement is very similar to white filling material, and essentially, it bonds securely to the veneer and the facial side of the tooth fixing the dental veneer into place.

Veneers can be of any shape, size and colour and can be used to effect numerous changes in the appearance of the natural tooth. Once in place they look just like natural teeth – only better!

Below is a photo of one of our patients who had eight (8) porcelain veneers placed on her upper front teeth to create a fuller, younger look. 

Before and After

This patient presented with not only very crowded looking teeth with the upper lateral incisors tucked in behind the other teeth, but with a very narrow looking smile and a poorly restored broken lower incisor. Treatment consisted of at-home bleaching followed by the fabrication of a lower all porcelain, zirconium based crown and eight upper porcelain veneers to not only smooth off the crowded appearance, but also to achieve a wider looking smile. The metal fillings in the back were replaced with composite resin natural looking fillings. All this was accomplished in 2 appointments 1 week apart.

Why Veneers?

Dental veneers are a much more conservative option than dental crowns and a quicker option than braces that can take years of treatment.

If you have already spent too many years thinking about improving smile and boosting your confidence do yourself a favour and schedule a consult exam today. Choose a dentist who has had many years of experience not only with veneers, but with many forms of smile improvements that fall under what is commonly referred to as cosmetic dentistry.

Dr. Sam Axelrod has over 25 years of experience with porcelain veneers – long before most people ever heard of them. In fact, believe it or not, so new was this revolutionary idea that when we did our first case many years ago, we had to have them fabricated in California. Since then, we have helped hundreds of patients get the smile they have always wanted and deserved. Have a look at our Smile Gallery  for more great Smile Makeovers.

Yours In Better Health,

Your Smile Dental Care team

 

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Mouthwash and Germs

Last week we had a visit to our Oshawa Dental office from one of our dental suppliers, MariLou. She is always such an inspiration, and once again, she presented us with a wealth of information to help our Oshawa dentists and staff stay up-to-date on all the latest in the field of dental oral care for our patients.

As most of our patients know, we always have mouth rinse near the sinks in each of our dental care room as well as in our restrooms. We have always encouraged our patients to rinse and then freshen up with some mouth rinse before they leave after treatment. However, as our Listerine rep, MariLou introduced the idea of having patients rinse before their dental treatment.

Infection Control18-10-2014 8-58-50 AM

The benefit behind this idea is that, because some antimicrobial, therapeutic mouth rinses, like Listerine, kills up to 99.9% of the bacteria in your mouth, pre-rinsing will help reduce the amount of germs that can splatter from a patient’s mouth contaminating nearby equipment, surfaces and clothing. It is also thought that pre-rinsing and gargling will also help to eliminate most of the germs that are already present in your mouth that may enter into your body system through your blood or throat.

A safer and cleaner environment for our patients and staff…

Now, everyone knows that we take great care in disinfecting our care rooms in between patients. Although many of the surfaces in our treatment rooms are protected with barrier wrap and we use only the best disinfectants on the market, if the studies are correct and this idea really does eliminate most of the of tiny droplets of germs that become airborne then this is how we are going to roll from now on.

We always like to be ahead of the game when it comes to great ideas that soon become industry standards. If you would like to find our more information about this new preventative measure you can follow the links below:

  1. National Center for Biotechnology Information Study 
  2. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention

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This Winter and All Year Long….

We don’t stop caring about you when you leave our office. In between visits  your wellbeing is important to us, so, in consideration of the upcoming winter season and all of the associated illnesses that accompany this time of year, we thought that the suggestion to rinse and gargle with an antiseptic mouth rinse was a good idea.

Germs live everywhere in the mouth, but did you know that your teeth only make up 25% of the oral cavity? In order to help get all of your mouth clean we recommend that you rinse and gargle for 30 seconds once a day. Doing so would be just one more thing you can do to help reduce your chances of becoming sick this winter.

We know you try hard to brush and floss 2-3 times without having to add another 30 seconds to your routine, but if rinsing with an antibacterial mouth wash is as effective as all the studies say it is, then it is seconds worth adding. But remember, an effective mouth rinse is intended to be a supplement to, not a replacement for, daily tooth brushing and flossing.

There are many different types of mouth rinses on the market – each with their own specific goal. Make 18-10-2014 8-47-27 AMsure that you choose a product that is recognised by the Canadian Dental Association and is a antibacterial, therapeutic mouthwash with essential oils that help penetrate plaque. Also, to avoid cross-contamination, never drink directly from the mouth rinse bottle. Use the lid of the bottle to pour the amount of rinse needed into a separate cup – usually about 20ml/4tsp. Use this portion to rinse/gargle with.

Ensuring that our office is a safe and clean environment for our patients and staff is important to us. We hope that you will be happy to embrace this new infection control measure. Smelling your sweet breath will just be a little added bonus for us….

Until next week – Be well,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team

Oshawa Dentist (905) 576-4537                Toronto Dentist (416) 783-3533

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Lost Dentures

We’d like to discuss a problem today with the hopes of raising some awareness, and to perhaps, offer some useful strategies to our audience.

When Dentures Are Lost…

We had a call to our office from a person inquiring about lost dentures. It seems that her elderly mother-in-law had “lost” her dentures during a brief hospital visit. They were herHidden Smile - Copy only pair of dentures and they were frustrated that they received very little assistance or sympathy from the hospital staff.

They turned to us for replacement dentures and advice on how any future loss can be avoided.

The loss of personal items during a hospital experience or while saying at a long-term care facility is indeed a frustrating issue for everyone. In the case of dentures, patients lose their ability to eat effectively, which in turn, restricts their diet, compromises their nutrition and eventually complicates other medical conditions. Repeated losses can become very costly.

Who’s Responsible

Medical facilities are often big, busy places usually employing many staff members concentrating on your well-being while trying to keep you and your belongings together – a challenging task. Losing items can have a huge impact on a patient’s safety, comfort and their ability to communicate effectively.grannys-teeth-92521-m

Most healthcare centres have loss prevention protocols in place to help reduce the likelihood of missing items, but unfortunately, most do not accept responsibility for a patient’s personal belongings. To ensure a comfortable stay there are certain assistive items like hearing aids, dentures, and eyewear that are essential to a patient.

A number of our other patients who work in a variety of healthcare facilities tell us that keeping track of personal items can become difficult especially if the patient is being moved between different care areas within the building during their stay. If big items like wheelchair and prosthetic limbs can be lost it is understandable why so many smaller things go missing.

Another issue, unfortunately, is “theft.” This seems to be the issue in long-term and retirement homes. There is more freedom of movement among the residents and dementia-related incidences are common. We are told that there are residents who are just as likely to “hide” their own items as there are those who like to “collect” another’s belongings.

In this day of GPS locators and associated Apps you would think that a simple solution would have already been designed – something embedded or affixed to important items that would make it easier to track and locate them. We’ve scoured the internet and called around to a number of dental laboratories, and,  although there are a few such technologies in the works, nothing really simple and practical is available yet. Until then, here’s a few preventative/ follow-up measures:

Responding to the Problem…

1. It would be wise to make an inventory list of your belongings at the beginning of your stay. Consider keeping receipts and taking a picture of all personal belongings as a record in case of loss.

2. Monitor your items closely especially when your room is being cleaned or you are taken to another area or room. Visiting family members should also take an inventory of yourquestion-mark-1000269-m belongings frequently. The sooner an item is noticed missing and reported the higher the incident of return.

3. For storage and protection use a container for each of your items or consider using a larger case with compartments for each item. Label the container and include your full name, address and telephone numbers. Providing an email and alternative telephone number may also help the efforts of the person trying to locate you.

4. To avoid accidental disposal or damage, never wrap your items in tissue paper or napkins or leave them on your meal tray where they could be taken away.

5. Ask questions beforehand. What is the facility’s policy regarding the care of patient’s personal items? Who do you contact in the event of loss or disputes? Do the healthcare workers and maintenance staff take the necessary care when changing the bedding, emptying the garbage, or taking away meal trays?

6. Ask your dentist about the possibility of having a permanent label placed or engraved into the acrylic material of the denture.

7. Some facilities use handheld and mounted detectors much like the alarm systems that is activated if a person leaves a store with an item that has not been scanned. They can locate lost items that have been misplaced or are moved outside of their designated areas by reading the radio frequency tags that are placed onto personal items. An example of a company that provides this technology is Scandent. Here’s a patent we found Locator for Lost Dentures.

8. In many cases, dental implants take the place of dentures or can safely secure loose or ill-fitting ones. If you would like more information or would like to find out if you or your loved one is a candidate for dental implants call us today at (905) 5SMILES. For more information read our article Are Implants Right for Me?

It can be frustrating and exhausting…

How many countless hours are spent by families and healthcare staff looking for lost belongings, trying to resolve any disputes over the matter and establishing better prevention strategies? Many times, particularly with the elderly, a person may be unable to care for themselves let alone their belongings. Their family must be vigilant in their efforts to ensure that not only is their loved one being taken care of properly and their medical issues dealt with, but that their personal belongings are also being kept safe and secure.

If you have a solution or know of one in the works, we’d love to hear from you – or drop us a line below with your denture loss story! Together, we might be able to help others with this growing problem.

Yours in Better Health,

The Your Smile Dental Care Team

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