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Clean as a Whistle? Think Again!


Clean Whistle – An Oxymoron?

Last week, as one of our staff members was driving to work, she had to stop as a crossing guard ushered school children across the street. This, of course, is a common sight as we make our way to and from work during the school week, but what went through her mind on this particular day was the phrase, “Clean as a whistle.”

So is this really an oxymoron?

Well, it depends on how clean one keeps said whistle. And for that matter a number of everyday items that frequent our mouths comes to mind: pacifiers, sippy cup lids, wind instruments, mouth guards, ortho retainers, toothbrushes, etc…

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Our spit is literally teeming in germs – hundreds of different types! Obviously, it is important to clean items that are repeatedly contaminated by the germs of our mouths because otherwise they become a breeding ground for these bacteria which can result in sore mouths and throats and lead to systemic and oral infections.

Always follow manufacturer’s instructions and common sense for cleaning these types of items. Inspect and clean routinely and store as directed. Our bodies and immune systems are designed to deal with microbes and their attacks on our systems, but we must be extra vigilant when we are placing these types of items in our mouth repeatedly. Furthermore, people who’s immune systems are already compromised medically should be extra careful as they are at a higher risk for adverse health effects.

04-04-2016 3-08-02 PMAt Your Smile Dental Care  we care for mouths as well as teeth. You may not notice, but we are always scanning your mouth as we treat and restore teeth, looking for any signs of abnormalities.

The same approach should be taken with items that are constantly placed in the mouth – scan them frequently looking for cleanliness, or any accumulation of debris or even damage where buildup can hide from the eye.

And when it comes to musical instruments, someone in the music business told us that any deposit inside an instrument, like a harmonica, can harden and actually change the tone and volume of the instrument. Many things come with cleaning instructions, but if they don’t, find out by asking the store personnel where you purchased the item or by calling the manufacturer. Items, like instruments are too expensive to be neglected, but your health is important also.

Toothbrush Care

Most of us just rinse our toothbrushes after use and put them back into their holder, but there are a number of important considerations when it comes to our toothbrushes:

  1. 16-03-2015 11-40-06 AMRinse your toothbrush thoroughly after use with clean water before storing or you can go the extra step of using warm soapy water to clean it before rinsing and storing.
  2. Air dry in an upright position.
  3. Store your brush away from any potential source of contamination (like the toilet).
  4. Never store it in a closed container as bacteria love warm, dark, moist places.
  5. Never share your toothbrush.
  6. Replace it after 3 months, if it begins to show signs of wear or after an illness.
  7. You may also consider wanting to replace your toothbrush it you find it in a different spot than where you last placed it or if it is wet before use – Someone else may have used it. Gucks!
  8. Check to make sure there is not debris or toothpaste left over in the bristles before storing it.
  9. Although not necessary, some people like to soak their toothbrush in some bacterial mouthwash for about 15-20 minutes everyday before storing.
  10. There is no conclusive evidence that using a dishwasher or microwave is an effective cleaning method, but if you like to use this method just understand that it could damage or change shape of the bristles.
  11. There is also no evidence that using an ultraviolet sanitizing unit is necessary, but if you like using this method just be sure to check the condition of the bristles often.
  12. New tooth brush? Always clean it after taking it out of it’s package using warm soapy water and following with a good rinse.

No one is ever going to be able to get their toothbrush 100% clean without the use of a sterilizer, but keeping these tips in mind should give you some “peace of mind” when it comes to toothbrush cleanliness. If you would like more information on toothbrush care, read our blog here.

Sharing is not always Caring

Lastly, a large number of diseases are spread through cross-contamination – it is how germs are shared. It should go without saying then that the “swapping of spit” is inevitable if things that enter our mouths are shared. There is no way of knowing for sure who is carrying an illness, so the best practice is to always be careful not expose yourself to germs where at all possible. Sharing is not always caring and we are all at risk. Being mindful of the factors that increase the spread of germs to one another will help you stay safe and healthy.

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Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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The Sudden Appearance of Cavities

The Tooth Sleuth…

 

20170123_122329Why does tooth decay suddenly begin in patients who have had no history of multiple cavities?

This is actually a common question that is not generally an age-specific misfortune as much as it tends to be a lifestyle occurrence. It is understandable why someone becomes frustrated and very concerned about the sudden appearance of tooth decay when they have had great teeth their whole lives with little or no decay.

Cavities can occur at any age and without warning. Some factors we can control, while others are a more complicated set of circumstances. The sudden appearance of cavities depends on someone’s individual situation, so it often becomes a fact-finding mission for both the dentist and the patient.

 

You may not think of dentists as detectives, but it is one of the many roles we assume as healthcare practitioners

 

Narrowing down the cause can be tricky, but here are a few of the most common culprits:

 

Cavities under fillings – Like anything that is man-made and designed to replace something that is natural, there are limitations. Fillings can wear down, chip or lose their marginal seal with the tooth allowing bacterial acids to seep in and cause cavities under fillings. Maintaining regular dental check-ups allow us to monitor the integrity and health of teeth and their existing restorations.

Orthodontic treatment – Wearing braces, especially the new Invisalign type of braces, give food and plaque more places to hide making it more difficult to see and remove them. Your food choices and attention to the detail when tooth brushing becomes very important to reduce your likelihood for tooth decay. Your orthodontist will warn you of the higher susceptibility for cavities when wearing braces and make recommendation that should be followed diligently.

Dietary change – A sudden change in what and how often you eat and drink can have a huge impact on the health of your teeth, Ideally, you should allow 4-5 hours in between food intake so that your saliva can repair (remineralize) the damage from the acid attacks that occur during meals. If you have acquired a new habit such as frequent snacking, sipping coffee all day, chewing sugar gums/candies, drinking more pop/juices/alcohol, or using throat lozenges you may be putting your teeth at risk for more tooth decay.

Nutritional Deficiencies – The quantity and quality of our saliva is impacted greatly by nutrition. The immunoglobulin, proteins and minerals in saliva help to protect and repair our teeth, so any deficiencies in our food intake or health can and will affect the efficiency of saliva.

Dry Mouth – Saliva plays an important reparative, cleansing, buffering and digestive role in our mouth. A disruption in the quantity and quality of saliva  can put you at risk for more cavities. Illness, medications, medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, stress, weather, alcohol-based mouth rinses, and even the addition of exercise can affect the character of your saliva and it’s ability to do it’s job efficiently. Never ignore dry mouth. Read all about dry mouth here.

Medication – Did you know that there are hundreds of medications that can affect the quality and quantity of your saliva and impact the health of your teeth? Even over-the-counter products such as anti acids, antihistamines, and cough syrups can be harmful to your teeth with prolonged use. Check with your pharmacist about your medications to help narrow down the ones that can cause dry mouth. Perhaps, they can then suggest an alternative and check with your physician about a change in prescription.

Vomiting – When stomach acids make frequent contact with your teeth it can lead to the eroding away of the enamel eventually resulting in a mouth full of cavities. Frequent acid refluxing, prolonged illnesses and eating disorders that use the elimination of meals just eaten, are serious matters that cause nutritional deficiencies and cause an increase in cavities.

Teeth Whitening – We believe that the frequent use of teeth whitening products can eventually cause the wearing away of protective enamel. Moderation is key here and your dentist will advise you as to what is considered a safe, but effective whitening regime for your specific-to-you situation.

Oral Hygiene – Have you changed your oral care routine? Changing toothbrushes, eliminating fluoride, slacking off with brushing and flossing, brushing too hard or excessively and even choosing a natural oral care product can all lead to more cavities. We had one patient who switched to an electric toothbrush but did not know that they were missing the entire gum line area resulting in cavities all along this area. And, as popular as some homemade and natural remedies are, care must be taken to choose a product that is both effective and gentle on teeth and gums.

Fluoride Intake – Fluoride is actually an element that is found in rocks, soil, fresh water and ocean water. Over 70 years ago, it was discovered that populations living and ingesting naturally occurring fluoride had significantly better teeth – in both health and appearance – than those who did not. Many municipalities decided to add 1 part/million fluoride to community drinking water. Today, we still see the evidence of better oral health in fluoridated areas.

Relocation – Sometimes, just moving from one geographical location to another can lead to significant lifestyle changes in terms of habits and access to health and healthy choices. Students who move away from home may find it difficult to maintain healthy habits and make wise nutritional choices. People who move to an underdeveloped area may struggle accessing good nutrition and healthcare. Even a lack of fluoridated water has been shown to impact oral health.

Receding Gums – When your gums recede, the soft root of the tooth is exposed, making it more susceptible to decay and the scrubbing action of your toothbrush. The tissue covering the root is half the hardness of protective enamel. Root exposure and the eventual cavities and abrasion crevices cavities is a common dental problem, especially in older persons and those who use a hard toothbrush or brush to harshly and in in those.

Medical treatments – As unavoidable as they are, some medical treatments affect your oral health and result in unexpected tooth decay. Medical treatments can cause altered taste, saliva changes, mouth irritations, damaged tissues, sensitivity, vomiting, difficulty eating and swallowing, delayed dental treatment, and can disrupt home oral hygiene. All can play a role in an increased likelihood of cavities. At Your Smile Dental Care, we suggest a pre-treatment examination to record baseline charting, identify and treat dental problems and provide oral hygiene education before your medical treatment begins.

Sharing Salvia – Dental disease is an infectious disease. You can be contaminated with the saliva from another person through kissing, sharing a toothbrush or eating utensil. Is cross-contamination capable of actually causing tooth decay ? Saliva is laced with germs and some people have more of the tooth damaging bacteria than others. It is thought that mother’s can pass on bacteria to their children and, in turn, increase the likelihood of decay in the child when they share spoons, so it stands to reason that this is not the only situation where one’s mouth germs can directly affect the quantity and types of germs in another’s mouth. Sometimes, sharing is not caring!

Work Routine – Even something as seemingly insignificant as a change in your work time hours, such as switching from days to nightshift, can affect the way you prioritize and approach your oral care and eating habits. Exhaustion, insomnia, stress, a hurried life can all impact your usual routine and put you at risk for additional tooth decay. Scour the internet to find some great practical tips on how to manage work shifts better.

Don’t make cavities part of your future…

These are all examples of some of the changes that can occur in your life that you may want to consider and review if you notice that you are suddenly being diagnosed with more cavities, more often than usual. A solid review of your nutritional, dental and medical history may reveal something that could account for the high incident of tooth decay. Hopefully, by process of elimination, you and your dentist will be able to narrow in on one or a few of your risk factors and implement some changes in your life now so that tooth decay will not become a recurrent problem.

 

 

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Yours In Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Alzheimer’s Drug in Dentistry

Alzheimer’s Drug may be sinking it’s teeth into dental care!

 

Needless to say, tooth aches have plagued humans for years, but a recent discovery may soon sink it’s teeth into this age old problem.

 

Scientists have been looking for ways to repair rotten teeth for years. Now it seems that a team of researchers at Kings College in London may have found a way to regenerate tooth dentin using a drug that is usually used to treat people with Alzheimer’s.

 

wearing-timeThe outer layer of the tooth, called enamel, is the hardest substance in the human body. It is very densely calcified and contains no stem cells. Currently, the only way to repair enamel is to hope that a person’s mineral-rich saliva can reverse the very early stages of enamel demineralization cause by bacterial acids.

 

There is always a daily battle during and after meals between the mouth bacteria and our mineral-rich saliva. Simply put, the bacteria metabolize the sugars we eat and create a erosive acid that can dissolve and break open enamel rods allowing minerals to leech out. Our saliva plays a reparative role by then depositing minerals into this surface damage to try to harden the weakened area of the tooth. This repair process takes upwards of 4-5 hours in between meals which is why frequent eating/snacking interferes with our saliva’s reparative ability. Unfortunately, when the amount of demineralization far outweighs the restorative work of saliva and the damage is deep enough, repair is irreversible and the tooth must be cleaned out and filled with a dental material.

 

the-toothHowever, researchers at Kings College were concerning themselves with very large areas of decay – cavities that ate through the enamel and into the next tissue called dentin. Dentin is roughly 50% less harder (calcified) than enamel, but unlike enamel, it  is capable of some regeneration to protect the pulp. Just like bone, dentin is able to acquire more calcified tissue in the event of repair. We call this secondary or reparative dentin and the stem cells needed to produce extra dentin comes from the pulp. That repair is limited, however.

 

Until now….

 

Dentistry already has dental products that attempt to soothe and protect the more vulnerable pulpal tissue from deep tooth decay, but it can only do so much,  especially if the decay is very close or has reached into the pulp. What these scientists have done essentially is found a more natural way for dentin to repair itself. Using a biodegradable collagen sponge soaked with the Alzheimer’s drug called “tideglusib”, they placed it on the dentin where the decay had reached the pulp.

 

Essentially, Tideglusib switches off an enzyme called GSK-3, which is known to prevent dentin formation from continuing.  The testing was done using mice, but the results were very promising. Not only did their body defence systems begins growing natural dentinal tissue, but testing showed the damaged tissue replaced itself in as little as six weeks – much more quickly that the body’s current natural ability. And, unlike the dental materials currently used in dentistry that remain after placement, the sponge eventually dissolves over time after the new dentin replaces it.

 

A Great Step Forward

Image B shows exposed dentin. When drilling continues the pulpal tissue is eventually reached as in Image C. CREDIT: KING’S COLLEGE

This discovery is exciting because, not only do we, as dentists, try to repair decayed teeth, we try to stop it in it’s tracks before it reaches the pulpal tissue. Once the pulp chamber is exposed to the oral environment, we use dental materials designed to cap the exposure and encourage the growth of dentinal stem cells to preserve the health of the pulp, but it’s success rate is not what we’d like it to be.

Many factors play into the repair process and if the body does not cooperate and form a sufficient layer of dentin to seal the pulp, then the vitality of the pulpal tissue will become compromised and eventually begin to rot. Once this happens root canal treatment is necessary to save the tooth from extraction. In addition, tideglusid is not a new pharmaceutical. It has undergone testing and is already being used as a drug for patients with Alzheimer’s.

 

“In addition, using a drug that has already been tested in clinical trials for Alzheimer’s disease provides a real opportunity to get this dental treatment quickly into clinics.”

Professor Paul Sharpe, lead author of the study
Dental Institute of King’s College,  London  UK

 

At Your Smile Dental, we know that, “Not all that glitters is Gold”, but with more than 30 years of dental experience, we also know that many of the technologies we use today in dentistry were the impossible dreams of yesterday. The dentin is a very important protective layer between the enamel and the vital centre of the tooth. Once decay gets into this layer, it can advance quickly. Finding a way to regenerate this tissue faster, before it poses a threat to the nerve, will be a great step forward in the treatment of dental disease.

 

It may not be the end of fillings since enamel cannot grow back, but we’re happy to stick around a little longer to help you with all of your dental care needs!

 

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The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(9050 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 


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It’s 2017: Keep Calm and Floss On

Live Well   |   Laugh Often   |   Floss Much

 

09-01-2017-2-00-05-pmOf all the new and exciting news from the world of dentistry last year, surely the report from the Associated Press report, which found an apparent lack of evidence to support the claim that flossing was effective, generated the most buzz throughout dentistry.

Equipped with their own advisories and statistics about flossing, dental professionals everywhere prepared themselves for the onslaught of patients who would, no doubt, come to their next dental appointments quoting this report and it’s claim of, “lack of scientific proof.”

But surprisingly, the best reply came from the comedian Steve Harvey who basically called the report was, “stupid” and was not going to stop flossing as he had seen some stuff on his string that he knew “full well” smelled bad. We won’t quote the whole thing, but you can listen to his full reply on YouTube.

He’s no dentist or scientist, but he’s certain that he’s coming from a place of knowledge.

You’re probably thinking, “I already brush 3 times a day, why do I need to do anything else?”  The math is simple. With five surfaces to every tooth and the tooth brush only able to effectively reach just 3 of those surfaces, how much are you leaving behind?  Approximately 40% of the plaque remains to continue it’s destructive work and eventually calcify to the hard substance called calculus (tartar).

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And how many times have you taken something out from between your teeth or below the gum line with your floss that had a putrid smell?  We think most people would agree with Steve that it’s usually pretty stinky stuff that is left behind.

We can laugh at Steve, but there’s no kidding aside! Interdental cleaning is a critical component to the oral care routine and a quick experiment at home will demonstrate that you will, most likely, still find foul-smelling plaque between your teeth and under your gums even after brushing effectively for a good 5 minutes. Go Ahead, try it! 

 

How to clean what your toothbrush misses

1) Traditional Flossing

At Your Smile Dental Care, we look to see how effective a patient’s present way of interdental cleaning is before making a recommendation. If they can successfully remove what their toothbrush misses without gum damage or bleeding then there’s no reason for them to change what they have mastered. See instructions here (2:12 minute point in the video)

Some people, however, have difficulty with the use of string floss – finding the technique of wrapping the floss around their fingers and negotiating it between their teeth and under the gums quite challenging and awkward. Fortunately, there are other flossing aids that can be used with ease.

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2) Floss Wands

 

09-01-2017-11-08-14-amAnother method is using a floss holder. Although there are many different types of designs, it is basically a device that holds a small but tight piece of floss making it an easy and simple way to move and manage it around the mouth with just one hand. This is not, in our experienced opinion, the most precise option for flossing, but recognise that it has become a popular choice.

Therefore, we advise our patients to choose a product that allows you to load your own floss so that you can always have a clean segment for each tooth. This is a much more effective solution rather than just using the same piece of string for the whole dentition.


3) No Strings Attached!

 

09-01-2017-11-15-34-amThere are also a variety of electric flossing devices including water and air flossers on the market. Both are designed to clean in and around teeth by forcing debris out with gently pressure.

Water flossing has been around for many years and is often used as an alternative to string flossing. Waterpik is the most common interdental cleaning device that comes to mind, but there are other products on the market as well. A water flosser introduces a steady stream of pulsating water to flush out interdental debris while massaging the gums.

An Air Flosser uses micro bursts of air and water droplets to disrupt and remove plaque.

4) Other Interdental Aids20170109_105017

There are many other tools on the market: picks, sticks, rubber tips, threaders, tuft or conical bristles – all designed for specific uses to assist you in your interdental cleaning efforts.  The recommendation your dentist or dental hygienist makes will depend on your individual dental health needs. These other interdental aids are used in conjunction with flossing or as an alternative to flossing, but are not suppose to replace tooth brushing. While you will  never be able to remove 100% of the plaque from your teeth, cleaning in between your teeth and under you gums will certainly help reduce the likelihood of dangerous plaque buildup.

Effort is a reflection of Interest

Unless you believe in the value of effective oral hygiene, how can we convince you to floss?

One of the most important pieces of advice that we can give to people is that they understand why they need to remove what their tooth brush can’t reach and make certain that they are doing it effectively. It is simply not enough to just snap the floss in between each tooth without taking the time and making the effort to really do a good job. This not only involves proper placement of floss and effective removal of debris, but taking the time to see and smell what you are removing and ensuring you are being gentle with your gums. Likewise, other interdental cleaners are of no value if they are not used with the attention to detail.3-14-2016 2-39-05 PM

Dentists know that guilt and shame doesn’t work  and using scare tactics as a strategy is usually not an ineffective way to motivate patients long term, especially when dental disease or the oral health rewards are not always immediately obvious.

So, while it is true that we cannot force someone to do something they simply do not want to do, we continue to try our best to persuade and help our patients to see the value of flossingWith more than half of the population suffering from preventable gum disease, we can’t, with a clear conscious ignore the benefits of interdental cleaning and patients should expect nothing but the best advice from their healthcare providers.

 

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Yours in Better Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
http://www.yoursmiledentalcare.com