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Paperwork, Paperwork, Paperwork!

Why does my dentist need to know my health history?

So, you go to the dentist for a matter concerning your teeth or perhaps you’re there for your bi-annual dental check-up and cleaning and your exam begins with a bunch of questions about your overall health.

What gives?
Why does a dentist or hygienist want an update of your medical history at every visit?

This is a very legitimate question. After all, you may be coming in for just a simple visit and do not understand what the rest of your body has to do with your mouth.

We are caring for you – not just your teeth!

20140915_103718_resizedYou may have read somewhere about the “Body – Mouth” connection. There are medical conditions that significantly impact your oral health, determine the course of future dental treatment or explain why a particular problem keeps reoccurring.

When we exam you we are seeing more than just your mouth. We are caring for you, not just your teeth! We are concerned with making accurate diagnoses and following up with individualized treatment.

Obviously, patients with more complicated health histories will require more attention than others. In order to maximize our patient’s time with us we routinely ask that they keep a current copy of their medication list in their wallets for quick reference and let us know in advance of their visit here if there has been any significant changes in their health.

Sometimes, it is necessary to follow-up a health issue with the family doctor. Your family physician may prescribe some medication for you to take prior to your dental treatment, especially if you have recently had a new body prosthetic placed or have had a heart stent procedure. Other times, a medication may have to be temporarily discontinued before a particular dental procedure can begin.

As such, we ask that our patients bring in a copy of their medication list when they see us for their check-ups so that we can up date our records and advise as necessary.

Never underestimate the value of your health history…

MedsWe understand that your time is valuable and that you would like to get to your dental matter at hand rather than filling out forms. Updating your medical information may seem like an imposition to you or you may not want to disclose certain personal health issues to us, but it is important to understand that it is with your safety in mind that we must collect this information and ask any pertinent follow-up questions.

What may seem like an irrelevant health issue to you may turn out to be the essential information we need when diagnosing, treatment planning, using materials in your mouth or prescribing medications. Knowing these details can save your life!

Patient health histories are clearly documented and updated regularly in our office. We need you to be as comfortable with us as you would be with your family physician. We would like to think that our patients appreciate that we hold their health in such high regard and that we do not omit this part of your care.

At Your Smile Dental Care we treat our patients as we do our own family and friends. Keeping current and accurate patient records help us deliver the very best care to you – our valuable patients.

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


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Your Stinky Floss

… and the debate continues

 

Even though it was last year that the Associated Press report suggested that flossing was overrated and unnecessary, we are still being asked by patients whether flossing is necessary or not.

 

The simplest answer seems to be answering their question with another question: “What do you suggest for cleaning plaque and food from in between teeth and under the gums?”

 

Although there are other effective interdental aids for cleaning in between teeth, flossing is the only device that can actually get into the tight area between teeth – assuming there is not already a space or gap.

 

With the toothbrush only able to reach 3 of the 5 tooth surfaces,
what does this AP report suggest people do to clean the other 2 surfaces?

 

People will have to excuse their dental care providers for getting a little defensive when the health benefits of flossing is called into question. At Your Smile Dental Care, we’ve seen the value that flossing brings to our patients’ oral care over the past 30 years and we will continue to dig in our heels on the subject.

 

We only need to use our common sense about flossing. If you have something in a body part that is causing a foul odour and inflammation that can lead to loss of surrounding tissue, infection and loss of said body part, would you not want to get it cleaned out?

 

Dental neglect is preventable and flossing is an inexpensive addition to
your
oral care routine to help you take care of your teeth and gums.

 

Practicing the best oral care you can with the tools available is important when it comes to your overall health. The link between gum disease and a number of other serious health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and immune system disorders has been well established.

 

Most of us are already making changing in our lifestyles so that we can live healthier and longer. A daily 2 minute routine seems like one of the easier changes we could be making.

The bottom line is this: There is research and studies that both sides of this argument can cite to continue their claims. No doubt, the debate will go on and on while the plaque and tartar build up and up!

 

Note to the Associated Press: For all those people that are able to remove meat and popcorn caught between their teeth using their floss – Is that evidence enough? How about how stinky our floss is after use – Is that evidence enough?

 

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


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Tips for Invisalign (Invisible) Braces

What you Need to Know

Are you one of the many individuals choosing the option of wearing invisible braces for straightening your teeth?

Known by their brand name, Invisalign®, these popular clear braces are the new modern way for your dentist to rearrange crooked, misaligned teeth.

Although, this modern choice for braces seems like a miracle solution for those who would rather have their teeth straightened discreetly, it nonetheless comes with its own set of complications that we will address today.

Like anything that is accomplished over a period of time, there is a process involved which takes time to become accustomed to. Understanding and dedicating yourself to this process will help you achieve the end results you are looking for.

 

How does Invisalign work?

Patients wear a series of clear, plastic, custom-made trays over their teeth 20 to 22 hours a day. This leaves you with 2 – 4 hours for eating and oral hygiene. Each set of trays are designed to gently exert pressure on the teeth to rearrange their positions. As teeth move, the trays are replaced with new ones every two to three weeks until treatment is complete.

 

Wearing Time

wearing-timeInvisalign are worn almost all day long – 20 to 22 hours – everyday. The trays are changed every 2-3 weeks to accommodate tooth movement depending on the complexity of treatment and wearing time may be evaluated as treatment progresses.  You will be shortchanging yourself in terms of time and money if you neglect to understand the importance of the mandatory wearing time.

Pros: By wearing them for the recommended time, your teeth will move as expected and your aligning trays  will not feel uncomfortable doing movement.

Cons: If you leave your aligners off for extended periods of time, they will feel tighter and more uncomfortable when you put them on your teeth again. If you do not commit to wearing them for the recommended hours per day, treatment time will take longer than initially planned and you may not get the results you were hoping for.

Cleaning

For the health of your teeth, gums and other parts of your mouth, cleaning your aligners throughout the day, especially after eating, is an essential part of treatment.

Pros: The upside to keeping your aligners clean is a healthy mouth.

Cons: Bacteria, plaque, food debris and  staining can easily accumulate unnoticeably if you forget to keep your trays clean. Dirty trays can lead to sore and bleeding gums, tooth decay, bad breath, tooth stains and sore throats. Your dentist will advise you on how to keep your trays clean. One patient told us that they use Listerine to rinse their trays after cleaning as it stains any residue or buildup that was not cleaned off.

 

A higher risk of Tooth Decay is one of the major
drawbacks of Invisalign

Cavities

When you decide that you want great looking teeth, you are making an considerable investment in time, money, and most importantly, in your personal appearance and the health of your teeth. Your journey with orthodontic braces requires you to make a commitment, not only to the process of wearing and caring for your trays, but to being diligent about your oral hygiene.

Pros: Caring for your trays and your teeth during the process will ensure that your new smile is a healthy one!

Cons: If you have found that avoiding cavities in the past has been a challenge for you, wearing clear braces will only complicate your efforts. Saliva cannot get to the tooth surfaces to naturally cleanse your teeth when they are covered with the trays all day long. Tooth decay is one major drawback to these braces and there have been many, many, disastrous cases where patients have not only achieved the straight teeth they were dreaming of, but a mouth full of cavities also! You MUST understand that there is a high incidence of tooth decay that can occur with covering your teeth for upwards of 22 hours a day if you do not have a strict oral hygiene routine.

 

Eating

You have to remove your trays to eat then clean your teeth and trays before placing them back on again.

Pros: Confining your eating to 3 square meals a day will certainly help with the habit of snacking and the consequence of cavities that result from frequent eating. If the idea of losing weight and eating more healthy appeals to you, this will be a good opportunity to arrange how you will implement your plan during the Invisalign process.

Cons: There will be little or no time for snacking when wearing clear braces. The time you take to snack will take away from the mandatory wearing time and you must make time to clean your teeth and the braces properly after eating. This will be a huge adjustment for many people which can result in some weight loss. You may need to adjust your caloric intake accordingly when you are eating a full meal and preplanning is beneficial. People who have medical issues where meals are a significant factor, like diabetes, should discuss the use of Invisalign with their physician before committing to the process. You should also be aware that during tooth movement your bite will likely not line up properly which can make your chewing feel “off.” You may have to get in the habit of chewing slowly and carefully.

Note: Drinking – Some people may tell you that it’s okay to drink any liquids during wearing time without having to remove your braces, but only regular water is safe. Other beverages usually contain the sugars and acids that can break down enamel and over the time of treatment can result in tooth decay. The clear braces also stain and pick up odours easily.

 

Habits

Chewing – Some people have the urge to chew on these clear braces simply because there is something new and constant over the teeth. Chewing can roughen up the surface material, but the trays are replaced every couple of weeks so it usually doesn’t damage or affect effectiveness of the trays. In time, you may become used to wearing them and this adaption may help reduce this chewing habit.

clenchClenching and Grinding  Again, if you suffer from clenching and grinding, it will likely not damage the trays before they have to be replaced again, in fact, some orthodontists say that the constant pressing down on the trays can actually help the teeth move more efficiently. However, some people exert such heavy forces during this habit that it may affect the trays somewhat. While others with existing TMJ issues say that wearing the trays tend to aggravate the condition. Speak to your provider about this before deciding on this type of orthodontia. If you typically wear a night guard for your grinding habit, you will not be able to during your Invisalign treatment.

Note: If your trays begin feeling loose towards the end of each two week period, it is usually not an issue and is actually a sign that your teeth have moved into their new positions. Habits like chewing, grinding and clenching may make them feel looser, but usually not to the extreme that it could affect the effectiveness of the trays.

 

Oral habits – Feeling and probing the retainers with your tongue or heavy muscular action using the insides of your mouth can cause tissue irritation. Resist the habits of developing any oral fixations and before long you will not even notice the trays in your mouth.

Drooling – Some patients report excessive saliva when wearing the trays. This can be difficult especially since the urge to suction the saliva using the mouth muscles then swallowing or spitting out can become annoying. If you find yourself drooling at night, just place a towel over your pillow. It is normal for your mouth to treat the trays as something foreign and produce excess saliva to dispel the object. Overtime this should become less of an issue

Lisping – Speaking can be difficult when you are first becoming accustomed to the new trays. This will subside within time if you try hard to be deliberate and slower with your speech and become conscientious every time you notice yourself slipping into this lisping habit.

 

Movement

r23-jessicaPros – Teeth tend to move more quickly with Invisalign than with traditional braces. This shortens the overall treatment time so that you can enjoy the benefits of straight and aligned teeth sooner.

Cons – There is a balance that must be considered when moving teeth so that the roots of the teeth do not shrink away. The roots of the teeth are important as they anchor and hold your teeth in your jawbone. If they wear away, your teeth will become loose and mobile. Your dentist may suggest that you have x-rays taken periodically so that the health of your roots can be monitored.

 

Other Considerations

headache-14344661Tension – Some people develop sore jaws and tension headaches since the jaws do not match up during tooth movement and their teeth are not settled into the bite they have become accustomed to over the years. You can massage and/or place ice packs wrapped in a towel over the affected areas in a 20 minute on/off cycle to help reduce aches and inflammation. Switching to your new trays before you go to bed along with an ibuprofen is also a good idea. Speak to your dentist if the aches persists so that a pain relief can be suggested and treatment can be re-evaluated.

Locked jaws – Again, because the bite is ever changing, your jaw muscles and joints can become affected – even locking sometimes. Invisalign treatment can also aggravate a pre-existing TMJ issue. Massages and ibuprofens can reduce the tensions and inflammation that can cause this to occur, but you need to bring this situation to the attention of your dentist for evaluation.

Dry Mouth/Chapped lips – While some people develop excessive drool, others find their mouths have become dry and irritated. This can cause mouth sores, chapped lips and increase the likelihood of tooth decay. Using a lip moisturizer, drinking a lot of water and/or chewing sugar-free gum may help.

Mouth sores – The mouth can become irritated and develop sores if your oral hygiene is poor, your mouth is dry, your trays are dirty or from tissue action against the trays. Sometimes the trays need to be trimmed if there is some excess material that is irritating your mouth tissues. You can file these area down at home if you are careful and don’t overdo it. Bring it to the attention of your dentist so the source of your irritation can be addressed or oral hygiene instructions can be reviewed.

Lastly…

The great thing about Invisalign is that you can get great looking teeth without anyone knowing that you’re wearing braces, but you must do your homework and be truthful with yourself about your ability to commit to the treatment recommendations. Nothing worth having comes easy! Weighing the above pros and cons will help you decide if you are a good candidate for these types of braces.

It is also important to choose your healthcare provider carefully. The movement of teeth is very complex in terms of the physical, biochemical, and cellular processes that take place. Treatment requires the care of a competent dentist who has the education and experience to move things along with careful planning and consideration of all the likely variables.

 A lot can go wrong in a short time if you are tempted by a quick fix with a cheap price tag!
Educate Yourself!

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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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What is a Periodontal Screening?

Does your smile pass the Test?

No doubt, you have heard how important it is to take care of your gums for the health of your teeth, but it can also affect your overall health. Gums, also known as gingiva, is a barrier tissue that covers and protects your teeth and the bone that surround and support your teeth.

When gums become tender, swollen and begin to bleed, it is usually a sign that the body’s immune system has been triggered.

Our mouth is home to a complex ecosystem of microorganisms. While much of the bacteria is our mouth are beneficial in preventing disease, there are some that are harmful if allowed to take over. The proper balance of these germs is critical for a healthy mouth. Certain processes take place everyday to keep this balance from being disrupted so that a response from our immune system is not triggered.

Some patients become aware that something is going on when they begin to notice bleeding when they brush their teeth. Others have had progressive gum disease for a long time and are surprised to learn of it.

Periodontal Screening

Watchful Eyes

Your dentist and dental hygienist are trained to not only help you maintain healthy mouth and teeth, but they are always monitoring your mouth for signs of the onset of gum disease. By routine – usually once a year – they will perform a gum evaluation called a periodontal screening.

During this screening, they are assessing the health of your supporting gum and bone structures and evaluating the look of your gums.

Healthy gums are pink and firm. Unhealthy gums are red, swollen, spongy-looking and may bleed. They also look for signs of gum loss (recession) and use a tiny instrument called a probe to measure the depths of the pockets between the teeth and gums. The pocket is a free space located around each tooth. In between each tooth it is where your floss enters for cleaning.

In a healthy mouth, this free space becomes attached gum about 2-3 mm of the way down. When bacteria is allowed to accumulate in this space inflammation occurs that triggers the immune system to send white blood cells. Unfortunately, the WBC not only destroys bacteria but gum tissue also. When the attachment portion of the gum tissue gets destroyed, the pocket become deeper and more bacteria, dental plaque and food can accumulate.

If left untreated or unnoticed, this pocketing will lead to bone loss. Eventually, enough bone is lost that the tooth becomes loose and cannot be saved.

Early detection is key

This is why it is important to identify this pocketing early in order to prevent further gum and bone loss. There are various treatment options available for gum disease and your dentist may refer you to see a gum specialist (Periodontist) for ongoing care.

Unfortunately, gum disease is called a “silent disease” that often goes unnoticed until a significant amount of damage occurs. This is usually the case for people who do not see a dentist routinely where the health of their teeth and gums can be monitored on a regular basis.

Periodontal disease has long been the leading cause of tooth loss in adults which is why every patient should have a periodontal screening performed annually. Early detection is key and can make all the difference.

The good news is that gum disease is an easily preventable disease. By simply brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and attending to regular dental check-ups and cleanings you are already helping your mouth and teeth.

To keep them in tip-top shape you need to start looking at your other habits:

  1. Meal frequency – Reduce snacking in between meals to allow your saliva to repair damage done by acid attacks. Read here
  1. Do not sip on sugary drinks or coffee/tea with milk, cream and/or sugar frequently or all day long.
  1. Use an antiseptic mouth rinse once a day
  1. Ensure that other medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease is monitored by your physician regularly and is under control.
  1. Consider a smoking cessation program as smokers are almost three times as likely as nonsmokers to have periodontitis
  1. Eat a healthy, nutrient-rich diet that  helps to control inflammation.

Suggestions:

  • green leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges
  • fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • nuts and legumes
  • olive oil
  1. If you suspect gum disease, never ignore the signs and see a dentist.

Signs:

  • red, swollen gums
  • tender and/or bleeding gums
  • loose gums that have pulled away from your tooth
  • sensitive teeth
  • pain when eating
  • receding gums; tooth appears longer
  • spaces between tooth and increased food impaction
  • loose fitting partial dentures
  • persistent bad breath

 

Keeping your gums healthy and strong is the simplest way to maintain your overall health and help to ensure you keep your teeth for life. If it has been a while since you have been to the dentist for a check-up or suspect you may be having problems with your gums please contact our office today at 905 – 5SMILES (905.576.4537). You’ll be glad you did!

Your in better dental health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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A Partial Glimpse into Dentures

Mithing some Teeth?
Here’s a Partial Solution!

24-03-2014 3-24-55 PMIt is unfortunate when you are missing several teeth and eating and smiling has become difficult – even embarrassing.

Finding a solution that is the right fit for you involves a number of considerations and your dentist will help you understand the factors involved in your specific-to-you situation.

Although implants are the most advanced tooth replacement, are cost-effective and are available for even the most complex cases, not every patient is an ideal candidate or can afford them at the time needed.

So, what are your other options then?

Perhaps, the idea of dental implants can be revisited at a later date. Until then, the spaces can be filled with bridges or dentures. Today, let’s take a look at your partial denture options:

 

Dentures are classified into 2 main categories: Full or Partial dentures.

 

Full Dentures – Are available for patients who have all of their teeth missing in the upper or lower arch or both. They are removable, but fortunately, full dentures can be secured to dental implants for added support and confidence while still being removable. They are made of acrylic and can be relined with more material as your jawbone changes in size and height due to missing roots.

 

Partial Dentures – Are designed for patients who are missing several, but not all the teeth in the upper or lower arch or both. There are several different types of partial dentures depending on design and materials used. They are supported by teeth and gum tissue, so the health of these are considered during selection. Each type of partial denture has their own set of pros and cons with some dentures using a combination of materials.

 

dnetures

 

Cast Metal:

– thin, metal alloy framework and claps

– more expensive

– metal not very aesthetically pleasing

– biocompatible metal, so hypoallergic for most people

– not usually harsh on health of gum tissues

– soft liner can be added to increase gum comfort

– preferred type of partial denture in terms of strength, durability, retention, thickness and fit.

– can have coloured plastic added that look like gums.

– more difficult to reline as gum and jaw changes unless soft liner added.

– more teeth can be added as needed.

 

Flexible

– made of nylon or another type of composite material

– moderate cost

– very aesthetically pleasing and can be colour blended to match gums

– very flexible and thin

– more comfortable in the mouth for chewing and speaking.

– hypoallergenic

– better on gum health than acrylic

– more damaging to natural teeth than a metal denture

– very good retention using clasps and undercuts

– more teeth can be added as needed, but some flexible material do not bond together well making the addition of new teeth ans relining more difficult and expensive.

 

Acrylic:

– made of a rigid plastic material

– much more affordable option as they are less expensive and easier to make.

– gum-coloured plastic is more pleasing than metal

– weaker and less durable than metal.

– plastic can pick up odours and stains

– can break more easily than Metal or Flexible

– plastic can be allergenic for some people

– more damaging to natural teeth than a metal denture

– can have more plastic material added if jaw/tissues change shape

– more teeth can be added as needed.

 

What You Should Know

In general, partial dentures:

  1. can interfere with speaking
  2. are less stable than natural teeth, bridges or dental implants
  3. may have supporting clasps that can break or bend, but they usually can be fixed readily
  4. need to be relined as jaw dimensions change
  5. need to be removed nightly to keep mouth tissues healthy
  6. prevent shifting of adjacent teeth until a more long-lasting, permanent solution is selected
  7. can wear down over time by natural teeth
  8. can be lost since they are removable
  9. need maintenance or repair of framework and components as they wear
  10. can be relined to accommodate changes to the underlying bone. Expense depends on type of material used to make partial denture.
  11. can have their fit impaired by any changes to the existing teeth because of decay, repair or loss.
  12. have artificial teeth that can be easily repaired or replaced.

 

 

Tendering in Tradeoffs

 

04-11-2014 2-04-12 PMNothing in life is as good as the real thing. There are tradeoffs that are made when we have to repair or replace our natural teeth. This is why caring for your teeth properly your whole life will increase the likelihood of “Teeth for Life!”

Every dentist has heard a patient say that they are just plain sick and tired of having to care for their teeth and think that by removing and replacing them with dentures they will become worry free of dental problems.

Wrong! They are trading one problem for another. Dentures come with their own set of issues, and, like teeth, they still require care yo prevent damage and prolong their life. Speaking, eating, comfort, mouth sores, and stability are just some of the issues you will likely face with dentures at one time or another.

How long a partial denture will last also depends on the proper care of existing teeth. There is no 100% perfect replacement for your natural teeth. The time and effort you put into caring for them is never a waste as it can make a huge difference in your dental health.

Furthermore, it is important to understand that dentures and bridges do not replace the missing tooth roots – only the visible tooth crown. Eventually, the jaw bone that once supported the roots will begin to shrink and reduce in overall size. This is an important consideration as dental implants need healthy jaw bone height and volume into which they are placed and eventually integrate into. The jawbone can be augmented using bone grafts, but this increases the complexity and cost of the dental implants.

 

Short Term vs Long Term

 

07-09-2015 6-03-36 PMEveryone knows the feeling of being faced with options. Decisions are not always easy and the more options available, the harder the decision. Your dentist is there to help you sift through all of the information, weigh all the factors and understand the tradeoffs you may have to make. Do you opt for an affordable solution that has limitations, a shorter lifespan and will require more on-going maintenance or do you invest now in the premium permanent option?

Being an informed patient who understands fully the pro and cons of each dental treatment option helps you move forward to the day when you can eat and smile with confidence.

Lastly, it’s Your Smile. Dental care is necessary for your remaining teeth. The function of chewing is meant to be distributed amongst many teeth. Expecting a few to do the job of many will result in wear and breakdown and you will run the risk of losing your remaining teeth through disease and dental collapse. If you are missing one or more teeth, see your dentist today to discuss your treatment options today. You’ll be glad you did!

 

06-02-2017-3-04-48-pm

 

 

Your in Better dental health,
The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com


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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…

30-01-2017-9-34-13-am

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