Brushing your teeth: are you doing it right?

Brushing your teeth is an important part of your oral healthcare routine, and regular brushing helps to remove bacteria that builds up on your teeth and gums. Here at Hatamian Dentistry we recommend you brush your teeth at least twice a day to maintain a healthy smile.

Here are a few tips to help brush-up your technique:

  • Keep the brush head at a 45 degree angle to your teeth.
  • Use a gentle, circular motion. Think of it as a massage for your gums!
  • Clean all 3 tooth surfaces: the cheek side, tongue side, and chewing surface.
  • Aim to brush your teeth for 2-3 minutes.
  • Think about dividing your mouth into 4 sections. Spend 30-45 seconds in each section and then you’re done!

Once finished brushing, ensure you rinse your toothbrush and keep it in a place where it will dry. Incorrect storage of your toothbrush can cause bacteria to build up which can then be introduced into your mouth during your next brushing.

Can stress impact your oral health?

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It is common knowledge by now that stress levels can impact your health and wellbeing, and this goes for your oral health as well. Stress can be directly physically responsible for negative effects on oral health, and also impact oral health as a side effect of certain treatments for stress.

Here are just a few ways that stress can have a negative impact on your mouth.

Gum Disease: Stress can reduce the effectiveness of your immune system and increase the possibility of developing infections like gum disease.

Canker Sores: These white spots that develop on the soft tissue inside your mouth aren’t harmful but can be painful and can be brought on by physical or emotional stress. They will usually go away on their own but you may also use a special rinse or cream.

Dry Mouth: Stress can itself cause dry mouth, but it can also be caused as a side effect of certain medicines a doctor may prescribe to treat stress and depression. Bacteria can thrive in a dry mouth without saliva and this can lead to tooth decay or infections like gum disease.

Bruxism: Stress can cause involuntary or voluntary bruxism (or tooth grinding) which can cause damage to teeth as well as jaw pain and headaches. You may not even be aware that you are doing it as grinding can often occur at night while you are asleep. A night guard may be recommended by your dentist to protect your teeth from damage.

If you think that stress may be impacting your oral health, you can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.

Teaching your kids about oral health? The CDA can help.

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Are you having a hard time getting your young ones to brush? Is your child about to lose his or her first tooth? Getting kids on the path towards good oral habits early is important for long term health. Thankfully, the Canadian Dental Association has resources for helping you teach your children about good oral health.

You can find jokes and trivia, information, activities, a ‘Smile Certificate’ for rewarding that first lost tooth, and more on the CDA website’s Teaching Resources page.

Have sensitive teeth? Here are foods to avoid.

Tooth-Sensitivity

Do you feel discomfort when you take a sip of hot coffee? Do your teeth hurt when you crunch down on a cold piece of ice?  If so, you may have sensitive teeth, due in part to either a cracked tooth, gum recession, or tooth enamel has worn away.  The sensitivity is caused by a nerve being exposed to what you put in your mouth.  Ask your dentist if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, but in the meantime you can reduce the sensation by avoiding or modifying how you eat the following foods.

Hard Foods

Eating hard foods like ice, nuts and hard candy can trigger pain in sensitive teeth. Hard foods can also further tooth sensitivity by potentially cracking more teeth.

Acidic Foods

Consuming highly acidic foods and drinks like coffee, alcohol, lemonade and limeade, tomato sauces, and caffeinated drinks eat away at tooth enamel and help cause tooth sensitivity.  Avoiding these foods is the best option, but using a straw to help bypass your teeth when drinking these acidic liquids can help reduce the damage and pain.

Hot or Cold Foods

Eating or drinking something hot or cold can cause tooth pain if you have sensitive teeth.  Hot liquids, such as hot soup, coffee, or tea can cause pain and so can the opposite end of the temperature spectrum with very cold foods like ice cream and other frozen treats or iced drinks.

If you think you are suffering from tooth sensitivity try avoiding these foods, and you can always call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.

How Sugar Leads to Tooth Decay

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It is commonly known that consuming too much sugar in your diet can cause tooth decay, but do you know that actually happens? The damage is not done by the sugar itself, but rather by the chain reaction that happens after you have eaten something sugary.

There are hundreds of bacteria that live inside our mouths, many of which are beneficial to oral health. The problem is that some harmful bacteria feed on the sugar we eat and, in turn, create acids that eat away at tooth enamel and cause cavities. Our teeth are constantly under attack by acids–be they from acidic foods we eat or acids converted by bacteria from sugar we have eaten.

This damage to tooth enamel is also constantly being reversed by a natural process called  remineralization.  Your saliva contains minerals like calcium and phosphates that help repair teeth.  Fluoride (from fluoride toothpastes and tap water) also helps in the remineralization process.

The natural process of tooth enamel remineralization can only go so far to protect your teeth if you are constantly feeding those harmful bacteria with excess sugar to convert into acids.  The best course of action is to cut off their supply and eat less sweets and starches throughout the day.  Limiting your intake of sugar gives your mouth a fighting chance to fix the damage.

 

What is Fluoride and how does it work?

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Fluoride plays a large part in the dental health of Canadians, both in the tap water we drink and the treatments we receive at the dentist, but have you ever wondered what fluoride is and how it works?  The Canadian Dental Association has a great Fluoride FAQs to answer all your fluoride questions.  Below are some highlights:

What is fluoride?

Fluoride is a mineral found in soil, water (both fresh and salt) and various foods.

How does fluoride prevent tooth decay?

Fluoride has a positive effect on oral health by making teeth more resistant to decay. Fluoride can also prevent or even reverse tooth decay that has started.

Where do I get the fluoride that prevents tooth decay?

For many Canadians, fluoride is in public drinking water, which provides protection to the entire community. Fluoride toothpastes and rinses are available for purchase, and your dentist can provide professional fluoride products such as gels and varnish.

Why is fluoride added to the public drinking water if it is available in other ways?

Fluoride is added to public drinking water to protect all members of the community from tooth decay. Community water fluoridation is a safe and effective way of preventing tooth decay at a low cost.

Who watches the fluoride levels in the drinking water?

The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Drinking Water makes recommendations about the optimal level of fluoride in public drinking water to prevent tooth decay. The recommended level takes into account that Canadians receive fluoride from other sources such as food and beverages.

Are there any health risks associated with water fluoridation?

With the exception of dental fluorosis, scientific studies have not found any credible link between water fluoridation and adverse health effects.

Should I be using fluoridated toothpaste with my child?

For children from birth to 3 years of age, the use of fluoridated toothpaste is determined by the level of risk of tooth decay. Parents should consult a health professional to determine whether their child up to 3 years of age is at risk of developing tooth decay. If such a risk exists, the child’s teeth should be brushed by an adult using a minimal amount (a portion the size of a grain of rice) of fluoridated toothpaste. Use of fluoridated toothpaste in a small amount has been determined to achieve a balance between the benefits of fluoride and the risk of developing fluorosis. If the child is not considered to be at risk, the teeth should be brushed by an adult using a toothbrush moistened only with water.

For children from 3 to 6 years of age, only a small amount (a portion the size of a green pea) of fluoridated toothpaste should be used. Children in this age group should be assisted by an adult in brushing their teeth.

How do I know if my child is getting enough fluoride protection?

Your dentist is able to assess your child’s risk of developing tooth decay and advise you of an appropriate level of fluoride protection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preventing and Treating Dry Mouth

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In the previous post we discussed some of the causes of Xerostomia, or “Dry Mouth”.  Xerostomia can cause symptoms such as:

  • Cracking near the corners of your mouth
  • A foul taste or bad breath that is hard to get rid of
  • A burning sensation on the inside of your mouth and/or on your tongue
  • Sores on the inside of your lips or cheeks
  • An excessively dry feeling that makes eating, swallowing, and talking difficult

Xerostomia can quickly become a danger to your oral health when the saliva that is usually produced in your mouth is not there to dilute the bacterial acid that can decay your teeth and gums. Here are some steps to take to combat a dry mouth:

  • Drink more (and mostly) water: Staying properly hydrated throughout the day is the simplest way to stave off a dry mouth. Staying away from acidic drinks such as orange juice and coffee is also a good idea. Acid and dry mouth combine to create a breeding ground for cavity-causing bacteria.
  • Use a rinse: An alcohol-free fluoride rinse before bed can help maintain a moist mouth overnight. This also helps remineralize teeth and protect from cavities.
  • Chew a piece of gum: Chewing helps aid the flow of saliva. A sugary gum can cause decay so be sure to use a sugarless variety.
  • Vitamins: B vitamins help fight bacteria by improving your immune system and Vitamin C helps repair oral tissue that can be damaged as the result of dry mouth.
  • Use a humidifier: Keeping the air in your bedroom moist with a humidifier can help combat a dry mouth, especially if you sleep with your mouth open.

If none of these solutions relieve the discomfort of a dry mouth you should contact your dentist for treatment.

Dry Mouth

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Does your mouth ever feel excessively dry? You may be suffering from Xerostomia, or “dry mouth”, which is caused by a lack of saliva production. Dry mouth can be an associated side effect of:

  • Vitamin Deficiencies: Even if saliva production is normal, a vitamin deficiency can affect the lining of the mouth, causing a sense of dryness.
  • Dehydration: If you are not drinking enough water throughout the day, or are exercising for a long time without properly hydrating your mouth can become very dry. If you drink a lot of coffee throughout the day, the diuretic effect of coffee can really dry out your mouth.
  • Medical Issues: Diseases such as Leukemia, Diabetes, Sjogren’s Disease, Anemia, Hodgkin’s Disease and AIDS can cause a dry mouth. Those undergoing treatment for Cancer can also experience a dry mouth as a side effect. Certain medications can also cause your mouth to feel dry.

In the next post we’ll dig into some remedies to help you combat dry mouth. If you feel you may be suffering from Xerostomia you can call us at (647) 794-1108 to help.

Flossing Technique

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Have you ever wondered if you are flossing properly? One of the best ways to floss is called the “spool” method. You will want to start with an 18 inch long piece of dental floss. Then take the piece of floss and wind most of it loosely around the middle finger of one hand and the rest around your other middle finger. As you pull the fingers apart to create tension in the floss, you will use the thumbs and index fingers to guide the floss around the teeth. When you need some fresh floss, you can unspool some clean floss from the reserve wrapped around your finger, and wind up the dirty floss on the other finger.


Whether you use this method or not the cleaning motion of flossing remains the same:

  • Pull the floss snug against tooth surfaces
  • Work the floss up and down, from the chewing surface of the tooth to below the gum line, and back
  • Do this for all of the tooth surfaces, including both sides of the spaces in between teeth.