46% of Australians have private health cover. If you are one of that 46% – are you making the most of your health insurance?
Many people who have private health insurance and extras don’t take full advantage of their cover, and that seems like a real waste. It’s a bit like having an expensive gym membership you never use……😱
In most cases, unused private health cover benefits don’t roll over to the following year, so if you don’t use them, they are gone forever.
Check with your health fund to see what dental benefits you have and if they expire on a calendar year basis. And understand what you are entitled to.
Typically, dental coverage in Australia is split across three areas:
Exactly what is classified as preventative, general or major varies from one health insurance provider to the next. So please check your own private health insurance to see what you are covered for.
So, if you’ve already paid for these benefits; make sure you use them! Here are four important reminders:
Delaying simple treatments when first detected could potentially be more expensive later. Prevent costly and serious treatments by making use of your dental insurance when the problem first pops up.
Prevention is the key. Keep your oral health on track. Preventative appointments, including 6-month check-ups and cleans, are typically covered by your insurance.
The gap is the difference between the price of a dental treatment and what your insurer will pay. You pay the gap ‘out-of-pocket’.
Every private health policy is different so have a good read of your policy.
Do some research when looking for the best Private Health cover to suit you and your family. Ask about your annual limits for extras. And think about whether you are paying for extras you will just never use.
Ring your fund. Shop around. Maximise your policy.
At Taree Dental Care, we are passionate about providing quality dental care that is as affordable and accessible as possible for singles, couples, and families.
Take an hour out of your busy schedule before the end of the year to use the benefits you are entitled to. Don’t let the rest of the year slip by without seeing us!
Remember: You’ve PAID for these benefits. Use them, don’t lose them!
Give our Taree Dentist a call on 📞 (02) 6550 0960 to make an appointment. We promise to look after you.
The statistics are telling us that mouth cancer is on the rise. ☹️
In Australia, around 4000 new cases are diagnosed each year. Even in our Taree dental practice, I see several cases a year.
Mouth cancer can go un-noticed in its early stages – so recognising the signs and early detection are vital. The good news is that oral cancers are extremely survivable if they’re caught early.
Education is key.
Mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, describes all cancers that start in and around the mouth. It most commonly occurs on the lips, tongue and floor of the mouth but can also start in the cheeks, gums, the roof of the mouth, the tonsils and even the salivary glands.
It occurs more frequently in men than women and is most likely to strike you if you are over 40 years of age.
A key thing is to be aware of any changes that you notice in your mouth. If you are suspicious of anything new, even an ulcer that doesn’t seem to heal – then take action, pick up the phone and call us immediately.
Early detection is life-saving!!!
No surprises here but the main risk factors for mouth cancer are tobacco and alcohol consumption. A staggering 59% of mouth cancers in Australia are caused by smoking, and about 31% are caused by excess alcohol consumption.
Other risk factors include a family history of mouth cancers, poor oral hygiene and gum disease, and exposure to the sun and harsh UV rays. ️
However, if you don’t drink, don’t smoke and avoid the sun, you still need to be aware. I once had a patient, a female in her late 30s, non-drinker, non-smoker, who unluckily was diagnosed with mouth cancer. I am happy to report she’s fine now but her treatment was pretty rugged. Her warning sign was a mouth ulcer that she’d had for over 6 months which just wouldn’t go away.
Discovering oral cancer in its earliest stages definitely lessens the severity of the treatment and the impact long term.
It often begins with some pretty recognizable symptoms – but not always. Sometimes the symptoms can seem pretty benign, like a little white spot or red spot in your mouth which you don’t think much about because it doesn’t bleed or doesn’t cause any pain.
Here are some more common symptoms that you should keep an eye out for :
People who ignore the symptoms or do not seek the help of a professional, risk the cancer advancing to a more serious stage. So if you have any of these symptoms PLEASE do not ignore them – come and see us.
Because most people simply don’t routinely self-check for oral cancer, dentists are usually the first line of defence when it comes to detecting it.
That is also another reason why regular dental check-ups are so important.
If we happen to notice any abnormalities during your checkup at Taree Dental Care, we will be straight onto it. And we might refer you to a specialist for additional tests to confirm any diagnosis.
As we already mentioned, a staggering 59% of mouth cancers in Australia are caused by smoking and around 31% are caused by excessive alcohol consumption. So, I will save you the lecture……but quitting smoking and moderating alcohol consumption will significantly reduce your risk of developing mouth cancer.
Cancers of the lip are commonly associated with UV exposure, so it is also important to protect yourself from the sun when the UV is high. Use sunscreen on your lips – and remember your kids too!
So, be aware of all the signs. If you notice any changes, don’t muck around, act now.
Come and see us at Taree Dental Care for a regular check-up, we can have a chat about any of your oral concerns and make sure your mouth stays as healthy as possible.
Remember, your mouth and teeth are way too precious to neglect.
Our smile is one of the first things that people see. We all want to feel confident showing off a bright white smile in photos and while we chat to people. Our smile always makes an impression.
But over time our teeth can darken and yellow due to our age, as well as our eating and smoking habits.
When we want to achieve a whiter smile we can be quick to grab the first tooth whitening product we see on the supermarket shelf.
Sometimes the stock standard tooth whitening product can actually cause discomfort if there is a more serious dental problem underlying. So it is quite important to know what has caused the tooth stain in the first place.
If you want to whiten your teeth, the best place to start is with a healthy mouth. So before you jump in and buy a whitener off-the-shelf or online, come and see our Taree Dentists for a check-up.
We can help work out the cause of the stain, treat any existing dental problems and advise you on different teeth whitening options.
Teeth whitening technology has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years. And remember that a teeth whitening consultation is FREE with us anytime – check out our package deals HERE.
Sadly, it’s things we tend to enjoy daily that are the main culprits – coffee, tea, red wine, coloured sports drinks, some berries, tomato sauce, spices like turmeric or curry paste, brightly coloured lollies, and of course, smoking.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to say goodbye to these foods and beverages forever…… but there are a few things you can do to help minimise the damage.
One suggestion is to use a straw because it reduces exposure to our teeth. However that’s not always very practical, especially when it comes to coffee or red wine! So the next best thing is to rinse your mouth with water and/or mouthwash after you’ve consumed your cappuccino or your shiraz.
A simple ‘at home’ tip is to brush your teeth with baking powder. It does an excellent job at removing surface stains, but you should proceed with caution to prevent damage to your enamel. Baking powder is definitely NOT advised for everyday use, as it can be pretty abrasive.
The other simple tip is to stay on top of your general dental hygiene. Regular brushing, flossing and mouth wash. Getting a check-up and teeth clean every 6 months with our Dentists in Taree is also a good habit to form. And if you are a heavy coffee drinker or a smoker, consider cutting back, or quitting all together.
Some stains actually come from within the tooth – called intrinsic stains, and these are notoriously harder to remove. There are a number of causes, such as:
To prevent intrinsic stains in children, avoid too much early exposure to fluorides. You can do this by purchasing age-appropriate toothpaste for your children. If you are unsure, we are an experts in children’s dentistry so just ask us.
If you see any change in your child’s normal tooth colour, it should definitely be checked out – so if your child has white spots on his/her teeth, or any other unusual stain, make an appointment and let our team at Taree Dental Care take a close look.
As we get older, so do our teeth. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which then allows the inner structure of the tooth to show through, so our teeth naturally yellow with time.
Genetics also plays a lead role in oral health and some people are lucky to have thicker enamel then others, which means their teeth are less likely to show stain.
If you have deeply embedded stains in the structure of the tooth come and see us as at our Taree Dental clinic as the stains will probably need to be removed through a professional peroxide teeth-whitening treatment.
Firstly, we will make sure your teeth and gums are healthy before going ahead with any whitening treatments. A healthy mouth is the best place to start.
We offer a Teeth Whitening Package – witness your teeth whiten up to eight shades in just 90 minutes. You won’t be disappointed.
The ‘teeth whitening’ package includes – an in-chair dental whitening treatment, take-home maintenance trays individually made to suit your mouth, and a 6-month supply of whitening gel.
A teeth-whitening package also makes a great birthday gift or a treat for a bride-to-be (or the groom)! Call us today at our Taree Dentist practice on 6550 0960 to book a FREE whitening consultation for you or a friend.
You might not realise it but the oral health of women can be a bit different from those of us who belong to the male gender.
Yes, both men and women need to brush twice daily, floss regularly, and get 6 monthly check-ups to keep on top of oral hygiene.
But women can experience a spike in oral issues caused by changes in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels – and this usually happens in puberty, menstruation, pregnancy and menopause. Those two magic hormones do a lot of great things in a woman’s body but they can also (unfortunately) exaggerate the way gums react to plaque.
As if the usual peri-menopausal symptoms aren’t enough – you know, hot flushes, mood swings, loss of bone density, sleeplessness etc – some women also experience a very dry mouth as a result of lower estrogen.
Peri-menopausal women can also experience discomfort from red and inflamed gums and develop an altered taste sensation. Even a burning sensation in the mouth can happen from time to time.
Women are also more susceptible to Periodontitis (gum disease) disease following menopause. Periodontal disease is often a “silent” disease, and many women do not realise they have it until it reaches an advanced state.
The good news is that gum disease is not only preventable, it is 100% treatable. Come and see us if you have ANY of these concerns about your teeth and your gums – age, and menopause, is no barrier to having good teeth.
Some women experience swelling or bleeding gums just prior to having a period, and it can also be a time where those dreaded cold sores make an appearance. The good news is these symptoms are typically short-lived and usually go away once a period starts.
If you take oral contraceptives — just be mindful that inflamed gums are a pretty common side effect so if you have this issue, please let us know so we can help you keep it in check.
In fact is also really important to keep us informed about any medications you are taking and any changes in your health history.
Have you ever heard the saying ‘Gain a child, lose a tooth?’ This saying stems from the old wives’ tale about pregnancy being linked to a decline in oral health.
Is there any truth to this ugly rumour? Well…yes…sort of. (But it doesn’t have to be that way.)
First and foremost, when you visit us, please tell us if you are pregnant.
Pre-natal care is especially important for the oral health of pregnant women. Getting a dental check-up during pregnancy is not only safe, but important for a woman’s health and the health of the unborn child.
Pregnancy hormones affect the way gums react to plaque, so pregnant women are more likely to develop pregnancy gingivitis, when dental plaque builds up on the teeth and irritates the gums. Symptoms include red, inflamed and bleeding gums. In short, a pretty sore old mouth.
The dreaded morning sickness also impacts the health of a woman’s mouth.
When someone is sick and brings up the contents of their stomach, it is full of nasty acids🤢 that can be quite damaging to teeth enamel. So it is really important to rinse your mouth out with water after being sick. Tempting as it is to rush to the vanity and give your mouth a good brush straight away, it’s best to wait about 30 minutes before brushing.
Why? Because if you brush your teeth straight after vomiting you risk brushing off the enamel from your teeth which becomes softer from the stomach acid. Use a mouth wash in order to feel a little refreshed while you wait. If you are vomiting on a regular basis and your teeth are getting exposed to a fair bit of acid it would be a good idea to mention it to us when you visit.
Some pregnant women also experience nausea from strongly flavoured toothpastes. Switching to a neutral-flavored toothpaste may help to keep the nausea at bay.
Don’t worry, not every woman experiences these side effects from menopause, menstruation or pregnancy. But it is important to be aware of any changes that may be happening during these phases of your life and to keep on top of your dental hygiene.
If you experience any of these symptoms, or are worried about any issues related to your teeth or gums, please come and talk to us at Taree Dental Care.
Give us a call on (02) 6550 0960 to make an appointment.
There is so much more to good oral hygiene than just regular brushing twice a day.
If you practice good oral and dental hygiene it can help prevent bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease—and very importantly, it helps to keep your teeth in good shape as you get older.
Your mouth is actually a window to what is happening elsewhere in your body. Researchers, for example, have found links between gum disease and diabetes, and oral inflammation and cardiovascular disease. Your mouth can actually help detect the early signs and symptoms of some chronic diseases.
OK, we’ve all woken up with that gross feeling when we’ve slept all night with our mouths open. Yuk. But not withstanding the occasional morning breath, your breath should be fresh, your gums should be pink and not bleed or hurt when you brush, and teeth should be clean and free of debris and plaque build-up.
Good oral hygiene results in a mouth that looks and smells healthy. So, how do we achieve it?
This is important. Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months or when the brush starts to fray, whichever comes first. And I mean ‘starts’ to fray, not when your toothbrush resembles the spines of an echidna.
A soft bristled brush is usually better for your teeth than medium or hard, and a small headed brush can help you reach all areas of the mouth.
The right toothpaste is also important and not all toothpastes are created equal. Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride. If you would like more information on choosing the right toothpaste, read our earlier blog on this subject here.
You know how important brushing your teeth is – but are you doing it correctly and for long enough?
Did you know that only 23 per cent of Aussies brush their teeth for the minimum two minutes?
It’s easy to get caught up in a mad rush before work or school or the gym, and sometimes we can just quickly skip over teeth and not spend the time that is needed to brush properly.
Brush your teeth for a good 2+ minutes to ensure you don’t miss any spots. Try using a stop watch or consider buying a medium-priced electric toothbrush which includes a built-in timer to make life really simple.
Remember, when it comes to brushing, harder isn’t better. Start from the gum, and go up and down, in gentle little circular, up-and-down motions and don’t forget to brush the gum line or your tongue.
Giving your tongue a good clean is very important because tonnes of nasty bacteria like to hang out there.
I can’t nag you about this one enough because its something, as a general rule, we are often pretty slack about.
So here is my ‘take home’ message this month. Flossing should be considered just as important as brushing.
At Taree Dental Care we recommend that you floss between your teeth EVERY DAY to help remove debris that can often get stuck in places our toothbrush cannot reach. Before bed is usually the best time to floss, but whenever you decide, make it part of your daily routine.
Leave a packet of floss next to your toothbrush, or on the kitchen bench, or coffee table, or in your car. Or in ALL of those places. Some place that will remind you to use it every.SINGLE.day.
Trust me, you will be surprised just what comes out from between your teeth on that little piece of thin white thread!
Adding a mouth wash to the mix can help to wash away left-over debris and freshen breath. Just remember that mouthwash or rinse is a supplement to your oral hygiene routine – it does NOT replace twice-daily brushing and daily flossing.
If you are in any doubt, check with us to find a suitable mouth wash that will work for you.
Yes the cliche is true, you are what you eat and your mouth teeth and gums are no exception.
To keep your teeth strong and healthy and protect your teeth enamel, eat a balanced diet and limit sugar (especially Easter eggs) and acidic foods like soft drink, coffee and alcohol. Drink more water.
And finally, if you are a smoker, tobacco stains your teeth, causes bad breath and diminishes your taste. I won’t include a lecture here but, as a health practitioner, you know my advice………🛑.
Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums, and good oral health is important to your overall well-being.
Let us help you to keep your dental hygiene in check. Don’t wait for a problem, be proactive, and call us now to book in for a check-up. While you are visiting us, our experienced Taree dental team can provide you with professional advice regarding any of these oral hygiene tips or answer any other questions you have.
Phone us at Taree Dental Care on (02) 6550 0960 to make an appointment. We’d love to see you – and your smile.
Have you ever been stuck talking to someone who’s breath wasn’t overly pleasant or worse, downright stinky? It can be one of those awkward social situations, do you say something or just try and cut the conversation short?
Sometimes bad breath, or halitosis, can be simply because we’ve decided to indulge on a loaf of garlic bread, or we have been in such a rush to get to work that we’ve forgotten to clean our teeth in the morning. Coffee breath is such a bummer!
It’s no wonder that store shelves are overflowing with gum, mints, mouthwashes, and other products designed to fight bad breath. But sadly, most of these products really are just temporary measures.
There are many causes of occasional or an intermittent case of bad breath such as, acid reflux, eating strong smelling foods like garlic and onion, or simply being unwell with a sore throat or respiratory infection. These are part of life and pretty normal if kept in check.
But there is a big difference between these sorts of causes AND having chronic halitosis.
Chronic halitosis (that is, bad breath on a daily, or very regular basis) is often the result of tooth decay, gum disease or a coated tongue. It’s caused by a build-up of hundreds of bacteria on the tongue, gums, and throat. They live on the tongue or below the gum-line or in pockets created by gum disease between your gums and teeth.
That type of bacteria doesn’t need light to survive, so it burrows down into the roots and can create real problems. YUK. 🤢
Chronic bad breath will need a trip to the dentist to ascertain the cause. Leaving any form of gum disease and tooth decay too long may ultimately lead to more serious health problems down the track. That is something you DON’T want.
Dry mouth is also a condition that can lead to bad breath. Smoking or certain medications can cause dry mouth, along with some foods, like caffeine and alcohol.
Dry mouth is caused by slowing saliva production, when there is not enough saliva in the mouth to wash out the bacteria which then results in a build-up of food particles and nasty bacteria that will cause that horrible smell.
That is why brushing and flossing is SO IMPORTANT to manage or eliminate bad breath – to clean out all those pockets in your mouth which can fill with bacteria. It also helps if you drink plenty of water and swish cool water around your mouth to help to freshen “morning breath.”
Covering up bad breath with a bottle of strong mouth wash will only work in the short term. It will help with the smell briefly but it won’t eliminate the cause of problem. In fact, mouth washes which contain alcohol can sometimes dry out your mouth and make things worse.
If you think your bad breath, or a family member, could be the result of an oral hygiene issue we would highly recommend you drop us a line at Taree Dental Care and book in for an appointment.
Learning proper dental hygiene is the first and best step to achieving fresh breath. Bad breath can feel embarrassing, but it really doesn’t need to be that way.
Regular dental check-ups and cleans are also very important. ☑️
Call us at the clinic on (02) 6550 0960. We can book you in with one of our friendly Taree Dentists who will be able to get your mouth back on track to fresh and inviting breath!
A child’s first tooth is a pretty special occasion! Your child can now bite which means tasting a wider variety of foods and developing some taste buds.
Ideally, at Taree Dental Care we recommend introducing your child to the dentist about 6 months after all his or her baby teeth have come through.
Not only are regular check-ups essential to maintain your child’s teeth, gums, and smile – it’s proven that an early, non-invasive dental checkup goes along way to avoiding long-term dental anxiety.
A lot has changed in the last decade and dental visits are now way more comfortable then they have ever been. (We like to make it fun at our Taree Dentist with a bright and cheery clinic and your kids can even play their favourite TV show while sitting in the dental chair!)
Here are some tips to help maintain your kid’s healthy smile.
Teaching your child to look after their teeth from a young age is critical. Brushing teeth doesn’t have to be a dreaded daily mission – try to get your child actively involved.
Let your curious pre-schooler pick out their own new toothbrush and a great-tasting toothpaste. Kids who take the lead are more likely to make daily brushing a personal habit – and it will feel like less of a chore.
A word of warning though, even though your pre-schooler might want to ‘fly solo’ when it comes to brushing and flossing, you’ll still need to supervise his or her technique and help ensure that the teeth are cleaned at least twice daily.
As your child then heads into ‘big school’ and gains a tiny bit of maturity, it’s the ideal time to seriously reinforce those healthy oral habits. Afterall, your kids only get ‘one shot‘ once their adult teeth start to come through from the age of about 6 or 7 years.
You will know this is happening because it’s when the words ‘tooth fairy’ and ‘money’ will start to enter your child’s vocabulary on a more regular basis.
Do everything to make a trip to the dentist a positive experience. Try to plan your child’s dental visit for a time when they’re well rested, if you can. Don’t tell them to be brave (they already are), don’t bribe them, or use the dentist as punishment or a deterrent. Believe me, those strategies do more harm than good.
It’s also important that you don’t express any of your own dental fears to them. If you are feeling nervous this can rub off onto your child, so it’s important to stay calm and positive.
Rest assured that at a young age, usually little or no treatment is required and it’s more about creating trust between child and dentist as well as giving you, the responsible parent or carer, some guidance to help set your child up for a lifetime of good dental hygiene.
At your child’s appointment we might review and discuss:
✔️Bite (how your child’s teeth will come together)
✔️Soft tissues such as gums and cheeks
✔️Any habits, such as thumb sucking
✔️Risk of decay and how to prevent it
✔️Prevention of trauma to your child’s mouth
✔️Provide some nutritional advice.
Remember we have your children’s best interests at heart and we like good habits to be formed early. Educating your child, and you, is all part of the process. Afterall, information is power.
As a general rule, the earlier your child visits the dentist the better. A lot of my patients in their middle years with dental problems weren’t encouraged to look after their teeth when they were younger – and sadly, now it shows.
Your child’s early dental care, as well as creating good and lasting habits, will help protect them from tooth decay and other significant (and potentially costly) future dental treatment.
At Taree Dental Care we have a professional team and we pride ourselves on providing excellent dental care for your children, with a strong focus on prevention over cure.
We specialise in children’s dentistry and we are Taree’s leading children’s dentist.
We are also amalgamated with the Child’s Dental Benefits Scheme through Medicare, so your child aged between 2 and 17 years may also be eligible for dental benefits.
To find out if your child is eligible, grab your Medicare number and get in touch with us today at Taree Dental Care on (02) 6550 0960.
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