The dreaded cold and flu season is upon us and I certainly hope you don’t have a brush with the lurgy this winter. From all reports, it’s a particularly nasty one!
But if you do get sick, or a family member, you may not have given much thought to teeth and mouth care during a bout of illness. There are a few simple steps you can take to protect your smile when you’re under the weather.
We all know that it’s no fun being sick. Arrrrrgh!
Feeling exhausted makes it really difficult to muster the energy for everyday tasks – but you should always try to make an effort to stick to your dental routine.
Even if you spend all day tucked up in bed under the doona, be sure to brush your teeth morning and night. And if you can manage it, floss too.
Keeping your teeth clean may seem like such a little thing, but apart from helping with oral hygiene it can really help you feel a little bit refreshed when you’re putting up with a cold.
No matter how ready you are to flop into bed, make sure you brush your teeth and tongue. And if you have some mouthwash handy, have a quick rinse. A clean mouth and fresh breath WILL make you feel a little brighter.
We know about covering our mouth and washing our hands when we’re sick, but germ control extends to your dental hygiene too.
Your toothbrush bristles are the flu virus’s ideal home – it can survive up to 72 hours on moist surfaces!
Don’t be too alarmed! The main thing you need to do is keep your toothbrush isolated from other toothbrushes in your household and, for good measure, replace your toothbrush with a new one once you have recovered.
If vomiting is one of your symptoms, your dental hygiene needs will change. It can be very tempting to brush your teeth straight after vomiting to get the taste out of your mouth, but this is actually not ideal.
Brushing immediately after vomiting can rub harmful stomach acids into your teeth and cause damage to the enamel.
Instead, rinse your mouth out with water, or a diluted mouthwash or, best of all a solution of baking soda, which is alkaline and will neutralise the acid.
Wait about half an hour after vomiting to brush your teeth.
Dehydration brought on by illness can lead to a very dry mouth.
Apart from being uncomfortable, dry mouth can increase tooth decay as there is no saliva controlling harmful bacteria.
Make sure you drink plenty of water and other sugar-free drinks. Keeping hydrated not only prevents dry mouth but also helps your body fight the infection.
Tempting as it may be to suck on a lozenge to ease your throat, a lot of lozenges are no better than lollies.
Butter Menthols, Eucalyptus Balls and others like them are chock full of sugar. Be sure to read the label when choosing throat lozenges and select a sugar-free option. If in doubt, ask a pharmacist for a recommendation.
Soup and hot drinks are a traditional part of any cold and flu remedy routine, but you need to be mindful of what you’re consuming.
Hot drinks loaded with acidic lemon juice and honey for instance may calm your sore throat but they’re doing your teeth no favours. Opt for a herbal tea instead, something like lemongrass and ginger which is naturally soothing but has no added sugar.
When you’ve got that stuffy-headed feeling it can be hard to make the right decisions for your health.
If you’re stocked up with the right gear and prepared ahead of time you’ll be much more likely to do the right things if you get sick.
To prepare yourself for cold and flu season be sure to:·
✔️ Stock up on sugar-free lozenges, cough syrups and other medicines
· ✔️Keep a store of spare toothbrushes in the cupboard
· ✔️Have a selection of herbal teas on hand
· ✔️ Keep a small amount of baking soda in your bathroom cabinet
· ✔️Keep toothbrushes isolated from each other at all times.
There you go !
Most importantly, you are now armed with few handy tips to get your mouth through the ‘arrrgh’ of a cold or flu. Fingers crossed you won’t actually need it!
f you need any advice to assistance when it comes to the health of your teeth, mouth and gums, call Taree Dental Care!
Do you ever wake up in the morning with an aching jaw or a headache?
If this happens to you on a regular basis, there’s a good chance you are grinding your teeth in your deep sleep – and you don’t even realise you are doing it.
About half the population grinds their teeth from time to time and the majority of teeth grinding is mild and causes very little harm. About 30% of children grind or clench their teeth but most grow out of it and suffer no ill effects.
But about one in 20 people are regular, forceful tooth grinders. Ouch!
This is the sort of chronic teeth grinding that can become problematic. It can also be very noisy so you may find yourself unpopular with your sleeping partner or room-mate!
Teeth grinding is officially known as bruxism (yep it’s an unusual word that you don’t hear used too often – unless you work in a dental practice!)
Bruxism is the involuntary clenching, gnashing and grinding of your teeth.
If your teeth are in contact too often or too forcefully, you can, over time wear down your tooth enamel, the outer layer that protects your tooth.
If the second layer, the dentin, becomes exposed this can lead to tooth sensitivity. Without the enamel to protect your teeth, you can end up with some serious (and potentially costly) dental problems.
You can be a ‘bruxer’ and not know it! There are several tell-tale signs to look for:
One of the leading causes of tooth grinding— is stress.
Dentists have long connected stress to teeth grinding. Anger, anxiety and physical stress can cause your mouth to tense up and cause grinding in your sleep (and sometimes when you are awake).
Some people are also prone to tooth grinding when they are locked in deep concentration. If you notice yourself or your child doing this involuntarily while awake, then there is a good chance the grinding also happens during sleep.
Sometimes missing teeth or a misaligned bite can cause you to grind.
Lifestyle choices like alcohol, smoking and high caffeine intake can sometimes play a role too.
And bruxism is also listed as a side effect of some antidepressants and amphetamines – so if you are a grinder, check your prescriptions!
While stress and anxiety have been identified as THE most common cause, there is new evidence to suggest another culprit. Sleep apnoea.
Sleep apnoea is now considered to be strongly associated with chronic tooth grinding.
In this case, the grinding has less to do with stress. As your body cycles through the various stages of sleep, many of your muscles relax. For some people, relaxing the jaw and tongue obstructs their airway.
The physical act of clenching the jaw and grinding teeth actually serves to reopen the airway. In that sense, tooth grinding is a sort of automatic measure of self-preservation. It allows you to continue breathing.
Sleep apnoea can be a serious problem. So if it turns out that your tooth grinding is related to sleep apnoea, then treating the apnoea will also correct the chronic grinding.
Your doctor will be able to advise on how to best treat your sleep apnoea and you may need to undertake a sleep study to find out what is going on during your shut-eye.
At Taree Dental Care we can help patients who suffer from persistent teeth grinding. We will ask you some questions and check your teeth for wear and any damage, as well as check the muscles in and around your jaw.
There are no quick-fixes or medications to stop bruxism.
There are other treatments available, including relaxation techniques or counselling to help relieve stress if that is the cause. Or even chiropractic adjustments to realign your jaw. Botox has also been successful to relax jaw muscles.
Treating sleep apnoea may also help to control the problem.
At Taree Dental Care we can also make a custom dental mouthguard to wear while sleeping.
Remember though that the mouthguard doesn’t treat the causes of teeth grinding – but it does work as an excellent stop-gap to protect your teeth while you work to address the root cause.
If you think you grind your teeth, or you know someone who does, then give us a call on 6550 0960, OR head to our website to make an appointment.
Teeth grinding is not something to simply ignore.
Did you know that less than 5% of the Aussie population regularly floss their teeth?
Teeth flossing is so important and many of us floss just twice a year – the night before our 6 monthly dental check-up.
The Australian Dental Association encourages us to floss every day for a clean and healthy mouth – but if daily teeth flossing is not realistic for you, then try to floss at least once a week.
Flossing properly removes plaque and food particles where a toothbrush simply can’t reach. Even if you are the most diligent tooth-brusher EVER!
Between your teeth and under your gum line are very hard to reach places; a buildup of plaque in those unreached areas can make your gums inflamed, lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even tooth loss for extreme cases.
Don’t just floss your teeth when food gets stuck. I am going to ask you to make it part of your routine.
Floss picks have also grown in popularity and are pretty easy to use if you prefer. Dental water jets are another way to encourage flossing.
But good old floss is just as effective and cheaper. And in many ways, better.
Seeing blood when you floss can be a little scary, but some bleeding is totally normal. It’s definitely not a reason to quit flossing!
Bleeding can alert you to some potential problems. Some people bleed because they’re flossing too enthusiastically. If you bleed alot, try to be gentler and see whether you bleed less.
People with gum disease bleed more than others when they floss. Take a close look at your gum line and see whether it looks inflamed. If you think you might have gum disease, give us a call so we can check it out.
There’s no truth to the myth that flossing teeth correctly exacerbates receding gums.
In fact, flossing can actually prevent gums from receding, since it cleans food particles and bacteria out from below the gum line. That makes flossing crucial for people with hereditary receding gums and gingivitis.
If your gums are already receding, flossing daily can help prevent further damage.
Bear in mind though that over-zealous flossing can be hazardous to gum recession so speak to us if you need advice on flossing technique. Be thorough, but be gentle.
Braces can sure make flossing challenging. But failing to floss for the months or years that you have braces is a bad idea. Just imagine how much food and bacteria will be stuck between your teeth by the time you get your braces off!
If you find flossing with braces difficult, let us at Taree Dental Care help you perfect your technique. Remember, we are here to guide you and help you with you oral hygiene.
We hope with these helpful tips that flossing becomes an easier, more routine process for you.
Remember that a dental checkup is still necessary even if you practice at-home dental care, so contact the best dentist in Taree, today! That’s Taree Dental Care of course!
Give us a call on 6550 0960 or head to our website to make an appointment.
If you’ve ever dealt with chronic dry mouth, then you know how distracting and uncomfortable the condition can be.
Dry mouth arises when the mouth’s saliva glands don’t produce adequate amounts of saliva. It can result from a number of causes including smoking, certain medications, dehydration, depression or anxiety, cancer therapy, or autoimmune disorders.
No matter what the cause of dry mouth, the consequences are discomfort and a heightened risk of tooth decay and gum disease. That’s because saliva plays an extremely important role in our oral health, from cleaning the mouth to helping protect teeth from decay.
Without adequate saliva production, you’re more likely to experience difficulty chewing and swallowing, bad breath, dry or cracked lips, cavities, and/or infections of the tongue, cheeks, or gums.
Let’s talk about the common causes……
Dry mouth can often be a side effect of medication.
These medications are not limited to just prescription drugs – even some over-the-counter medications can make your mouth feel dry. Antidepressants, antihistamines, decongestants, pain medication and BP medication, can also exacerbate a dry mouth.
If one of these medications is responsible for your symptoms, sometimes your doctor can put you on a different medication or possibly lower the dosage.
Dry mouth can also be caused by medical treatments such as radiotherapy, or some surgeries. It can also be a direct result of a medical condition (for example diabetes, lupus, or blocked salivary glands).
So if you suffer from a consistently dry and uncomfortable mouth, always mention it to your doctor and your dentist.
If you notice your dry mouth flares up after you’ve been smoking or drinking, that’s because both alcohol and tobacco dry out your mouth and inhibit saliva production.
It’s best you quit smoking altogether for reasons we all know too well. And if you are consuming alcohol, ensure you’re drinking water between your drinks. Common sense really.
If you like using a mouthrinse, be sure to buy an alcohol-free mouthwash. Alcohol, even in a mouthwash form, can cause a dry mouth.
Some foods, especially acidic salty and spicy foods can also impact the severity of dry mouth symptoms.
One of the most obvious causes of dry mouth is simple dehydration.
We recommend drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day but the best rule of thumb is to listen to your body and drink water even before you feel thirsty, especially when in the heat and/or exercising.
Some people find that sipping water, and sucking (sugar-free) sweets or chewing gum, can help in the short term to help produce saliva. A water based lip moisturiser can also help.
Minimise sugary and acidic drinks, and brush and floss EVERY day. Simples.
There are also a variety of pastes and gels on the market so ask us about those when you see us at your next dental checkup.
We’ll thoroughly examine your mouth and consider your medications and medical history to pinpoint the root cause, and suggest treatment customised to your individual dental needs.
Remember, you have a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease with dry mouth, and these can get worse more quickly than usual. So it is important to visit your dental team regularly.
Contact us on 6550 0960 to schedule your appointment with our professional Taree dental team today!
And if you do suffer dry mouth, it often goes hand in hand with bad breath. Take a look at our earlier blog with tips on how to make bad breath go away.
According to the Australian Dental Association, children should start visiting the dentist when a baby’s tooth becomes visible or they reach one year old.
But did you know they also recommend ALL kids may benefit from having a preventative orthodontic assessment between the ages of seven and 10 years old?
That may sound young, but prevention is always better than cure when it comes to your child’s oral health.
By seven years old, most children have a mix of adult and baby teeth, which will help the dentist to determine if there are any developing problems such as misalignment of the jaws, crowding, or overbites.
Sorry to say this Mum and Dad, but many orthodontic problems in your kids are inherited. Here are a few common ones to watch out for:
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and /or speaking, and excess stress on bones and gums.
Without treatment, many problems become worse and can require additional and more costly dental care later in life.🤑
One thing for certain is that an early orthodontic evaluation is always a really good idea.
It allows us to check if there are any problems present, and talk you through the best course of action to put you and your child’s minds at ease.🌈
Early preventative treatment provides an opportunity to help:
At Taree Dental Care we have a special interest in treating orthodontic problems in children. 👪
The idea of an initial visit is for a ‘screening.’ This is where Dr Dan or a member of his dental team will examine and assess your child’s growing face, teeth, and jaws.
It is most likely early orthodontic treatment will NOT be needed – but in the cases that it is – the benefits of early screening can be significant. 👍
We can discuss treatments to correct the growth of your child’s jaw and some bite problems. We can also assist with gaining enough room for permanent teeth to properly come through, and guide your child’s teeth into a more favourable position, as well as minimising the chances of extractions later on.
Orthodontic procedures performed later in life take longer and are also way tougher on the hip pocket.
The message to remember is that early diagnosis and timely management is KEY. Bring your child in for their first orthodontic
This will allow us to catch any problems or abnormalities early on—when they’re easiest to treat and fix.
And naturally if your child’s case is complex, we would refer you to a specialist orthodontist.
At Taree Dental Care we pride ourselves on having a focus on children’s dentistry. You need a dentist you can trust. You also need to find someone your child likes.
Contact us for your child’s orthodontic screen and be reassured that he or she will grow up with a healthy and beautiful smile.
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