Tips to encourage tooth-brushing in children

Do you find it a struggle at times to brush your children' s teeth? Here are some tips that we find that helps our children look forward to brushing his teeth:

  • when they were babies and toddlers we'd play and sing Lah Lah’s big live band “Brush your teeth" song on CD or DVD
     
  • place stickers on a DentArtisans brushing calendar. When the chart is full of stars offer your child a treat
     
  • brush with a 2 minute sand timer (Ask us for one at your next check-up visit)
     
  • use a “show and tell” method which means while you brush your own teeth allow your child to watch and imitate
     
  • when they are toddlers- brush their teeth when they are in the bath tub
     
  • Take your child along for a professional dental check up at DentArtisans. We will go through tooth brushing and dental care in a fun way!

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the inflammation of gum tissues surrounding the teeth. This is usually characterised by redness, swelling, and bleeding of the gums. Gingivitis is preventable with sound daily oral care. Gingivitis is caused by the accumulation of plaque along the gum line. Plaque contains bacteria and bacterial toxins (which irritate the gum tissue) resulting in inflammation. Gingivitis can lead to the development of a more serious, irreversible gum disease (periodontal disease). Gingivitis is the mildest form of periodontal disease and is reversible.

By definition, there is no loss of bone that supports the tooth associated with gingivitis. If treated early, gingivitis can be eliminated. If left untreated, it can progress into the more serious form of periodontal disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis leads to permanent damage of the gum and bone tissue that supports the teeth, and may result in tooth loss.

As mentioned, bleeding gums are one of the signs of gingivitis. Healthy gum tissues should never bleed, even when brushing. Gingivitis is usually painless and can be localised (around a few teeth) or generalised (around most or all of the teeth). Accumulation of the plaque that leads to gingivitis occurs due to insufficient or ineffective tooth brushing and flossing.

Gingivitis can be eliminated with effective daily oral care habits that prevent plaque accumulation. Plaque and tartar (calculus or hardened plaque) must be removed before the gum tissues can heal and the inflammation can be eliminated. Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional using special equipment, therefore a professional clean is required. If it has been some time since you had your teeth cleaned properly, it may take more than one appointment to remove all of these hard deposits.

To prevent gingivitis both home and professional care are important.   Having your teeth professionally cleaned every six months allows for regular removal of tartar. Thorough tooth brushing twice a day, and flossing once a day will prevent daily accumulation of the plaque that leads to inflammation. This will also limit the amount of tartar that develops on your teeth between your regular professional cleans. If you keep your teeth and gums clean, they can be healthy and trouble-free for your whole life. To book your next professional clean at DentArtisans you can call us on 9518 7832.

Guidelines to Manage Dry Mouth

Saliva has many special properties. It keeps the mouth wet, helps digest food, protects teeth from decay, prevents infections in the mouth, and makes it possible for you to chew and swallow. Almost everybody has experienced transient dry mouth, especially during times of stress, or when you are are nervous. Dry mouth (also known as zerostomia) all of the time is very uncomfortable, tend lead to serious dental problems and can indicate an underlying medical problem. Xerostomia is often as a result of chemotherapy, radiotherapy to the head and neck area or taking prescription medications.

At DentArtisans we examine all our patients for the signs of dry mouth. We can also conduct special saliva testing to understand if your saliva places you at risk of further dental and health problems. This test will enable us to examine the quality and quantity of saliva in your mouth.

Below are some guidelines which can assist with relieving the symptoms of dry mouth.

Tooth brushing
Thorough tooth brushing and flossing is important to limit bacteria in the mouth. If you wear acrylic dentures, retainers or anything removable in your mouth you need to clean it with a brush, soap and water. Dentures should be left out in a cup of water when you go to bed. Acrylic oral devices have microscopic holes which harbour bacteria.

Toothpastes
Most toothpastes contain the foaming agent known as "sodium lauryl sulphate". You need to avoid these toothpastes as they can cause irritation with dry mouth. Try "Biotene Dry Mouth Toothpaste" which has natural salivary enzymes or "Rembrandt Natural".

Mouthwash
Warm sodium bicarbonate mouthwash can improve oral discomfort. If you would like to use a mouthwash NEVER use a mouthwash containing alcohol (e.g Listerine). Instead use a water-based mouthwash such as "Biotene Mouthwash" or "Curasept Mouthwash" 

Mouth gels
Most patients find the "Oral Balance Moisturising Gel" made by Biotene or "Dry Mouth Gel" made by GC to be the most effective in minimising irritation created by dry mouth. If you wear a denture, try placing the gel inside your denture and then place it into your mouth.

Helpful Tips:

  • Sip water frequently- you need to aim towards drinking 2 litres of water/day.

  • Carry a water spray bottle to wet your mouth continually

  • Sugar-free chewing gum will stimulate salivary flow. Chewing gum such as Recaldent (available from dentists only) also have added benefits to assist with re-mineralising tooth surfaces

  • Eat sugar-free lollies as an alternative to sugar containing lollies

  • Suck on ice blocks

  • Keep a glass of water by your bed at night

  • Drink during meal times

  • Use bland non spicy sauces

  • Limit your caffeine (e.g. coffee, cola and tea)

  • Maintain a balanced and nutritional diet- ensuring adequate levels of iron and vitamins A and B.

If you have symptoms of constant dry mouth, you can make an appoinment for an analysis at Dentartisans. Ph: 9518 7832 or email: smile@dentartisans.com.au

Bonjela Teeth Gel Warnings

The issue with Bonjela Teething Gel, as sold in Australia, is the active ingredient, choline salicylate. In Europe, Bonjela Teething Gel contains Lidocaine hydrochloride and cetalkonium chloride and does not have choline salicylate in it. Choline salicylate belongs to a group of medications called NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory DrugS) which act by reducing the inflammation of the gums and hence reduces the pain of teething. The salicylate family includes common over-the- counter drugs such as Aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) and Dencorub (methyl salicylate). Click here to view a comprehensive list of Salicylates to avoid.

As oral choline salicylate is structurally related to Aspirin (salicylic acid), and Aspirin is known to be associated with Reye's Syndrome, it is therefore possible that overuse can result in a child developing Reye's Syndrome. Reye's syndrome is a potentially fatal disease that causes detrimental effects to organs; particularly the brain, liver and kidneys. The disease causes “fatty liver” and severe encephalopathy (with swelling of the brain). 
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend that aspirin and combination products containing aspirin not be taken by anyone under 19 years of age during fever-causing illnesses. On the 21st April 2009, the Medicines and Healthcare products and Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advised that products containing choline salicylate should not be used on children and adolescents under the age of 16. Such a warning is purely precautionary.

A review article published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine in January 2007 by J.E. Davis noted that there were some well documented deaths and life threatening toxicity in children under 6 yrs of age after a dosage of less than 5mLs (one teaspoon) of Oil of Wintergreen. Oil of Wintergreen contains 98% choline salicylate. The data from the study was obtained from a review of the existing medical literature on methyl salicylate (e.g. Dencorub) poisoning and data compiled over the past two decades by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC).


Dentartisans recommend that you avoid choline salicylate in children and adolescents under the age of 16. Alternative teething remedies you can use are: teething rings, rusks, cold teaspoon, ice, chilled fruits, topical anaesthetics, toys with various hard and soft textures and cuddles. Nurofen for Children or Panadol for Children will also help. Herbal teething gels are also available on the market. These gels may work and but there are as yet, no available documented studies related to them. They may also have side effects of their own.

Prevent Decay with Fissure Sealants

What are fissure sealants?
The biting surfaces of the back teeth naturally have tiny deep pits and grooves called fissures. The fissures are so small that not even a toothbrush bristle can reach and clean it when you brush your teeth. Decay which eventuate as holes in the teeth may form when plaque or bacteria get trapped in these deep grooves. A preventive option to protect your teeth from decay and plaque is by sealing up these deep grooves with a coating known as a fissure sealant. A fissure sealant is a tooth coloured liquid-like substance which turns into a hard resin coating that bonds into the grooves of the teeth, therefore, protecting your teeth from decay.

Procedure for fissure sealants
The whole procedure to have a fissure sealant applied to your tooth is quick and painless.

  • We make sure that there is no decay or plaque in the tooth.
  • It is important to keep the area dry and away from your saliva when applying the fissure sealant. The sealant might not bond properly if the tooth gets wet.
  • The fissure sealant is painted onto the biting surface of your back tooth filling the grooves and pits.
  • Then the sealant is hardened by using a special kind of light that “cures” the sealant, therefore sealing up these deep grooves and pits. Once it hardens, the tooth is ready for use.


Who needs fissure sealants?
At DentArtisans we believe that the best time to have fissure sealants done is when the adult permanent molar teeth first emerge into the mouth. Usually for children, the first permanent molar tooth pops out at around the age of six. It is recommended to seal these new teeth, as soon as they come out, with a fissure sealant so that it provides a protective coating to prevent decay from forming in them. 

To schedule in appointment for your fissure sealants please call us on 9518 7832

Can Mouthwashes containing Alcohol cause Oral Cancer?

At DentArtisans every patient is screened for oral cancer at their dental check up appointments. It is well known that excessive alcohol consumption combined with smoking will increase the risk of oral cancer. The recent publicity of alcohol-containing mouthwashes and oral cancer was sparked when Associate Professor Michael McCullough from Melbourne University, published findings in his study in the Australian Dental Journal. Professor McCullough mentioned that some mouthwashes were more dangerous than wine or beer because they contained higher concentrations of alcohol - as high as 26 per cent.

The study published by Professor McCullough however did not show conclusive results. At least ten epidemiological studies published over the last three decades strongly suggested that the use of alcohol-containing rinses did not increase the risk of oral cancer.

The ethanol in mouthwash is thought to allow cancer-causing substances (such as nicotine) to permeate the lining of the mouth more easily and potentially cause harm. Acetaldehyde is a carcinogenic chemical which results in the toxic breakdown of alcohol.

On the contrary, the head of the University of Queensland's School of Dentistry, Professor Laurence Walsh claims that mouthwashes are more likely to help prevent cancer as they impair the production of molecules that have cancer-causing effects like acetaldehyde.

From our perspective, we caution our patients against using a powerful alcoholic-based mouthwash on a daily basis especially those who use mouthwash to mask the smell of cigarette smoke. At DentArtisans our policy on mouthwashes has always followed current literature and guidelines. We recommended mouthwashes only for specific situations, such as before and after surgical procedures, to aid with the healing of gums after gum therapy, and as a pre-rinse prior to dental procedures. The use of such mouthwashes has been prescribed for period of two weeks only and not for prolonged use. For prolonged use, we have an alcohol free mouthwash called Curasept.

If you have any concerns about the mouthwash that you are currently using or that we have prescribed for you please do not hesitate to contact us at DentArtisans ph: 9518 7832 or email: smile@dentartisans.com.au

What is the link between Periodontal Disease and Heart Disease?

The risk for heart disease includes having high cholesterol, high blood pressure, being overweight and smoking. There is evidence that periodontal disease may increase your risk of heart disease. Some studies have suggested that patients with periodontal disease may have almost twice the risk of a fatal heart attack to those who do not have periodontal disease.

What is periodontal disease?
It is a bacterial infection of the gums, bone and the fibres which support the teeth in the jaw. It is a painless disease until the tooth is terminal and requires extraction. Some symptoms include: bad breath, bleeding gums, red and swollen gums, gums separated from the teeth, loose teeth, pus between the gum and the tooth. 

Healthy gums are important to maintain a healthy body. One of the main theories which link periodontal disease with heart disease are that oral bacteria enter the blood stream via inflamed gums and attach to fatty plaques in the coronary arteries (heart blood vessels) and contributing to clot formation. Coronary artery disease is caused by the thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries due to the build up of fatty proteins. Blood clots can obstruct normal blood flow, restricting the amount of nutrients and oxygen required for the heart to function properly. This with time may lead to a heart attack.

Periodontal disease can also exacerbate existing heart conditions. Patients at risk for infective endocarditis may require antibiotics prior to dental procedures.

Is periodontal disease linked to other health problems?
There have been links with periodontal disease and respiratory disease, diabetes, premature and underweight births and strokes.

Diet and Dental Decay

At DentArtisans, we consider ourselves as diet sleuths. That’s because we can often see how diet can contribute to dental issues. Those issues include decay and erosion of teeth.

There is an established link between good teeth, gums and a good diet. Food choices and frequency are key factors as to why many people develop decay. Each time we eat or drink, sugars touch the teeth and help plaque acids attach to the tooth surfaces. The more frequent we snack the more times the plaque acid has a chance to penetrate to form tooth decay.

Did you know that Australians consume approximately $1.6 billion per year in soft drinks? The Australian Bureau of Statistics, suggest that the intake of soft drinks in Australia has grown rapidly in the past 30 years from around 47.3 L per person per year in 1969 to 113 L per person (children and adults) in 1999. Soft drinks, as well as fruit juices, are responsible for the increase for sugar in the diet and also relates to development of tooth decay.

Not only does a can of soft drink contain as much as 11 teaspoons of sugar, it also contains phosphoric acid and citric acid. These acids can permanent damage teeth by a process called “erosion”.

At DentArtisans, we are vigilant in the prevention of decay and erosion. Here are some things that we recommend that you can do to prevent such problems:

  • Limit fruit juices and soft drinks - milk and water is a better alternative.

  • Drink plenty of water in between and during meals.

  • Avoid sipping sweetened drinks over a long period of time.

  • Minimise snacking in between main meals and when snacking give preferences to nutritious foods.

  • Chewing sugar free gum after a meal can help lower your risk of dental decay.

  • If you drink alcohol, try to do so with your meals. Wines, beers and spirits can be highly acidic. Drinking acidic beverages during meal times reduce the potential for acid to compromise the teeth in comparison to without meals.

  • If you are taking prescribed medications, it may create dry mouth. See our updates on dry mouth for more details.

  • Brush twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, floss daily and have six monthly dental check ups.

  • At your dental check up, we can also recommend products to replace loss of minerals due to acid attack in the teeth. This includes products such as “Tooth Mousse”, high fluoride and “ClinPro” pastes.


To book in your next decay preventive dental check up call us on 9518 7832.

What's a Prosthodontist?

We get asked that question too many times. To be honest if I wasn't a Dentist I would be asking the same question. We live in a world of information overload and Dentistry to the lay person is no different. So here's an explanation about what A/Professor Max Guazzato, Dr. Johnson Chou and Dr. Sravan Chunduru do and why they are "Prosthodontists"

Dental and medical specialities historically grew out of the need to provide the best available treatment where the treatment required is far more complex, more clinically and technically demanding. The specialty of prosthodontics came about in exactly this way. A Prosthodontist is a specialist dentist who is specifically trained at an advanced level to provide advanced diagnosis, treatment planning, restorative treatment and maintenance of the mouth to achieve optimal comfort, aesthetics and health. It takes three years of full time study in a Doctorate of Clinical Dentistry in addition to the Bachelor degree to become a dentist. So yes A/Prof Max Guazzato definitely has done all the training and ticked all the boxes (and more) to be recognised by the Australian Dental Board as a Prosthodontist and also a Professor of Prosthodontist (USyd). 

The work of a prosthodontist is often related to restoring missing teeth, deficient or broken teeth, restoring function and maintenance of the mouth and smile. The treatment planning and restoration of implants, crowns, fixed bridges, dentures, porcelain veneers, temporomandibular therapy and rehabilitation of the bite all fall under the field of prosthodontics. So the next time your general dentist refers you on to see a Prosthodontist, I hope this helps explain why you're being referred!