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Oral Care: Choosing the Right Toothbrush

Dental Advice | Dental Care

When it comes to choosing the right toothbrush, it can be a bit confusing because of the many sizes, colours, and types of bristle you can choose from. Throw the electric toothbrushes into the mix, and you can surely get lost in the dental aisle. The question becomes: “Which is the right toothbrush for you?” And the answer actually depends on your unique dental needs.

 

For Sensitive Teeth

A survey done by the Academy of General Dentistry stated that one in three dentists report that brushing with too much force is the number one cause of tooth sensitivity.

 

Many people believe that by using a hard or medium-bristled toothbrush, you get cleaner teeth, but in reality, those types of bristles do more harm than good. Hard and medium-bristled brushes are known to cause bleeding or receding gums as well as worn enamel that exposes the dentin, thus leading to tooth sensitivity.

 

Keep in mind that soft-bristled toothbrushes are always the best option and that soft bristles are just as effective as the hard or medium-bristled ones.

 

For People Who Grind Their Teeth at Night

Bruxism – teeth grinding and clenching – affects 1 in 3 people. The grinding process is similar to putting over a thousand pounds of pressure on the teeth and jaw. Ongoing teeth grinding can wear one’s teeth down to nubs and it also wears away the enamel, which can lead to extreme tooth sensitivity. This is why people who are suffering from bruxism need to use an extra soft-bristled toothbrush.

 

People with Arthritis or Limited Mobility

There are people, especially the elderly and those with limited mobility, who have a hard time getting to all their teeth using a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are a better option in this case. They have bristles that rotate in one direction and can be switched and moved to the opposite direction. They are more effective in terms of cleaning the teeth or those electric toothbrushes that only spin in a single direction.

 

People with Braces

Soft-bristled electric toothbrushes are great for people who wear braces. One study which had 21 patients who have orthodontic appliances found that those patients who used electric toothbrushes had significant improvement in plaque reduction in comparison to those who used manual toothbrushes.

 

If you do not have your personal dentist yet, be sure to reach out to us today! With Midtown Dental, you can be sure that your oral health will be taken care of and all your dental concerns handled only by the best!

Great Dental Tips Parents Should Teach Their Children

Children | Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

Did you know that kids do not really like brushing their teeth every day? This is because children are busy learning, playing, and becoming independent. However, oral health in children should start early, and the best way to do this is by teaching them early.

 

Children should be in the habit of a morning and bedtime routine. Make sure to do it every day until it becomes natural for them. Many parents concern themselves whether or not their children are getting the proper basics for good oral hygiene. Keep in mind that oral health is essential to one’s overall health. It is never too early for our kids to start learning good dental habits.

 

Here are some great tips for all parents:

 

NUTRITION

You should know what foods your kids’ eat. The drinks and foods our kids consume are just as important as any dental care can be. The amount of sugars found in drinks and foods specifically marketed towards kids is astounding, even the ones labeled “healthy”.

 

THUMB-SUCKING

For some children, especially the younger ones, the issue of thumbsucking can be quite problematic. Studies show that prolonged occurrences of thumbsucking after the age of three can negatively affect a child’s oral health. Overtime, the formation of the structure of the teeth and jaw can be altered and affected by having an object consistently and routinely placed in the oral activity. If your young one is a thumb-sucker, there is really nothing to fear, but you do not want this habit to persist after your child turns three years old.

 

REGULAR DENTAL VISITS

Consistently visiting your dentist is also a major benefit to your kids’ dental health. While brushing and flossing regularly is a great dental habit, there is no getting around regular visits to the dentist. If you do not take your kids to the dentist every six months for the regular dental checkups, you are potentially instilling in them that oral health is not important. Kids who do not go to the dentist regularly tend to have more cavities than children who do. It is essential to teach your kids the importance of oral health before their adult teeth come in. Remember, that set will be their last and that needs to last them a lifetime!

 

LEAD BY EXAMPLE

At the end of the day, your habits should serve as the example for your family. While oral health might not be a top priority in a family’s daily routine, these tips can still make a huge difference.

 

HOW WE CAN HELP

If you are in need of reliable dentists who can take care of you and your family’s oral health, then we are just one call (or click) away. We hope to hear from you soon!

Smoothies and Fruit Juices: Are They Bad for the Teeth?

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

Studies have shown that smoothies and fruit juices actually have more sugar in them than a can of soda.

 

Although fruit juices are healthier for the body when compared to soda, they are not so healthy for our teeth. While fruit juices contain concentrated amounts of nutrients found in fruits, such as vitamins A and C and other oxidants, they also contain substances that can be harmful to our teeth.

 

This might be surprising for many people, but it is the truth. And It is not just sugar that causes damage to our teeth. We should also be wary of acid, usually found in soda drinks and wine, which can also be found in fruit juices.

 

ACID

The enamel on our teeth is more fragile than we think. It can easily be affected by the acid released by the bacteria found in the mouth, and it can wear down even faster by acids that are found in common fruit juices. Cranberry or lime fruit juices are more acidic than vinegar when consumed in high amounts. Orange juice, specifically, has been found to decrease tooth hardness and it can also roughen the surface of the teeth. When the tooth enamel is worn down, this can lead to sensitive teeth, tooth loss, and development of cavities.

 

SUGAR

Sugar is one of the most popular substances that are most harmful to our teeth. It is consumed by the bacteria in our mouth and it gets converted to acid, causing cavities and worn teeth. The bacteria can also irritate the gums, which later on can lead to gum disease and weakening of the teeth. Even some fruit juices that come in their pure form can contain large amounts of natural sugars that can also affect the teeth. This is why it has been found that a pure fruit juice can contain more sugar than a soda.

 

PREVENTION IS BEST

Most fruit juices are still nutritious when compared to soda, even when they have some harmful effects on the teeth. So, yes, you can still drink fruit juices and smoothies, but if you want to maintain a healthy oral health, you should do your part!

 

Here are some tips on how you can still enjoy the healthy goodness of these sweet drinks and at the same time, reduce the harm they do to your teeth:

 

*Drink your juice freshly. Leaving the beverage to sit will allow for the fermentation of sugar.

*Favour vegetables over fruit juices, or you can try and put at least two parts vegetable to one part fruit. You should avoid drinking citrus fruits as they are highly acidic.

*Make sure the fruit is ripe. Unripe fruits contain high amounts of acid.

*Yoghurt-based smoothies are great for reducing the acidity in your drink, but you should still be careful because there are many yoghurts that contain more sugar than you think. Coconut oil is a tooth-friendly ingredient as it has antibacterial properties.

*Use a straw when drinking and make sure to drink clean water afterward.

 

If you have any dental concerns, the dental professionals and staff at Midtown Dental will be more than happy to assist you! We hope to see you soon.

Oral Care: Tips for the Elderly

Dental Advice | Dental Care

Our dental health is connected to our entire body. Any bacteria that lives and grows in your mouth can travel to the other parts of your body, thus, can contribute to problems with our overall health. Aging is a part of life, but it does not mean that you can’t do it gracefully and in the healthiest way possible!

 

Here are some great dental tips that can help you enjoy your golden years with healthy, happy smiles:

 

BRUSH AND FLOSS REGULARLY.

The common rule is you should clean your teeth at least twice a day. As you age, however, your mouth requires a little extra attention and time. After the age of 50, plaque builds up more quickly and it also becomes much more difficult to get rid of. This is why it is important to get in the habit of brushing your teeth after every meal. Make it a point to brush your teeth when you wake up and before going to bed. Consistent flossing is also essential and should be done after every meal.

 

USE AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH.

An electric toothbrush that has soft bristles is great for all ages, but more especially for seniors. This type of toothbrush comes with a built-in timer that ensures you brush for the correct amount of time. It is also helpful for seniors with arthritis, as the brush itself will take care of all the brushing. There will be no more worry about the up-and-down circular motions needed in order to thoroughly clean the teeth and gums – the electric toothbrush will do it all for you!

 

USE MOUTHWASH.

If you are looking for a great way to prevent cavities and to slow the buildup of plaque, then you should use mouthwash! However, you should be careful and avoid using too much mouthwash – you might upset the pH balance in your mouth. Rinsing with mouthwash once a day just before you go to bed would suffice. When choosing a mouthwash, go for an alcohol-free option for older adults. Alcohol can contribute to dry mouth.

 

CLEAN YOUR DENTURES DAILY.

Just like our teeth, dentures should be cleaned every day. The only difference is dentures should not be cleaned with toothpaste. Toothpaste will only damage your dentures as it is abrasive. Use products that are specifically designed to clean dentures. Be sure to also give your mouth frequent breaks from wearing your dentures. Take them out each day to help maintain healthy gums.

 

If you are a senior or someone you love is, and you want the best dentists who can help you take care of senior dental health, setup an appointment with one of our dental professionals today!

Reasons Why Your Gums Bleed

Dental Advice | Dental Problems | Gums

Noticing your gums bleed when you floss or brush your teeth can be alarming. The big question is: what are the possible causes of your bleeding gums? There can be different reasons why your gums might start to bleed when you brush. Some reasons are temporary while some are of more concern. It is important to make an appointment with your dentist if you are worried about your oral health.

 

Here are some of the possible reasons for bleeding gums:

 

GINGIVITIS

This is the first stage of gum disease. Plaque at the gumline and on your teeth that are not removed by flossing and brushing can infect your gums, leading to the symptoms of gingivitis. When this oral condition occurs, your gums can be tender, swollen, and sometimes, bleeding when you brush and floss. This early stage of the condition responds well to good brushing and flossing habits as well as regular trips to the dentist.

 

MEDICATIONS

Blood-thinning medications have been listed by the Canadian and American Dental Associations as a common cause of bleeding gums. These medications decrease blood’s ability to clot, thus leading to easier bleeding. Let your dentist know about any medications you may be on.

 

NEW TOOTHBRUSH

Switching from a soft-bristled toothbrush to a firmer one might also result in bleeding gums. When this happens, you may try returning to a soft or medium-bristled toothbrush and ask your dentist about which toothbrush is best for you at your next dental visit.

 

NEW FLOSSING ROUTINE

Changing your flossing routine is also one possible reason why your gums are bleeding. For instance, if you have not flossed in a few days or if you start flossing more frequently to help remove plaque and food from between your teeth, then you might notice some bleeding. This temporary trauma would often clear up within a week once the overabundance or under abundance is corrected and healing resolves.

 

PREGNANCY GINGIVITIS

Some pregnant women might experience swollen and bleeding gums when brushing and flossing. This is called ‘pregnancy gingivitis’. Hormonal changes during one’s pregnancy might alter the body’s response to the bacteria causing gum disease. As per the American Pregnancy Association, symptoms would clear up after pregnancy. Regular dental checkups, brushing and flossing can help prevent gum problems from worsening.

 

PHYSICAL TRAUMA

Obviously, we are aware if we are hit in the mouth as anywhere else sudden impact can result in tissue trauma resulting in bleeding. However slow, sustained force is also capable of bringing blood prominently to the surface. This can be contributed to with force applications of an over-aggressive brush but more often force applications of the opposing teeth of clenching and grinding.

 

Remember, bleeding gums can be your sign of the presence of gingivitis. If left untreated, it can develop into the more serious stages of gum disease. Find out what is causing your bleeding gums by seeing a dentist. If you are suffering from this oral condition, setup an appointment with one of our dentists here at Midtown Dental today!

Prepare Your Children for Their First Trip to the Dentist

Children | Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

If you have little ones at home, you must understand the importance of teaching them how to have good oral health. This includes having a great relationship with a dentist and starts with that very first trip to the dental clinic. For kids, this new experience can be scary. This is why parents and caregivers should know what they can do to help alleviate the fears of children; here are some ways how:

 

#01. Be a Great Role Model

Children are like little sponges who soak up every bit of emotion and information from adults around them. It is important that you maintain a good role model of dental health for your kids long before they even have their first dental appointment. Make sure that you demonstrate good dental habits in front of them, and show them how to properly care for their teeth. A child who knows that he or she has done a good job taking care of his or her teeth is less likely to feel anxious about going to the dentist.

 

#02. Start Them Young

There is no such thing as starting them too early in terms of good dental care. You should also talk to them about what they can expect in their first dental appointment. Help your kids understand that dentists only want to help them keep their teeth healthy. You should avoid telling your kids about “scary dental procedures”. Stay away from words such as “pain” or “drill” as those will only fuel their anxiety. Focus, instead, on all the helpful things that a dentist does. You should also encourage them to ask questions if they have any, and be sure to be honest with them.

 

#03. Have a Practice Visit

Children, just like adults, can be afraid of the unknown. You can try playing dentist to help them understand better what will happen once they visit the dentist. Doing this can help them be more at ease once they are actually there. Try brushing your child’s teeth the same way the dentist will, and just fully immerse yourself in the role play. Kids learn through play, so roleplaying is a great way to teach your kids about dental health.

 

#04. Use Visuals with Other Kids Having Positive Dental Experiences

Younger kids might enjoy the treat of having a book about the dentist read to them, and older ones will more likely benefit from watching more realistic videos that show other kids being in an actual dental office. Both books and videos are great visual tools for helping our kids visualize what to expect.

 

#05. Offer Your Kids Comfort

Be sure to NEVER dismiss your kids’ fear or make them feel, in any way, that they need to ‘toughen up’. Help ease their worries, and offer comfort whenever they show fear.

 

These five simple tips can make a huge difference in how your kid feels about their first trip to the dentist. Start early so you can both look forward to a great dental experience!

Food and Beverages That Are Bad for the Teeth

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

Want to maintain your great smile? The answer is simple, really – PREVENTION. Although crowns, fillings, professional whitening, and other treatment can make your teeth brighter and stronger, it is still better and cheaper to avoid stains and cavities from developing in the first place by brushing and flossing regularly, and of course, by eating right! The food and beverages that we ingest have a big impact on our teeth.

 

Here are some foods and beverages that you need to watch out for:

 

Citrus Fruits

As much as citrus fruits and juices are a rich source of vitamin C and other essential nutrients, they are not so good when it comes to the teeth. Lemon juice and grapefruit, in particular, are highly acidic and they can erode tooth enamel over time. Orange juice, however, is less acidic, and there are many store-bought varieties that are also fortified with teeth-friendly vitamin D and calcium. So when you do drink fortified orange juice, make sure that you brush and floss afterward.

 

Chewy Candies

Keep this simple concept in mind: the stickier the candy, the worse it is for your teeth. Extra-chewy candies like caramels or taffy tend to stick to and between the teeth for a long time, thus allowing the bacteria in the mouth to feast on the deposited sugars.

 

Hard Candies

Hard candies like Jolly Ranchers do not cling to the teeth as much as chewy ones, but they still have their downside. Unlike chocolate-based sugary treats which can be washed away easily, hard candies dissolve slowly and saturate the mouth for several minutes at a time, thus giving bacteria more time to produce harmful acid. There are also many varieties of hard candies that are flavoured with citric acid.

 

Soda

It is not a secret that drinking too many sugary sodas can breed cavities. What most people do not know is that the acids found in carbonated drinks appear to be more harmful than their sugar content. Even sugar-free diet sodas can erode enamel if consumed in large doses! If you cannot do without soda, you should best drink it during a meal instead of sipping it throughout the day. The food helps neutralize the acid.

 

Sports Drinks

If you are in the mood for something fizzy or sweet, energy and sports drinks might seem like a better alternative to soda. However, energy drinks will not do your teeth any favours either! These beverages are, in fact, acidic, too, and they are potentially even more damaging to the teeth.

 

Next month, we will be posting more foods and beverages that are harmful to the teeth; so watch out for that!

Why You Should Visit Your Dentist Regularly

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

When was the last time you visited your dentist? Your dentist likely recommends you to come back every six months – have you ever wondered why that is? Even the Canadian and American Dental Associations recommend bi-annual check-ups and hygiene maintenance. Regular dental visits are important for the maintenance of healthy teeth and gums. In between those visits, it is essential that you work hard to keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean. If your dentist feels that you need additional help, he or she might even suggest more frequent visits.

 

Skipping a dental checkup due to costs or other factors such as dental anxiety or time can cost you more in the long run, so be sure to consider all the risks first. Here are some of the most important reasons why you should make it a point to see your dentist regularly:

 

PLAQUE, TARTAR, AND CAVITIES

Even the most diligent brushers and flossers can still have some areas in their mouth that are missed by regular flossing and brushing, so do not be too complacent. There are hiding spots for bacteria. When plaque builds up, it can be more difficult to remove, solidifying and becoming tartar, which is extremely challenging to get rid of without help from a dentist or dental hygienist. The erosion of teeth or having holes in them due to the decay process can be prevented by having regular dental cleanings and pristine oral hygiene. Cavities rarely give warning signs as they form, and once the damage has been done, you will need to go back to your dentist to have cavities and other tooth problems fixed. Again, with regular cleanings and self-diligence, this can all be avoided.

 

GUM DISEASE

The buildup of plaque and tartar do not only cause tooth decay, but it can also erode the mouth’s gum tissues. When tartar buildup causes an infection where the gum is connected to the tooth, the gum is pulled away from the tooth. This is known as gingivitis and the tissue that attaches the gums to the teeth breaks down when this occurs. When it reaches this point, it officially becomes gum disease. You will start to experience bleeding, swelling and soreness in the mouth. In addition to the breakdown of gum tissue, gum disease can also cause breakdown of the bone that holds your teeth in place. During this point, it is common to see loose or failing teeth and drastic treatment methods might be required.

 

FINDING PROBLEMS UNDER THE SURFACE VIA X-RAYS

Another crucial part of visiting your dentist regularly is getting your teeth and underlying structures x-rayed. X-ray images enable dental professionals to see what is really happening beneath the surfaces of your mouth. They can also find and diagnose issues that are invisible to the naked eye. X-rays show bone levels, structures and varying degrees of density to detect loss or spots that are softening especially between teeth where a surface inspection may not be able to access.

 

BOTTOM LINE

Keep in mind that dental professionals are not only concerned with fixing our teeth. They professionally clean the teeth, ensure that our teeth and gums are healthy, and they also check for abnormalities that might otherwise go unnoticed and that could be a sign of larger health issues.

 

So, be sure to have regular trips to the dentist! If you are looking for dentists you can rely on, contact us today and set up an appointment with us!