dental health

To chew or not to chew? What you need to know about chewing gum and your teeth.

Blog | Dental Advice | Dental Health

Any oral health services would be incomplete without a conversation about chewing gum. As your Saskatoon dental care specialists, we’re here to let you in on a little secret: not all chewing gum is made equal. You probably already know that chewing gum with sugar is no different than candy and consequently bad for your teeth. But, you might be surprised to hear that when it comes to your oral health, chewing gum is not all bad. To help you make the right choices for your teeth, this is what you should know about chewing gum.Read more

Aging And Oral Health

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

The great thing about advances in medicine and care means that people are living longer than ever, and also able to keep up their quality of life for a longer period of time as well. Teeth and oral health are both great examples. For example, keeping your teeth as you age not only is good for your confidence, but it also makes it easier to eat, which can be important when it comes to getting a balanced diet to match your new nutritional needs. But what goes into oral health as you age, and what can you do to preserve your teeth?

For one thing, that same healthy diet is also good for your teeth. You may not be eating junk food every day, but it’s a good idea to try to get regular amounts of calcium as well as look for food high in fiber and low and sugar. However, good oral health habits for the elderly aren’t necessarily limited to just eating and brushing well. For example, dry mouth could pose a problem, since saliva has lots of different materials that help balance bacteria in your mouth. Make sure that you are hydrated, and check to see if some of your medications may cause dry mouth. Some of the common medications that lead to dry mouth include anti-depressants and Parkinson’s medication.

Another potential issue that you may end up dealing with that you get older is receding gums. Older people are more susceptible to gum disease, and receding gums are a major reason why. As the gums recede, they expose the root surface of your teeth, which isn’t naturally protected by enamel. In addition, this added surface means that you may not be brushing in an area you need to be. The exposed roots of your teeth are a primary target for decay and plaque.

In some cases, a few basic changes in habits as you get older is enough to keep your teeth and mouth healthy. In other cases, you may need to make more extreme measures, or even find a way to replace teeth that can’t be saved. In both cases, it’s a good dentist who’s going to guide your hand to the best options. Be sure to visit the dental professionals at Midtown Dental Clinic to get regular checkups on your teeth as well as make sure that you’re in good general oral health.

Is Cosmetic Dentistry For Me?

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health

A lot of people may get the idea that cosmetic dentistry is exclusively for the rich and famous, but this isn’t the truth at all. The cosmetic dentistry field has grown by quite a lot in recent years, meaning that different procedures are more accessible than ever. Here’s how to decide whether or not it is a match for you.

One good thing to do when it comes to any cosmetic procedure is making sure that you have realistic expectations. For example, you can improve the appearance of your smile with a treatment, but some people think that this will instantly improve their relationships or other issues, and this isn’t realistic. However, a lot of people have practical goals for cosmetic dentistry, like a better ability to eat. After understanding your goals for the procedure, you need to think about the nature of the cosmetic dentistry you want. This will depend on your budget and needs. Here are some key options.

At the lower end of the spectrum is whitening. While this doesn’t actually restore any lost or damaged teeth, it can be used to try and help with discoloration caused by smoking, health issues, and reactions to medication. This is done by the dentist taking impressions of your teeth and creating plastic trays from them. These are then filled with a whitening solution and need to be worn for a certain amount of time depending on your teeth.

For people who are missing a few teeth, but don’t want to invest in dentures or implants (more on those later), bridges are a good option. Generally, these are made out of a combination of crowns on either side of the gap, and a false tooth or teeth in the middle. Note that bridges can never be removed, as they require permanent tooth modification.

At the high end of the spectrum are permanent dental implants. These are dental implants made in the jawbone, with a false tooth placed on top. These are among the best options for replacement teeth for eating and appearance, but also are expensive and take months to fully install. 

There are a lot of different options out there for cosmetic dentistry, so don’t feel that you’re limited when it comes to your procedure of choice. Be sure to visit the dental professionals at Midtown Dental Clinic to get regular checkups on your teeth as well as to make sure that you’re in good general oral health.

Two Peas In a Pod: Why Brushing and Flossing Come Hand-in-Hand

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health | Gums
Two Peas In a Pod: Why Brushing and Flossing Come Hand-in-Hand

Brushing and Flossing, it’s a subject we deal with every time we go to the dentist. After a while, it begins to feel like white noise.

Sure, we all know that brushing is important, but flossing seems kind of redundant. Do we really need it? Why are both of them necessary?

In the next few paragraphs, we’ll try to break down the benefits of brushing and flossing and explain why you should be doing both. Read on to learn more.

The Weird World of Teeth

Dentistry can be potentially traced back to the ancient Egyptians, who were incredibly skilled as far as ancient doctors go. They were the first to understand that a broken bone could be set and would grow back together.

They also may have pioneered dentistry. Granted, that was a simpler time when a dental problem meant an untreated abscess or cavities from accidentally eating sand, and they couldn’t even cure that.

Let’s jump ahead a few thousand years to the mid-nineteenth century when the medical model now known as germ theory was becoming popular among the masses.

This brings us to today and the question of why flossing is important. Flossing and brushing combined help in the treatment of gingivitis, which is caused by bacteria. However, that’s not the only benefit.

It also helps to destroy other forms of plaque and bacteria, which could lead to more serious issues. In fact, your mouth can be thought of as the metaphorical canary in a coal mine.

Plaque in your mouth can potentially lead to a higher risk of heart disease, as well as mouth infections, which can spread to other areas of the body. Plus, paying close attention to your mouth can help you notice signs that might be a sign of another issue somewhere else in the body.

Brushing and Flossing

As great as toothbrushes are, they can’t do everything. Their shape is not particularly well-designed for cleaning in between teeth.

This helps to prevent bacteria from forming in the hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. It may seem like a hassle now, but in the long run, it can save a lot of money on dental procedures.

Plus, it helps to cure bad breath, and can even make your teeth appear whiter by cutting away particles you wouldn’t otherwise notice.

Oral Hygiene

It may seem like your dentist is beating a dead horse every time they talk to you about the benefits of brushing and flossing, but it is true. Brushing and flossing help cut down on plaque and bacteria, which can prevent a lot of problems later on.

Additionally, brushing and flossing can also help your mouth look better and smell better.

If you want to know more about dentistry and how to keep your mouth healthy, please visit our website. Maybe you have bleeding gums but aren’t sure why. We can help. Perhaps you want to know which foods you should avoid if you want to keep your teeth healthy.

Quit the Chattering: How to Deal with Your Dental Anxiety

Dental Advice | Dental Care | Dental Health
Quit the Chattering: How to Deal with Your Dental Anxiety

You’re eating popcorn then all of a sudden you feel it, the dreaded toothache. Instantly your palms get sweaty you may even get knots in your stomach.

Dental anxiety is more common than you would think. It’s estimated that around 80 percent of Americans have some anxiety when it comes to seeing the dentist.

Many of us have learned this fear from an early age, most likely from our first dentist appointment. Unfortunately, this isn’t a fear that we can get over by avoidance. Avoiding the dentist only makes the situation worse.

When it is time to go to the dentist, we have some tips to help you get through your appointment.

Share Your Dental Anxiety with Your Dentist

The best thing you can do is tell your dentist and the assistant, what exactly your fear or dental anxiety is about. If you are open with the staff they can help to modify things to lessen your anxiety.

Having good communication with them can be key to a tear-free dentist appointment. The different types of anxiety have different approaches to counteracting them.

Anxiety Caused by Expected Pain

This is one of the most common types of dental anxiety. Most simply because no one likes pain, and odds are if you have dental anxiety and you’re at the dentist – you may already be in pain.

Let your dentist or dental assistant know, they can give you topical numbing before the shots. Also don’t be afraid to tell them that you can still feel it if you think you can. Even if it’s in your head, it can’t hurt to give yourself the extra peace of mind.

If that doesn’t ease your mind, many dental offices can use the assistance of nitrous oxide or laughing gas that can help you relax.

Bad Experience in the Past

It seems like most people who have dental anxiety have had bad experiences in the past. Whether it was because of anxiety or the cause if it.

Bad experiences can leave you uneasy and anxious to go back to the dentist. Again, tell your dentist what happened, that way they can do their best to avoid doing what triggered you before.

Give your new dentist a chance don’t hold the new one accountable for the old one’s actions.

Not being Informed

Some people are afraid of the unknown. If you’re someone who likes to be told what they are doing every step of the way, tell them that.

If you have dental anxiety, and you’ve never had the dentist walk you though, it’s worth a try. Knowing what’s happening can help settle your anxiety. And if you don’t like it, you can always ask the dentist to stop.

You Don’t Need to be Anxious About the Dentist

Dental anxiety is so common that associate Professor Jason Armfield came up with a ‘dental anxiety scale‘ to help treat it all around the world.

The key to lowering your anxiety levels at the dentist is to stay open and communicate. Dentists understand and are more than willing to do what they can to help you feel at ease.

If you have other concerns or are looking for a dentist with experience in dental anxiety, contact us.

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.

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!