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5 Habits That Destroy Your Smile

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1. Not flossing

Brushing your teeth twice a day is important, but many patients don’t realize that flossing at least once a day is just as critical to achieving—and maintaining—a healthy smile. Flossing removes the cavity-causing bacteria left behind from food particles that get stuck between teeth. “Although bleeding and irritation sometimes can occur when you first start flossing, it’s important to keep at it,” says Dr. Ghareeb. “Your gums will toughen up and your oral health will be better for it.” 

2. Brushing too soon after eating

Consuming acidic foods and beverages, such as sports and energy drinks, citrus fruits, wine, and tomatoes, can erode tooth enamel—the glossy outer layer of the tooth. Brushing your teeth too soon after eating and drinking these items can cause more damage because you are essentially brushing the acid into the teeth, not getting rid of it. Instead, you should rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods and beverages and wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your pearly whites! 

3. Not replacing your toothbrush often enough

Not only are old toothbrushes ineffective, but they also harbor harmful bacteria that can cause infections. Toothbrushes should be changed every three to four months. “It’s also important to change your toothbrush after you’ve had a cold,” says Dr. Ghareeb. 4. Excessively bleaching your teethOverzealous bleaching can cause your teeth to look unnaturally white and increase tooth sensitivity. Before using an at-home bleaching product, talk to your dentist. “He or she can advise you on proper use of these products as well as which type of bleaching system will provide you with the best results,” says Dr. Ghareeb. 

4. Excessively bleaching your teeth

Overzealous bleaching can cause your teeth to look unnaturally white and increase tooth sensitivity. Before using an at-home bleaching product, talk to your dentist. “He or she can advise you on proper use of these products as well as which type of bleaching system will provide you with the best results,” says Dr. Ghareeb.

5. Using a hard-bristled toothbrush

A hard-bristled toothbrush coupled with an aggressive brushing technique can cause irreversible damage to your gums. Use a soft toothbrush and gently brush your teeth at a 45-degree angle, in a circular motion. Using a back-and-forth, sawing motion causes the gums to recede, and can expose the root of the tooth, making teeth extremely sensitive.

When Should My Child First See a Dentist?

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Your child’s first visit to the dentist should happen before his or her first birthday. The general rule is six months after eruption of the first tooth. Taking your child to the dentist at a young age is the best way to prevent problems such as tooth decay, and can help parents learn how to clean their child’s teeth and identify his or her fluoride needs. After all, decay can occur as soon as teeth appear. Bringing your child to the dentist early often leads to a lifetime of good oral care habits and acclimates your child to the dental office, thereby reducing anxiety and fear, which will make for plenty of stress-free visits in the future.

How do I prepare my child and myself for the visit?

Before the visit, ask the dentist about the procedures of the first appointment so there are no surprises. Plan a course of action for either reaction your child may exhibit – cooperative or non- cooperative. Very young children may be fussy and not sit still. Talk to your child about what to expect, and build excitement as well as understanding about the upcoming visit. Bring with you to the appointment any records of your child’s complete medical history.

What will happen on the first visit?

Many first visits are nothing more than introductory icebreakers to acquaint your child with the dentist and the practice. If your child is frightened, uncomfortable or non-cooperative, a rescheduling may be necessary. Patience and calm on the part of the parent and reassuring communication with your child are very important in these instances. Short, successive visits are meant to build the child’s trust in the dentist and the dental office, and can prove invaluable if your child needs to be treated later for any dental problem.

Child appointments should always be scheduled earlier in the day, when your child is alert and fresh. For children under 36 months, the parent may need to sit in the dental chair and hold the child during the examination. Or, parents may be asked to wait in the reception area so a relationship can be built between your child and the dentist.

If the child is compliant, the first session often lasts between 15 and 30 minutes and may include the following, depending on age:

  • A gentle but thorough examination of the teeth, jaw, bite, gums and oral tissues to monitor growth and development and observe any problem areas
  • If indicated, a gentle cleaning, which includes polishing teeth and removing any plaque, tartar buildup or stains
  • X-rays
  • A demonstration on proper home cleaning
  • Assessment of the need for fluoride

The dentist should be able to answer any questions you have and try to make you and your child feel comfortable throughout the visit. The entire dental team should provide a relaxed, non-threatening environment for your child.

Oral Health For Seniors

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How Do I Maintain Good Oral Health in My Senior Years?

Your teeth can last a lifetime with proper home care and regular dental checkups. No matter what your age, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy by brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing daily and seeing your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.

What Special Oral Health Issues Should I Know About as a Senior?

Even if you brush and floss regularly, you may face certain issues in your senior years when it comes to your oral health. Wearing dentures, taking medications and general health conditions are some of the issues many seniors face. Luckily, your dentist and physician can help you meet most of these challenges quite successfully.

  • Cavities and decay on the root surfaces of the teeth are more common in older adults. So it’s important to brush with a fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and see your dentist regularly.
  • Sensitivity can be an increasing problem as one ages. Your gums naturally recede over time, exposing areas of the tooth that are not protected by enamel. These areas are particularly prone to pain due to cold or hot foods or beverages. In severe cases cold air, as well as sensitivity to sour and sweet drinks and foods, can occur. If you experience sensitivity, try an anti-sensitivity toothpaste. If the problem persists, see your dentist, as the sensitivity may be an indication of a more serious condition, such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.
  • Dry mouth is a common condition in seniors, and one that may be caused by medications or certain medical disorders. Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture in your mouth, as well as appropriate treatments or medications to help prevent the problems associated with dry mouth.
  • Existing health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, or cancer, can affect your oral health. Be sure to let your dentist know of any general health issues you’re facing, so that he or she understands the whole situation and can help you meet your special requirements.
  • Dentures can make life easier for many seniors, but they require special care. Follow your dentist’s instructions carefully and see your dentist if any problems arise. An annual checkup is recommended for long-term denture wearers.
  • Gum disease is a potentially serious condition that can affect people of all ages, but especially people over 40. A number of factors can increase the severity of gum disease, including:
  •     Bad diet
  •     Poor oral hygiene
  •     Systemic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.
  •     Environmental factors such as: stress and smoking
  • Because the earliest stages of gum disease are reversible, it is important to spot it early on. Regular dental checkups can insure early detection and treatment of gum disease. Best of all, it is easy to prevent gum disease from developing in the first place, by practicing proper oral hygiene.
  • Crowns and bridges are used to strengthen damaged teeth or replace missing ones. A crown is used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space.

How Do I Care For My Teeth As An Adult?

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The key to keeping a bright, healthy smile throughout adulthood is to practice proper oral hygiene. Even adults can get cavities, as well as gum disease, that can lead to serious problems. Throughout your adult life, it’s important to continue to:

  • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque-the sticky film on your teeth that’s the main cause of tooth decay.
  • Floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and under your gumline, before it can harden into tartar. Once tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a professional cleaning.
  • Limit sugary or starchy foods, especially sticky snacks. The more often you snack between meals, the more chances you give the acids in plaque to attack your tooth enamel.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups.

What Special Dental Issues Should I Be Aware of as an Adult?
Even if you brush and floss regularly, you may face certain oral health issues as an adult. Luckily, your dentist can help you meet most of these challenges quite successfully.

  • Gum disease begins as gingivitis, which in this early stage is still reversible. Symptoms of gingivitis include red, swollen or tender gums that tend to bleed when you brush them. If you notice any of these symptoms, see your dentist before serious problems develop. Advanced stages of gum disease may lead to tooth loss.The health of your gums can also affect your overall health. Recent studies have shown a possible link between periodontitis (a gum disease) and other diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease and a possible link to premature births. To prevent gum disease from getting started in the first place, be sure to brush twice a day, floss daily and schedule professional cleanings every six months.
  • Cavities around existing fillings (called recurrent decay) and decay on the root surfaces of the teeth become more common as we age. So it’s important to brush with a fluoride toothpaste, floss daily and see your dentist regularly.
  • Sensitivity can be an increasing problem as one ages. Your gums naturally recede over time, exposing areas of the tooth that are not protected by enamel. These areas are particularly prone to pain due to cold or hot foods or beverages. In severe cases cold air, as well as sensitivity to sour and sweet drinks and foods, can occur. If you experience sensitivity, try an anti-sensitivity toothpaste. If the problem persists, see your dentist, as the sensitivity may be an indication of a more serious condition, such as a cavity or a cracked or fractured tooth.
  • Crowns are used to strengthen damaged teeth. A crown entirely covers or “caps” a damaged tooth. Besides strengthening a damaged tooth, a crown can be used to improve its appearance, shape or alignment. Implants and bridges are used to replace missing ones. Dental implants replace one or more teeth or are used to attach full or partial dentures. Consult with your dentist to see if implants are right for you. Bridges are commonly used to replace one or more missing teeth. They span the space where the teeth are missing. Bridges are cemented to the natural teeth or implants surrounding the empty space.

How Can I Help Make My Teeth Look Whiter?
Thorough cleanings by a dentist or hygienist will remove most external staining caused by food and tobacco. Using a whitening toothpaste can also help remove these surface stains between dental visits. If stains have been present for years, you may need to have your teeth professionally whitened to remove these more stubborn external stains.

Internal stains can be bleached, bonded or capped (crowned). While each of these methods is safe and effective, your dentist will recommend which treatment is appropriate for you depending on the state of your teeth and the results that you wish to achieve.

What Effect Does Diet Have On My Oral Health?
In addition to greatly affecting your overall health, proper nutrition is necessary for healthy teeth and gums. Eating a well-balanced diet gives your gum tissues and teeth the important nutrients and minerals they need to stay strong and resist infections, which can contribute to gum disease. In addition, firm, fibrous foods such as fruits and vegetables tend to help clean the teeth and tissues. Soft, sticky foods tend to remain on the grooves and between teeth, producing more plaque.

Each time you consume foods and drinks that contain sugars or starches, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack your teeth for 20 minutes or more. To reduce damage to your tooth enamel, limit the number or between meal snacks and drinks. And when you do snack, choose nutritious foods such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt or fruit.

Your wisdom teeth need to be removed?

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Have you been told that your wisdom teeth need to be removed? Don’t know what to do? Your dentist in Coquitlam tells you what wisdom teeth are and why you must get them removed?

Wisdom teeth are an additional set of molars which may or may not be visible in your mouth. Generally, they appear in the mouth between the ages of 17-25 years and can be seen on your dental panoramic X-rays. Sometimes, due to lack of space, they may remain trapped in the mouth and may cause pain and infection. They may also be trapped inside your jaw bones if they have developed at an incorrect angle. It might also be difficult for you to clean these teeth because your toothbrush or dental floss may not be able to reach them. This can lead to gum infections or cavities associated with wisdom teeth. In order to avoid these problems, Coquitlam dentist on Glen drive advises you to get your wisdom teeth removed.

Before your wisdom tooth removal surgery, your dentist will explain the procedure to you in detail and give you all the required information on post surgical care. Your doctor may have to cut your gums and/or your jaw bone in order to reach your wisdom tooth.

After surgery, you may be drowsy if you have had a general anesthesia or I.V sedation. You can expect mild discomfort and swelling for a few days after the surgery. Use an ice-pack externally on your face to keep the swelling in control. Avoid spitting out any blood in your mouth as it may loosen the blood clot that helps in healing. Restrict your diet to soft foods like rice or soup. Don’t brush your teeth on the day of your surgery; don’t brush too hard or over the wound. Don’t smoke as smoking can prolong the healing time.

Call your Coquitlam dentist if you have any questions or concerns regarding your wisdom tooth removal.

Secret to Having Great Teeth

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Below are some tips on how to keep your pearly whites just that: white and pearly. 

We all have bad habits that we may not even have been aware are harming our teeth. There is the obvious tip to brush at least two times per day, and avoid sugar, but there are actually many things you can do to keep your smile beautiful, or to prevent damage to your teeth and gums  in the first place.

Use Your Hands, not your Teeth!

Using your teeth to open bottles or to chew objects that are not food can dull or even crack your teeth. Avoid chewing your pen at work or school, and say no to crunching down on ice or unpopped popcorn kernels. Make sure to use the right tool for the job, including a nut cracker for nut shells, and nail clippers to trim your nails instead of using your teeth.

No Milk at Bedtime

Although comforting to your child, a bottle of milk at bedtime can spell disaster for developing teeth. When in contact with your child’s teeth for extended periods of time (overnight), milk, formula and juice can cause severe tooth decay resulting in what is called ‘bottle rot’. Try to only give your child water when they are going down for a nap or sleep.

Thumb Sucking is a No-No

It is true that some adults suck their thumbs, but it is well known that children often do as well. Sucking your thumb will move your teeth out of their natural alignment. Pacifiers and bottles can do the same to children over the age of two as well.

Say ‘No’ to Tobacco

Cosmetically speaking, chewing or smoking tobacco will discolor and weaken your teeth. It can also lead to periodontal disease as well as oral cancer. Ask your doctor about nicotine alternatives.

Always Brush Before Bed

Don’t go to sleep without first brushing and flossing! Think of all the food you ate during the day, the remnants of which could reside below your gumline and between your teeth. Leaving this overnight will expose your teeth to plaque for extended periods of time making you vulnerable to gingivitis. If you are able to remove plaque within 24 hours, it doesn’t have enough time to produce enough acid to harm your teeth.

Avoid OTC Whitening Products

Always ask your Dentist before purchasing and using over-the-counter tooth whitening products. These products may not be regulated in the same way that in-office products are, as they are considered cosmetic. There is no guarantee that they are safe or effective for your teeth. Whitening is not for everyone either, so make to bring up whitening at your next dental checkup.

Sugary Candy

Avoid chewing on hard candy or sugary gum throughout the day unless it is sugar-free. Extended exposure to sugary, sticky substances can cause decay and a trip to the dentist. Stick to sugar-free options instead. Bonus points if they contain xylitol, which can help prevent cavities and strengthen enamel.

Wear what is prescribed by your Dentist

If you have gone through the time and effort (and expense) of having braces or orthodontic treatment, wear your retainer! If you don’t wear your retainer, your teeth may relapse, and begin to move back to their original position. Alternately, if you tend to grind or clench your teeth at night and have been prescribed a night guard, wear it! Not wearing your night guard can cause extra strain on your bite and your jaw joint (temporomandibular joint). Not wearing your night guard can risk cracking or chipping your natural and artificial crowns. Neglecting your dentist’s advice in this way can void the warranty of some restorative work.

Don’t Share Your Toothbrush

Every person’s mouth has its own balance of good and bad bacteria. Using someone else’s toothbrush can harm your mouth by exposing you to bacteria that your body is not used to.

Say No to Tongue Piercings

Getting your tongue pierced can be detrimental to your dental health. It can cause excessive drooling, infection, and swelling. Cosmetically, a tongue piercing can chip your teeth. In extreme cases, the device can cause enough trauma over time to cause the lower front teeth to fall out.

How to Care for Braces

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Care is needed to keep the braces in good repair. It is not recommended to bite hard food items, and certainly non-food items such as packaging, or writing instruments. Also, for the duration of your orthodontic treatment with braces, it is advised to stay away from sticky foods such as caramels, or gum, because they can loosen brackets, or distort the arch wire. If such a thing happens, a visit to your dentist or orthodontist is needed in order to repair the braces.

Sometimes, an elastic or donut can come off, or the arch wire can stick out, poking the inside of the cheek. If this happens, you may be able to reattach the elastic with a pair of tweezers. The arch wire can be coaxed back into place, taking care not to cause injury with the loose end. Always make sure to call your dentist or orthodontist afterward to make sure that the braces are functioning properly, as any setback can cause treatment to take longer to complete.

Headgear

This orthodontic treatment is to correct malocclusion in a patient whose jaw is still growing. It is fitted around the head or neck, and it puts targeted pressure, guiding the movement of the teeth, and growth of the jaw. There are different types of headgear which are used at different stages of orthodontics.

Removable Appliances

These appliances are not considered to be as precise as braces, however, they can be used to move one or more teeth in an arch. They are fitted to the mouth from impressions that are taken, and can be worn before, during or independently of braces.

Retainers

Once orthodontic treatment is over, and the brackets removed, the maintenance phase starts. Retainers are used to keep the newly aligned teeth in their positions. Retainers can be bonded to the teeth (fixed) or in the form of a removable appliance. They can either be worn full time or part time.

 Oral Surgery

Your dentist may need to remove a tooth from an overcrowded arch as part of orthodontic treatment. Sometimes, jaw surgery is needed to correct a size or position difference between the upper and lower jaws. If Jaw surgery is required, your dentist or orthodontist will refer you to a maxillofacial surgeon who has special education in this area.

Spring Cleaning Your Teeth

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Add a dental visit to this year’s spring-cleaning list. A professional dental cleaning at least twice a year can improve your oral health, reports the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.

“A prophylaxis, also known as a ‘prophy’ or professional dental cleaning, reinforces the at-home oral health regimen,” says AGD spokesperson Anne Murray, DDS. “It is designed to preserve health, prevent the spread of disease and give the dentist an opportunity to locate other areas in the mouth that may need attention.”

It is strongly recommended that a dentist or hygienist perform a dental cleaning every three to six months, says Dr. Murray. She discourages consumer use of over-the-counter tooth polishing instruments.

“People with healthy teeth and gums typically do not experience soreness after a cleaning,” says Dr. Murray. Those with less-than-perfect oral hygiene habits may experience discomfort or heightened sensitivity during a dental cleaning. The dentist can use a topical anesthetic before the cleaning to alleviate pain.

Are You Brushing Your Child’s Teeth Properly?

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Not everybody knows how to brush his or her teeth properly. Often dental professionals see damaged gums that are the result of brushing teeth incorrectly. When it comes to your own child’s dental health, you’ll want to ensure you are brushing their teeth the right way. Read through the following tips to make sure you are doing it correctly.

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Dental Emergencies! What You Can Do

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A dental emergency can happen to anyone, but most of the time we can prevent it from happening. Ignoring dental problem can raise the risk of damaging your teeth and gums. Greater damage, in most cases, means more extensive and complicated treatment, resulting in more time and money spent on the treatment as a result of the delay.

Toothache

Normally toothache is caused by decay entering the nerve area. If this is the case, a root canal may be needed.
To help control the pain temporarily, you can follow these simple instructions:

  • Floss to remove any lodged food.
  • Rinse the mouth with warm water to help soothe the pain.
  • Put a numbing agent such as Orajel on the tooth to help relieve the pain for a short period of time, if you’d like.
  • If necessary, take an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen or Aleve, which will help alleviate dental pain better than Tylenol or Aspirin, as long as you do not have any allergies to these drugs or are not taking any other medications that may cause harmful interactions.
  • Consult with your professional dental team and follow the suggested treatments.

Do not place aspirin or any other painkiller directly against the gums near the aching tooth as it may burn the gum tissue.

Swelling

The most common reason for dental swelling and abscess is an infection. If you experience significant swelling that causes you to have difficulty breathing or causes your eye to become swollen, go directly to the hospital. You will most likely need IV antibiotics for this kind of complex infection.

For minor swelling, you will probably need antibiotics. Your dental care provider will make a decision about the best type and dosage of antibiotics for you based on your health history and the progress of the infection. Meanwhile, applying a cold compress to the cheek next to the swollen area may help control the situation for a short time.

Never put heat on a swollen area. This may cause the infection to spread more quickly.

Chipped or Fractured Tooth

If you have a fractured or chipped tooth, but there is no pain, the damage is probably not significant. In other words, it is likely the fracture is not near or does not involve the nerve. However, if you have previously had a root canal on that tooth, the tooth is not alive and cannot transmit pain. Be aware that in this case, even a big chip will not result in pain, but there could still be significant damage done to the tooth.

Regardless of whether the damage is significant or minor, the chipped or fractured area should be repaired. If the fracture is large, it may require a crown to be placed over the tooth. However, a small chip or fracture may only require a smoothing of the area.

In case of a chipped tooth, follow these instructions:

  • Save any piece(s).
  • Rinse the mouth and broken piece(s) with warm water.
  • In case of bleeding, apply a piece of gauze to the area.
  • Apply a cold compress to the outside of the mouth to keep the swelling down and reduce pain.
  • Visit your dental professional team to seek the right treatment.

Tooth Knocked Out

You have the highest chance of saving a knocked-out tooth during the first hour after the accident. If a permanent tooth is accidentally knocked out, follow these instructions carefully:

  • Handle the tooth by the crown and not by the root portion.
  • Carefully rinse the tooth with cold water, but do not scrub the tooth.
  • Try to re-implant it immediately. Make sure it is facing the right way. Do not force it into the socket.
  • If it is not possible to reinsert it yourself, place the tooth in your mouth and keep it there until you can get to a dental office. You can also place it in a cup of milk, but holding it in your mouth is optimal.

Objects Caught between Teeth

Try using dental floss to very gently and carefully remove the object. Never use a pin or other sharp tool to poke at the trapped object. These instruments can cut your gums or scratch your tooth surface. If you can’t get the object out, see your dentist.

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