Dental restorations by Brisbane Dentist, Dr Leila Haywood that are 3D printed and hand finished with a microscope by a master ceramist.Read More
dentistry life at Brisbane Smile Boutique
The life and times of our dental practice, up to date news in dentistry and celebrations, happy moments in dentistry. Our blog outlines dentistry life at Brisbane Smile Boutique in Spring Hill in inner city Brisbane
Filtering by Category: Brisbane Dentist
I've found that dental hygiene in teenagers is a bit hit and miss. We typically see some plaque buildup around their teeth and some inflammation of the gums.
I have spent a few decades creating two great smiles, and here are some helpful dental tips I have learnt along the way.
1. An electric toothbrush for a teenager is a really good idea. I am a fan of the Oral B Professional Care 3000 twin pack. Firstly it's cheaper than the top of the line toothbrush, which is the Oral B Black (yes, things go missing) and comes with two complete separate handles, which is especially good for one teenager; one for home use and one for travel. The same toothbrush can be used for siblings, by changing the toothbrush head, along with the colour-coded band. There have been some troubles with this. Firstly they don't seem to care which colour band is on the toothbrush head, and use whichever is on there. Secondly it is usually not convenient for them to be using the same toothbrush handle at a similar time, and thirdly it is hard to gauge when the charge will run out when there are multiple users of the same handle.
Other reasons that I like this toothbrush are that the two minute timer is very good for children to determine how long they ought to brush, it has an inbuilt pressure sensor, and it is powerful and long lasting; with a plug in and a very portable power pack.
2. Change the heads of the electric toothbrush each couple of months for teenagers. For manual toothbrushes, always use soft or extra soft toothbrushes, and change them each few months again. Keep the toothbrushes or toothbrush heads from touching anything, or toothbrushes from touching other toothbrushes to prevent contamination. I prefer the Oral B precision clean heads.
3. Always have a box of floss handy next to the toothbrush to inspire flossing. The Teflon coated fibres like Colgate total floss are easy to use, or Oral B Ultrafloss is popular also. Sometimes people prefer different brands. Minty floss can be something teenagers like to use because it gives the feeling of freshness when flossing and afterwards. Anything to motivate good dental care is on the cards. Parts of the teeth are hidden where the toothbrush cannot reach. Half an hour of tooth brushing will not remove the bacterial film that sticks in between the teeth. Only floss or interdental brushes (dentists and hygienists like the Tepe brand) will dislodge food debris and plaque. Some teenagers like flossettes or flossers. The reach access flosser is also good. I have all of them available to encourage good home care. I can't watch them all the time, in fact once they leave home that's kind of it, so by giving them the opportunity to find out what it is that will work for them, I have found is the best way.
4. For braces, have a box of Oral B Superfloss and fine interdental handles available. If your teenager has a permanent bar/retainer on the inside of their teeth, they will usually need Superfloss, which has a nylon thread that can clean the gap between the teeth, underneath the arch wire, or an interdental brush to get in between the teeth, because the positioning of the retainer usually means that the area is difficult to access. There are also Orthodontic Oral B electric toothbrush head attachments that make it easier to clean around the brackets that are attached to the teeth. Extra care is needed with braces because food tends to get stuck around the brackets and wires much more readily.
5. Have a pre packed travel dental pack set up with all dental cleaning needs; floss, interdental brush, soft manual toothbrush and toothpaste, for sleepovers, camps and holidays. That way they can't say they forgot their toothbrush or forgot to brush etc
6. Use a fluoride toothpaste. Adult toothpaste is fine. The children tended not to like anything too minty. They liked the 3M Clinpro Tooth Creme in Vanilla mint, and have been using it for years.
7. Mouth rinse is not necessary but thorough tooth brushing twice a day, and flossing once a day at night time is.
8. Take the children to the dentist and dental hygienist for preventive care each 6 months, or at least once a year, to instill healthy life habits and to monitor dental health. We tend to give them a mark out of 10 for dental health and care which seems to resonate well with teenagers and lets them know how well they are going. By attending regularly teenagers are less likely to have a dental phobia, which presents in adults regularly, because children are able to see that routine preventive care has allowed them positive dental experiences. They are unlikely to have negative dental experiences with regular checks and cleans and dental preventive care, and associate the dentist as a regular health requirement in their life, rather than a place to be feared. Creating positive relationships with the dentist creates stability in care. Some of our patients now in university first came in Grade 1, and some from high school now attend with their own children.
9. It's hard but keep an eye on sugar intake of teenagers. Water is best to hydrate. Flavoured milks, Milo, cordial, juices, smoothies, milkshakes, iced teas and coffees, energy drinks, sports drinks, energy supplements, soft drinks and mixers are all loaded with sugar. Lollies, chocolates, biscuits, cake and ice creams shouldn't be eaten every day. Keeping sugary foods, cereals and drinks to once or twice a day will ensure that the balance in the mouth is optimal to prevent tooth decay. After sport, drink water, not sports drinks. If minerals are needed, eat a banana.
10. Diet is critical. Whole and unprocessed foods, 2 pieces of fruit a day, vegetables, water, less sugary and refined foods and cutting down on junk will make your teenager healthier in so many more ways than just dental. Good habits early on do last a lifetime.
Water flossers are useful for people who have braces, dental implants, those with periodontal disease, and for anyone who has difficulty with accessing areas in between the teeth. The more plaque bacteria that is removed from the teeth, the less is the chance of developing tooth decay, gingivitis and periodontal disease, because all dental disease is caused by the build up of bacteria in our mouths, sitting against the tooth surfaces for periods of time. It makes sense that anything that can increase our ability to keep the teeth clean, and motivate us to do this, is a good thing.
In the fine print for use of these devices, it says that the water flosser does not replace manual flossing, so it would be best to use the water flosser along with manual flossing. However for some people who are not able to regularly floss, it can be an excellent way to cleanse the teeth and remove food debris and bacteria, with bursts of a small stream of high pressure water and air.
The two that stand out for purchase are the Waterpik Cordless Plus Water Flosser, and the Philips Sonicare AirFloss Ultra. Both are rechargeable, portable, have reservoirs to fill with water, and guidance tips to blast a small stream of water and air to dislodge plaque from the teeth, and both come with warranties.
It is far better to use a water flosser than no flossing at all, especially in the hard to reach areas in between the teeth where so many incidences of tooth decay and gum disease start.
In the last 20 years of practicing as a dentist I am sure of one thing – having positive, nurturing regular visits to the dentist from a young age is crucial. Teeth appear at roughly six months and while brushing should begin then, a child’s fist dental visit really isn’t viable until about three years of age. Even then sometimes we can only expect a ride in the chair (spaceship or fairy cloud) and maybe a quick count of the teeth. I focus on how we can make children’s visits as enjoyable as possible.
TOP 5 TIPS FOR PREPARING YOUR CHILD FOR A DENTAL VISIT
- Try to prepare your child for their first visit by discussing with them what a dentist does, and what happens when you go to the dentist. Explain that the dentist might wear a special coat and mask, and will lay you back in their magic chair and give you some sunglasses to wear, while they use special tools to count your teeth. You can tell them that it won’t hurt, and it might even be fun.
- Even if you yourself are a bit apprehensive about the dentist: try not to pass on your own fears.
- Read some of the great range of books available about first dental visits. Even looking at some of the pictures will help familiarise your little ones with what to expect.
- Ask around your friends and family for a dentist that is experienced in treating children. Let the receptionist know when you book the appointment that it is your child’s first visit.
- Consider booking your own appointment at the same time so that your child can see you in the dental chair and see how comfortable and happy you are!
An American woman had an infection in a knee replacement with bacteria from the mouth found to be the cause. When gums bleed, bacteria can travel through the blood to the artificial joint. Usually the bacteria are quickly cleared quickly from the circulation by the immune system. Bacteria from tooth decay and bleeding gums can cause the bacteria to stream through the blood, and are known to be the cause of other infections in the body, such as in artificial joints or areas of scarring in the heart.
Good oral hygiene habits, brushing twice daily and flossing daily are required to keep the bacteria under control for healthy teeth and gums. Dental examinations and professional cleaning each 6 months eliminates teeth and gum infections or at least allows your dental professional to focus on them promptly.