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Owen Sound Dental Clinic Staff
Jan 12 18

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

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You want the best for your baby, which is why you try to buy organic fruits and vegetables, all of the best STEM toys and you limit their screen time. But, there could be something that you are inadvertently doing that is very unhealthy for them. Baby bottle tooth decay is damage to the teeth of a young child caused by having a bottle in their mouth for too long.
What happens?
As sugars are exposed to the teeth, they begin to decay your baby’s primary teeth. You may not think that baby teeth are important, but they definitely serve a purpose. For one, they set the stage for the adult teeth to come in. Your child also needs their baby teeth to help with chewing, speaking and smiling. Good habits from birth will ensure your child cares for their oral health throughout their lifetime. As well, you really don’t want to have to take them to get cavities filled or a tooth pulled because of baby bottle tooth decay. Those types of events can be traumatic for a young child and set them up for a fear of the dentist.
Why does it happen?
Your baby might be used to being soothed to sleep with a bottle, but as their teeth come in, this can cause so many issues with their oral health. The sugar in the milk or formula (or whatever liquid is in the bottle) literally sits on the baby’s teeth as they sleep, causing decay through their delicate baby teeth. As well, babies who are allowed to walk around with a bottle or have access to their bottle all day, can develop baby bottle tooth decay. For the same reasons as when they have the bottle to sleep, the sugars in the liquids in the bottle are constantly contacting the teeth, helping them to eat away at your child’s teeth. Another way that babies are susceptible to tooth decay that you may not have thought about is through cavity-causing bacteria being passed from caregiver to child. This happens when the person feeding the baby puts the spoon in their mouth first, then into baby’s. You may think that as a parent, this wouldn’t cause much issue, but if you have problems with tooth decay, you are sharing those germs with your baby every time you do this.
How can I prevent baby bottle tooth decay?
There are a number of ways to help prevent your child from having early decay of their teeth and the good news is that if you are diligent, it won’t happen at all. Start by trying to limit your child’s use of a bottle. Sippy cups are a better option, as a baby won’t keep that in their mouth for long periods of time (or the liquids will spill out). As well, only put formula, milk or breast milk in their bottle. Juice, sugar water or any other liquids with sugars should be given to drink in a cup. You should even limit the amount of juice or sugary drinks that your child under four years of age is allowed to have to try to prevent tooth decay. When you are feeding your baby, don’t share the spoon with them and don’t let others share it either. Your baby’s spoon should be theirs alone. Cleaning the teeth is important too. After they eat or drink from a bottle, wipe the teeth and gums down with a soft cloth, even if the teeth haven’t begun to erupt. Once they do have teeth popping through, use a soft toothbrush to clean them a few times a day. After the age of two, you can add a non-fluoride toothpaste to the regime.

Jan 5 18

Oral health care in your 60s: what you need to know!

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As you age, your health stops taking a back seat and you start focusing more on how to preserve it to feel good and ultimately live longer. When you hit your 60s, you aren’t quite a senior yet, but on your way to becoming one. Your oral health is important at this stage of your life, as your teeth have been in your mouth for 60+ years and they may be starting to wear down and even cause you pain. Here are some things you need to know about your oral health when you are over age 60.

Your risks for oral health problems increase as you age.
This may seem obvious, but the risks of developing tooth and root decay increase exponentially as you get to be over 60. Severe gum disease affects 25% of those over 65 and gum recession increases the incidence of problems with the roots of the teeth. As well, over the years you may have had teeth
removed and not replaced and that may cause gum problems, as the gums develop pockets when the teeth start to drift.

You need to be gentler with your teeth and gums.
You may have spent most of your adult life brushing with hard-bristled brush, but now is the time to switch to “soft”. Your gums will appreciate it.

Medications can have an effect on your teeth.
There are a number of medications that can cause you problems with your teeth and gums. Any drug that says it causes dry mouth will cause a problem, as you need saliva to reduce bacteria, neutralize acids, re-mineralize your teeth and basically to wash your teeth of food. There are solutions for dry mouth, like mouthwashes or prescription drugs that help stimulate saliva.

Try to keep hydrated as best you can.
Other medications can cause gum swelling, also known as gingival overgrowth and it increases your risk of gum disease because swollen gums create a nice environment for bacteria to flourish. You may also need to worry about inflammation of the lining of the mouth and mouth sores caused by certain medications.

You might need to increase your calcium intake.
You already know that foods low in sugar and high in fibre are good for you as you age. But, did you know that calcium will help prevent osteoporosis, which not only affects the bones in your body, but also the ones surrounding your teeth. It is best to regularly see a dental professional and talk about any issues you may be having, as well as any new medications you are taking. They may have some solutions for you before problems arise.

Jan 2 18

What Are Canker Sores?

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Your oral health is more than just taking care of your teeth and gums. Canker sores are a hindrance to anyone who has ever experienced them, as they make doing anything with the mouth excessively uncomfortable. Canker sores are ulcers of the mouth and can be classified as either simple canker sores or complex canker sores. Simple ones happen commonly – three to four times a year – and mostly in those from age 10 to 20 and last about a week. Complex ones are not very common and don’t happen as often either.
What is the cause of canker sores?
Unfortunately, the cause of canker sores is not known, but there are triggers. Stress is a big trigger in the formation of canker sores, as are acidic foods like citrus. Injury or aggravation of the area can also cause a canker sore, such as in the case of braces or dentures rubbing on the site of where the sore appears. Canker sores are not virally-caused, unlike cold sores, which are caused by the Herpes virus. Cold sores typically appear on the outside of the mouth, while canker sores appear inside of the mouth.
How do you know if you have a canker sore?
If you do have a painful sore inside of your mouth (as opposed to cold sores, which are outside), you may notice it burning and/or tingling. Canker sores are usually round, with a red border and are white or grey on the inside. You can also experience other symptoms with canker sores, which can include fever, a feeling of not being well and swollen lymph nodes. It is best to see your doctor or dentist if you are experiencing what you think is a cold sore, so a correct diagnosis can be made.
What can you do about canker sores?
When a sore appears, there is generally little you can do but wait. The pain will lessen and the sore will heal within a few days or weeks. There is no cure, but you can reduce their occurrence by avoiding stress, acidic and spicy foods and using a soft toothbrush.
Dental treatment for canker sores.
You can try to contact your dentist to see if they offer laser treatments for canker sores. There are a number of different laser treatments now on the market and they can offer immediate and dramatic improvements in your symptoms and it is best if you can get there during the early stages of your canker sore.

Dec 28 17

What is Pregnancy Gingivitis?

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Being pregnant is an exciting time, but it isn’t without its worries and health concerns, and not just for the baby, but for you, as the mom. While your doctor probably regularly monitors your blood pressure, your urine and generally how you’re doing, they don’t typically look at your oral health. That’s unfortunate because many moms-to-be experience a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.
What is it?
You all know that gingivitis (aka gum disease) is a condition where your gums are inflamed and sometimes infected for a number of reasons. During pregnancy, many women experience gingivitis even though their oral health care regime has not changed. This is due to the surge of hormones and their changes during pregnancy. Up to 40% of pregnant women will experience what’s known as pregnancy gingivitis, simply because of this. As well, pregnant women are more at risk to develop something called a pregnancy tumour, which is a large lump in the gum tissue and can also be called by many other names (including pyogenic granuloma). It can be more common in the second trimester and can be exceedingly uncomfortable. The tumours are not cancerous and usually disappear after the baby is born.
How does it happen?
The prime culprit in pregnancy gingivitis is the hormone Progesterone, which is one that makes it easier for bacteria to grow in the gum tissues. It also makes your gums more sensitive to plaque and your body’s response is often exaggerated, causing bleeding, sensitivity, swelling and other symptoms.
How can pregnancy gingivitis be harmful?
There is a big correlation between a woman’s oral health and problems during pregnancy. Major studies have shown that premature birth can occur in women who have gum disease. These women were 4-7 times as likely to deliver an underweight and premature baby than women with good oral health.
What can be done to prevent pregnancy gingivitis and tumours?
Good oral health care during pregnancy is extremely important. You want to be vigilant with cleaning and flossing your teeth, as well as seeing your dentist during your pregnancy. Many women shun seeing a dentist during pregnancy, thinking it will be harmful to the baby, but on the contrary, it is important to catch any issues before they become large issues. You can have many procedures during your pregnancy and only x-rays aren’t recommended. The American Pregnancy Association recommends increasing your vitamin C and A intake from foods during pregnancy, as both vitamins help to ensure good oral health. You should also talk to your doctor and your dentist about other ways to prevent oral health woes during pregnancy.

Dec 18 17

How To Clean Your Toothbrush

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Your toothbrush is probably one of the most important things in your bathroom. You use it (hopefully) daily and maybe even a few times a day. It goes into a very private space – your mouth – so you really want to make sure it is clean. Many people don’t think about cleaning the thing that cleans their mouth, but it is an important step in ensuring that you don’t inadvertently put more germs into your mouth. Even if they are your germs – germs are germs and they will multiply and can make you sick.
Germs that live on toothbrushes
There are a few different types of germs that can live on your toothbrush. If you have been sick, these viruses and bacteria can keep you sick, or make you sick again. As well, if your toothbrush touches the counter or another spot where germs are living, you can transfer them to your mouth as well. Here’s something that will make you cringe: when you flush your toilet, water droplets can spray up and contaminate your toothbrush. If you drop your toothbrush on the floor – don’t even think about cleaning it – get a new one.
Cleaning your toothbrush
When you buy a new toothbrush, make sure that the box is sealed properly, or it can have bacteria on it before it even reaches your bathroom. After you brush, you want to take care to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly. It is always best to store it upright, so it can properly air-dry. Don’t let other toothbrushes touch your toothbrush or they can transfer germs as well. Keep the toothbrush out in the open, as any sort of dark and closed-in
environment will not let the toothbrush dry properly, so it is best to avoid covering your toothbrush or storing it in a cabinet. If you feel your toothbrush needs a better clean than a simple rinse, you can try some of the following steps to cleaning your toothbrush. While many of these steps may seem excessive, they are definitely important for those with compromised immune systems. Soaking a toothbrush in an antiseptic mouthwash will effectively disinfect your toothbrush. You can also freeze your toothbrush or boil it. One of the easiest ways to clean your toothbrush is simply to put it in the dishwasher. UV light is a very easy and sanitary way to disinfect your toothbrush. The light should hit it for 6 to 8 minutes before and after you brush. There are products you can buy specifically for this process. Another great product for cleaning your toothbrush is using effervescent disinfecting tablets. Keeping your toothbrush clean is an important part of any oral health regime.

Nov 27 17

Do I need an electric toothbrush?

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In an effort to keep our teeth clean and healthy, we may look for more efficient ways of taking care of our oral health. Electric toothbrushes are widely advertised and would seem like they could do a better job than just our own manual brushing. But, are electric toothbrushes needed or are they simply a marketing scheme gone wild?
History of the electric toothbrush
The first electric toothbrush can be placed back to being produced around 1939 in Europe, but didn’t have a great following. In 1960, one was introduced by the American Dental Association and had some success. But, the biggest take-off that happened for the electric toothbrush was in 1961, when General Electric introduced a cordless version. In 1987 the first rotary action brush was introduced and then other companies began marketing their own versions.
Studies around electric vs. manual
There are a number of studies that have been done to examine whether electric toothbrushes clean better than manual toothbrushes do. The most recent ones looked at comparing oscillating-rotating power brushes with sonic power brushes and with manual brushing. Six different clinical trials found that all toothbrushes provided plaque removal, but that oscillating toothbrush was superior to the rest, especially in hard to clean areas, removing 34% more plaque. In another study that pitted electric toothbrushes (also oscillating) against manual toothbrushes, they found that the electric was better at removing plaque, again especially in hard to reach areas. When it comes to gingivitis, studies also found that people using rotating toothbrushes suffered less from the bleeding and painful affliction.
Electric is the winner… but only just recently
The interesting thing to note was that prior to 2004, studies only found a slight notable difference or no difference in the amount of plaque removed by electric toothbrushes vs. manual. One can only surmise that this is because the technology has improved in the last 10+ years. Pros and cons of electric toothbrushes If the most important factor when choosing a toothbrush is removing plaque and preventing gum disease, it would seem that electric toothbrushes are the clear winner. But, there are other factors that shape your choices around toothbrushes. For example, manual toothbrushes are definitely less costly. Depending on the bells and whistles surrounding your electric toothbrush, you are looking at quite a difference in price. As well, manual toothbrushes are widely available and easy to travel with, but they could also be used in a pinch or when not at home. While those few cons are important, electric toothbrushes provide an invaluable service for kids or those with dexterity issues. Children and people with special needs may not be able to provide the pressure needed to clean their teeth effectively and this is where an electric toothbrush can make quite a difference. As well, many kids find electric toothbrushes more fun and will brush longer using one.

Do you need an electric toothbrush? The answer is yours to decide.

Nov 17 17

6 Fun Facts About Your Teeth

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Teeth: they do so much for you. Imagine a world where people had no teeth. You couldn’t chew your food, bite your enemies or enunciate your words properly. Here are 6 totally fun facts about your teeth.

1. The first thing that people notice about you is your smile
You can only make one first impression and according to studies, 40% of people notice your smile first. In another study, 96% of people believe a smile is important to people’s appearance. Basically, it doesn’t matter whether you’ve styled your hair, applied makeup or painstakingly picked out an outfit – if your teeth are yellow, decayed or damaged, people are going to take notice and it will affect how they feel  about your attractiveness.

2. Tooth enamel is the hardest part of your body
You may believe the bones in your body, or even your skull, is the hardest part of your body, but it is actually your tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel is the part of the tooth that acts as a barrier to protect it. Of course, even with it being as hard as it, it can wear away from acids in your food and drink, exposing your tooth to decay and damage.

3. Teeth start forming in the womb
Did you know there have actually been babies who are born with teeth poking through the gums? This is because your teeth start forming around the sixth to eighth week of fetal development. The permanent teeth are already forming as well, starting in the 20th week of prenatal development.

4. You spend over a month of your life brushing your teeth
Consider that you should spend two minutes, at least twice a day, brushing your teeth. Multiply that by  70 years (or more) and you’ll have spent 35.5 days of your life brushing your teeth. Add to that the amount of time spent flossing, picking food out of your teeth, getting cleaning and procedures at the dentist and your tooth care will have taken up a good portion of your life. But, your teeth are definitely well worth the time invested!

5. Your teeth are as unique as your fingerprint
There’s a reason that forensic scientists use your dental records when trying to identify a body. Our teeth are completely different from everyone else’s and as unique as your fingerprint.

6. You have 32 teeth
While there are a few exceptions, most adults have 32 teeth. These include 8 incisors, 8 premolars, 4 canines and 12 molars, which will include your four wisdom teeth. Most people will have all of their adult teeth in by the time they hit 20, but in some cases baby teeth will stay and in other cases, wisdom teeth don’t come through.

Nov 9 17

How to Know if You Are Damaging Your Teeth As You Sleep

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Sleep … it is the best end to a good or bad day. In our sleep, we recharge our batteries literally, as we restore energy, repair and grow tissue, relax our systems and it is when most of our growth occurs. But, sleep isn’t all good, as it can also be a time that you are damaging your teeth and may not have the slightest clue. Here’s how to find out.

You wake up with a sore jaw
The biggest cause of tooth damage during your sleep is from bruxism (teeth grinding). Just as many people don’t truly know they snore until a partner tells them so, you may not know you are grinding your teeth. It is believed that over 62.8 million Americans grind their teeth. When you grind your teeth, you are putting 290 pounds of pressure on each tooth! Considering this, if you are waking up with your jaw feeling sore or stiff, you can only imagine the pressure it has been under. Not only will your jaw be sore, you could have an earache, ringing in the ears, neck pain and headaches.

You grind or clench while you are awake
Ever notice that when you are stressed or actively focused, your teeth are clenched? You may think that you only do that while awake, but estimates say that about 8% of the population grinds their teeth at night and if you are doing it during the day, there is a likely chance it’s happening at night too.

Sensitive teeth
Because grinding your teeth puts such pressure on your teeth, it is only natural that the teeth will feel the effects of it while you are awake. Extra sensitive teeth could be a sign of bruxism, not of just regular aging or the glass of wine you had before bed. If you are regularly brushing and flossing before bed and still waking up with sensitive teeth, bruxism could be to blame.

Damaged teeth
Of course, not only is sensitivity a cause for alarm, but if your teeth are actually breaking, cracking or your fillings are falling out, it is highly possible your tooth-grinding habits are the cause. Your sleep is not restful and you don’t know why If you are waking up through the night and don’t know why, it could be because you are grinding your teeth so badly and causing pain so your body wakes you up continually. You won’t always feel the pain upon waking, because your jaw may relax as you do so. Your best course of action if you believe you are damaging your teeth in your sleep due to grinding is to speak to your dental professional about some sort of protective device. A mouth guard or splint may not stop your grinding, but it will protect your teeth in the process. There are also other types of therapies that do help with the grinding that can be a little more invasive.

Nov 3 17

5 best apps to help take care of your dental health

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Being an adult is hard. There are so many things to take care of and worry about and because of this, many people forget to take care of their health. There are so many apps out there these days that make it easier for people to take care of their responsibilities. Here are the 5 best apps that will help you take care of your dental health.

1. Brush DJ
Making things fun is the name of the game with this app. As they say “toothbrushing is boring”. Because you need to brush for two minutes, the app will play two minutes of music so you know you’ve done a thorough job. This app is perfect for adults and kids who do a mediocre job of getting their two minutes in. This app is totally free too!

2. Dental Phobia
One of the best ways to reduce your fear or phobia of the dentist is through mediation or mindfulness. The dental phobia app helps you get into a sort of hypnotic trance so your fears are lessened while visiting the dentist. It’s worth a try for only $0.99.

3. Mouth Monster
Another great app for kids, this one lets you do so much. First, mouth monsters are basically oral bacteria and your kids need to fight them with their toothbrush. Each day the stages of bacteria will grow if they aren’t beaten (by kids brushing). You can also take photos of kids brushing their teeth and the app keeps the photos so you can see how they’ve changed. The app even tells kids when they are brushing too much or too hard.

4. Braces Help
For those with braces, this app is all about care, comfort and so much more. You can watch videos, check out the colour braces visualizer and share all information easily. You can look up info on your braces like facts about orthodontics, elastics and braces in general.

5. Dental Expert
As a patient, information is key. Dental Expert lets you have that information before or after your appointment. This basically informative app has so much information on medical conditions, bad breath, fillings, oral cancer and so much more. There are charts, ask the expert plus fun facts. While you don’t need an app to take care of your dental health, technology makes it much easier to do what you need to do.

Nov 2 17

How to make homemade toothpaste

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With the DIY craze in full force and many people wondering about chemicals and other harmful ingredients in their personal hygiene products, turning to making your own toothpaste is a valid solution. Many commercial toothpastes contain fluoride (which is definitely recommended by dentists, but is a personal choice), sweeteners, Triclosan, glycerin, artificial colours, dyes, synthetic flavours and surfactants (to give it later). If you want a toothpaste that you know is 100% all natural, you need to make it yourself. How do you do it?

Different recipes for homemade toothpaste
There are many different homemade toothpaste recipes out there, so you may need to play around with the ingredients and find one that gives you a good mouth feel and cleans your mouth properly. Many people use coconut oil and baking powder, which are both excellent ingredients for cleaning the teeth. Essential oils are perfect for adding an ingredient for fresh breath. Some also use some sort of natural sugar in order to help keep the toothpaste in the mouth and not feel like they are eating paper. Salt can be useful as well, as it can aid in keeping the teeth strong.

Here are some of the best recipes for homemade toothpaste:
• 1/2 cup coconut oil
• 2-3 tbsp of baking soda
• 2 tsp stevia powder
• 15-20 drops of essential oils – peppermint or cinnamon work great

Mix ingredients together in a glass jar. Spread the mixture onto your toothbrush before brushing.
• 2/3 cup baking soda
• 1 tsp fine sea salt
• 1 – 2 tsp peppermint extract
• filtered water

Mix together in a glass jar, adding water until the toothpaste reaches your desired consistency. Those two recipes are the most simple, but if you want to get complicated, there are other recipes that use ingredients like Xylitol, bentonite clay, and even crushed cacao nibs! Did you ever think you’d be brushing your teeth healthily with chocolate toothpaste?

Controversy around homemade toothpaste
There are some detractors who don’t believe homemade toothpaste is good enough to keep away cavities and gum disease. And among the ones who believe it does, there is also some argument about which ingredients to use. Some feel that essential oils should not be placed in the mouth as they kill off natural bacteria. Some even believe that just baking soda alone will do the job. Your best bet is to speak to your dentist and get their opinion on what should work for your mouth. While trial and error is always recommended, you should watch the state of your oral health and immediately stop using homemade toothpaste (or change the recipe) if troubles (like tooth decay) occur.

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