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Owen Sound Dental Clinic Staff
Apr 11 18

5 Things You Should Know About Fluoride

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Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth are excellent barriers against cavities and plaque build-up but there is more you can do to keep cavities away. Fluoride is a mineral that helps to harden the enamel on your teeth, making it difficult for cavities to form. Here are five things
about fluoride that you may not know.
Fluoride Occurs Naturally
Fluoride is a mineral that occurs naturally. It can be found in certain foods and is frequently added to drinking water.
There are Several Ways to Receive Fluoride
In many communities, fluoride is easily accessible. It is found in 75% of the U.S. population’s drinking water. Some research shows that communities with fluoride in their water have drastically decreased the number of cavities in both adults and children. In addition to finding fluoride in your drinking water, it is also in a variety of toothpaste products. You can also receive fluoride treatments from the dentist during your six-month
cleaning.
You Don’t Need Substantial Amounts of Fluoride
While fluoride certainly has its benefits, individuals do not need to go out of their way to receive it. If your drinking water contains fluoride, and you use a toothpaste with fluoride in it, adults are generally receiving a sufficient amount for adult teeth. However, if you don’t have fluoride in your water, you may need help from additional products. There are certain toothpaste products, mouthwash, and tablets you and your children can use to ensure you receive the recommended amount of fluoride to properly protect your teeth.
It is a Safe Option for All Ages
Fluoride offers benefits for both adult and children’s teeth. Even toddlers can receive fluoride varnishes and treatments when they visit the dentist. It has also been endorsed by numerous organizations including the American Dental Association, Centres for Disease Control and
Prevention, and the American Academy of Paediatrics.
Fluoride is a Controversial Topic
Not every dental professional agrees that fluoride is good for your teeth. There is some research that shows that fluoride can actually change your enamel. It also affects other tissues and parts in your body. Many also argue that there is no solid evidence that using fluoride regularly benefits you more than not using it. If you have questions regarding the dangers of fluoride, speak with dental professionals for more information. While there are some that may disagree, the research is available that shows the benefits of fluoride. Talk to your dentist to determine if additional steps are necessary for you to receive the recommended amount of fluoride each day.

Apr 6 18

When Should Children Start Visiting the Dentist?

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There is a lot of information and varying opinions regarding when you should take your child to his first dentist appointment. Some individuals say to take the child as soon as the first tooth appears while others say to wait until the child is a little older and can follow the dentist’s instructions. Here is what many experts suggest.
When Is the Right Age?
According to the American Academy of Paediatric Dentistry, your child should see the dentist for the first time shortly after his or her first tooth appears. This means your child should have seen the dentist at least once before he or she turns one. At this appointment, the dentist can then determine when he would like to see the child again. If there are any concerns, the dentist may want to see the child within six months. If not, they may want to wait until the child is a little older. The purpose of your child’s first checkup is not to give the teeth a thorough cleaning. This appointment is to begin familiarizing your child to the dentist, dental procedures, and even the environment of the dental office. In fact, many thorough cleanings won’t even begin until the child is three years old or even a little older depending on how cooperative they are with the dentist and can have an X-ray.
What Type of Dentist Should I Look for?
When you have young children, you should consider taking them to a paediatric dentist. A paediatric dentist is different than a family dentist because they have received several years of additional training to learn how to properly treat children’s teeth. Additionally, many parents prefer to take their child to a paediatric dentist because they have more experience working with kids who may be scared and nervous. Paediatric dental offices are also designed for kids, helping them feel calmer for the appointment.
Tips to Prepare Kids for the Dentist
Visiting the dentist, particularly during the first several visits, can make children extremely uncomfortable and upset. As a parent, you can prepare your child for this new experience before even setting foot in the dentist office. A few ideas include:
• Talk about the dentist at home, but only speak of her in a positive light.
• Play dentist. Take turns being the dentist and working on one another’s teeth. You can also practice on dolls or other toys if they are available.
• Go early to the dentist. Let your child become comfortable in the dentist office before it is their turn for the appointment.
• Don’t set your expectations too high. There will most likely be tears and lots of screaming. Don’t expect perfection during the very first appointment.

Your children’s oral health is just as important as caring for other parts of their body. By visiting a paediatric dentist at a young age, you are helping your child establish strong health habits that will affect him throughout his entire life.

Apr 2 18

How to Choose the Right Toothpaste

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Your smile is one of your best features and it is important that you keep your teeth healthy and beautiful. Not all toothpaste is made the same, and the product you choose can make all the difference in the health and protection of your teeth. Here are a few tips to help you choose the right toothpaste for your mouth.
Consider Your Teeth
What oral issues do you frequently face? Are you prone to cavities? Are your teeth extremely sensitive? Do your teeth turn yellow very easily? Think about your teeth’s specific needs and find toothpaste that focuses on those needs. For example, if you constantly have cavities each time you go to the dentist, you should consider toothpaste with extra cavity protection.
Toothpaste With or Without Fluoride?
Most toothpaste contains small amounts of fluoride. While fluoride has many benefits and protects your teeth, if swallowed, individuals can have severe reactions due to its toxicity. If you aren’t concerned about yourself or family members swallowing fluoride, it is highly recommended to use toothpaste with fluoride. However, if you have young children who may swallow their toothpaste, you may want to consider a toothpaste that does not contain fluoride. This product generally provides plenty of protection for teeth but is made with safer ingredients.
Be Careful if You Have Sensitive Teeth
If you have sensitive teeth, you must be more careful in the toothpaste you purchase, particularly if you are considering teeth whitening toothpaste. Unfortunately, if you have sensitive teeth, some toothpaste can make your condition worse. You should talk to a dentist and ask for recommendations based on your specific needs.
Talk to your Dentist
One of the best ways to determine what toothpaste is right for you is to talk to your dentist. Your dentist can evaluate your needs and provide suggestions based on your teeth. In addition, prescription toothpaste may be worth considering. This type of product is ideal if you have severe oral issues or have extremely sensitive teeth. If you have many oral hygiene issues, the toothpaste you purchase at the store may not cut it and many not provide the protection you need. Keep in mind, you may have to pay a little more for prescription toothpaste but it will protect your teeth in the long run and save you much dental work. There are many toothpaste options on the market today and it can be hard to decipher which one is best and which one will provide the right amount of protection for your teeth. Use these tips to help you choose the right toothpaste for you and for your entire family.

Mar 23 18

Do You Need to Wear a Mouth Guard?

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To maintain your beautiful smile, you must take care of your teeth. While brushing and flossing protects your pearly whites from cavities, a mouth guard can protect it from serious dental injuries. A mouth guard is a small device that you place in your mouth to protect various areas in the mouth. It not only guards your teeth, but also the jaw, tongue, and cheeks. These mouth protectors are typically made of plastic and laminate and are most often worn during contact sports such as hockey, basketball, football, and baseball.
Teens are More Susceptible to Oral Injuries
While mouth guards may be an excellent safety precaution for individuals of all ages, teenagers  have a substantially higher risk for an oral injury while playing various contact sports and have a greater need for mouth protection. One study by the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry looked at the various injuries teenagers experienced when playing various sports. The study found that 75% of teenage athletes suffered some type of oral trauma while playing sports – particularly basketball, baseball, and football. The study found that the most common injuries that occurred were lost teeth, teeth that were moved in the mouth but still attached, fractured teeth, and severe cuts in the mouth.
It May Help Prevent Concussions
In addition to simply protecting your teeth and other areas of your mouth, there is some  research, and many experts claim that individuals who wear a mouth guard during sporting activities lessen their chance of a concussion. This is because the cushion of the mouth guard creates a type of padding which lessens the blow to the brain. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been consistently confirmed but there is ample evidence to prove so.
Key is Proper Fitting Mouth Guard
If individuals want the benefits of a mouth guard, it is essential the device fits the individual’s mouth and fits it well. The guard should be tight-fitting and should not move around when in the mouth. The wearer of the mouth guard should not have to clench his or her teeth to keep the device in place either. There are several types of mouth guards available. A common mouth guard is a boil and bite guard. With this type of device, the guard is boiled and becomes very malleable. You then bite it and mold it to the wearer’s teeth while it is still hot. While the boil and bite mouth guards are extremely common, a custom-fit mouth protector is ideal. Before choosing just any mouth guard, you should discuss the various options with your dentist and be professionally fitted for the device. The custom-fit guard will ensure it fits the wearer correctly, is durable, and provides the essential protection he or she needs for certain sports and other activities. This option may be more expensive than others but it will provide the best overall protection. While mouth guards are small devices, they can make all the difference between suffering large dental injuries or experiencing something minor. Reach out to your dentist for more information on mouth protectors and for answers to many questions you may have.

Mar 13 18

How to Properly Whiten Your Teeth

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A beautiful, pearly white smile is a goal for most individuals. However, maintaining white teeth is no easy task. Over time, your teeth begin to lose their white colour. A variety of foods and beverages may stain them, and a lack of oral care can break down and destroy your enamel, causing teeth to become yellow. If you want that sought-after white smile, here are a few tips to properly whiten your teeth.
Eat A Balanced Diet
Eating healthy does more than just give your body energy to function each day, it can help your teeth stay strong and look their best. Additionally, when you eat certain types of crunchy fruits and vegetables, it can help remove plaque buildup on your teeth, which also creates yellow-appearing teeth. While eating more fruits and vegetables isn’t the only method you should use if you want to whiten teeth, it is a great starting point. Also, be mindful of the types of foods you do eat, as dark beverages and some foods can cause discolouration.
Use Teeth Whitening Toothpaste
Teeth whitening toothpaste is an excellent way to restore your white smile without hurting your budget. However, this option can take some time and you won’t see drastic changes overnight. There are also numerous options available, so you can choose the best toothpaste to help you whiten and clean your teeth.
Talk to a Professional
If you want to ensure a long-lasting whitening method that does not damage your teeth, consider treatment from a dentist. A dentist can offer several whitening methods including teeth whitening gel, laser treatment, and bleaching products. Additionally, not all individuals  should consider teeth whitening treatment. There are some risks involved, particularly for those with gum disease or extreme sensitivity. In addition, be aware that these methods will cost you significantly more than others.
Use Baking Soda and Hydrogen Peroxide
Baking soda and hydrogen peroxide are two ingredients that can help you whiten teeth naturally. By combining the two ingredients with one part baking soda and two parts hydrogen peroxide, you create a paste. Put the paste on your teeth and brush your teeth like you would with regular toothpaste. Then, let it sit for at least one minute on your teeth. The paste will not only clean your teeth, but it will help remove stains and create a whiter smile. Make sure you rinse your teeth well after using the paste and do not use this method every day. These ingredients can damage your enamel if used in excess, making you even more susceptible to cavities. While there are many methods to whiten your teeth, you need to determine how much time, effort, and money you are willing to spend to get that perfect white smile. It is also wise to speak with a dentist before you choose any treatment to ensure you don’t damage your teeth and destroy your enamel.

Mar 9 18

6 Foods that are Damaging Your Teeth

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The foods you eat do more than just provide fuel and energy for your body. They can affect all aspects of your health, including your teeth. There are certain foods that can cause more tartar and plaque build-up than others. They can also break down enamel or even increase the risk of chipping a tooth. Here are six foods that you should avoid — or at least limit — to keep your teeth healthy.

Citrus
While citrus provides many essential nutrients to stay healthy and fight illnesses, too much of it is a bad thing. Eating citrus foods can break down the enamel on your teeth, making your more susceptible to cavities and sensitivity.

Carbonated Drinks
The media has discussed carbonated drinks extensively, due to their poor effects on health. But in addition to what it does to the inside of your body, it has many effects on your teeth. Not only do darker sodas stain teeth, they also coat your teeth with acid, damaging your teeth’s
enamel.

Sticky Foods
Foods that are sticky — dried fruits, fruit snacks, or certain types of candy — should all be avoided or severely limited if you want to keep your teeth healthy. Sticky foods are usually high in sugar. While brushing your teeth can get rid of much of that sugar that is lingering on your teeth, unfortunately, sticky substances find their way into holes and crevices, where it is difficult for a toothbrush to reach.

Pickles
Pickles are a favourite food among many individuals but eating too many can cause serious havoc on your teeth. Pickles contain exceptionally high amounts of vinegar. This acid poses a serious risk to your enamel and too much of it can break enamel down quickly. If you love pickles, try to limit your intake and be sure to drink lots of water after eating them. If possible, brush your teeth immediately after eating this popular food item.

Ice
Many individuals don’t even think twice about popping an ice cube in their mouth. After all, ice has zero calories and helps to keep your body hydrated. However, it can seriously damage your teeth. Ice is extremely hard and can easily crack, chip, or break a tooth. You may want to keep
your dentist’s number handy if you have a habit of regularly munching on this item.

Popcorn
Popcorn is another favourite food but can quickly chip or crack a tooth. Those hard popcorn kernels should never be placed in your mouth as they are too hard to munch on. Additionally, if popcorn ever becomes stuck in between your teeth, you should always make sure to floss shortly after eating a bowl of it. The bacteria left behind can cause cavities and when kernels are stuck between your teeth, your toothbrush is not likely to reach there.
While proper oral care, such as brushing, flossing, and regularly visiting the dentist are essential to your teeth’s health, it is also vital that you monitor what foods you place in your mouth. Be sure to regularly visit a dentist for an extensive cleaning and to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Mar 7 18

Cold and Flu Season: What You Can do to Protect Yourself

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If it seems like you end up with a cold or the flu (or both!) every year around this time, you are not alone. In fact, over 27 000 Canadians were reported to have contracted the flu in the 2016-2017 season, and that number is only expected to increase in the years ahead. We all know being sick is no fun, but there are lots of steps you can take to reduce your risk of getting infected and to make sure you escape this cold and flu season unscathed!
Prevention
Taking preventative measures is one of the easiest and most effective things you can do to protect yourself from getting a cold or the flu. These illnesses are caused by viruses, and there are several strains of virus which may cause you to become sick. These viruses are transmitted via the air, via direct contact with an infected individual and their bodily fluids, or through fomites – touching contaminated objects. To fight against these transmissions, take the following precautions:
• Wash your hands frequently with anti-bacterial soap, and do not share towels with an infected individual.
• Keep your hands away from your eyes, mouth and nose, especially when unwashed.
• Do not share items such as cutlery, drinking glasses or water bottles.
• When possible, stay away from individuals who are currently infected.
• Avoid handling soiled tissues, cloths, towels etc. that have been used by individuals who are sick.
• Stay hydrated and drink plenty of water to ensure your immune system is able to function optimally.
• Regularly clean frequently used surfaces such as door handles, countertops and table surfaces with anti-bacterial wipes
First Signs
It is possible to stop a cold or flu infection in its tracks in the early stages and reduce your risk of becoming increasingly ill from the infection. At the first signs of illness, increase your intake of fluids, drinking plenty of water. Get a good night’s sleep and ensure you are getting adequate rest. The body needs more rest in order to optimize immune system function and reduce stress and you should also try to reduce your overall stress, including that from work and family or physical stress such as that from exercise. Focus on increasing your intake of immune system friendly vitamins and minerals: Vitamin C found in foods such as oranges, kiwi and grapefruit; zinc, found in pumpkin seeds and mushrooms and magnesium found in sweet potato, raw cacao and leafy greens.
After the Fact
It is important to remember that there are several strains of the cold and flu virus, and just because you have been infected once doesn’t mean you can’t be infected again. In fact, it is more likely that you will be infected a second or third time after your first exposure, as your immune system is already depleted from fighting off the virus the first time. To ensure you are not impacted a second time, be extra cautious about employing the preventative measures above. In addition, boost your immune system by consuming lots of bright, colourful fruits and vegetables that are rich in antioxidants, drink plenty of water and increase your intake of anti-bacterial foods and beverages such as garlic, fermented cabbage, apple cider vinegar, ginger and raw honey. While cold and flu season may be inevitable, you getting sick doesn’t have to be. Start putting these preventative measures into practice now, and you’ll breeze through the season, healthy and infection free!

Feb 14 18

Is Chewing Gum Bad for your Teeth?

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Chewing gum is a great solution to that bad taste you have in your mouth after lunch or to freshen your breath in preparation for a meeting with your boss. And for many of us, chewing gum may be just as much of a habit more than it is a necessity. Just like any habit, you have probably been chastised more than once – by your mother or your grandma – about how chewing gum is bad for you, and more specifically, how it is bad for your teeth. But is that true?
Sugarless Gum
Most of the traditional gum sold on the market today – think Excel, Extra, or Dentyne – are sugarless gums. This means, they do not contain any refined sugars or typical sugar like you would use in baking, and instead, are sweetened with other, artificial sweeteners. In most cases, this is aspartame, sorbitol, mannitol and xylitol. While there is much debate over the health implications of aspartame, the latter three are sugar alcohols, which you may have seen sold as a sugar substitute in your local grocery store. The exception to this sugarless gum is bubble gums, such as Hubba Bubba, and these bubble gums contain sugar, not sugar alternatives.
Implicating Teeth
When it comes to oral health, the issue with things such as gum and other food we eat, is that they may contain cavity-causing agents. This is typically sugar, which can get stuck in your teeth and then initiate dental erosion and cause your teeth to break down, or even lead to a hole in your teeth. This hole is what is known as a cavity. With sugarless gums however, this issue is eliminated, and there is minimal to no risk of cavities from chewing sugarless gum. In fact, in many cases, the American Dental Association offers their seal of approval on certain sugarless gums, indicating their approval for use.
Dental Health
While cavities are one issue when it comes to food and gum, there are several other components that need to be considered in ensuring optimal dental health. Things such as working to reduce build up of plaque and gingivitis, fighting bad breath, and ensuring adequate production of saliva and healthy mouth bacteria. Chewing gum increases saliva production. Saliva is the mouth’s natural acid defendant and without adequate saliva, acid
in the mouth can cause dental erosion. In addition, bad breath is often caused by low saliva flow. Collectively, since chewing gum increases saliva production, it acts to correct and prevent all of these issues. Good oral health starts with regular brushing and flossing and yearly visits to the dentist. While chewing gum is not a substitute to regular, adequate tooth brushing practices, with the right selection of gum, combined with other proper dental habits, chewing gum can be a safe and healthy component of maintaining good mouth and oral health.

Feb 9 18

Taking Care Of Your Teeth When You Have Cancer

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A diagnosis of cancer can be devastating. While you are worried about your health and finances, you don’t always consider the other parts of your body that may be affected by cancer and its treatments. Your oral health is very important to the health of your body and treatments like chemo and radiation can be detrimental to your mouth’s well-being.
Oral health issues caused by cancer
A study by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research found that 1/3 rd of cancer patients experience complications related to their oral health. These include:
• Mouth sores
• Infection of the mouth, teeth and gums
• Dry mouth – which can lead to a whole host of issues
• Sensitive gums
• Jaw pain
• Nerve issues
When you have cancer, and get treatment for it, your immune system is weakened. If you already have underlying mouth issues like gingivitis or tooth decay, these may be worsened during your battle with cancer. If you get an infection during cancer treatment, it can be very difficult for your body to fight it. This may mean that your treatment could be delayed or cancelled until the infection itself is treated. Taking care of your teeth and gums during treatment is very important. Many medications, including the ones given for nausea during treatment can cause dry mouth. Dry mouth increases your risk of tooth decay and infection and can be very uncomfortable.
What to do before treatment
Before you begin treatment, see your dentist and get all of the work done you may have been putting off, whether that’s a cleaning, a filling or a root canal. Clearing up issues before your immune system gets weaker is a good line of defence. As most will advise you, quit smoking, increase your water intake and eat as healthy as you can.
What to do during treatment
During treatment, care for your teeth as well as you can by brushing and flossing regularly. You don’t want to have any work done if you can avoid it. If you are experiencing mouth sores, there are topical treatments that you can get over the counter to relieve pain. There are prescription mouthwashes that you can use to help increase saliva production and prevent dry mouth. Doing a mouth rinse with salt and baking soda in water can be very helpful as well. If jaw pain is keeping you up at night, try to exercise your jaw and take a pain reliever (talk to your doctor first).
What to do after treatment
After treatment, see your dentist for a cleaning and checkup and to ensure the treatments haven’t caused any residual issues. Continue to care for your teeth as you would normally. Oral health care during cancer isn’t something that should be overlooked. Taking care of your whole
body is important and will ensure you feel better quicker.

Feb 2 18

5 Facts About Breastfeeding and Your Child’s Oral Development

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Choosing to breastfeed your baby is a personal decision. It is well known to have benefits for both mother and child over time. Babies receive natural immunities from their mothers and women can lower their risk of ovarian and breast cancer. Have you ever heard that there are also benefits to your baby’s oral health and development? If this is news to you, read on for some facts about the link between breastfeeding and a baby’s oral health.

Your Baby May Have a Better Bite
While this isn’t a guarantee, as babies also suck their thumbs and use pacifiers, breastfeeding has been shown to improve a child’s overall tooth alignment later in life. It is believed that because breastfeeding requires a baby to move the tongue and jaw muscles, unlike taking a bottle, they develop muscle-tone in the jaw. Babies who were breastfed have been shown to have fewer issues related to overbite, open bite, or other misalignment concerns.

Breastfed Babies Get Fewer Cavities
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of cavities because babies aren’t put to bed with a bottle. Prolonged exposure to milk in the mouth can cause tooth decay, which isn’t as concerning if a baby is breastfed. In fact, prior to the use of bottles, tooth decay in baby teeth was uncommon. However, this doesn’t mean that the risk of cavities is totally eliminated. Everyone is different. Genetic makeup, water sources, or antibiotics can make a difference in your child’s potential to develop cavities.

Antibiotics and a Baby’s Oral Health
Taking antibiotics while breastfeeding is less likely to cause issues for your baby than taking them while pregnant. Your baby will receive much less of the antibiotic via breast milk than he would if you take them while pregnant. Tetracycline has been shown to cause bone and tooth damage to an unborn baby, though letting an infection go untreated can actually be more detrimental. This is a decision that must be made between you and your physician.

Dental Checkups Matter
Just because you have chosen to breastfeed your baby doesn’t mean that you can neglect to take them to the dentist. Dentists can find potential oral issues quickly and effectively prevent them from becoming developmental problems. Additionally, home oral care is essential to help avoid cavities in babies. Breast milk contains less sugar than formula, but it is still there. Prolonged exposure to sugar will affect a baby’s oral development, so be sure to clean the gums and baby teeth when they appear.

When to Wean
Much like choosing to breastfeed, deciding when to wean a baby is a personal decision. Many mothers choose to stop breastfeeding once teeth appear due to the potential of being bitten. There is no link to breastfeeding and damage to the alignment of teeth, even after they start coming in. Once teeth appear it is important to brush them with a rubber baby toothbrush or wipe them with a piece of gauze to prevent milk from sitting on them for too long. A baby’s oral development is not damaged by breastfeeding in any way. However, don’t let the decision of whether or not to breastfeed feel forced. Stress from trying to breastfeed and not being comfortable can cause milk to dry up or frustration to occur in both the baby and mother. Allow breastfeeding to be a natural process and don’t force yourself to participate in this feeding method if you have personal reservations.

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