Clean your tongue for better oral & general health!

Clean your tongue for better oral & general health!

Keeping your tongue clean is an important part of oral health care and hygiene. Why? Because oral bacteria can build up on your tongue, just like it does on your teeth.

If excess bacteria accumulate on your tongue, you may experience halitosis or bad breath. But that’s not all. You may also be at higher risk of more serious oral health complications, such as oral infections, periodontal disease and lung infections.

Daily tongue cleaning reduces your risk of gum disease (periodontal disease)

Cleaning your tongue is very important if you want to reduce pathogenic tongue bacteria. Take Fusobacterium Nucleatum for example. It is a highly invasive bacterium that causes periodontal (gum) disease.

F. Nucleatum feed off fermenting carbohydrates and cause dental plaque. These microorganisms live quite comfortably in the mucus on your tongue. They can proliferate into huge colonies within tongue mucus, which can contain 100s of millions of these nasty rod-shaped critters. Now imagine brushing your teeth, but not your tongue.

What happens next?

As soon as you put down your toothbrush and close your mouth, your bacterially coated tongue is going to redeposit millions of bacteria straight back onto the teeth you’ve just cleaned! F. Nucleatum can also infect the head, neck, chest, lungs, liver and abdomen if given the opportunity.

Tongue cleaning may help prevent lung infections

Tongue cleaning is a crucial part of a general health routine to help prevent pathogenic bacteria from spreading to the rest of your body. Many previous clinical studies have shown that you can inhale aspirated oral bacteria from your mouth straight into your lungs. This can lead to health complications if your immune system is under par.

According to a new study published by Japanese dental researchers in August 2018, a bacterial imbalance on your tongue can lead to pneumonia and other respiratory health problems – especially if you are an older adult with missing teeth, high plaque levels and more tooth decay than usual.

The Japanese researchers noted that equal attention should be given to maintaining proper oral care of the tongue, as well as the teeth and gums, for good oral health.

Watch your mouth…it’s Dental Health Week 2018!

Watch your mouth…it’s Dental Health Week 2018!

The slogan for Dental Health Week 2018 says it all. Don’t focus on just your teeth or gums, but try to take better care of your whole mouth in general.

That might sound obvious but Dental Health Week 2018 is going back to basics this year, due in part to the publication of the 2018 National Oral Health Report in March. This report, which you can read more about in our May blog post, revealed a lot of disappointing statistics regarding the oral health and habits of everyday Australians. For example, only 50% of Australians brush their teeth twice a day, while nearly 40% never floss or clean in-between their teeth!

Key messages

If Australians don’t keep up good oral health practices, they are putting themselves at risk of a number of oral health problems and complications. So for Dental Health Week this year, the Australian Dental Association (ADA) would like all Australians to take note of and share the following key messages:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily, morning and night, with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean in-between your teeth once daily with floss or an interdental brush.
  • Eat and drink a healthy diet, and limit your sugar intake to less than 10% of your total energy intake. The WHO sugar recommendation for adults and active children aged 2-18 is no more than 6 teaspoons per day. To put that amount into perspective, one can of soft drink contains about 7 teaspoons of sugar!
  • Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and preventative treatment, such as scale & cleans.
  • How to play your part

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    Dental Health Week is a time to reflect on what we have been doing, or not doing, to maintain the oral health of ourselves and our loved ones. It also gives us a fresh opportunity to renew and focus better on our oral health goals, and those of the children we teach and care for.
    Visit dentalhealthweek.com.au for more oral health information, activities and educational resources for kids and students. Lastly, have a great Dental Health Week from the TC Dental team!

Graphic health labels on soft drinks give drinkers second thoughts

Graphic health labels on soft drinks give drinkers second thoughts

Sugar is the new tobacco. For years, the side effects of excess sugar consumption have stayed under the radar of the Department of Health. Now, it’s finally under scrutiny, since being identified as a contributing factor to rising rates of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and preventable tooth decay – in Australia and the rest of the world.

The front-of-pack label experiment

Taking their cue from tobacco “front-of-pack” health labelling, researchers from Deakin University wanted to find out if a similar approach could work with consumers of sugary drinks. In their recent study, the researchers asked 1000 participants, aged 18-35 years old, to select from a range of sugary and unsweetened beverages with or without health labels.

While the unsweetened beverages had no labels, the sugary ones had health labels that included front-of-pack graphic/text warnings, the number of teaspoons of added sugar and/or a Health Star Rating.

The results

The Australian researchers found that participants felt dissuaded to choose a sugary drink with a front-of-pack health label or a low Health Star Rating – for health reasons.

Front-of-pack graphic warning labels had the greatest impact – with 36% of participants saying they were less likely to a sugary drink with one. Health Star Ratings labels scored 20%, while “number of teaspoons of added sugar” labels scored 18%.

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Time for action

The lead author of the study, Prof. Anna Peeters, stated that front-of-pack health labelling on sugary drink containers has the potential to: change consumer behaviour; reduce sugary drink sales; prevent excessive sugar consumption; and help people to be better informed and more health conscious about their drink choices.

Since sugary drinks are the largest source of added sugar in our diets, Peeters noted that a front-of-pack health labelling strategy should be introduced as soon as possible, to help reduce the high rates of obesity, type-2 diabetes and preventable tooth decay in Australia.
Peeters also noted that front-of-pack health labels should be designed with children and adolescents in mind, since they represent the highest consumer group of sugary beverages in Australia.

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Snack smart during World Cup 2018

Snack smart during World Cup 2018

If you’ve been binge watching the FIFA World Cup on TV, your teeth won’t be at risk from a direct hit to the face from a soccer ball, unlike the actual players in the game. However, you may be putting your teeth at risk if you binge snack at the same time.

Binge watching and binge snacking often go hand in hand during World Cup time, not to mention other marathon sporting events and streaming services, such as Netflix.

The dangers of binge snacking

Sugary or starchy snacks eaten in moderation are okay, as long as you practice good oral care and hygiene afterwards. But when you watch a marathon TV event all through the night, those rules often fly out the window.

In fact, you may be susceptible to all sorts of abnormal snacking behaviour while you binge watch. If you happen to fall asleep on the sofa with a mouthful of sugary food residue at 2am, another World Cup party of a different kind will start up for the billions of oral bacteria in your mouth.

Within a short space of time, the acidic by-products from the oral bacteria will start to eat away at your tooth enamel, causing accelerated tooth decay and potential cavities.

Plan your snacks the smart way

Take control of your binge snacking by limiting the amount of snacks you consume. If you are watching a game, eat your fill of snacks during the first quarter of a game to get yourself going. At half-time, take an oral hygiene break by rinsing your mouth and/or brushing your teeth.

Once the 2nd half starts up, settle down for the rest of the match with a clean, fresh mouth. If you fall asleep towards the end of the game – no worries! If you watch another match and still feel hungry, repeat the process.

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Smart snack choices

Not all snacks are harmful to your teeth – just the sugary, starchy ones. There are heaps of healthy snack choices, including: fresh fruits and vegetables; unsweetened whole grains; unsweetened dairy products; and meats, nuts & seeds.
The main SMART SNACK tips to keep in mind:

  • DON”T BINGE! – Limit your intake of sugary and/or starchy snacks while watching TV
  • Avoid sipping sweetened beverages for long periods of time
  • Include a variety of foods from different food groups
  • Quickly rinse your mouth out with water after snacking to wash away food residue
  • Brush your teeth just before you finally hit the sack

Australia fails in 2018 National Oral Health Report

Australia fails in 2018 National Oral Health Report

A national oral health report card published in March, 2018 has revealed some sobering statistics regarding the oral health of Australians adults.

Australia’s Adult Oral Health Tracker is a joint initiative of the Aust. Dental Association (ADA) and the Aust. Health Policy Collaboration (AHPC). The report aims to track the progress of preventable oral diseases along with their risk factors and negative oral health outcomes. The report will be published on a regular basis, in order to monitor the progress of oral health targets – set for all Australians to achieve by 2025.

Where are we failing?

  • The most common chronic disease in Australia is tooth decay. This includes all oral and general health diseases. Currently 90.1% of Australians have experienced or are experiencing tooth decay in their permanent teeth.
     
  • A lot of Australians are not having their tooth decay treated by a dentist. The latest data reveals that 25.5% of us are living with untreated tooth decay. This can lead to oral health complications such as cavities, gum disease and tooth loss.
     
  • 19.8 % of adults aged over 15, have periodontal pockets greater than 4mm in width. Periodontal pockets are deep spaces between your teeth and gums that contain plaque and oral bacteria. As these pockets develop, your gums start to pull away and detach from your teeth irreversibly, leading to receding gums and potential tooth loss. If you have periodontal pockets, then you probably have gum disease (periodontitis).
     
  • Australians aren’t brushing their teeth enough. Half of all Australian adults do not brush their teeth twice a day as recommended. Over a 24 hour period, the development of plaque and tooth decay can progress significantly.
     
  • 52.2% of Australian adults are consuming too much sugar. Furthermore, approximately 75% of children consume excess sugar. Excess sugar intake is a major risk factor for tooth decay and erosion, not to mention cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
     
  • Poor childhood oral health is a high risk factor for poor oral health outcomes in adults. Over 22,000 Australian children aged less than 9 years old were hospitalised for oral health problems. All of these cases could have been prevented through proper oral care and hygiene, and access to free dental services via the Children Dental Benefit Schedule (CDBS).
     

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Despite the current challenges, the best way to move forward is to improve action that can prevent poor oral health in Australia. Individuals, parents, families, communities, health professionals and government will need to play a part to ensure the oral health of all Australians in the future.

Resources

Manton DJ, Foley M, Gikas A, Ivanoski S, McCullough M, Peres MA, Roberts-Thomson K, Skinner J, Irving E, Seselja A, Calder R, Harris B, Lindberg R, Millar L, Nichols T. 2018 Australia’s Oral Health Tracker: Technical Paper, Australian Health Policy Collaboration, Victoria University, Melbourne. Retrieved from https://www.ada.org.au/Dental-Professionals/Australia-s-Oral-Health-Tracker/Australia-s-Oral-Health-Tracker-Technical-Appendix/ADA_AHPC_Technical-Appendix_07032018

Dental emergencies

Dental emergencies

Dental emergencies can occur at any time, and usually involve injury to your teeth or mouth, severe toothache, bleeding, oral infections and swelling. During these events, it is important to stay calm and make sure that you take rational steps to minimise further damage and prevent potential tooth loss.

Seeking emergency treatment

In any dental emergency event, seek immediate treatment from a dental professional. Seeing a dentist within 30 min may be a critical window of opportunity if you want to save a severely damaged or knocked-out tooth.

Almost all dentists have emergency slots in their schedules so you can receive emergency promptly. It’s important to call your dentist at the time of the emergency also, because they can advise you over the phone on crucial first aid steps you can take before you make it to the clinic.

If the emergency occurs at night or on a weekend, then look up the nearest clinic or hospital that handles after hours dental emergencies in your area.

Types of dental emergencies

Dental emergencies include the following:

  • Severe toothache
  • Chipped, fractured and broken teeth
  • Knocked out teeth
  • Lost crowns, overlays, inlays and crowns
  • Bitten lips, tongue or cheek
  • Bleeding from lips, teeth and cheeks
  • Trauma to soft tissue
  • Localised oral infection, abscesses, and swelling in the teeth or gums
  • Jaw injury and pain

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Prevention

You can avoid, prevent, or at the very least, minimise the damage from dental emergency accidents – before they happen.

If you engage in contact sports or risky recreational activities, wear the right safety gear. With regard to protection from potential oral injuries and trauma, wear a safety helmet, if appropriate, and a custom-fitted sports mouthguard – even during training sessions.

Don’t use your teeth as a utensil to open packages or plastic containers – you’re asking for trouble. Use scissors instead. Avoid chewing and crunching down on hard foods or objects to prevent tooth chips or fractures, and be wary of some types of chewing candy that can even lift out fillings and inlays.

Last but not least, maintain your oral health by brushing and flossing twice a day, and seeing your dentist twice a year for a preventative check up and clean!

Inlays and onlays – the conservative tooth restoration

Inlays and onlays – the conservative tooth restoration

Inlays and onlays are dental treatments for teeth that are moderately decayed, damaged, chipped or cracked. Unlike fillings, which are molded into a cavity, inlays and onlays are prosthetic partial teeth that are fabricated in a dental lab to fit precisely into the space left by the missing portion of the tooth.

Inlays and onlays – What’s the difference?

They are very similar but each has a specific purpose. Inlays are designed to fit where traditional fillings usually go – the space within the cusps of a tooth. If one or more of the cusps are damaged or missing, then an onlay is more suitable. Onlays are a little bigger and cover more of your tooth’s surface. They can fit within and over any outer cusps that have broken off as a result of damage or decay.

The conservative approach

Why are inlays and onlays considered to be a conservative alternative to tooth restoration? They only restore the part of a tooth that is actually damaged.

If you were to opt for a full-coverage crown to restore the same tooth, more invasive procedures are needed to prepare the tooth for a crown. That means you may sacrifice perfectly healthy tooth structure to accommodate the crown. So in that sense, inlay and onlay treatment is a conservative approach, since it preserves as much of your natural tooth structure as possible during prep.

What are the benefits of inlays/onlays?

  • Seal teeth better than fillings
  • Fit perfectly
  • Strong, durable and stable
  • Protect and support weaker parts of a tooth
  • Preserve more of your natural tooth structure for better long-term functionality
  • Easier to clean for better oral care
  • Colour-matched with surrounding tooth enamel
  • Stain resistant, and better colour retention than tooth-coloured fillings
  • More cost effective than other tooth restoration options

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If you have a tooth that is decayed and damaged, inlays and onlays may be the perfect solution. Call us on 07 3349 9334 to schedule a visit before your tooth gets damaged any further!

How fissure sealants prevent tooth decay and cavities in children

How fissure sealants prevent tooth decay and cavities in children

TC Dental dentists can provide a range of dental treatments for your child, depending on what oral health issues they have. But we also offer treatment options that can prevent most of these issues from occurring in the first place. Fissure sealants are one such treatment. They can safeguard your child’s teeth, and help keep them strong and healthy.

What are fissure sealants?

Fissure sealants (or dental sealants) are an acrylic coating that is applied to the natural fissures and pits on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.

How do fissure sealants work?

Fissures, grooves and pits are hot spots for the accumulation of food residue that may be hard to reach with a tooth brush – especially if they are deep and narrow. When food residue accumulates in these areas, plaque and bacteria can form and can cause tooth decay and cavities.

Fissure sealants fill in fissures, and form a hard, smooth protective shield over them. This prevents food and bacteria from penetrating into these areas.

Fissure sealant treatment

A fissure sealant treatment is a fairly straight forward dental procedure that requires minimal prep.

First, the tooth or teeth are thoroughly cleaned to remove any plaque and bacteria. They are then coated with a special gel solution that is allowed to dry, after which the acrylic sealant is applied, and cured with a UV light that activates and hardens the sealant. The whole process usually takes a few minutes per tooth.

Do fissure sealants last a long time?

Yes, they do – several years in fact. However, depending on what or how your child eats and chews, fissure sealants may wear out over time, in which case, your dentist may need to re-apply more and check for any signs of decay. When you take your child in for their regular dental visit, your dentist will check for any changes.

When is the right age for children to receive fissure sealants?

Fissure sealants are usually applied to children’s teeth when they are between the ages of 6 and 14 years old. But the rule of thumb, since all children develop differently, is to get your dentist to apply fissure sealants as soon as any of your child’s permanent back teeth emerge.

If you feel that your child would benefit from fissure sealants, consult with our dentists or hygienists during your child’s next visit. They will be able to identify which of your child’s teeth are suitable for treatment, as well as the right time to have them sealed.

TC Dental dentists can provide a range of dental treatments for your child, depending on what oral health issues they have. But we also offer treatment options that can prevent most of these issues from occurring in the first place. Fissure sealants are one such treatment. They can safeguard your child’s teeth, and help keep them strong and healthy.

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What are fissure sealants?

Fissure sealants (or dental sealants) are an acrylic coating that is applied to the natural fissures and pits on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth.

How do fissure sealants work?

Fissures, grooves and pits are hot spots for the accumulation of food residue that may be hard to reach with a tooth brush – especially if they are deep and narrow. When food residue accumulates in these areas, plaque and bacteria can form and can cause tooth decay and cavities.

Fissure sealants fill in fissures, and form a hard, smooth protective shield over them. This prevents food and bacteria from penetrating into these areas.

Fissure sealant treatment

A fissure sealant treatment is a fairly straight forward dental procedure that requires minimal prep.

First, the tooth or teeth are thoroughly cleaned to remove any plaque and bacteria. They are then coated with a special gel solution that is allowed to dry, after which the acrylic sealant is applied, and cured with a UV light that activates and hardens the sealant. The whole process usually takes a few minutes per tooth.

Do fissure sealants last a long time?

Yes, they do – several years in fact. However, depending on what or how your child eats and chews, fissure sealants may wear out over time, in which case, your dentist may need to re-apply more and check for any signs of decay. When you take your child in for their regular dental visit, your dentist will check for any changes.

When is the right age for children to receive fissure sealants?

Fissure sealants are usually applied to children’s teeth when they are between the ages of 6 and 14 years old. But the rule of thumb, since all children develop differently, is to get your dentist to apply fissure sealants as soon as any of your child’s permanent back teeth emerge.

If you feel that your child would benefit from fissure sealants, consult with our dentists or hygienists during your child’s next visit. They will be able to identify which of your child’s teeth are suitable for treatment, as well as the right time to have them sealed.

Finding the best dental insurance cover

Finding the best dental insurance cover

With so many dental insurance options available, making an informed decision about what insurance cover is best for you and your family can be a daunting task. For starters, you can’t just get dental cover as a stand-alone product, since it is usually one of many coverage options that you can select from a private health insurance plan.

There are basically two types of dental cover to choose from:

  • General dental includes basic dental services, such as oral examinations, clean and scale, fluoride treatments, minor fillings, oral X-rays and sports mouthguards.

  • Major dental includes more significant dental procedures, such as crowns, bridges, dentures, tooth extractions and complex fillings.

Depending on the dental health insurance provider and policy, you may also be able to get additional cover for root canal treatment, dental implants and braces – though cover varies between providers. Additional coverage options are also called “extras”.

The only type of dental work not covered by health funds is that which is not a medically necessity. This includes cosmetic procedures, such as teeth whitening and cosmetic veneers.

Which type of dental cover is right for you?

General dental cover is usually suitable if you are a young adult (singles or couples) in good oral health. If your teeth are healthy, it isn’t really necessary to opt for an expensive plan that covers serious oral health complications. As long as you practice proper oral health care and hygiene, and make full use of the preventative dental benefits offered by your health fund, you should carry a low risk for more serious dental issues.

Major dental cover may be more suitable if you are an older adult or have a family. If you are think that you or your family may require dentures, braces or other expensive dental procedures in the future, it may be best in the long run to consider major dental cover.

Age aside, you should also consider your own unique oral health needs and circumstances. Even young adults may have serious oral health issues, whereas some seniors have had a lifetime of excellent oral health. Your budget and schedule should also be factors to consider.

Finding the best dental health plan on offer

There are a lot of health fund providers out there, and the idea of trawling through countless websites looking for the best deal can be a real chore. However, you may be missing out on the great benefits and special offers available out there, if you simply opt for the most popular health fund around. That’s where comparison websites can useful, saving you time and money.

You simply fill in an online form with your insurance preferences, and let the comparison website’s search engine do the rest. Some common insurance comparison websites include choosi, iSelect, finder and Compare the market.

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We are preferred providers

Here at TC Dental Group, we welcome members of all major private health funds. In the Upper Mt. Gravatt, we are the only Medibank preferred provider in the area. We are also preferred providers for Bupa, HCF and CBHS. Our role as preferred providers means that you will get the most out of your level of cover from these health funds.

We also have a HICAPS® facility so you can make on-the-spot claims. For more information, call our friendly team on 3349 9334 (Upper Mt. Gravatt) or 3848 1574 (Annerley). You can also read more about payment and insurance options on our “Insurance/fees” page by clicking this link: https://tcdentalgroup.com.au/insurance-fees/

The many benefits of dental crowns

The many benefits of dental crowns

Dental crowns are a dental prosthetic restoration that fits over a heavily damaged tooth or dental implant. Once the crown is permanently bonded into place, it effectively becomes that tooth’s new outer surface, and restores its function and appearance. You can eat and drink normally, and you clean crowns in the same way as you would brush and floss your other natural teeth.

How do dental crowns work?

A crown is basically a prosthetic tooth that is usually made from porcelain or gold and metal alloys. The underside of a crown has an exact negative impression of the prepared natural tooth structure, so when placed, it fits perfectly onto the tooth, and can be bonded seamlessly – to prevent oral bacteria from entering between the crown and tooth. In the event of a dental implant, the crown is specially designed to fit and be secured onto the implant.

The benefits and advantages of crowns

Dental crowns are a beneficial solution for a range of tooth health issues. Your dentist may recommend a dental crown for the following reasons:

  • Restore and strengthen teeth heavily damaged by major tooth decay and cavities
  • Replace large fillings because of a lack of remaining natural, supportive tooth structure
  • Renew tooth grinding surfaces that have worn away or eroded
  • Protect teeth from further decay, erosion or damage
  • Restore teeth that have undergone root canal treatment
  • Secure and support cracked, fractured or broken teeth
  • Prevent weak teeth from cracking or fracturing
  • Cap a dental implant
  • Attach a dental bridge
  • Make cosmetic improvements to your teeth’s shape, size and colour

Crowns custom-made on-site

At TC Dental Group, we have a special-partner dental ceramist on-site right next to our clinic – for faster and more efficient service. Oral Ceramics is renowned for their skill, quality and reliability in producing crowns using only the highest quality materials. Together, we aim to provide our patients with strong, functional and aesthetic crown restorations that will last for many years.

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If you would like to find out more information regarding crowns, or to book a consultation, please call us on 3349 9334 (Mt.Gravatt), or 3848 1574 (Annerley).