The Smile Chronicles

Welcome to Pine Seven Dental Centre’s new blog! Check back frequently for office news, fun stuff, and useful oral health tips.

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How To Prevent Early Childhood Caries

What are early childhood caries?

Early Childhood Caries (ECC) is a serious infectious disease that causes tooth decay and loss and, when left untreated, can have long-term emotional and intellectual development. ECC refers to cavities that develop in children under six years of age. It can be very painful, result in the premature loss of baby teeth, and compromise the development of permanent teeth.

ECC can develop rapidly in teeth and usually begin to form in children around six months of age. They often occur on the upper front teeth and are caused by frequent consumption of sugary products. After children consume these products, a sugary residue is often left in the mouth for many hours. The bacteria that cause cavities to feed on this sticky residue. Even nutritious foods and drinks like bananas, breast milk and fruit juice have natural sugars that can contribute to cavities.

Symptoms of early childhood caries:

1. White spots around the gums, which can be difficult to detect. These may evolve into brown spots and possibly broken teeth.

2. Loss of teeth, which can cause trouble speaking and eating, affecting the overall health and development of your child.

4. Pain, which can affect eating, sleeping and learning.

5. Infections and fever.

6. Crooked permanent teeth, which can cause confidence issues.

prevent early childhood caries

Prevention

ECC is preventable. Good oral hygiene, regular dental care, good nutrition, and proper feeding is essential to the prevention of ECC. Steps to prevent the development of ECC:

Your child should have their first dental appointment within six months of development of teeth. Your dentist will advise you on risk factors for developing ECC and give detailed information on the risk profile of your child and how to prevent ECC.

After feedings, use a soft toothbrush and water to brush your baby’s gums from birth.

When the first tooth develops, use a soft toothbrush or washcloth twice daily but ideally after feedings. Use a thin layer of toothpaste for children under two years of age. Use a pea-sized amount for children between 2 and five years of age.

Teach your growing child good oral hygiene habits.

Limit your child’s consumption of sugary drinks and foods and feed your child a balanced diet, following dietary guidelines.

Do not give your child a bottle of any sweet liquid before bed. This can be difficult for children under eight months. In these cases, dilute the liquid with water until your child is only drinking water before bed.

As early as possible, serve sugary drinks in a cup, not a bottle. This will prevent liquids from festering in the teeth.

Because parents can share bacteria with their children through sharing meals, parents must practice good oral hygiene or not share utensils, foods and drinks.

Treatment

If not identified and treated early on, ECC can require significant and costly dental work, including anesthesia and surgery, in very young children. Severe ECC (S-ECC) can lead to abscesses and bone damage and may require hospitalization, antibiotics, and tooth extractions.

For more information, schedule an appointment today.

 

Learn All About Teeth Whitening Options

A bright smile is a youthful, confident, and beautiful smile. However, if you consume certain stain-causing foods, drinks, and tobacco products, you may notice discolouration or staining on your teeth. And with age, you may see yellowing or darkening of your teeth.

Fortunately, there are professional teeth whitening options that are well-established, effective, and affordable. Professional in-office treatments are more effective than over-the-counter products because they contain heavier concentrations of active ingredients and are applied by a dentist. Application of teeth whitening treatment by a dentist also minimizes the risk of damage to gums and enamel.

Surface Whiteners and Bleaches

Surface whiteners: products include toothpaste or chewing gum with special abrasives or chemical agents that tackle surface stains. These will not change the natural colour of your teeth and will only slightly enhance the brightness of your smile.

Bleaches: these products are carbamide- or peroxide-based and change the colour of your teeth, brightening your smile by several shades. Not all discolouration responds well to bleaching, depending on the cause of the stain. Therefore, your dentist will advise on how your type of discolouration can best be treated.

teeth whitening strips

Bleaching Methods

Your dentist will advise on the best bleaching method based on how many teeth are discoloured and intensity of the discolouration. Any of the following options may be recommended:
1. A bleach-infused toothpaste to brush the teeth.

2. A bleach-filled customized mouthguard to be worn for part of each day. Similar over-the-counter products use only one size, and a poorly-fitted mouthguard can lead to gum irritation and less bleach on the teeth.

3. Application of bleach on the discoloured teeth and use of heat or light to initiate the bleaching process.

Teeth whitening can be done at home or in-office. Products prescribed by your dentist for at-home use are generally safer than over-the-counter products but must be appropriately applied to avoid risks to your gum and enamel.

While over-the-counter products (surface whiteners and bleaching products) can be easily purchased, effectiveness is not guaranteed, and no shield is provided to protect gums, as is provided at in-office treatments. It is best to consult with your dentist before selecting a whitening option.

Aftercare

To maintain your brighter smile, consider these simple tips:
• Avoid consumption of stain-causing foods, drinks, and tobacco products.
• If you consume drinks that cause stain, use a straw to prevent contact with your teeth.
• Brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after consumption of stain-causing foods or drinks.
• Brush twice daily and floss once daily, at a minimum.
• Use a whitening toothpaste once or twice a week and regular toothpaste the other times.
• Receive touch-up treatments if you choose to consume stain-causing foods, drinks, or tobacco products.

If you are considering whitening your teeth, contact us today to schedule your visit.

How To Deal With A Broken Tooth

Having a broken tooth is unfortunate. Fortunately, teeth can be saved in the majority of cases. If you have a filling that fell out, a broken tooth or a chipped tooth, it is essential to see your dentist immediately.

Dealing With A Broken Tooth

The best thing to do with a chipped tooth, broken or fractured tooth is to see your dentist right away. Some people may want to wait until their next dental visit before having a fractured or chipped tooth looked at by their dentist. However, the longer you delay seeing your dentist, you risk the damage to that tooth becoming worse. A compromised tooth is weaker, and more of the tooth can be broken off or chipped off easier. As well, you risk damaging your tongue or lips depending on the area of the chip or damage. Additionally, it is easier for dental decay to develop since the broken or chipped area of the tooth creates a rough surface that makes it easier for bacteria to stick and adhere. The earlier you see your dentist, the more you stand to save in potential repairs.

Treatment Of A Broken Tooth

When deciding on the best treatment for a broken tooth, your dentist will need to take dental x-rays to assess the extent of the damage to the tooth. In severe cases, the damage may extend to the root or nerve of the tooth.

If a large portion of the tooth has been broken off, or if the root or nerves have been severely damaged, the only option may be to extract the tooth and replacement it with a dental implant, dental bridge, or partial denture.

dental crown for a broken tooth

If the tooth has a small chip, dental bonding may be used to build back the tooth structure. Dental crowns or dental veneers can also be used to treat varying levels of damage to the tooth. Your dentist will present you with all available options and the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Contact us now if you have a broken, chipped or fractured tooth.

Treatment For Teeth That Are Sensitive To Cold

Teeth that are sensitive to cold food and drinks prevent you from enjoying some of your favourite foods. Learn more about the different treatment options for sensitive teeth.

Sensitivity Toothpaste

For many patients with sensitivity to cold items, the best treatment tends to be consistent use of a toothpaste designed to treat sensitive teeth. These toothpaste work by either blocking the tubules that transmit impulses to the nerves of the teeth. They may also work by desensitizing the nerve of the affected tooth. For a quick fix, some relief may be found by rubbing a small amount of toothpaste directly on the affected area and leaving it for a few minutes.

Dental Varnish

For some patients, your dentist or dental hygienist may apply a thin layer of protective varnish to the exposed root surface of the tooth. The varnish layer works by blocking the tubules which provide quick relief from tooth sensitivity.

acidic drinks orange juice

Limit Acidic Foods & Drinks

Acidic drinks such as coffee, tea, wine, certain fruit juices, etc. can cause tooth sensitivity with frequent use. Frequent use of acidic beverages thins the enamel layer over time, making teeth sensitive. If you must drink acidic drinks, be sure to rinse your mouth thoroughly with water afterwards. Try to use a straw with acidic drinks to limit acid exposure to teeth.

Practice Proper Oral Care

Improper removal of dental plaque increases the risk of gum disease. Gum disease can progress to a point where it causes damage to the tooth’s enamel and causes recession of the gum tissue surrounding the teeth. By practicing proper oral care, you will prevent gum disease and allow the gums to cover the protect the teeth.

Gum Grafting

Gum grafting is used to treat gum recession by replacing the lost gum tissue that covered the teeth in health. Grafting covers the exposed tooth roots limiting which limits sensitivity conducted through the dentin tubules of the teeth.

Having sensitivity to cold items usually isn’t a cause for alarm. However, you should have a check-up if it has been a while. Call us today to discuss treatment options!

Caring For Your Teeth As You Age

For many people, staying healthy with age takes hard work and dedication. Just like the rest of your body, maintaining your oral health will also require extra care to prevent issues.

Risk factors common to ageing that can negatively affect your oral health

Xerostomia– Also known as dry mouth, this condition is common among older adults. Many medications can cause dry mouth, and the risk increases when taking multiple drugs. Having dry mouth dramatically increases your risk of cavities.

Reduced dexterity– This can be an issue for anyone who has suffered from a stroke, a bad fall, arthritis, or has a neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson’s. The ability to grasp a toothbrush and maneuver floss decreases.

Diabetes-​ Those over the age of 65 make up the most significant percentage of Canadians living with diabetes. Since diabetes affects your body’s healing and immunity, those suffering from this condition are more prone to gum disease. However, if you have uncontrolled gum disease, your blood sugars will be more difficult to control, and if you have uncontrolled blood sugars, your oral health will suffer.

Increased cavity risk– Many factors will increase your risk of cavities as you age. Dry mouth, gum recession, reduced dexterity and softer foods in your diet are all risk factors.

Choosing the right dental products:

Electric toothbrush– This is a helpful tool for those with dexterity issues, or for caregivers that assist with brushing.

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Interdental brushes– If flossing is not possible, these can be used to clean between your teeth and are very effective at cleaning out larger spaces if there is a loss of gum tissue.

Dry mouth products– Products such as Biotene can moisturize the oral tissues, reducing the discomfort caused by dry mouth while helping to prevent cavities.

Fluoridated products– Dental products containing fluoride help to prevent dental cavities. There is toothpaste available with higher concentrations of fluoride for those who are at high risk of cavities. However, you should speak to your dental professional to see what would work best for you.

Denture care– Many older adults, have partial or full dentures that need to be cleaned daily. Brush your dentures with a mild soap and a denture brush. Avoid using toothpaste as it is too abrasive and can scratch your dentures. Soaking your dentures in Polident will kill any harmful bacteria growing on them. Try not to leave your dentures in all the time or your tissues underneath will get red and irritated. If possible, leave your dentures out overnight to let your oral tissues breathe.

Speak to your dental professional to come up with an individualized home care plan that will suit your lifestyle and your oral health needs. You may also need to have more frequent professional cleanings to maintain your oral health.

If you are concerned about maintaining your oral health, call us today!

Why Care About Your Dental Hygiene Visit?

When it comes to having your dental hygiene visit, have you ever thought about it as just a simple cleaning? It is easy to think about skipping your dental cleaning appointment if you think about it as just a cleaning. However, a dental hygiene appointment is much more than just a teeth cleaning. Even though you brush and floss regularly, learn why regular dental hygiene visits are essential to your oral health.

Why Keep Your Dental Hygiene Appointment?

Tartar Removal

Even with regular brushing and flossing, it is impossible to remove every trace of plaque in the mouth. Plaque that is not removed eventually hardens into what we call tartar or calculus. Hardened plaque cannot be removed by brushing and flossing. It can only be removed using specialized dental tools by your dental hygienist or dentist. It is vital to remove hardened plaque because it acts as a rough surface for more bacteria to attach. Bacteria in the mouth must be removed or else it leads to gum inflammation and gum disease.

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The Systemic Link

While research is still ongoing, many studies show an increased risk of developing issues such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease are linked with chronic gum disease. It is important to understand that oral health is connected to your overall health.

Control Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is an advanced form of gum disease that causes the breakdown of bone that supports teeth in the mouth. It is especially important for patients with periodontal disease to see their dental professional regularly to monitor periodontal disease. Having periodontal disease makes it harder to keep the mouth clean due to issues such as periodontal pockets. Regular dental cleanings keep your mouth clean and prevent advancement of further damage from periodontal disease.

Oral Cancer Screening

While there are things you can do to monitor your oral health at home, your dental professional is able to check your mouth for any abnormalities thoroughly.

If it has been a while since your last dental hygiene appointment, contact us now to schedule your visit.

Why You Should Always Brush Your Teeth Before Bed

Most people are aware that the general recommendation is to brush your teeth twice a day, but may not realize the importance of brushing before bed. Understandably, people tend to prioritize brushing their teeth in the morning before they leave the house. It does feel great to start the day with a fresh mouth, but the most critical time you should be brushing your teeth is before bed.

Why is brushing before bed so important?

Think of all the meals, snacks and drinks that you consume in a day. By bedtime, there is going to be a lot of food and bacteria built up on your teeth. Most people still leave behind some bacteria when they brush their teeth, so the more times you brush, the greater the chances of cleaning away the bacteria.

Brushing before bed can help prevent:

Cavities

If you go to bed without brushing, that means your teeth are covered in bacteria. The bacteria will digest the foods that you have been eating all day, and then produce acid as a result of their digestion. The acid is what attacks your enamel and can lead to cavities. During the day, your saliva helps to protect your teeth from the acid. The problem is, while you sleep your body doesn’t make as much saliva and your mouth becomes dry. This will put you at a higher risk of cavities if you go to bed without brushing.

Bad breath

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What is known as “morning breath” is a foul odour produced by the bacteria in our mouths. If you clean your mouth well before bed, you will be less likely to have bad breath in the morning.

Gum disease

If plaque is left sitting on your teeth for a prolonged period, it can harden into a calcified substance called tartar. Once tartar forms, it can only be removed during a professional cleaning. In the presence of plaque and tartar, your gums can become inflamed, swollen, red and bleed easily.

Here is an example of a good oral hygiene routine before bed:

Floss

The bacteria need to be disrupted from between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.

Brush

For at least two minutes with a fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure to brush your tongue too!

Rinse

Rinsing with an anti-microbial mouthrinse (choose one with the seal of approval from the Canadian Dental Association) will help to kill bacteria and prevent gingivitis.

If you find that you are skipping brushing before bed because you are too tired, try brushing earlier in the evening after you are done eating for the day. Getting into a new routine isn’t always easy, but it is worth it when you have a clean and healthy mouth. Contact us to schedule your next visit today!

Why Do Your Gums Bleed?

Have you ever noticed that your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? Whether it happens on a daily basis or only occasionally, it is a cause for concern. Often, people will think that their gums are bleeding because they brushed or flossed too hard. While it is possible to injure your gums if you floss incorrectly, the most common reason for bleeding gums is inflammation. Let’s have a closer look at gum inflammation, its causes, and the negative effects it has on the body.

Gingivitis

Gum inflammation is another name for gingivitis. Gum inflammation is characterized by red, swollen gums that bleed. This is usually caused by an accumulation of bacteria, plaque, and tartar on your teeth. To prevent or treat gingivitis, you have to mechanically disrupt the bacteria in your mouth with daily brushing and flossing. This lightens the bacterial load so that your body’s immune system can manage the bad bacteria. If you aren’t keeping your mouth clean with good oral hygiene, the bacterial load becomes too much, and an immune reaction (inflammation) is activated. While inflammation is important for healing, it is bad for your overall health when it is chronic.

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While the primary cause of gum inflammation is bacteria and the need to improve oral hygiene, there are health conditions that can lower your resistance to the bacteria and make you more susceptible to inflammation:

Pregnancy

pregnant pregnancy bleeding gums vaughan dentist woodbridge dental

The increased hormones during pregnancy can make you more likely to develop gingivitis. Your body may have an exaggerated response to the bacterial plaque in your mouth, causing your gums to become swollen, red and bleed easily. Having excellent oral hygiene will help to prevent this condition.

Diabetes

There is a link between uncontrolled diabetes and gum inflammation. If your blood sugars are not well controlled, you are more likely to have gum inflammation. This also works the opposite way; if you have gum inflammation, it can make it more difficult to control your blood sugars.

Stress

Stress can lower your body’s resistance to bacteria and viruses, making you more likely to get sick and more likely to develop gum inflammation. Managing stress will help to keep your immune system running as it should.

Poor nutrition

A diet lacking in vitamins can slow healing and put you at risk of poor oral health. Make sure to get enough vitamin C from fruits and vegetables.

Why you should care about gums that bleed

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. This condition affects not only the gums but also the supporting bone that holds your teeth in place. Without the bone support, teeth can become loose and need to be extracted. While this is worrying on its own, gum disease can affect more than just your oral health. It is known that the bacteria in your mouth can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout your body causing other health problems. The connection between our oral health and overall health is known as the oral-systemic link. Studies have found there are links between uncontrolled gum disease and heart disease, stroke, dementia, complications with diabetes and pregnancy, rheumatoid arthritis, and even some types of cancers.

If you or anyone in your family has any of the above health conditions, it will be especially important for you to maintain excellent oral health. Good oral hygiene habits and regular professional dental cleanings will help to keep your mouth healthy. If you are concerned about bleeding gums, call us today!

Is Vaping Affecting Your Oral Health?

Vaping has grown in popularity, and vaping products are available in convenience and specialty stores. They are often marketed as a safe and harmless alternative to smoking. However, are they really safe?

What is vaping?

Vaping is defined as the inhale and exhale of the vapor produced by an electronic cigarette or similar device.

How does it work?

e-cigarettes side effects oral health woodbridge dentist

Traditional cigarettes use combustion (fire) to produce smoke. However, e-cigarettes use battery power to heat the liquid and create vapors. There are three main components of an e-cigarette. They are the battery, a cartridge filled with fluid, and the atomizer which heats the liquid. The fluid typically contains propylene glycol, glycerin, flavoring, and nicotine.

Regulations in Canada:

These products are not adequately regulated and monitored for quality control. Additionally, the concentration of nicotine may be improperly labeled. Other harmful substances may be found in the vaping liquid as well.

E-cigarette products sold in Canada are not legally allowed to make any health claims. However, one common claim is that they help with quitting smoking.

Regulations on where e-cigarettes may be used vary across Canada. However, some cities have banned their use in some public places.

Ontario laws state that electronic cigarettes cannot be sold to anyone under the age of 19. Retailers must have an Electronic Cigarette Identification sign on display which indicates the legal age of sale.

Quitting smoking:

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The research is still divided on whether or not e-cigarettes are a useful quit smoking aid. They are currently not approved by Health Canada for this use. While they may be less harmful than cigarettes, more evidence is needed. There are concerns that e-cigarettes may be a gateway to nicotine addiction and cigarette.

Vaping and youth:

Studies show that use of e-cigarettes make youth more likely to try cigarette smoking. The vapor liquids can be purchased in a variety of flavors. These flavours are enticing for younger users. Efforts have been made to de-normalize smoking in Canada. However, the increased use of e-cigarettes may be counteracting that movement.

Health risks:

Most of the risks associated with e-cigarettes are due to the adverse effects and addictive qualities of nicotine. More research is needed to determine the long-term risks from inhaling substances such as propylene glycol. Additionally, better regulation and labeling is required to limit health risks to those using these products.

At this time, dental professionals do not encourage the use of e-cigarettes. This is due to the lack of scientific research to prove their safety.

Why Choose Dental Implants?

Why Choose Dental Implants?

While there are many tooth replacement options to choose from, dental implants are considered the best tooth replacement option by most dental professionals.

Remember that a missing tooth not only affects the appearance of your smile but can also affect your confidence, surrounding teeth, and chewing function. It is vital to replace missing teeth early before other complications develop.

Dental Implant Benefits

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Preserve Your Jawbone

A major benefit of dental implants is their ability to preserve bone in the mouth. Without a tooth attached to the bone, the bone begins to shrink or lower. This leads to a sunken facial appearance in the area of the missing tooth over time. A dental implant placed in the bone provides stimuli to the bone and prevents shrinking. A denture or a dental bridge cannot provide the same bone preservation benefits.

Improved Appearance

Want your smile to look and feel just like your natural teeth? Dental implants are the only option that can provide both benefits. Your dentist will match your dental implant’s colour, size, and shape to match your natural smile for a seamless look.

Comfort

Dental implants are a permanent, non-removable solution, unlike other tooth replacement options. There is no fear of a dental implant becoming loose or sliding while speaking or chewing.

dental implant woodbridge dentist rotundi

Enjoy All Foods

While some tooth replacement options make it hard to enjoy certain foods due to slipping or looseness, those concerns do not affect dental implants. The secure fit and placement of a dental implant allow you to enjoy all your favourite foods without worry.

Speak Easily

Due to its secure fit, you will never have to worry about your dental implant shifting or moving around in your mouth while speaking or talking. This is unlike dentures, which are prone to shifting over time.

Improved Oral Health

Since dental implants act just like a normal tooth, it is easy to clean them through brushing and flossing. A dental bridge, on the other hand, is harder to keep clean and requires special flossing aids. Patients with dental bridges have a harder time keeping their teeth clean, which may cause gum disease.

Durable

When properly maintained, a dental implant can last a lifetime. A dental bridge or denture will require replacement over time due to shrinking bone levels in the mouth. In the long run, a dental implant is the most cost-effective option when properly cared for and maintained.

If you need a tooth replaced, or want to consider a dental implant to replace an existing dental bridge, denture, or partial denture, contact us now to schedule your consultation.

Book your appointment now, because it starts with a smile!
Call us today at (905) 856-2535