Celebrating World Oral Health Day: What Is It and What Does It Mean for You?

Did you know we celebrate World Oral Health Day every March and this year it’s on March 20? It’s a day when we hope people spend a few moments thinking about their oral health and what it means to them. Most of us tend to take oral health for granted until we develop dental problems, so this day is an ideal opportunity to consider ways to improve your oral care routine. Here at Casey Dental, March is a month where we hope to inspire our patients to look after their mouths and to think about how it affects general health too.

When you have a healthy mouth, it helps you in so many ways, allowing you to eat without discomfort and pain and to speak and smile with confidence. But, good oral health protects your overall health, reducing the risk of developing serious diseases like cardiovascular disease and diabetes or of these diseases worsening when they are already present. Even though tooth decay and gum disease are common, these conditions are preventable. Our dedicated dental team work hard to educate our patients so everyone can enjoy excellent dental health year-round, not just on World Oral Health Day.

How to Have Your Cake and Eat It Too During Easter

Given the choice of sweet treats in the shops, Easter can be a scary time for dental health, but by taking a few precautions, you can enjoy your Easter cake and other indulgences without harming your smile.

Choose Chocolate over Other Sweet Treats

Chocolate really is the best sweet treat compared with others that are gooey or sticky and which are hard to remove from teeth. When you eat chocolate, it melts more quickly, reducing the risk to your pearly whites. It’s also best to avoid very hard sweets that can easily chip or crack tooth enamel.

Avoid Grazing

It’s so easy to graze on chocolate and lollies all day long, but it’s a terrible idea for your dental health. When you eat something sweet, mouth bacteria soon produce acids that damage tooth enamel. Acidity levels remain high for at least half an hour afterwards before they begin to normalise. Constantly snacking increases the time your teeth are exposed to these acids, increasing the damage.

Rinse after Eating

Because your tooth enamel is softer immediately after eating something sweet and, it’s best to wait at least half an hour before brushing your teeth. Instead, rinse your mouth with water which helps to neutralise acids more quickly.

Our Top Tips for the Best Easter Egg Hunt

If you love arranging Easter egg hunts each year, follow our top tips for the best Easter egg hunt.

  • Be prepared by purchasing your Easter eggs and any fillers early, so you don’t have to worry that about them last-minute. Even better, buy your supplies when they are on clearance after Easter in preparation for the next year.
  • Choose the right size eggs for the age of the child, as some plastic eggs can present a choking hazard.
  • Designate an area for your Easter egg hunts to prevent children from wandering off and so they know where to look for their goodies.
  • Ditch sugary treats entirely by filling eggs with other items such as small toys or even close to a bigger prize.
  • Make sure you hide enough extra each participant as there’s nothing more disappointing than an Easter egg hunt that ends too soon.
  • Hide the eggs in age-appropriate places based on the child’s abilities and height. For example, a 10-year-old will get bored searching for eggs hidden in the grass, but a three-year-old wouldn’t be capable of climbing a tree safely.
  • Hide one or two special eggs that entitle the finder to an even bigger prize so everyone will be searching for those special eggs.

Give Your Kids a Gift That Will Last for Life – Establishing a “Dental Home”

If you have a young child, you probably take then to see a great family doctor regularly to ensure they are healthy, but what about seeing a dentist? Establishing a “dental home” is essential for a healthy smile and helps to set the stage for enjoying good dental health for life. Ideally, a child should see a dentist as soon as they get their first tooth and certainly by age one.

Early dental visits form an important part of a preventative dental care plan. When we first see a very young child, we can gently examine their mouth, often while they sit on mum or dad’s lap, to make sure their teeth and jaws are developing as they should. We can provide a wealth of additional information for parents, including how to brush those precious first teeth. If needed, we can give dietary advice and other preventative treatments such as topical fluoride applications to increase resistance to tooth decay.

Regular ongoing preventative care, including dental checkups, ensure any problems are diagnosed sooner when treatment is less invasive and quicker, so it is easier for a child to tolerate. As children get older, we work with them directly, ensuring they grow up with an excellent dental education, so they know exactly how to care for their teeth and why it is so important.

Are You Smiling About Your Fresh Breath?

Knowing your breath is fresh is a terrific confidence booster, and it is easy to get and maintain sweet-smelling breath. Follow these easy steps to ensure you can smile about your fresh, clean mouth.

  • Brush and Floss More Frequently

Sticky dental plaque soon builds up over tooth surfaces and contains bacteria that cause bad breath. Food trapped between teeth soon starts to rot, worsening bad breath. Ensure you brush your teeth at least twice daily to remove plaque and don’t forget to floss once-a-day.

  • Use Mouthwash

Mouthwash can freshen breath but choose a brand that helps your oral health too. Otherwise, the effect is merely cosmetic.  Look for a mouthwash with antimicrobial properties and which preferably contains fluoride.

  • Clean Your Tongue

Have you ever noticed your tongue has a white coating? This can contain smelly bacteria, so gently brushing your tongue will help to freshen your breath. Use your toothbrush, or ideally buy a special tongue scraper as they only cost a few dollars. A tongue scraper applies pressure evenly across your tongue, removing bacteria, dead skin cells and food debris.

Some foods, most notably onions and garlic will give you smelly breath but brushing afterwards will only temporarily freshen your breath. You will not eliminate the smell until these foods have been digested, have entered your bloodstream and are breathed out through the lungs.

How Can Vitamin D Help Protect Oral Health?

Vitamin D is essential for healthy teeth and gums. It helps your body to regulate phosphorus and calcium levels and can help it to absorb these minerals more easily. Ensuring you receive adequate vitamin D can help decrease gum inflammation, a problem associated with gum disease and which is a common cause of tooth loss. Also, vitamin D can help reduce the rate of tooth decay as one study discovered that children who received a vitamin D supplement daily had fewer cavities compared with children who didn’t receive the supplement.

If you have an excellent oral care routine but have still faced problems recently with tooth decay, it could be worth seeing your doctor, to discuss a possible vitamin D deficiency. A straightforward blood test can reveal if your levels are low, and your doctor can advise you as to how much you need to supplement your vitamin D levels each day. There are ways you can get vitamin D naturally and one is to spend 10 to 15 minutes in the sun each day without sunblock, making sure your face and arms are exposed. Otherwise, you can try eating foods high in vitamin D such as oily fish, dairy products and eggs. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D including some cereals.

Recovering from Sugar Cravings: How to Clean off the Sweet Stuff

Most of us know eating sugar is bad for teeth, but what can you do if you have a sweet tooth? We’ve listed a few easy tips to help cope with sweet cravings without causing cavities.

Brush Frequently

You probably know this already, but it really does work. One thing that can be helpful is to pack a travel toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste so that you can quickly clean your teeth after eating a sweet treat during the day.

Choose the Right Toothbrush

If you do eat a lot of sweets, you may have more plaque buildup than average so it’s important to make sure your toothbrush bristles can reach right in hard to clean nooks and crannies. Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles and make sure you use the right brushing technique. We can help you if you need any advice.

Use Mouthwash

Mouthwash can be useful for removing more sugar and sticky residue and if possible, choose one containing fluoride. Otherwise, even rinsing your mouth with plain water after eating can help.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Chewing sugar-free gum after eating something sweet stimulate saliva flow and helps to remove any sugar that is coating your teeth. The additional saliva also helps reduce acidity more quickly.

New Year’s Resolutions That’ll Make You Smile

Did you make any New Year’s resolutions? Many of us do but fail to stick to them for more than a week or two. Instead of making resolutions that are perhaps too ambitious, why not consider resolving to take better care of your teeth and gums this year?

Book a Dental Appointment

If it has been a while since you came to see us here at Casey Dental, make sure you book a dental appointment as it’s the easiest and the best thing you can do to help care for your mouth. It’s especially important to see a dentist if you have any signs or symptoms such as bleeding gums or tooth sensitivity or discomfort.

Commit to Flossing Daily

Regularly brushing won’t remove plaque and food buildup from between your teeth which is why you need to floss every day. If you aren’t in the habit of flossing, the New Year is a great time to start and make sure you put your dental floss somewhere you can remember to use it regularly.

Kick the Tobacco Habit

If you smoke and have already resolved to quit, use improving your oral health as an added incentive. Smokers are at twice the risk of developing gum disease not to mention a whole host of other nasty diseases including oral cancer.

How to Snack Smarter

Some people find regularly snacking helps them maintain better energy levels, and if this applies to you, then it’s worth learning how to snack smarter.

Choose Snacks That Are Rich in Calcium

Many people fail to get enough calcium in their diet, so choosing snacks that are rich in this mineral can be a great way to top up. Good snacks include low-fat yoghurt or almonds. Alternatively mix fresh fruit with cottage cheese for a snack that contains carbohydrate, protein and fat.

Eat More Fruit and Veggies

It can be tricky to eat enough fruit and vegetables throughout the day, so try choosing a crunchy apple or carrot or celery sticks. These can be even tastier when paired with yoghurt or hummus. As a bonus, these fruits and veggies are packed with fibre which has a slight scrubbing action on teeth.

Use Healthy Snacks to Kill Unhealthy Cravings

If you have a lust for something salty, instead of choosing crisps, try shelled edamame which contains lots of protein and fibre and is low in calories. For a sweet treat, mix cocoa powder and honey into a paste and blend with low-fat milk to make a hot chocolate that contains plenty of nutrients and antioxidants and it’s a good source of protein.

The Holidays Are a Great Time for a Mouth Manicure

Most people like to keep their nails neat and tidy and well-manicured, and it’s a great idea to do the same for your mouth. A mouth manicure ensures it always looks its best. This year, why not use the holidays to overhaul your oral hygiene routine with these three easy tips.

Take Better Care of Your Tongue

Your tongue harbours large amounts of bacteria, contributing to bad breath. Yet, when most people clean their teeth, they neglect to clean their tongue. Some toothbrushes have a built-in tongue scraper, or you can buy a special tongue scraper very inexpensively.

Choose Good Quality Toothpaste

We know there are a plethora of toothpaste brands available, many of which rely on cool branding and packaging. However, all you need is good quality fluoride toothpaste, as fluoride helps to protect your teeth against plaque and tooth decay.

Keep on Flossing

Toothbrushing is great, but it cannot clean between your teeth, and for this, you need dental floss. Daily flossing is the most effective way to clean between your teeth and around the gum line where plaque builds up. Not sure how to floss? Ask us for help and advice next time you have your checkup here at Casey Dental.