Valentines Day and Chinese New Year tips for your teeth!

As Valentines Day and the Chinese New Year approaches this week, it will be a wonderful time of celebration with loved ones, family and friends. But, what is a great party without any of the sweet goodies and treats, right? Admit it, no matter how much advice we give about reducing the sweet stuff, it won't happen. So, here are some simple tips to help protect your teeth and gums during this time of the year.

Sweet Foods - cookies, cakes, chocolates and candies

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Sweet foods are going to be abundant, so be careful! The bad bacteria in your mouth love sugar too, and they secrete acids that can erode the enamel in your teeth, and over time, cause holes in your teeth.
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The advice is to eat the sweet foods closer to the main meal times, instead of having them as snacks (which will be difficult!). If you can’t resist, choose healthier options that have less sugar and go for dark chocolate (ones with a high percentage of cocoa) instead of milk or white chocolate. Also, eat them quick - the less time in the mouth the better. 

Sticky Foods - Caramel, pineapple tarts, nian gao

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These sticky goodies tend to get trapped between our teeth and the biting surfaces of our teeth. They also stay on teeth longer. Because it takes longer for your saliva to break it down, it can ultimately contribute to tooth decay.
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Make it a point to rinse your mouth with water after eating these goodies, and brush your teeth with a fluoridated toothpaste. Floss carefully to prevent any remnants of food between your teeth before you go to bed. Using a mouthwash will definitly help too!

Hard foods - Nuts, tapioca chips and melon seeds

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Teeth that have had extensive dental treatment are going to be prone to breaking or fracturing (whether it be the tooth or the restoration). This can lead to further damage to the tooth, sensitivity, leaky fillings, or further decay in the future.
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Bite and chew on these crunchy snacks carefully, especially if you’ve had dental work done on your teeth previously. Where possible, use your hands or tools to crack open nuts and seeds as well.

Sour Foods - Juices, Fizzy Drinks, mandarin oranges

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Oranges and other citrus fruits are acidic in nature. Fizzy drinks are double trouble, made up of sugar and carbonic acid. Frequent exposure to acidic foods can cause teeth to be under continual acidic attack, resulting in the erosion of tooth enamel, sensitivity, and decay.
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Drink your juices and fizzy drinks quickly and with a straw. Definitely don't suck on it throughout the day, or slush it round your mouth like a mouthrinse! If you can dilute it with water, even better! Eat those mandarin oranges closer to meal times and wait for at least 45 minutes before brushing your teeth. This will help teeth recover from the acidic environment before applying an abrasive force on it.

alcoholic beverages

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Alcohol can dehydrate the mouth because it reduces the flow of saliva. Saliva is very important because it naturally neutralises the acids produced by the bacteria, and flushes foods in the mouth away. People with low salivary flow generally have a higher risk of gum problems and tooth decay.
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Drink plenty of water between your alcoholic beverages. The act of chewing encourages salivary flow, so have your beverage with a meal, or chew some sugar free gum to help stimulate saliva flow (and freshen your breath...)

Hope this post has been useful! Wishing everyone very Happy Valentines Day and prosperous Year of the Dog ahead!! (Keep those canines clean!).

Got a question or a problem? We're happy to help. Call us at 07 3188 9477, or email us at info@aperturedental.com.au

The 3 L's to look out for in your dentist (plus a BONUS!)

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On my first day as a dental student, these were the 3 things I was told to master for the rest of my practicing carrier as a dentist. It didn't really matter if I became a general dentist, a tutor, or a specialist, these were the 3 words that I had to obey to make me a great dentist. Listen, Look and Learn.

LISTENing 

To listen first, was to ask the right questions, so that you, the client, could say in your own words what the problem is. Sometimes, not asking questions (or listening) and going straight into the 'LOOK'ing can make the appointment longer. So don't get too annoyed when we spend time asking relevant questions, before looking in the mouth.

LOOKing

Obviously, a thorough examination of the problem area is very important. But be aware that just looking at the area may not be enough. An examination of the problem can include:

  1. a visual examination
  2. palpation (applying pressure, tapping)
  3. measurements (probing)
  4. imaging (Pictures, X-rays, scans)

Sometimes, some of these examinations may seem confusing, or unnecessary. So, always feel ask your dentist any question you might have about what or why we are doing it.

LEARNing

When all the information is gathered after the Listening and Looking, a decision is made to treat the condition. However, this may not always be taking out the drill, or the tooth. It may be to:

  1. wait and see
  2. treat the tooth, or
  3. refer

A good dentist is one who knows his limits. This is definitely better than a dentist who thinks he is right in everything, and goes 'gung-ho' in all things. So if your dentist says he goes on a course, has a mentor, or refers you to someone, it does not mean he can't be trusted. He just knows he can't do everything, and is doing it for your safety!

Bonus:

I couldn't find another 'L' word for this. The other very important thing to look out for is the dentist who is open, and spends the time to discuss and explain:

  1. their findings
  2. your options
  3. investment for the treatment you have decided on
  4. and most importantly, any questions you have

At Aperture Dental, we have a dedicated DISCUSSION ROOM, which a lot of our clients have benefited from. Away from the dental chair and loud noises, it is an area where we spend time answering questions about your dental treatment, and teaching you about the health of your teeth.

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So come on over and experience a different type of consultation from what you may have been use to!