Teeth Whitening: How Does It Work?

Teeth Whitening

Humankind has been obsessed with keeping our teeth white for centuries.We can trace this cultural compulsion all the way back to the Egyptians, who made mixtures of wine vinegar and crushed pumice to whiten their pearly whites. The Romans even used extreme measures for teeth whitening:they would use urine to keep their teeth polished. Thankfully, we don’t have to go through such unsavory treatments today.

So, how does teeth whitening work?

Whitening Techniques

As you probably already know, we have several ways to keep our teeth white. Brushing your teeth with toothpaste on a regular basis is one of those ways. You may also use other whitening products to remove stains at a low cost, sans the urine breath. Finally,you can make an appointment with your dentist to have your teeth cleaned and whitened.

All whitening techniques available today are either one of two ways:

  • Non-bleaching procedures

Whitening toothpaste falls under this category as it only works on superficial stains. It relies on abrasions to remove the surface stains, but it also hasa chemical or polishing agent to aid this process. Since whitening toothpaste can only remove superficial stains, the effects are pretty minimal.If you do decide to go down this road, just be sure to use toothpaste that’s approved by the American Dental Association. (Check if there is an Australian equivalent).

A dentist or hygienist also relies on abrasions when they do professional cleaning services. This helps them polish the teeth and remove stains caused by our lifestyle choices, from smoking and drinking red wine to indulging in coffee.

  • Bleaching procedures

Bleaching procedures change the color of inner dentin, where most discoloration occurs. Compared to non-bleaching procedures, their effects are more visible,and they last longer. These procedures can make your teeth three to eight shades brighter. Bleaches have an active ingredient, andcould either be carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. Both can remove superficial as well as deep stains.

Light-activated whitening sessionsor chairside bleaching, like Zoom Whitening,can dramatically whiten your teeth. However, if you like drinking coffee or wine, your pearly whites will have new stains and become slightly discolored in a year.

You may have a mouthpiece custom-made by your dentist so you can bleach your teeth from the comfort of your home. You should be able to wear this overnight or several hours a day. You can also buy several over-the-counter products for teeth whitening, including whitening strips, gels that can be applied with a brush, and boil-and-bite applications.

Are these whitening techniques good for your teeth?

That depends on a bunch of factors. Aside from your teeth, your genetics and dental hygiene have a role to play in this. Everyone responds differently.For instance, while tooth sensitivity is a possible side effect, not everyone will experience it.For some, whitening toothpasteis enough to polish their pearly whites. Others with serious discoloration may require more drastic procedures. Consult with us to find a method that’s best for you.

Teeth Whitening

The Elephant in the Room – Bad Breath!

The Dental Loung Robina - Bad Breath - halitosis

If you suffer from bad breath, there is every chance you may be unaware of it and it can be one of those embarrassing problems that no one wants to discuss. Let’s address some common causes and cures for this ‘elephant’ in the room, medically known as halitosis.

Causes

  • Ingesting foods with a strong odour such as coffee, garlic or onions. This will be obvious to anyone who stands too close, but generally this is temporary and once the food has passed through your body, the problem will disappear.
  • Poor dental hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing daily means that some food particles will remain in your mouth, leading to bacterial growth that produces volatile sulphur compounds and stinky breath.
  • If you have dentures and don’t always remove them at night to clean, food particles can also become trapped causing the same problem.
  • Infections in your mouth from tooth decay will emit a foul odour, and chronic bad breath can also indicate gum disease.
  • Following a low-carb diet can cause “ketosis breath” as the liver utilises the fat present in the body as an energy source, producing “ketones”. The pungent smell resulting from this is often likened to nail polish remover.
  • Also, those who follow a low-carb diet are usually eating plenty of protein, and the breakdown of protein in the body can produce a breath that smells strongly of ammonia.
  • Acid reflux, where you regurgitate small amounts of undigested food can leave a bitter or sour taste in your mouth and cause your breath to smell acidic.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products will cause what is commonly known as “smoker’s breath”.
  • Bad breath can also be a sign of tonsillitis, sinus issues or other undiagnosed diseases.
  • Dehydration and a dry mouth can cause bad breath due to reduced saliva production, which leads to an excess growth of bacteria in your mouth.

Cures

  • Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes using a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste. Replace your toothbrush every two months. Remove dentures every night and clean thoroughly.
  • Floss daily.
  • Scrape or brush your tongue twice daily.
  • Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash to help eliminate bacteria.
  • Drink plenty of water to help wash away food particles and bacteria.
  • If you follow a low-carb, high protein diet, consider using carb-free mints or gum to freshen your breath.
  • Be sure to visit your dentist regularly – at least twice a year.

If bad breath is causing you to feel self-conscious, or you notice people always taking a step back when speaking to you, come and visit our professional caring team at The Dental Lounge, Robina. We can determine what the underlying cause is and treat the problem. Or, if it’s not an oral issue we may be able to refer you to someone who can help further.

To schedule an appointment, phone (07) 5580 8855 or click here to view our ‘New Patient’ offer. Incredible Value at $199! 1 hr long thorough exam for adults only. T&Cs apply.

The Dental Loung Robina - Bad Breath - halitosis

Caring for Young Teeth – right from the Beginning!

The Dental Lounge - Childrens Dentistry

Preventative dental care is just as vital for babies and young children as it is for adults. Some people may be tempted to believe that because these teeth are going to fall out anyway; instilling good dental habits can wait until the permanent teeth come through. However, your child’s first teeth play an important role in helping your child to chew properly and speak correctly. These teeth also reserve the correct space in the gums and help to guide the permanent teeth into the proper position in your child’s mouth.

When and where to expect babies first teeth?

  • There can be a huge variation in when a baby’s first tooth erupts, with a few babies born with a tooth through already and others still have no teeth by their first birthday.  However, generally speaking, the first tooth usually appears around six months of age.
  • The first teeth to emerge are the front eight teeth – four on the top and four on the bottom; a front bottom tooth is usually the first to make an appearance.

When and how should you begin to encourage good dental habits with your child?

  • Before your child even has their first tooth, you can gently wipe their gums once a day with a clean, damp soft cloth, and so begin to instil good dental habits from birth.
  • When the first tooth emerges, choose a toothbrush designed for babies - with soft, rounded bristles and a small head, and gently brush with small circular movements, concentrating on the area where the tooth and gum meet.  Be particularly gentle when your child is teething as their gums will feel very tender and sensitive. Begin flossing as soon as there are two teeth touching each other.
  • Around the time of your child’s first birthday is the ideal time to take them for their first dental check-up
  • Aged 1 is a good time to introduce a low-fluoride children’s toothpaste. Simply smear a thin film on the toothbrush and encourage spitting out toothpaste after brushing, but don’t be concerned if they swallow this small amount in the process.
  • Swallowing large amounts of fluoride can have a detrimental effect on teeth and can make your child ill or cause diarrhoea, so do not allow licking or eating toothpaste straight from the tube.

What is a good oral health routine?

  • Brushing your child’s teeth after breakfast each morning and again before bedtime, after they have had their last food and drink for the day is a good lifetime routine to establish. It is best for you to brush your child’s teeth until they are able to properly do it themselves – usually by eight years of age.  Remember that leading by example is a powerful way to teach good oral habits.

What food and drinks are best avoided?

  • Never put anything sweet on a child’s dummy, if you use a pacifier.
  • Never put your baby to bed with a bottle of juice, formula or milk.
  • Fruit juice should be diluted with ten parts water to one-part juice.
  • All sugary foods cause tooth decay, and much damage is caused if even small amounts are consumed regularly throughout the day, not allowing teeth time to repair themselves. This includes dried fruits, fruit juices and fruit smoothies.

If you have any concerns about your child’s teeth, or they are due for a check-up, contact the Dental Lounge at Robina to  schedule an appointment, phone (07) 5580 8855 or complete our online request form. 

Your child may be eligible for $1000 from the Children’s Dental Benefit Scheme?

The government is allowing $1000 of dental treatment over a two-year period for eligible children through MEDICARE. Call us on (07) 5580 8855 to find out if you are eligible.

The whole team at The Dental Lounge is ready to help your child feel comfortable.  Our dentists are very gentle and are experienced with all the typical forms of anxiety kids often feel when visiting the dentist.  They will be in safe hands.

The Dental Lounge - Childrens Dentistry

What’s Helpful, What’s Harmful & What’s Horrible for Your Teeth!

The Dental Lounge Robina - Healthy Food For Your Teeth

The food choices you make on a daily basis play an important role in not only your general health, but also the health of your teeth.

What’s helpful for your teeth?

  • Calcium has long been known to be the building block for strong teeth. Dairy products, almonds and Brazil nuts as well as leafy greens, canned fish with bones and dried beans are all good sources of calcium. Cheese, in particular, can lower the acidic level in your mouth.
  • High-fibre fruit and vegetables keep saliva flowing, which plays a protective role in your mouth. It’s also important to keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water.
  • Black and green teas contain antioxidants that slow the growth of bacteria associated with cavities and gum disease and can also reduce plaque build-up.

What’s harmful for your teeth?

  • Soft, sweet, sticky foods that are full of sugar and cling to your teeth, such as cakes and lollies should be avoided. Sugar feeds the bacteria that causes plaque which weakens tooth enamel and causes decay.
  • Starchy foods such as crackers and potato crisps tend to get trapped in your teeth. If this is your snack of choice, take extra care when you floss to remove all the food particles that lead to plaque build-up.
  • Citrus fruits are highly acidic and frequent exposure, such as adding a squeeze of lemon or lime juice to your water bottle can erode the enamel of your teeth over time.
  • Carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices are loaded with sugar, phosphoric acid and citric acids that wear away tooth enamel and lead to cavities.

And the horrible?

  • Hard lollies are not only full of sugar they can also trigger a dental emergency such as a broken or chipped tooth leading to unnecessary repair work.
  • Likewise, while ice is only water and contains no sugar, chewing it can cause your teeth to chip and crack – a painful experience that leaves your teeth vulnerable to bacteria.
  • Grazing all day or snacking on the run also contributes to poor dental health because every time you eat, you are creating an environment for bacteria to grow.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to a dry mouth due to reduced saliva flow, which in turn leads to tooth decay and gum disease. It also increases your risk of mouth cancer.
  • Choosing foods from the five major food groups will mean you are providing your body with the essential vitamins and minerals to help maintain strong and healthy teeth  throughout your life.

In addition to brushing and flossing, regular dental check-ups and cleans are vital to maintaining optimal oral health. Click here to view our dental services.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact the Dental Lounge at Robina, phone (07) 5580 8855 or complete our online request form.   

The Dental Lounge Robina - Healthy Food For Your Teeth

What are the Benefits of Dental Flossing?

The Benefits of Dental Flossing Photo

Are you one of those diligent people who brush their teeth twice daily, however only think to floss when you feel the discomfort of food caught between your teeth? Perhaps you have never considered the importance of flossing.

Why do it?

Flossing should be an essential part of your daily oral care routine. It does about 40% of the work to remove the plaque and food debris that adheres in-between your teeth and gums, which helps prevent gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath.

Who should floss?

Flossing is not just for adults. Children should begin cleaning between their teeth as soon as they have two teeth in contact. For most kids, the only place in contact (and the most common area of decay I see in kids’ teeth) is between their back baby molars. As they don’t have the manual dexterity required to floss correctly, it’s best if they are helped by an adult until they are 8-10 years of age.

Flossing is extremely important for those fitted with orthodontic braces, however the process needs to be done gently to avoid damaging the braces. A floss threader and interdental brushes are a helpful alternative to usual dental floss. 

If your gums bleed when you first start flossing, provided the bleeding stops quickly it’s unlikely to be a problem. Continue with daily flossing and you should see an improvement. However, if bleeding continues to reoccur we recommend you make an appointment with your dentist for a check-up.

What to use?

It depends on your personal preference and the recommendation of your dentist -   

  • Waxed floss slides easily between closely spaced teeth
  • Unwaxed floss will squeak against clean teeth, indicating that plaque has been removed
  • Super floss is recommended for people with bridgework
  • People with wider than average spaces between their teeth are often better using interdental brushes (e.g. Picksters). Your dentist can advise you about which size is best for you.

How to floss?  

If you are unsure whether your technique for flossing is correct, our qualified staff at The Dental Lounge Robina, would be happy to discuss your dental hygiene routine with you, however here are some basic steps to follow:

  • Step 1 – Wind approx. 45cm of floss around your middle fingers and rest it across your thumbs and index fingers. Hold the floss tightly (without any slack) between your two hands.
  • Step 2 – Use a gentle up-and-down motion that goes down one side of the tooth, just under the collar of gum and then back up the other side (like an on-the-side “C”). Repeat this technique on all your teeth.
  • Step 3 – Rinse your mouth vigorously to remove any food particles and loosened plaque.

In addition to brushing and flossing, regular dental check-ups and cleans are vital to maintaining optimal oral health. To schedule an appointment, phone (07) 5580 8855 or use our online request form to schedule an appointment. 

The Benefits of Dental Flossing Photo

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