Bacteria on Your Toothbrush

Four different colored toothbrushes in a glass

Bacteria can be found literally everywhere. It is on your phone, in your fridge and in your mouth. If your mouth can house bacteria than it is not a difficult stretch to realise that bacteria can also be found on your toothbrush. There is no reason for concern as not all bacteria is bad. The concern comes when there is an unhealthy imbalance of bacteria.

Think of your toothbrush like a dishcloth. It is an important tool in keeping your teeth clean just as the dishcloth is important for cleaning your dishes. Yet you don’t just wash your dishes and leave the dishcloth covered in muck, waiting to spread that muck to the next dish – you rinse and wash the cloth thoroughly to avoid the transfer of germs. The same thoughtfulness should be given to your toothbrush.

You need to take preventative measures to avoid bacteria build-up.

Keeping Bacteria at Bay

Choose quality – You may think all toothbrushes are created equal. They are not. Poorly designed and badly made toothbrushes can make it easier for germs to live, breed and spread. Invest in a toothbrush that has quality bristles. Look at the design and compare which design will easily release food particles. Some toothbrush bristle designs will more likely to trap food particles, creating a breeding ground for germs. Opt for quality, antibacterial designs.

After brushing – Rinse your toothbrush thoroughly, shake vigorously, and store it upright to allow it to dry thoroughly between uses. Ensure that it is not touching someone else’s toothbrush.

Know when to let it go – Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or when it is showing signs of ageing, such as the bristles fraying or if there is a toothpaste build up. A build up of toothpaste or other debris means an equal build up of germs. The same rule applies for electric toothbrush heads.

Protecting Your Environment

Use a toothbrush cover – Most bathrooms have the sink in close vicinity to the toilet and when you flush the toilet, particles of bacteria are released into the air. You do not want your toothbrush to be where they land. Store your toothbrush far from the toilet and invest in a cover. You want a cover which is not entirely closed so that air can circulate, allowing it to air dry and avoiding moisture build-up.

Beware of breeding grounds – If you use a toothbrush holder, consider how frequently you wash it. Toothbrush holders are said to be the third largest breeding ground for germs in the home, after the dishcloth and kitchen sink. It is a set-and-forget bathroom accessory, allowing germs to grow and thrive when not cleaned regularly.

If in doubt, pop into My Dentist at Cannon Hill to stock up on quality toothbrushes. The team can also advise you on a maintenance plan and suggestions on other oral hygiene tools or accessories.

My Dentist at Cannon Hill is a general and cosmetic dentist covering Bulimba, Morningside and the surrounding suburbs. For healthier, straighter or whiter smiles, book an appointment on 07 3902 1023 or via our online contact page.

Are your Teeth Wise?

Impacted wisdom teeth on an x-ray

We all know of Wisdom Teeth. If you don’t know exactly what they’re for, you will have heard of them. The images that come to mind are poor late-teens and 20-somethings with puffy cheeks and bowls of ice cream. The reputation they hold is not a positive one.

So, what are they for? Why are typically-extracted teeth considered to be so wise? Or, at least, named as such?

A Brief History

Also known as the third molar, wisdom teeth are a remaining legacy from a time when we humans are reported to have had larger heads. It is suggested that the skulls of our ancestors had larger jaws and more teeth. These extra teeth, the third molars or wisdom teeth, could have been used to help chew foliage in a time when we did not have the luxury of a stove. This was some 10,000 years ago, before agriculture became the norm and our diets became softer. With our softer diets, it was noticed that we evolved to have less forward-growing jaws, thus leaving less room for those larger molars at the back.

For generations, wisdom teeth have been a common source of frustration and discomfort. There are records as far back as Aristotle, complaining about the ‘great pain’ they cause. To put that into perspective, Aristotle lived between 384-322 BC. These molars have been bugging us for over 2350 years!

What’s in a Name?

Much like the ‘funny bone’, it seems cruel to give such an elevated name to such a pain in the backside. These third molars got their high-status name because of the age at which they come through. The owner of these molars is typically between the age of 17 and 25 when they erupt. Whoever was responsible for the nickname was suggesting that the teeth appeared at an age where an adolescent becomes a wise adult.

What to Expect

Sadly, we have not yet evolved to a point where wisdom teeth are phased out of our lives. There are rare, lucky people who are born without any, though it is more common to have anywhere from one to four. In extremely rare cases, people develop even more which will present its own set of issues! If your dentist has confirmed that you do not have the room in your mouth or their development will cause the rest of your teeth to shift, these third molars will need to be removed.

Removal of wisdom teeth is a common and straightforward procedure. Yes, it will leave you feeling a little worse for wear, however, in exchange for this discomfort, you can take a few days off work or school, binge-watch Netflix and eat ice cream straight from the tub.

For wisdom teeth surgery in Cannon Hill, get in touch with the team at My Dentist at Cannon Hill. We have a range of services from local anaesthetic to surgery, depending on your situation.

Contact our team on 07 3902 1023 or our online contact page to enquire about the best option for your wisdom teeth removal.

Bad Breath – Help is at Hand

Woman with brown hair holds hand over her mouth because of bad breath

There is nothing worse than that worried thought, do I have bad breath? This fear can make you feel ashamed and self-conscious; to be made worse if someone else validates the fear.

Thankfully, bad breath can typically be remedied at home with preventative measures. Mix oral hygiene with regular dentist visits and your bad breath fears are sure to disappear.

What Causes Bad Breath?

The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Typically, odours are caused by bacteria building up on your teeth. This bacteria releases toxins and gases which cause bad breath.

Another cause may be diet and lifestyle. Strong foods like garlic and onion can cause bad breath. However, those are temporary until the food is digested. Lifestyle factors that cause prolonged bad breath are smoking, crash dieting, and some medications. Apart from making your mouth smell of cigarettes, smoking irritates the gums and increases the development of gum disease. Crash dieting, which reduces carbohydrate intake, will cause the body to break down fat. That process can produce chemicals in the body called ketones that produce a noticeable odour.

Beating Bad Breath for Good

Your dentist plays a pivotal role in the management and prevention of bad breath. The first step to ridding yourself of bad breath is starting with a visit to your local Morningside dentist. An initial check-up and teeth clean will set you on the path to continue your upkeep independently from home. This also helps to rule out if there are any serious reasons causing your bad breath.

Presuming your bad breath was the result of a lax in your oral upkeep, here is how to prevent it coming back:

Brushing twice daily – You will have heard this advice since you were a small child. What was true then is true now. Brushing twice a day will keep food from building up around and between teeth. This build up is where all of your bad breath problems start.

Flossing daily – Regular brushing alone will not always be effective in removing all food particles. Flossing your teeth daily allows you to get in-between your teeth to remove bacteria and build up. It is important this is done regularly to avoid that build up becoming hard. Once you allow it develop into plaque build up, it will be much harder to remove.

Visiting your dentist regularly – The frequency of these visits will depend on your oral hygiene. If it’s been a while, book an appointment now so that you can get back on track. Your dentist will be able to assess your oral hygiene and give you a plan to best maintain your oral health. If you’re in good health, you may be able to visit every 12-24 months. If there is some work to do, this could be more frequent.

My Dentist at Cannon Hill can also help with smile makeovers for Bulimba residents or Veneers for Morningside. Wherever you are in the area, give us a call on 07 3902 1023 or you can make an appointment online.

Top Oral Health Problems for Australians

Young woman holding picture of sad mouth with missing teeth

Australians are known for their well-maintained smiles. We are often stereotyped abroad as having beautifully clean, white teeth. We should be grateful to have grown up with quality, educational practises around oral care. While we are a nation with a strong appreciation for our pearly whites, we are not immune to oral health problems. Dental issues can affect your everyday life. Yet, most of them can be avoided or dealt with easily.

Bad Breath

Bad breath can often be attributed to poor dental habits or poor diet. In some cases, it could be an indicator of something more serious. More often than not, bad breath can be cured with a good dental health plan. In severe cases, bad breath can be the result of gum disease. It is worth visiting your dentist if a change in oral hygiene does not remedy the situation.

Plaque Build Up

Plaque build up is also the result of a poor dental hygiene practice. Failure to brush your teeth twice daily and floss regularly can lead to a build up of plaque. Bacteria thrive in these conditions, adding another cause of bad breath. A build up of plaque and bacteria can also have negative impacts on your health as toxins are released, then moving through your body.

Bad Gums

Bad gums will often be the next step after a build up of plaque. This can be the beginning of gum disease and should be taken seriously. Plaque bacteria can infect your gums and teeth. There are three stages of gum disease; Gingivitis, Periodontitis and advanced Periodontitis. If you have bad gums and experience bleeding when you brush or floss, book in an appointment with your dentist. At the first stage, Gingivitis, gum disease can be reversed. If it is untreated, the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place can be affected permanently.

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is the most common oral problem amongst Australians, by far. Unfortunately, some people are simply prone to tooth sensitivity and there is no specific cause. It can hinder you from enjoying certain foods and beverages or even weather seasons. It is worth visiting your dentist to find out the best options to remedy your tooth sensitivity. In most cases, changing to a specific type of toothpaste will ease the condition but if sensitivity is the result of something more serious, your dentist will advise of a specific treatment.

When it comes to oral health issues, being proactive is the best remedy. First, start with a healthy diet and a good oral health routine. Brush your teeth twice daily, floss every day and keep up regular visits to My Dentist at Cannon Hill.
If you are concerned about any of these conditions, give us a call on 07 3902 1023 or book an appointment online. Remember to keep up regular visits to your dentist in the Morningside and Bulimba area, My Dentist at Cannon Hill.

Am I More Prone to Cavities?

Prone to Cavities

Most people assume that if they brush and floss regularly and visit their dentist every six months, they won’t get cavities. But that’s not always the case. Good dental hygiene certainly helps but your diet and other factors can affect how prone you are to developing cavities.

 

Genetics and Your Teeth

Some people have naturally deeper crevices in their teeth than others. This creates a more comfortable place for bacteria to burrow and cause a cavity. Some people also don’t produce as much saliva as others.

Saliva plays an important role in washing away food debris as well as neutralising acids and repairing early tooth decay. Your saliva contains calcium, bicarbonate and phosphate, which are essential in naturally protecting your teeth from decay. Medication, stress, ageing, smoking and autoimmune disorders can cause your saliva production to dwindle.

People with lower saliva production can help by drinking more water. Additionally, your dentist can find ways to compensate for your low production of saliva. Naturally deeper crevices in teeth can be helped with the use of sealant, which provides a protective layer over the grooves of your teeth.

 

Social Class

Research conducted in America by the American Dental Association found that lower socioeconomic groups tend to have greater levels of untreated cavities. This is related to a person’s ability to afford or access dental care as well as other lifestyle factors.

People in lower socioeconomic classes are more likely to consume diets high in sugar and are more likely to smoke, creating the perfect conditions for cavities to develop.

 

Sugar & Tooth Decay

The most significant factor that makes some people more prone to developing cavities than others is diet. Tooth decay is highly correlated to sugar in your diet.

The mouth is full of hundreds of bacteria, many of which are important to the oral ecosystem. But some of the harmful bacteria cause cavities by feeding on sugar in your mouth. As bacteria breaks down sugar, it creates acids that erode the tooth enamel, harming the protective layer on your teeth. The bacteria thrive and multiply between your teeth, causing decay.

 

How to Prevent Cavities

Brushing and flossing daily with fluoridated products is the most effective way of preventing cavities. You can also reduce your intake of sugar and carbohydrates (which convert into sugar in the mouth) to lower the chance of getting a cavity.

 

Visit your dentist regularly and address any existing problems as soon as possible. If you need a friendly dentist who offers the highest standards of care in Cannon Hill and Morningside, visit My Dentist at Cannon Hill. Book an appointment online or call us on 07 3902 1023.

Hygiene at your Dental Practice

Dental Clinic Hygiene - My Dentist at Cannon Hill

Most patients probably don’t think about hygiene at the dentist and just how important it is. Many would assume that all dental clinics rigorously follow the highest hygiene standards, but that’s not always the case.

Although it’s relatively rare in Australia, there have been cases of dental clinics having poor hygiene standards. The most prominent case was in July 2015 at a Sydney dental clinic and more recently in 2016, another one in Brisbane.

 

Severe Hygiene Breach at a Sydney Dental Clinic

Thousands of people who visited one of the four clinics were warned they could have potentially been infected with serious diseases.

The Dental Council of NSW had discovered breaches in infection control. Patients who had invasive procedures at the clinics over the past 10 years were informed they could have contracted hepatitis B, hepatitis C or HIV.

The scare was followed by an investigation in which the NSW Dental Council restricted the registration of 12 dentists working at those practices, while six practitioners were suspended and another six had restrictions placed on their registration.

 

Hygiene is a Right

This incident highlights the importance of choosing a dental clinic where rigorous standards of hygiene, infection control and sterilisation are upheld and not just promised. All dental practitioners have a legal duty of care to their patients.

Hygiene has to be more than a promise, it is common law. It is the responsibility of a dental clinic to comply with the Dental Board of Australia’s guidelines on infection control and ensure infection control measures are properly implemented in the workplace.

The dental board specifies that all dental practices are carried out in a manner that protects and enhances public health and safety. This means ensuring there is a minimal risk of diseases being spread.

 

How to Make Sure a Dental Clinic is Hygienic

To ensure you’re receiving safe care from a dentist, you should consider or ask about the following:

  • Whether the dental practitioner is registered (anyone can check the national register online)
  • Does the surgery look clean and tidy?
  • Is the dentist wearing appropriate clothing, gloves, eyewear and a mask?
  • Are there appropriate hand washing facilities?
  • Are the instruments clean?
  • Are there packaged instruments and disposable items?
  • Does the dentist have an assistant?

 

If in doubt, ask the dentist about their sterilisation process or whether they have an autoclave. If you’re not satisfied with the answers or feel like something is wrong, then leave the clinic.

 

High Standards from My Dentist at Cannon Hill

We are committed to providing the highest standards of care while offering a friendly and relaxed environment. Our level of care involves maintaining impeccable hygiene and infection control through exhaustive monitoring and highly trained staff.

If you’d like more information about the high standards of hygiene at our dental clinic, please contact us online or call us on 07 3902 1023. We treat patients in Brisbane, as well as surrounding local areas including Cannon Hill, Morningside, Murarrie, and Carina.

Pregnancy and Your Dental Health

Dental Health and Pregnancy - Brisbane Australia

Expectant mothers often experience dental problems, including gum disease and a higher risk of tooth decay. This is because, during pregnancy, increased hormones affect the body’s response to plaque and increases exposure to damaging acids.

Up to 70 per cent of pregnant women are affected by gingivitis, highlighting the importance of good oral hygiene and regular visits to the dentist when you are pregnant.

Continue reading “Pregnancy and Your Dental Health”

Top 10 Reasons for Toothaches

Top 10 Reasons for Tooth Aches - Brisbane Australia Dentist

Toothaches are the most common dental complaint in the world. It’s usually the main reason people visit their dentist. Toothaches are caused by a variety of factors, some more unexpected than others.

It is important to remember that the problems that can lead to a toothache can be prevented or treated early. Toothaches usually only occur when the problem has been there for some time and has slowly developed and is now a much larger problem.
Continue reading “Top 10 Reasons for Toothaches”

The World of Flossing: What You Should Know

Flossing in Brisbane Australia

Flossing every day is as important as maintaining regular brushing habits, yet half the population of Australia fails to do it. Cavities can build up easily between teeth, which can dramatically increase the chance of developing gum disease. Most bad breath is also linked to a lack of flossing, which comes from bits of food trapped between your teeth.

Now that we’ve acknowledged the importance of daily flossing, we can explore the wide range of dental floss products available and proper flossing technique.

Continue reading “The World of Flossing: What You Should Know”