The Mercury Question

We all know that mercury is a toxic poison. However, it has also been a long standing practice in dentistry to include mercury as an ingredient in the silver amalgam teeth fillings used to fill cavities in our teeth. In 2013, a United Nations treaty was signed in Geneva by over 140 nations, including Australia, that called for measures to end global mercury pollution. Named the Minamata Treaty, after the Japanese city that was the site of the world’s worst mercury poisoning, the treaty specifically points to the use of mercury in dental amalgam and calls for its discontinued use. 

Different Perspectives

Of course, opponents of the use of mercury in dental fillings are adamant that the change happen immediately and completely. They cite numerous health complications that have arisen in people who have received mercury fillings. The Australian Dental Association, while recognizing the imperative to step down the use of mercury amalgams, has not adopted quite the same position. They cite lack of evidence of the degree to which mercury fillings have had negative health consequences and other concerns regarding cost and durability of other options.

The Established Use of Mercury in Dentistry

The use of mercury in fillings has been common practice in dentistry for the last 150 years. The dental amalgam that is the substance of these fillings is comprised of about 50% mercury and 50% of a mixture of powdered metal alloys including silver, copper and tin. The mercury is the binding ingredient that holds it all together. Although critics would say that any amount of mercury is too much, dental associations maintain that only miniscule amounts of mercury particles or vapour are released from fillings, well below acceptable levels.

The Australian Dental Association maintains that most uses of mercury in fillings produce no ill side effects. They cite the strength and durability of the material, and its ability in creating a relatively low cost, and therefore accessible method of dental treatment. However, one can look at the fact that the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has recommended that its use in treating pregnant women and children be discontinued. If it were completely safe, why the caution in these cases?

Replacement of Silver Fillings

Concern over the presence of mercury in existing fillings has grown to the point where people have begun having these teeth fillings replaced. However, this procedure is not without its dangers, and there is broad recognition at the lack of proper infrastructure to properly handle the removal and replacement of every silver filling in the country.

For one thing, the removal procedure itself raises the risk of toxicity to both the patient and the dentist. Protocols must be implemented, including the use of a dental dam, protection of the nose airway, provision of pressurized air to breathe, proper suction in the mouth, an efficient exhaust system with external vents, and protective masks for the dentist and dental staff.

Moreover, there is the disposal of the discarded mercury. It cannot be simply rinsed down the sink, or else it will end up in the water supply. Neither can it be disposed of via regular trash. It has to be taken to a safe waste disposal site, and this takes certain procedures that must be followed.

Opposition to Mercury Use is the Wave of the Future

As is the case with any major public policy question, there are always many factors influencing the answers, and compromises are generally in order. Clearly the trend is to eliminating the use of mercury altogether. Its use has already been phased out in many European nations. In Switzerland, it’s been 13 years since it was taught in dental schools.

There are suitable substitutes available now for filling teeth, such as porcelain and resin. Although questions of durability and cost exist, surely with the right motivation, technical advances will be made in the development of lower cost, safer and stronger alternatives.

What to Do if You Have Mercury Fillings

Surveying the data that is available to this point, current wisdom suggests that most people in good health do not have to worry about going out and having all of their fillings replaced. Of course, if an old one falls out, you can take the opportunity to have it replaced with a less toxic material.

If you are worried about your immune system or other health issues and do wish to have your old fillings replaced, one recommendation is to do it one quarter of your mouth at a time, over the course of several months during a year. As recommended, pregnant women and children should avoid having mercury fillings installed in the first place.

If you do have a concern about the health impact of your existing amalgam fillings or questions about the materials we use for new fillings, do not hesitate to get in touch or ask us directly at your next appointment.

Seven Things Dental Care Has in Common With Housecleaning

Like your home, your mouth is a focal point for your health and well-being. When it isn’t maintained properly, you can feel off balance, ungrounded, insecure. Let’s have a look at the importance of good dental care from this perspective.


The Significance of Your Mouth in Your Life

Your mouth is a central point of exchange in your body. You smile to greet other people. You use your mouth to say hello and goodbye and engage in conversation. It’s the place where you utter your brilliant thoughts and share your visions for the future. It’s also the entryway for nourishment and sustenance, in the form of delicious food, and thirst quenching beverages. Finally, it’s a source of pleasurable exchange, when you kiss a love one. All of these things require a mouth that is healthy and pain-free, in order to get the most out of your life.

Your Home, and How it Compares With Your Mouth

Like your mouth, your home is a central point of exchange. It’s your base of operations, the place where you go to rest and regenerate. It’s also the place where you can find balance, where you can nourish yourself and prepare for all of your life’s activities. And it’s a place of pleasure, where you can share with loved ones. But when your home is dirty and in disrepair, it can detract from the quality of your life.

Dental Care is Like Housecleaning

When we really begin to look at caring for our home and caring for our mouths, we realize just how many ways these processes reflect one another. Here are seven ways you can compare good dental care to efficient housecleaning:

1) Dirt Builds Up: It’s a fact of life. Everything gets dirty. Your teeth, your gums, your tongue –they all build up bacteria from decaying food and germs that enter through the mouth. Just like we need to wash floors and sinks and keep our bathrooms clean at home, we need to make sure we brush and floss our teeth as well as our tongues, and keep the inside of our mouths rinsed and free of outside materials.

2) You Need a Schedule: It’s important to make oral care as well as house cleaning an easy part of your daily routine. Just as you wash the dishes after you prepare a meal, make your beds and do your laundry regularly, and set certain times a week (or every two weeks, or every month) to do the bigger chores, scheduling specific times to brush your teeth is essential. We recommend first thing in the morning and right before bed, as well as after meals or any particularly sugary or sticky snack that leaves significant residue in the mouth.

Regular check-ups are like those bigger chores that also have to get done periodically. We suggest every six months, in order to stay on top of any problems that might be developing and get a professional cleaning.

3)It Helps to Make a Good Impression: When company comes, we clean up. Likewise, we don’t want to greet others with a dirty mouth. Clean teeth and fresh breath are an essential part of making a good impression on others.

4)It Makes You Feel Better: Who likes sitting around in a dirty house? It makes it hard to relax if you’re surrounded by piles of dirty laundry or a sink full of dishes. A clean mouth, like a clean environment, contributes to a sense of calm and well-being.

5) It Helps Your Confidence: A clean, well-functioning environmenthelps provide a sense of order that can be a real confidence booster. It helps to look around and see the physical evidence of what you are capable of doing. It becomes an example on which you can build other accomplishments. Likewise, a fresh, clean mouth is an essential component of personal confidence. How many of you pop a breath mint into your mouths just before a date or an important job interview? We all know how it puts a little kick into your step to know that your teeth look nice and your breath smells good.

6)Good Maintenance Helps You Be More Productive: When your teeth are functioning properly, you can eat properly, speak freely and generally get things done. It’s hard to concentrate on anything if you are suffering from tooth pain. If one of your teeth is cracked, it’s hard to chew. Just like if the heat in your house is broken, or the water isn’t flowing properly, or an important appliance like your refrigerator is broken, things will not go smoothly at all. Good maintenance, like cleaning, is an essential component in tooth and home care.

Why Do Dentists Recommend Soft Toothbrushes?

Back in the day, you didn’t have a choice when it came to toothbrush bristles – either you used a hard-bristle brush, or you went without. Then, in 1938, Du Pont introduced toothbrushes that had nylon bristles, ushering in the modern toothbrushes of today. By the 1950s, softer nylon brushes became the norm, as most people preferred them over the harder bristles.

These days? Most dentists recommend soft bristles, but you can still find a variety of bristle types on the market. So how do you know which toothbrush to pick and why?


Types of Toothbrush Bristles

Manufacturers make three different types of bristles in their toothbrushes.

Hard and Medium Bristles – Hard-bristled brushes were recommended for patients with poor manual dexterity in patients with poor oral hygiene, or in patients with joint problems who could not grip the toothbrush properly to apply adequate brushing pressure and technique. A hard bristle would ensure that the oral cavity was free of debris even with a shortened brushing time and with less pressure. However, with the advent of mechanical toothbrushes, now dentists rarely recommend the use of hard bristles.

Soft Bristles – The ADA recommends the use of soft-bristled brushes in almost 90 percent of the population. These bristles are usually arranged in varying heights to reduce pressure on the gum and increase pressure on the tooth surface to clean away plaque and food debris. As a result, the need for stronger bristles is redundant and the different bristle lengths do the job quite well.

The Scoop on Hard-Bristled Toothbrushes

Some people like hard-bristled brushes and find that the bristles clean the tooth surface well. If that’s the case for you, discuss with your dentist whether you should use a hard-bristled toothbrush, but make sure you are using the proper brushing technique regardless of the type of bristle you wind up using. In a hurry to complete brushing, most people use the side-to-side motion. Now this motion may seem the easiest, but it is the most dangerous brushing technique for teeth. The side-to-side motion uses more pressure and it can rub the bristles quite strongly against the tooth’s surface and irritate the gums.

The bristles actually scrub away at the tooth’s surface and scrape away the outer surface called the enamel. Obviously, the stronger the bristle, the harder your scrub and the more the enamel is scraped off. In the end, people who used hard bristled toothbrushes noticed wedge-shaped cavities along the gum line, accompanied with gum recession. If a patient continues to use a hard-bristled toothbrush with a side-to-side scrubbing motion, the wedge shaped cavities will continue on to the root surface as well, causing serious sensitivity and dental problems.

How Often Should You Replace Your Toothbrush?

Whether you’re using a hard- or soft-bristled toothbrush, you should replace it about once every three months. Bristles will break down and lose their effectiveness after repeated use. In other words, the older your toothbrush is, the harder it is to remove plaque from your teeth and gums. You should also consider changing out your toothbrush after you’ve recovered from an illness.

The Solution

Fact is, some of us still love our hard-bristled toothbrushes. Ideally, though, you should talk to your dentist. He or she can evaluate your oral health and your teeth and then recommend the right type of toothbrush for your mouth. Your dentist can also give you a brief refresher course on things like proper brushing techniques to ensure optimal dental health, regardless of which type of toothbrush you use.

The Dangers and Benefits of Licorice

When you hear the word licorice, you probably think of the very sweet, black chewy candies that carry a distinctive taste you either love or hate. But did you know that licorice root is actually used as a powerful herbal medicine? Whether in extract form or as chew sticks, pure licorice offers a number of benefits, as well as some risks for your oral health and overall condition. Let’s have a closer look. 

Benefits of Licorice

The key ingredient of licorice is glycyrrhizin. Not only is it responsible for the distinctive sweetness that characterizes licorice’s unique flavor, but it is also the compound that gives licorice its medicinal properties.

One of the more popular uses of licorice is as an expectorant, used to help soothe the throat and calm the irritation that causes one to cough as it reduces phlegm. It is used in this fashion as part of many herbal tea blends as well as in throat lozenges. It has demulcent qualities, forming a protective coating over mucous membranes. Licorice also has anti-inflammatory properties.

With regard to the digestive system, licorice can confer some protection against gastrointestinal ulcers, and can also function as a laxative. Licorice can function as an overall tonic, offering some protection to the liver, as it increases resistance to the effects of stress on the body, mind and emotions. It also has antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties, as well as antioxidant and antitumor capabilities. Licorice can even play a part in the regulation of hormones.

Licorice can also be used as an anti-depressant. Some people say it makes an excellent alternative to St. John’s Wort, another popular herbal supplement.

In one 2006 study, licorice was shown to be an aid in weight loss. It has also been shown to have significant positive effects on the body in the following specific ways:

As an immune booster, licorice can help fight off various bacteria as well as viruses like influenza A. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is useful in the treatment of asthma and bronchial infections. It can be used like aspirin to relieve fevers and soothe headache pain. It can also be helpful in reducing liver inflammation related to hepatitis. It may confer further protection to the liver and other organs by boosting levels of interferon, which improves immunity.

Research has shown that small doses of licorice (100mg a day) can help fight arteriosclerosis. The glycyrrhizin in licorice enhances cortisol activity, and so can lessen the symptoms of conditions such as fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. Phytoestrogens in licorice can have a mild estrogenic impact, offering some relief from PMS.

Risks of Using Licorice

Excessive use of licorice can have a negative impact on the adrenal glands. Symptoms of this include increased blood pressure, headaches, muscles aches or weakness, lethargy, sodium or water retention, loss of potassium, and in extreme cases, cardiac arrest.

To be safe, the common dosage ranges from 1 to 5 g of dried root, to be used as an infusion or decoction, up to three times a day. If daily doses go over 100g, adverse symptoms could begin within one week of use at that rate. Many licorice root products have been deglycyrrhizinatedto eliminate the risk of more extreme side effects while preserving certain essential medicinal benefits. High doses of licorice should not be used for longer than 4-6 weeks.

Individuals with the following conditions should use extreme caution in ingesting licorice and licorice derived products: hypertension, liver disease, heart disease, kidney disorders, hypokalemia or hypertonia. Licorice may interfere with the normal functioning of diuretics and drugs that treat hypertension. In general, pregnant women or infants should also not consume licorice.

Does licorice provide any specific dental health benefits? Of course, anything that improves overall health is by extension good for dental health. In particular, licorice’s anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties can be useful in supporting healthy teeth and gums.

Most interestingly, though, is the use of dried licorice roots, known as chew sticks, which are sold at health food stores and through other herbal suppliers. They can be used as an aid in keeping teeth and breath clean, since chewing on them acts as a kind of alternative or supplement to brushing your teeth. They are used in many indigenous cultures for this purpose.

Chewing on licorice sticks can also be a useful substitute for smoking cigarettes. As an aid in quitting smoking, they can satisfy the oral cravings of holding a cigarette in your mouth, without the terrible health consequences of actually smoking. And we all know that any non-toxic alternative to smoking cigarettes will contribute greatly to the improvement of both your oral as well as overall health.

Five Fashion Accessories to Enhance Your White Teeth

Although fashion is hot, hot, hot, and we all get obsessed with the latest trends in clothing, makeup and jewelry, there’s nothing like a great smile and white teeth to show off your inner beauty. 


The most important thing to remember is that you can wear all the greatest clothes and all the greatest shoes, but you’ve got to have a good spirit on the inside. That’s what’s really going to make you look like you’re ready to rock the world.” — Alicia Keys

So let’s take it one step further. What kinds of fashion accessories make you smile? What adornments light up your face like a million candles?

Let’s have a look at some fashion faves that may bring a smile to your lips, and show off your pearly whites to their greatest advantage:

Swarovski Crystal Headwear


Photo by Margaret Zhang

Who doesn’t love a little bling once in a while? The ultimate in jeweled bedazzlement to surround your face is this elegant Swarovski headpiece. Perfect for a bride or a debutante, or for when you’re walking the red carpet at your next movie premiere night. It will absolutely bring out the twinkle in your eye and the shine of your clean, white teeth.

Red Lipstick


Photo courtesy of Vogue Australia

Nothing makes the white of your teeth pop quite like a good, red lipstick. Whether it’s deep burgundy or fire engine red, matte finish or shiny and glossy, red lipstick is an eye-catching, attention grabbing choice that accentuates one of the most beautiful and sensual parts of your body – your lips. Some people think that the only makeup a woman really needs, is lipstick. In fact, some women swear that lipstick (and a good, strong cup of coffee) is the only thing they need to get through the day.

Bold. Confident. Sexy. White teeth. Red lipstick. Enough said.

A Jaunty Chapeau


Photo courtesy of Vogue Australia

A daring hat can frame your face and bring a dynamic touch to your wardrobe, even as it highlights your dazzling smile and clean, white teeth. Whether you choose something casual or sophisticated, highly constructed or loose and floppy, colorful and bright or elegantly restrained, a hat makes a fashion statement all of its own. And doesn’t a hat often bring out another side of you? More daring and ready to ready to take risks?

Think of the show of hats at royal wedding or the hats of the Kentucky Derby. How can you not smile at the audacity and invention of these phenomenal creations? Let the wearers be proud, and show off their gorgeous smiles, framed in glory.

A Colorful Scarf


Image courtesy of Temps Des Rěves

A colorful scarf can bring up any outfit, but more importantly, it can frame your face in a beautiful way that inspires a dazzling smile. Worn for warmth in the winter, for comfort and extra protection during the spring or fall, or as a headwrap any time, a scarf makes a distinct fashion statement and offers the wearer a unique opportunity for self-expression.

Bold Jewelry


It’s true, jewelry can definitely bring a smile to the lips. But even though we started this piece by talking about bling, good jewelry doesn’t necessary have to be made of diamonds and gold. The choice of materials is endless, as are the styles and shapes. Limited only by budget and more importantly, imagination, adornment around the face, ears and neck is a fantastic way to celebrate and show off your clean, white teeth.


You are beautiful! Celebrate your beauty! Take care of your teeth so you can protect that gorgeous smile of yours! And let us help you keep your teeth at their whitest.

Five Reasons You Absolutely Want Super Fresh Breath

Sometimes you get busy. We understand. You just want to flop into bed at night. I’ll brush my teeth in the morning, you think, as you’re drifting off to sleep. We’ve all been there. In the morning, though, you’re going to make sure to floss and brush your teeth extra carefully, right? RIGHT? 

See, here’s the thing. You may think that what goes on in your mouth stays in your mouth, and to a certain extent, that’s true. But the fact is, the minute you step out of your parents’ basement, you’re dealing with other human beings. And trust us, if your breath stinks, they will know it.

Excuses, Excuses, Excuses…

But I’m a student, you say. I spend most of my time sitting in the back of the classroom, texting my friends. And then I’m sitting in the library, checking out my Facebook stats. Nobody’s gonna notice if my breath’s a little raggedy.

That girl you met last week in the data center when you were downloading your friend’s older sister’s economics essay? She thought you were kind of cute, but she didn’t appreciate the sausage and eggs with toast and marmite you had for breakfast.

How many skim lattes did you drink this morning? Do you have any idea what that smells like an hour after you’ve licked the last foam from the lid? Dude. Please don’t say you smoke, on top of that. Not only are you no longer a chick magnet, but you are now officially a chick repellant.

So, in case this hasn’t been clear enough, let us break it down for you a little further.

Here Are the Reasons

Reason #1 – People you may find attractive will keep their distance from you if you smell like a sour version of this morning’s breakfast. Coffee drinkers and cigarette smokers – you suffer an additional burden of ridding your mouth of the most tenacious and difficult to overcome mouth odors.

Reason #2 – At some point, you will be working for a living. Hard to imagine, but it’s true. And your professional colleagues have standards almost as high as the cuties you are trying to attract. Nothing says “Get me to the unemployment line” quicker than poor personal hygiene. Clean up your act! You’re in the real world now!

Reason #3 – Self-confidence is a great quality to possess. It opens many doors for you, both personal and professional.  “But,” you whine, “I don’t feel confident. In fact, I’m painfully shy, self-conscious and insecure.” Well guess what? So are most people. But there’s a trick. It’s called acting “as if.” Also known as “fake it till you make it,” this technique is guaranteed to get you past the rough parts until you gain a little more confidence. And clean, fresh breath just gives you one less thing to worry about while you’re trying to make a good impression.

Reason #4 – It’s the environment, man. There are so many toxic fumes being released into the atmosphere, why add to the smells? You can be part of the solution, and not the problem. Think of your community. Do it for them. Sure, eat that pepperoni pizza, that pasta primavera with extra garlic… just do us all a favor, and pop a breath mint afterwards.

Reason #5 – You owe it to yourself. Bad breath is typically a sign of poor hygiene. Sometimes it can be due to digestive issues or some other medical problem, but most of the time it’s because you are not brushing properly, not flossing regularly, not rinsing your mouth out with water after a particularly odorous meal, or not using mouthwash, gum or mints when you are experiencing particularly rough traffic.

Do yourself a favour, do the world a favour, pay attention to your breath! It’s worth it. You’ll feel better about yourself and be a pleasure to those around you. And by the way, that spinach stuck between your two front teeth? It’s not cute.

The Benefits of Bone Broth for Healthy Teeth and Bones

There are many dietary belief systems these days, all of which purport to be the best. But do they support healthy teeth? In this first article of a series, we’ll take a closer look at a typical recipe in the diet of those who favour a paleo type approach – bone broth. A staple item in cooking many other recipes, bone broth delivers a powerhouse of nutrients that support healthy teeth and bones. Let’s have a look. 

When choosing a dietary approach, it can be hard to decide which direction to choose. Of course as dentists, we favor any diet that cuts down on excess sugar and carbohydrates, as these also convert to sugar in the mouth. Sugar is a key factor in the proliferation of the oral bacteria that produce cavity-causing acids.

There are some basic principles that seem to carry across to many healthy dietary systems. Keeping in mind that some diets may exclude whole categories of foods, these include the following:

  • – plenty of fresh produce, organic or locally grown with minimal pesticides, if possible
  • – no antibiotics, chemical preservatives, or unnecessary additives or fillers in meats and dairy products
  • – minimal added sugars and processed carbohydrates

Bone Broth – What Is It and Why Should I Make It?

Bone broth is, quite simply, a nutrient-rich broth that is made from fresh meat bones. We found a terrific recipe that includes a comprehensive analysis of the benefits of this delicious soup here.

Bone broth can be made from the bones of almost any animal, as long as the animal has been raised in a healthy, humane manner. The goal is to derive the nutritional value from the animal, not take in unhealthy antibiotics or other food additives, nor support the factory-farmed animal industry. Typical bones come from beef, lamb, venison, chicken, turkey or pork. Also important are marrow bones, oxtail and the ones simply known as “soup bones.”

The benefits of making and using bone broth in other recipes lie in the abundance of nutrients it provides. These include minerals such as calcium, phosphorous, potassium and magnesium, all in forms that your body can assimilate easily. It also contains more of the important amino acids glycine and proline than the usual cuts of meat we consume. You’ve heard of chondroitin and glucosamine, the supplements that are sold to reduce joint pain and inflammation? Bone broth is also rich in these.

Other benefits include the presence of collagen, a protein that is found in bone marrow, cartilage, ligaments and tendons of bones such as knuckles and feet. The collagen creates gelatin, which helps to reduce bone loss, and the glycine and proline are great for building up the immune system. Now it makes sense why chicken soup is such a favorite home remedy, right? Our grandmothers knew what they were talking about…

As far as its direct impact on teeth, we know for certain that calcium and phosphorous are essential for healthy, strong teeth. Bone broth is a great non-vegetarian option for people who choose to stay away from dairy products, the most popular and familiar source of calcium.

Incorporating Bone Broth Into Your Diet

The nice thing about bone broth is that it becomes the basic stock for almost any soup or stew. You use it in place of pre-packaged broth or soup stock, as it is much more nutritious. It makes a great base for onion soup, chili, beef stew or any other hearty dish. It can also be prepared ahead of time and frozen for later use. And how great to incorporate something into your regular diet that supports your oral health so completely! Think about using bone broth as a way to maintain healthy, strong teeth.

People who regularly use bone broth have made it a staple item in their kitchen. Like anything else, once you get used to the quality of the homemade version, it’s hard to go back to the kind that comes in a can.

Let us know if you try using bone broth – we’d love to hear your recipe suggestions!

Don’t Floss During Dinner, and Other Dental Dating Advice

You know things are starting to get serious with someone when your dental care time starts to overlap more regularly with your time spent together. That’s a good thing, right? And we all know that the hallmark of a good relationship is being able to share personal things with one another… but there are limits. Particularly when it comes to oral health, some of the things we need do to take care of our teeth are our own personal responsibility to manage and might be better left private. Let’s have a look in more detail. 

Brushing Your Teeth – They Call it Personal Hygiene for a Reason

In the movies, it looks cute to walk around the house in your underwear with a toothbrush in your mouth, but in reality, it’s kind of messy. Do you really want to be dribbling toothpaste down your chin in front of your new romantic partner? And what happens when your gums are bleeding? After all, it does happen occasionally, right? Is that something you really want to share with a new love interest? The two of you might decide that you like brushing your teeth together at some point, but in the beginning, it’s probably a good idea to leave the scrubbing and spitting for private time.

Flossing – Watch Out for Flying Debris

Flossing. It can actually be a little gross, don’t you think? Sometimes, when you’re pulling out little pieces of food from between your teeth, they can fly up in the air. Just guessing here, but you probably don’t want those little bits to hit your new beau in the face. Neither do you want them landing on the bathroom mirror and staying there, or left lying in the sink. Without knowing you or your potential mate, there’s no way of saying what your respective thresholds are for cleanliness and personal hygiene. However, we’re pretty sure this one is safely outside the bounds of acceptability for many people. Keep your flossing to yourself.

Ordering Stinky Food – Yay or Nay?

If the two of you are going to share a big loaf of garlic bread, great. Enjoy it! But if your date is ordering something less, shall we say, aromatic, you might want to think twice. Foods like onions and garlic and strong spices such as curry can leave a distinct taste on your breath. If your date didn’t order it, then chances are they don’t want to taste it in your mouth after dinner.


Use as directed… particularly if you decided not to take our advice about the garlic bread.

Food Between Your Date’s Teeth – Do You Say Something?

This is a tricky one. Some people feel shy about telling someone that they have something stuck between their front teeth. Or crumbs in their beard. Or cream cheese smeared on their cheek. Other people are of the mind that a friend tells a friend when they have something out of place with their appearance. It’s a matter of taking care of each other. With that in mind, unless your date has offended you so much that you are ready to let them walk out the door with tissue paper stuck to their shoe, then it’s definitely the kind choice to tell them if there’s food stuck in their teeth. Especially if you think you might be kissing them later.

Morning Breath

Listen. If we’re talking about morning breath here, then things are obviously going rather well. We’d like to think that if you’re sharing morning breath with someone, then you’ve already established a basic comfort level around their personal hygiene and the way they smell. That’s a fundamental part of the animal attraction, don’t you think? If not, then start back at the top of this article with brushing your teeth. It is, after all, a daily routine. 

A Crown in My Mouth? Huh?

There’s something nice about the idea of a crown in your mouth, isn’t there? They used to call them caps. As in capped teeth. But crown is so much more royal, don’t you think?

Why would you need something called a dental crown in your mouth? And what does it do? 

Crown Basics

A dental crown is, in fact, a sort of cap that is shaped to your tooth. It fits over your tooth in order to improve its appearance with the correct size and shape. It is typically used to restore a broken or damaged tooth, starting at the gum line and covering it completely. A good crown can last as long as 5-15 years.

Crowns can also be used to protect a weak tooth or to hold together a tooth that has been cracked. It can also be installed as part of a dental bridge, to help anchor it into place. You might also need a crown if a significant portion of a tooth has been filled, and there isn’t much of the original tooth left, or to cover a dental implant or a weirdly shaped or discoloured tooth.

In short, crowns can help you create a perfect smile.

Types of Crowns

Dental crown cost, strength and appearance vary depending on their type. Your dentist can help you decide on the best type of crown for you. Here is an overview of the different types of crowns:All-porcelain or all-ceramic – These are the most natural looking types of crowns, suitable for front teeth. They are not quite as strong as the ones made of porcelain that are fused to metal underneath, but are a good choice for people who have sensitivities to metal.All-porcelain or all-ceramic – These are the most natural looking types of crowns, suitable for front teeth. They are not quite as strong as the ones made of porcelain that are fused to metal underneath, but are a good choice for people who have sensitivities to metal.

  • All-porcelain or all-ceramic – These are the most natural looking types of crowns, suitable for front teeth. They are not quite as strong as the ones made of porcelain that are fused to metal underneath, but are a good choice for people who have sensitivities to metal.
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal – These are stronger than the all-porcelain or all-ceramic type of crowns, and are a close second to them in terms of looking natural. Sometimes the outer layer of ceramic can chip off or the layer of metal may show through near the gum line. These crowns are typically used on front or back.
  • Metals – These can be made of gold, palladium, nickel or chrome alloys. These are the strongest types of crowns – rarely chip and typically last the longest. However, their colour makes them less desirable for front teeth. They are an excellent choice for molars, where they are less visible in the back of the mouth.
  • All-resin crowns – A less costly option, but they are also less durable and typically do not last as long as porcelain or ceramic crowns.
  • Temporary crowns – These are typically made of stainless steel or acrylic and are used as a temporary measure while the permanent crown is being crafted by the dental lab. Sometimes stainless steel crowns are also used on baby teeth for children who are experiencing very severe tooth decay and are not able to manage proper dental care. In that case, the crown simply comes off along with the baby tooth when it falls out naturally.

Crown Preparation

Depending on the condition of the tooth, if there is extensive tooth decay, the pulp or even the root of the tooth may need to be removed before a crown can be installed. Removal of the root, also known as a root canal, may have to be performed by an oral surgeon. Furthermore, if you are immune compromised in any way, you may require antibiotics before and after the procedures. As always, it’s important to review your medical history with your dentist prior to any surgical procedure.

The actual creation of a dental crown is a multi-step process that requires at least two visits to the dentist. During the first visit, the tooth is prepared to be fitted with a crown. It is fully numbed and anaesthetized, then filed down or built up, if necessary, to a shape that will properly anchor the crown, using the correct amount of space between surrounding teeth. Once the tooth is ready to receive the crown, the dentist takes an impression of the tooth in putty that is then sent to the dental lab, where the new crown will be created. Your dentist will have also chosen the correct colour of a porcelain or ceramic crown to match the rest of your teeth.

Typically, it takes 2-3 weeks for a crown to be made at the lab. During this time, your dentist will create for you a temporary cap to wear until the permanent one is ready to be cemented into place. Care must be taken while wearing a temporary cap not to eat anything too sticky or crunchy, so as not to dislodge or break it. Flossing must also be done carefully, pulling the floss through as opposed to pulling away from the gum, so you don’t accidentally pull out the temporary cap.

Possible Problems with a Crown

Sometimes the crown can feel a little sensitive after the anaesthesia has worn off, particularly in response to hot or cold. Your dentist may recommend using a special toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If it hurts when you bite, the crown may be sitting too high on your tooth and need to be adjusted. Your dentist can help you with that.

If your crown chips, your dentist can usually fix that with a bit of composite resin. If the crown is too badly damaged, it may need to be replaced. If your crown becomes loose or falls off, you must have that repaired by your dentist right away. The exposed tooth underneath is very susceptible to infection by bacteria, so you need to keep the area clean and make an appointment to have it fixed immediately.

If you think you may need a dental crown, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us right away!

Even More Reasons to Be Happy About Smiling

Smiling is very important to you. We’re dentists, we know this. But were you aware that in addition to helping you look your best, when we protect your ability to smile, we’re also helping your overall health? That’s right, there are actual medical benefits to smiling. There are even benefits that go beyond our own individual wellbeing. It might make you very happy to learn about them. 

Smile, it’s better than a poke in the eye.
Douglas Horton

Smiling signals the brain to release certain chemicals into the body – namely serotonin and endorphins. We really can’t say enough good things about these neurotransmitters. They are responsible for so many good feelings. Serotonin is a known mood elevator that has been linked to decreasing depression, suppressing appetite and regulating sleep. Endorphins are directly responsible for decreasing our sensations of pain as well as inhibiting the production of stress hormones. In other words, endorphins chill us out! They can also increase our sex drive and boost our immune system. By smiling, we are making ourselves happier, more relaxed, and less likely to overeat. What is not to love about these chemicals?

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.
Dr. Seuss

Anyone who has ever experienced hardship, grief or loss will tell you that a good attitude makes all the difference. Choosing to see the good in our situations as opposed to focusing on the negative helps us get through even the most difficult challenges. Even good times have the potential to make us feel sad, because we know that eventually these will end. Vacations, long anticipated special occasions, even big accomplishments – when these things end, we’re liable to feel let down, and even depressed.

You’ve heard the expression, “Fake it till you make it.” Well, even faking a smile can help. The actual movement of the facial muscles into a smile can generate the same chemical response that a real smile does, and this in turn can create genuine feelings of happiness. It would seem that the body has developed some incredible physiological capabilities to elevate our mood. By trusting in the power of a smile, we can consciously put ourselves into a much better place than we might believe is possible.

Because of your smile, you make life more beautiful.
Thich Nhat Hanh

Studies have been done, including one by an Australian team of psychiatrists in 2006, that explored the difference between a perfunctory smile that doesn’t go beyond lifting the corners of the mouth and a deep,genuine expression of joy that crinkles up the whole face.

This second type of smile, known as a Duchenne Smile, is not only perceived more warmly by others, but also delivers the full impact of the type of health benefits described above. Do you want to be seen as more attractive? Do you want to feel better inside and make people around you feel better? Then don’t be afraid to grin from ear to ear, especially at your dentist.

We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.

Mother Teresa

A smile is a simple way to pay it forward. Smiles are like yawns – infectious in the best way. They are part of a universal sign language that symbolizes peace, love and good intention. Have you ever smiled at a stranger and received a smile in return? It’s a great way to dispel tension, break the ice and generally help to create a good mood all around you.


So the next time you wonder whether or not it’s worth all the time and energy it takes to care for your teeth, think about how much you do for yourself when you make it possible to have a genuine smile that you feel good about sharing. Think about how much more beautiful and attractive you look to others. And think about how you may be spreading a positive spirit during a time when hostility and hatred can be as virulent as happiness. Having and maintaining a beautiful smile that you can share with the world is just one small thing you can do to make it a better place for everyone.

Foods That Interfere With White Teeth

There is plenty of advice available about which foods and drinks to avoid in order to prevent your teeth from becoming stained. You’ve probably already heard about coffee, tea and red wine as being chief culprits in the tooth staining world. You may not know about some of these other foods that can actually do permanent damage to the enamel of your teeth. 

Fruits and Vegetables

We would never tell you to avoid fruits and vegetables. Most health professionals would be quick to agree that whether you’re on a vegan or a paleo diet, fresh fruits and vegetables are a primary component of any healthy diet. However, it’s important to know that some fruits and vegetables can cause discoloration to tooth enamel. The best way to counteract these effects is to brush your teeth about a half hour after you eat. This gives your mouth a chance to wash away some of the staining substances naturally, with saliva, and prevents you from brushing the stains further into your teeth – a sure fire way to achieve the exact opposite of teeth whitening!

Berries, with their high levels of vitamins and anti-oxidants, are one of nature’s healthiest snacks. They also contain deep colors that can adhere to enamel and leave a film on your teeth. Beets, a similarly dark colored root vegetable, and also very nutritious, can also stain your teeth with their deep red/purple color.

Pickles and other fermented vegetables are quite acidic, and that can spell trouble for tooth enamel, as they also cause staining. Citrus fruits are in this same category, because of their high acidity. Although vinegar tastes wonderful, and is often a part of vegetable as well as fruit preparation (think strawberries and balsamic vinegar – yum!), it’s best to limit our vinegar intake, as well. Balsamic vinegar in particular, since it is dark colored, carries the double burden of damaging enamel as well as staining teeth. Get your toothbrushes ready after that salad!

Crackers and Other Carbs

OK, so carbs are definitely moving into the Bad List, and have been for quite some time now. Remember all that talk about how sugar is bad for teeth because it feeds the bacteria that cause dental caries, aka tooth decay, aka cavities? Well, did you forget that carbohydrates, and especially refined carbohydrates, convert directly into sugars, and basically have the same effect on teeth. So make sure that you limit your intake of these potentially tooth damaging snacks. Save your enamel and help protect your teeth against additional staining from oral bacteria. The cheapest teeth whitening is simply ensuring you never have to do it.

Coffee and Tea

OK, we’ve already covered this. Coffee and tea are prime culprits when it comes to tooth staining. But did you know that adding milk or cream to your favorite caffeinated beverage will mitigate much of the staining effects and protect your teeth at the same time? That would be thanks to the calcium in the dairy. It’s a lovely bonus, considering it also makes your drink taste so much more rich and delicious. But still, remember to drink coffee and tea in moderation, because too much caffeine isn’t great for you either…


First off, tomato sauce. Not too much of a surprise here, as tomatoes are both acidic and deeply colored so tomato sauce and ketchup should definitely be eaten in moderation. But here are a few less obvious saucesthat should nonetheless be limited in your diet: soy sauce, chocolate sauce and barbecue sauce…

Oh, say it isn’t so… It seems like every day we learn about something else delicious that has some negative impact or other on our health or appearance. But these guys really do have a special impact. First of all, there’s the dark color, but also, they are kind of sticky, and then, they are usually served warm, and that gives them a little bit more of an ability to penetrate into the teeth.

But before you get too depressed about your rapidly shrinking culinary options, just remember this. We’re not saying you have to stop enjoying your favorite fruits and veggies, give up your crackers and avoid your sauces altogether, we’re just saying to be a little more moderate. And maybe a little more vigilant about brushing. About a half hour after you eat. OK?

Eating For Healthy Teeth

In dentistry, our primary focus is the health of your teeth and gums. However, since you primarily use your teeth for chewing food, we are naturally interested in what you eat. How and what you eat has everything to do with your ability to maintain good oral health. Here are some basic principles ofhealthy eating that we think are good for your oral health as well as your overall well-being. 

Avoid Sugar

Evidence that supports the wisdom of eliminating sugar from our diets is overwhelming. Sugar is the main culprit of medical conditions ranging from obesity to diabetes. Eating sugary foods or drinking sweet beverages is also one of the best ways to create cavities in teeth. This is because sugar feeds the bacteria in our mouths that create the acids that eat away at the surface of our teeth. Sugar has also been identified as the cause of an internal inflammatory process that can contribute to the development of heart disease and cancer.

While it may not be possible (or desirable) to eliminate sugar completely from your diet, there are significant steps you can take to adjust your sugar intake and preserve youroral health. First of all, try to avoid, if at all possible, processed, refined white sugar. This may be the most dangerous form of sugar around. Other sweeteners such as maple syrup and honey are preferable. But even these must be used in moderation. A sweet tooth is just a habit, and habits can be unlearned if you are motivated to unlearn them.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

Fresh produce is always the best source of vitamins and minerals, and should be the staple of any good diet. Many vegetables and fruits, such as celery, apples and carrots, can actually help to keep teeth clean. With their crunchy texture and abundance of water, they help to neutralize mouth acids produced by oral bacteria that wear away at tooth enamel.

At the same time, citrus fruits, while containing many good vitamins, should also be eaten in moderation, as the acidity in their juice is bad for tooth enamel. However, since we don’t really want to discourage you from reaching for an orange instead of a candy bar, you can offset the risk to your teeth by rinsing with water after eating citrus, or brushing your teeth a half hour afterwards.

Low Acidity

As we mentioned in regard to citrus fruits, foods or drinks that are high in acidity can be damaging to the surface of your teeth. Coffee, tea, tomato sauce and vinegar are also high in acidity. However, there are things you can do to mitigate the potential damage they may cause. For example, using milk or cream in your coffee is a great way to neutralize the acid it contains. Dairy products in general are a great way to neutralize acidity while at the same time, adding healthy calcium into your diet, to help strengthen bones and teeth.

Drink Plenty of Water

Water is essential for healthy bodily function, but nowhere is it more important than in the mouth. Not only will water contribute to the neutralizing of harmful cavity-producing acids, but it also helps to wash away food particles and other debris that can get lodged between teeth. If this food is not removed, it begins to decay, creating an environment in which bacteria can thrive, feeding the whole cavity cycle once again. Take our advice. Drink plenty of water! It’s one of the easiest methods to protect your oral health. As a bonus, water will also help remove excess toxins from the body, leading to healthier organs, clearer skin and more energy. What’s not to love about all that?

Brush Your Teeth Regularly

Of course we can never talk about eating well if we don’t mention the fact that you need to brush your teeth afterwards. Keeping your mouth clean and free of excess food particles will not only prevent cavities, but it will also help keep your breath smelling fresh and sweet! No go out and enjoy some healthy food!

Breast Feeding vs. Bottle Feeding – The Impact on Your Baby’s Teeth

There is an ongoing discussion about the relative merits of breast feeding vs. bottle feeding. The current approach in dentistry favours breast feeding as the best way to nourish babies and help them to develop a healthy immune system. However sometimes, for a variety of reasons, bottle feeding turns out to be the better or in some cases, the only option. What are the comparative impacts of both of these feeding methods on your baby’s teeth?

General Wisdom on Newborn Feeding

One thing we can all agree on is that newborns do not require anything to eat or drink other than breast milk or formula. Infant oral health is relatively uncomplicated, as there are not too many moving parts. The important thing for newborns is that they receive the nourishment they require on a regular basis, so that they can maintain steady growth and development.

Breast Feeding and Baby’s Oral Health

According to this 2011 article, evidence suggests that breast feeding does not pose as much of a risk of forming tooth decay in a baby’s mouth as bottle feeding. There are several reasons for this. The first is that unless a baby is actively nursing, milk will not continue to flow and pool inside his or her mouth. This is not necessarily the case with a bottle. Also, it has been shown that one of the components of breastmilk, lactoferrin, helps to kill the bacteria that cause dental decay. Other studies indicate that the milk proteins found in breast milk can actually help protect the tooth’s enamel. Even still, it’s important to remove your baby from your breast after feeding, as the natural sugars in milk can still damage baby’s teeth if left in contact with enamel over extended periods of time.

Bottle Feeding and Baby’s Oral Health

Bottle feeding in babies can cause significant damage to baby teeth, if not monitored properly. Babies should not be allowed to keep the bottle in their mouths after they are done feeding. In the same way, babies should not be allowed to sleep for long periods of time with the bottle in their mouths, as this can allow pools of milk or formula to collect around teeth. As mentioned above, prolonged contact of teeth with milk or formula can cause damage to the new teeth’s enamel. It is suggested that by the time a bottle fed child is 6-8 months old, it is time to introduce a feeding cup so that the bottle can be eliminated by the age of 12 months.

It is important that only milk or formula be given to babies to drink. If your baby continues to be thirsty, or shows signs of being dehydrated, then it’s better to give them water to drink than fruit juices or sweet drinks. The sugar content will create a perfect environment for bacteria.

New Parents and Babies – Other Tooth Issues

Here is one thing you may not know. Tooth decay begins developing from the time that oral bacteria is introduced into a child’s mouth. This can happen if the parent shares utensils with a baby, uses her mouth to wash off a bottle or a dummy, or otherwise allows her saliva to mix with that of her baby. It’s important to make sure that anything your baby puts into his or her mouth has been properly cleaned.

As new parents, it’s important to monitor the condition of your child’s teeth. Tooth decay, or dental caries, the primary foe in dentistry, can begin developing at an early age if you are not careful. Caries will present itself first as white bands of discoloration on your child’s teeth near the gum line, and then later, in more advanced cases, as brown bands. If your child’s tooth looks completely brown, then you are dealing with an advanced case of tooth decay that requires immediate attention.

If you are following all of the recommended preventive steps and you still see signs of dental caries on your child’s teeth, contact your dentist immediately. It’s never too early to have your child’s teeth checked if you are concerned, and your dentist can recommend specific fluoride treatments, if necessary, to help you keep your child’s teeth healthy and strong.

Teresa Cutter – This Chef Knows How to Protect Teeth!

When it comes to food and cooking, there are so many different paths to health and wellness. Regardless of what dietary path you choose, our interest is in making sure that you protect the health of your teeth and gums. This series will look at some of the world’s more popular chefs and how their particular focus on health supports our agenda of good oral care. We start off with one of Australia’s better-known chefs, Teresa Cutter, The Healthy Chef


Different Dietary Approaches to Health

Depending on if your main consideration is losing weight or the management of some sort of chronic illness, you may find yourself leaning towards one approach more than another. For example, people concerned with excess fat and toxicity may find themselves gravitating to the vegan lifestyle. Others who are not vegetarian may feel more sustained by a paleo approach, that features fresh meats and full, unprocessed animal fats.

A Little Bit About Teresa Cutter 

Teresa Cutter’s recipes and products focus on natural, organic ingredients, simple preparations, and gluten-free and dairy free options. Interestingly, she has not put herself in any one dietary “camp,” per se. Instead, Teresa has chosen to cast a broad net with the goal of featuring natural and organic ingredients, with an eye on nutrition and fitness. A well-known cookbook author and TV chef, Teresa is also an avid exercise enthusiast. Her favorites are kickboxing, road cycling and wrestling. She has crafted a broad collection of recipes and products that offer many options for many different dietary styles, all while maintaining the central goal of health and nutrition.

Let’s have a look at some of her recipes that are particularly supportive of dental health…

Tooth Healthy Recipes, Teresa Cutter Style

Due to her focus on food sensitivities and her low-fat approach to nutrition, Teresa’s recipes have very little dairy in them. This means that we have to get a little more creative and think out of the box when it comes to finding sources of calcium, which is so important for strong teeth.

In this recipe, Warm Broccoli Salad with Kale, Lime and Roasted Tamari Almonds, she features the leafy green kale, an excellent non-dairy source of calcium. Broccoli, another nutritious vegetable that contains calcium, also offers anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer agents as well as a wide range of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and E. Almonds offer potassium and magnesium, good de-stressing minerals, as well as a good source of protein. Remember, as with any citrus fruits or juices, to make sure and rinse your mouth with water afterwards, to avoid their potentially damaging acidic effects on tooth enamel.

In this Detox Energy Salad, Teresa focuses on the benefits of foods that alkalinize the body, offsetting the over acidity in many of the foods we eat. As you remember, acidity can also be the enemy of teeth! Once again, the inclusion of leafy greens is a good source of calcium. The overall impact of this particular dish is to detox the body and substitute nutritious ingredients designed to nourish the body – including bones and teeth! This salad is also notable for the way it encourages a clean, unprocessed approach to eating, using only fresh and natural ingredients – a signature feature of Teresa Cutter’s approach to health.

As with any salad, this recipe can be boosted with calcium rich extras such as raisins or sesame seeds. Also remember the value of these other ingredients with anti-bacterial properties that will also support the health of your teeth: shiitake mushrooms, cashews and raw onion. Raw apples, carrots or celery are always a great salad addition, as they help to gently clean the surface of your teeth. And finally, if you are not avoiding dairy, you can always add some delicious cheese to your salad such as goat cheese or shaved parmesan.

One of the best things about looking at the work of popular chefs is how it can inspire you to experiment on your own. Teresa Cutter’s healthy approach to cooking and eating contains a fantastic foundation for supporting overall health, as well as the health of our teeth.

Cooking for Healthy Teeth

Are you aware of the strong connection between oral health and overall health? Although you may visit us seeking a path to perfect teeth, it may interest you to learn that this road is paved with everyday practices that will also cut down on your risk for many diseases, and help you to look and feel better all around. One of the key ways to maintain healthy teeth is to pay attention to the foods you eat, and how you prepare them. Let’s have a look at some best cooking practices for your teeth that will also improve your overall health.


Choosing the Right Foods

It’s important to choose the right foods to help maintain healthy teeth. Foods rich in calcium and phosphorous are essential to keeping teeth strong and replacing minerals lost to erosion of enamel. Calcium can be found in dairy products such as milk, yogurt and cheeses. There are also a number of great calcium-rich vegetables, including dark leafy greens like kale, spinach and collards. Meats, seafood and tofu are all good sources of phosphorous. Broth made from meat bones is an especially good source of this important mineral.

Another important dietary supplement is vitamin D. It is essential to oral health, as it helps teeth to absorb the calcium they need to stay strong. Without Vitamin D, the calcium can’t properly do its job to help the body. Foods such as eggs (the yolks in particular), mushrooms, fatty fish such as salmon, canned tuna, sardines, beef liver and fortified foods including certain milks, cereals and orange juice are a great source of vitamin D.

To Cook or Not to Cook

Foods with high water content are another great element to include when designing a diet for tooth protection. Raw, uncooked fruits and vegetables like apples, carrots and celery contain plenty of water. They are also crunchy, and help to clean teeth by rubbing away and helping to rinse out bits of stuck food from teeth. They also help to produce more enzyme containing saliva – great for neutralizing acids in the mouth. Pears are especially helpful in neutralizing excess oral acidity.

Limiting Acids

Limiting acidity in the mouth is important, as it is the acids that can wear away that all important protective layer of enamel that covers your teeth. Don’t forget that it’s the enamel that stands between the sensitive nerves inside the roots of your teeth and all of the hot, cold or crunchy things you put inside your mouth. Without it, you experience a wide range of tooth pains in response to these stimuli. This is why, when your enamel becomes damaged, you become more sensitive to certain extreme temperatures, sweets and excessively crunchy things that can jar the delicate insides of your teeth.

Acidic foods include anything with vinegar, citrus, tomato, or wine. Coffee is also very acidic. If you are cooking or serving foods with any of these ingredients, you may be raising the risk of damage to your tooth enamel. Adding milk or cream to your coffee, serving cheese with your tomato sauce or fruit – these are good ways to offset the corrosive impact of these substances on your teeth. Also, drinking water to help rinse out the food residue and neutralize the remaining acids in your mouth will help you to enjoy these foods more safely, and lessen the negative side effects.

Cutting Down on Certain Sauces

It’s been shown that certain condiments like tomato sauce, soy sauce and barbecue sauce can work against your goal of teeth whitening. Indeed, they show a great potential for gradually staining teeth and eroding the protective layer of enamel that, once damaged, can never grow back. Again, if you want to indulge in these tasty food additions, use restraint, try and include some sort of neutralizing agent to your meal, such as sour cream or yogurt, drink plenty of water after you eat to rinse away residue, and brush your teeth no sooner than a half hour after your meal is completed. That will help offset any negative effects of these tasty sauces.

Limiting Sugars

It always gets back to the sugar, doesn’t it? It’s true, sugar is not a friend to teeth, as it is a chief contributor to the development of cavities. But then, it’s not exactly doing the rest of your body any good, either. Excess sugar intake has been linked to obesity, as well as an increased risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Do yourself a favor and avoid sugars whenever you can. If you do indulge in an occasional sweet treat, remember the usual wisdom of neutralizing, rinsing, brushing and flossing, as described above.

With a little diligence, we can all enjoy cooking and eating delicious foods that don’t damage our teeth. What are some of your favorite tooth friendly foods?

Important Things You Should Always Tell Your Dentist

Even though you visit your dentist for the purpose of caring for your teeth, there are other things he or she will need to know in order to give you the highest quality care. It’s important to remember that oral health is but one part of your overall health. The best dental practitioners understand this and will want to make sure that they have a sense of the big picture. Here are some important pieces of information you will want to make sure you mention to your dentist when you present for treatment.



Even though you visit your dentist for the purpose of caring for your teeth, there are other things he or she will need to know in order to give you the highest quality care. It’s important to remember that oral health is but one part of your overall health. The best dental practitioners understand this and will want to make sure that they have a sense of the big picture. Here are some important pieces of information you will want to make sure you mention to your dentist when you present for treatment.

General Dental Complaints

It should go without saying that typical complaints related to the teeth such as pain or bleeding gums should always be reported to your dentist during check-ups and other routine visits. If symptoms like these become troublesome between regularly scheduled appointments, make an appointment to see your dentist before they become too severe. It’s important to treat symptoms before they become too extreme, so that you avoid unnecessary emergency procedures. Most dental symptoms turn out to be indicators of mild conditions. If addressed early, you can prevent more serious situations from developing.

Prior Medical Conditions

There are certain medical conditions that can have an impact on the health of your teeth and gums. Any condition that compromises your immune system, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS and sickle cell anemia will make you more susceptible to infections. If you require any oral procedures, from the most basic teeth cleaning and filling of cavities to oral surgery such as tooth extraction or more involved periodontal work like root canal, you may be asked to pre-medicate with antibiotics to prevent infections.

Dental Symptoms as Indications of Other Conditions

Certain oral symptoms such as gums that bleed excessively or mouth sores that do not heal properly can be a sign of other systemic health conditions. Sometimes chronic illnesses like diabetes or HIV go undiagnosed until symptoms begin appearing. Teeth that become loose or fall out can be a sign of osteoporosis. Unusual symptoms such as strange spots or sores in the mouth can turn out to be cancer. The general rule of thumb is that if it’s happening in the mouth and you’re not sure what it is, tell your own dentist, before it gets bad enough that you need an emergency dentist.


If you are pregnant, or you think there’s even a chance that you are pregnant, you need to tell your dentist. During pregnancy, your dentist will need to take extra precautions to protect your unborn child from the harmful effects of x-rays. Certain medications may be contraindicated. Pregnancy can sometimes cause anemia. Morning sickness may make you more sensitive to certain tastes and smells. It’s important that your dentist know that pregnancy is either a reality or a possibility so he or she can take that into account during all aspects of your treatment.

Fear of Dental Pain

Many people have an inordinate fear of going to the dentist, primarily because of the pain. Thoughts of drilling or injections can be anxiety-provoking for many individuals. If you have an extreme fear of dental procedures, talk to your dentist prior to treatment to see if he or she can help. Sometimes having things explained to you in advance can allay concerns. There are also other types of techniques or even relaxing medications that can be used. See if your dentist utilizes nitrous oxide as part of treatment, as this can also help to calm the nerves.


It’s vital that you share these fundamental pieces of information about yourself with your dentist. When you are asked to provide these details on your medical history form, it’s not just a formality. It’s an integral part of your treatment. Not offering key facts about your physical or mental status, or your current medications can have dire consequences, especially if you’re visiting an emergency dentist, when the stress can easily make you skip crucial medical information and cause even more problems. Remember that your dentist is part of your healthcare team, and so are you. The more open and clear you are with one another, the better you can all be in achieving your common goal – the health of you and your teeth!

Oral health during pregnancy

Like all aspects of health during pregnancy, dental health is extremely important, not only to the overall health of the mother, but it’s also vitally important in ensuring the health of the unborn child. Let’s take a look at some of the specifics of the importance of good dental care during pregnancy.


An Interesting Study

Statistics have shown that due to lack of awareness and high costs, only a third of Australian women consult a dentist during pregnancy. Accordingly, a group of midwives took up an intervention study in South-Western Sydney to test the value of pre-natal dental education. In this 2013 study, women who received no interventions were compared with women who received midwifery interventions as well as dental interventions.

It was found that the women who were educated in dental care were 50% more likely to take up dental services. In addition, quality of life was improved dramatically for the women who engaged in increased dental care, indicating the effectiveness of an educational program that promoted oral health and wellbeing among pregnant women.

Dental Risks During Pregnancy

Women are more likely to develop gingivitis during pregnancy. Gums can become swollen and tender, and may even bleed a little while brushing teeth or flossing. Sometimes, little benign growths known as “pregnancy tumours” can develop along the gumlines and between teeth. Although not harmful, they can be bothersome, and usually go away after the birth of the baby.

Unfortunately, if not treated properly, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis and tooth loss. It’s important to have this condition treated when it is mild, so it does not worsen and lead to further problems.

Periodontal disease has been linked to several major problems related to pregnancy, including an increased risk of preterm delivery, low birth weight, miscarriages and preeclampsia. These types of problems happen with more frequency among people who have limited access to dental care. Clearly the situation requires a combination of increased education as well as access to quality healthcare.

Other Factors

Pregnant women should always alert their doctors that they are pregnant, particularly when seeking treatment for other conditions. There are certain medications that are not recommended during pregnancy, and your doctor needs to know that he or she can’t prescribe them.

When seeking dental care, it’s also vital that you let your dentist know that you are pregnant. X-rays should never be given to pregnant women, as they can damage the growing fetus inside her. When you tell your dental team that you are pregnant, they will outfit you with a lead apron designed to block the dangerous x-rays from getting anywhere near your abdominal area.

Eating During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, most women increase their amount of snacking between meals. Particularly during the first trimester, when she is more apt to be experiencing the nausea characteristic of morning sickness, a pregnant woman is likely to be nibbling on small items like crackers, bread and other snacks throughout the day. It’s important to make sure that oral health doesn’t suffer with the addition of so much between meal snacking.

Don’t Forget the Basics

If you are pregnant, don’t forget that oral health is still a priority. You may be feeling distracted or even overwhelmed by all of the changes your body is undergoing as it adjusts to the growing life inside it. One of the ways to maintain your balance during this transformative time is to make sure to take care of the basics like eating well, engaging in light exercise, getting plenty of rest and relaxation, and yes, taking care of your teeth. Trust us, you’ll have your hands full with a whole new set of concerns pretty soon. Don’t add unnecessary dental problems to the list!

The Link Between Oral Health and Diabetes

As we’ve mentioned before, there is a significant link between oral health and overall health. Certain diseases, like diabetes, show a direct correlation to the health of our teeth and gums. Let’s examine this in more detail.


As we’ve mentioned before, there is a significant link between oral health and overall health. Certain diseases, like diabetes, show a direct correlation to the health of our teeth and gums. Let’s examine this in more detail.

Diabetes Basics

The two main forms of diabetes are type 1 and type 2. Type 1 diabetes used to be called juvenile diabetes, as it typically presents itself in childhood or early adulthood. At present, there is no cure, and people with type 1 diabetes must take insulin injections every day for their entire lives. Type 2 diabetes typically develops in adulthood, although it can occur at any time in life. It is usually, though not always associated with obesity. At present, it accounts for the majority of the cases of diabetes in the world, and it appears to be on the rise.

Both types of diabetes involve the body’s inability to regulate the levels of sugar in the blood via the hormone known as insulin. It’s a balance that must be kept. When our sugar levels go out of whack, we can experience many serious health consequences, including a decreased ability to fight infection, increased risk for strokes and even seizures. Symptoms of diabetes include excessive thirst, low energy, increased urination, nausea and dizziness. Sometimes, people can experience symptoms for years without realizing that they have diabetes.

People with diabetes must manage their diets very closely, keeping track of their sugar intake in tune with the levels of insulin in their blood. Some people must take insulin injections on a regular schedule, as their bodies have lost the ability to automatically produce this regulating hormone. For those on this type of regimen, each day presents a series of carefully orchestrated checks and balances – a never ending routine to maintain a relatively consistent level of sugar in the blood.

The Sugar Connection

Like so many other medical conditions, sugar is the focal point for diabetes, as it is for oral health. Sugar is the prime source of nourishment for the billions of bacteria that populate our mouths. We certainly don’t want to overfeed these critters, as they are responsible for producing the acid that eats away at the surface of our teeth. The delicate ecosystem of our mouth is another great example of the balance required by our complex biology. And like the body of a diabetic, the mouth responds poorly when that balance is disrupted.

Oral Problems in Diabetes

Two symptoms of diabetes that have immediate consequences for oral health include constant thirst and difficulty in healing. People with diabetes are more prone to developing oral infections such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Gingivitis is characterized by swollen, tender gums that bleed easily. Periodontitis, a more advanced infection, reaches deep into the gums to the bones that hold teeth in place, and causes teeth to become loose, or even to fall out.

The combination of a dry mouth and a weakened immune system work against the mouth’s normal ability to manage bacteria. Saliva is helpful in neutralizing the acids caused by too much oral bacteria. A dry mouth allows the acids to erode the surface of teeth with less natural interference. Likewise, when the body has difficulty fighting infections, the mouth is likely to suffer. In addition to the bacterial infections that produce gingivitis and periodontitis, people with diabetes also suffer a higher likelihood of developing fungal infections such as oral thrush.

Preventive Measures You Should Take if You Have Diabetes

Of course the general advice regarding tooth care applies to people with diabetes. Regular brushing and flossing are a must. Also, due to the higher incidence of infection, signs of gingivitis or other oral infections must be addressed immediately, to prevent them from worsening. Also, smoking is particularly dangerous in people with diabetes, so if at all possible, don’t smoke.

If you have any questions about your oral health and diabetes, don’t hesitate to contact our office or make an appointment to see us in person.

Chewing gum – helpful or harmful?

Chewing gum is an integral part of our culture, and it’s big business. But how good is it for your teeth?


The Cultural Significance of Chewing Gum

Chewing gum has many connotations, some based on stereotypes we’ve seen in the movies and on TV. There’s the notion that chewing gum is ill mannered, that the chewer of gum is perhaps poorly bred and tasteless. Gum chewing is also associated with being a smart aleck. We’ve all seen the caricature of the gum chewing, wise-cracking, fast-talking [fill in the blank] secretary/sidekick/detective/girlfriend.

Can you walk and chew gum at the same time? It’s an old expression that essentially challenges one’s ability to think complex thoughts and manage multiple tasks. World famous architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright once notably said, “Television is chewing gum for the eyes.” And there are plenty of other quotes of people likening old boyfriends or girlfriends to chewed up gum that has lost its flavor.

Many people may find gum helpful as a means of working off nervous energy. It certainly is a less toxic habit than smoking cigarettes, and for the diet conscious, it won’t be the source of as many calories as say, potato crisps or cookies. And according to the commercials, it can bring you fresh breath. But what is the impact of gum on your teeth?

Chewing Gum and Your Teeth

In order to determine whether chewing gum is helpful or harmful to your teeth, we have to specify the type of gum under consideration. There are a number of different kinds of chewing gum. There is bubble gum, typically sweetened with some form of sugar. This is definitely not recommended, as sugar is the enemy of teeth. In fact, any gum (bubble producing or not) that gets its flavor from sugar is not a good idea. The bacteria that eat away at teeth to produce cavities thrive on sugar. So chewing this type of gum is virtually feeding them and helping them grow. Not to mention that many of these gums also include artificial colours and preservatives that are probably not good for you either.

Clearly jamming sugar repeatedly into your teeth over the course of an hour or more is not a good idea. Neither is the use of aspartame (aka Nutrasweet), an artificial sweetener included in some gums that has lost its appeal in recent years due to questions about potential negative effects on the body. What has been shown is that gum that is unsweetened or flavoured with the sugar substitute, xylitol, may actually have a positive effect on teeth.

The Benefits of Chewing Xylitol Flavored Gum

Chewing gum stimulates the salivary glands, and this can be very helpful for your teeth. Acids that break down the enamel of your teeth thrive in a dry environment, and bringing adequate quantities of water to the mouth is important to combat their effects. Increasing the flow of saliva in the mouth is another way to support this process.

Chewing gum can also help to lift small particles of food off the surface of your teeth. Again, we all know that bits of food left on teeth can decay, leading to an increase of cavity-producing bacteria. This decaying food can also create a foul odour that contributes to bad breath. This is one reason that chewing gum is beneficial in creating a pleasant smell in the mouth.


In addition to the health reasons cited above, many gums aimed at freshening the breath utilize various kinds of mint or other sweet smelling flavours. Some gums even use natural ingredients like zinc gluconate to help support the health of the teeth and gums, and can also help freshen your breath. In addition to the more commonly used mints such as peppermint or spearmint, other flavors such as anise, which tastes like licorice, or cardamom, a sweet spice, are sometimes used.

It should be noted in this discussion, many people use nicotine laden gum as an aid to quitting smoking. While this type of gum isn’t recommended for general use outside of individuals who are struggling with nicotine addiction, it certainly is another way that gum can be used positively as a delivery system inside the mouth.

Like anything, moderation is key. Chewing unsweetened or sugarless gum can be helpful in keeping teeth clean and breath fresh. However, chewing too hard or for too long may result in an achy jaw. Individuals with TMJ may be cautioned to limit or avoid gum chewing altogether. Likewise, people with dentures or loose fillings would be advised to steer clear of chewing gum as it may cause complications.

As always, if you have any concerns about chewing gum, just give us a call or ask us at your next regular appointment.

The Link Between Oral Health and Heart Disease

Much has been made about a possible link between the health of teeth and gums and the health of the heart. While we can certainly see a correlation between overall body health and oral health, it has been difficult to prove direct causative links for disease or prevention between the two.


Oral Health – What We Do Know

We do know that if not managed properly, the billions of microscopic bacteria in the mouth can be responsible for serious gum disease. Regular brushing and flossing of teeth is important to prevent the build-up of plaque that can result in tooth decay as well as the development of gingivitis and the more advanced form of gum disease known as periodontitis. The same type of bacteria found in oral infections has also been found in arterial plaque in the heart and elsewhere. This type of plaque can lead to a heart attack. What has not been definitively proven, however, is that the one can cause the other.

The Inflammation Connection

If there is a connection between oral health and heart health, it may exist in the development of inflammation. When plaque builds up in the mouth, it stimulates the release of toxins similar to proteins that can be found in the walls of arteries or even in the bloodstream. When the immune system responds to these toxins, it can result in damage to the walls of blood vessels and even increase the likelihood of a blood clot. There is also a possibility that inflammation in the mouth somehow jumpstarts system-wide inflammation in the entire body. When this happens in the arteries, it can result in a heart attack or even a stroke.

No Evidence for Causality

While it is true that heart disease and periodontitis share several risk factors, it has been difficult to provethat one causes the other or, more importantly, that treating gum disease can prevent the accumulation of the kind of plaque that clogs arteries and can produce a heart attack or stroke.

What Shared Risk Factors Can Tell Us

The health of the mouth is often a good indicator of overall health. Moreover, people with periodontal disease often have the same risk factors that are detrimental to the heart and blood vessels. Smoking, for example, is a behaviour that can result in both poor oral health as well as problems in the circulatory system. Diabetes is another condition that can produce inflammation in the body. People who smoke or who have diabetes may both experience diseases of the mouth as well as the blood vessels. Again, although there is this connection, it may just be an independent association.

Lowering Heart Disease Risk

At present, there are several known ways that people can lower their risk of developing heart disease. These include quitting smoking, managing body weight, controlling blood pressure and staying active. More recent research is also suggesting that sugar and processed foods are actually a huge factor in the development of disease causing inflammation in the body.


Although there is no evidence to suggest that treating gum disease will lessen the possibility of either a heart attack or a stroke, it is interesting to note that there are similarities in the preventive measures one employs for both heart disease and oral disease. Quitting smoking should certainly be high on anyone’s list, as it has a deleterious impact on the health of teeth and gums as well as the heart. Sugar would appear to be the new Public Enemy #1. It has been shown to be the chief culprit behind dental caries and associated gum infections, as well as a key factor in worsening the inflammation associated with heart disease. When you add in the risk of diabetes and obesity, it might make you think twice about having that second helping of pie at your next meal.