For most people, the natural colour of their teeth is within a range of light greyish-yellow shades. Teeth naturally darken with age and their appearance can be affected by our daily habits such as tabacco use or staining foods/drinks such as coffee, tea or red wine. These things will all help to contribute to surface stain(s), that over time can change the appearance of the teeth.
This is not the only aspect that contributes to the perception of the appearance of an individuals teeth. Characteristics independent of the individuals natural shade of tooth such as skin color or darker makeup can change the appearance to the shade of the tooth as well.
Although a persons teeth are not meant to be completely white, there is a large number of people that would like to "brighten" up their smile by lightening the shade of the teeth. Due to this desire the market has responded with a multitude of "whitening" agents that can be classed as either:
1) Surface whiteners
With either product, it is worth noting that the individuality of each person and what their teeth will accept is always at play. For instance one person may have a big response to the agent while another may have little to no response. Likewise, one person may experience no sensativity while others may have varying degrees of sensativity for different periods of time post whitening exposure. This is why having whitening done in an environment with professionals qualified to address possible issues specified for you is very important. Although desired by all, whitening may not be recommended for you. Or at the very least your dental hygienist may recommend you postpone until all other dental needs are met to ensure healthy teeth and tissue are the main focus.
1) Surface Whiteners
These "whiteners" tend to be more on the abrasive side. Their main action is to use the abrasive action of the product to remove the surface stains adhering to the teeth. These products are typically toothpastes. These toothpastes are just a finer version of a regular toothpaste so are unlikely to cause excessive wear on the tooth enamel. Some may experience sensitivity with continual use, or when paired with regular diet a highly acidic diet and abrasive cleaners/whiteners may conribute to enamel sensativity or wear.
Most bleaching products are peroxide-based and are actually capable of altering the colours of the tooth itself. Remember though, not all tooth discolorations will respond to bleaching. Remember, it is always best to seek advice from a dental professional as to why the tooth is the color it is and if there are any possible adverse effects to be concerned about when bleaching the teeth. Overall, tooth-bleaching under controlled dental office conditions may be safe and effective.
Tooth sensitivity and irritation to soft tissues can occur during bleaching treatment, but these effects are typically transient. As with any cosmetic procedure, excess whitening would not be recommended. Again, this is where your dental hygienist will be happy to advise you on all your options as well as risks vs benefits of this particular procedure.
Periodontal and other Disease:
Research has found links connecting the health of your mouth, example-active periodontal disease and the number of other bodily health issues such as:
1) Heart Disease
4) Rheumatoid Arthritis
5) Premature birth
Researchers have not conclusively linked to what exactly it is but suspect that the Oral bacteria escapes into the blood stream and can injure major organs.
INFLAMMATION: is likely the common factor. Periodontal disease, marked by inflammation may boost inflammation throughout the body. This inflammation in turn, is an underlying problem in diseases including heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
When foods containing carbohydrates (sugars, starches), such as milk (not just unhealthy junk foods), soft drinks, cakes or Candy’s are consumed, plaque develops on the teeth.
Bacteria that normally resides in the mouth thrive on these foods and as a result produce acid as their byproduct. Over a period of time these acids will destroy tooth enamel which in turn results in tooth decay.
What most do not know though, is that plaque is able to develop on the tooth root surfaces UNDER the gingiva (gums). This plaque can then contribute to the eventual breakdown of the bone supporting the tooth/teeth throughout the dentition.
Plaque buildup can lead to gum disease(s):
(1) first being gingivitis. Gingivitis results in the swollen sometimes tender gingival tissue (gums) that sometimes bleed….. does anyone remember the “pink in the sink” commercials? If you do, gingivitis is what the commercials were drawing attention to.
(2) if left unchecked or addressed through regular dental hygiene visits, gingivitis can progress to Periodontal disease. A severe gum disease. With periodontal disease you still have the above characteristics of the gingiva (gums) + the gingiva tissue pulls away from the teeth, allowing the bacteria present to destroy the underlying bone responsible for supporting the teeth.
As per the peer reviewed article on WebMD, plaque is known to be a sticky, often colorless film of bacteria that adheres to your teeth. Plaque is the reason the tooth will have that "fuzzy" feeling by days end or if you've forgotten to brush your teeth.
A growing body of research is finding that bacteria and inflammation in your mouth has an impact on overall health of the body. Specifically linking it to issues such as heart attach and dementia to name a couple. This obviously can be a contributing factor that may jeopardize your overal health.
Stay tuned this week for further revelations about plaque and your teeth and how it can contribute to poor overall health of your body.
Not all candy is created equal, and while I will whole heartedly admit I love chocolate (I mean really love it), and can polish off most flavors of chips the question is what is the best and worst choice when satisfying that sweet tooth?
With Halloween treats just around the corner, can you help your kids make wiser choices of what to keep and what to gift to the Halloween heavens? OR maybe what you purchase to give out to all the gouls and goblins that come a knockin?
Now, although for the sake of this blog candy will be placed under a "best" category and "worst" category, that doesn't mean I'm promoting one type as "healthy" for your teeth and the other as "Not - Healthy". All I'm saying is that not all candies or sweets will affect the tooth in the same fashion and IF your consuming sweet treats anyway maybe there are things one can take into consideration?
NOTE: for purpose of dental health HAVING NO CANDY AT ALL IS THE "BEST" CANDY PRACTICE; but how practical is that come Halloween?
So to start I think it is worth the re-mention that not all sugar is created equally, and some candies are considered "less" damaging to the tooth than others. Really the most a dental professional can ask of their patient's is that the next time you indulge in sweet treats, you take steps to MINIMIZE the potential damage those sweets could do to your teeth. Oral Health home care techniques such as brushing, flossing and rinsing can all help to MINIMIZE the effects.
I once visited a Drayton Valley elementary school and to each one of its classes (ask them if they remember how we "grew" plaque! So much fun), I explained that when you eat something with sugar, the bacteria that lives in your mouth will also consume that sugar. Without going into my entire presentation the short story is that when this happens the bacteria then excrete acid and the acid is the real problem. Anyway..........here we go! Onto the "BEST" and "WORST" catagories:
1) DARK CHOCOLATE: is the best candy for your teeth. Some studies have shown (and I'm not just saying this cuz I LOVE CHOCOLATE) the compounds in cocoa beans may have an antibacterial effect that can aid in the fight against plaque?
2) SUGARLESS GUM/CANDIES: these are the candies with stevia or candies that a diabetic person is able to indulge in. Remember sugar "feeds" bacteria and upsets the healthy ratios of pH and bacteria in the mouth, so sugarless candy comes in as "second best" here. This is only due to the lack of sugar as some "sugarless" candy can contain other bad ingredients as well so read those labels.
3) CANDY BARS WITH NUTS: ONLY IF YOU HAVE NO NUT ALLERGIES!!! This choice is due to the reasoning behind that the chunks of nuts are able to break up the stickiness of the candy as it is the stickiness that increases the chance of cavities. With this logic the nuts break up the "badness" of the sticky parts of the candy. The type of bars for this topic are in my opinion NOT candy bars but protein or granola bars such as KIND bars that have a large percent of nuts and not really much chocolate at all.
1) ANYTHING STICKY: the stickier the candy, the worse it is! Examples: Jujubes, Tootsie Rolls, Sweedish Berries etc. The effects of these candies will linger because they "stick" around, increasing the risk for decay.
2) LOLLIPOPS: In my opinion THESE ARE THE WORST!! They sit in the mouth for prolonged periods of times with continual sugar release and exposure. Its like a fondu supper for the bacteria, an eat, hang out and relax if you will with all their friends all the while destroying your teeth (so melodramatic I know).
3) POTATO CHIPS: With a heavy heart (no really this is killing me) the beloved potato chip makes the list as well. It is on the list for a different type of "stickiness" factor. These flavorful favorites of mine unfortunately also stick in the grooves and in between the teeth with ease:(
So there you have it, I guess Halloween needs to be cancelled? NO I'M JUST KIDDING! No hate mail please!
Really the purpose of this was just to show that really anything that is a sugar when mixed with bacteria in your mouth is a potential cavity nightmare. HOWEVER, as mentioned from the beginning if you take steps to minimize (BRUSH< FLOSS< RINSE) the potential damages that these sweet treats can unleash you should be fine.
Personally, I would purchase chocolate or chips to give out. Chocolate will dissolve from grooves of teeth (eventually) and if the studies are correct about cocoa beans possible benefits, well take the good with the bad I say and as far as chips, well I feel as thought they are easier removed from the grooves with flossing and brushing than the really sticky (jujubes, taffy, gummy worms etc.) are.
No matter what you chose to consume or give this Halloween, be safe out there and BRUSH YOUR TEETH BEFORE BED!!!!
Well tis the season, school sports as well as other sports have begun again! With this comes the purchase of new equipment for the sport of choice for yourself or your child. We as parents will purchase shoes, skates, helmets, sticks, gloves and various other pieces to complete the required equipment lists and to keep ourselves and children safe as we/they venture into another year of recreational sporting. However, how many of you include a sport mouth guard in that list? This little piece of equipment is often left off the purchase list and I'm going to hopefully give you some information to perhaps change this mind set.
Mouth guards should be worn by anyone (children or adults) who play sports that have the potential for either purposeful contact or accidental (elbows, knees or other body parts that can accidentally contact face/head region) contact. Some obvious examples are Football, Hockey, and Rugby . The others that may seem more surprising are Basketball, Baseball, Volleyball, Lacrosse or Handball. All the above listed sports are all organized sports, but don't forget to keep your children's teeth healthy and avoid injuries like teeth going into lips and needing expensive dental work and stitches for non - organized sports like skateboarding and mountain biking.
NOT ALL MOUTH GUARDS ARE CREATED EQUAL! What do I mean by this statement you ask; well let me explain. Were you aware that there are different kinds of sports mouth guards? There are in fact 3 different types of sports mouth guards. I will go through each type and there respective qualities.
First off a mouth guard is typically meant to cover the UPPER teeth of the athlete. The sport guards are designed to protect against broken teeth, cut lips and other damage that may be inflicted on your mouth due to contact with outside forces meeting the face. NOTE: if the athlete wears braces or other fixed dental appliances on lower jaw, it may be recommended to have a LOWER guard fitted as well. Back to the types of Sport guards!
1) Stock Mouth Guards:
These guards are inexpensive and come pre-formed, ready to wear. Sounds great and easy you say, well unfortunately they often don't fit very well and this may cause the athlete to not wear the guard at all or not how it is intended to be worn (we've all seen athletes with a mouth guard hanging out of their mouths). They can be bulky and make breathing and talking difficult as well.
2) Boil and Bite Mouth Guards:
These come in a pre-formed shape that can be altered by boiling the mouth guard in water, then biting into the warm plastic for a "customized" fit. They can be bought at many sporting goods stores and even at some professional dental establishments as a cheaper option for their clientele. The Boil and Bite guards do offer a better fit than that of a stock mouth guard. You will need to follow the instructions in order to avoid a poor fitting guard (don't bite too hard, don't have water too hot/cold and don't leave in water too long).
3) Custom - made Mouth Guards:
These mouth guards are individually designed and made in a lab either within the dental establishment that is making the guard for you or sent out to a dental lab off site to construct the guard at the off site location and ship back to your dental clinic. Not surprisingly, these guards will offer the athlete the most comfortable fit and the best protection. The reason for this is that the dental office will take a mold of your or your athletes actual teeth, pour that mold into a stone cast model and from that form fit the guard to the exact model of the teeth. Because these guards fit and feel better, most athletes will prefer the customized mouth guards. These custom guards will allow the athlete to talk while the guard remains in place, breathe normally WITHOUT having to clench the upper and lower teeth together to keep guard in place, which in turn may improve or maintain athlete performance levels. However, all this does make the guard more expensive than the other options.
Current research is showing (not surprisingly) that sports mouth guards are able to prevent orofacial injuries to the teeth, mouth and jaw in all sport levels. No research at this time has conclusively stated that sport mouth guards are in fact able to prevent concussions, however they all state that although more research is needed to conclusively make that statement; wearing a proper fitted sports mouth guard meets all the risk vs benefit requirements....meaning that there is no harm only benefit to the athlete wearing this appliance. This seems perfectly logical to this dental professional:).
The estimated cost (as per CDHA publication on sport mouth guards) to treat a lost front tooth over a life time can range from $5000.00 to $10,000.00! The cost of a custom fitted sports mouth guard at PURELY HYGIENE is as low as $50.00!
I just had to get my boys (one 14 years old and one 11 3/4 ;) ready for another hockey season, and let me tell you most of their equipment exceeds that price but ALL the equipment is necessary to keep my athletes healthy and prevent unnecessary injury and cost associated with possible injuries in this sport. FULL DISCLOSURE: I have been known to have said around the arena that due to cages on the helmets that a custom guard may not be as imperative to the athlete until actual contact starts (Bantam level) HOWEVER (Greg (my husband) if your reading my blog right now fast forward to the end) I was wrong.....yup I'll say it again, this was an incorrect thought process on my part. Let me explain. IN MY HOUSE I told my boys that they did not require a custom fit mouth guard until Bantam level because they had the cages in place and there was no contact so just falling and some incidental contact that does happen would be minor. Fast forward to my conversation with my 14 year old during his first year of Bantam ( he is currently beginning his second year). It went something like this ME: I can make you a new guard this year and since I know colored guards aren't cool (insert eye roll) I've brought in clear forms. 14 YEAR OLD: Oh good, cuz yeah I won't wear a colored one. ME: How is the new mouth guard? 14 YEAR OLD: It fits perfect, BUT I don't want to wear it ME: (Confused look) Why? 14 YEAR OLD: I'm not used to wearing the guard and I find it distracting while I'm playing. Moral of my story, it may pay to have a younger athlete get accustom to wearing the guard PRIOR to when it is imperative to have them wear it. The remainder of the above conversation ended with me saying that this is a non-negotiable conversation and that he (my 14 year old) absolutely must wear the guard or pay for his own teeth reconstruction, root canal for fractured teeth and crown to cover the dead discolored tooth! My life may have been easier had I just purchased one when it was cool to have one (insert 11 year old beginning PeeWee 1st year) that is ecstatic to have another new mouth guard......which brings me to my other pertinent information.
HOW LONG does a Mouth Guard last? The mouth guards should ideally be replaced after each season because they can wear down over time, making them less effective. Replacement is especially important for adolescents because their mouths continue to grow and teeth continue to develop into adulthood. If the athlete is playing multiple sports and using the mouth guard for all the sports the mouth guard may need to be replaced more frequently. Ask at Purely Hygiene about our awesome replacement program for within a year of initial purchase!
Well that is it for this blog, if you have any questions please don't hesitate to contact me at (780)515-9878.
Happy Sporting to all the athletes this year! Stay safe, have fun out there:)
Where has the summer gone! Welcome to the third week in August, I hope you have had a summer filled with family, fun and some R&R.
I personally have spent a lot of time in my flower beds and garden, as well as soaking up as much of my kids time as they are allowing me to monopolize.
I thought that this month I would explain the Independent Dental Hygiene experience when you book with me here at Purely Hygiene, as I still 3 years in have people whom are just not familiar with this concept.
If you book for a "cleaning", you get the exact same services (scaling, polish if needed, fluoride) that you have come to know and hopefully love (lol) at your usual yearly, six month or earlier "cleaning" appointments. I put "cleaning" in quotes because although over time this is what these appointments have come to be described as, most (I would hope all) Hygienists do so much more than that of just a "cleaning". I know in my clinic even at just a "cleaning" appointment I am always assessing the tissue, your tooth brushing, flossing, recession, pocket depths and talking to you about if it is all working for you in your life and schedule. We (you and I) as a team approach to your oral health may change or rework your at home oral health care plan of attack to better work for your specific needs. That may mean trying different products, trying different techniques or adjusting how often you come and see me. Or hopefully giving you a thumbs up on what you are doing and encouragement to continue along the same path.
If you decide to book a Dental Hygiene Exam and x-rays as well, I am fully licenced to offer these services as well. I am able to assess the x-rays and determine decay if present as well as ALL exams are inclusive of a head and neck cancer exam and inter-oral cancer screening.
I understand that trying new things when it comes to dental situations is sometimes scary for some of you, and I completely respect your right to chose whom is providing your dental services. If you prefer to have me only do your complete cleaning and get exams done elsewhere I respect that, as well as look forward to professionally working with any other dental professional you've entrusted with your oral health. As I know they as well as myself only have your oral health's best interest at heart.
I follow the recommended fee guide agreed to by the ADA and the Health minister of Alberta. As this is only a 'recommended' fee guide, I recommend that you check with each office to see what pricing you can expect. It is what informed consumers do.
Keep in mind however, giving estimates for a cleaning can be difficult as scaling is priced per unit of scale and is not a fixed singular price like an exam or polish is.
I also offer in house whitening sessions, custom whitening trays for home use, custom sports mouth guards and enjoy venturing out in the community to speak with kids in classrooms about oral health.
Thanks for stopping by to check out this months blog! Remember if you ever have any questions give me a call (780) 515-9878 and I'd be happy to answer them for you!
Summer is here....kind of, minus all the rain at least where I live anyway. With summer can come increased alcohol consumption....no judging here:) I do want to help you maintain your smile and health of your enamel though! While moderate alcohol consumption can be part of a healthy lifestyle, alcohol isn’t generally considered healthy. But what are the effects of alcohol on your gums, mouth tissues, and teeth?
Drinks high in alcohol, like spirits, dry the mouth. Saliva keeps teeth moist and helps to remove plaque and bacteria from the tooth’s surface. Try to stay hydrated by drinking water while you drink alcohol.
The acid from lemons, limes or other garnishes increase the acidity of the drink and adding that to the acidity of the mix like pop or soda's can have a dramatic effect on your enamel. Dental professionals agree that even a squeeze of lime/lemon can contribute to erosion of enamel. Constant sipping also starts an acid production that lasts up to 20 minutes and is restarted with each sip! With all this evidence of how hard alcohol consumption is on your enamel try to drink water and or rinse/swish with water in between beverages. As an added bonus this helps with how intoxicated you may or may not get and how you feel the next morning:).
The DL (down low..insert my kids rolling their eyes at my attempt to use a cool acronym lol) on beer. Lets start with Stouts shall we? For those that like the darker beers, they contain roasted malts and barely and have the potential to cause staining of your enamel. Dark beers have a concentrated, dark color that can rub off on teeth causing them to take on a shade of grey, blue or yellow over time.
Some may find it surprising to find out that even beer can be acidic! Along with the prevention methods noted in the previous section, pairing a good beer with snacks that can neutralize the acidity in your beer is a win win. Who doesn't like to have snacks while having a social beverage? Pair your beer with veggies to bring the pH level from 5.5 (level at which erosion can already start:o) to a neutral healthy level for your teeth and your stomach. Sour tasting beers are known for lying more towards the low (acidic) end of the pH scale with a pH sitting in around the 3.2-3.3 mark. Examples of these would be lambics and gueuze.
Always looking for a silver lining, so here it is. The lighter colored beers that consist of un-roasted barley and hops, such as pilsner’s and IPA’s, are loaded with calcium and silicon which can help to strengthen your teeth, bones, hair and nails. Not to be used as permission to consume! Don't start saying your hygienist said to lol!
So as not to be biased towards one type of beverage we will also discuss the staining issue with red wines:(. Its sad but true, everyone has seen the effect red wine can have on someones lips when having a red wine night, so it comes as no surprise that it can stain enamel as well. Surprising to note however, white wine as far as acidity and erosion goes is worse than the reds. Riesling's where found to be the most acidic of them all. It is thought that the tannins in wine may make the enamel more porous, therefore allowing the uptake of staining.
One studyTrusted Source did conclude, however, that red wine kills oral bacteria called streptococci, which are associated with tooth decay. That said, don’t start drinking red wine just for this reason:) there's that silver lining I like so much;). Also don't forget the pairing with foods idea here as well! Cheese goes great with wine and is a great neutralizer for the acidity that accompanies wine. Not related to the teeth but those red lips...try a lip gloss with a petroleum base to create a barrier between the lips and the wine, reapply as needed.
Now that we have explored what alcohol can do to your teeth, what is the effect of alcohol on your gums and other oral tissue you ask?
Well, consumption of alcoholic beverages can have a negative effect on the health of a person’s gums, aggravating an existing case of severe periodontal disease (also known as periodontitis) or raising periodontal disease risk factors. Those with typically healthy gingiva without periodontitis, have in some studies exhibited a higher presence of plaque than their non-drinking counterparts. This is believed to be as a direct result of alcohol's "drying" effect, and may contribute to the formation of plaque, a sticky bacterial layer that is comprised of more than 500 microorganisms that can trigger an inflammatory response in the gums. Alcohol will also slow the production of saliva, therefore decreasing the neutralizing effect saliva has on acids that are produced by the plaque.
Alcohol consumption and the increased risk for oral cancer has been a hot topic in the dental and medical communities for quite sometime now.
So the conclusion concerning alcohol and your teeth is what you ask? Well it is always wise to only do things in moderation...alcohol consumption is no exception to this rule.
Other take away tips are to eat neutral foods like cheese and veggies to combat alcohol's acidity as well as drink, swish and rinse with water frequently while enjoying an alcoholic beverage.
The most obvious take away message is maintain your regular cleanings with Purely Hygiene! I can help protect against all that acid with services offered in the clinic and I most definitely can remove stain and whiten teeth to keep your summer smile bright! Maintenance and regular Dental Hygiene visits are a key element to whole health...we will save that for another blog topic:) Be safe and ENJOY YOUR SUMMER!
INFORMATION REFERENCED FROM:
American Academy of Periodontology (Study: Alcohol consumption can have a negative effect on gum health)
INDEPENDENT DENTAL HYGIENE
Dental Hygienists have been providing oral health services to Albertan's since 1951. The Profession has been self-regulating since 1990 and is also regulated currently under the Health Professions Act and the Dental Hygienists Profession Regulation.
As of 2006 Dental Hygienists in Alberta were able to work without the supervision of a dentist, thus opening various opportunities for the provision of dental hygiene care to Albertan's. One such opportunity being that of Independent Dental Hygiene Offices.
Dental Hygienists assess, diagnose (decay and gum disease) and treat oral health conditions. They also educate their patients on oral hygiene and how to prevent oral disease. Alberta Dental Hygienists with advanced education can administer local anesthetics as well as alternative needle free pain management and prescribe dental hygiene related medication.
Dental Hygienists can order, expose, develop and interpret dental x-rays to complete oral dental hygiene exams. They use delicate hand and power instruments to carry out skills such as scaling, root planing and removing surface deposits and staining.
Practice is governed by Alberta's Health Professions Act. Alberta's registered dental hygienists are professionals who always consider the well-being of their clients.
Their approach to practice includes:
Don't let the old traditions dictate the your oral health, choose what suits you best not what fear or tradition has forced you to choose in the past.