Oral Health Topics
Dental Cleaning & Consultation
Preventative care is a foundation of dentistry. We strongly recommend visiting your dentist regularly – usually about twice yearly – for full cleanings, examinations, and consultations for potential treatment.
Professional dental cleanings help remove built-up plaque that is not removable using conventional brushing and flossing. Often, dentists are also capable of identifying potential problems that patients are not yet able to see or feel. When you maintain regular preventative dental appointments, you can stave off decay and gum disease, as well as identify the beginnings of oral health problems before they become severe. Do I really need to have my teeth professionally cleaned?
Yes. Even if you brush and floss after every meal and before bed, bacteria-harboring plaque can accumulate in the tiniest crevices, grooves and pits. Overtime, the teeth will begin to decay in those areas, which may result in pain and partial or total tooth loss.
What should I expect at my cleaning and exam consultation?
Your cleaning and consultation will consist of a visible examination of the teeth and gums. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you may also require x-rays for a more comprehensive view of your teeth. You’ll also consult with Our dentists about any oral health problems you may have been having or questions that you may have. The cleaning will follow, during which a dental hygienist will use special instruments to remove hardened plaque from your teeth. Finally, your teeth will be polished before Our dentists discuss any treatment recommendations they may have for you.
What types of guidelines should I follow after my visit?
In between dental cleanings and consultations, be sure to maintain good oral habits at home. This includes daily flossing and brushing after meals. It’s also important to drink fluoridated water and use a fluoridated toothpaste.
How to Brush Your Teeth
Brushing your teeth is probably a standard part of your daily routine, but chances are you aren’t following the Canadian Dental Association’s guidelines for cleaning your teeth properly. The CDA currently recommends that you brush your teeth at minimum of two times each day – preferably morning and night or anytime you eat foods that contain sugar. When you brush, your toothbrush should be tilted at a 45 degree angle to your gum line. As you brush, be sure to remove debris from every surface of the teeth – including the backs of the teeth, near the gum line, and on chewing surfaces. It is also important to brush your tongue, as bacteria can accumulate there and cause malodorous breath.
Should I change my brushing habits?
You may need to change your brushing habits if you are experiencing signs of poor oral hygiene. Examples of common symptoms include bleeding or reddened gums, excessive plaque build-up, decaying teeth and receding gum lines. To find out if you are brushing correctly or if you need to change your brushing habits, make an appointment with your dentist for a full consultation.
What should I expect if I begin brushing my teeth correct?
The benefits of proper tooth brushing techniques may not be experienced immediately, but they are noticeable long-term. Over time, brushing too hard or not brushing enough can produce oral health complications that cannot be reversed and require special treatment. By adopting proper brushing habits, you could avoid expensive dental bills in the future.
Is there anything else I need to do in addition to brushing properly?
Yes. It is important that you also floss daily and use toothpaste that contains fluoride each day. You should also schedule dental exams and professional cleanings in at least twice per year.
How to Floss Your Teeth
Flossing is an important part of an oral hygiene routine, but research suggests that fewer than half of Canadians do so daily. Flossing is simple and only takes an extra couple of minutes per day. Developing a healthy habit of flossing can prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and it may allow you to keep more of your natural teeth as you age. So what is the most effective means of flossing?
- Pull the floss taught and slide it between two teeth.
- Pull against the side of one tooth, creating a “C-shape” and sliding upwards to remove plaque build-up.
- Pull against the opposite tooth edge using the same technique.
- Repeat this process for each tooth until all inner surfaces have been flossed.
- Don’t forget to floss the backs of your molars!
Should I be flossing?
Yes. We strongly recommend that everyone floss in order to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Even if you have restorations, such as crowns or veneers, good oral hygiene is essential for prolonging their use and maintaining your oral health.
What types of results should I get from flossing?
You may not experience immediate results from flossing, but over time, your habit will pay off. Flossing can prevent tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss – all of which can be highly inconvenient and expensive to treat. A piece of floss that costs just pennies could save you thousands of dollars later on.
Is there anything else I should be doing in addition to flossing?
Yes. In addition to flossing, you should be adopting proper brushing techniques and visiting your dentist at least twice per year for examinations and professional dental cleanings.
Dental Health and Your Diet
Your body works hard to convert the foods you eat into energy. You may not think twice about what you are eating – especially when it comes to grabbing an afternoon snack or sipping on a vanilla latte on your commute. But the food you put in your mouth affects more than just your waistline.
The truth is, your diet has a direct effect on your overall dental health. Developing good eating habits can lead to excellent oral health free of decay and gum disease. The Canadian Dental Association recommends avoiding certain foods that can expedite decay, such as foods high in sugar.
Should I change my eating habits to better my oral health?
Probably. But never start a new diet without first consulting with your physician. If you are on a special diet, be sure to speak with your dentist about the types of foods you should be eating that comply with your diet and can also optimize your oral health.
What types of changes will my dentist recommend?
In addition to avoiding sugary foods, we recommend drinking plenty of water each day and avoiding snacks between meals whenever possible. It is also important to consume nutritious foods from each of the major food groups, including whole grains, vegetables, lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and fruits. Not only will you improve the health of your teeth and gums, but you may drop a pant size too!
Are there any other habits I should be adopting to improve my oral health?
Yes. You should be flossing daily and brushing twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush. You should also be visiting your dentist at least twice per year for oral exams and professional dental cleanings.
Having bad breath can be an embarrassing problem – especially if you are regularly face to face with other people.
Known professionally as halitosis, bad breath plagues many people every day. Most cases of bad breath can be remedied by efficiently brushing the teeth. However, some types of bad breath are chronic or recurring, which may warrant a visit to the dentist.
Do I need treatment for my bad breath?
If your bad breath does not improve despite self-care techniques, such as dietary adjustments and thorough tooth brushing, you may need to see a dentist about pursuing professional treatment. Keep in mind that short-term remedies like gum, breath mints, and mouthwash may temporarily freshen breath, but they are not a solution to the underlying problem.
What should I expect my dentist to do about my bad breath?
Your visit will begin with an examination and questions about your daily habits, such as the types of foods you eat and the medications you take. Your dentist may then inspect your mouth for signs of decay, infections or gum disease that could be causing your bad breath. If your chronic bad breath cannot be traced to an oral problem or daily habit, you may be referred to a physician for further evaluation.
Is there anything I can do to maintain better breath?
Yes. If bad breath is a source of embarrassment for you, try to keep breath fresheners on-hand at all times. Sleep with your mouth closed, as this prevents dry mouth and helps tame morning breath. Eliminate odor-causing foods from your diet, such as garlic and onions, and make an effort to brush your teeth and tongue every morning and night. Finally, be sure to visit your dentist for professional cleanings at least twice per year to remove built-up plaque that can cause chronic halitosis.
Electric Vs. Manual Brushes
Preventative dentistry is about more than just visiting your dentist twice yearly for an exam and thorough cleaning. In fact, the majority of your preventative care is done at-home as a part of your normal hygienic routine. Many residents use manual toothbrushes to remove debris and plaque from their teeth. However, electric brushes have become widely popular in recent years, leaving some to wonder whether one type is better than the other.
Which toothbrush should I be using?
You can effectively brush your teeth with either a manual toothbrush or an electric one. However, the rapid movements of motorized versions may be more effective at removing plaque from the teeth and gum line. If you have questions about which toothbrush is best for you, speak with your dentist about it at your next visit. He or she may recommend an electric brush with an oscillating head or a brush that includes a timer to let you know how long to brush.
What types of results should I be getting from by toothbrush?
Regardless of whether you choose an electric brush or a manual brush, it should be easy for you to maneuver in your mouth and behind your back teeth. If the head is too big, it may not be effectively removing plaque from your teeth.
My electric toothbrush was expensive. Do I need to change it as often as a manual brush?
Yes. Your toothbrush should be replaced at least once every three to four months or whenever you notice fraying. However, most electric toothbrushes come with interchangeable heads. In other words, you won’t need to replace the entire device – only the brush itself.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring element that has been shown to help strengthen teeth in children and also prevent decay in people of all ages. Topical fluoride in particular is helpful for promoting oral health. The Canadian Dental Association has publicly endorsed the use of fluoride for the prevention of dental caries.
Do I need fluoride treatments?
You may need fluoride treatments if your drinking water is not fluoridated or if you are experiencing certain symptoms, such as receding gums. Fluoride treatments can also provide oral support and prevent decay if you wear orthodontic braces or are taking medications that cause dry mouth.
What should I expect during fluoride treatments?
Fluoride treatments are painless and can be administered in your dentist’s office at your twice-yearly check-ups and cleanings. Your dentist will distribute fluoridated gel, foam or varnish into a tray and place it over your teeth. The treatment takes only a few minutes and are only required between one and four times per year.
Yes. We strongly recommend supplementing your fluoridated drinking water or fluoride treatments with a fluoridated toothpaste.
If you are undergoing a dental procedure or operation, you will be given a set of post-operative instructions to abide by in the hours, days, and weeks after your treatment. Following these instructions is essential to preventing infections in surgical sites, protecting restorations, and minimizing the possibility of experiencing complications. Post-operative instructions vary from procedure to procedure, but you are still sure to have some questions regarding care. Your dentist will be available to answer those questions and respond to any concerns you may have.
Should I talk with my dentist about the questions I have regarding my post-operative care?
Yes. Your post-operative care is contingent on you understanding everything about the recovery process and your responsibilities in caring for your surgical site.
What should I expect when I speak with my dentist?
Our dentist will always make enough time in your consultation and pre-operative exam to listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have. You should also be provided a phone number that you can call following your procedure to discuss any questions that may come up at that time.
Is there anything I can do to make the process easier?
Yes. Begin thinking of any questions you may have about your post-operative care, and begin writing them down. You’ll be ready to ask all of your questions when the opportunity arises without missing any important details.