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General Information

How to look after your teeth
Advice on selecting a toothbrush
Quick ideas
FAQ
Links


 

How to look after your teeth

The best way to avoid most dental problems is to care of your teeth. It is simple and all that is needed is a little persistence to establish good habits.

The most important thing is to brush your teeth morning and night using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush. Use a jiggling or rolling action making sure you clean right up to the gums and get to the back teeth.

Floss at night with dental tape. Use super floss under bridges and braces. Avoid soft drinks and sweet, sticky foods between meals. Make sure you have at least three serves of dairy products per day - milk cheese or yoghurt.

Visit your dentist for a dental check up and scale and polish every six months. Your dentist should be able to guide you as to the areas that you are not cleaning properly. Have bitewing x-rays taken of your back teeth at least every two years.

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Advice on selecting a toothbrush
 

Soft Bristles They'll clean effectively without damaging the teeth or gums. Medium or hard bristles can cause gum recession and wear teeth away, resulting in grooves around the necks of the teeth. Soft bristles are gentle and they clean better because the bristles flex to wrap around the teeth.
Small Head Make sure the head of the brush is small enough that you can get right up to the gums even on the very back teeth. Toothbrushes with jumbo heads are not advisable.
Comfortable Handle Get a brush that feels good in your hand.
Worn Out Depending on how hard you brush toothbrushes last between a few weeks to a couple of months. The moment the bristles look 'dog-eared' throw the brush away and get a new one. The most effective way to clean your teeth is with an electric toothbrush.
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Quick ideas
 

Flossing You donít have to floss all your teeth. Just the ones you want to keep every night.
Clean Dentures Soaking overnight in half vinegar and water is an excellent way to loosen tartar that has built up on dentures. Brush the denture in the evening and then in the morning and repeat until clean.
Mouthguards A mouthguard costs about $95 but could save you thousands. Donít go on the field without one!
Sensitive Teeth Try using Sensodyne toothpaste. Many people swear by it. If sensitivity is severe, see your dentist. They can paint a layer of desensitising agent on your teeth.
Lots of Holes Acidic soft drinks and sports drinks are the biggest culprit for people who get a lot of tooth decay. By cutting your consumption you will save money and time. To avoid this, drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day.
Soft Toothbrush Never use a hard toothbrush. A soft one will remove plaque better (the bristles shape to the tooth) without the risk of damage to the teeth and gums.
White Teeth You donít need to have black mercury-containing fillings. In all cases there is a tooth-coloured alternative.
Tooth Knocked Out Rinse it gently under cold water and push it back in as soon as possible. If you canít get it back in then keep it moist. The best place to store the tooth is under the tongue. Either way get to a dentist as fast as you can.
Bad Breath Have your teeth checked. Major causes of bad breath are tooth decay and infected gums. Brush your tongue after brushing your teeth.
Avoid Problems Never chew ice or bones and donít use your teeth to open packets or bottle caps or to break string.
Sugarless Gum Chewing sugarless gum after meals may reduce tooth decay some what.
Sealants For children ages 6 to 15 years, have back teeth fissure sealed. In the long run, it is cheaper and easier than fillings.
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FAQ

Q. When do I need a crown / root canal ?
A.
When a firm tooth is badly decayed and or gives considerable pain, it may be possible to get root canal done to save it from being extracted. After the root canal therapy, the tooth is weak and requires a crown for protection and maintain function. Other badly decayed teeth without root canal done can also be good candidates for crowns.

Q. How safe am I from getting AIDS from the clinic ?
A.
Contrary to what many people may think, HIV is not a hardy organism at all. It is unlikely to survive outside a living host. Strong detergents are known to destroy it. However, we're not taking any chances, especially with spore-forming viruses like Hepatitis B. We autoclave all our metal instruments under steam pressure. Needles, gloves and other plastic instruments are used only once.

Q. What are braces?
A.
These are wires and brackets that exert orthodontic forces on crooked teeth in an attempt to move them into proper alignment. This is better treated by an orthodontist.

Q. Does a child below 6 or 7 need braces?
A.
No, they are unlikely to need braces. However, it's best to start early orthodontic consultation at around age eight to ten, so that the orthodontist can start treatment planning

Q. What will gum disease do to your gums?
A. At first, your gums will be a little sore, swollen and bleed easily. This stage is known as gingivitis. Allowed to progress, the gums surrounding the tooth may begin to separate from it. Pockets will form and not only the gums but the surrounding bone will continue to recede. At this stage, the condition is known as periodontitis. Allowed to progress further, the teeth will become loose and prone to gum infections.

Q. Why do I need to visit a dentist every 6 months?
A.
Plaque and calculus or tartar can actually form much sooner than that, but 6 months is usually sufficient for new problems to develop after the last treatment is completed, especially for patients who have not been following oral hygiene instructions. For patients with gum or periodontal problems, they will require a scale and polish every three to four months.

Q. Why are dental visits so expensive?
A.
Regular maintenance procedures every 6 months cost less than the amount most people spend maintaining a car over the same period. Basic dental treatment is not expensive at all. Neglecting your teeth, however, can result in your need for expensive procedures.

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Links

Australian Dental Association - Queensland Branch 

Australian Dental Industry Association 

Dental Related Internet Resources 

Healthy Teeth - Oral Health Education Database 

Sparkle-City.com 
 

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