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Back in 2015 a new health campaign launched encouraging Victorians to swap sugary drinks for water for 30 days – here at Dobson Dental we want a relaunch!
The aim of this campaign was to show that a small change can start to make a difference to your waistline, wallet and your smile. This campaign was given the name ‘The H30 Challenge’, VicHealth asked people to make a 30- day pledge to replace every sugary drink whether it be flavoured water, sports drinks, energy drinks, cordial, cola or juice with the good stuff, plain still water. VicHealth CEO Jerril Rechter, said the H30 Challenge is a remarkably simple way to improve health.

“This is about making small lifestyle changes that will benefit Victorians long-term,” Ms Rechter said.

Sugar sweetened beverages are the largest source of sugars in the Australian diet and high intake of these sugary drinks are associated with poorer health outcomes, such as increased risk of weight gain and increased risk of tooth decay.

With nearly two-thirds of Victorians currently overweight or obese, reducing intake of excess kilojoules through drinks is one way to promote a healthier diet and improved health.

While we encourage all Victorians to drink more water, there is a particular focus on 18 to 34 year-olds, who are some of the highest consumers of sugary drinks.

“Participants may be surprised at just how much sugar these drinks contain. One 600mL bottle of regular soft drink can contain 16 teaspoons of sugar. So if you drink one a day, that’s almost 23 kilograms of sugar a year,” Ms Rechter added.

Nutritionist Lola Berry is lending her support to the campaign. She says the 30-day H30 Challenge is a great way for people to take small steps towards stamping out harmful habits formed over a lifetime.

Making water your main drink of choice is one of the best things a person can do for good long-term health,” Ms Berry said.
“Reducing sugary drinks and drinking more water helps to maintain a healthy weight, thereby reducing the risk of type-2 diabetes and other serious health conditions. Drinking water is also a no-brainer for fighting tooth decay, especially considering most of Victoria’s tap water contains fluoride. Another bonus is that drinking water can also save you money.”

Here at Dobson Dental we would love everyone to give this a go, it’ll be easier than you think – we promise. Sign up online at www.h30challenge.com.au, choose a start date convenient to you, switch sugary drinks for water for 30 days and then start reaping those rewards. It’s a win/win situation, they even send you regular e-mails of encouragement. Or if you don’t fancy signing up, maybe you think 30 days is too long for you in particular, why don’t you try 10 days? Then the following month 20 days etc. Why don’t you get your whole workforce involved and feel healthier as a team?

For more information or to sign up visit www.h30challenge.com.au

References

Victorian Dentist – December 2015
www.vichealth.vic.gov.au
www.mysportslink.net



So what is water fluoridation I hear you ask? It is simply the adjustment of fluoride in drinking water to a level that helps protect teeth against decay. Can I taste the difference at all between water with fluoride and without? No, adding fluoride does not alter the taste or smell of water, no matter what you think.

Here in Victoria, the maximum level of fluoride in drinking water is 1 milligram per litre (mg/L), or 1 part per million (ppm), as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). As a comparison, the amount of fluoride in children’s toothpaste is 400–500 ppm and regular toothpaste is 1,000 ppm.

What is fluoride exactly? It’s a naturally occurring compound found in plants and rocks. It is also found at very low levels in almost all fresh water. It occurs naturally at a beneficial level in the local water supplies of some Victorian communities. Sea water has approximately the same fluoride level as that used in community fluoridation programs.
So now you know what it is, let Dobson Dental tell you how it works. Tooth decay occurs when acid destroys the outer surface of the tooth. The acid is produced by bacteria in the mouth from food and drinks containing sugar. Fluoride works by helping to strengthen the mineral structure of teeth, it acts like a repair kit, repairing the early stages of tooth decay before it becomes permanent.

 

Are there many benefits at all to water fluoridation? Community water fluoridation helps to protect teeth against decay in people of all ages, from young to older people. It’s a fair way of delivering the benefits of fluoride to the community, regardless of individual age, education, income or motivation.

Wait, is there any evidence to support this? Yes, actually there are numerous studies and reviews that have confirmed the effectiveness of water fluoridation. Researchers from the Australian Research Centre for Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) have presented results from a study that examined the effectiveness of water fluoridation on children’s dental health across four Australian states – Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.

5–6-year-old children who have lived for more than half their lives in areas with water fluoridation have 50 per cent less tooth decay in their baby teeth than children who have not lived in areas with water fluoridation. 12–13-year-old children who have lived for more than half their lives in areas with water fluoridation have 38 per cent less tooth decay in their adult teeth than children who have not lived in areas with water fluoridation.

Water fluoridation is not just for children. A recently published study was based on data collected from the National Survey of Adult Oral Health 2004–06. Dental examinations of 5,505 adults from around Australia found significantly less decay experience in adults who drink fluoridated water.

Prevention is still necessary! Water fluoridation and fluoride toothpaste have contributed to a dramatic reduction in tooth decay in Australian children, but decay levels have been rising again since the mid-1990s. By the age of six, more than half of Australian children have already had tooth decay.

Increasing rates of tooth decay in Australia may possibly be because changes in diet or people drinking more soft drinks. It is important to maintain recommended fluoride levels in water to ensure that rates of tooth decay do not increase significantly.

Tooth decay is still a significant problem in Victoria. In 2013–14, more than 4,400 children under the age of 10, including 193 two year olds and 694 four year olds, required general anaesthetics in hospital for treatment of dental decay. In Victoria, 95 per cent of all preventable dental admissions to hospital for 0–9 year olds are due to dental decay.
Here at Dobson Dental we can’t stress enough how important it is to look after teeth throughout your life, as good dental health has a direct impact on overall health. Severe tooth decay can affect appearance, self-esteem and social interaction. It can also affect the ability to eat and chew, which in turn can affect general health. In children, if baby teeth are lost too early because of decay, their adult teeth may not develop in the correct position, creating dental complications later in life.

How do Melbourne Water get the fluoride into my drinking water? Fluoride is added to drinking water supplies at the water treatment plant via a carefully controlled and monitored process. Monitoring also occurs at the tap to ensure compliance with the Australian Drinking Water Guidelines. The fluoride plants are incorporated into the water treatment plant’s risk management plan and are managed in accordance with the Safe Drinking Water Act 2003.

Is it just Victoria who have a water fluoridation community? Nope, this process is carried out internationally in countries such as New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Canada and the US. Globally, more than 350 million people benefit from community water fluoridation programs. More than 50 million people benefit from naturally fluoridated water at optimal levels to prevent tooth decay. In February 2008, England’s Department of Health provided £42 million to extend water fluoridation over the next three years. In the US, water fluoridation was initiated in 1945 and the number of communities and people who benefit from it is continuing to increase. In 2012, 74.6 per cent of the US population on public water systems, or 211 million people, had access to fluoridated water.

We know what you’re thinking now, one last question? Is water fluoridation safe? Yes! Systematic reviews from health authorities around the world consistently find that water fluoridation does not cause harmful effects.

According to academic clinicians from the Department of Allergy, Immunology and Respiratory Medicine at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital, there is no clinical or scientific evidence that fluoridation causes allergies or affects immunity at the optimal 1 mg/L. Specifically, they state ‘ … during the past 25 years, whether in Melbourne or in the UK, we have never seen a patient with any respiratory symptoms nor any allergy like symptoms that could be attributed to fluoride at 1ppm [1 mg/L] as in our fluoridated water’.

Kidney Health Australia recommends water as the fluid of choice to satisfy thirst and has stated ‘there is no evidence that consumption of optimally fluoridated water poses any health risks to people with chronic kidney disease, although only limited studies addressing this issue are available’. Importantly, Kidney Health Australia has not called for the cessation of water fluoridation.

An Australian review in 2008 found there is a significant body of evidence demonstrating that the consumption of optimally fluoridated water is not associated with cancer risk. Also, medical specialists confirm there is no credible evidence of a link between water fluoridation and thyroid disease, stating ‘ …there is no scientifically acceptable evidence that fluoridation increases the incidence of thyroid disease’.

So there we have it ladies and gentlemen, we hope that has covered all your need to know questions surrounding water fluoridation, if not, just ask when your next in visiting us at Dobson Dental.

References
www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/water/water-fluoridation/fluoride-information
Victorian Dentist publication – December 2015


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We’ve all heard the adage, ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away,’ but what about keeping the dentist away? While we love to see our patients for regular checkups at Dobson Dental, our main priority is educating patients to ensure optimum dental health.The truth is, the answer is complicated! Read on to discover what apples can do for your smile…

The History

The initial proverb, ‘eat an apple on going to bed, and you’ll keep the doctor from earning his bread,’ originated from Wales, in the 1860s. The modern version we know today was coined in 1913. However, the meaning has been maintained; eat plenty of fruit (and vegetables) to stay in good health. When this theory was tested by the University of Michigan School of Nursing in a 2001-2010 survey, the ensuing Jama Internal Medicine study found people who regularly ate apples were less likely to use prescription medications. Fortunately for your teeth – the good news doesn’t end there!

An A+ for Health

Discover the benefits of incorporating apples into your diet:

  • An apple contains around 1.7g of fibre. Fibre is essential for a healthy digestive system.
  • Apples are about 85% water, which keeps you hydrated and fuller for longer.
  • On average, an apple is only 268 kilojoules; which means you can eat larger portions, without exceeding your recommended daily intake.
  • A single apple is equal to one serve of fruit; which makes meeting the Australian Dietary Guidelines recommendation for kids to eat two serves of fruit each day, easier to achieve.
  • Being Low GI, apples gradually provide your body with energy over an extended period of time.

The Right Serve

While apples are clearly a great addition to your diet, the way you choose to consume this delectable fruit is critical for your wellbeing! Drinking apple juice or consuming vitamin supplements instead, will never offer your body the same benefits as eating a whole apple. This is because much of the nutrients are found within the skin, and fibre is eliminated when the apple is juiced.

A Toothy Treat

Most importantly to our Dobson Dental team, apples are also great for maintaining dental health.

  • The mild acids in apples help kill bacteria in the mouth, which is the source of bad breath.
  • Apples are packed full of nutrients including Vitamin C which boosts your immunity and ensures healthy gums.
  • The tough skin and texture of apples can help scrub away plaque and other debris from your teeth.
  • Apples contain boron, a nutrient which promotes strong teeth and bones.

What About Natural Sugars & Acids?

If you think your favourite apple tastes sweet, you’re right! Yes, apples do contain natural sugars, but that doesn’t mean this fruit is necessarily bad for your pearly whites. These natural sugars are a far better alternative to processed sugar treats. In fact, the high fibre content of apples stimulates saliva production. Saliva and the water contained within an apple help to wash away traces of sugar on your teeth, keeping your enamel intact.

The acid contained within apples can help reduce plaque, however it can also break down tooth enamel over time. For this reason, at Dobson Dental we recommend drinking water after tucking into an apple, to wash away excess acid.

Instead of eating apples as a snack, try eating them as part of your main meals such as slices tossed in a salad. Wait half an hour before brushing your teeth after gorging on your favourite fruit, to make sure the acid has had time to dissipate, so you don’t risk brushing away the softened enamel. Most importantly, while apples can give your teeth and gums a good scrub, they should never be considered a substitute for following your usual dental hygiene routine.

Bitter Sweet

Some apple varieties have been cross-bred to produce a sweeter taste, which has caused some concern in the international community, particularly in Britain, as additional sugar could lead to erosion of tooth enamel. However, there are plenty of local Australian varieties to choose from. Plus, you can prevent tooth decay by brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly.

Australian Apples

Several apple varieties have been grown in Australia since the mid 1800s, starting from the germination of the famous green Granny Smith in New South Wales. Apples are an affordable choice for Australians, costing approximately 60 cents, per 100g. In fact, they are our nation’s second favourite fruit, following bananas! Apples have endured as a popular fruit on an international scale for decades because they are easy to grow and keep well. They are juicy, crisp, colourful and boast amazing flavours.

Popular Aussie varieties include Royal Gala, Golden or Red Delicious, Pink Lady, Sundowner and Fuji, just to name a few. So what are you waiting for? Give into temptation and take a toothy bite out of an apple!


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Dental erosion, also known as erosive tooth wear, is caused by acid dissolving the surface of the teeth. This often leads people to experience sensitive teeth as the protective layer of enamel, which covers the dentine beneath, wears away. This causes discomfort when consuming hot, cold, sweet and particularly acidic food or drinks. Even breathing cold air can become uncomfortable! Once exposed, acid will dissolve the dentine layer much faster than it affected the tooth enamel originally. So booking regular checkups with your dentist is essential, to ensure this condition is diagnosed and treated promptly, or ideally prevented in the first place!

Avoid Sources of Dietary Acid

Now you are convinced that dental erosion and the ensuing tooth sensitivity should be avoided, it is important to identify potential sources of acid in your diet, so you can minimise the risk of dental erosion. The majority of acid within the mouth is a direct result of the food and drinks within your diet. The main sources of dietary acids typically come from the following:

Drinks

  • Soft drinks
  • Energy drinks
  • Fruit juices
  • Sports drinks
  • Fruit flavoured water
  • Cordial
  • Fruit flavoured tea
  • Alcoholic drinks

Food

  • Citrus Fruits
  • Sour lollies
  • Chewable vitamin C tablets
  • Vinegar

Additionally, flavoured beverages advertised as sugar free drinks typically contain highly acidic additives. For the sake of your dental health, it is best to avoid drinks with the following ingredients:

  • Citric acid
  • Sodium citrate
  • Malic acid
  • Ascorbic acid
  • Fruit juice concentrate

Health Conditions which Cause Additional Acid

Some health conditions can contribute to the amount of acid your teeth are exposed to. The following conditions can cause the acid which occurs naturally in the stomach to travel up the throat into the mouth, causing tooth erosion:

  • (Post) vomiting
  • Pregnancy (morning sickness)
  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia
  • Gastroesophageal reflux (acid reflux)
  • Gastroesophageal cancer

Alternative Causes of Dental Erosion

Unfortunately, even if you minimise the amount of acidic food and drink within your diet, you may still be at risk of erosive tooth wear, if you have low saliva flow. Saliva is necessary to neutralise acid in the mouth. This means if your body is not producing enough saliva, known as dry mouth, dietary acids won’t be washed away from the teeth effectively. Consequently, higher concentrations of acid will remain in the mouth, which cannot be neutralised, increasing the likelihood of dental erosion. There a several circumstances which can cause people to experience a dry mouth, such as:

  • Stress
  • Smoking
  • Ingesting (various) medications
  • (Undergoing) radiotherapy for the head and neck
  • Diabetes
  • Sjogren’s Syndrome

How to Prevent Dental Erosion

There are several precautions you can integrate into your daily life to prevent your tooth enamel from eroding. Foremost, eliminating acidic food and drink from your diet, will significantly reduce erosive wear on your teeth. If there are not many sources of acid within your diet but you are still concerned about developing sensitive teeth, check with both your dentist and doctor to determine if any medical conditions could be the cause.

While eliminating acidic food and drink from your diet entirely is not always feasible, you can make a conscious effort to minimise the damage:

  • Aim to only ingest acidic food and drinks when eating a meal, as opposed to snacking or sipping during the day. Saliva flow increases during meal times, so your teeth will naturally be better protected during these periods.
  • Eat whole fruits, instead of drinking fruit juice. Fruits which are low in acid such as banana, melon, paw paw and pear are great options.
  • Use a straw when drinking acidic beverages, so the liquid bypasses your teeth.
  • Ensure acidic drinks are chilled for consumption, as warm drinks will cause more erosion.
  • Always rinse your mouth immediately after eating or drinking something acidic, vomiting or experiencing reflux. Use either water, milk or a fluoride rinse; but don’t brush your teeth! The acid will have softened the teeth, so brushing will actually cause more damage.

How to Minimise Erosion

If acid is an unavoidable aspect of your life, whether the source is your diet, stress, medication, or illness; ensure you brush your teeth at least twice a day. Choose a soft bristled toothbrush to minimise the effects of erosion, paired with a fluoride toothpaste.

What to do if you have Dental Erosion

If you believe you are suffering from dental erosion, visit the team at Dobson Dental. As dentists, we are able to offer high fluoride options to help repair areas, as needed, and can provide additional advice according to your individual needs.


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Patients sometimes ask us to explain why fluoride is so important for oral health from childhood through to adulthood. The patients at Dobson Dental are exposed to different amounts of fluoride during their lifetime. We’ve produced a useful guide about the role fluoride plays during various developmental life stages and more importantly where to get it!

The Importance of Fluoride for Kids & Toddlers

Fluoride is essential for young children as it reinforces the enamel even before the teeth break through their gums. The hard surface of tooth enamel is what resists tooth decay. By reinforcing the enamel on your children’s teeth with fluoride it will be easier to prevent tooth decay. This is called a systemic benefit because the fluoride is ingested from foods, beverages and dietary supplements. Frequent exposure to fluoride will minimise the damage caused by occasional treats. Topical fluoride applications, such as fluoride gels are routine procedures for most children during their dental checkup appointments.

As soon as your baby’s first tooth appears, it’s at risk of decay. That’s why Dobson Dental recommend parents begin cleaning their baby’s mouth as soon as they come home from the hospital by wiping their gums with a wet washcloth. This is an easy way to introduce fluoridated water to your baby’s teeth before they begin drinking themselves.

When helping your child brush their teeth twice daily, use a smear (no larger than a grain of rice) of fluoride toothpaste on children younger than 3 years of age. For children from 3 to 6 years use a pea sized portion of fluoride toothpaste. If kids swallow toothpaste regularly it can lead to fluorosis which appears as white flecks on the teeth. Therefore, it is important to use age appropriate toothpaste and teach your child to spit out toothpaste after brushing.

Once your child’s teeth do break through their gums, fluoride helps redemineralise tooth enamel (which strengthens it) and reverses early tooth decay. The main topical fluoride application method is brushing with fluoridated toothpaste. Plus, you can increase your child’s fluoride intake by actively monitoring their diet. Certain foods and beverages already contain fluoride quantities which transfer into the salvia upon consumption. The saliva helps coat the teeth with additional fluoride which helps repair weakened enamel.

Dentists can treat your childs fluoride deficiency

Tweens & Fluoride

Although tooth decay is preventable, it is still one of the most predominant chronic conditions affecting children in Victoria! An alarming percentage of Australian children aged 5-10 are living with untreated tooth decay. As children approach their teenage years, their primary teeth are replaced with a permanent set for life. Parents must be aware of the consequences of poor dental hygiene both for their financial and long term health. Tooth decay is more likely during your child’s teenage years particularly from the ages of 14 -17 years. This is because of lifestyle factors as they approach adulthood. With homework, after school jobs, sporting commitments, and increased social activities teenagers often start to feel time poor. Consequently, they tend to make quick and easy food choices such as pre-packaged snacks which are usually high in sugar.  Teens that brush their teeth with fluoride toothpaste toothbrush plus dental floss after meals can reduce the risk of developing tooth decay. Patient dental counselling with Dobson Dental can be provided to educate teens on proper brushing techniques, flossing and foods that are more nutritious for dental health.

Permanent Adult Teeth

New research shows that not only developing children benefit from fluoride but in fact teeth of all ages! Experts used to think that fluoride worked mainly by strengthening teeth while they were still developing. This meant that children were the focus of fluoridation efforts in the past. However, recent studies now demonstrate the use of topical fluoride such as that found in toothpaste, mouth rinses and fluoride supplements actually help in the fight against decay. More importantly if you’re an adult who grew up without fluoridated water in a region like South East Queensland, prior to 2008, for example – don’t worry! Speak to Dobson Dental about fluoride treatments or supplements.

Fluoride Facts

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is discovered in many foods and drinking water in Australia.

Fluoride prevents tooth decay by:

  • Changing the structure of the developing enamel in children before the age of 6, making teeth more resilient to acid attack.
  • Establishing an environment where the enamel is more resistant to decay.
  • Reducing the presence of bacteria which results in plaque producing acid.

These processes are defined as follows:

Protection from demineralisation –
When bacteria in the mouth combines with sugars, they produce acid. This acid can erode tooth enamel and damage our teeth. Fluoride can protect teeth from demineralisation that is caused by the acid.

Remineralisation –
If acid has already caused some damage to the teeth, fluoride gathers in the demineralised areas and begins strengthening the enamel.

Drink it Up!

Fluoride is found naturally in many foods and in most Australian water supplies. If you tend to drink bottled water, it may not contain fluoride so you should check with your dentist to determine if you need a supplement. Drinking water containing 0.7 to 1.2 parts of fluoride for every million parts of water (0.7ppm to 1.2ppm) has been shown to have the best effect on dental health. The amount of fluoride in water varies between regions. Currently in Victoria, ninety per cent of people drink water with either naturally occurring or additional fluoride. Melbourne and some regional centres have had fluoridated water for more than 30 years. Your local water supplier can tell you how much fluoride is in your drinking water.

Do you Need More Fluoride?

Fluoride is safe and helps teeth grow strong. It works best when you are exposed to small amounts throughout the day via fluoridated tap water, foods, drinks, and toothpaste. Everyone has different dental needs and risks. Your fluoride requirements will continue to change throughout the course of you and your child’s life. This is something you can talk about with the dental experts at Dobson Dental.

It is also used in the following dental products:

  • toothpaste
  • cements and fillings
  • gels and mouthwashes
  • varnishes
  • some brands of floss
  • fluoride supplements (recommended in areas where water is not fluoridated)

Most toothpastes today contain fluoride so this is often the easiest way to ensure your fluoride intake. Fluoride toothpaste is very effective in preventing tooth decay. In areas where the water supply contains fluoride, toothpaste acts as additional protection.

Safety First!

Many reports have been published throughout the world about the incorporation of fluoride into water supplies. After many years, the scientific conclusion is that correctly fluoridated water, salt and milk, as well as toothpaste are extremely beneficial for dental health. Studies have not found any evidence that fluoride added to water causes harmful side effects, but it helps to reduce decay.

If you would like to know how your fluoride intake is shaping up, or if you have any further concerns, make an appointment at Dobson Dental today. Our experts look forward to meeting your dental needs!


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