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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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Having bad breath isn’t exactly a roundtable topic (well, maybe it is if you’re a health professional), but it’s a common problem that many of us suffer from – even if we’d rather not discuss it.

And while bad breath (also known as halitosis) can make us feel embarrassed, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Halitosis (bad breath) is mostly caused by sulphur-producing bacteria that normally live on the surface of the tongue as well as in the throat. Sometimes, these bacteria start to break down proteins at a very high rate and odorous volatile sulphur compounds (VSC) are released from the back of the tongue and throat.  The mouth’s warm, moist conditions are ideal for the growth of these bacteria. Most bad breath is caused by something in the mouth however it is important to note that Halitosis is not infectious.

Some types of bad breath are considered to be fairly normal. They usually are not health concerns. One example is ‘morning mouth.’ This occurs because of changes in your mouth while you sleep. During the day, saliva washes away decaying food and odours. The body makes less saliva at night, your mouth becomes dry, and dead cells stick to your tongue and to the inside of your cheeks. When bacteria use these cells for food, they produce a foul odour.

In addition, bad breath can be caused by the following:

Causes

Most bad breath starts in your mouth, and there are many possible causes. They include:

  • The breakdown of food particles in and around your teeth can increase bacteria and cause a foul odour. Eating certain foods, such as onions, garlic and spices as well as drinking coffee, can cause bad breath. After you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream, are carried to your lungs and affect your breath.
  • Tobacco products. Smoking causes its own unpleasant mouth odour. Smokers and oral tobacco users are also more likely to have gum disease, another source of bad breath.
  • Poor dental hygiene. If you don’t brush and floss daily, food particles remain in your mouth, causing bad breath. A colourless, sticky film of bacteria (plaque) forms on your teeth. If not brushed away, plaque can irritate your gums and eventually form plaque-filled pockets between your teeth and gums (periodontitis). Your tongue also can trap bacteria that produce odours. Dentures that aren’t cleaned regularly or don’t fit properly can harbour odour-causing bacteria and food particles.
  • Dry mouth. Saliva helps cleanse your mouth, removing particles that cause bad odours. A condition called dry mouth or xerostomia can contribute to bad breath because production of saliva is decreased. Dry mouth naturally occurs during sleep, leading to “morning breath,” and it worsens if you sleep with your mouth open. Chronic dry mouth can be caused by a problem with your salivary glands and some diseases.
  • Some medications can indirectly produce bad breath by contributing to dry mouth. Others can be broken down in the body to release chemicals that can be carried on your breath.
  • Infections in your mouth. Bad breath can be caused by surgical wounds after oral surgery, such as tooth removal, or as a result of tooth decay, gum disease or mouth sores.
  • Other mouth, nose and throat conditions. Bad breath can occasionally stem from small stones that form in the tonsils and are covered with bacteria that produce odour. Infections or chronic inflammation in the nose, sinuses or throat, which can contribute to postnasal drip, also can cause bad breath.

Diagnosis

A dentist or physician may notice bad breath during an office visit. Your dentist will review your medical history for conditions that can cause bad breath and for medicines that can cause dry mouth. It is important for your dentist to ask about your diet, personal habits (smoking, chewing tobacco) and any other symptoms you may have. Your dentist will then examine your teeth, gums, mouth and salivary glands to determine a solution.

In some cases, your dentist may refer you to your family physician if an illness is the most likely cause or in severe cases of gum disease, your dentist may suggest that you see a periodontist (dentist who specialises in gum problems).

Expected Duration

How long bad breath lasts depends on its cause. For example, when the problem results from poor dental hygiene, proper dental care will begin to freshen the mouth almost immediately. You’ll have even better results after a few days of regular brushing and flossing. Periodontal disease and tooth abscess also respond quickly to proper dental treatment. Bad breath that results from an illness may be a long-term problem, however it can often be controlled with proper medical care.

Prevention

Brush your teeth

Bad breath caused by dental problems can be prevented easily with proper home and professional care.

  • Brush your teeth, tongue and gums after meals and floss daily. This is the most important factor if your bad breath is caused by dental problems.
  • Rinse with a mouthwash approved by the Australian Dental Association (ADA).
  • Visit the dentist regularly (at least twice a year) for an exam and tooth cleaning.
  • If you are a smoker, consider quitting. Not only does it make your breath smell bad, it also stains your teeth and makes you more likely to get gum disease.
  • Avoid eating too many sugary foods and drinks, which encourage bacterial growth in the mouth, and are also a cause of tooth erosion.

You also can combat bad breath by drinking plenty of water every day to help your body make saliva. An occasional swish of the mouth with water can loosen bits of food. Sugar-free gum or sugar-free breath mints can help you keep breath fresh and prevent plaque from forming.

How can you tell if you have bad breath?

It can be hard to know if you have halitosis, because it’s difficult to judge whether your own breath smells normal or not. A close friend or relative may be able to judge far more accurately than you can whether your breath is bad or not.

Since most cases of halitosis originate from inside the mouth, your first step should be a re-evaluation of your basic brushing and rinsing technique. While cleaning the teeth is necessary, it is of paramount importance that you give extra focus to the tongue—this is where a large amount of the bacteria lives that’s causing your bad breath. Remember that brushing alone cleans only 25% of your mouth. Add rinsing to get your whole mouth clean.

If you don’t notice an improvement, your next step should be a visit to your dentist. Getting a professional opinion and finding out what you can do about the problem may help you feel better! Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to share your secret with a licensed professional. Dobson Dental  is committed to accessing your needs with the highest discretion.


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Obstructive Sleep Apnoea (OSA) is a common and chronic sleep disorder that occurs when the walls of one’s throat partially, or completely block off the airway during sleep. Breathing can pause for up to 90 seconds, and this episode is called an apnoea. Each time, the apnoea deprives the body of oxygen and increases the amount of carbon dioxide in the blood. The brain then ‘wakes’ the body to start breathing again, due to the decrease of oxygen in the blood. For a patient with moderate or severe sleep apnoea, these episodes occur hundreds of times a night. This leads to a very interrupted and restless sleep for the patient.

The following diagram outlines the process of an apnoea during sleep.

Sleep apnoea is a common problem that effects a persons daily routine, often leaving them fatigued during the daytime as a result of an interrupted sleep. It is not uncommon for those with sleep apnoea to need to have a nap during the day, which effects ones work performance and levels of motivation, as well as having other cognitive and behavioural consequences.

Research confirms that approximately 25% of men, and 9% of women over the age of thirty in Australia have sleep apnoea. Obstructive sleep apnoea effects 4% of Australian men and women, largely due to high obesity rates. However, a large number of Australians still remain undiagnosed with sleep apnoea, as they do not know it is occurring during their sleep. Therefore, the condition often remains untreated.

Those with sleep apnoea almost always snore, however people who snore do not necessarily have sleep apnoea. Compared to sleep apnoea, snoring is simply a noise generated by a vibration during breathing. This is a result of a partly obstructed airway in the nose, throat, and mouth. Snoring is only a symptom of obstructive sleep apnoea, and it is important a sleep specialist addresses issues accordingly.

Sleep apnoea can also lead to other health risks when left untreated. As a result of poor oxygenation, sleep apnoea distresses the cardiovascular system during sleep, and places pressure on the body during efforts to restart breathing. These include; diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and other long-term health problems. Even mild sleep apnoea results in a 2.5% rise in a person’s mortality rate.

Contributing factors and causes of to Sleep Apnoea include:

  • Obesity (one of the most common causes)
  • Consumption of alcohol, particularly at night. This causes the throat muscles to relax, and hinders the brain’s response to sleep disordered breathing
  • Large tonsils, particularly in children
  • Predisposition to certain medications and illnesses
  • Chronic nasal congestion
  • Facial structure

Signs and Symptoms of Sleep Apnoea:

  • Snoring
  • Choking, gasping and snorting sounds made during sleep
  • Pauses in breathing whilst sleeping, which may be noticed by another person
  • Extreme daytime fatigue and tiredness during the day
  • Decreased energy
  • Interrupted and fragmented sleep
  • Sore throat or dry mouth upon awakening
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Recurrent urination during the night
  • Irritability, behaviour, and mood alterations

A guide for the degrees of severity of Sleep Apnoea:

  • Normal sleep (less than five interruptions per hour)
  • Mild Sleep Apnoea (5 – 15 interruptions per hour)
  • Moderate Sleep Apnoea (15 – 30 interruptions per hour)
  • Severe Sleep Apnoea (more than 30 interruptions per hour)

Treatment options:

Dobson Dental is here to help with diagnosis and treatment. Our experienced clinic will organise a sleep-study, which is done either at home or in hospital.  This monitors what is happening in one’s body and brain whilst they sleep. Then a Sleep Physician studies the results and makes recommendations based on the patients symptoms, physical health and medical history. Popular methods for treatment include the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP), and/or dental treatments. If a dental sleep appliance is an option, Dobson Dental can make you one. It is quick and easy to do, and not only stops snoring, but opens the airways too, to treat obstructive sleep apnoea effectively. These treatments dramatically increase the patient’s quality of sleep, leaving them feeling energised, motivated, and well-rested. This not only improves overall health, it also improves quality of life and allows patients to comfortably complete routine daytime tasks without feeling fatigued.


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