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Battle of the Flossers: Traditional String vs. Water Flossing

Flossing is an integral component to any great oral hygiene routine. If you are brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once a day, you are on the right track to maintaining healthy gums, stronger teeth, and a brighter smile! It is recommended that we floss at least once a day because it is able to clean 40% of tooth surfaces that our toothbrushes alone are not able to reach. As important as flossing is, only 31% of people are actually flossing every day. We all know we should be doing it, however what exactly is stopping us from reaching for our floss? Some people may have a hard time getting floss in between tight spaces or underneath dental work; some people have limited hand dexterity and are not able to get the floss all the way to their back molars; and others just find it way too time consuming and would rather just head straight to bed. If you have a hard time reaching for your traditional string floss, than water flossers may be a great aid to consider adding in to your oral hygiene regime. As we breakdown the battle between traditional string floss and water flossers, we hope that you will be able answer any questions that you may have had and also encourage you to ask which aid is more suitable for your needs at your next dental visit! As your Mississauga family dentist, we make it our duty to help you in every step of the way in order to achieve your optimal oral health.

The Tried-and-True: Traditional String Floss

Dental floss is a soft thread or string of silk or similar material used to clean your teeth. When it comes to regular string floss, you do have a few different options to choose from. For example, there’s waxed floss, which has a light coating of wax that makes it more durable, and there’s unwaxed floss that makes it easy to clean tight spaces between teeth. There is dental tape, which is flatter and broader to provide comfort to those who have more space in between their teeth, and there’s polytetrafluorethylene (PTFE) floss, which is less prone to shredding and can easily slide between tighter spaces.

Pros of Flossing:

  • Flossing is a very efficient way to remove excess food and debris from your teeth
  • Floss is inexpensive, convenient, and easily accessible
  • It is quick and easy – you can do it almost anywhere
  • Reduces the risk of gingivitis and gum disease

Cons of Flossing:

  • It is difficult for floss to reach some areas of the mouth
  • It can cause minor bleeding if it isn’t done properly
  • Some people have a hard time getting the hang of it

Technology Takeover: Water Flossers

A water flosser is a specialized device that shoots a thin stream of water. When aimed between your teeth or at the gum line, it uses the pressure of the water to massage the gums and push the food away from the teeth. Clinical studies show that using a water flosser results in a penetration of 50% of the depth of the pocket, about two times as far as can be reached with dental floss.

Pros of Water Flossers:

  • Easy to use, especially for those with braces or other types of dental work (such as bridges, implants and fixed retainers)
  • Great choice for those with arthritis or limited dexterity
  • The massaging action can improve gum health and reach areas where traditional floss can’t

Cons of Water Flossers:

  • More expensive
  • Takes up storage space on your bathroom counter and requires electricity and water
  • Difficult to use outside your home

And The Winner Is…

Actually, we recommend a combination of both! Water flossers are extremely effective, however they are still not a complete replacement for traditional floss. Although it is definitely better than not flossing at all, flossing is definitely still important because it removes bacteria colonies from teeth and gums, whereas water flossers simply rinse these areas. Ideally, people should be using both by starting off with string floss to help loosen up the plaque and food particles, and then following up with the water flosser to help flush them all away.

Which Is Best for You?

We hope this guide has given you some insight on the advantages and disadvantages of the types of flossing tools available. If you still have any questions, please give us a call or visit our office at Credit River Dental Centre and we will help you in assessing the best way and most effective way to care for your teeth and gums at home!

Happy National Boss Day.

It’s that time of the year again. The flourishing colours of summer greens and blues transition to the vibrant reds and oranges of autumn. I’ve always loved fall; the crispness of the air with the nice hint of heat.

October is well known for its several festivities and holidays; the bountiful Thanksgiving with turkey and stuffing galore. Who could forget the spooky yet sweets filled traditions of Halloween? October is also known to be a month of awareness for things like Mental Health, Breast Cancer and Lupus. It definitely stands out as a month of appreciation, an appreciation for having what you do and what you don’t, a beautiful month indeed.

Truth be told, I never paid much attention to the national days associated with October, other than the ones I’ve mentioned. This year makes a special one for me though, October 16th; National Boss’ Day. Why may you ask am I particularly fond of this day? Well, given that both my bosses are AMAZING, it comes from a more personal perspective; a self growth, self realization, self worth perspective to be exact. They are a testament that when you give people the chance, direct with constructive criticism, and genuinely care about progression into success, you can change the life of someone in more ways than you know!

Prior to working the dental field, I always had a passion for the medical world. I loved the idea of working with patients to help them, working with doctors and nurses and medical experts to progress in the world of medicine. I’ve worked with some amazing people doing what I love.

When I first got the call from my office manager, I was in disbelief, a dental office? She was sweet, super polite and asked me to come in for an interview. I was working at a fertility clinic at the time and had never worked in a dental office. I had a phobia of the dentist let alone ever thought of working for one.

During my interview, it was known I had no prior experience in the dental field. I felt a sense of doubt because I knew I was at a disadvantage amongst the other potential hires, but I was eager to prove to them that I was a fast learner, great at multi-tasking and capable of new challenges in a field unknown to me.

When I had found out I was hired, ecstatic was an understatement! Although there was a lot to learn about dentistry, I loved that I was able to take some of my skills from the medical field, including the passion to help patients, with me and utilize those in my new position.

In all honesty, the first month or so was particularly hard. As previously stated, I had no prior dental knowledge. It was pretty intimidating to be working with such an amazing team who all knew the ins and outs of dentistry. I felt almost out of place. And as “easy” as it was to hire me, it would’ve been that easy to let me go. Surely my boss’ didn’t have to go the extra mile to teach me from scratch. They didn’t have to be extra patient or understanding when I made mistakes, big or small. They didn’t have to take the chance on someone from a completely different field and expect them to progress in theirs. But, they did. They celebrated small victories, the ones that meant the most. They allowed me to not only believe in the good that they provide their patients, but that they are great people first and foremost. They’ve supported my capability, they’ve shared tremendous knowledge and continue to elevate not only myself, but our team to become the best so that we can provide our patients with the best!

I may not be a dental expert, but I am grateful in the knowledge I do have and continue to receive from such an amazing team. It’s only been a year and knowing that our office is lead by two amazing people marks for an absolute recognition. It’s easy to say that they provide the services they do because it’s their job, but coming from a non-patient perspective and sharing this story, I truly believe that good dentistry starts with good people. You’re not told to brush more, or floss more because that’s what you’re supposed to be told, it’s because the team instructing you to genuinely care that you should. They want you to progress towards better oral health, they want you to learn things you may not have known to become better and do better and because you deserve wellness and greatness in oral health, just like they have taught me!

So, in recognition of all great bosses, Happy National Boss Day! We wish the best to all those great bosses who lead their team to success and being prime examples of hard work, commitment, kindness, and awesomeness!

Call us at 905-278-4297 to book your next appointment with an amazing dental boss today!

“The Hygienist’s Role in the Assessment of Sleep Apnea”

As your cavitron buzzes away you suddenly notice that your patient is snoring in perfect rhythm with your ultrasonic scaler.  You check your notes and realize that this happened at their last hygiene appointment and even the one before this.  Is this normal or are your scaling skills so amazing they have a soothing effect?  Probably not!!!  Should this concern you?  Being the caring hygienist you are and one fully skilled in the assessment of the periodontium, you start to wonder why this is happening to this patient and not others.  Most of the time, patients are pale-knuckled in the chair until their treatment is complete to the point where you sometimes have to pry their fingers off the arm rest.  You look at your patient’s file to see if there is anything that you can correlate to her sleeping episodes.  She’s a petite young lady in her mid thirties.  Since you’ve built great rapport with her, you know that she isn’t married and doesn’t have any children so you start to wonder.  Yours and the dentist’s clinical findings indicate she’s a heavy bruxer or clencher and you’d been doing your due diligence in trying to get her to commit to wearing a night guard but she strongly believes she doesn’t need one because she sleeps with her mouth open!  Sound familiar?

What else can it be?  She’s got you stumped.  Most would leave it at that and just book her next hygiene appointment but you know sometime doesn’t feel right so what do you do?

Etiology and Assessment are among the most important tools any clinician has in their arsenal especially when it comes to the field of dental hygiene.  We have such an amazing ability to make a difference with our skill set because of the information we can share with patients.  Educating them about their periodontal condition, decay prevention, and about the connection between oral health and their systemic health are what we discuss on a daily basis so it’s no wonder when something seems off with our patients, we notice.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea has been a concern for quite some time but until now, our knowledge has been limited.  We never thought to extend our assessment to the tongue, tonsils and how wide a patient can open.  Sure, we were taught to measure these things in hygiene school but weren’t really taught how to apply them in practice or what their significance is.  As part of our complete oral examination, we assess the tongue using the Mallampati Score.  Traditionally, this score is used to assess intubation for general anesthesia but the classification a patient is diagnosed with can determine tongue obstruction and its contribution to obstructive sleep apnea.1  

The assessment of the tonsils is also significant as this may too contribute to airway obstruction.  The Friedman grading scale is what we use clinically in our practice to grade the tonsils from 0 to 4 – 0 being no tonsils are seen or a tonsillectomy has been done to 4 where the tonsils are actually touching or “kissing.”  To ensure that we don’t base our findings solely on what we see clinically, we also have a patient fill out a questionnaire which also helps us determine if they may have sleep apnea or are at risk.  Click here to see a sample of the sleep apnea questionnaire we utilize.  

So what do you do if you suspect your patient has sleep apnea?  As clinicians, it is important that we collaborate with other medical professionals and in this case, it is very necessary.  You would then recommend that your patient see his or her medical doctor and request a sleep test to be done.  It is only through the sleep test that confirmation of a Sleep Apnea Diagnosis can be made.  Inform your patient that if their medical doctor doesn’t feel that it is necessary, they can discuss the findings with you.  Unfortunately, this has occurred but we are more than willing to share our finding with their medical doctor.

When a final diagnosis has been made then the proper treatment for sleep apnea can be administered.  Until treatment is rendered, it is best that certain dental treatments be postponed as they may add to the patient’s risk.  For more information on Sleep Apnea, click here!

Your Baby’s Oral Health – The Beginning Stages

Being a parent is one the most rewarding experiences in someone’s life. As rewarding as it can be, it also comes with its own set of challenges. As your Mississauga Dentist we would like to provide you with ways to encourage a positive dental future for yourself and your child.

Like with any behavior, routine plays a key role. Getting your infant used to having their mouth cleaned will make it easier to transition to using a toothbrush down the road. After each feeding, take a slightly damp baby cloth and clean the inside of your baby’s mouth. At around 6 months when your baby’s first tooth or teeth grow in, you can begin using a finger brush or baby brush to clean baby’s teeth. Did you know that breast milk contains sugar in the form of lactose? And that baby formula also contains this and others as well? Most parents begin feeding solids to their babies at 6 months of age paralleling the growth of the first baby teeth so when solids begin, it is again very important to establish good oral care routines.

At this stage, no toothpaste is required. If you decide to use toothpaste, it is best to select one without any fluoride. Since toddlers usually cannot spit until the age of 2 or 3 they end up swallowing most of the toothpaste. Fluoride toothpaste can cause stomach upset when combined with stomach acids so it is best to avoid fluoride until they are able to spit well. When using toothpaste, only a small amount is required; about the size of half of a pea. At this stage, no toothpaste is required. If you decide to use toothpaste, it is best to select one without any fluoride. Since toddlers usually cannot spit until the age of 2 or 3 they end up swallowing most of the toothpaste. Fluoride toothpaste can cause stomach upset when combined with stomach acids so it is best to avoid fluoride until they are able to spit well. When using toothpaste, only a small amount is required; about the size of half of a pea.

It is recommended by the American Paediatric Dental Association that infants have their first visit to the dental office between 6 months to around their first birthday. At this appointment our dental team will ensure that your baby’s teeth are growing as expected, determine if modifications to the homecare routine are required and evaluate the structures of the mouth, head and neck. Tongue ties and lip ties are common concerns which are best treated early in infancy. This can affect an infant’s ability to eat properly and eventually speak properly among other concerns. Sleep apnea in infants is another concern which will be evaluated during this assessment to ensure there are minimal risks for any type of obstruction. Tips on how to alleviate discomfort during teething will also be discussed. Click here for teething tips: please link to Sam’s Blog on Allieviating teething discomfort -

Baby Bottle Syndrome

It is still common practice to put infants and toddlers to sleep with a bottle containing milk or sometimes even juice. We know that the development of cavity or decay is highly related to the length of time teeth are exposed to sugars. Whether it is sugar from formula, milk or juice, children should not be put to bed with any sugared drink in their bottles as this tends to result in Baby Bottle Cavities of the front teeth. If need be, water would be best to prevent this.

As your Mississauga dental team we strive to provide our community and our patients with information that can help improve your quality of life. Good routines give your family a great start. For any questions, concerns or tips on your child’s oral health, don’t hesistate to call a member of our team at 905-278-4297. Your family’s oral health is our top priority!

The Benefit of Plant-Based Foods to your Oral Health!

It’s very hard these days not to notice that more and more of your favorite restaurants are offering plant-based options. Pizza, burgers, even taco establishments are all getting in on the plant based craze. Hollywood is getting in on the action with a soon to be released movie produced by some of the biggest names in a film about former lifelong meat eaters, moving towards plant based diets and finding huge improvements in their physical health.

But what about your oral health? What kind of impact does a vegetarian diet have on your oral health? In addition to brushing and flossing, food plays a very key role in keeping your teeth strong and healthy. We often think about the negative impact certain foods can have but there are a number of foods that can improve our oral health.

From an oral health standpoint, foods can have not only an effect on the teeth but also the oral soft tissues including protection against oral cancer. According to the latest review in the journal of the American Dental Association, “Evidence supports a recommendation of a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables as part of a whole-foods, plant-based diet.” The foods found most protective include raw and green/leafy vegetables, tomatoes, citrus, and carrots.

While most people are aware that excess sugars can contribute to tooth decay, we also know that there are certain plant-based foods which can actually not only clean the surface of your teeth, but reduce bacteria as well. The following are just some of the foods that can improve your oral health.

Cucumbers contain dietary fiber which helps to clean teeth and gums. The natural water content found in cucumbers help to enhance the production of saliva.

Although parsley has traditionally been used as a garnish, you may want to consider consuming it along with the rest of your meal as parsley is antimicrobial and contains a chemical called eugenol, which not only improves breath odor but also has antiseptic qualities.

Strawberries contain a chemical called malic acid which actually has subtle whitening properties to help break down stains and brighten your smile! Because of the natural sugars and tiny seeds which may get stuck in your teeth, it’s a good idea to give your teeth a quick rinse with water after eating them

Shitake Mushrooms
Shitake mushrooms contain a chemical called lentinan, which helps to not only limit bacterial growth inside the mouth but also prevent gingivitis.

People often associate onions with being the cause of bad breath, but onions actually help prevent tooth decay. Their natural sulfur chemicals, which give onions their distinctive smell also help fight cavities!

Carrots contain keratin which reinforces strength and helps prevent tooth decay. Carrots are also high in fiber and help with saliva production, both of which contribute to a healthier mouth.

In one of the biggest studies to date, consuming citrus fruits more than twice a day, however, was associated with dental erosion 37 times higher compared to those who consumed citrus fruits less often. Consuming apple cider vinegar or sports drinks once a week or more and soft drinks daily will also increase your risk of erosion. The odds of erosion for these habits were ten, four, and four times greater, respectively, than in those who did not engage in that habit.

In order to enjoy the benefits of healthy foods like citrus while at the same time minimizing the risks of dental erosion, the most important thing to remember is not to brush right after we eat sour fruit. We should always wait at least 30 minutes. Acid softens our enamel and if we brush right after consuming these acidic foods we can actually inadvertently damage our teeth in the process.

Self Care = Self Happiness

I woke up today with one of the biggest realizations I’ve had in a long time. It was something deep down I already knew, but seemed to ignore and never put much thought into.

“Self care is a reflection of self happiness”.

We live on a planet that houses over seven billion people, surely there were multiple reasons at least one person could make you happy right? Surely all the money in the world could do the trick right? Maybe that last chocolate glazed donut could? But then I realized it was a domino effect. Happiness itself could never be pure and really grow unless it started with the right foundation. That foundation started with ME.

In a world that’s become so fast paced that you feel you’ll miss if you blink, we seemingly forget to take the time to even breathe. The newest piece of technology, the newest social media platform, new food, new shoes, new shows, and the list is endless. Yet as much as we drown in the now and new, how effective is it all in making us happy? It’s all short term, maybe. But, when was the last time we invested in something that was for long term happiness? Through all the stages of progression, there is one thing that is constant, you. Do you wake up with a smile? Do you think about how great the day is going to be before it even begins? Do you look in the mirror and see what you want to see? Do you hop off the treadmill of life and stop to take the time and realize its okay to take a breather?

It is so easy to forget the small things that matter the most and in the long run. For example, how important is brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day? A day that is equates to 1,440 minutes, surely a mere 4 minutes can be spared! With something that takes so little time, we sometimes forget to prioritize and yet, we drive 15 km over the speed limit to save an extra 2 minutes just to get to work, to that party, or to that meeting. We rush and rush in order to keep up with life’s pace. There’s a saying that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and over again but expecting different results.” And yet we always leave the same time, knowing we’ll have to rush in order to save those 2 min on the road.

This concept can apply to oral health in two ways; if you constantly neglect your oral health, it’s never going to give you the same results. It will progressively get worse. On the upside, if you consistently take the time to cater to your oral health, the results won’t stay the same; it will constantly get better and stay healthier.

And though it may be easy to just start brushing because you read a blog that emphasizes its importance, smiling into the mirror with those pearly whites because you’ve taken the time to take care of them and that feeling of confidence, is something no words on paper or on the internet can ever express. That self care will reflect in the way you express your happiness.

So, in a world that is forever moving and changing, don’t be afraid to step back, breath, smile a healthy smile and realize that you don’t have to keep up with life. Life is what you make of it and in order to have a happy life, you need to be a happy you first!

A healthy smile is a great attribute to a happy life! At Credit River Dental, we would love to reflect our happiness in making your smile happier! Call us today at 905-278-4297!

10 Habits that Could be Harming Your Teeth!

Are These Habits Harming Your Teeth? 

We admit it – We are all living hectic and busy lifestyles, and hence we all tend to fall prey to various bad habits. Most of the time, we don’t even acknowledge our habits and fail to see the harm behind them. These habits can initially appear harmless, but when we look at these habits on a long-term perspective, we might feel alarmed about the potential threats they can have on our health. By the time we realize it, we might be too late to reverse the damage created on our body and health. Surprisingly, there are a lot of bad habits and small actions that can pose negative effects on our teeth.

Since teeth are one of the most important parts of our body, it is important that we get rid of certain habits and rectify certain actions that we do on a day-to-day basis to ensure optimal health for our teeth. As your Mississauga family dentist, we are always behind you in achieving optimal oral health and by raising awareness to these habits; you may be able to avoid the potential negative effects before it is too late.

Here is a list of common habits that you may be doing that can potentially be harmful to the health of your teeth:

  1. Utilizing Your Teeth as a Tool
    We use our teeth for consuming food, but we often end up using them as our primary tool for several activities. Some of us may be guilty of opening bottles, ripping open packages and holding things using our teeth. As tempting as it may be, our teeth are not meant to be used as scissors. These activities can cause damage to the teeth, putting unnecessary stress to them and should definitely be avoided!

  2. Biting Your Nails
    Nail biting is one of the most common habits and is definitely a habit that can prove harmful in the long run. It can very much damage the shape of your teeth and cause layers of enamel to break down – which can eventually lead to tooth sensitivity and chipped/fractured teeth.

  3. Use of Tobacco
    Not only does smoking impact the health of your heart and lungs, the use of tobacco has multiple effects to the mouth as well. Smoking increases your risk for gum disease and oral cancer, can cause dry mouth and bad breath, and decrease healing time.

  4. Chewing Ice
    Chewing ice seems like a pretty harmless activity but can often result in cracked and chipped teeth, damage to tooth enamel, problems with existing dental work (such as fillings and crowns) and sore jaw muscles.

  5. Using Toothpicks
    Whenever we eat certain types of food, especially chicken or meat, a lot of the residue will get stuck in between the gaps of our teeth. People often pick up toothpicks in order to lodge that residue out from in between their teeth, but little do they realize that they can be causing damage to their gums. Floss, floss picks, soft piks, and proxabrushes are all great aids designed for getting you out of those sticky situations. Ask your dental hygienist how you can ditch the toothpicks and opt for other interdental aids that are better suited for you.

  6. Consuming Too Many Sugary Foods and Beverages
    Although sugary foods and beverages might taste good, they can be harmful to our teeth and increase our risk in developing cavities. Always ensure that you are brushing away the harmful sticky bacteria after consuming something high in sugar.

  7. Falling Asleep Without Brushing
    We all have those tiring days where all we want to do is lay in bed and sleep as soon as we get home. However although we are asleep, the bacteria in our mouth are still very much active. Taking those two extra minutes to brush right before you hit the hay can save your teeth from developing cavities.

  8. Grinding/Clenching Your Teeth
    Although we may not realize it, we may find ourselves clenching our teeth during the day or grinding during our sleep. This can take a toll on our enamel and lead to further tooth damage. It is important that we make a conscious effort in catching ourselves clenching and relieve our jaw muscles when we do so in order to loosen up the pressure of our muscles. Since night time grinding is involuntary, special guards can be customized to you in order to prevent damage to your teeth.

  9. Using a Hard Bristle Toothbrush
    Although people may think that the harder the bristle, the cleaner your teeth will feel, hard bristle toothbrushes are actually more damaging than you would think. They often cause irreversible effects such as gum recession and enamel wear. Switch your hard bristle toothbrush for a soft or an extra soft one.

  10. Regular Soda Consumption
    Carbonated beverages are highly acidic and can have loads of sugar in it. Having pop as a regular part of your diet can cause acid erosion to your teeth, which can in turn weaken the enamel and make you more prone to getting cavities.

If you exhibit some of the habits above, don’t be too hard on yourself. By becoming more conscious of these habits, it will help you to reduce further damage to your teeth. Whether you tackle the habits all at once, or work on improving them little by little, you’ll be making a big difference in your oral health. If you need help breaking any of these habits, contact us at Credit River Dental Centre and we’ll be sure to work with you in achieving all of your oral health goals!

Eat Junk food? Don’t Let It Eat You!

We are finally in the summer solstice and boy, does it come hot! What better ways to cool down than to hit the beach and go for a swim, the splash pads and water parks, and of course those tasty ice cream treats for after! You make sure that your freezer is stacked with icy treats to keep the kids (and maybe yourself) sweetly cool. Those delicious smoothie recipes are definitely on top of the list!

As your Mississauga dental team, we understand that indulging in some cool treats is one of the perks of hot summer days. We love our ice cream too! July has more than ten dedicated days that celebrate all sorts of junk food; National Strawberry Sundae Day, Peach Ice Cream Day, National Chocolate Day, and even includes National Junk Food Day on July 21st, which is the same day as National Ice Cream Day. And while these especially bizarre days only come once a year, it’s easy to over indulge and soak in all that sugar along with the sun.

Although cavities are not directly caused by sugar, the acids created by the bacteria in your mouth that feed off the sugar are the culprits. The more sugar you feed those bacteria, the more acid they produce and heighten the risk for bacterial infections, or cavities. Did you know that a single can of coke contains a whopping 9.75 teaspoons of sugar, which is equivalent to 39 grams of sugar? The Heart & Stroke foundation advises that consumption should be kept at 10% of the total calories per day from added sugars. 5% is ideal for an average 2000 calorie a day diet. That works out to roughly 12 teaspoons or 48 grams of sugar. That is over 80% of how much sugar is recommended daily in one single can serving! A single cup of ice cream can contain around 7 teaspoons of sugar or around 28 grams. That is more than 50% of what is recommended, so it is easy to surpass your daily sugar intake if you don’t keep mindful!

And even though it is okay to have one once in a while, you may want to consider swapping a soda here and there for a more refreshing glass of water which hydrates you more than any can of soda can! A swap for frozen yogurt would also be a good alternative! Sometimes small changes can create big differences, and your taste buds won’t be able to tell the difference!

To minimize the risk of developing cavities, it is crucial to brush and floss your teeth regularly and schedule regular dental visits. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day for at least two minutes with fluoridated toothpaste ensures you keep your teeth plaque-free and healthy. Dental cleanings only takes a few minutes every couple months to ensure we can help you maintain your oral health. This is why it is very important to maintain regular and proper oral health so that your smile shines brighter than the sun! We at Credit River Dental strive to make sure your smile is as hot as the summer! Call us today to book your appointment today 905-278-4297!

Could These Common Diseases Be Contributing to Tooth Decay?

No part of the body functions truly independently, and your teeth are no exception. Your mouth is a window to the rest of your body and will often show warning signs if there is something bigger going on. If you’ve ever wondered why we ask so many questions about your medical history and lifestyle, it is because we are trying to understand the entire picture, along with what your mouth and oral health are telling us. There are many more things that can contribute to tooth decay rather than just poor oral hygiene. In fact, common diseases such as diabetes, autoimmune conditions, and eating disorders are examples of some systemic disease that do in fact impact the health of our teeth. As your Mississauga family dentist, we feel that it is important for you to be educated on the oral-systemic links in order to achieve optimal oral health. Common systemic conditions are:

  1. Diabetes
    Diabetes is perhaps the most significant cause and effect relationship with tooth decay. Whether you have type I or type II diabetes, your body’s blood sugar level is elevated because of lowered insulin levels. This impacts many parts of your body and the mouth as well. One of the most common symptoms of diabetes is dry mouth. Beyond making your mouth feel more comfortable, saliva acts as your mouth’s natural cleansing system, and protects your teeth against the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Lack of salivary flow makes your teeth more vulnerable and more prone to developing cavities.

    As the tooth decay continues to build up, the risk for gum disease also increases due to the continual buildup of bacteria in your mouth. In fact, about a quarter of all people diagnosed with diabetes also develop gum disease. To further complicate this situation, gum disease can cause blood sugar levels to rise, which can in turn, increase the severity of the diabetes. It is a vicious cycle that needs to be addressed as soon as symptoms begin to develop.

  2. Autoimmune Conditions
    Autoimmune conditions are a family of diseases that involve the body attacking parts of itself. This can include everything from major organ systems such as kidneys, to smaller systems such as salivary glands. Many of these diseases have an impact on the mouth, but the one that is most directly tied to oral health is Sjögeren’s syndrome. Sjögeren’s syndrome reduces the amount of saliva the mouth produces, which has the same effects we described earlier with diabetes. With extreme cases, patients may not even produce saliva at all.

    People with Sjögeren’s are advised to make more frequent visits to the dentist in order to monitor and keep watch of any tooth decay as a result from the decreased saliva flow. There are also several over the counter products that can be used in order to manage the symptoms and increase salivary flow. Products including xylitol – a natural saliva stimulant – will be quite beneficial to those experiencing dry mouth.

  3. Anorexia and Bulimia
    Both anorexia and bulimia are severe eating disorders in which a person has an extreme fear of becoming overweight, and either eat less or regurgitate food as a result. Both conditions have implications on the teeth because the body is not receiving the proper amount of minerals, vitamins, proteins and other nutrients that are needed in maintaining good oral health and preventing tooth decay. A person who is bulimic may binge eat and then vomit, which allows the acid that is breaking down the food to eat away at the tooth enamel. Overtime, the acid will weaken the tooth structure, making it more prone to getting cavities.

Avoid Tooth Decay with Total Body Care

These are just a few of the more common diseases that contribute to tooth decay. The connection between your mouth and body are not always apparent, which is why it is important to share your medical history with your dentist. Our team at Credit River Dental Centre will work with you in order to develop a treatment plan that integrates your mouth with the rest of your body for a full-body approach. To learn more speak to your dental team at Credit River Dental Centre or book your appointment today at (905) 278-4297 and take control of your oral health!

5 Tips to Prepare Your Child for Their First Dental Visit

As a parent, there are a lot of exciting “firsts” that you experience with your child. From first steps, to first words, to first tooth, the list goes on. Another first that can be a huge deal is taking your child to the dentist for the first time. It is important to start the habit of taking your child to the dental office as soon as their first tooth comes in to help familiarize them with the office and to monitor their oral health conditions. Typically, adults who have had earlier exposure to oral care at an early age see it as a routine part of life. However, in the eyes of a child who has never met one, a dentist can be quite intimidating. As your Mississauga family dentist, we feel that it is important to make every child’s first visit a great experience so they feel at home.

Here are some tips that can help you prepare your children for their first dental visit:

  1. Remain Positive
    Children often mirror our behaviour so promoting a positive attitude about oral hygiene will allow children to be more enthusiastic about it. Children love to learn about their bodies and the things they can do. For younger children, having them simply identifying where their teeth and tongue are will help bring awareness to that part of their body. You may also want to explain the importance of keeping their teeth and gums healthy.

  2. Use Encouraging Words
    Using positive and encouraging words will help your child feel at ease. If you have any fears of the dentist yourself, it is best not to relay those fears to your child. Children can quickly pick up on their parent’s anxieties, which tend to make them feel anxious too. Using phrases like “we will show the dentist what a great job you do when you brush” or “the dentist will count your teeth” will make them feel more comfortable with opening their mouths and showing the dentist their teeth.

  3. Expose Them to Dentistry
    Reading children books and allowing them to watch TV shows of their favorite characters visiting the dentist allows them to learn more about going to the dentist and gets them excited about going. Another idea is that you can also check out the dental office’s website or Instagram and show them pictures of the staff in order to familiarize them with the names and faces. Explain what will be happening during their visit and how friendly the dental staff will be. You can also bring them to tour around the office or to any events hosted by the office before their visit to also help familiarize themselves. Here at Credit River Dental Centre, parents and children may borrow books from our Children’s Dental Library that can help introduce children into a positive dental environment.

  4. Tell Us More About Your Child
    As your Mississauga family dentist, we will do our best to ensure that your child has a great and comfortable experience. Telling us about their favorite shows or activities will allow us to prepare for their appointment as soon as they come in. If you don’t, our friendly patient co-ordinator will be sure to ask when you call us. You can also let us know if your child has any fearful traits which will allow us to develop strategies to prevent any problems that may arise during treatment.

  5. Make Your Child Feel Secure
    Children cope with anxiety in different ways, some by hugging their favorite stuffed animal and others by simply staying close to their moms. As you enter the clinic, hold your child tightly as you introduce the dental office. This will allow them to feel your support and allow them to be more comfortable knowing that you are there with them. Allowing them to bring their favorite toy as well will also give them extra support. It is important for the child to feel comfortable inside the clinic first before they go to sit on the dental chair.

    Starting children off at a young age is crucial to developing good dental hygiene habits for their future and will only make future visits easier. If you are currently looking for a family dental clinic who will offer your child a wonderful and comfortable experience, be sure to contact Credit River Dental Centre and schedule your child’s first dentist appointment with our experienced and compassionate professionals today!
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