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Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?

Does Baking Soda Whiten Teeth?

More people than ever are looking for tooth whitening options to make their smile look whiter and brighter, and to improve their overall appearance. With so many whitening options, there’s bound to be one right for you.

There are two types of stains that cause discoloration. The first are intrinsic stains that develop inside the tooth enamel. Intrinsic tooth stains can be due to a mother’s antibiotic use while pregnant or childhood exposure to fluoride. Extrinsic tooth stains are the result of drinking beverages such as tea and coffee, age, the development of plaque and tartar or the use of tobacco.

Before begining a home or in-office treatment, it is a good idea to see a dentist to determine the type of stain you have and assist in deciding which option treatment would work best for you.

The options include:

1. Whitening at Home — There are several options in this category of whitening. You can choose over-the-counter toothpastes, mouthwashes, white strips or paint-on gels. Gel trays are popular, but may require a dentist to take an impression of your teeth and to help you select a whitening kit. The expense is less than an office whitening visit.

2. Whitening at the Office — This option may include one to three visits depending on the whitening procedure that you and the dentist choose. It is usually more expensive than the over-the-counter whitening products, but can be more effective. Speak with Dr. Jaleel to find out which options are available at our clinic.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a common household product that has many uses around the home, from eliminating smells to cleaning carpets. Now, baking soda can be found in many toothpastes and teeth-whitening products. Using it to remove stains from teeth is common practice. But does baking soda whiten teeth, really? It does an excellent job at removing surface stains, but you should proceed with caution to prevent damage to your enamel.

Home Remedies to Whiten Teeth

How can a simple mixture of equal parts baking soda and water whiten teeth? Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is composed of a chemical compound that makes it a great mild abrasive. It is this same abrasiveness that effectively removes surface stains from your teeth and make them appear whiter. However, if your goal is to remove deeper, older stains, then baking soda will not be as effective. You will need to see your dentist or use a product that was specifically created for whitening teeth.

Caution

If you’re considering using this method to help whiten your teeth, you need to be aware of possible side effects. With continual use, you could cause damage to the enamel that coats your teeth. In addition, baking soda doesn’t contain fluoride, which helps strengthen teeth and prevent dental cavities, so you will still need to use regular toothpaste. If you have braces that contain orthodontic glue or use a permanent retainer, don’t brush with baking soda. It will soften the glue.

Who doesn’t want a beautiful, bright smile free of stains? Getting that smile shouldn’t be at the expense of the health of your teeth. For a safer alternatives, you should seek teeth whitening services from your dentist. Learn more about tooth whitening, contact us today at 613.829.6868.

 

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Fillings For Teeth: What Are Your Options?

Fillings For Teeth: What Are Your Options?

If at your most recent visit to the dentist, Dr. Jaleel gave you crummy news – another cavity – you have plenty to keep you motivated: The number of cavities and the need for fillings has decreased as people have become better able to care for their teeth. But they still happen. Fortunately, there are more types of fillings for teeth today than ever before.

Fillings vary in complexity and material. Some are direct fillings, placed “directly” in a cavity, although others are indirect, wherein an impression of the tooth is taken and a custom filling is created to fit around it. If your dentist suggests a tooth restoration, knowing what’s available can help you make the best choice for your mouth.

Amalgam

You might think of amalgam fillings for teeth as a classic option. Dentists have been using this type of filling for more than 150 years. As the name suggests, amalgam fillings are made up of a mixture of metals. They typically contain about 50 percent mercury, along with tin, copper, silver or zinc. Compared to other types, amalgam fillings have a few things going for them: They are the least pricey option, and they’re also very strong and long-lasting.

Amalgam fillings aren’t without drawbacks, though. They’re silver in color to start and tend to become darker with time, meaning they are a fairly conspicuous item when you open your mouth. And although the FDA has determined that the level of mercury in the filling is safe for people over the age of six, you might prefer not to have a filling made from this material.

Composite

A composite tooth filling, typically made of powdered glass and acrylic resin, offers a few advantages over an amalgam filling. For one, the filling can be shaded to match the color of a person’s existing teeth, making it much less visible. As more people want natural-looking smiles, composite fillings have become increasingly popular.

Nonetheless, this type of filling isn’t always the right pick. The material it’s made from is less durable than a mix of metals, such as in amalgam. Therefore, the useful life of a composite filing isn’t always as long as other options. It’s perfect as a small filling, and best suited for teeth that experience a moderate amount of pressure when chewing, compared to teeth that handle the bulk of your chewing action.

Gold

When it comes to dental fillings, you can do much worse than gold. It’s one of the most durable and long-lasting options, it can remain effective for more than two decades. Of course, that durability comes at a price, as gold fillings are among the most expensive. They’re usually indirect fillings, as well, so you’ll need to spend more time in a dentist’s chair to receive one.

Porcelain

Porcelain fillings are similar to gold. They are a form of indirect filling, usually require more than one visit to the dentist and tend to be pricey. However, they’re also different from gold fillings in a few important way: On the one hand, they are much more fragile. On the other, they look like actual teeth and can help you maintain a natural appearance.

Resin or Glass Ionomer

Kids get cavities, too, and need to have those cavities filled just like their parents – even if they’re on the baby teeth. Resin or glass ionomer fillings are often used on the primary teeth or to fill in small areas of decay, as they tend to be very delicate and take considerable wear and tear. When used on a permanent tooth, this type of filling is usually placed in a spot that isn’t subject to extreme pressure or chewing action.

Although you have multiple options when arranging a filling, no filling is objectively better than another. Maintain a good personal routine by brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and seeing your dentist twice a year.

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Getting a Crown: What to Expect

Getting a Crown: What to Expect

Trendy clothes, stylish shoes and the latest celebrity-inspired haircut all make powerful statements when it comes to taking pride in your appearance. So does a pearly white smile. But smiles sometimes need some dental repairs before you’re comfortable showcasing them. A porcelain crown is one option that can spruce up a not-so-healthy tooth and restore your confidence.

CROWN TYPES

Crowns serve multiple purposes. It’s a device used to cover a tooth that’s badly formed or discolored. A crown can also be used to prevent a weakened tooth from breaking or to help repair a broken tooth. It even acts as a cover for dental implants. Crowns come in four different styles:

  • Ceramic (porcelain-based)
  • Porcelain fused to metal
  • Gold alloys
  • Base metal alloys

Preparing the Tooth

If you need a crown, you may also need endodontic or root canal treatment on the tooth. Not everyone who needs a crown will also need a root canal. Root canal treatment is required if the cavity is deep and reaches the pulp of the tooth, where the nerve of the tooth is located.

Before placing a crown, if not much of the tooth is remaining, Dr. Jaleel may need to build up a foundation to support it. A foundation is needed if large areas of the tooth are decayed, damaged or missing. If you are receiving the crown after root canal treatment, Dr. Jaleel may insert a post-and-core foundation.

To place a crown, Dr. Jaleel will file down the tooth to make room for the crown. After filing down the tooth, there are two ways to make a permanent crown. Most crowns require two visits to the dentist. You receive a temporary crown at the first visit and wear it while your permanent crown is made.

Next, Dr. Jaleel will first make an impression of your teeth. Our team will also take an impression of the teeth above or below the tooth that will receive the crown. The purpose is to make sure the crown will fit into your normal bite.

The impressions are sent to the lab, where the crown is made. During that time, you will have a temporary crown placed. These crowns are not meant to last for a long time. In some cases, however, a temporary crown can stay in place for a year or longer. If it needs to last longer, a lab-made plastic crown is best.

At a second visit, Dr. Jaleel will remove the temporary crown and test the permanent one. Sometimes crowns need more polishing or glazing or some other adjustment before they are placed. Once the crown is ready, it is permanently cemented on your tooth.

After a Crown

You shouldn’t feel any discomfort or sensitivity after a crown is placed. However, if your tooth has not had a root canal, it will still contain the nerve. You may therefore have some temporary sensitivity to cold. If you notice pain or sensitivity when you bite down, contact Dr. Jaleel. Usually this means that the crown is too high. When you bite, you are hitting the crown first. The crown needs to be adjusted. This can be done easily.

If the crown does not fit well over the prepared tooth, it’s possible that the cement will wash out from under the crown. However, the crown may not fall out right away. Under these conditions, bacteria will leak in and cause decay. If your crown seems loose when you chew, or if you have an unusual odor around the tooth, discuss this with Dr. Jaleel, and our dental team will check your crowns at your regular visits.

If you are in no discomfort and your appearance is not affected, don’t try to put the crown back in place yourself. If you do need to put it back in your mouth, clean it well on the inside. Use a toothpick to loosen and remove any cement or debris that is stuck to the crown. A wet cotton swab can finish the cleaning. You can replace the crown temporarily using denture adhesive or temporary cement. This is sold in many pharmacies. Contact Dr. Jaleel right away and try to schedule a visit for the next day.

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How To Improve Your Gum Health

How To Improve Your Gum Health

You take the time to brush and floss your teeth because you want a brighter smile. But how often do you think about ways to improve the health of your gums? Most people don’t realize that their gums play a vital role in the beauty of their smile.

If you don’t take care of your gums, several conditions could cause problems that will affect the look and feel of your entire mouth. Learn why gum health is so important and how to make your gums healthier in 5 minutes or less.

Why Do Gums Matter?

You’ve probably heard of gum disease, but do you really know what it is? This annoying infection can affect your teeth and all the surrounding tissues in your mouth. Because the disease doesn’t cause pain, many people don’t know they have it. So why does it matter? Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Gum disease occurs when plaque is not removed through proper brushing and flossing. You won’t feel any pain when you have gum disease so make sure you recognize the warning signs and get help if needed. The most common and well known form of gum disease is gingivitis. The condition involves the inflammation of the gingiva or gums surrounding the necks of the teeth, and is caused by plaque developing along the gumline. Symptoms include red and swollen gums, as well as gum bleeding, which can be seen on your toothbrush or at a dental exam.

Stages-of-Gum-DIsease

The second-most common periodontal disease is “periodontitis.” Like gingivitis, it is caused by bacterial plaque, but it can cause loss of bone support within the teeth. It can be treated or prevented, but rarely can the damage be reversed. Periodontitis can occur if gingivitis is left untreated. Signs of periodontitis, like gingivitis, include red and swollen gums, and bleeding. The formation of gum pockets around the teeth may also occur, which is defined by an opening around the gum tissue of the teeth. This allows bacteria and the formation of tartar to get deeper under the gum line. This deepening of the pocket is associated with bone loss, and can lead to tooth loss if left untreated.

Talk to Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa Nepean dentist or one of our fantastic dental hygienists during you visit about the presence of:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums (gums that are pulling away from your teeth)

When gum disease becomes more advanced, it is called periodontitis. This condition can result in the development of periodontal pockets, swollen gum tissue, lose of bone that could lead to tooth loss.

Improve Gum Health

You can prevent gum disease with simple steps that take just a few minutes. Proper brushing and flossing techniques are essential. After you floss, follow these steps to brush both your teeth and your gums:

  • Proper angle – Make sure you hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline.
  • Short strokes – Move the brush back and forth in short gentle strokes brushing both the front and back of your teeth and gums.
  • Use the tip – To get behind your front teeth, use the tip of the brush on the top and on the bottom teeth.
  • Brush your tongue – Keep your mouth fresh by brushing your tongue.

And lastly, improve gum health and prevent tooth decay with regular visits to Dr. Jaleel!

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Denture 101: The Basics

Denture 101: The Basics

What are Dentures?

Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as one’s natural teeth, today’s dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever.

There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa Nepean dentist will help you choose the type of denture that’s best for you based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced and the cost involved.

How do Dentures Work?

With full dentures, a flesh-colored acrylic base fits over your gums. The base of the upper denture covers the palate (the roof of your mouth), while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.

Dentures are custom-made in a dental laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth. Dr. Jaleel will determine which of the three types of dentures described below is best for you.

Conventional or Immediate Full Denture Partial Denture

 Immediate Full Denture vs Partial Dentures

  • Conventional Full Denture
    A conventional full denture is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed. Healing may take several months, during which time you are without teeth.
  • Immediate Full Denture
    An immediate full denture is inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. While immediate dentures offer the benefit of never having to be without your teeth, they must be relined several months after being inserted. The reason is that the bone supporting the teeth reshapes as it heals, causing the denture to become loose.
  • Partial Denture
    A partial denture rests on a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth and serve as anchors for the denture. Partial dentures offer a removable alternative to bridges.

How Long Before I Get Used to My Dentures?

New dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first few weeks or even months. Eating and speaking with dentures might take a little practice. A bulky or loose feeling is not uncommon, while the muscles of your cheeks and tongue learn to hold your dentures in place. Excessive saliva flow, a feeling that the tongue does not have adequate room, and minor irritation or soreness are also not unusual. If you experience irritation, contact our clinic and we can set up an appointment with Dr. Jaleel right away.

How Long do Dentures Last?

Over a period of time, your denture will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear. Rebasing means making a new base while keeping the existing denture teeth. Also, as you age, your mouth naturally changes. These changes cause your dentures to loosen, making chewing difficult and irritating your gums. At a minimum, you should see Dr. Jaleel twice a year for a checkup.

Here are tips for caring for your dentures:

  • When handling your dentures, stand over a folded towel or basin of water. Dentures are delicate and may break if dropped.
  • Don’t let your dentures dry out. Place them in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in plain water when you’re not wearing them. Never use hot water, which can cause them to warp.
  • Brushing your dentures daily will remove food deposits and plaque, and help prevent them from becoming stained. An ultrasonic cleaner may be used to care for your dentures, but it does not replace a thorough daily brushing.
  • Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures. This stimulates circulation in your tissues and helps remove plaque.
  • See Dr. Jaleel if your dentures break, chip, crack or become loose. Don’t be tempted to adjust them yourself — this can damage them beyond repair.

How to Clean Off Dentures

In addition to your regular daily brushing, it’s necessary to use a deep-cleaning solution periodically to soak off food deposits from the denture. These solutions typically come in the form of effervescent tablets, which are specifically formulated to clean dentures.

Avoid using abrasive materials such as brushes with stiff bristles, whitening toothpastes or products containing bleach, because these can damage the dentures. Also keep in mind that hot or boiling water can warp your dentures, and soaking items that have metal fittings in any solution containing chlorine can cause the metal to tarnish.

After soaking, check the inside of the denture for any remaining food particles, and brush or scrub using a soft-bristled toothbrush whose shape is conducive to denture care.

Ultimately, ensure that you rinse the dentures exceptionally well afterward; even the gentlest cleansing solution can contain chemicals that are harmful to your mouth’s natural tissues.

Just because you wear dentures doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the pleasure of freshly-brushed teeth. Complete your denture-cleaning procedure with a thorough brushing of your gums using a soft-bristled toothbrush and everyday, fluoridated toothpaste.

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What are Wisdom Teeth and How are they Extracted?

What are Wisdom Teeth and How are they Extracted?

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last molars on each side of the jaws. They are also the last teeth to emerge, or erupt, usually when a person is between 16 and 20.

Since wisdom teeth are the last permanent teeth to come in, or erupt, there is often not enough room left in your mouth to accommodate them. This can lead to wisdom teeth that are impacted, teeth that are trapped beneath the gum tissue by other teeth or bone. If teeth are impacted, swelling and tenderness may occur.

Wisdom teeth that only partially emerge or come in crooked can also lead to painful crowding and disease. Since teeth removed before age 20 have less developed roots and fewer complications. Dr. Jaleel recommends that people between 16 and 19 have their wisdom teeth evaluated to see if they need to be removed. Wisdom teeth are the last four of your 32 teeth to erupt. These teeth generally appear between the ages of 17 to 25. When one of these teeth doesn’t have enough room to come in normally, it is considered impacted. Teeth may become twisted, tilted, or displaced as they try to emerge.

Impacted wisdom teeth do not always show symptoms, meaning you could have impacted teeth and not even realize it. If symptoms do arise, it is usually the result of the gum on top of the tooth becoming infected or swollen. Symptoms may include pain, swollen and bleeding gums, swelling around the jaw, bad breath, headache or jaw ache, and an unpleasant taste when eating. Some people experience stiffness of the jaw or swollen lymph nodes in the neck.

Annual dental appointments and x-rays can catch impacted teeth early before they start to show symptoms. Dr. Jaleel will most likely recommend surgery to remove the impacted teeth.

How are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

During the procedure
Your doctor or oral surgeon may use one of three types of anesthesia (Local anesthesia, Sedation anesthesia, General anesthesia). The appropriate anesthesia for you depends on the expected complexity of the wisdom tooth extraction and your own comfort level. Your options include:

During wisdom tooth extraction, Dr. Jaleel will:

  • Makes an incision in the gum, creating flaps to expose the tooth and bone
  • Removes any bone that blocks access to the tooth
  • Divides the tooth into sections if it’s easier to remove in pieces
  • Removes the tooth
  • Cleans the site of the removed tooth of any debris from the tooth or bone
  • Stitches the wound closed to promote healing, though this isn’t always necessary
  • Places gauze over the extraction site to control bleeding and to help a blood clot form

After the procedure
If you receive sedation anesthesia or general anesthesia, you’re taken to a recovery room after the procedure. If you have local anesthesia, your brief recovery time is likely in the dental chair.

As you heal from your surgery, follow our instructions on:

  • Activity. After your surgery, plan to rest for the remainder of the day. Resume normal activities the next day, but for at least a week, avoid strenuous activity that might result in dislodging the blood clot from the socket.
  • Beverages. Drink lots of water after the surgery. Don’t drink alcoholic, caffeinated, carbonated or hot beverages in the first 24 hours. Don’t drink with a straw for at least a week because the sucking action can dislodge the blood clot from the socket.
  • Food. Eat only soft foods, such as yogurt or applesauce, for the first 24 hours. Start eating semisoft foods when you can tolerate them. Avoid hard, chewy, hot or spicy foods that might get stuck in the socket or irritate the wound.
  • Pain management. You may be able to manage pain with a prescription pain medication — given by your doctor or oral surgeon — or an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol, others). Holding a cold pack against your jaw also may relieve pain.
  • Bleeding. Some oozing of blood may occur the first day after wisdom tooth removal. Try to avoid excessive spitting so that you don’t dislodge the blood clot from the socket. Replace gauze over the extraction site as directed by your dentist or oral surgeon.
  • Swelling and bruising. Swelling and bruising of your cheeks usually improves in two or three days. Use an ice pack as directed by your dentist or surgeon.
  • Cleaning your mouth. Don’t brush your teeth, rinse your mouth, spit or use a mouthwash during the first 24 hours after the surgery. After that time, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water every two hours and after meals for a week after your surgery. Mix 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 milliliters) of table salt in 8 ounces (237 milliliters) of water. After the first 24 hours, resume brushing your teeth, being particularly gentle near the surgical wound to avoid disrupting any stitches.
  • Tobacco use. If you smoke, don’t do so for at least 24 hours after surgery — and wait longer than that if possible. If you chew tobacco, don’t use it for at least a week. Using tobacco products after oral surgery can delay healing and increase the risk of complications.
  • Stitches. You may have stitches that dissolve within a few weeks or no stitches at all. If your stitches need to be removed, schedule an appointment to have them taken out.
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What Causes Bad Breath and 5 Quick Fixes

What Causes Bad Breath and 5 Quick Fixes

What’s the most common reason for bad breath?

Bad dental care is a major factor.

The condition stems from having a concentration of bacteria-producing malodorous chemicals coming from the lack of oral hygiene. The source of the odor is often particles of food stuck in between the teeth and an accumulation of bacteria in the back of the throat.

Several other factors can also contribute to bad breath, also known as halitosis:

  • Certain foods, like garlic and onions, add to objectionable breath odor.
  • Dry mouth, which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases, can cause bad breath. Saliva is needed to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor.
  • Tobacco products cause bad breath, too. If you use tobacco, ask your dentist for help kicking the habit.

Bad breath may also signal a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, or a liver or kidney ailment. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause of bad breath.

If bad breath is a chronic condition, ask your dentist for help in identifying the cause and developing a treatment plan to get rid of it.

The best way to prevent bad breath is simple: maintain good oral health. See your dentist regularly for a professional cleaning and checkup. If you think you have constant bad breath, keep track of the foods you eat and make a list of medications you take.

Brush twice a day to remove food debris and plaque. Brush your tongue, too. Once a day, use floss or an interdental cleaner to clean between teeth.

5 Quick Fixes For Constant Bad Breath

Worried your coworkers will notice your bad breath at your next meeting? In an interview, will your bad breath make a poor first impression on your potential new boss? Could your bad breath alter the course of your career? Here are five quick fixes for your constant bad breath.

1. Pop a Sugar-Free Mint

Sugar-free mints can be used to quickly freshen your breath before important business meetings. They don’t cure your bad breath, but they will mask the odor and make your breath temporarily smell minty fresh. Plus, since mints are compact, it’s easy to fit them in your pocket.

You can use mints frequently as long as you choose a sugar-free variety. Mints that contain sugar can contribute to tooth decay and other dental problems.

Healthy beverage with lemon slices

2. Drink Water

Constant bad breath can be caused by dry mouth, which means that your mouth isn’t producing enough saliva. Your saliva washes away food particles that can make your breath smell, and without enough saliva, these particles will stay put and lead to bad breath.

Drinking water before a meeting or interview is a quick fix for this problem. For longer meetings, bring a water bottle with you so that can continue to sip water and keep your bad breath at bay.

3. Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Sugar-free gum is another easy, fast way to get rid of your bad breath. Chewing gum stimulates your salivary flow, and this can help to freshen your breath if the odor is caused by dry mouth. The scent of the gum will help to mask underlying odors, especially if you choose strong-smelling flavors like peppermint or cinnamon.

4. Use Breath Spray

Breath sprays are flavored products that can be sprayed into the mouth to quickly freshen breath. These sprays come in flavors like cinnamon and peppermint, and they’re a good choice for times when you’re in too much of a rush to chew gum or drink a glass of water. Choose a sugar-free breath spray to avoid putting yourself at risk of tooth decay.

5. Use Mouthwash

Mouthwash can help you quickly freshen your breath. This quick fix works by killing the microorganisms inside your mouth that contribute to bad breath. The minty aroma also helps to temporarily cover up any underlying odors, like tobacco.

It’s a good idea to keep a travel-sized bottle of mouthwash in your briefcase, purse or desk drawer to ensure that you’re ready for last-minute meetings at work. Simply swish your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash and enjoy fresher breath.

LONG-TERM RELIEF

Keep these five tips in mind to maintain your fresh breath all day long. Whether you’re shaking hands with a client or chatting with your coworkers around the office, be memorable for your talents and not for your bad breath. However, gums, mints and other quick fixes are just temporary solutions. If you suffer from constant bad breath, make sure to see your dentist to find out what’s causing the problem. Your bad breath could be caused by poor oral hygiene, gum disease, dry mouth or other issues that require attention. Once the cause has been identified, your dentist can offer treatments that will get rid of your bad breath for good.

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A Guide for Proper Dental Care: From Infant to Teen

A Guide for Proper Dental Care: From Infant to Teen

We all wish kids came with a user manual; it would take out much of the improvisation that comes with parenting. But your kids are individuals, and as such, have their own needs. Luckily, when it comes to oral health, there are a few guidelines that simplify the process of teaching your little ones about tooth care. Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa-Nepean Dentist, has been practicing children dentistry for over 20 years. Through these years, she has learned a lot about helping children keep their teeth in the best condition.

You might wonder if your disciplinary methods are working, or how to instill common manners, but good oral hygiene can actually consist in this handy parent guide to children’s teeth:

BABIES AND TODDLERS

Most babies start teething around six months of age, which is when oral health should be a priority. Dr. Jaleel suggests parents should start brushing their children’s teeth as soon as those first pearly whites emerge. You can use a little toothpaste on a soft-bristled brush, but keep the amount to about the size of a grain of rice. Don’t forget that your child should have his first dentist appointment by his or first birthday.

PRESCHOOLERS

“I can do it myself!” might as well be the motto for preschoolers everywhere. As your once-toddler grows into a curious preschooler, it’s the ideal time to encourage healthy oral habits. He or she may even look forward to brushing, so build on that enthusiasm: Let your child pick out a new toothbrush and a great-tasting toothpaste. Kids that take the lead are more likely to make daily brushing a personal habit.

Even though your preschooler might want to fly solo when it comes to brushing and flossing, you’ll still need to supervise his technique and help ensure that the teeth are cleaned at least twice daily.

ELEMENTARY-AGED

Between catching the school bus, homework and soccer practice, your elementary-aged child might have a tight schedule. Two things can result in poor oral health during these crucial years: forgetting to brush and indulging in sugary treats. Help out by setting a timer or alarm to keep your child on top of these things.

Kids at this age also start losing their primary teeth – usually between the ages of five and seven. But just because these teeth are on their way out doesn’t mean kids can eat with impunity. Dr. Jaleel suggests making a habit of offering healthier options and limiting sugary sodas, juices and candy as well. A reusable water bottle can help remind kids to stay hydrated – encouraging saliva production – whereas treats like trail mix or sliced veggies make for a nice lunch side dish or after-school snack. The occasional sweet won’t hurt, but they should be balanced with healthy foods to ensure the adult teeth develop properly.

Slip a dollar under their pillow from the Tooth Fairy, but don’t forget to schedule regular checkups with your dentist to detect any complications during this process.

TEENAGERS

Smart, moody and fun, your teenager might raise an eyebrow to your oral health advocacy. Instead, approach it from a self-image angle: It’s important to brush and floss to look your best. Nonetheless, don’t be surprised if your teen sleeps in and then races out the door without even looking at his or her toothbrush. You can help, of course: Arranging for regular dental checkups can help remind your teen to keep brushing.

The teenage years are also a great time to discuss orthodontia for a straighter and more confident smile entering adulthood. From traditional brackets to plastic liners, an orthodontist can design a treatment plan that puts your teen on a path to aligned teeth by graduation. Ask your dentist for a recommendation.

Naturally, your kids’ needs depend on their personal health and age, but a parent guide to children’s teeth can keep you informed on what to expect over time.

Other Articles You May Be Interested:

How to get your children to brush their teeth.

 

 

 

 

Stop Procrastinating: Young Children Need Dental Visits Too.

 

 

 

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Here is What to Eat for a Healthier Gum

Here is What to Eat for a Healthier Gum

Gums are the hero of the mouth. they keep your teeth secure, protect your oral bones, and battle against bacteria on a daily basis. Dr. Jaleel and the Fairlawn dental team often see patients with inflamed gums that are prone to bleed. Even though many pay attention to going to the gym, we can often forget to take care of our gums. An easy way to make sure your gums are getting the healthy support they need is through your diet. Continue reading to discover the best gum-loving foods that you can easily incorporate into your meals to give them an extra daily boost.

Onions

Onions have been proven to be a fantastic food for healthy gums because they neutralize oral bacteria. They have microbial properties that target the most common types of bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities. For great gums, try incorporating more onions into your meals as salad toppers, in sandwiches and burgers, in stir fries, and in soups, stews, and chilis.

Leafy greens

Vegetables like kale and spinach are filled to the brim with mouth-healthy vitamins and minerals. Specifically, they hold vitamin C, which boosts the production of red blood cells and reduces inflammation. Both these benefits battle against irritation and gum disease. Leafy greens require more chewing, thanks to their high fibre content, which is good for gums because the chewing action creates more saliva. This helps to flush out food particles, bacteria, and plaque that may be sticking to your teeth near the gum line. Revamp your diet with power-packed greens by creating salads with them, adding them as a cooked side dish to main meals, and putting them in soups and sandwiches.

Green tea

There is some research which shows that this antioxidant-rich tea can help stave off inflammation in the body. Green tea has specific antioxidants called catechins which help gums fight inflammation caused by the one of the types of oral bacteria responsible for gum disease. Try drinking a cup of green tea daily to give your gums a healthy boost.

Peppers and citrus fruits

Vitamin C is also high in vegetables like peppers of all colours and acidic fruits such as oranges, kiwis, pineapple, and strawberries. Add them into your diet to reap the benefits of this anti-inflammatory vitamin through smoothies, with yogurt, and in salads.

Shiitake mushrooms

Lentinan is an antibacterial compound found in shiitake mushrooms and it fights against plaque-building bacteria in the mouth. This type of bacteria breeds in hard to reach places in the mouth such as in between teeth and along the gum line, and can cause irritation and possibly lead to gingivitis and gum disease. You can incorporate shiitake mushrooms into your meals in a variety of different ways. Try sautéing them as a side to a main course or chopping them up and adding them to whatever vegetable dish you prepare.

Celery, carrots, and apples

Foods that are very crunchy are excellent at scraping away stuck on food and plaque. The hard bits of foods like celery, carrots, and apples get in between teeth and into tooth crevices and can help keep your mouth fresh between brushings. Crunchy fruits and vegetables also happen to be high in fibre, which, again, means they take longer to chew and generate more saliva. Saliva is great for flushing the mouth of bacteria near the gum line. Simply add these foods to your daily diet as snacks to help get rid of food particles between meals.

Milk, yogurt, and cheese

Dairy products are great for teeth because they are high in calcium, a mineral that helps to strengthen bone, but they are also great for your gums. This is because of a protein called casein that is found in most dairy products which helps to neutralize oral acids that are produced by bacteria in the mouth. These acids can be destructive to tooth enamel and gum tissue, leading to irritation or worse. Include a healthy amount of dairy in your diet by drinking a cup of milk daily or by eating snacks that include dairy such as cheese or yogurt.

Check out our other blog posts for additional advice!

You may be interested in this post: Food That Are Good/Bad For Your Teeth.

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Getting Braces as an Adult: Why It Is Never Too Late

Getting Braces as an Adult: Why It Is Never Too Late

Braces aren’t just for awkward teens with brightly colored spacers anymore. Many patients at Dr. Jaleel’s Ottawa clinic are over the age of 18. As more adults turn to braces to straighten their teeth, they’re proving that it’s never too late to fine-tune your smile. Dr. Jaleel has been practicing dentistry and orthodontics for over 20 years now. Over the years, she has seen many people smile brighten after getting braces. Here are just a few great reasons why dental braces for adults are a wise choice.

Set Your Teeth Straight

What don’t you like about your smile? Quite often, braces are not just for aesthetics. Crowded and crooked teeth are more difficult to brush and floss, which could cause plaque buildup and lead to other problems, such as cavities or gum disease. An underbite or overbite can even make chewing uncomfortable. Whether your teeth are misaligned or slightly less than perfect, braces can correct the issue, although dental braces for adults may need to be applied longer than for children or teenagers. The time required varies depending on the condition of your teeth, but the average patient has braces for 18–30 months. No matter your reason for needing braces, the results are well worth the wait.

You Have Options

You don’t have to get traditional metal braces, either. There are many more inconspicuous options for braces available today, such as clear braces, lingual braces and clear aligners, that will allow you to straighten your teeth undercover. Ceramic or clear braces are made from a composite that blends with the color of your teeth, while lingual braces are completely hidden because they’re attached behind the teeth. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign, are custom-fit to your teeth. Choose the look and type of braces that will work best for you.

Benefits of Clear Braces

The benefits of clear braces became evident as growing numbers of adult patients began to pursue care. Adults were now able to improve the appearance and function of their smile without attaching the stigma of a metal mouth. These new aligners could be removed for eating meals and dental hygiene home care; afterward, they could be placed back in the mouth to continue tooth movement. The result of this process was two-fold: First, patients gained confidence from teeth that looked better; second, oral health was improved through properly aligned teeth.

Straighter teeth are healthier in form and function. Bacteria, plaque acids and impacted food particals are the contributing factors to dental decay and gum disease. Teeth that are in alignment gather less plaque simply because they are easier to clean with proper brushing and flossing techniques. The gums fit the teeth more snugly when the teeth do not overlap, leading to a decreased risk of triggers for the inflammatory process that results in periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has been proven to contribute to other systemic illnesses, so straighter teeth not only contribute to a healthy mouth but can contribute to a healthier body.

Another of the benefits of clear braces is a decrease in the traumatic wear that can result from teeth that do not fit together properly. Teeth are like gears inside a machine: If the gears do not align properly, they will wear at an improper rate, resulting in a breakdown of the machine. Teeth can chip, break, or wear at the gumline (a process termed abfraction). Using clear braces to align adult teeth can prevent patients from the need to invest significant amounts of money in restorations. Properly aligned teeth can also decrease the stress placed on the jaw joint; crowded, misaligned teeth place unnatural stress on the jaw.

Clear Braces: Retaining Teeth for Life

The ultimate goal of dental care providers is to retain each patient’s dentition for life. The benefits of clear braces extend far beyond a pretty smile. Clear braces offer an opportunity to straighten teeth while raising the patient’s confidence level in daily life. Although not every patient is a candidate for invisible braces, the products do provide a large percentage of individuals with improved oral health. As companies improve orthodontic techniques used in clear braces, and as new companies emerge, dental professionals will continue to learn about aligning teeth — and that gives us all a reason to smile!

Boost Your Confidence

Many adults are unhappy with the way their teeth look and will avoid smiling or shy away from conversations as a result, which can affect how they present themselves in social and professional situations. Stick through the tooth-straightening process with your braces, and in time you’ll get the smile that you’ve always wanted.

For the healthiest mouth possible, be sure to brush twice daily with a toothpaste that fights germs and prevents gingivitis, and follow Dr. Jaleel’s instructions on proper care for your braces. Keep in mind, however, that whitening toothpastes are not recommended while you wear braces since the toothpaste cannot reach under your brackets and could result in stains in the areas where the brackets were when it’s finally time for the braces to come off.

There will soon be no need to hide your smile anymore once you have a reason and the confidence to show it off. If you’re thinking about straightening your teeth, set up an appointment to talk to Dr. Jaleel about the possibility of braces!

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