Have you ever wondered what makes up a tooth? Each part of a tooth has unique functions and properties. DO you know about enamel, dentin, cementum, roots and the root canal chambers inside the tooth? Damaged teeth, especially teeth with cracked or eroded enamel, are very susceptible to cavities. Advanced gum disease, another oral health condition that threatens tooth health, attacks the bone of the teeth and may cause tooth loss. Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa Nepean Dentist is big on patient education. Helping you understand the function of each part of a tooth is an important component of oral health education for you and your family. So let’s get started!
Tooth enamel is a protective barrier that surrounds the visible part of the tooth. It is composed of strong minerals, including calcium phosphate. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and healthy enamel is resistant to cavity-causing bacteria. Because of its mineral composition, tooth enamel is translucent. Fortunately, enamel can be strengthened. Fluoride, a common mineral, helps replenish deficits in tooth enamel. Parents can help replenish enamel at home with Colgate®toothpastes that contain fluoride. Dentists also offer special fluoride treatments. These are commonly administered to children to help keep their teeth strong and free from cavities.
Dentin is found underneath the enamel surface of the tooth and underneath the cementum that forms along a tooth’s roots. Made of living cellular material and tissue, dentin is what makes up the majority of a tooth’s structure. Dentin is a bone-like substance that contains microscopic tubules. Unlike enamel, exposed dentin is highly susceptible to the bacteria that cause dental cavities and can cause tooth sensitivity.
Cementum is a coating that surrounds the roots of teeth and is similar to enamel, but softer. Cementum assists with root stability by attaching to the fibers that anchor the tooth in the jawbone.
Much as a tree’s roots help anchor it in the ground, a tooth’s roots anchor it in the jawbone. This allows teeth to withstand the force of biting and chewing food on a daily basis. One major threat to the health of a tooth’s roots is periodontal disease. This oral care disease is caused by bacteria in the dental plaque invading the gum tissue and supporting bone, thus leading to destruction of the bone holding the tooth or teeth in place. Tooth roots are integral to maintaining dental health. Even children can develop gum disease. Maintaining healthy oral hygiene practices — including thorough flossing and brushing — is an easy way to keep mouths healthy with home care. Regular dental cleanings for you and your family will also combat tartar and, ultimately, gum disease.
Root and Pulp Canals
Located inside the tooth in a hollow chamber is the root or pulp canal. A tooth may have one root and many premolar and molar teeth may contain two or three roots. It houses cellular material including pulp and the tooth’s roots. This area of the tooth is extremely sensitive and is responsible for providing the blood flow and nutrients that are necessary to keep teeth alive. When this area is damaged or infected by extensive decay and trauma, root canal treatment is often necessary to save a tooth from extraction.
Learning about the basics of tooth anatomy will help you understand how oral health conditions form so that you can teach your children healthy dental habits. Explaining the unique biological makeup of teeth to your kids can also be a fun and productive way to introduce biological concepts in an easy-to-understand format.
When traveling or otherwise busy, it can be easy to lose sight of how you should care for your toiletries. If your toothbrush is not properly cared for, microorganisms can build up and have an adverse effect on both your oral and overall health, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI). So, protecting your toothbrush and toothpaste, with something like a travel toothpaste holder, will help you maintain good oral care while on the go.
Why Protect Your Brushing Tools?
Most people know protecting their toothbrush is imperative to good oral care. You don’t want to expose the bristles to an unclean area that’s susceptible to dirt or debris, like the bottom of a purse or even an old travel case. But protecting your toothpaste is just as important. Caps can fall off or get lost, and in the bathroom, the area around your sink is a particularly high-traffic area for germs, according toHealthline.com. Though it might seem logical to place your toothpaste on or in your toothbrush holder, you run the risk of picking up more germs.
If you’re traveling or on the go, it can be doubly challenging to think about protecting your toothbrush and toothpaste, given that your regular routine might be disrupted. But it’s even more important to kick your oral care into a higher gear when away from home. Your immune system can take a hit from travel fatigue, according to the Mayo Clinic, and exposure to sick travelers or other stressors can make it harder for your body to ward off bacterial illnesses.
Don’t: Try Makeshift Storage
If you move around on busy work days and brush your teeth after lunch, there are habits you should avoid to help you protect your supplies. It’s common to wrap your toothbrush in tissue or aluminum foil, but you run the risk of damaging the bristles and getting it dirty. That’s true for your toothpaste, too, where the cap can pick up debris in a case or bag. Get in the habit of storing your travel bag and belongings in one place to lower the chances of losing or contaminating them.
Don’t: Store Forever
Don’t keep your toothbrush or toothpaste stored in a travel container for long periods of time, either. Moist places are breeding grounds for germs and mircoorganisms. Consider storing them away from the bathroom, where germs are more prevalent. You’ll go through your toothpaste more quickly than your toothbrush, but make a calendar reminder every three months to dispose of these items – as well as their holders – as germs can always build up.
Do: Separate Your Items From Others
Keep your toothbrush separated from other toothbrushes. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends you allow your brush to dry prior to putting it away, so bacteria doesn’t build up. But make sure your brush is kept apart from the rest of your family’s to decrease the risk of spreading sickness.
Do: Use Holders for Both Products
Use a travel toothpaste holder and travel toothbrush holder. But make sure to rinse both under water, just as you would your toothbrush after using it. Though you might be traveling to various places, set up a system for your daily care, like bringing tissue to cover a surface where you can set your brush down to dry, prior to placing it back in its respective holder.
By getting in the habit of protecting your toothpaste and toothbrush when traveling, you’re effectively supporting great oral care.
To understand what happens when your teeth decay, it’s helpful to know what’s in your mouth naturally. Here are a few of the elements:
- Saliva — Your mouth and teeth are constantly bathed in saliva. We never give much thought to our spit, but this fluid is remarkable for what it does to help protect our oral health. Saliva keeps teeth and other parts of your mouth moist and washes away bits of food. Saliva contains minerals that strengthen teeth. It includes buffering agents. They reduce the levels of acid that can decay teeth. Saliva also protects against some viruses and bacteria.
- Plaque — Plaque is a soft, gooey substance that sticks to the teeth a bit like jam sticks to a spoon. Like the slime that clings to the bottom of a swimming pool, plaque is a type of biofilm. It contains large numbers of closely packed bacteria, components taken from saliva, and bits of food. Also in the mix are bacterial byproducts and white blood cells. Plaque grows when bacteria attach to the tooth and begin to multiply. Plaque starts forming right after a tooth is cleaned. Within an hour, there’s enough to measure. As time goes on, the plaque thickens. Within two to six hours, the plaque teems with bacteria that can cause cavities and periodontal (gum) disease.
- Calculus — If left alone long enough, plaque absorbs minerals from saliva. These minerals form crystals and harden into calculus. Then new plaque forms on top of existing calculus. This new layer can also become hard.
- Bacteria — We have many types of bacteria in our mouths. Some bacteria are good; they help control destructive bacteria. When it comes to decay, Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacilli are the bacteria that cause the most damage to teeth.
How Your Teeth Decay
The bacteria in your mouth need food to live and multiply. When you eat sugary foods, or even starches such as rice, the bacteria use them as food, too. The bacteria then produce acids that can dissolve tooth enamel (outer layer of the tooth).
It’s not just candy and ice cream we’re talking about. All carbohydrate foods eventually break down into simple sugars. Some of this process begins in the mouth.
Foods that break down into simple sugars in the mouth are called fermentable carbohydrates. These include the obvious sugary foods, such as cookies, cakes, soft drinks and candy. But they also include pretzels, crackers, bananas, potato chips and breakfast cereals.
Bacteria in your mouth turn the sugars in these foods into acids. These acids begin to dissolve the mineral crystals in teeth. The more times you eat each day, the more times your teeth are exposed to an acid attack.
This attack can lead to tooth decay, also known as dental caries or cavities. First, the acid begins to dissolve calcium and phosphate crystals inside a tooth. A white spot may appear on the enamel in this weakened area. But the loss of minerals develops beneath the surface of the enamel. The surface may still be smooth.
At this stage, the tooth can be repaired with the help of fluoride, proteins and minerals (calcium and phosphate) in the saliva. The saliva also helps reduce the acid levels from bacteria that attack the tooth.
Once the decay breaks through the enamel to cause a cavity, the damage is permanent. It is important to get immediate treatment with Dr. Jaleel. Left untreated, the decay will get worse. It can destroy a tooth all the way through the enamel, through the inside dentin layer and down to the pulp or nerve of the tooth. That’s why it is important to treat caries at a very early stage, when the process can be reversed.
Do you or your family members get cavities often? Dental research has found out that certain factors can affect your risk of tooth decay. These factors include:
- The current number of decayed or filled teeth
- Your fluoride exposure, including fluoride in drinking water, toothpaste and rinses, and fluoride treatments in the dental office
- Parents or siblings with dental decay
- How well you take care of your teeth
- The amount of saliva and the balance of minerals, enzymes and buffering agents it contains
- How often and what types of foods you eat
Ask Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa dentist about the best ways to reduce your risks and limit dental decay.
To prevent your teeth from decaying, you can do three things:
- Strengthen your teeth’s defenses with fluoride, sealants and agents that contain calcium and phosphate ions.
- Have Dr. Jaleel or one of our dental hygienists place sealants on your back teeth.
- Reduce the number of bacteria in your mouth.
Most importantly, visit Dr. Jaleel regularly at the Fairlawn Dental Clinic in Nepean. We can find any decay early, when it can be treated and reversed.
Is juicing as good for you as its fans claim? It’s no secret that consuming fresh fruits and vegetables is part of a healthy, balanced diet. Yet many of us often find it challenging to get our daily intake. Juicing, the process of extracting the juice from fruits and vegetables, has become popular because it makes consuming multiple fruits and vegetables ultra-convenient. Some juicing proponents claim the liquid form allows the body to more readily absorb the antioxidants and nutrients. And juicing has gained a reputation for being a cure-all for what ails you, with juice cleanses, home juicers and juice bars popping up all over. But just how healthy is drinking juice made from fresh fruits and vegetables? And what about lemon water? Dr. Jaleel, your Ottawa dentist is here to set things straight.
Juicing and Oral Health
Consuming fresh juice with an at-home juicer or purchasing cold-pressed juices to drink on the go can really benefit people who normally struggle to eat vegetables and fruit. However, the ideal way to benefit from their nutrients is by eating them, not drinking them. Juicing in moderation is fine, but if juice is consumed in place of a meal, and this is happening more than two or three times a week, there may be some unwanted health implications. Why? When we drink juice, even juice made from fresh, healthy ingredients, we’re essentially consuming liquid sugar, which is quickly ingested by the body. Liquid travels and is absorbed by the digestive tract much faster than nutrients from solid foods. This means a faster uptake of sugar into the blood stream, and that is usually not a good thing as it leads to more insulin production.
Frequently replacing meals with juice can also be damaging to your oral health. Consuming juice creates a very acidic oral environment, and if it is the only nutrient at a meal, it takes a long time for the saliva to return to neutral pH. When the pH of saliva drops below 5.5, enamel begins to erode or dissolve away, making it more susceptible to damage from eating hard or abrasive foods or from simply brushing your teeth.
Lemon Water and Oral Health
Many people drink lemon water (warm water with the juice of a fresh lemon squeezed into it) first thing in the morning, a habit, like juicing, that claims to do everything from clear your skin to boost your immune system to help you lose weight. If squeezing a fresh lemon into a glass of water is perceived to be a cure for so many things, and it’s less time-consuming and more affordable than juicing, no wonder people are doing it. However, any health benefits are purely anecdotal, and few, if any, recent scientific studies suggest that drinking lemon water is as beneficial as the claims.There hasn’t been any clinical studies that show drinking lemon water helps with weight management, boosts your metabolism or your immune system or improves your overall health. What studies do show is that drinking water can increase your feeling of satiety, which may help with weight management, but no studies show that the addition of lemon juice has any impact.
As with juicing, drinking lemon water is all about moderation, and it’s important to seek the advice of health professionals. Lemon juice is acidic and contains sugar, so it makes the mouth acidic, lowering the pH level in the mouth and softening enamel, making teeth more susceptible to damage. If you choose to drink lemon water, Dr. Jaleel recommends using a straw to reduce your teeth’s exposure to the acid; rinsing your mouth with plain water afterward to remove any lingering acid; and refraining from brushing your teeth right away. Tooth-brushing should be avoided for at least one hour after consuming lemon water. This will allow the tooth surface to reharden and be able to resist the abrasion or wear from the toothbrush.
Some eating habits can wreak havoc on your body and your teeth. For example, snacking throughout the day can increase the risk of tooth decay. Sipping soda and frequent nibbling on snack foods increase the rate of harmful acid attacks on tooth enamel. And repeated binge eating — impulsive gorging or continuous eating — can do the same.
Eating disorders have the potential to destroy not only your body and mind but also your mouth, according to a clinical study. People with an eating disorder such as anorexia or bulimia had significantly more dental health problems than those without one, including tooth sensitivity, facial pain and severe dental erosion.
Types of Eating Disorders
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia and binge eating. All three of these disorders will have negative effects on the mouth.
The eating disorder bulimia nervosa not only harms overall health but also is particularly destructive to teeth. It involves secret repeated binge eating followed by purging — self-induced vomiting, fasting and use of laxatives, diuretics or diet pills.
Binge eaters consume a large amount of food very quickly. Although this temporarily may ease hunger, anger, sadness or other feelings, binge eating can create stomach pain and anxiety about weight gain.
The digestive system contains strong acids that break down food. When vomiting is used to purge food from the body, these acids attack tooth enamel. Repeated vomiting can erode tooth enamel severely. Over time, teeth exposed to stomach acids can become worn and translucent. The mouth, throat and salivary glands may become swollen and tender.
Anorexia nervosa is another serious eating disorder that is harmful to overall health and to teeth. It is characterized by an intense fear of weight gain, the desire to become thinner and an inability to maintain a minimally normal weight for height and age.
How Do Eating Disorders Affect Your Mouth and Body?
All of these eating disorders will have negative effects on the body. The deficiency of vitamins, minerals and nutrients associated with these disorders can cause the body to shut down and fail to function properly. Potential health issues include:
- Weight loss.
- Hair loss.
- Lower body temperature.
- Irregular or absent menstrual cycles in women.
- Heart problems, kidney failure and possible death.
The negative effects of vitamin and nutrient deficiencies will also be reflected in the mouth. Furthermore, for those who purge by vomiting, stomach acids will cause damage to the teeth. The telltale oral signs of eating disorders include:
- Dry mouth and enlarged salivary glands.
- Cracked, dry lips and mouth sores.
- Teeth erosion.
- Cold and hot sensitivity in teeth.
Recommended Treatment for the Mouth
People suffering from eating disorders can seek care with Dr. Jaleel. Dr. Jaleel or our dental hygienist are trained to identify the oral signs of a serious eating disorder. They will counsel the patient on oral and bodily damage and recommend treatment by a mental health professional. Meanwhile, they will help alleviate the mouth and teeth problems from which the patient is suffering. For example, those who purge by vomiting are cautioned not to brush immediately after since this will enhance the damaging effects of the stomach acids on the teeth. Instead, waiting about a half hour to brush and using a neutral paste such as baking soda are recommended.
With the arrival of Victoria Day, Ottawa and its surrounding areas are beginning to blossom. What is better than spending a nice weekend exploring the sights and sounds of Ottawa in June? Having been a dentist in the Ottawa-Nepean region for over 20 years, Dr. Jaleel knows where to be in June to have maximal family fun. Here are a few things around Ottawa you can do in June of 2016.
May 28-29, 2016: Ottawa Tamarack Race Weekend
The Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend is Canada’s largest running weekend. In 2015, more than 49,000 people participated in six events over the weekend, Participants can run a variety of distance, including 2k, 5k, 10k, half marathon and a full marathon. If running is not your thing, you can join in the celebration. Free concerts are open to the community at large and will take place in the heart of Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend festivities at Ottawa City Hall’s Festival Plaza.
Here is the line-up:
Friday May 27
7:30-8:15 p.m. – Still Winter Hills
8:45-9:45 p.m. – Michel Pagliaro
Saturday May 28
3:10-3:55 p.m. – Amanda Lowe
4:15-5:00 p.m. – Safekeeping
5:15-6:00 p.m. – The Ven Dreddies
6:45-7:30 p.m. – Lost To The River
8:00-9:00 p.m. – Hollerado
Sunday May 29
11:00-12:00 p.m. – Dance Commander
12:15-1:15 p.m. – The Jivewires
June 3-5, 2016: Westfest
Located at Laroche Park (52 Bayview Road Ottawa, Ontario), Westfest is a free event full of music performances, Spoken Word Poetry slam, and celebration of Indigenous culture. Each year more than 100,000 people attend Westfest during the outdoor, three-day celebration of Canadian art and culture. As a free multidisciplinary art festival dedicated to showcasing Canadian artists.
June 22-26, 2016: Ottawa Ribfest
If you want to experience ribs from all over North America, join fellow rib enthusiasts on Spark Street at the end of June. Come out to find your new favourite BBQ ribs!
June 23-26, 2016: Tim Hortons Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival
If BBQ ribs aren’t your thing, maybe the spirit of Dragon Boating will boost our energy. There is fun for the entire family, including, high-intensity boat racing, free concerts with great performers, a children’s activity area and great food, drinks and vendors. You and your family can meet some scaly friends Saturday at 9 am, with Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo, or ready to be enchanted by Ottawa’s most authentic fairytale princesses, with beautiful characters that look like they have stepped off the pages of your favourite stories! Meet Ariel, Cinderella, Elsa and Anna Saturday at noon, or Sunday at 3:00 pm. There are a lot more fun activities happening; please visit the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival website to find out more. Join us at Mooney’s Bay Park on Riverside Drive Ottawa, Ontario
June 23 – July 3, 2016: TD Jazz Festival
Let’s wind down from an exerlierating June with some jazz. From the avant-garde to big band and swing, come enjoy musical stylings to suit any jazz aficionado!
Confederation Park – main site and several satellite locations corner of Elgin and Laurier Ottawa, Ontario
When you hear the word “X-ray,” there’s a tendency to envision a youngster sitting around an ER waiting to see if he or she has a broken bone incurred playing sports or just horsing around. But X-rays are just as important to Dr. Jaleel’s Ottawa office as they are to those of orthopedists. A teeth X-ray is invaluable to any dentist in the maintenance of good oral health when treating a patient. Here’s exactly what they are and how Dr. Jaleel incorporate them into her practices.
Dr. Jaleel will visually examines all aspects of your teeth and gums during a typical checkup. A teeth X-ray, however, is a diagnostic tool that allows Dr. Jaleel to gauge your mouth health through factors he can’t see with the naked eye. Also called radiographs, X-rays can reveal common issues such as cavities, tooth decay and periodontal disease, all the way to more complex problems such as jaw infections and oral cysts. X-rays aren’t just for adults though. Dr. Jaleel takes x-rays of childrens’ teeth for some of the same reasons as adults but also some different reasons.
CHILDREN AND THE DENTIST
Dr. Jaleel’s goal is to help her patients, whether adult or child, exercise and maintain good oral health. Children need to understand that a trip to the dentist is a good thing. But some children have an irrational fear of visiting the dentist. That’s where Mom and Dad come in. Dr. Jaleel has some tips you can help your child ease his fears about a dental check-up:
- Start bringing your child at a young age so that dental visits become common place. Once your youngster’s teeth start to appear or by the time he turns one-year-old, whichever comes first, you should schedule his first check-up.
- Ask Dr. Jaleel if you can bring your child by for a visit before the actual day of his appointment. This will provide a sense of comfort when he sees the surroundings and meets the staff.
- If your child is nervous or anxious during his exam, hold his hand. The reassurance he gets from mom or dad will help put him at ease.
- Schedule your child’s appointments with the same hygienist. This will help your child develop a comfort level.
Reasons for Child Teeth X-Rays
Your little one might be wondering why teeth X-rays are necessary, especially if his baby teeth will eventually fall out. Some of the reasons for requiring X-rays differ from those if adults.
- Reveal how baby teeth erupt through a child’s gums.
- Observe the number, size and location of teeth that have yet to erupt through the gums.
- Determine if your child has any extra or missing teeth.
- Identify existing infections in new teeth.
- Prepare for braces, if necessary.
X-Ray Safety for Children
Despite the small amount of radiation used in the contemporary X-ray, some parents might be hesitant to let their children undergo this exam. If you’re concerned, you should feel free to say so to your child’s dentist. Dr. Jaleel recommends the following to minimize radiation exposure to children:
- Leaded thyroid collars and aprons just like the ones used for adults.
- Take X-rays based on need as opposed to annual routines.
- Perform X-rays with exposure times suitable for children.
- Use the latest techniques and up-to-date equipment.
The best way to maintain a healthy mouth starts at home with regular brushing and flossing. But when it’s time for a checkup, a teeth X-ray serves a crucial role in helping Dr. Jaleel provide the best possible care for patients like you. If you have any concerns, don’t hesitate to discuss them with us during your next appointment at the Fairlawn Dental Clinic in Nepean.
The weather last week in Ottawa had us dreaming of Spring. With March Break approaching, some of us are taking a trip down South. If you are not taking a trip this March Break, don’t fret. There are tons of activities and places to visit in Ottawa. Dr. Jaleel has been a dentist in Ottawa-Nepean for over 20 years so she knows Ottawa inside and out. Here is a list of activities and places you and your family can enjoy close to home. Let the vacation begin!
Spring is in the air so what a great time to visit some farm animals at the museum? Visitors are invited to discover how a modern milking machine works as well as how this technology has evolved. If that is not your thing, how about horses? Caring for horses includes grooming, feeding, training and socialization. Join a Museum guide to learn about what it takes to keep our horses healthy and strong. If animals are not your thing, you can always check out the butter-making workshop. High school chemistry gets a tasty twist with this interactive demonstration.
Learn about Ottawa’s history at the Bytown Museum and stop by the museum’s newly redesigned Youth Activity Area. Here, kids can learn about Bytown through the characters of Clara and Henry while also learning what Victorian life was like through historic toys, journal entries and more.
This March Break, travel back in time to visit the Vikings and explore their way of life during a fabled period in Scandinavian history. Visit the highly interactive Vikings exhibition, and explore who these notorious Norsemen really were, where they came from, and how they lived. Once you’ve seen the exhibition, join us for more adventure in the Museum’s Grand Hall. Craft your own Viking helmet and join other families in building a 30,000-piece Mega Bloks Viking ship
Visit the museum over March Break to participate in this hands-on arts and crafts activity that invites children to create their own bugs out of Crayola Model Magic. Build-a-bug takes place daily from 10:00 a.m. to noon. This activity is related to the museum’s special Bugs: Outside the Box exhibit, which is on until March 28, 2016. This craft activity is FREE with museum admission.
The parade starts at 11 a.m on Saturday March 19, and starts at the corner of Elgin Street and Laurier Avenue W., in front of City Hall, and travels to Bank Street and then towards Lansdowne Park where the celebrations will continue, with Beau’s Beer as the host, until 9 p.m. Volunteers along the route will be collecting donations of cash and non-perishable food items for the Ottawa Food Bank.