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190 Cranbourne Rd, Frankston VIC 3199

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Oral Hygiene and Health

Oral Hygiene and Health at Peninsula Dental Frankston Vic

At Peninsula Dental

We believe in the importance of a healthy mouth and good oral hygiene and that regular maintenance of teeth and gums is essential for your body’s overall well-being.

Our aim is to teach good oral hygiene practices to our patients and to minimise dental intervention.

We provide education and guidance for both yourself and your children in proper teeth care, brushing and flossing techniques and healthy gum maintenance.

We strongly believe that our patients should take control of the health of their teeth and gums.

Part of this is showing you and your children how to properly clean and polish your teeth and also the importance of regular precautionary check-ups and oral health assessments.

Oral Hygiene and Health

Oral Hygiene and Health

A proper oral routine combined with regular check-ups will give your teeth the best chance and detect any developing issues or concerns that may need attention.

The benefits to you are a great smile, great oral health and overall body wellness, and of course, improved personal self-confidence. We know that typically, a person only brushes their teeth for around a half to one minute.

For a healthy mouth we recommend as a minimum, two minutes brushing time, paying particular attention to each individual tooth as well as cleaning gums. During our check-ups we ensure that you and your children are properly informed on the best methods for polishing and flossing, and for maintaining the health of your gums.

We also discuss the importance of lifestyle choices and especially diet on oral health, an issue which is particularly relevant for children who may not be aware of appropriate food choices. For your children, setting up good and effective dental hygiene routines is necessary for keeping their teeth and gums healthy, and will greatly reduce their need for painful or costly dental work later in life.

Proper Attention

And of course paying proper attention to oral health will save both you and your children unnecessary expense, and help avoid developing ongoing health impacts of poor oral care on the whole body. No filling can adequately replace living, healthy teeth, so we recommend as part of our children’s toothcare program, the precautionary application of a dental sealant for your children’s teeth, which will seal over any cracks, pits and fissures and provide a far greater degree of protection against attack from tooth decay.

It is also possible in certain situations to re-mineralise teeth structure, via bio-active dental products and healthy lifestyle/diet changes we can advise you on what’s best for your children. Gum Disease and bad breath It’s not commonly known that more teeth are lost as a consequence of gum disease (brushing-teeth-dentist-port-melbournegingivitis) than from actual tooth decay, so it’s important to ensure that your gums receive special attention. In fact, around 75% of adults will develop some degree of gum disease.

Gingivitis is an early and reversible form of gum disease caused by dental plaque, and roughly a third of people who develop gingivitis will go on to develop the more serious disease of periodontitis. Periodontitis is a progressive and initially painless bacterial gum infection that ultimately destroys the connective fibres and supporting bone structures of the teeth. If ignored or untreated, periodontitis leads to tooth loosening, abscesses and eventual tooth loss.

Our Frankston practices are equipped with the latest state-of the art imaging and treatment facilities, so you can be assured that in our routine examinations we will pick up any developing teeth and gum issues or any other concerns that might require more detailed investigation or treatment.

For more information on our preventative and oral health programs, please contact Frankston dentist clinic.

Brushing

Sounds like a ‘no brainer’ but you’d be surprised how often kids (and adults!) get this one wrong.

Did you know that it takes two to three minutes to properly brush your teeth but most people only spend 30 seconds or less.

So why is it so important?

Germs. Millions of them live on our teeth, tongue and gums and feed on the food that’s left behind after we’ve eaten. A by-product of these bacteria is acid, which is what attacks and destroys our tooth enamel leading to a filling.

The Solution?

Brushing. It removes the bacteria so they can’t make the acid that destroys our teeth. To remove bacteria from all our teeth takes two to three minutes. Don’t be too rough. It takes very little pressure to remove bacteria and food so make sure your kids don’t get too over-zealous with their brushing.

Teach Your Child to Brush

Brush twice a day – after breakfast and before bedtime. If they can, brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.
Use a pea-sized blob of toothpaste (you don’t need much).
Use a fluoride toothpaste either a normal one or a low fluoride one for younger kids under 6 years of age.

Get your child to gently brush the inner surface of their teeth back and forth using short circular motions. Then move to the outer surface and then the chewing surface on top. Make sure they pay particular attention to where the tooth meets the gum as this is where plaque builds up.

Use the tip of the brush to clean behind each front tooth – both top and bottom. Remind your child not to be too rough. It takes very little pressure to remove bacteria and food and too much pressure can harm the gums.

Encourage your child to spit out toothpaste after brushing but don’t rinse.
Spend two to three minutes brushing. If it’s difficult to keep track of time use an egg timer or play a favourite song.

Use toothpaste under adult supervision and keep out of reach of children to avoid children eating the toothpaste.

Flossing

Once any two of your child’s teeth touch each other, it’s time to start flossing.

The tiny gaps between teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach make a perfect hiding place for food particles and bacteria.

If they’re allowed to remain there for a long time, these bacteria can start to destroy gum tissue as well as the bones and ligaments that support teeth. Flossing removes bacteria and food particles from between teeth.

If you’ve never tried it before flossing can be a bit fiddly and, when you first start out, it can make your gums bleed a little but this will lessen or stop over time. But, if younger children are finding it difficult to floss, they can leave it for now and come back to it when they’re a little older.

Although it may seem like a chore, if you can encourage your kids to push through the early stages and make it part of their routine they’ll have a lot to smile about later in life.

Floss is available in many different sizes, coatings and flavours. Get your kids to experiment with different ones to find their favourite. If they have trouble using the floss wrapped around their fingers, you can buy floss holders in most supermarkets and pharmacies.

Teach Your Child to Floss

To floss without using a floss holder:

Older children can do this themselves after watching you. With a younger child you can do the flossing for them. Lean your child’s head back into your lap so you can see into his or her mouth. Alternatively your child can stand in front of you and tip his or her head back against your chest.

Take about 30 cm of dental floss and wrap one end around each of your middle fingers.

Using your thumbs and index fingers as guides, gently slide the floss between two teeth, using a saw-like motion.

Once at the gum line, wrap the floss to form a C shape against one of the two teeth. Slide it up and down against that tooth. Be careful not to snap the floss between teeth.

Next, wrap the floss against the other tooth and repeat the up-down motion.
Be very gentle and try not to scrape the floss too hard against your gums.

Repeat this wherever two teeth are touching.

Tongue Cleaning

While brushing and flossing remove bacteria from teeth and gums, as much as 50% of the bacteria in the mouth live on the surface of our tongue. And it’s these bacteria in particular that can be one cause of bad breath.

The best and most effective way of neutralising bacteria that live on the tongue is to scrape them off. Your kids may think it sounds yucky but, when they’re enjoying the benefits of a clean tongue and lively tastebuds, they’ll soon realise it’s not so bad after all.

There are a couple of ways your kids can get started with tongue cleaning so get them to give each a go and see which one they prefer.
Brushing is probably the least effective method as toothbrushes were designed to clean teeth, not tongues. It won’t remove as much as scraping but it’s a good start.

Using a spoon is a good way to introduce your child to the idea of tongue scraping and how it feels. It’s more effective in removing the coating of bacteria from the tongue than brushing. If your child prefers scraping to brushing then the next step would be to buy a specially designed tongue scraper. You can find them in selected health food stores , pharmacies and online.

Teach Your Child to Clean Their Tongue

Using a Toothbrush

After they’ve finished brushing their teeth, get your child to brush or ‘paint’ his or her tongue gently from back to front and along the sides (no need to do underneath). Get them to brush as far back as possible without gagging.

Using a Spoon

Pick out a spoon (smaller is usually better), invert it and then scrape away. Start as far back on the tongue as you can and scrape from back to front. Don’t forget the sides. Repeat as many times as you like until your tongue feels clean.

Do this every time you clean your teeth.

Tooth Friendly Foods

Most people think that sweets and lollies are the main foods to blame for tooth decay but bacteria not only use the sugar in sweets to create acid but can also use any food that contains sugars and other carbohydrates.

This includes fruits, peanut butter, biscuits, crackers, potato chips, dried fruit, snack bars, muesli bars and popcorn to name a few.

Especially harmful can be foods like raisins and peanut butter that stick to teeth where they provide a constant source of energy for bacteria.

It’s not practical to cut out these foods completely but, it’s good to remind them occasionally to think before they snack.

If you can plant a useful seed in their minds about tooth-friendly eating you’ll be giving them the best chance of enjoying healthy teeth for years to come.

So what foods provide a good alternative?

Recent research shows that cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child’s teeth.

In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheddar, Swiss and mozzarella all stimulate saliva glands to clear the mouth of debris.

Saliva provides a strong protective film to the teeth and helps to wash away and neutralise the damaging acids. Other good snacks are nuts and fruit (as long as you wash it down with some water straight after you’ve eaten).

Tooth Friendly Drinks

Most kids can’t resist a cold can of sparkling drink; and the occasional one isn’t going to do too much harm. However, most kids drink more than the occasional can of soft drink and what’s more, they drink it throughout the day, which makes it more damaging.

Drinking soft drinks, sports drinks and even fruit juice coats your mouth with sugar for bacteria to feed on and produce acid that attacks tooth enamel.
Limiting these acid plaque attacks during the day is a great way to give your teeth a break.

This means only drinking these drinks at meal times when your saliva is working at its hardest to wash away food particles and bacteria. Or, better still, drinking tap water which not only rinses out your mouth, but doesn’t contain any acid and, in many parts of Australia, has the added benefit of containing fluoride.

Teach Your Child Tooth-Friendly Eating and Drinking

Remember these simple guidelines and maybe even choose a day to devote to tooth-friendly eating and drinking.

Cut out all snack foods between meals. If your child has to have a snack to keep them going before dinner, make sure they eat only foods that will be kind to their teeth like cheese, nuts or fruit and get them to wash it down with a glass of water immediately after eating. Acid plaque attacks can last up to 20 minutes after you’ve eaten (even if you’ve just had a nibble). The more times you eat during the day the longer your teeth are going to be exposed to acid plaque.

Also try and cut out all fizzy, sugary and sports drinks, at least between meals during the day. Even better, try and cut them out completely and drink tap water instead.

Only eat sweet things at the end of a meal when your saliva is working at its best to wash away food particles and bacteria. Better still, stick to cheese or fruit after a meal.

After every meal wash food down with water (not sugary carbonated or sports drinks) and chew sugar free gum for 10 minutes to stimulate saliva flow. All this will help to quickly get rid of food particles and bacteria instead of allowing them to sit there causing damage to teeth.

Flouride

Fluoride is a natural mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and protects against decay.

In Australia, all capital cities have optimal amounts of fluoride added to tap water. Some areas of the country have naturally occurring fluoride in the water, and in those places extra fluoride is not added. It is important to note that bottled water usually does not contain enough fluoride to offer protection against tooth decay. Some home water filters also remove fluoride from tap water.

If you live in an area that doesn’t have any fluoride in the water, especially where only rainwater or tank water is available, then it is important to speak with your dentist about other fluoride options to maintain the health of your child’s teeth. Your dentist may recommend other fluoride products or they may apply topical fluoride to your child’s teeth, which has been proven to help prevent tooth decay.

Use toothpaste with a fluoride content that is appropriate for a child – there are low fluoride toothpastes available specifically for children. Too much fluoride during tooth development can cause mild white flecking or mottling of permanent teeth (“enamel fluorosis”). A young child who regularly swallows adult-strength fluoride toothpaste instead of spitting it out may develop enamel fluorosis.

To prevent dental fluorosis:

Choose low-fluoride toothpaste for children younger than six years.
Apply a pea-sized amount to the toothbrush and smear it into the bristles.
Encourage your child to spit out the toothpaste after brushing.

Store all toothpastes out of your child’s reach. Some small children love the taste of toothpaste and will eat it if given the chance.

If your child’s permanent teeth have erupted mottled, your dentist can suggest treatment to improve their appearance.

Dental Check-Ups

Visiting the dentist regularly for a check-up is something that can easily be forgotten or postponed but is essential in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.

If your child hasn’t seen a dentist in over twelve months – book them in for a check-up and clean and polish. Your dentist will be able to advise on this.

You can read some really useful information on how to handle visits to the dentist (whether it’s their first visit or not) on the First Dental Visit page.

Prevention is always better than cure and regular dental examinations can catch any problems early and help maintain a healthy mouth.

Remember, children who have regular dental check-ups tend to have fewer dental problems.