August 12, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

What Causes Tooth Discolouration and Stains?

Tooth discolouration and stains on teeth are common and happen for various reasons. The good news is that many of these stains are preventable. Some surface level stains are also treatable.  

Here’s what you need to know about the causes of tooth discolouration and stains and what you can do to keep your teeth looking their best.  

Types of Staining 

  • Extrinsic: The stains only affect the tooth’s enamel or surface.  
  • Intrinsic This type of stain is located within the tooth, making it more resistant to over-the-counter whitening products.  
  • Age-related: As we age, the outer enamel layer of our teeth wears away, and our gums can start to yellow. Age-related stains don’t happen overnight. Both extrinsic and intrinsic factors cause them. 

What Causes Tooth Discolouration? 

Eating, drinking, ageing, smoking, and tooth injuries all cause tooth discolouration. Certain types of food and drink can stain your teeth. Most people know that red wine and coffee can stain their teeth. However, other foods and drinks also contribute to the discolouration of tooth enamel: 

Tea: Like coffee, tea contains tannins that stain our teeth’s white enamel. The research is still out on whether using milk in your tea or coffee can help prevent staining. However, limiting the amount of tea you drink can help. 

Cola: The dark colouring of this soda, combined with acids and sugars, makes it particularly bad for teeth enamel. Soda will wear away at your teeth faster than other types of drinks. 

Fruit juices: Dark-coloured fruit juices like blackberry, cranberry, and grape juice can stain your teeth. To avoid these from staining your teeth, drink these juices in moderation. 

Tomato sauces: Tomatoes contain deep pigments that can cause teeth to stain over time.  

Soy sauce: The dark colour of soy sauce can cause tooth enamel to stain. 

While we don’t suggest avoiding eating soy sauce or tomato-based sauces, it is a good idea to limit the amount of soda and caffeine in your diet. Soda, in particular, has very little nutritional value, is high in sugar, and is highly acidic. Not only will it stain your teeth, the sugars and acid eat away at our teeth enamel and cause cavities. 

Smoking: Once you start smoking, it doesn’t take long for the enamel of your teeth to begin to stain or yellow. Nicotine causes teeth to turn brown or yellow very quickly. The best way to prevent teeth from staining any further is to quit smoking (or not start at all). Smoking is bad for your teeth and gums in a lot of ways. Nicotine restricts blood flow to the gums which causes the jaw bones to weaken and teeth to loosen over time. 

Age: Teeth naturally get more brittle with age and will stain or yellow more easily.

Injuries: If you have experienced trauma to your mouth an injuries can cause the damaged tooth or teeth to darken. It’s always a good idea to see your dentist after experiencing a mouth injury. 

Antibiotics: Some medications cause tooth enamel to discolour. When mixed with saliva, medication can cause dark spots or stains to form on your tooth enamel. Often, these stains are not permanent as they develop below the surface of the tooth. This intrinsic staining can disappear once you finish the antibiotic cycle.  

What Can You Do to Treat and Prevent Tooth Stains? 

Tooth discolouration caused by aging is natural. However, you can prevent surface staining by changing your lifestyle. 

Limit your intake of soda and caffeine. Switch to water and light-coloured herbal teas to prevent tooth staining. If you drink red wine often, try drinking water simultaneously to rinse your mouth between sips. Stop drinking soda or save it for special occasions. 

Use at-home whitening kits. Whitening kits can lift stains from your teeth in as little as one or two days. However, many at-home products can cause teeth sensitivity and gum irritation.  

Brush with a whitening toothpaste. Many effective tooth whitening products on the market are safe to use. While whitening toothpaste can remove some surface stains from teeth, it won’t change the natural colour of your tooth enamel or lighten intrinsic stains. 

When Should You See a Dentist About Tooth Stains? 

If you notice a change in the colour of your teeth and it doesn’t get better with a whitening product, it’s a good idea to follow up with your dentist. If the staining looks like a dark shadow, and nothing you try seems to remove the stain, it could be due to a deeper problem such as a cavity or demineralisation of the enamel. 

If one single tooth is discoloured, it could mean that you have a cavity or a tooth injury. In this case, visit your dentist as soon as possible. Cavities can eventually lead to infection and tooth loss if left untreated. 

The Bottom Line 

The appearance of unwanted discolourations on your teeth can occur for many reasons, mainly related to your lifestyle. Limiting coffee, tea and soda and avoiding smoking will help keep your teeth enamel whiter for longer.  

There’s nothing inherently wrong with having discoloured teeth. However, tooth discolouration sometimes signifies an underlying oral health issue. We recommend scheduling regular checkups with your dentist every six months to ensure your teeth enamel is healthy. Book a dental appointment now if you have noticed rapid discolouration of your tooth enamel. 

May 23, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

The top 3 dental concerns seniors should look out for

As we age, the risk of dental diseases increases. Our teeth, mouth and gums are put through a lot throughout a lifetime. Chewing, gnashing and grinding, smoking, eating sugar and sticky foods, poor diets and medications and a decrease in dental care can all take their toll.

All of these factors can increase the chances that as seniors, we’ll have to deal with oral health problems. Seniors are particularly at risk of developing the following oral health conditions. 

Gum Disease

The bacteria found in plaque and tartar can cause gum disease, which can contribute to a whole host of problems for your mouth and gums. Also called periodontal disease, early signs of gum disease include red irritated gums and bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth near the gum line.

Gingivitis is an early sign of gum disease. A buildup of bacteria where the gums meet the teeth causes the gums to become inflamed. Left untreated this can develop into periodontitis, which is more serious. Periodontitis damages the tissues of the gum and the bones that support the teeth.

Gum disease can:

  • cause discomfort and make it harder to chew
  • effect a senior’s immune system
  • cause bad breath
  • result in irreversible bone loss

Seniors are at increased risk of gum disease due to already lowered immune systems and decreased mobility which can make it hard to brush their teeth and gums thoroughly.

Dry Mouth

A dry mouth might not sound like a big concern, but it can lead to all sorts of oral health issues. A lack of saliva in the mouth increases the risk of cavities, contributes to digestion issues, and increases the chance of an oral infection. 

Saliva is essential for washing away plaque, food particles, and sugars. Without a good saliva flow, acids, plaque and bacteria can build up in the mouth. These can eat away at the delicate enamel on our teeth and cause cavities.

Although our mouths dry naturally a little as we age, the number one contributor to dry mouth in seniors is medication. Many medications list dry mouth as a possible side effect. Encouraging seniors to drink more water, and avoid sugary foods and drinks, will help. Sugar-free lozenges can help stimulate saliva production which naturally rinses out the mouth.

Tooth loss

Some people may think that losing teeth is a natural side effect of getting older. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. Being proactive about your oral health and adopting good hygiene habits will ensure your natural teeth last a lifetime. Unfortunately, untreated signs of gum disease, cavities, old dental work, and general poor health can contribute to tooth loss.

We only get one set of teeth so it’s important that we look after them.

What can seniors do to prevent these dental issues?

It’s not inevitable that we’ll lose our teeth, or get gum disease as we age. However, seniors should be aware that they need to be vigilant about their oral hygiene, even more so than when they were younger. Unfortunately, a loss of mobility or declining health can make it even harder for seniors to create healthy oral habits.

If a senior in your family is in a rest home or receives in-home care, talk to the primary carer about setting up a routine that is proactive about their tooth health. It’s a good idea to buy an electric toothbrush rather than a manual one, as these are more effective at getting rid of plaque. Most modern electric toothbrushes also come with two-minute timers, making it easier for seniors to know whether they have brushed for long enough.

Here are some habits you can talk to seniors and their primary carers about:


  • Seeing their dentist regularly (regardless of oral health symptoms)
  • Brushing and flossing every morning and night
  • Using an electric toothbrush to make brushing easier
  • Avoiding smoking, and eating too much sugar
  • Checking their medications for side effects of dry mouth
  • Increasing their daily water consumption


Regular checkups are the best way to maintain and monitor oral health as we age. If you need to book an appointment with a dental health professional click here.

April 6, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Is a Cavity Filling a Permanent Solution?

If you’ve ever had tooth decay, your dentist may have treated it by giving you a filling. While fillings are a great long-term solution for treating tooth decay, they are not permanent. You still need to take care of your teeth and mouth. Eventually, your filling will need replacing. Here are some things you need to know about getting a replacement filling.

How often does my filling need replacing?

Fillings are a great solution for treating tooth decay. They are durable and restore the overall strength of your teeth. However, a filling won’t last forever. The shelf life of a filling largely depends on what materials it is made of.

Amalgam Fillings

Silver fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, are very durable and can last 15 years before they need to be replaced. One downside to amalgam fillings is that the metals can expand and contract in the mouth. This can cause the surrounding area of the tooth to fracture and crack. It’s always a good idea to get amalgam fillings checked regularly.

Composite Fillings

These white fillings are made from a polymer composite resin. While they don’t last as long as amalgam fillings, they can last up to seven years. Composite fillings do not expand in your mouth and won’t cause your teeth to crack. However, if you have composite fillings, you should still regularly get them checked by a dentist.

Ceramic Fillings

Ceramic fillings are made from porcelain and can last up to fifteen years. Ceramic fillings can be pretty expensive and are generally less common than composite or amalgam fillings.

Why do fillings need to be replaced?

There are a few reasons why a filling might need to be replaced over time.

  • Daily wear and tear in the mouth weaken the filling after years of contact with hard foods and hot and cold liquids.
  • Chewing can put your fillings under pressure. Over time, your filling material gets weaker and doesn’t protect your tooth in the same way.
  • Cracking or tooth trauma can damage your filling and cause it to crack, chip or fall out.
  • You may also choose to get a silver filling replaced with something less noticeable, like composite.

How do I know if my filling needs to be replaced?

The best way to know if your filling needs to be replaced is to book an appointment with your dentist. Regular dental checkups every six months ensure that your fillings are strong and protect your teeth from further dental decay and cavities. Your dentist will check your fillings and will be able to tell you if it’s time for a new one.

If you’ve noticed any new changes in your filling, you should book in for a checkup. Changes can include:

  • pain in a tooth with a filling
  • the filling suddenly feeling sharp
  • a cracking sound in a tooth with a filling
  • part of the filling coming off in your mouth

How can I make my fillings last longer?

While the materials that fillings are made from generally have a finite shelf life, there are ways you can ensure your fillings last as long as possible.

Your eating habits have a significant impact on the general health of your teeth. Adding raw, crunchy fruits and vegetables (celery, carrots, apples etc.) is an easy way to get your five plus a day and keep your teeth nice and strong. Eating less sugar will help your teeth avoid further cavities.

Dental hygiene is the number one way to make your fillings last—book regular checkups with your dentist every six months. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly.

Wear a mouthguard while playing sport. Dental trauma can cause your tooth and filling to come loose.

Wear a mouthguard while you sleep. If you grind your teeth, this can put extra pressure on your fillings. Wearing a mouth guard to bed will help prevent that additional stress on your teeth.

Avoid hard or sticky foods. Some fillings, like amalgam, are not bonded into the tooth, which means there is a chance they can come loose. Avoid eating sticky or hard foods that might coat your tooth or cause the filling to stick to the surface of the food.

Need a checkup for your fillings? Book an appointment at Gentle Dental today.

April 1, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Is regenerating teeth an alternative to cavity filling?

Imagine if rather than getting a filling to fix tooth decay, you could get a whole new tooth! While it might sound like science fiction, dental researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Science have actually created new teeth within a laboratory setting.

Researchers use lasers to stimulate stem cells to form dentin inside the mouth of real test subjects.

What does this mean for the future of dentistry?

 This breakthrough in dental research means instead of placing a filling in your tooth, dentists may actually be able to grow you a whole new tooth.

Fixing cavities with fillings means that dentists often have to destroy part of your tooth. The decay needs to be removed by drilling a hole and the hole repaired with a filling. Overall, fillings do weaken the structural integrity of the tooth. To be able to grow an entirely new, healthy and strong tooth would be an amazing alternative.

How does regenerating teeth work?

Researchers have been trying to recreate tooth material using stem cells for years. However, until now, they have never succeeded in using stem cells outside of a laboratory setting.

This new research is different as researchers have generated dentin inside the mouths of patients. The researchers used lasers and growth factors to encourage stem cells in the mouth to grow into dentin.

Researchers drilled into teeth to access the stem cells found in the molars. These cells were exposed to low-level lasers, and dental crowns were then put over their teeth. After 12 weeks the researchers found that the dentin in the teeth was successfully regrowing.

What is dentin and why is it important?

Dentin is a hard material that makes up part of your tooth. Although it’s less well known than pulp and enamel, dentin is very important as it makes up the majority of the structure of the tooth. Dentin is the layer between the enamel and the pulp.

How long will it take for teeth regeneration to become viable?

Science is still in its early days which means traditional fillings will be the norm for the foreseeable future. However, scientists are excited by the possibility that tooth regeneration will one day become the norm.

It’s also likely that there will always be a place for treating cavities with fillings. Regenerating new teeth may be costly and currently, the procedure takes a long time. The research will also need to undergo a lot of scrutiny and health checks to make sure it is safe for humans. So far, research has only been carried out (albeit successfully) on rats.

Since there’s no telling when tooth regeneration will become an option for treating tooth decay, you should always look after your teeth as best you can. You can always prevent cavities from forming. When it comes to cavities, prevention is always better than a cure.

How can I avoid cavities?

 Cavities are permanent damage caused to the surface enamel of your teeth. Tooth decay can be caused by sugar, mouth bacteria and plaque buildup on your teeth. To prevent cavities from forming there are several healthy habits you can adopt.


  • Adopt a regular cleaning routine. Brush twice a day and floss between your teeth regularly. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes every time you brush.
  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride helps to build up the strength of your tooth enamel.
  • Avoid sipping sugary drinks. Sugars can cause an increase in acid in the mouth which attacks the enamel of your teeth. Cut down on soft drinks, energy drinks and adding sugars to tea and coffee. Sipping sugary drinks throughout the day can create the perfect breeding ground for acid and bacteria.
  • Avoid foods that get stuck in your teeth. Nuts and chips can be bad for your teeth as they get stuck easily behind and between teeth.
  • Visit your dentist regularly. Plaque can build up in hard-to-reach places in the mouth. Seeing your dentist regularly will ensure that all parts of your teeth are taken care of.


Need a checkup for your teeth? Book an appointment at Gentle Dental today.

March 1, 2022 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Brown spots on teeth: What are they and how do you treat them?

White teeth are a sign that you have great oral health. Therefore, if you start to see brown spots on a tooth or teeth, it’s understandable to be concerned. There is no one reason you may get brown spots on your teeth. Brown spots can be caused by a variety of factors – some of them serious and others not.

 Spots on your teeth can range from brown to yellow, while some look like spots or patches and others look more like marks or lines. If you have noticed brown spots appear on your teeth it’s a good idea to have them checked out by your dentist as soon as possible.

Are discolored teeth always unhealthy?

No. Discoloured teeth aren’t automatically unhealthy. It’s important to know that teeth come in a wide range of shades. Just because your teeth aren’t a bright white doesn’t mean you have poor oral hygiene.

Teeth can naturally be shades of white, cream, and light yellow and still be perfectly healthy. However, brown spots and marks on the teeth can be a sign of dental decay or poor oral hygiene. Tooth discoloration is sometimes reported in association with some antibiotics, but this is very rare.

What causes brown spots on teeth?

Brown spots on teeth are unsightly but they may also be a sign of poor oral health. There are several reasons you may notice discoloration on your teeth: 

Smoking Tobacco Products

Smoking is notoriously bad for your teeth. Tobacco of all kinds can cause surface stains on teeth and discoloration of the enamel. While this may sound like a mild price to pay for smoking, there are other side effects that are even worse for your teeth.

Smoking restricts the blood flow to your gums and can actually cause your teeth to loosen and fall out over time. Quitting smoking is the best thing you can do for your oral health. Chewing tobacco, cigarettes, and cigars are all bad for your oral health.

Dark Coloured Foods and Drink

Some foods and beverages can cause discoloration to your teeth. Coffee, tea, and red wine contain tannins that cause discoloration. Similarly, dark soft drinks like coca-cola do the same. Some foods can also cause discoloration to teeth including some berries and pomegranates.

There’s no real harm from eating berries to the overall health of your teeth. However, soft drinks, tea, and coffee are all acidic and can actually harm the enamel of your teeth. Cut back on the amount of these drinks you consume, use whitening toothpaste and drinking water to help reduce the acid on your tooth enamel.

Tooth Decay

One symptom of tooth decay is dark spots on the enamel of your teeth. This is caused by plaque and tartar bacteria eating away at the sugars in your food. Bacteria then produce enamels that attack the outer layer of enamel, which is designed to protect your teeth. As your tooth enamel weakens, your teeth may appear to discolour.

Dark spots of decay can appear around the edges of a filling or crown. These can grow and cause cavities over time. Eating less sugar is a great way to prevent tooth decay as is seeing your dentist on a regular basis.

Plaque Forms Into Tartar

When bacteria mix with saliva and food in the mouth it causes plaque to form. This is a white, sticky substance you may notice coats your teeth. Plaque can be removed by brushing your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed it turns hard and forms tartar. You may notice tartar building upon the backs of teeth or in hard-to-reach places in your mouth.

Once tartar has formed in your mouth it needs to be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist. Left untreated it can lead to gum disease and increase your chances of getting brown spots and cavities.

What symptoms to look out for

Brown spots on teeth can be a symptom of a cavity. If you notice spots forming on your teeth see a dentist as soon as possible. If the brown spots are accompanied by the following symptoms you may have tooth decay or gingivitis:

  • Sore gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Bad breath


How to treat brown spots on teeth

See your dentist first before trying to treat brown spots on teeth yourself. You may need a filling or at worse, a root canal. If your dentist gives you the all-clear there are some additional things you can do to stop brown spots and tooth discoloration:

  • Quit smoking immediately
  • Brush teeth after drinking tea, coffee, or red wine
  • Use a whitening toothpaste every day
  • Use whitening strips – but only as directed
  • Get your teeth professionally whitened
  • Swap soda or caffeinated drinks for flavored water or herbal tea
  • Brush after every meal and floss once a day
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks to reduce tooth decay

Are you concerned about brown spots on your teeth?

If you are concerned about brown spots on your teeth, see the friendly team at Gentle Dental. Our dentists will make sure your mouth, teeth, and gums are healthy. We can tell you whether the discoloration on your teeth is anything to worry about or a sign of a bigger problem. Book an appointment online today.

October 27, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Is Vaping Bad For Your Teeth?

Just when smoking cigarettes was going out of style, vaping has caused an increase in young people smoking.

While vaping isn’t as bad for your health as cigarettes, the only people who should vape are those looking to quit smoking all together. Vaping is often thought of as non-harmful. However, early research into vaping shows that it is harmful to oral health.

While the side effects of smoking cigarettes have been known for a long time, vaping is relatively new. As a result there are less long-term studies on the health effects of using e-cigarettes.

What is known is that young people are vaping at higher rates of taking up smoking in the future. All in all, it’s better to not vape at all than to pick up a habit that has no benefit to your physical or oral health and could emerge to be just as harmful as smoking tobacco.

How is vaping harmful to your teeth?

Vaping may contain less nicotine than cigarettes, but the nicotine found in vape juice still has a negative effect on gums. Nicotine restricts blood flow to the gums, which affects the mouth’s ability to naturally fight off infection. This puts smokers of all kinds at higher risk of gingivitis or gum disease.

Another ingredient found in vapes is propylene glycol (PG). Although this substance is safe to inhale, when used orally it breaks down into acids that attack the enamel on teeth and can irritate the soft tissue in the mouth.

PG also reduces the amount of saliva a person produces. Saliva actually helps your mouth to prevent bacteria from forming. A dry mouth can lead to plaque buildup and gum disease. Worse still, teens who drink soft drinks or energy drinks rather than water are putting themselves at even more risk of dry mouth. The sugar found in these drinks feeds bacteria and eats away at enamel.

Another ingredient that is harmful to oral health is vegetable glycerin (VG). Found in vaping products this liquid sweetener helps Streptococcus mutans, a bacteria commonly found in oral cavities to stick to the grooves on the surface of your teeth.

These ingredients all help to dry out the mouth, increase bacteria, and reduce saliva production causing an increased risk for tooth and gum decay.

If you must vape reduce the dental side effects

If you are vaping to quit smoking, there are some measures you can take that may help. However, the best way to avoid vaping-related health problems is to quit as soon as possible. Since e-cigarettes are still relatively new, there’s no promise that doing these actions will reduce the amount of harm vaping causes to teeth and gums

  • Limit your nicotine exposure. Since we know nicotine is bad for teeth and gums, choosing a low-nicotine or nicotine free juice will limit the negative effects on teeth and gums. If you are vaping to quit smoking, think about lowering the amount of nicotine you consume over time until you can smoke nicotine free.
  • Drink water after vaping. Rehydrating after you smoke may help the immediate feeling of a dry mouth. However, the best way to avoid disruption to your saliva production is to not smoke at all.
  • Brush your teeth twice a day. Brushing and flossing are important to prevent plaque buildup on teeth. Smokers are at higher risk of developing gum disease, so it is important to floss every day.
  • Visit your dentist regularly. Smoking can repress the signs of gum disease, which means even if you have good oral hygiene habits you may still have gingivitis or gum disease. Visit your dentist or dental hygienist every six months while also maintaining a regular and thorough cleaning schedule.
What are some side effects I may experience from vaping?

Whether caused directly from vaping or not, any of the following symptoms are a sign you should see a dentist. These symptoms may be a sign of an underlying oral health condition which smoking is known to contribute to.

  • bleeding or swollen gums
  • sensitivity of teeth and gums from hot/cold
  • dry mouth
  • bad breath
  • loose teeth
  • mouth ulcers or sores that won’t heal
  • toothache or mouth pain
  • receding gums

The best thing you can do for your oral health is to quit smoking or vaping. If you are a vaper and haven’t seen your dentist in a while, we recommend booking an appointment with one of our friendly dentists.

September 15, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

Why You Shouldn’t Fear Dental Implants

Dental implants look and function like regular teeth and are often recipients will have a hard time deciphering their fake tooth from their real ones.  Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces the root of a tooth with a metal screw and an artificial tooth. This procedure can be performed on one or several teeth as an alternative to dentures of bridgework.

Many people feel nervous about dental implant surgery, but the reality is it’s not as invasive as it sounds. What’s important to remember is that dental implants serve a very important function as it creates solid support for your new teeth. While it may be more painful to get surgery than be fitted with a denture, the end result is a permanent tooth that doesn’t need any extra maintenance than a regular tooth. 

What is involved in dental implants surgery?

The surgery will differ from person to person as it depends on the type of implant and the condition of your jawbone. Some people may require a bone graft to ensure the dental implant has a strong enough foundation to be screwed into.  

After the bone graft, or if you do not require a bone graft a titanium implant is placed into the jaw bone just beneath the gums. Over the span of a few months it fuses with the bone and will act as an “artificial tooth root” for a crown to be screwed into once healing is completed.

Dental implants have gained a lot of popularity because they are so effective. The technology used in dental implant surgeries has evolved and the success rate of implants is close to 98% 

Despite this statistic, some people still have fears of getting dental implants. This may be because they’re not sure if getting implants is the correct option or they fear the discomfort or infections it may cause.  

Dental implants are safe because dentists use titanium for embedding in the jawbone. In fact, titanium has a natural affinity with bone. So, over time it makes a stronger and more durable connection in your jaw as new cells tend to grow. If you are considering dental implants, we’ve created a shortlist that should put your mind at ease.  

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Be Nervous About Dental Implants

An implant surgery is a minor surgery yet the details and thought that goes into each surgery is thorough. With a 98% success rate it’s unlikely you need to worry about getting a surgery that won’t heal properly or solve the issue of your missing tooth. In complex cases, dentists use x-ray or CT imaging to determine the location for the implant. This will guide them during the surgical procedures where they’ll use it to create channels to hold the implant.  

The reality is that implants are easier than tooth extraction. So, if you’re comfortable with using a local anesthesia, then this procedure will not be painful. Dentists numb the implant site with local anesthesia while all the other surrounding tissues remain conscious. If you don’t approve your dentist of using anesthesia, they could include  a sedative or anti-anxiety medication before proceeding with the surgery.  

Dental implants are a great option because they offer a permanent solution for tooth loss. They generally last longer than teeth bridges and don’t require removal, extra cleaning and storage like dentures do. Some dental implant procedures can be done in one day, however, it’s up to your dentist, whether or not they recommend more time after the initial surgery and before fitting the crown. This is to avoid strain on your healing implants.  

Find Your Dental Implants NZ Expert   

At Gentle Dental, we can walk you through the best solution for missing teeth. As experts in dental implants NZ, we have some of the best dentists in Wellington. Dental implants do represent a slightly greater investment but their longevity makes it all worth it.  

The technology, expertise and gentle approach to all our dentistry services make us the most preferred dentists around here. Contact the team at the Gentle Dental Centre for an implant appointment or assessment.  

August 26, 2021 by Gentle Dental 0 Comments

The Best Oral Hygiene Habits for Healthy Teeth

Adopting good oral hygiene habits is essential for keeping teeth and gums healthy. Simple dental habits like brushing and flossing must be done correctly to protect your mouth from plaque and bacteria. Follow these oral hygiene habits for healthy teeth.

Brush your teeth twice a day for good oral hygiene

Dentists recommend brushing your teeth twice a day to rid the mouth of plaque and bacteria. Skipping a brushing session can result in the buildup of food and debris and cause bad breath. Brush for two minutes morning and night to thoroughly clean your mouth.

Try to avoid brushing directly after eating. If you have consumed acidic foods, wait at least 30 minutes before brushing. Citric foods can soften tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can damage it while it’s weak.

Brush your mouth gently. Most dentists recommend using a soft to medium toothbrush as these are hard enough to remove food but soft enough on gums. There is no need to use a toothbrush with stiff bristles and if your mouth feels agitated after brushing, try switching to a brush with softer bristles.

Brush your whole mouth, including your tongue

If you find it difficult to brush your teeth for two minutes, it could be because you are not doing a thorough enough job. Hold your toothbrush at an angle, and make sure you brush each side of your teeth — front, back, and side to side. Doing a poor job of brushing your teeth can leave behind food and bacteria and won’t keep your teeth protected.

Brush your tongue each time you brush your mouth. If you don’t like the feeling of tooth bristles against your tongue, a tongue scraper is a good option. Brushing your tongue also helps improve your breath.

Some parts of your mouth can be hard to reach. If you have a bar on the back of your teeth to keep your teeth aligned, make sure you are brushing behind it. Switching to an electric toothbrush can be helpful. The smaller head may be able to clean and polish parts of your mouth a manual toothbrush head struggles to reach.

Use a fluoride toothpaste

There are many brands of natural, whitening, and flavoured toothpaste on the market. Whichever toothpaste you choose, make sure it contains fluoride. Unfortunately, many natural brands exclude fluoride from their ingredients, and this leaves your teeth unprotected.

Some people have concerns over the safety of fluoride. However, fluoride is a natural substance found in the air, sea, soil, plants and freshwater. Therefore, there is nothing unnatural about using fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride helps protect our teeth from decay by:

  1. Strengthening the surface of the tooth
  2. Preventing the growth of bacteria which causes cavities
  3. Repairing the early stages of tooth decay

Whenever we eat and drink, we increase the levels of acidity in our mouths. Acid strips minerals from our teeth and leads to tooth decay. Drinking fluoridated water and brushing with fluoride toothpaste increases the amount of fluoride in our saliva and mouth and acts as a repair kit to neutralise the effects of acid. If you live in an area that does not have fluoride added to its water supply or drink bottled water, use fluoride toothpaste to keep your teeth healthy.

Floss your teeth at least three times a week

Brushing twice a day is effective at removing bacteria on the surface of our teeth but not so excellent at removing food and debris that gets stuck between the teeth. If you aren’t flossing, try adding it to your oral hygiene routine at least three times a week. From there, you can build up to flossing once a day.

If you find flossing uncomfortable, a floss made from softer, wider material may be more comfortable for you. How you floss is also essential. Dentists recommend holding a strip of floss at both ends and gently pushing it down between your teeth.

  • Push the floss down to the gum line and then hug one side of the tooth in an up-down motion.
  • Leave the floss in between the same teeth and push it up and down on the side of the opposite tooth.

This technique is more effective at removing plaque than just pushing the floss up and down.

Understand how mouthwash can help protect your teeth

Mouthwash is not an essential part of your oral hygiene routine. However, you  can use mouthwash in addition to brushing and flossing to keep the mouth healthy. The mouth wash ingredients contain antimicrobials that help kill bacteria, reduce plaque and halitosis, which causes bad breath.

Mouthwash is helpful in alkalising the PH of your saliva. You can use it after eating or drinking sugary or acidic foods. It reduces the erosive effect that acid has on teeth and promotes enamel mineralisation.

Some types of mouthwash can cause local irritation in the mouth. If you find a particular kind of mouthwash too harsh, use it less frequently or switch to a brand with gentler ingredients.

Be wary of the food and drink you consume 

Sugar converts to acid in the mouth, which has a detrimental effect on tooth enamel. Cutting down on the amount of sugar and sugary drink you consume is good for your teeth. Crisps and nuts can quickly get stuck in between your teeth and can be hard to remove. In general, cutting down on processed food is good for your teeth.

Tea and coffee can also stain the enamel on your teeth over time. While you don’t have to eliminate these foods, be mindful of how often you consume them. Whole foods are less likely to get stuck between teeth, and carrot sticks and cucumbers are easy to snack on without compromising the health of your teeth.

See your dentist at least twice a year

Without regular visits to the dentist, it’s impossible to know the proper health of your teeth. Your teeth and gums may look fine but hide problems that are hard to see. Plaque buildup can eat away at your teeth over time. Make sure you are booking regular visits to your dentists so that they can check the status of your teeth and gums.

Your dentist can spot the buildup of plaque,  which, left untreated, can lead to gingivitis and other tooth problems. They can also spot potential problems before they get too bad. Ultimately, seeing your dentist twice a year is the best way to prevent serious tooth problems.

Change your toothbrush regularly

Practicing good toothbrush hygiene is vital for the health of your mouth. Make sure you change your toothbrush or swap the head of your electric toothbrush for a new head regularly. A good rule to follow is changing your toothbrush with the seasons. This means you should update your brush every three months. You should also replace your brush if the bristles become flat or splayed.

After cleaning your teeth, make sure you rinse off your toothbrush and store it in a clean place. Avoid keeping your toothbrush in a closed container or keeping a toothbrush cover on it for long periods. This can encourage bacteria to grow.

At Gentle Dental, our friendly team are experts in keeping your smile healthy. Keep on top of your oral hygiene habits and book an appointment to see us today.