DIY teeth aligners fraught with risk
Straightening your teeth without the supervision of a dentist is the current trend in America and it’s on its way to Australia. The practice of sending teeth aligners to people’s homes for unsupervised use is fraught with a multitude of risks. If the teeth are moved too quickly or the patient wears the aligners infrequently, the teeth may be forced to move at a rate that is risky to dental health. The roots of the teeth may become resorbed, causing irreversible damage and the possible loss of teeth. Orthodontic movement of teeth is a precise procedure that must be monitored and controlled by a qualified dentist or orthodontist.
Overseas dentistry comes with risks
The internet is flooded with ads from overseas dentists offering free holidays and airfares along with a cheap smile makeover. Sound good? Yes, but at what risk? Major dental work such as implants or veneers come with a high risk of infection and require follow up checks with the dentist. If this is done over a two-week stay overseas, you may find that when you come home a local dentist may not be too keen to rectify any issues that arise. Where does that leave you? Angry and frustrated. Overseas dentistry is often a lot cheaper because they don’t have the strict infection control standards that we practice here in Australia. They may also use inferior materials and products. So, while it’s ok to have treatment done overseas, it does come with risks.
Contact Media Stable Expert: Sasha Rutnam – Dental Surgeon
Are children still suffering from dental decay?
We are still seeing as much as 70% of children in Australia suffering from dental decay.
The main cause being the increased consumption of sugary treats and sugar sweetened soft drinks.
Halloween has become increasingly popular in Australia and we see large amounts of lollies being consumed in a short time during this period.
Decay (or cavities) in children’s’ teeth can form fairly quickly if they are constantly sipping on sweet drinks or sucking on sticky lollies.
The frequency of sugar intake is directly linked to the increase in cavities in children.
It is best if they are to have lollies, to have them with a meal, drink water or brush their teeth afterwards.
Despite the fluoride in the water we are seeing more and more children drinking bottled water.
Bottled water does not have fluoride in it.
Fluoride protects teeth from cavities, and if children are drinking non-fluoridated bottled water they are going to miss out on its benefits.
So in short, if you want to protect your child from cavities, limit the lollies and soft drinks, or have them with meals, get them to drink fluoridated (tap) water and encourage them to brush their teeth twice a day.
Pregnancy, breast-feeding and your teeth
Hormonal changes during pregnancy and breast-feeding can result in ‘pregnancy gingivitis’ where the gums become inflamed and bleed. This can be kept under control with meticulous oral hygiene – brushing twice a day and flossing once daily. But factor in bouts of morning sickness and the general overall exhaustion many women feel, and these good hygiene habits can fall by the wayside. If a woman suffers from gum disease – gum inflammation and associated bone loss leading to loose teeth – prior to falling pregnant, this condition can worsen during pregnancy. Studies also show that women can go into pre-term labour, thereby risking the health of the baby. A nutritious, well-balanced diet and brushing and flossing daily while pregnant is a must.
Are amalgam dental fillings toxic?
Amalgam was once the choice of material for dental fillings. Today we use composite resins or porcelain, but baby boomers born before the introduction of fluoride in the water would have numerous amalgam fillings. So, are these fillings toxic? Amalgam is an alloy containing mercury which can leach out and be absorbed into the body during chewing and clenching. Studies have shown a slight increase in the development of Parkinson’s disease in those with a higher number of amalgam fillings. Mercury can also leach out during procedures involving electro-magnetic waves such as MRI’s. As the population ages, mercury toxicity is likely to increase. In the 90’s the National Heart and Medical Research Council advised that amalgam fillings not be placed in pregnant women and children. Are these grounds for removing your amalgams? Absolutely! If they can be removed safely, it makes sense to replace them with a more biocompatible material.
Is Oil Pulling everything it’s cracked up to be?
Oil Pulling is an alternative practice where typically sesame, sunflower, olive or coconut oil is ‘swished’ around the mouth for 20 minutes to disinfect the mouth and prevent tooth decay and gum infections. While Oil Pulling is a growing trend, it’s nothing new – it’s actually a type of Ayurvedic medicine that dates back 3000 years. Although there are some studies to show a decrease in bacterial levels in the mouth from Oil Pulling, research is limited, and questions have been raised about the purity of oils used. The Harvard Medical Schoolfound that one out of five Ayurvedic herbal products produced in south Asia contained harmful levels of lead, mercury or arsenic so choosing organic, extra virgin oils for this practice is essential. Needless to say, Oil Pulling should never replace tooth brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist.
Fruit only diets and your teeth
A recent article in the New York Post, features a young couple who have embarked on a ‘fruit only diet’ and haven’t brushed their teeth for two years, claiming that the fibre from the fruit cleans them. Before you try this at home, let’s look at the facts when it comes to the health of your teeth. Fruit is high in acid and fructose – both of which can soften and destroy tooth enamel. Not brushing your teeth allows bacteria to grow and can damage and decay your teeth. While eating only fruit will undoubtedly shed excess weight, a diet based on fruit alone lacks major nutrients such as protein, vital minerals, fats and amino acids. The safest diets are those that have been scientifically researched and are not purely anecdotal.
Charcoal for teeth whitening – does it work?
You’ve probably seen loads of social media for teeth whitening using charcoal. But does it really work? Activated charcoal anecdotally does seem to whiten teeth. However, there are no published studies to prove that it actually does. The Australian Dental Association hasn’t approved charcoal for use on teeth either. There’s a risk of damage to healthy teeth when whitening, whether it’s with charcoal or other whitening products if conducted at home, unsupervised by a dentist. If an abrasive charcoal is used, it may actually erode the healthy enamel of your teeth. In short, talk to your dentist before you spend money on whitening products sold over the internet. It’s going to be a much costlier and possibly painful experience should you end up damaging your teeth.
The plain truth about Fluoride
Contrary to popular belief, Fluoride is not a medication. It’s a natural mineral found in rock, air, soil, plants, and both fresh and sea water. Community water fluoridation began in the 50s in Australia to target tooth decay; one of the most common, painful and expensive health issues facing the country. Tooth decay has halved as a result. However, community concerns continue to be raised about the health implications of fluoride in drinking water. In 2017, the NHMRC conducted an extensive review, and released an open letter outlining the rigour of the review process. It confirmed there are no links between water fluoridation and a host of random illnesses from cancer to Down Syndrome. However, while the evidence is clear, the scepticism continues. Perhaps this is the perfect time to launch a Fluoride educational community campaign?
Child Dental Benefits Scheme
We are pleased to support the Federal Government’s scheme to provide basic dental treatment to children aged 2-17 years. Depending on eligibility your child maybe eligible for treatment capped at $1000 over 2 years. Please bring in Medicare card and ring Medicare on 132 150 to check if you are eligible for this.