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All Posts in Category: Oral health

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Turner Lim’s favourite orthodontics blog posts of 2016

It’s been more than two years since we started this orthodontics blog. Writing it has been a lot of fun, and we hope you enjoy reading! In recognition of this milestone, we thought we’d revisit some of our favourite posts of 2016. Enjoy.

Kids & sport

There are lots of reasons why children should play sport. It keeps them physically fit and also teaches teamwork and social skills. These days, there are too many children becoming obese and socially inept due to excessive online activity. So, you don’t want your child side-lined because they’ve had dental braces fitted. The solution is a mouth guard. If your child wears one, there is no reason why they shouldn’t play sports while also wearing braces. With this in mind, in January we published My child wears dental braces. Can they still play sport?

There’s more to nice teeth than you think

“You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover,” as the saying goes. And no, you shouldn’t, but society does anyway. It’s a hard fact of life. And, unfortunately, the way others perceive us also affects how we feel about ourselves. So, there is more to a nice smile than looking good — psychological factors also come into play. That’s what our May post, How your smile can affect your physical & mental health, is about.

Does Richie really do that?

Top sportspeople have a big influence on many Kiwi kids. In June, we were shocked to learn of a five-year-old All Blacks fan who had to have rotten teeth removed. The cause of the decay was his taste for sports drink Powerade. In fact, he was sipping on the stuff when he arrived at the dental clinic to get his teeth pulled out. What were his parents thinking? Anyway, when asked why he drank Powerade, he said because Richie McCaw drinks it. Read our June post, Drink sports drinks: Is that really what Richie does?

It’s never too late

These days, it’s not unusual for adults to get dental braces. In fact, our oldest patient was about 65 years of age. It seems braces are no longer a ‘fashion accessory’ exclusively for teenagers. So, why are older people getting braces? Well, teeth move over time. Also, many people who couldn’t afford braces when they were younger can as adults. So, why not do something about those crooked teeth? We discussed the trend of older people getting braces in our July post, Am I too old for dental braces?

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little girl brushing teeth

Why orthodontists use fluoride on teeth

Water fluoridation is a controversial subject. And, at Turner Lim, we have no intentions what so ever of entering the debate. Instead, in this post, we explain why orthodontists recommend fluoride to their patients.

A bit about fluoride

It was at the beginning of the 20th century that American dentist Frederick McKay accidentally discovered that fluoride could prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride is not a substance cooked-up in a science lab. Actually, it is a natural mineral found in water sources such as rivers, lakes and oceans.

When applied to your teeth, fluoride absorbs into the enamel — a process called ‘remineralisation.’ As a result, by replenishing lost calcium and phosphorus, the fluoride can put a stop to tooth decay.

The bugs in your mouth HATE fluoride, which is a good thing. And fluoride also protects your teeth from acid-filled fizzy drinks.

Toothpaste and fluoride

Many kinds of toothpaste contain fluoride. And for patients with low saliva counts or high decay rates, we often prescribe toothpaste with extra-high levels.

Note: The saliva in your mouth is responsible for washing away the acid. Due to factors such as age or medications, some people have low saliva counts (dry mouths). For them, fluoride is beneficial for acid protection.

Fluoride tooth mousse

A good way to apply fluoride is with the topical treatment tooth mousse. Incidentally, at Turner Lim Orthodontists, we recommend Tooth Mousse Plus.

Because you can apply it with a cotton bud, tooth mousse is absorbed deeper into the tooth’s surface than fluoride toothpaste or mouthwash.

When is tooth mousse used?

In general dentistry

Dentists often use tooth mousse to remineralise teeth showing the very early stages of cavities. Doing this eliminates the need to take the more drastic measure of putting in a filling. Tooth mousse is also effective for treating sensitive teeth.

In orthodontics

It is common for patients to find white marks on their teeth when their braces come off. A build-up of plaque is the cause, and in most cases, marks are very mild. However, with about 10% of patients who don’t do a particularly good job of cleaning their teeth, the marks can be quite nasty. To remove these marks, orthodontists use tooth mousse to add minerals to the affected teeth.

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dental floss

Make your orthodontist happy and floss regularly

Have you flossed today? I hope so — as an orthodontist, I recommend flossing be part of your daily routine, particularly if you wear dental braces. In this post, I explain why.

Isn’t brushing enough?

Brushing is essential. However, that toothbrush of yours won’t reach all those ‘nasties’ that set up camp in the spaces between your teeth and gums.

It needs a helping hand.

Floss is known as an interdental cleaner. It’s designed to get into places your toothbrush can’t reach — between your teeth as well as the gaps between the base of your teeth and top of your gums.

If you are unsure about how to floss, watch this short video.

What happens if I don’t floss?

Failing to floss is NOT a good idea. It can lead to several problems including

  • Gingivitis — a mild gum disease, which can cause painful swelling of gums and sores in your mouth. Bleeding gums can be a warning that gingivitis is settling in.
  • Bad breath — unchecked food particles in your teeth and gums breed bacteria, which can cause halitosis, otherwise known as bad breath.
  • Receding gums — gum tissue can wear away and expose the roots of your teeth. Experiencing pain when drinking a hot or ice-cold drink can be a warning sign.
  • Teeth may fall out — Yikes! This can happen due to gum disease being left untreated for too long resulting in infections.

Should I floss before or after brushing?

It doesn’t really matter whether you floss before or after brushing. Just make sure you do! Even young children should floss as soon as they have two teeth next to each other.

Choose a time that enables you to dedicate a couple of extra minutes so that you can do a thorough job.

Which floss would an orthodontist recommend?

Any floss is better than no floss. However, as an orthodontist, I find that Oral B Superfloss is particularly good for cleaning around braces. It has three components that enable you to achieve a complete clean:

  1. A stiff-end dental floss threader that enables you to floss under your dental braces or bridge.
  2. Spongy floss that cleans around your appliance and wide spaces.
  3. Regular floss that removes plaque from below the gum line.

Airflosser is also excellent, and if you prefer floss threaders, we can supply them at the clinic.

I hope that, if you didn’t already, you now understand the importance of flossing. If you enjoyed this post, please share.

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