You’ve finished your meal and your first instinct is to rush to the bathroom and give your teeth a nice cleaning. Before you pick up that toothbrush, you need to know what happens to your teeth if you brush too soon after eating.

What Does Food Do To Our Teeth?

Not all foods affect your teeth in a negative manner. However, food and beverages that are high in sugar, acid and carbohydrates do. For example, when you eat something that is processed and chase it with a soft drink, certain bacteria in your mouth will get activated and start attacking your enamel (the outer layer of each tooth). Our mouths contain a lot of bacteria, some of which is essential to our oral health. Unfortunately, it is the bad bacteria that responds to sugary, acidic and carbohydrate-heavy foods.

If you are someone who enjoys a pop or loves foods that are high in sugar, you are exposing your teeth to phosphoric acid. This is what gives soft drinks (even diet drinks!) their flavour. Prolonged exposure to phosphoric acid will lead to permanent dental erosion. This type of erosion dismantles your teeth’s natural structure, leaving them thin and yellow. There is no cure for dental erosion, but you can manage it if it does happen to you. The best way to prevent erosion is to avoid foods that are high in sugar and acid.

What Happens When You Brush Right After Eating?

If you can wait between 30 minutes to one hour before brushing your teeth following a meal, you will help save your enamel. When we brush too soon after eating or drinking acidic, sugary foods, we are at risk for erosion and enamel damage. By brushing right after a meal, you are essentially weakening your enamel and giving it carte blanche to erode into nothing.

It’s not just processed foods and soft drinks that are high in sugar and acid, it’s natural foods too. However, this does not mean that you can’t eat oranges, grapefruits and lemons. It just means that you should wait the required amount of time before brushing after having a fruit salad or natural fruit juice.

What To Do If You Want To Brush Your Teeth After Eating?

Most of us want that clean feeling after we eat. The first thing you should do after a meal is drink water. Water will wash away the acids leftover from the food. Chewing sugarless gum—ask your dentist which kinds they recommend—can also give you a fresh feeling after eating. You can also modify your diet so that you are not relying on sugary carbohydrates for every meal. Stick with nutritious foods like lean proteins, whole grains and leafy greens. Plus, these foods will fill you up and reduce your cravings for acidic, sugary foods.

How To Brush Properly

Now that you know when to brush your teeth, ask yourself if you know the proper brushing techniques. According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), the brushing process should take at least two minutes. Most of us are guilty of only brushing for 30-45 seconds, so set a timer to make sure you’re being thorough.

The CDA has broken down the brushing process into simple steps:

  • Use a soft bristled brush with rounded bristles
  • You can use an electric or manual brush as long as you can comfortably reach your back teeth
  • Tilt your hand so that you’re brushing at a 45 degree angle
  • Place the bristles where your gums and teeth meet
  • Move your hands in a gentle circular motion
  • Do not scrub or brush too hard; otherwise your gums will recede
  • Ensure that you are reaching every side of your teeth
  • Brush your tongue, cheeks and roof of your mouth to get rid of bacteria and food particles
  • Replace your brush every three months or sooner if you get sick

What Toothpaste Should You Be Using?

With so many products on the market, it can be hard to tell what kind of toothpaste you need. From whitening products, ones that help with tooth sensitivity and ones that contain mouthwash, going to the drugstore to buy toothpaste can turn into an adventure. Look for products that contain the certification seal of the Canadian or American Dental Associations. Do not use toothpaste from a brand you’ve never heard of. For instance, if your local dollar store has a line of toothpaste, chances are it does not carry the approval of the CDA or ADA. Your best bet would be to ask your dentist which toothpaste they recommend; that way you know you’re getting a product that works.

Brushing your teeth is an exact science that must be done right; otherwise you could suffer from oral health issues. For more information about proper brushing techniques and to book your next appointment, please contact us.

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Trauma to the mouth from playing contact sports can leave you in pain. It can also leave you with missing teeth and a broken jaw. Once your jaw heals you’ll want to replace the missing teeth. Doing so will require dental implants.

What Are Dental Implants?

A dental implant is an artificial replacement, not for your tooth but for its root. Made with titanium metal, dental implants are inserted directly into your jawbone to stand in for the root where your natural tooth was once found. Once the implant is secured in place, an artificial tooth (or bridge if you have lost multiple teeth) is attached to it. The implant is the anchor that keeps your new replacement tooth in place.

You may be wondering if titanium will harm your jawbone. Don’t worry, titanium is used because it is a biocompatible material. Biocompatible materials don’t interfere with the living tissues that make up our bodies and will not be rejected by your body. Titanium dental implants look like cylindrical posts, sort of like nails.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Implants Following A Sports Injury?

Dental implants after you’ve lost teeth are incredibly beneficial. When you have missing teeth, you will have trouble speaking, especially if you are missing your front teeth. Chewing will become an issue, and you’ll have a hole where the tooth once was, which will make your smile less appealing, causing your confidence to plummet.

Furthermore, your facial structure will change. When we lose teeth and don’t replace them with implants, your face will age prematurely. Bone loss will occur and the muscles that let you chew your food will begin to shorten to accommodate the reduced space between your nose and your chin.

Another consequence of leaving a gaping hole where your tooth lived is that your adjacent teeth will drift into the space, creating a place for food to become trapped. You’re also at risk for tooth decay, and you may lose lip support.

What Is The Implantation Procedure Like?

The dental implantation procedure has several steps:

  1. X-rays will be taken of your head, teeth and jaws to ensure that you are a good candidate for implants. Chances are, if you are in general good health, your jaw can support the implants.
  2. If you are deemed a good candidate, the implant will be placed into your jawbone beneath the gum tissue. Then, your gum tissue is stitched back into its original position.
  3. You will need to take a few months to allow the tissue to heal and let osseointegration occur. Osseointegration is the process of your jawbone bonding with the implant and your gum fully attaching.
  4. Once you’ve healed, an abutment will be attached to the implant. This is the structure that connects your implant to the replacement tooth.
  5. After the abutment is in place, the artificial tooth (or bridge depending on how many teeth you lost) is attached to it. It may take several appointments to get the replacement tooth into proper positioning.

Your dentist may not perform implantation in-house and may refer you to specialist. Moreover, some people do not have enough jawbone to hold the implant in place. If this is the case, bone augmentation may be recommended. This is a procedure that involves increasing the width and height of the bone by grafting bone (or safe bonelike materials) to your jaw. You can use your own bone for the graft or a processed bone-like material. Following a grafting procedure, it takes about nine months before the new bone fuses with your existing bone. Another problem that may delay your implantation procedure is if the teeth in the upper back area of your mouth live too close to your sinuses. You can undergo a sinus shrinking procedure before the implants to ensure they will not get in the way.

It’s important to remember that implantation is a surgical procedure. As with any surgery, you will need to give your body a chance to kick its natural healing process into high gear. This means no smoking while you recover. You will also need to stay away from contact sports to ensure you do not get hit in the jaw and undo the positive effects of your implantation procedure.

Dental implants look and feel like real teeth, so you have to treat them as such by brushing and flossing as you normally would. Please contact Dawson Dental for more information about dental implants and to book your appointment.

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Date night on the horizon and no time for a dental smile makeover? How will you ensure that your pearly whites remain that way? Tooth discoloration is a problem that plagues most people, but reversing its effects is possible. Before we discuss teeth whitening tips to get you ready for your big date, let’s explore why our teeth become discoloured.

What Causes Tooth Discolouration?

We associate white teeth with youthfulness because when our adult teeth first come in, they are sparkling. As we age, our teeth become discoloured. There are many reasons why our teeth can turn yellow, darken or stain:

  • Genetics: If you come from a long line of people with yellow teeth, you are more likely to have them too.
  • Antibiotics: Although antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline kill harmful bacteria that make us sick, when given to children who have just sprouted their adult teeth, these medications can turn developing teeth yellow.
  • Aging: Unfortunately, our teeth don’t always respond well to the aging process. As we get older, the enamel (the outer white layer of our teeth) disappears to reveal a not-so-bright colour underneath.
  • Trauma: If, for instance, you fall or receive a hit to the face from playing a contact sport, your teeth may not recover properly and darken a few shades.
  • Radiation treatment: Chemotherapy and radiation therapy are known to change tooth colour.
  • Neglecting your oral health: If you do not have an oral health routine in place, your teeth will suffer. This includes brushing, flossing and mouthwash usage (more on this in the tips below).

Neglecting your overall health: Everything is connected, so if you don’t take care of your body, your teeth will suffer by darkening and eventually falling out. Neglecting your overall health includes eating sugary and processed foods, and smoking.

It’s normal for an adult to have dark, yellow or stained teeth. However, you don’t have to live with them. Here are seven tips to prolong your pearly whites:

  1. Brush twice a day: As mentioned above, you need a comprehensive oral care routine. You must brush your teeth twice per day for an average of 2-4 minutes (as recommended by the Canadian and American Dental Associations). Moreover, you must brush your teeth properly by ensuring that every surface of every tooth gets its fair share of care. Ask your dentist to show you the proper teeth brushing technique.
  2. Pick the right toothpaste and mouthwash: Not all toothpastes are created equally. When in doubt, go with a brand name that has fluoride and not necessarily one that is supposed to whiten your teeth. Also, ask your dentist which brands they trust. The same goes for mouthwash. You need to follow up your brushing with a swig of mouthwash, so it’s important you’re using one that does more than freshen breath. It has to kill bacteria too.
  3. Floss properly: White teeth are teeth that have been flossed. During one of the two times you brush your teeth in a day, you need to incorporate flossing. Floss before you brush to ensure that any food particles that are stuck between your teeth are removed. You should also ask your dentist to show you the right way to floss. Unfortunately, most of us are doing it wrong, and the only way to really get between your teeth is to use the right technique.
  4. Stop smoking: You already know that smoking causes cancer, but did you know that it ruins your teeth too? The use of tobacco products, especially cigarettes, will turn your teeth a nasty shade of yellow.
  5. Get a checkup: To keep your teeth white, visit your dentist every six months for a checkup and professional cleaning procedure.
  6. Professional whitening only: Do not use over-the-counter whiteners. Whitening products that are sold in pharmacies can ruin your gums. When you get dental smile makeovers from your dentist, their in-house whitening products are designed to safely whiten your teeth without hurting your gums. Moreover, the whitening kits sold at drugstores are one-size-fits-all and not customized to your mouth. The whitening trays your dentist will use are created specifically to fit the contours of your mouth.
  7. Keep stains away: Some of the foods we eat and drink will stain our teeth. Stay away from sugary beverages like wine, pop and sports drinks. The same goes for coffee and tea. Furthermore, foods like grapes and strawberries, which are good for you, can also stain your teeth. You don’t have to give up berries and other fruits, but you should drink water after eating them to reduce staining.

If you’re interested in our dental smile makeovers, please contact us. At Dawson Dental we offer professional teeth whitening services that will give you a radiant smile and ensure you are ready for date night.

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Valentine’s Day is a romantic holiday, but it’s also a time when it’s hard to turn down chocolates, wine and candy. Sugar plays a major role in the destruction of our teeth. When you have a sweet tooth, you’re at risk for tooth decay and may need dental fillings and cavity treatments.

What Does Sugar Do To Our Teeth?

Sugar consumption sets off an unpleasant chain reaction in our mouths. There are hundreds of bacteria in our mouths, and for the most part, we need these bacteria to protect our teeth. Unfortunately, these bacteria do not react well to sugar. When we eat sugary foods, the bacteria uses the sugar to create acids that destroy the outer protective layer of our teeth (enamel). Once the enamel is destroyed, it won’t grow back.

Besides ruining our enamel, the acids created when bacteria bonds with sugar can lead to holes in our teeth (cavities). If left untreated, cavities can penetrate beyond the enamel and harm the under layers of our teeth, leading to tooth loss.

When acids attack our teeth, it’s called demineralization. In a healthy mouth, remineralization occurs to replace the effects of the acids and strengthen our teeth with the help of our saliva. Saliva is chock full of minerals like calcium and phosphates that work to repair our teeth and outwit the acids. Furthermore, fluoride, a mineral found in toothpaste, also helps restore damaged enamel. Nevertheless, if you eat sugary foods with every meal, your saliva and the fluoride from your toothpaste can only do so much, and you will eventually need dental fillings and cavity treatments.

How To Curb Your Candy Cravings

Valentine’s Day is tough on our teeth, especially with all that candy widely available. To curb your candy cravings, try the following:

  1. Water is your friend: To keep sugar cravings away, make sure you are hydrated. More often than not, we don’t realize that when our body is demanding a sugary treat, it’s actually demanding water. If you’re not keen on drinking water with your Valentine’s Day meal, try green tea.
  2. Watch your blood sugar: Most of us are conditioned to eat three meals a day. However, when those meals are too far apart and we don’t snack in between, our blood sugar drops and we’re left craving sugar. To keep your blood sugar at an even level, incorporate healthy snacks into your day.
  3. Get enough sleep: The less we sleep, the more sugar we want. Try to ensure you get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night. When we’re tired, we’re more inclined to overdo it with the candy. Conversely, when we get ample sleep, our body doesn’t crave the sweet stuff.
  4. Stay away from processed foods: In 2013, researchers from Connecticut College performed a study on the effects of processed foods, and their findings were quite scary. It turns out that processed foods (all of which are high in sugar) can be as addictive as cocaine and heroin. When we eat processed foods, the sugar contained in them stimulates the region of our brain that produces dopamine, a natural compound that makes us feel good. This feeling doesn’t last long, and as soon as we’re done that bag of candy, we flatline and want more.
  5. Skip the pop: The sugar in pop is bad for your teeth (and waistline). As with any sugary treat, drinking soft drinks produces plaque and bacteria that destroys your enamel. Even diet pop can ruin your teeth, so make sure you avoid these carbonated beverages altogether. If you do have a pop on Valentine’s Day, make sure to drink water afterwards to help rinse out your mouth.
  6. Watch the wine: Most us of will indulge in a glass of wine (or the whole bottle) this Valentine’s Day. It’s okay to treat yourself every once in a while, but remember that alcohol is full of sugar. If you like cocktails, keep in mind that healthy-seeming mixers like juice and tonic water are teeming with sugar. Mixed drinks, especially those with flavoured alcohol, are just as bad. If you keep your alcohol consumption to a minimum, you can keep tooth decay and oral cancer at bay.

Having a sweet tooth is normal, but it’s all about how you control it, whether it’s Valentine’s Day or any day of the year. At Dawson Dental we offer dental fillings and cavity treatments. Please contact us for more information so that we can help you take charge of your oral health.

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