STAYING ON TOP OF YOUR ORAL HYGIENE AT HOME: PART 2

STAYING ON TOP OF YOUR ORAL HYGIENE AT HOME: PART 2

If you read part one of this blog series about forming good oral hygiene habits at home, you already know how important it is to brush your teeth twice per day, floss daily, and incorporate a little mouthwash into your oral health routine. Of course, there are many other ways you can keep your teeth, gums, and oral tissue healthy between teeth cleanings at your local dental clinic, which we will continue outlining below. Continue reading for more tips and request a general dentistry appointment at Trillium Dental in Ottawa if you’re due for a professional dental cleaning!

LIMIT SUGARY FOODS AND DRINKS

You’ve probably heard that consuming excess sugar is bad for your teeth — especially if you neglect to brush and floss as much as you should. This is true for many reasons, the first being that sugary foods eat away at tooth enamel and dissolve essential minerals when they sit on the teeth for an extended period of time. Another reason is that the bacteria in plaque (the white substance that builds up on your teeth and gumline) converts the sugar into acid, which creates holes in your teeth otherwise known as cavities and leads to further tooth decay.

Even if you brush regularly, consuming too much sugar can accelerate plaque production, causing it to harden and turn to tartar, which must be removed by a dentist using a scaler. But don’t fret — tooth scaling is included in our general dentistry appointments at Trillium Dental, so we can get rid of it for you every six months. That being said, we recommend not ingesting a lot of sugary foods and drinks for many different health reasons aside from plaque production and tooth decay, such as the risk of obesity, diabetes, and high blood sugar.

QUIT SMOKING AND CHEWING TOBACCO

Another major life change you can make to stay on top of your oral hygiene is to quit smoking or eliminate your dependence on chewing tobacco. Not only are both linked to cancers of the oral cavity, oesophagus, lungs, pancreas, kidneys, and more, but they are also known as major contributors to plaque and tartar formation, tooth decay, and gum disease. Plus, people who smoke are more prone to tooth loss and jawbone deterioration — a painful condition that often requires the help of dental implants to stimulate regrowth.

Aside from the carcinogenic properties of cigarettes, the scary thing about them is the increased buildup of bacteria and chemicals they cause in the mouth. When inflamed or infected gums bleed, these contaminants can enter the bloodstream, causing a myriad of other problems such as blood clots and heart disease. To avoid these serious health risks, simply abstain from smoking or chewing tobacco and visit your dental office to see what treatments are available to you if you are recovering from a nicotine addiction that has negatively impacted your oral health.

VISIT YOUR DENTIST TWICE PER YEAR

At the end of the day, there is only so much you can do to maintain perfect oral hygiene at home. Even those that brush their teeth twice per day, floss every single day, use mouthwash, avoid sugary foods, and don’t smoke cigarettes or chew tobacco still have to go to the dentist at least twice per year for a professional teeth cleaning. Only then are they able to get rid of any plaque that has hardened into tartar and get X-rays in order to determine whether they are experiencing any underlying dental problems that may have flown under the radar.

Often, dental problems like gingivitis (early-stage gum disease), cavities, and tooth decay don’t have noticeable symptoms when they first start developing, which is why it’s important to schedule dental visits on a bi-annual basis. As dental professionals, we are the experts who have the tools, knowledge, and experience to diagnose these issues before they become much more serious. That being said, one of the best things you can do for your long-term oral hygiene is find a family dentist in your area that you like and stick with them so they can provide you with comprehensive dental care for years to come.

VISIT TRILLIUM DENTAL IN OTTAWA FOR PERSONALIZED DENTAL CARE

When you choose Trillium Dental for your general dentistry appointments, you get personalized dental care that caters to your specific needs, whether that means simple dental cleanings or specialized treatments such as gum lasering, dental implants, or complete smile makeovers. We do it all, from general dentistry appointments to cosmetic, restorative, and sedation dentistry procedures, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you are in need of more than just a professional dental cleaning.

We hope that this blog series has proven helpful for you as you continue to maintain good oral hygiene between dental appointments. And, if it’s time for your bi-annual dental check up, contact Trillium Dental in Ottawa today or request an appointment online!

STAYING ON TOP OF YOUR ORAL HYGIENE AT HOME: PART 1

STAYING ON TOP OF YOUR ORAL HYGIENE AT HOME: PART 1

Oral hygiene is one of the most important aspects of both your dental health and the overall health of your body. As much as we don’t like to admit it, our mouths are full of hundreds of different species of germs and bacteria — both good and bad. You may have even heard the myth that dogs have cleaner mouths than humans do, but let’s get down to the facts before kissing our furry friends on the mouth.

ABOUT MOUTH BACTERIA

All humans have some ratio of good and bad mouth bacteria — which is normal as long as you have a healthy balance between the two and maintain good oral hygiene habits at home. When the bad mouth bacteria (Streptococcus, Lactobacillus, and other cavity-causing germs) builds up due to poor brushing and flossing habits, smoking cigarettes, eating lots of junk food, etc., this is when problems begin to arise. In fact, bad mouth bacteria is often the culprit of gum disease, irritation, and inflammation, as well as plaque and tartar buildup, cavities, tooth decay, and bad breath. Some of these consequences can even lead to more serious health risks such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and oral cancer.

On the other hand, “good” mouth bacteria is responsible for fighting off external germs that make their way into your mouth, aiding in digestion, combating bad breath, and keeping the bad bacteria under control. Commonly referred to as the mouth’s “checks and balances” system in the field of dentistry, this good mouth bacteria is essential for keeping everything in line so the mouth can perform normal bodily functions without succumbing to disease. As it turns out, the key to preventing this and maintaining a healthy balance of good and bad mouth bacteria is to establish good oral hygiene habits — and stick to them.

At Trillium Dental in Ottawa, our dentists and dental hygienists care about each and every one of our patients and regularly emphasize the importance of good oral health. Since we usually only see our patients during their bi-annual general dentistry appointments for professional teeth cleanings or when they visit our dental clinic for a cosmetic, restorative, or sedation dentistry procedure, we want to make sure that you are doing everything you can to keep your mouth healthy once you leave our dental office. That being said, here are some tips for staying on top of your oral hygiene at home!

RUSH YOUR TEETH TWICE PER DAY

Obviously, the first step toward maintaining good oral hygiene at home is brushing your teeth at least twice per day — and doing so thoroughly. Our dentists recommend brushing your teeth for a minimum of two minutes so that every nook and cranny is reached and that the toothpaste has enough time to fully do its job. If you have a hard time remembering to brush this long, consider setting a timer on your phone or buying a cheap little hourglass that runs out after two minutes. And, if the actual act of brushing is the problem, invest in an electric toothbrush to take some of the work out of the process. If you aren’t sure which kind to buy, feel free to give Trillium Dental a call or visit our dental clinic for a recommendation about the best electric toothbrush for you.

FLOSS DAILY

Hand in hand with remembering to brush your teeth twice per day is making a point to use dental floss every day as well. No matter how thoroughly you brush your teeth, the reality is that your toothbrush won’t be able to eliminate all the food buildup, plaque, and bacteria in between your teeth. This is where flossing comes in — it is essential to fully clean your teeth, prevent cavities, and reduce your risk of developing gum disease. However, if your gums bleed, swell, or cause you any pain when you floss, this could be a sign of a gum infection or gingivitis (early-stage gum disease), which should be checked out by your local dentist as soon as possible.

USE MOUTHWASH

Although mouthwash isn’t always required for preventing cavities and keeping your teeth and gums healthy, it is a great extra step to take if you want to ensure that your mouth isn’t being overcome with bad bacteria. Simply swish a capful in your mouth after brushing and flossing to rinse out any lingering bacteria, which will be killed off as the liquid cleanses your teeth, gumline, and the rest of the oral cavity.

SCHEDULE A TEETH CLEANING APPOINTMENT AT TRILLIUM DENTAL IN OTTAWA

Now that you know a few basic tips for staying on top of your oral hygiene at home, it’s time to put these suggestions to practice by establishing an oral health care routine that works for you. Whether that means investing in an electric toothbrush, trying mouthwash for the first time, or reminding yourself to floss every single day, every change you make to improve your oral health is worth it in both the short and long-term.

Interested in learning more about how you can improve your oral health and keep your mouth free of bad bacteria? Continue to part two of this blog series for more advice about how to maintain good oral hygiene between dental cleanings, and request a dental cleaning at Trillium Dental in Ottawa today!

TYPES OF FOODS TO AVOID FOR BETTER DENTAL HEALTH

TYPES OF FOODS TO AVOID FOR BETTER DENTAL HEALTH

We all want to have pristine teeth and gums. It’s a key to good health and as we at Trillium Dental say, “Your mouth says it all!” As dentists and dental professionals, we know that a healthy mouth is a gateway to confidence, better overall health, and a better relationship with your world. More so, we strive to help you keep your mouth healthy inside and outside of our dental offices. We’ve already talked about what foods are best for your dental health and which nutrients are key for good oral health and why. In today’s blog, we will be talking about the worst types of food for your teeth and why they are detrimental to your oral health.

Trillium Dental offers a range of quality, professional dental services in Ottawa including InvisalignⓇ therapy, teeth whitening, and other general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry. Contact us today to learn more, or for an appointment.

SUGARY FOODS

We’ve been told since we were little that sugary foods are terrible for our teeth, but never exactly why. In a sterile environment, sugar would hardly affect your dental health. But instead, there is a range of bacteria that feed on sugars and then excrete acids as a by-product. These bacteria are so common and resilient that there really isn’t a good way to manage them besides good oral hygiene and not feeding them. The acids that they excrete dissolve the enamel of your teeth and create cavities.

To help prevent the effects of sugary foods on your dental health, drinking water after eating to flush harmful bacteria out is important. In addition, brushing your teeth even after meals to ensure that you have rid your mouth of leftover sugar is important.

STARCHY FOODS AND SIMPLE CARBOHYDRATES

Not only do carbohydrates cause a range of different health concerns, but they also have a similar effect on dental health as sugars as both sugar and carbohydrates break down into triglycerides that the bacteria process and excrete as an acid. Many of the starchiest of foods can easily get stuck between teeth and in tooth ridges causing prolonged damage to the teeth.

STICKY OR CHEWY FOODS

Although there is certainly crossover between these food types, presenting each of these as a separate food category helps us all remember that even among sugars and carbohydrates some are worse than others. Food that sticks in your tooth ridges or between them is a dentist’s nightmare as they leave pockets of food for bacteria to eat and churn out acids that erode and damage your enamel. If you do eat anything sticky that leaves food stuck between your teeth, make sure that you brush out the major deposits and floss between your teeth to remove hidden pockets.

ABSORBENT FOODS

One of the least known bits of oral health trivia is that your saliva is one of the best defenses against oral health issues and damaging bacteria. Saliva helps to wash away bad bacteria, plaque, and to restore key minerals to your tooth enamel. Saliva also helps prevent food from getting stuck to your teeth and acting as a long-term food source for bacteria. Avoiding dehydrating food and beverages, or practicing proper hydration during and after consumption of dehydrating food and drink is important.

HARD FOODS

Like we pointed out in our previous blog, the enamel is hard. In fact, it’s the hardest part of the human body. However, chewing on excessively hard foods can erode the enamel and expose it to further damage from acid creating bacteria. Some of the more common hard foods that erode teeth are ice, hard candies, and uncooked popcorn seeds.

If your diet doesn’t reinforce your enamel or provide the nutrients needed to rebuild enamel, your teeth can weaken and end up breaking on substances softer than ice or hard candy.

We hope that this blog has helped you take a look at the types of food that are the most damaging to your dental and overall health. Remember that the health of your mouth says a lot about the health of the person. That is why at Trillium Dental, we say, “Your mouth says it all.” If you are looking for high-quality, professional dental care in Ottawa, we have several dental offices throughout the city. Contact us to schedule a checkup, teeth whitening, or any other range of dental practices.

NUTRITION AND DENTAL HEALTH

NUTRITION AND DENTAL HEALTH

Here at Trillium Dental, we’ve already covered many of the best foods for your teeth, but to help those who want a better understanding of those foods, today’s blog covers the nutrition your teeth and their supporting periodontal structures need to thrive, and why they help your dental health. For cutting-edge, professional dental care, we offer a range of services from teeth whitening to teeth cleaning, Invisalign®, and a range of other general, restorative, and cosmetic dental services.

FLUORIDE, CALCIUM, AND PHOSPHOROUS

Unlike much of your body, your bones and teeth are made of minerals, and need mineral deposition to stay strong. In particular, teeth require fluoride, calcium, and phosphorus. Since your bone and tooth enamel is the hardest part of your body and in constant use, it needs to be rebuilt constantly to remain strong. Chemically, the structures these minerals form in your teeth can be damaged or weakened by contact with high-acid foods and drinks. Providing a consistent amount of enamel reinforcement is very key to allowing the structures to be rebuilt.

VITAMIN D

Vitamin D is key to helping your body absorb Calcium and function when used. Without it, the calcium you take would be essentially useless and simply pass through your body and would not be able to bind to your bones. This is why dentists advocate exposure to sunlight and certain foods to maintain the ability to grow bone density and healthy, strong enamel.

VITAMIN C

This vitamin is important in helping strengthen the walls of blood vessels, and helps reduce inflammation. Reducing inflammation can help to protect gums while healthy blood vessels are key for transporting nutrition and blood effectively, which promotes healthy infection-fighting and bodily maintenance. In addition, vitamin C is necessary for your body to produce collagen, an important protein for fighting periodontal diseases. Even seemingly benign periodontal infections can have long-lasting and widespread consequences for your health.

ANTIOXIDANTS

Antioxidants refer to a category of substances that inhibit the chemical process called oxidation. In the body, oxidation produces free radicals that can cause chain reactions that damage cells. The most popular antioxidants are vitamins A, C, E, and catechins. Some free radicals are ok and are even produced by the body viruses and bacteria. In excess, they can contribute to cancers and heart disease. Antioxidants help to fight bacteria that cause inflammation and periodontal disease, as well as contribute to the prevention of oral cancer.

PROBIOTICS

These are essentially bacteria that can take up a similar niche as bacteria that are more associated with harm to your dental and oral health. Intaking foods with healthy probiotics has a range of bodily health benefits. According to a study in the European Journal of Dentistry, there is a range of benefits for your oral health from ingesting regular probiotics such as reducing plaque adhesion, increased periodontal disease resistance, and reduction of inflammation and tissue damage.

ANTHOCYANINS

Most people haven’t heard of this nutrient, as it’s a bit different than most. These make up the pigmentation in blueberries, raspberries, black rice, and a range of other red, purple, blue, and black fruits and vegetables. Evidence from research done by Ohio State University, suggests that these nutrients can reduce the risk of oral cancers and the attachment of plaque to teeth.

L-ARGININE

According to a study from Albert Ludwigs University, this amino acid inhibits bacteria growth, actually changes the metabolism of bacteria that cause cavities, and disrupts the formation of plaque on enamel. In addition, it’s one of the essential amino acids for humans and contributes heavily to recovery from burns and certain other types of tissue and organ damage.

POLYPHENOLS

Technically these are a structural class of molecules that in the human body. The polyphenols found in tea, berries, flaxseed, and cocoa disrupt bacterial growth which can help prevent plaque, periodontal disease, cavities, and bad breath.

IRON

Although it’s relatively rare for iron deficiencies to can cause sores and inflammation in the mouth that can increase the risk of periodontal infections. However, be careful when supplementing iron as most people have healthy levels and too much iron can heal to heart issues especially for young men. Consult a doctor if you think you may have an iron deficiency.

We hope that this guide to nutrition and dental health helps you build a basic understanding of better dental health habits and why a complete and balanced diet is important. For more information check out our blog on oral health-friendly foods. If you are in the Ottawa area, Trillium Dental offers professional dental services in our relaxed yet cutting-edge dental offices. We offer Invisalign®, teeth whitening, general check-ups and more for our patients, and include periodontal and oral cancer checks with each visit. Contact us todayto schedule an appointment!

ORAL HEALTH FRIENDLY FOODS

ORAL HEALTH FRIENDLY FOODS

As we alluded to in our last blog, there is a range of foods that you can eat to give yourself a boost in dental health.  Not only are many of these foods good for your teeth, but also simply good for you. Here at Trillium Dental, we provide excellent dental services and professional care for Ottawa with a number of dental clinics throughout the city. In today’s blog, we want to introduce you to a number of foods that can actually help strengthen your teeth.

DAIRY PRODUCTS

Many dairy products are good for you due to the high amount of calcium in them. Calcium is an essential building block for strong teeth and healthy enamel. Pairing calcium with enough vitamin D is another way of reinforcing your teeth and can come in certain fortified milks and dairy products. Cheese has also been shown to be beneficial, as a 2012 issue of General Dentistry from our American neighbors reported that cheese raises the pH in your mouth which helps protect your enamel and reduces the chances of tooth decay. Yogurt is another great benefactor for your teeth, not only does it have the same beneficial properties for teeth as other dairy products, but it also contains healthy probiotics which help crowd out other harmful bacteria that can cause tooth decay.

LEAFY GREENS

Just like your mother said, eat your greens. Not only are these delicious foods a brilliant addition to your diet, with high amounts of fiber, micronutrients, and vitamins. Greens like kale and spinach are high in calcium and have folic acid, which is thought to be beneficial to treating gum disease in pregnant women. Leafy greens should be a part of your daily diet. Try to stick to eating them without cooking them or adding them to smoothies to maximize the healthy effects of the greens.

APPLES

Apples are one of the only sweeter things that are actually beneficial for your teeth. While the sugar in them might be detrimental, they toute high amounts of fiber and water. The high fiber and tooth-sinking bite needed to eat an apple help to stimulate the gums while the water and the saliva you produce while eating this dental treat helps to wash particles and other bacteria out.

FISH

While fish has other dietary considerations such as mercury, a fish every once in a while is healthy and helps you strengthen your teeth with an infusion of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your overall health including your immune system and helps your teeth absorb calcium better. In fact, 30% of Canadians are deficient in their vitamin D input. So eat up, and get some sunshine.

RED PEPPERS

Not only do red peppers help add a bit of color to nearly any salad, they also have some of the highest amounts of vitamin C out of any food that people regularly consume. They can be sliced, diced, pickled, roasted, and can fit in a variety of food dishes. The high amounts of vitamin C in red peppers help to reduce inflammation, strengthen blood vessels, and is a key ingredient of collagen, which is a key protein in fighting periodontal disease. Anything that helps prevent periodontal disease and its effects are good by us.  

NUTS

Almonds, cashews, walnuts, and more all carry arginine, a powerful amino acid that helps prevent plaque formation and reduces the chances of cavities. Almonds, also help provide calcium and fiber, while remaining low in sugar. When planning your next snack, a handful of nuts can be a great option. 

Remember that in addition to these foods, it’s important to drink healthy beverages and as a rule of thumb, avoid sugar as much as possible. Your teeth will thank you. Here at Trillium Dental, we hope that our blog has helped you make sure you’re eating right. A healthy diet is a key element to preventing tooth decay, and other dental and periodontal issues. If you are in Ottawa, and looking for high-quality dental services in a relaxed yet professional setting, contact our dental office today.

MORE TIPS FOR GOOD DENTAL HYGIENE

MORE TIPS FOR GOOD DENTAL HYGIENE

Here at Trillium Dental, we love seeing our clients often for regular check-ups and oral maintenance, but we don’t like seeing them too often. There are a number of people that do not practice good oral hygiene and every good dentist strives to prevent dental issues through effective care and education. In today’s blog, we hope to continue that tradition with a range of tips to help you keep your teeth healthy as can be!

Trillium Dental offers teeth whitening, Invisalign, periodontics, restorative and cosmetic dental services and more for Ottawa, Stittsville, Orleans, Kanata, and Nepean in Ontario. Call us or contact us today to learn more!

BRUSH YOUR TEETH CORRECTLY

Yes, there is a correct way to brush your teeth. Without getting too detailed, it’s encouraged that everyone brush their teeth with soft-bristled brushes. Brushing with heavier brushes can do undue damage to your teeth. Despite their rugged nature, teeth can be brushed through and, after you get through the enamel, you end up with sensitive teeth that can cause discomfort when you drink or eat cold products or touch metal. In addition, brush twice a day with gentle strokes while changing the pattern and get behind the teeth as well using ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste.

… AND BRUSH YOUR MOUTH.

Not a lot of people know this, but the rest of the inside of your mouth requires dental hygiene as well. Brushing the rest of the inside of your mouth from your tongue to the top of your mouth is important for both preventing the build-up of potentially harmful bacteria, and for helping your breath smell better for longer. Brushing your entire mouth can feel funny at first, but after a few times, it’ll feel absolutely normal. This is a great pro tip for those of you on the dating scene.

FLOSS REGULARLY

Flossing once a day removes the food debris that gets stuck between teeth. Even if your teeth look clean, they oftentimes have a range of debris that is stuck between them. Removing this debris removes a food source for bacteria to feast on and proliferate. This prevents both decay of your teeth and a build-up of odor-causing bacteria. Maybe we’ll call that pro-dating tip number two.

MAKE SURE YOUR DIET IS TEETH-HEALTHY

Your diet is one of those great secret weapons against dental decay that not many people know enough about. We all know that candy and soda are to be avoided when it comes to dental health, but keep in mind that grains, carbohydrates, and certain fruit can add to this as well. It’s a known anthropological fact that our ancestors’ dental health was reduced when they domesticated grains — this applies here as well. On your next visit to the dentist, ask what they would suggest for a change in diet. When we dentists are in your mouth looking around, we can see dietary signs in your teeth that tell us about what you eat and can tell you if you eat too much sugar, not enough vitamin C, calcium, and more. In addition, there are a number of foods that simply cause better dental health from their makeup and dietary benefit. For more information on teeth friendly diet and nutrition check out our Oral Health Friendly Foods article here!

LET FLUORIDE SIT ON YOUR TEETH

Only about 47% of Canadians drink water containing fluoride. Fluoride is an excellent enamel strengthener and regular application of it can help your teeth avoid cavities. One uncommon trick is to add a thin layer of fluoride-containing toothpaste to your teeth after rinsing your mouth out before you go to bed. Not only is your breath a bit more minty-fresh, but a regular treatment of this will have big dental-health benefits.

GET REGULAR CHECK-UPS

We know that everyone gets busy, but, regardless of your schedule, getting your teeth inspected at least once or twice a year is suggested to simply double-check, and to save you undue damage from a problem that might not hurt, but is noticeable to a trained dental professional. In the long run, this will save you and your insurance company lots of money. Issues that compound in seriousness can go from something we can handle with advice, a cleaning, or a cheap operation, to one that can run through your dental insurance premium in no time and cost you more afterward.

Here at Trillium Dental in or around Ottawa, Canada, we urge you to follow good dental hygiene and let us provide high-quality, professional care for your teeth wherever you are. We have a range of high-quality and professional dental offices that put their patient’s first and offer everything from teeth whitening to Invisalign, veneers, and restorative dentistry. We accept most insurances and look forward to hearing from you. Call us at 613.695.0544 or contact us online to learn more.