Our FAQs explain everything you need to know about cosmetic, restorative and general dentistry procedures, as well as preventive care.
We hope that by reading through our FAQs you will be better informed to make decisions about your dental health now, and in the future.
How often should I change my toothbrush?
The life span of the average toothbrush is about 2 – 3 months. So change your toothbrush at the beginning of each season. (Summer, Autumn, Winter, Spring)
There are a number of reasons for this:
- Toothbrushes just simply wear out after repetitive use – the bristles breakdown and lose their effectiveness at getting into all those tricky corners around your teeth.
- They are a breeding ground for germs, fungus and bacteria.
- They can spread cold and flu to your family or partner when stored together, by infecting adjacent toothbrushes. For this reason, you also need to change your toothbrush after you’ve been sick.
- Toothbrushes also harbour the little bugs that cause cold sores and ulcers. If you are susceptible to ulcers and cold sores you should also change your toothbrush more regularly to avoid re-infecting other parts of the mouth and possibly other members of the family.
Also Remember: after using a toothbrush shake it vigorously under tap water and store it in an upright position, allowing it to dry out. Try and keep your toothbrush from touching others when it is stored.
How often should I floss my teeth?
At least once each day. If you don’t, you are almost sure to have bad breath…
What is worse is that people with bad breath usually don’t know that they have it.
Why do I need to floss?
Well, we know that bad breath is the result of bacteria. Bacteria can be found in many places within the mouth and regular brushing can usually get rid of most of it. But not all of it.
Flossing each day ensures that the hard-to-reach places are cleaned such as the area between the teeth and around the gumline.
Apart from a professional scale and clean, flossing is the best way to remove bacteria from under your gum line.
Bacteria left under the gum line for too long can begin the onset of gum (periodontal) disease, which if left untreated can lead to the loss of several teeth.
If you are not 100% sure of the best way to floss, just ask us next time you are in and we will be happy to give you a practical demonstration.
What causes decay?
Sugar is the main cause of decay and is found in the many foods we eat and drink either naturally or as an additive. Bacteria that have settled on a tooth thrive on sugar. They love the stuff and multiply themselves so that even more of them can partake in the sugar-fest.
Unfortunately, when bacteria and sugar get together a chemical reaction occurs producing an acid that eats away at the enamel (which protects your teeth from decay). The more sugar we eat, the more bacteria; this dramatically increases your chance of decay.
Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel, making it harder for the acid to eat its way into the tooth, but once the decay process has started it accelerates at a rapid rate. After eating through the enamel, the decay then attacks the softer part of the tooth.
If left untreated the decay will engulf the tooth eating its way further down to the pulp. It is therefore important to try and limit the amount of sweet foods and drink that we consume, and to brush our teeth thirty minutes after every meal – including lunch.
How do I fix bad breath?
A healthy mouth means fresh breath.
Social embarrassments can come in many shapes and sizes, and chronic bad breath is near the top of the list. It affects those nearest and dearest to us and can quite often cause problems in relationships. Worse yet, a person with bad breath is normally unaware they have it until someone tells them.
In any case of bad breath bacteria are the culprit. Plaque, tartar, gums, tooth decay, dentures, and your tongue are all places where bacteria can thrive, so much so that all the breath fresheners and mouthwashes on the supermarket shelf won’t remedy the cause. They only camouflage it temporarily – usually for only a few hours.
- Bad breath caused by tartar, gum disease and tooth decay can only be remedied at the dentist by having a regular scale and clean.
- Brush your tongue – One-study estimates 50% of oral bacteria can be eliminated by brushing your tongue with a soft brush every day.
- If you wear dentures anything less than a pristine clean will generally contribute to bad breath. Make sure that you clean them thoroughly and regularly using Sterodent or a similar product.
- If you are a chronic mouth-breather also beware! Dry mouth means more bad breath.
If you are concerned about your own or your partner’s breath we can determine the cause at a check-up appointment.
What do I do if a tooth gets knocked out?
First things first, find your tooth.
Don’t handle it by the root as the root membrane is delicate and is needed intact to encourage re-attachment. If the tooth is clean, place it gently back in its socket immediately and apply slight pressure. If the tooth is dirty, try and rinse it using milk and then place it back in its socket. Otherwise keep the tooth moist by placing it in a glass of milk or tuck it into the side your cheek.
DO NOT USE WATER
Make fast tracks to the dentist. If you can be there within 30 minutes, there’s an 85% chance the tooth will survive.
Remember: Prevention is better than cure, wear a mouthguard.