News & Tips from Somerset Dental

Get the latest news and up-to-date tips in oral care from Somerset Dental's dentistry team.

Keeping kids calm before, during and after the dentist

Keeping kids calm before, during and after the dentist

Dentist trips are not the easiest thing for a seasoned adult, let alone a child. However, these trips are necessary in order to promote good hygiene habits from an early age. So, how can you keep your child calm, or get them familiar with the idea of visiting the dentist?

Below are a few suggestions we’ve compiled that we believe will make it easier for everyone involved, especially the child.

Start Them Young

The earlier they visit the dentist the better. As soon as their first tooth appears, take them to a dentist. These early visits will imbue a sense of trust in the child towards the dentist.

Keep Things Simple

When getting ready for a visit, especially their first one, keep the details to a minimum. We’re not suggesting that you lie to your child, far from it. As any parent or guardian knows, kids are inquisitive, and the more you tell them, the more questions they will have. A simple: “We’re going to the dentist so he/she can look at/count your teeth,” or something similar, should be enough to quell further questions. Try to sound positive when you tell them they’re going to the dentist, as they can pick up on the slightest bit of anxiety in a parent’s voice. It’s also best not to tell them they’ll be fine, even though it’s your first reaction to quell their anxiety, because if the dentist needs to carry out any work, the child will lose trust in you and the dentist.

Watch What You Say

Children are very attentive and pick-up on any, and every thing that is said around them. That’s why we recommend you don’t use the ‘S’, ‘H’, ‘N’ or ‘P’ (Shot, Hurt, Needle or Pain) words around them, as they’ll pick up on this and easily get agitated. It’s best to let the Somerset Dental staff introduce kids to their own vocabulary, which stems from being tried and tested over the years, and is now a fine-tuned instrument of comfort. This has helped other children, and will help yours, get through difficult situations, now and in the future.

Play At Pretending

Kids love to play and pretend they are other things or people they have seen or met, so maybe consider playing pretend ‘Dentist & Patient’ games prior to their first visit to the dentist. Keep it simple by letting them brush the teeth of their favourite stuffed animal, or just count their teeth using numbers or the alphabet. Although it probably doesn’t need to be said, avoid making drilling sounds or lining up instruments beside them.

‘Sharing’ Is Not Always ‘Caring’

Some parents like to try and relate to their children by sharing stories of past experiences and procedures, or by taking their children to their very own dentist to show them there is nothing to worry about. But this is not always a good idea.

Telling ‘war stories’ of procedures you’ve had may do more harm than good, especially if they are about procedures a child may never have to go through, like root canals or fillings. This could create further anxiety for no reason.

Also, taking your child to your dentist, may have the reverse effect to what you were hoping. Where a paediatric dentist’s (Children’s Dentist) office is kid friendly, an adult’s office tends to be clinical and sterile. Plus, you may have your own anxiety towards your visit, which will be easily picked up by your child.

Here Come the Tears

It’s completely normal, and age-appropriate, for younger children to cry, whine, squirm and be extremely vocal about not wanting to be examined by a stranger. Which, of course, will have you worked-up seeing your child like that. Stay calm and trust the dental staff to guide you, as this is not the first, nor the last time a child will do this.

Avoid Bribery

Many experts don’t recommend bribing your child with a special treat if they behave at the dentist. A pre-emptive: “If you don’t cry or whine, I’ll get you a lolly,” will not only have them questioning: “What’s so bad at the dentist’s that will make me cry?” But will also send the wrong message after the dentist has been placing emphasis on clean and healthy teeth by avoiding sugary treats.

As mentioned earlier, these are just some recommendations if you find it difficult to take your child, or children, to the dentist’s, and if none of these work, please feel free to ask our friendly staff at Somerset Dental Care for other methods that may help. 

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The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

The Ultimate Toothpaste Guide

If we are completely honest with ourselves, there are some forms of shopping that absolutely scare us to death. Most of the time the horror retail trips revolve around personal hygiene products, and usually involve bouts of self-doubt trying to remember what to look out for.

As you can imagine, one of the most common questions we are asked is: “What’s the best toothpaste for me?”

Like most things, there is not a ‘one size fits all’ toothpaste. Every mouth is different and has different requirements.  At Somerset Dental Care, we recommend our patients use a toothpaste with a high fluoride content to help keep your teeth strong and healthy. But this guide is more about what to look for and consider when choosing your mouth cleaning formula.

So here are somethings you may want to think about the next time you are looking for a toothpaste.

Brushing

Sure, it’s not about toothpaste, however, if you are lazy with your brushing no amount of toothpaste is going to help. The more regular you are with your brushing, the better your toothpaste will work for you. For best brushing practice, check out our video with Dr Sean.

ADA Approved

Where possible, always choose a toothpaste approved by the ADA (Australian Dental Association). One of the key reasons they will approve a toothpaste, apart from being proven effective through testing, is they all contain the mineral fluoride. Classified as ‘nature’s cavity fighter’, which coats the teeth protecting them from cavity causing acids.

Sensitive Toothpaste

Sensitive teeth are usually the cause of:

  • Gum recession
  • Gum disease
  • Brushing too hard
  • Grinding teeth

The sensitivity comes from the dentine (one of the four major components of teeth) being exposed and coming in to contact with hot or cold food and beverages.

Some toothpastes targeting sensitive teeth that offer longer lasting relief need to be applied directly to the exposed dentine. While others that are short acting and offer immediate relief can be applied generally, and will chemically block the tubules of the exposed dentine.

Newer formulas of sensitive toothpaste contain an active ingredient called ‘NovaMin’, which will seal the tubules, as well as coat the dentine for protection.

Whitening

The toothpaste that most will look for in order to give themselves that ‘Hollywood’ smile are ones that can whiten. But how does it do this?

Most whitening toothpaste contains small, abrasive particles that help remove stains from teeth, while the small amounts of hydrogen peroxide helps with the whitening process. Previously, whitening toothpaste contained larger particles, but became smaller due to the damage they were doing to people’s teeth. If used daily, whitening toothpaste should turn teeth 1-2 shades lighter, while a proper dental whitening, closely supervised and monitored, will turn your teeth 6-8 shades whiter.

While we do understand that some people will want to speed up the process, it is recommended that you do not use toothpaste targeted at smokers, as it will be too abrasive on your teeth and gums.

Plaque preventing, high fluoride & natural toothpaste

Plaque is a nasty little thing. From the moment you stop eating, bacteria is forming on your teeth, creating the sticky substance known as plaque. To fight this, look for toothpaste that contains antibacterial agents, such as Triclosan, that help reduce bacteria colonisation on your teeth.

For those prone to tooth decay, a toothpaste that’s high in fluoride will need to be used. Fluoride is a mineral found naturally in the Earth’s core, and known as ‘nature’s cavity fighter’. Fluoride helps in not only fighting decay, but also reduces where plaque can form, providing full protection when you brush twice daily.

When we refer to ‘natural toothpaste’, we don’t mean brushing your teeth with sap from a tree. With people’s growing concern about chemicals, there are new products being developed every day that are made from natural ingredients. Natural and herbal toothpastes have found to be just as effective as normal toothpaste, provided they contain fluoride.

Having said all that, we always recommend that you seek advice from our team at Somerset Dental Care. As they will know your history, they will be able to answer your questions and base their suggestions on knowledge of your requirements.

Until next time, stay fresh.

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Ten Tips to Get Kids Excited to Eat Healthy

Ten Tips to Get Kids Excited to Eat Healthy

Kids can be notoriously picky when it comes to what they eat. What they don’t understand is that eating nutritious food is a big part of good oral health, as well as growth. We have put together some tips from talking to the parents that visit our practice on how to get your kids excited to eat their fruit and vegetables, so everyone can be happy.

1. Don’t leave them In the Dark When it comes to Food
Children tend to get fussy if they don’t recognize what is on their plate. If you plan on serving your child a new food, it would be a good idea to talk to them about it before dinner time.

2. Get Them Started on Raw Veggies Early
A good way to test this out on a child is to serve up some raw vegetables with some yummy dipping sauce or salad dressing, like hummus or cream cheese.

3. Try Alternative Phrasing
Sometimes, getting a kid to taste a new food can be a fight in itself. Try to make the experience less scary by asking them to lick or crunch it instead. Presenting the situation in the format of a challenge or game will get your child invested. Try seeing how loud they can make their snack crunch.

4. Go Grocery Shopping Together
Take your child grocery shopping with you, so that they will be able to see and touch the produce for themselves. Be sure to explain to them where the food comes from. This will help develop an interest in food, and how it makes it way from the farm to their plate, while also reassuring them, they are getting quality food.

5. Let Them Help in the Kitchen
Who doesn’t want to try what they helped make? Not to mention, it’s a great bonding experience for you all.

6. Don’t Be Bland
A baby’s taste buds are most receptive between the ages of seven and 12 months. Keeping your baby’s foods bland long after this period can result in shocked reactions to stronger flavours. Once your baby hits 7 months, try to switch things up.

7. Get Excited About Your Food
If you are showing your kids that you enjoy healthier foods, they are much more likely to follow suit.

8. Rewards
Kids love routine and are much more likely to adapt to them when rewards are earned. Try making a chart to keep track of the amount of veggies and fruits eaten.

9. Don’t Force It
You shouldn’t force your child to eat anything they don’t like. This will only make the situation worse. If they don’t like it, try some of the previous tips to see if you can change their mind. After all, our taste buds are always evolving so what they don’t like now they might love in a few years.

10. Picky Adult
Your child looks up to you, be sure to set a good example. Don’t turn your nose up at greens or fruit as a snack – remember, monkey see – monkey do!
At the end of the day, these are only ideas to get the little ones more excited about eating their fruit and vegetables. The biggest factor is that the meals they are being served are full of them!

At Somerset Dental Care we’re happy to have a chat to your kids and keep them motivated about eating the right foods so call us today on 1300 707 046 to book your next appointment.

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Teeth Whitening: What Is Happening to my Teeth?

Teeth Whitening: What Is Happening to my Teeth?

It’s no secret that the general population wants whiter teeth and is willing to try just about anything to get them. The truth is that a beautiful, glowing smile is much more attractive than a dirty, yellowish grin. Of course, this is probably very obvious to most.
According to How Stuff Works, an estimated ten million Americans spend 1.7 billion dollars on teeth whitening products per year. Teeth whitening is also the most common cosmetic service provided by dentists. Not to mention, there are also a growing number of over-the-counter tooth whitening products to try.
If your goal is to obtain a winning smile, you don’t just need to know about the tools to whiten those pearls. It would also be in your best interest to know what could damage that smile and how that process works. Let’s take a look…

The Makeup of Your Teeth
Each of your teeth is made up of an inner dentin layer and a hard outer enamel layer, which protects the teeth. When you put stuff in your mouth, another layer gradually forms on top of the enamel layer. That build-up accumulates to form a pellicle film over the enamel layer. The pellicle is defined as a thin skin, cuticle, membrane, or film.
Unfortunately, the pellicle layer sits on your teeth as the years pass, and the buildup gets into the enamel. The enamel layer is made up of hydroxyapatite crystals, which form microscopic hexagonal “rods.” The enamel is porous, which means that the stains can work their way down into a tooth.

What types of food cause stains?
The foods we eat and the drinks we consume can have an impact on the colour of our teeth. Unsuspicious foods like darker berries, pasta sauce and curries can stain our teeth. So too can drinks including tea, coffee, sodas and wine. But we’re not advocating cutting out all the foods and drinks that may stain your teeth.

How Teeth Whitening Can Help
This is where teeth whiteners come in. Whiteners use bleaching chemicals to get down into the tooth enamel and set off a chemical reaction. This chemical reaction breaks through the stains. Most tooth whiteners use one of two chemical agents: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. This makes sense as hydrogen peroxide is a great cleaning agent.
There are two different options you can look at if you want to enjoy a whiter smile. You can either get the treatment done by a dentist or as we mentioned earlier, you can go to your local store and find a tooth whitening kit to use in your home. Going to a dentist will result in a more thorough and professional result. For many the peace of mind of knowing that a professional is handling your teeth is a welcome trade off to the higher price. Give us a call at Somerset Dental on 1300 707 046 if you would like to chat to about getting your teeth white and bright and achieving that perfect smile.

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Will I get wrinkles if I smile all the time?

Will I get wrinkles if I smile all the time?

According to US health specialist Dr. Joseph Mercola, any time you make facial expressions, whether that be a smile, a frown, or a scowl, it causes movement in underlying facial muscles, which will form a groove perpendicular to the movement.

In the case of smiles, two grooves known as the “nasolabial” folds form. These are the two skin folds that run down from your nose to the corners of your mouth. When you’re young, your skin’s elasticity helps it bounce back so that the folds disappear when you stop smiling.

But as you get older, your skin loses elasticity, therefore the folds will no longer fade away. So, does that mean you should stop smiling?

We definitely don’t recommend that! As the doctor stated, you’d have to suppress not only smiles but virtually every possible facial expression… think about that for a second. That could have a huge impact on your life! It might even affect your ability to feel emotions.

If you’re interested in preventing wrinkles, changing your diet can be a big help. One of the most effective ways to get your skin glowing is by eating vegetables and fruits that are high in carotenoids.

Carotenoids give red, orange, and yellow fruits their colour. Carotenoids can appear in green vegetables as well. Studies have shown that eating foods with these colours can make your face look healthier than a trip to the tanning salon.

You also need to make sure that your body is cleansed of toxins. Of course, it is impossible to totally cleanse your body of all toxins, but by keeping on top of it, your skin can retain its healthy glow.

Here are some ideal foods to consume:
Animal-based omega-3 fats: Omega-3 fats have anti-inflammatory properties that can help to calm irritated skin. Sardines and anchovies are excellent sources of animal-based omega-3s. However, if you are skittish about those, you can take fish oil pills for your daily dose of omega-3.

Vegetables: Ideally, fresh and organic is key. However, those can be pricey. Fresh vegetable juice can be a good alternative and is also wonderful for your skin.

Smiling is a natural thing to do, and it makes you happy. There are many ways to reduce wrinkles rather than not smiling. Looking after your health is always the priority, but if you’d like to learn more about cosmetic alternatives speak to the team at Somerset Dental Care on 1300 707 046.

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Substitutes for chocolate

Substitutes for chocolate

Easter is coming, and that means a Sunday filled enjoying time with our families and eating some of our favorite foods. Easter also means it’s time to gorge ourselves on chocolate! Who doesn’t love unwrapping copious amounts of sugar-filled chocolate eggs and other treats?
Unfortunately, chocolate can also pack on the calories and when eaten in large quantities can potentially cause problems with your teeth. While everything in moderation is fine, here’s some alternatives to one of the world’s most delicious sweets to keep both your waistline and your mouth in tip top shape.

Cocoa Powder
Cocoa powder is made by mixing several elements that are left over after cocoa butter is extracted from cacao beans. The great thing about cocoa powder is that one tablespoon of the unsweetened type adds up to only 10 calories. More perks of unsweetened cocoa powder are no fat, cholesterol, or sugar. Cocoa powder is also packed with antioxidants, which can be beneficial for your skin. Try adding a bit of powder to your next facial mask.
As for using cocoa powder to make tasty treats, you can mix cocoa powder with almond or coconut milk for a homemade hot chocolate. Drizzle some on top for a pretty finish as well. You can add cocoa powder to many things to make chocolatey treats, like smoothies, nuts, and cookies. Experiment with all the possibilities!

Dark Chocolate
We know this is technically cheating since dark chocolate is still chocolate. But, dark chocolate is excellent for you and has many health benefits. It is important to choose dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao to reap all the incredible antioxidant benefits. Also, keep in mind that the darker the chocolate, the less sugar the chocolate will contain. It can be an acquired taste, but rich, dark chocolate is an excellent way to satisfy that sweet craving.

Carob
Carob is a tropical pod that grows from a tree in the Mediterranean. The pulp is roasted and ground into a powder similar to that of cocoa powder. Carob has many nutritional perks such as being low in fat, a good source of fiber, contains calcium, which helps keep bones strong, and unlike cocoa and chocolate, carob is caffeine free. As an added bonus, carob is sweeter than cocoa. Carob comes in many forms such as powders, liquids, and carob chips. Carob chip cookies sound good to me!

While we love chocolate, we don’t love spending time in the dentist’s chair fixing the impact it can have on our teeth. So why not try these chocolate alternatives this Easter and schedule in your next checkup as a preventative measure with the Somerset Dental Care team on 1300 707 046.

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