All posts by Somerset Dental

Brushing techniques: just in case you forgot

Brushing techniques: just in case you forgot

When it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene, there are many steps and processes you can use to do so; flossing, mouthwash, specialised diet, etc. However, one of the most effective, and widely used methods for ensuring high quality oral hygiene is brushing.

Yet, what is not known to many is there are a variety of methods you can use to make sure your brushing is more effective at cleaning your teeth, and removing tartar and plaque build-up. Not to mention food that has been caught in the gaps between your teeth.

We are going to cover four different, yet most commonly used methods, for brushing your teeth in a more effective manner.

Stillman’s Brushing Method.

With this method the aim is to remove plaque from above the gum line, and is also good for patients with gingivitis.

Technique: angle the bristles at 45 degrees toward the gum line. The bristles should be half on the gums and half on the tooth’s surface. By making short, light horizontal movements, the plaque is removed from above the gum line. The motion helps to remove plaque and stimulate the gums, and is great for targeting small groups of teeth effectively. Once you have finished with a set of teeth, move to the next and repeat.

Bass (Sulcular) Brushing Method.

The aim with this method is to remove plaque from below the gum line and is the preferred method for patients with periodontitis.

Technique: hold bristles at 45 degree angle towards gum line. Slight pressure and vibratory motions will make sure the bristles go slightly beneath the gum line, which maximizes the extraction and removal of bacteria. Once again, only small groups of teeth can be done at any one time.

**The Stillman and Bass methods can be ‘modified’ by gently sweeping bristles away from the gums. **

Charter’s Brushing Method.

Best for people with orthodontic braces.

Technique: position the bristles at a 45 degree angle, and direct them so they remove plaque from the brackets and arch wire. Then change direction so the bristles remove plaque from below the brackets and arch wire. This will ensure all plaque is removed from the surfaces of the braces.

Circular Brushing Method.

This is the one we were all taught as children, and definitely one of the most used methods.

Technique: One of the easiest around, with the bristles held at a 45 degree angle toward the gum line, make small, light circular shaped brush strokes that overlap each tooth surface. Maintain this until all teeth have been cleaned.

Even given the extra benefits all the above methods provide, it is still recommended that you continue to brush the chewing surfaces, as well as the back of the bottom and front teeth, and tongue, by lightly scrubbing up and down. Also, remember to use a soft bristled brush. It’s also recommended that you ask your dentist about what method would best suit you.

So the next time you are at Somerset Dental Care for a check-up, ask one of our friendly doctors and they will be more than happy to advise you on the best method to suit your needs.


Are store bought juices and smoothies good for your teeth?

Are store bought juices and smoothies good for your teeth?

When it comes to trying to eat healthy, most people will do their best to avoid carbs and noticeable sugars, which is a good thing. Most of the time this can be done by making food and drink yourself at home and taking it with you. But this is not always possible.

It’s easy to look at juice bars, with all their fresh fruit and wheatgrass in the window, and think you’ve hit the healthy heaven jackpot. But this is not always the case. In some cases, it has been told that some smoothies and juices contain more sugar than a can of Coke.

An article published by The Guardian in 2016, found the epidemic of English children requiring major dental surgery directly relates to sugary foods and drinks. Professor Simon Capewell (department of public health and policy at the University of Liverpool) states:

“There is often a health halo – some claim about vitamin C or ‘packed full of fruit’. There are no restrictions around the words industry can use in their marketing. They can claim or imply quite a lot. Then we end up with more than a third of these drinks having more sugar in them than a cola or fizzy drink.”

In a paper co-authored by Prof Simon Capewell, researchers analysed 203 fruit juices, fruit drinks and smoothies stocked by seven major supermarkets – Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose, the Co-op and Morrisons. They found almost half contained a child’s entire recommended daily intake of sugar, which is a maximum of 19g or nearly five teaspoons.

They looked for added sugar or naturally occurring sugars in the juices and smoothies. The average sugar content was 7g per 100ml, but in fruit juices and smoothies, it was significantly higher. Among the 21 fruit juices analysed, it averaged 10.7g per 100ml and among the 24 smoothies, it averaged 13g per 100ml[1].

While still not good, the sugar content in smoothies and juices appear to have come down when compared to a few years ago. In an article for the UK Telegraph, back in 2014, they stated:

“Some fruit juices and smoothies contain four times the amount of sugar the World Health Organisation recommends an average person should consume in a day, a Telegraph analysis shows.

A survey of 50 products from supermarkets, coffee shops and food outlets found that more than half contained at least six teaspoons of sugar, which is the recommended daily limit.

Two of the items — large fruit drinks from Costa, the coffee-shop chain — contained at least 23 teaspoons in a single serving.”[2]

Therefore, if you are consuming large quantities of store bought smoothies, juices and fruit drinks, the chances of your teeth decaying, or developing some kind of problem, is raised significantly. The best choice will always be homemade juices and smoothies, but having one ever-so-often is ok.

Just remember to keep up a healthy oral hygiene regime, and if you have any questions, or concerns, always contact your dentist and book an appointment for a check-up.

Somerset Dental Care is open Monday to Saturday, 9:00am – 5:30pm on weekdays, and 9:00am – 1:00pm on Saturday. We can be reached on 1300 707 046, or you can request an appointment using our online form.





Say hi to Danielle

Say hi to Danielle

You might have noticed some new faces at Somerset Dental Care during your recent visit. Over the coming months we’ll endeavour to introduce you to the new members of the team.

Danielle Mewburn is our new Dental Assistant/Front Office Co-ordinator. We’d like you to join us in welcoming Danielle to the team and make sure you say high next time you’re in. To learn a little more about Danielle you can read her profile.




As a kid, fillings always seemed to be the concern of those older than us, not something we thought we would ever have to worry about. Every so often you would catch a glimpse of a silver/grey patch on the underside of an adult’s teeth. However, in some parts of the world, fillings aren’t always adult problems.  In fact, 12% of England’s three-year-olds, already suffer from tooth decay, and are future candidates for fillings[1].

While anyone who has teeth is at risk of getting cavities, certain factors can increase the likelihood of them forming. Of course, some things are naturally going to cause cavities, like eating and drinking too much sugar or continually grazing throughout the day. Continual eating stops your teeth from getting a rest from plaque destroying saliva.

Did you know a tooth’s location can also be a contributing factor in developing decay? Decay most often occurs in teeth at the back of your mouth (molars and premolars). This is because these teeth have lots of grooves, pits, crannies and multiple roots that can collect food particles. This means they are harder to clean, which can result in the speed up of decay.

A dry mouth can also be a problem. Low levels of saliva mean lower levels of the plaque fighting substances that fight off decay.

Another situation that shares a common theme is heartburn. Heartburn relates to stomach acid (reflux), flowing back in to your mouth, which causes damage due to the acid wearing away the enamel on your teeth.

If your teeth are feeling a little more sensitive than usual, or you have old silver and gold fillings but are after a more natural look, contact us on 1300 707 046, or jump online and make an appointment using our online form.







With Halloween fast approaching you would think we might warn you about the dangers of too many lollies, and the effects the sugar will have on your teeth and gums. Instead, we just thought we would let you know of a really interesting statistic.

Did you know that Australia was ranked 10th in the world, in 2016, in consuming the most lollies per capita? According to the statistics, each person in Australia consumes 8.98kg of lollies each year[1].

We are not harbouring any illusions you will abstain from the sweet, sugary nectar of lollies, soft drinks and chocolate, post pirate-like raids on neighbour’s houses after trick-or-treating, that would be futile. Instead, we are going to offer some handy tips on how to help your teeth recover after your binge.

The first step is to prepare.

Make sure you have all the essentials to clean away all that sugar coating from your teeth, gums and mouth. Things you’ll need:

  • Floss: to remove captured lolly fragments from between your teeth.
  • Mouthwash: ideal for not just giving you minty fresh breath, but also killing bacteria and germs.
  • Soft/Medium Bristle Toothbrush: given the beating your teeth are going to get, it’s best to get a brush that isn’t going to do further damage.
  • Toothpaste: this obviously needs no explanation. It’s best to have something that provides cavity protection, and protects against sensitivity.

Now, we are not suggesting a marathon cleaning, just more of a staggered cleanse. Those who consider dental hygiene as important as garlic is to a vampire hunter may feel the need to brush after every few handfuls of lollies or chocolate, it’s actually not necessary and could do more harm than good. Why?

Some foods soften the enamel on your fangs, and if you brush directly after, you may risk hurting the enamel further. That’s why it’s best to let your fangs rest for about 30 minutes before brushing.

But if you feel the sugary after effects are too much to bear, simply rinse with water.

When you reach the point where you think you have to do something about it, just have a couple of glasses of water to rinse your mouth. It will remove some of the sugar and when the time comes, you can brush the rest away.

We understand that dental hygiene may not be a priority in your plans for Halloween, however, we also understand there is a good chance the phrase “why do my teeth hurt?” will be uttered at some point. We just want to offer some friendly advice to avoid that.

It’s also a great time to call Somerset Dental Care on 1300 707 046 and book your next clean and check up to keep on top of your preventative program. Unfortunately, we don’t have any advice for sore tummies. You’re on your own with that one. Sorry.


[1] Conversion from pounds to kilograms.


Store Bought VS Dentist: The Mouthguard Chronicles

Store Bought VS Dentist: The Mouthguard Chronicles

When most of us last wore a mouthguard, we were far younger than we are now, and they were usually purchased from a sports store and came in a hard, plastic container that was slightly less malleable than the mouthguard itself. If you had lost yours and needed to buy one on the way to the game, chances are you knew you were in for a painful game. And not because of the opposition.

Having a mouthguard properly fitted by a dental professional is an important step to safe game play. The benefits to having a custom-fitted mouthguard are quite extensive. Apart from being better fitted and more effective in protecting your mouth, most reports point to no negative impacts on athletic performance.

Mouthguards can be custom made to provide the best fit and protection for your teeth. The dentist makes an impression of your teeth and creates a plaster model to ensure the closest possible fit. A good mouthguard needs to be at least 4mm thick to provide a cushioning effect that protects against impact. Also, a snug fit that still allows the wearer to talk is vitally important in a big game.

On the other hand, boil-and-bite or store bought mouthguards can be purchased at a sports store. They are self-fitted by immersing in boiling hot water, then rapidly cooled then bitten in to the malleable plastic so that it takes the shape of your teeth and gums.

A product like this can be less effective and far more uncomfortable, due to it not conforming perfectly to your bite or anatomy of your jaw. What’s more, boil-and-bite mouthguards had no report of negative effects due to discomfort and breathing difficulties.

Having said this, if you are in a bind, any mouthguard is better than none.

At Somerset Dental Care, we can take moulds of your teeth and have a custom fit mouthguard made to ensure maximum protection and comfort. To book an appointment to come and see us, please feel free to call on 1300 707 046, or use our online appointment form here, and one of our team will contact you for confirmation as soon as possible.


Is Chewing Gum Bad for My Teeth and Gums?

Is Chewing Gum Bad for My Teeth and Gums?

In essence, this question may seem a little silly, but in actual fact it has some merit to it. However, before we get to the heart of the matter, let’s take a little trip in time to where it all began.

While many believe chewing gum, or ‘gum (depending on where you are from), to be a recent invention, however, the ancient Greeks were gnawing on a chewy tree sap called Mastiche, which was derived from the Greek word ‘mastichan’ meaning ‘to chew’. But, they were not the only ones to take up this practice.

On the other side of the world, the Mayans enjoyed chewing on Tsictle, the sap of the Sapodilla tree. Farther north, Native Americans living in what is now known as New England, enjoyed the sap of Spruce trees. By the mid-1800s, entrepreneur John Curtis introduced Spruce-sap based chewing gums in to the US, which were sold as ‘Maine Pure Spruce Gum’.

From Spruce-sap based gums, came another formula made with petroleum-driven paraffin wax, which gum makers added to sugar to make it sweeter. Eventually, makers returned to a trusted source; tree sap. The preferred sap to be used as the basis of the gum was the Mayans’ Tsictle, known as ‘Chicle’ in the US, which came to dominate the market.

However, this article is about the effects of chewing gum on your teeth and gums, not a history lesson. Nonetheless, it’s still kind of interesting. Now, to the question at hand:


Is chewing gum bad for my teeth and gums?

According to the ADA (American Dental Association), it all depends on the type of chewing gum you use.

Firstly, you need to know the benefits of the physical act of chewing gum. When you chew gum, your mouth generates saliva which helps neutralise and wash away the acids produced when food is broken down by the plaque on your teeth. Over time, this acid wears down the enamel, creating ideal conditions for decay. Increased saliva flow also carries more calcium and phosphate to help strengthen tooth enamel.

As a result, the ADA recommends that you chew sugarless gum for 20 minutes after eating, in order to prevent tooth decay. Of course, we all know the damage that sugar can cause to your teeth, so sugarless chewing gum is the preferred recommendation. It will ensure that you get all the benefits that chewing offers, without compromise.

As with many dental queries, the correct answer depends on many factors. Chewing gum is not bad for your teeth or gums depending on the type of chewing gum you use. The next time you are lined up at the registers and just want something to freshen your breath, or to just chew, sugarless chewing gum is by far the best option.

At Somerset Dental, we will always advise that chewing gum is by no way a replacement for a good, thorough brushing twice daily. If you, or any of your family start to complain of sensitivity or pain to a tooth or their gums, please contact us on 1300 707 046, or you can make an appointment by filling out our online form here and someone will be in contact with you to confirm your booking.


KIDS This is how you get the most out of the tooth fairy

KIDS This is how you get the most out of the tooth fairy

It’s no secret the Tooth Fairy values teeth. After all, they pay good money for the ones you leave under your pillow. However, what is not widely discussed, is how the Tooth Fairy determines the amount you get for your teeth. But wonder no more, we’re happy to tell you.

The Tooth Fairy bases her decision on the condition of your teeth. So, if you are interested in getting top dollar for your teeth, here are some suggestions (you can pass on to your parents) on how to best care for your teeth:

No matter your age, you should be using a toothpaste with fluoride in it. For kids, it’s usually recommended that a low-fluoride toothpaste be used for the first eight years. Brushing twice a day will reduce tooth decay and help keep your teeth in great condition. If you’re under 18-months, you probably can’t read this but it’s time to start investing in the condition of your teeth

A child’s toothbrush is quite different from an adult’s, as it usually has a small oval head, soft bristles and a non-slip, cushioned handle designed for little hands to hold. They tend to have cartoons and colourful designs on the handle, making them a fun tool for dental hygiene. When storing your toothbrush, it’s best to not have them touching others to avoid spreading decay-causing germs (otherwise known as ‘cooties’).

Also, for the younger audience out there having their siblings read this to them, you can get infant ‘tooth and gum wipes’ that will start you on the right journey to investing in your future.

Most people tend to believe that flossing should only happen when the permanent teeth come through, but this is not the case. Once your teeth start to touch, it is time to floss. The next time you go shopping with mum & dad, make sure they get you some floss, so that food can be removed from between your teeth, ensuring bacteria causing germs can’t build up. It is recommended that you floss daily, maybe at the end of the day is best, because all meals should have been eaten before bedtime comes around.

Even if you’re great at doing all of the above, it’s always a good idea to come and see your dentist at Somerset Dental Care. Think of it as a progress report on your investment. We will be able to check the condition of your teeth and make recommendations on how best to combat any potential issues, and provide assistance on the best methods for keeping your teeth in great condition.

Now that you know how to protect your Tooth Fairy Fund, don’t forget to share this with your little siblings, friends at school and especially with your parents. They will be happy to hear how the Tooth Fairy determines the value of your teeth, and will be more than happy to help ensure you do everything you can to increase their value.

Your first step is to get your dentist to look at your teeth. Your age plays a role, too. If you’re having trouble with your wisdom teeth, and you’re still not ready to part with your molars, you can talk to one our friendly consultants at Somerset Dental Care and find out what the best option is for you. Call us on 1300 707 046 to make an appointment.