News & Tips from Somerset Dental

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

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.


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.


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 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.


Is sparkling water bad for my teeth?

Is sparkling water bad for my teeth?

We have written a lot about the disastrous things that sugar-filled fizzy drinks can do to your teeth, but one of the lesser investigated beverages we all love is sparkling or carbonated water. Brands like Schweppes, Perrier, San Pellegrino and Voss all offer sparkling or carbonated water drinks. The bubbly concoctions are a refreshing substitute to their sweet flavoured brethren and provide a satisfying thirst quench – but are they bad for your teeth?

Unfortunately, the beloved drink does have a downfall.

Carbonated water, sometimes known as Seltzer Water, is made by dissolving carbon dioxide gas into water using pressure. One of the ingredients in carbon dioxide gas is called Carbonic Acid and can wear gradually at the enamel of your teeth. The good news is that because it is not coupled with other acids such as citric acid and the ever-present sugars of other fizzy drinks, it is not as damaging.

Without the flavourings found in other soft drinks, carbonated water has a relatively neutral pH level. This gives an easy to understand comparison.

Drink P h Level
Water 7.0 (neutral)
Carbonated Water 5.5
Coke 2.5

That said, it is best to enjoy a soda water during meal time, steering clear of the bubbly stuff in between and sticking to the safety of plain water. When you consume drinks with acidic qualities they damage and corrode the enamel of your teeth removing the minerals, ultimately weakening them.

At Somerset Dental we often use the F-word for any questions like these – Frequency. Provided you aren’t guzzling liters of carbonated water a day for years on end, then the impact is likely to be very minimal. If you simply can’t imagine your life without a bottle of soda water somewhere, try using a straw positioned in the middle of your tongue so that the liquid doesn’t come in to contact with your teeth.

If you are concerned about the amount of soda water or carbonated beverages you drink and the affect they may have on your teeth, organise an appointment with one of our Somerset Dental Care dentists on 1300 707 046.


Is exercising bad for my teeth?

Is exercising bad for my teeth?

Exercise is an important part of any healthy lifestyle. Regular physical activity, approximately half an hour a day, has been proven time and time again to positively benefit not just our bodies, but also our minds. At Somerset Dental, we believe in a holistic approach to oral hygiene, encouraging our patients to live healthy, well-rounded lives. You can imagine our surprise then, when we stumbled upon an article and study that suggested that exercising could be bad for your oral health!

The study was performed at the 2012 London Olympics, taking a cross-sectional study of 278 athletes in 25 sports. The resulting data was not what dentist’s dreams are made of, with 55% of the athletes showing signs of dental caries, 45% with dental erosion and a whopping 76% with gingivitis!

The athletes themselves were aware that the impediments on their health were effecting their performance, with 28% reporting an impact on their quality of life and 18% on their training.

So, is exercise good or bad for my teeth?

Well, following the results of the above study, a University in Germany conducted an experiment with a control group and a group of around 35 athletes. The scientists then had the athletes take part in an intensive work out for 35 minutes, taking saliva samples several times throughout.

What they discovered was that during the workout, the athlete’s mouths grew drier, despite the fact they were drinking water regularly. What’s more is that the chemical composition of the saliva also changed, becoming more alkaline. Excessive alkalinity in saliva has been shown to contribute to tartar plaques on teeth amongst other problems.

But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that if you like to go for a jog your teeth are going have holes in them. In both studies, the athletes were exactly that, athletes. They were training more than 9 hours a week, taking part in intensive workouts.

The recommended amount of daily exercise is 30 minutes per day and that can be across a range of activities.

To sum it up… No, regular physical exercise will not have an adverse effect on your oral hygiene – unless you are training at an elite level. In any case, we’d recommend a regular checkup, lots of hydration and a strict brushing and flossing regime. So why not contact the team at Somerset Dental Care today on 1300 707 046 for your next checkup.



Framing up your beautiful smile

Framing up your beautiful smile

A smile is universal, it crosses racial barriers and cultural differences and as a famous proverb once said, “all people smile in the same language.” Your smile is also one of the most beautiful features of your face. Teeth whitening is one of the most effective ways to give you a brighter, whiter smile. However, to keep your teeth looking their best between any teeth whitening treatment, here are some do’s and don’ts from the experts at Somerset Dental Care.

Eat more: Strawberries, crunchy fruits and vegetables

For people who want to brighten their smile, eat strawberries, it’s not only good for you, but it whitens your teeth naturally in between whitening sessions.[1]  Strawberries are natural teeth whiteners because they contain vitamin C to help remove plaque and a natural astringent to help remove stains. Other edible teeth whiteners include crunchy fruits and veggies like apples and celery.

Drink less: Soft Drink, Coffee and Alcohol

Tooth decay is caused by the bacteria that forms in plaque, leaving a damaging layer over your teeth. The bacteria in the plaque layer feeds on the sugar in sweet drinks, accelerating their damaging effects. The more you drink, the more energy you give these bacteria to attack the enamel on your teeth. It is best to choose beverages like milk, which help strengthen teeth and build stronger enamel, giving you a healthy, beautiful smile and water which hydrates your body longer than sugary drinks.

Maintain: a good oral hygiene routine

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day – morning and night. Even better, brush an hour after eating or drinking anything to protect your teeth and gums from sugars or acids in your food. Proper brushing takes at least two minutes. Move your toothbrush in a gentle, circular motion, brushing every surface of your mouth, including your tongue.

Somerset Dental Care offers a range of teeth whitening solutions and our expert dentists can give you brighter and whiter teeth in less than two hours. It’s the perfect solution for busy people who want instant results.

By using the most advanced technology, along with the newest treatments available, our qualified dentists can make sure we get you the best teeth whitening results available.

Come in and see our friendly, experienced staff to talk about your dental care needs or call 1300 707 046. We’ll work together to provide you with a great experience and the best outcome possible.




Does smiling make you happier?

Does smiling make you happier?

There is a myth that the number of muscles used when smiling is far less than when you frown. The take away being that you should smile more. Whilst we agree that everyone should smile more, the science behind that statement isn’t exactly proven. This is because different people have different numbers of muscles in their face, as well as completely different ways of a smiling. One person’s smile might be another’s smirk.

So, the amount of physical effort that goes in to smiling might not be enough to get you grinning more, but what if flashing your pearly whites could have an impact on your mental health? In 1872, the idea that facial expressions play an important role in prompting the feelings that accompany it was proposed by Charles Darwin.

During the 1970s and 80s, psychologists conducted a significant amount of research into the effects of a ‘fake smile’, with surprising consistent results. One of the most notable studies by a psychologist named Dr. Robert Zajonc asked participants to make various facial expressions. Some involved elongating the letter ‘e’ and others the letter ‘u’. Some asked participants to bite pens and so on.

Dr. Zajonc contended that the various movements of the face caused changes in temperature of blood on its way to the brain. Basically, the theory stated that cool blood helped happy feelings (smiling) and warmer blood push angrier feels (frowning).

Many psychologists have since tried to debunk the theory, however a recent study into Botox® recipients at the University of Cardiff in Wales found that people who have had cosmetic Botox® and now cannot frown so easily are happier, on average, than people who can frown.

“It would appear that the way we feel emotions isn’t just restricted to our brain—there are parts of our bodies that help and reinforce the feelings we’re having,” says Michael Lewis, a co-author of the study in an interview with Scientific American. “It’s like a feedback loop.”

Further studies have been taken, all pointing to our facial expressions influencing our emotions. Why this might be the case is still a bit of mystery, but at this stage the reasoning to smile might just outweigh any not to.

To maintain your perfect smile contact Somerset Dental Care on 1300 707 046 and book an appointment today.