Back to school means the stress of school lunches. Children go to school approximately 180 days per year – that’s basically 50% of the year! What we pack in their lunch box makes a big difference to their oral health.
Nutrition Australia and Victoria Health have made this chart which is a great way to demonstrate how we can achieve a balanced lunchbox. With fruit time increasingly popular in schools, we often forget about 2, 3, 4 and 5!
So the question is, how often should we replace our toothbrush?
Usually, the recommended time frame is every 3-4 months, however each person is different in the way they use their toothbrush. If you press quite hard, you may need to change your toothbrush a bit sooner than recommended. It is recommended that you brush for 2 minutes, morning and night time with a soft toothbrush. People following this recommendation, generally, wear their toothbrush out within a 3 month time frame.
If your toothbrush is starting to look shaggy, or if the colour is starting to fade from the tips of the bristles, then it is time to change over. This is because the bristles are no longer as effective as they once were at removing the plaque, particularly from the difficult areas of our teeth, such as the grooves, and in-between teeth, even if the teeth look very clean from the front.
But what about the impact of our oral care?
The medical industry unfortunately, can create a substantial amount of waste through gloves, gauze – even cups. We do what we can to reduce our impact by participating in recycling programms, using biodegradable products, and minimizing the amount of disposable items needed by sourcing items we can sterilize instead, whilst ensuring absolute compliance to infection control guidelines. There is one thing that our patients can help up us with at home, that will help us reduce our footprint even more. Home care product recycling!
We have made use of the Terracycle Oral Care Recycling Programme, which is designed to recycle the plastics used in toothbrushes specifically, as regular recycling is not catered to use this type of plastic.
How Can I Get Involved?
All you need to do, to help us reduce the impact of oral care on the environment, is bring your old toothbrushes and empty toothpaste tubes with you to your appointment with us. The toothpaste tubes need to be rinsed thoroughly prior to ensure there is no product left. Many people use toothbrushes for cleaning after they are finished with it in their mouth – and that is fine too – once its had it’s day, we are happy to recycle it for you.
There are many resources on line that discuss the benefits of adding lemon slices, or lemon juice to water. Similarily, many people add apple cider vinegar to water. Whilst we don’t aim to prove or disprove this, we do have a concern for your teeth. Lemon is very acidic, and the enamel on our teeth begins to soften and ‘disolve’ or ‘dissociate (lose) its ions’ at a a pH of 5.5. This means that the enamel can become weaker, or thinner. It means that it can speed up decay, prevent fluoride from being able to remineralise enamel as effectively, make teeth appear much smaller, and make the teeth look much more yellow in appearance. It can reduece the lifespan of your fillings as well, causing them to fail sooner than we would expect. Below is a video as published by the Australian Dental Association.
If you still choose to drink lemon and water, we have some suggestions wating for you to help reduce the impact of the acid. We want to work with you, to ensure your chompers chomp the mile you need them to!
Each year Mount Barker Dental Centre runs a campaign encouraging sports men, women and children to wear a properly fitted mouthguard when they play any contact sport. This greatly reduces the chance of breaking a tooth while playing a contact sport. Through local sporting clubs, we offer to supply custom-made and fitted mouthgurads for ‘dental benefits only’ or $50 for those without dental health insurance.
The process is very simple. We work with your club to find a time for us to visit and take dental impressions for each participant. Participants then follow up with a visit to our clinic for a final fitting.
To get the ball rolling please contact your local sporting club. If they wish to participate ask them to email us at Mount Barker Dental Centre (email@example.com)
If your sporting club does not wish to participate in this campaign, just ring to organise a time at the clinic for an impression to be taken. Please phone 83911655 for an appointment.
Our Happy Chomper Kids Club, which is open to all our junior patients (from ages 0 to 17 years), makes a visit to the dentist more enjoyable for kids, while at the same time supporting parents in their quest to develop good oral hygiene habits. We have a Kids’ Zone, in the waiting room, with interesting activities (including an iPad with lots of games) to fill in those (possibly anxious) minutes before treatment. We have also installed a TV on the ceiling in the dental therapists’ surgery, once again to help our junior patients relax. Our dental therapists ensure that both kids and their parents (or carers) are provided with simple clear advice on caring for teeth, backed up by email reminders of important dental advice every so often. We now have more than 500 Happy Chomper Kids Club members hopefully building a strong foundation for their lifelong oral health.
For more information please see our Kids’ Club page.
Are you considering dental treatment overseas because it is likely to cost less than at home? Have you heard from friends who have ‘had their teeth fixed’ in a developing country ‘for a song’ and had a great holiday at the same time? Before making this choice, you need to understand the risks of having your dental work done in a developing country.
These risks include:
Things can go wrong in the dental chair and if this happens overseas you may not have access to expert emergency care. Australian dentists are trained to deal with dental emergencies.
The materials used, such as crowns, bridges or implants, may be cheap or faulty. You may return to Australia delighted with your new crown only to have it disintegrate within the first few years. In Australia the quality of therapeutic goods including dental materials is regulated by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA).
The dentist you see overseas may not be appropriately trained and qualified to perform the treatment they have offered you. Some countries accept a standard of dental education that would be considered sub-standard here. In Australia dentists undergo extensive training at university, are registered to practice under the federal Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, and meet strict continuing professional development requirements.
Infection and the spread of disease in hospitals and dental practices is a real concern in some other countries. In Australia dental practices are required to adhere to strict infection control protocols.
If you are seriously considering dental treatment overseas, do your research carefully and consult with your local dentist to help you weigh up the options.