Farewell Deanna!

Deanna Efstathiadis
Oral Health Therapist

Deanna joined the Mount Barker Dental Centre team in 2018 as an Oral Health Therapist and was a valued member of our Happy Chomper Family. Deanna provided treatment to patients of all ages through hygiene with adults and oral examinations and treatment to children. We wish her all the best with her adventures overseas, as she takes some time off to assist special needs children in the UK.

A special farewell to Gigi Efstathiadis who also accompanied Deanna to work. Gigi has been successfully nominated as pet of the week in The Advertiser so we trust she is enjoying her retirement from the practice and has also left to peruse other interests!

Maddie is a new face you might see around the clinic when you are due for your next check up or hygiene appointment as we farewell Deanna. 

Sadly, a replacement for Gigi has not yet been found. Please forward your CV for consideration!

Sugars, are they all equal for our teeth?

Did you know there are different types of sugars? Brown sugar, cane sugar, icing sugar often come to mind, but what about other forms of sugars?

Sugars are classified as 2 different types: either added sugars, or natural sugars.

Added sugars can sneak their way into many foods – tomato sauce, pasta sauce, even ‘natural’ yogurts. Natural sugars can be just as tricky to detect as added sugars. There are 6 main types of natural sugars that we find.

So it’s just sucrose (added sugar) that is bad for my teeth right?

Whilst all sugars may not be considered equal from a health point of view, to our teeth – all sugars, including natural sugars – are in fact damaging, with the exception of lactose. There is little dental decay noticed by lactose alone, but many foods containing lactose may also contain added sugars (yoghurt, ice cream, flavoured milks). Fructose can be especially damaging for our teeth because it is often found in foods that are highly acidic, which adds to the damage they it can do.

So what does this mean for my teeth?

We often see patients who are surprised to find out they have dental decay, especially as they often consider themselves to have no ‘added’ sugar in their diets. Often we would choose to have a piece of fruit rather than a slice of cake for afternoon or morning tea thinking we are making a healthier choice, but in reality, both of these foods are damaging to our teeth. Parents can often fall into this trap with their children, as children that eat several pieces of fruit per day can often require numerous fillings.

How can I prevent sugar damage to my teeth?

The easiest way to prevent the damage of sugar, is to reduce the exposure time. This means to try to have less meals or snacks through the day. This may be conflicting to what you hear with many diets, which suggest eating several small snacks throughout the day.

If you are having several snacks, we recommend finding some foods that are low in natural sugars, as well as added sugar.

Some great examples are:
– popcorn
– nuts and grains
– plain yoghurt (no added sugar, low in lactose – greek)
– carrots
– celery
– eggs

Oral Care Waste & Changing Your Toothbrush

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.

If you would like to learn more about Terracycle Oral Care Recycling, or how they recycle the oral products, click here.

And now.. time for a dad joke..

Lemon and Water Detox

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.

Lemon water

Lemon water – healthy or damaging? Take a look at this short video to learn about the effects of lemon water on your teeth.

Posted by Caring For Your Kids' Teeth on Wednesday, 6 September 2017

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!

Gap free mouthguards! (or $50 if you don’t have private extras insurance)

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 (reception@happychomper.com.au)

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.



An update on dental funding for kids

Great news ….. the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) will continue in 2017! The CDBS was facing the axe as part of the federal government’s search for budget savings but in mid December its continuation was announced.

Even better news was received in February when the federal government announced that CDBS benefits would be $1000 over a two year period (up from the $700 announced in December).

This scheme offers a wonderful opportunity for many families to improve their kids’ oral health. Eligible children aged 2-17 years can access up to $1000 in benefits over a two year period for basic dental services.

Mount Barker Dental Centre’s policy is to accept the scheduled government fee as full payment.

For further information on eligibility and services covered please see our FAQ: How does the government scheme supporting dental care for kids work?


Financial support for our low income patients

Mount Barker Dental Centre has joined the community based Dental No Interest Loan Scheme (NILS) which offers interest free loans between $300 and $1200 to fund your dental treatment. If you have a Health Care Card or your income (after tax) is less than $45000 per year you may be eligible. Call Uniting Communities on 8202 5180 to let them know that you are interested in applying for a Dental NILS loan.


Happy Chomper, happy kids, happy parents

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.

Dental tourism – do your research

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.

For further information visit www.ada.org.au/oralhealth/dentaltourism.aspx