Tag: oral hygiene

Taking Care of Your Child’s Teeth – 1300SMILES Explains

STORY Leah Smith Oral Health Therapist 1300SMILES Mackay

Life is busy for parents. At times we skip some important health routines because we are tired and looking for the ‘quick fix’ options. The issue with this surrounding dental health is that skipping our daily oral hygiene routine and choosing ‘on the run’ foods means we are increasing our risk of tooth decay for the whole family.

Baby teeth are important. There is a common misconception that decay in baby teeth doesn’t matter. However, baby teeth do a number of amazing things, and sadly a dental infection in a baby tooth is just as painful as in an adult tooth.

There are easy ways to take care of your child’s teeth. Make sure to brush them every morning after breakfast and just before bed until they are at least 8 years old. Use fluoride toothpaste (from 2 years old) with a soft toothbrush. Start flossing your child’s teeth as soon as they have all of their baby teeth (approx. 2 years of age) and start dental visits from 12 months old. Ensure their diet is low in sugary and acidic foods and drinks. If bottles are used past 12 months of age then they shouldn’t have anything in them during the night except for water.

It’s really important that as your children get older, you are limiting ‘snack foods’ in their daily diet. Sticky cereals, sugary spreads, juice and so much more, have A LOT of hidden sugars and should only be given as a ‘special treat’. Fruit in large quantities daily can damage the enamel on your child’s teeth, so juice should not be given to your child every day. Additionally, always encourage your child to drink water and plain milk as much as possible to keep their teeth strong. Try and set a good example of this too.

Lastly, when doing your groceries, have a look at the nutritional panel on the packaging and aim to keep sugar content under 20%. Or, even better, under 10%. Remember, you control their diet because you do the groceries. Have a good look in your cupboard, fridge and trolley and make healthy choices.

For more hints and tips on your children’s oral health check out www.activelittlesmiles.com. To book your child’s next dental appointment contact 1300 764 537 or online via www.1300smiles.com.au 

Read more PakMag blogs on oral hygiene here. 



Get Sugar Savvy with the Australian Dental Association

Oral care has come a long way, that’s for sure. Unfortunately, research shows that there’s still a lot of room for improvement. There are ads and campaigns everywhere reminding us to brush twice a day, floss as often as we can, and keep the sugar content down. But these don’t seem to be achieving the results that we need. It might come as a shock to know that 53 per cent of adults only brush their teeth once a day. On top of that, 48 per cent of adults are consuming too much sugar – a combination that is wreaking havoc. Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in Australia, and these numbers show us why.

The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has decided to use Dental Health Week, August 3 – 9, to shine a light on why sugar is so bad for our teeth. The ‘Get Sugar Savvy’ campaign aims to reinforce the importance of brushing, flossing, and taking charge of your oral hygiene by understanding the effects of sugar and trying to consume less of it. Dr Mikaela Chinotti, ADA’s Oral Health Promoter, says,

“We’re urging people to observe three key messages when it comes to sugar: consume no more than 6 teaspoons/24 grams of added sugar a day; choose foods with 5 grams or less per 100 grams of the food it’s in, and look out for hidden sugars in the food and drink you buy.”

“…brush for two minutes every morning and night, floss daily and see your dentist regularly. They can detect oral diseases at their earliest stage and help to prevent them from progressing – prevention is better than a cure.”

Teenagers and Sugar

Sugar – it’s delicious, we know. But Aussie teenagers are consuming over 20 teaspoons of the stuff a day. That’s THREE TIMES the World Health Organisation’s recommended limit. The culprit? Unsurprisingly, sugary beverages. It can be difficult to know just how much sugar you’re actually drinking but that’s why it’s so important to pay attention to the labels. Energy drinks, soft drinks, fruit juice, sports drinks, even mixed drinks of alcohol (we’re talking about cans of ready-to-drink mixes) can have shocking amounts of sugar in them. 

One 600ml of soft drink contains 16 teaspoons of sugar on average. That’s already over twice the recommended daily sugar amount for adults!

For parents, it’s a good idea to pay attention to what your teen is drinking. We know that as they grow up you begin to provide them with more and more freedom, and if they have a job then they can buy their own food and drinks. But with all that freedom comes the responsibility of taking care of yourself. If they don’t seem to be doing it, you should step in and kindly remind them how important it is to really care about the health of their teeth.

Kids and Sugar

Only half of Australian children aged five to six years have actually visited the dentist before the age of five. One third have had tooth decay by this age already.

Australian Dental Association recommends that your kids have their very first dental visit when the first teeth erupt into the mouth, or by the age of one years old. Leaving a child’s first dental visit until later increases the risk that they will need treatment beyond just a regular check up and clean. Additionally, only milk and water should be put into a feeding bottle, and snacks should be healthy. And of course, try not to give your child many sugary treats, no matter how much they enjoy them.

It’s important to lead by example and make sure your child is brushing their teeth for long enough, often enough. They can then go on to take great care of their teeth as a teenager and adult, preventing infections, decay, and all the negative results neglecting oral hygiene.

Don’t have a regular dentist or one who’s nearby? No problem – the ADA’s Find a Dentist (ada.org.au/findadentist) and Choosing a Dentist (ada.org.au/choosingadentist) make it so easy.

Great ADA Resources for You

Read the Label 

Sugar Maths 

Understanding Sugar 

Here you can gain a better understanding of how to break down a label so it is easy to understand and how natural vs unnatural sugar can affect your teeth.

Hidden Sugars 

Sugar can actually be called over 50 different names, making it harder to notice on food and drink labels. Find out what the common names for sugars and what to look out for on the Hidden Sugars fact sheet.

Sugar vs Teeth 

Having trouble understanding how sugar can result in tooth decay? You can learn more about it on the Sugar and its effects on teeth Fact Sheet.

Read more PakMag Heath Blogs here. 




dental problems in pregnancy

Can Pregnancy Increase Your Risk of Dental Problems?

Dr Fay Callaghan – 1300 Smiles Dentists

Dear Dr Fay, is it true that pregnancy increases your risk of dental problems?

Yes, it certainly is true that pregnancy can increase your risk of dental problems. During pregnancy, your increased hormones can affect your body’s response to plaque, which can lead to oral health issues such as gum disease and an increased risk of tooth decay. Morning sickness and eating sugary foods due to cravings can also contribute to these issues. However, being pregnant doesn’t automatically damage your teeth.

If you are pregnant, be sure to continue the regular check-ups with your dentist, and be sure to let your dentist know that you’re pregnant.

1300 764 537

Read more expert blogs for Cairns here. 




It It True That Pregnancy Increases Your Risk of Dental Problems?

Dr Moataz Shafik – 1300SMILES Dentists

Dear Dr Shafik, is it true that pregnancy increases your risk of dental problems?

Yes, it certainly is true. During pregnancy, your increased hormones can affect your body’s response to plaque, which can lead to oral health issues such as gum disease and an increase in the risk of tooth decay. Morning sickness and eating sugary foods due to cravings can also contribute to these issues. However, being pregnant doesn’t automatically damage your teeth.

If you are pregnant, be sure to continue the regular check-ups with your dentist, and be sure to let your dentist know that you’re pregnant.

1300 764 537



My Husband and I Had Crooked Teeth. Will This Affect Our Children’s Teeth?

Sunbird Orthodontics

Dear Dr Bobby, my husband and I had crooked teeth. Will this affect our children’s teeth?

As they say – “A chip off the old block.” When it comes to teeth, this is so true! While it’s true that the health of our teeth gets better with each generation (think: grandma with false teeth), our susceptibility to dental crowding or destructive bite patterns doesn’t change. This is genetically determined and passed down to our children. It’s likely they will get some crooked teeth. 

That is why it is so important to see a Specialist Orthodontist by the time your child gets to nine years of age. At this age, we can usually predict if your kids will have orthodontic problems.

Call Sunbird Orthodontics 4038 1036







Oral disease is one of the most common health problems treated in pets, with 80% of dogs and 70% of cats displaying signs of gum disease by the time they are three. All pets are at risk of developing dental problems, although small dog breeds and some breeds of cats are more likely to develop dental disease as their teeth are often overcrowded.

Oral disease begins with a build-up of bacteria in the pet’s mouth. This bacteria combined with saliva and food debris between the teeth and gums causes plaque to form on the tooth surface.

As the bacteria grow in the plaque and calcium salts are deposited, this plaque turns to tartar. If the tartar isn’t removed from the teeth, pockets of pus may appear along the gum line and further separate the teeth from the gum, which allows more food and bacteria to accumulate. Without treatment, this plaque and tartar build up may cause irreversible periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease causes red and swollen gums. The gums often recede and bleeding is common. Bone destruction and tooth loss combined with severe pain and infection is often seen at this stage.

Pets with dental disease can suffer from other illnesses when the bacteria from infected teeth and gums enters the bloodstream. The bacteria travels throughout the body, negatively impacting vital organs such as the heart, kidneys, liver and lungs.

Signs of irreversible dental disease

  • Bad Breath.
  • Yellow/brown crust around gums and teeth.
  • Pain when eating.
  • Pawing at the mouth.
  • Change in chewing and/or eating habits.
  • Loose, cracked and worn teeth.
  • Subdued behaviour.
  • Excessive drooling.

Once your pet displays these signs, serious dental disease is likely to be present. Don’t wait for the signs to appear, ensure your pet has a regular yearly dental check-up with your veterinarian.

So what can we do to prevent oral disease?

Before we domesticated the family pooch and puss they were hunting animals. Tearing at carcasses no doubt kept their teeth cleaner than today’s tinned and dry food. So what can we do to prevent oral disease in our pets?

Preventative dental care is best started when the tooth surface is clean. Beginning some form of dental care when your pet is a puppy or kitten is ideal but after a dental scale and polish is the next best time.

There are an abundance of products on the market, such as dental water additives, dental diets, toothbrushes and pastes, toys and chews etc. which can help you maintain your pet’s oral health.

We recommend discussing your pet’s dental health with your veterinarian before deciding on a particular product. During a preventative dental care examination your veterinarian will assess your pet’s oral health and may recommend treatment to take care of any dental problems which may be present. They will also be able to recommend a homecare plan based on your circumstances and pet’s needs.