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Monthly Archives: November 2015

25 Fun Facts About Your Mouth You Probably Didn’t Know

  1. Without saliva, we would not be able to taste anything.
  2. The inside of your mouth contains as many bacteria as there are people on Earth.
  3. Teeth start to form before you are even born but don’t come through until you are between 6 – 12 months old.
  4. Children have 20 teeth while adults have 32.
  5. Many diseases are linked to oral health including heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
  6. Close your mouth while swimming because chlorine can wear down enamel.
  7. Plaque is a residue that is made up of excess bacteria in the mouth.
  8. The tongue is the only muscle in the human body that works without any support from the skeleton.
  9. One third of your tooth is hidden underneath your gums.
  10. Green tea contains antiseptic properties, which can help to keep your gums healthy.
  11. There are approximately 10,000 taste buds in our mouth, of which most are located on the tongue.
  12. No two people have the same set of teeth. A person’s teeth are as unique as their fingerprint.
  13. We produce about 37,854 litres of saliva during our lives – enough to fill two swimming pools.
  14. An average person spends 38.5 days brushing their teeth over the course of their lifetime
  15. Smiling helps you live longer. Every time you smile, your body produces greater amounts of antibodies, giving you an immunity boost.
  16. The enamel on the surfaces of your teeth is the hardest substance in your whole body.
  17. We have four different types of teeth in our mouth: incisors, canine, premolars and molars.
  18. Teeth, like your bones, are alive. They have their own blood supply and nerves. A tooth can die.
  19. Relative to its size, the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body.
  20. If you’re right handed, you tend to chew your food on your right side. If you’re left handed, you favour chewing on your left side.
  21. If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning approximately 40% of the surfaces of your teeth.
  22. Surveys indicate that 50% of people say that someone’s smile is the first thing they notice.
  23. A tooth that gets knocked out will begin to die within 15 minutes.
  24. Humans have two sets of teeth in their lifetime, whereas sharks have 40.
  25. Modern toothpaste has only been available for the past 100 years.

Accelerated Orthodontics: Straighten Your Teeth Fast

For someone with crooked teeth, having braces fitted is the solution. Whilst many people have braces fitted in their teen years, adults may also choose to get braces to correct their teeth. The median length of time that braces are fitted for is between two and four years, which for most adults, is a very long period of time. Fortunately, advancements in orthodontic procedures have meant that with accelerated orthodontics, this time span is reduced to under a year, with most people only needing to wear braces for between three and eight months.

What is accelerated orthodontics?

Accelerated orthodontics is a type of orthodontics in which braces are fitted in combination with a minor surgical procedure. This surgery is what lessens the time needed for the braces to work in straightening the teeth.

What does the procedure involve?

Before the braces are fitted, the orthodontist will perform a procedure in which the gums and bones are shaved and reformed to allow the teeth to align into the correct position more quickly.

Accelerated Orthodontics Pros:

  • The most obvious benefit of accelerated orthodontics is the shortened amount of time that is needed to correct the alignment of teeth. For adults with professional careers, this can be a particularly attractive benefit.
  • Any type of braces can be used.
  • Correcting misalignment has been shown to drastically boost self-confidence in people.

Accelerated Orthodontics Cons:

  • The surgical procedure can add an extra layer of discomfort, especially immediately afterwards.
  • It is a very expensive procedure and one that is not commonly covered by most insurance companies.
  • Because the procedure is fast-tracked, your teeth will shift much more quickly than they would with regular braces fitted. This means that you will need to make very frequent visits to the orthodontist to regularly have your braces tightened.
  • Because accelerated orthodontics is such a new field, there isn’t much research relating to the long-term effects of the procedure and whether the teeth will remain aligned. However, at this stage, all indications point in the direction that the accelerated orthodontics procedure is just as effective as having traditional braces fitted for an extended period of time.
  • Accelerated orthodontics is not possible for everyone. If your teeth are severely misaligned, unfortunately traditional orthodontics are the only option.

For more information about the procedure, make an appointment with your dentist or orthopaedist to discuss the procedure in detail.

What is the Difference Between a Dental Assistant and a Dental Hygienist?

Confused about who does what at the dentist? Dentistry is a field that encompasses a range of different positions and during an appointment, you won’t be seen by the dentist alone. The dentist will usually have a dental assistant as well as a dental hygienist to assist during consultations and procedures. During routine cleans, it is common for the dental hygienist to run the consultation, rather than the dentist. Here is a breakdown of the different roles in dentistry and what you can expect from whom:

Dental Assistant:

As the name suggests, the primary role of a dental assistant is to assist the dentist with many aspects of the dental practice. A range of duties and responsibilities encompass this position, which are mainly based around:

  • Patient interaction
  • Record-keeping
  • Small procedural tasks under the direction of the dentist
  • Assisting the dentist during procedures and examinations
  • Preparing patients for dental procedures
  • Preparing the dental consultation room with the appropriate tools and equipment
  • Administrative tasks such as billing and the scheduling of appointments

Dental Hygienist:

A dental hygienist is an oral healthcare professional who is trained specifically in preventative oral care. Whilst still working under the supervision of a dentist, it is common for dental hygienists to run routine examinations and cleans without the dentist present. The dental hygienist performs tasks that are more complex and independent and ones that were only performed by dentists in the past. The dental hygienist takes a much bigger hands-on role with patients than a dental assistant does and routinely performs the following duties:

  • Performing preliminary steps in identifying dental conditions
  • Providing dental care information and advice to patients on good oral hygiene practices
  • Cleaning and scaling
  • Polishing teeth
  • Applying dental sealants
  • Perform x-rays
  • Administer fluoride
  • Oral cancer screenings
  • Depending on the location, dental hygienists may also administer anaesthetic, apply fillings and remove sutures

There are varying qualification requirements between the two positions, with dental hygienists requiring a bachelor’s degree and dental assistants needing to complete a one to two year training program. There are also differences in the salary across the two positions, with dental hygienists earning a much higher income than dental assistants. This corresponds to the differing qualification requirements as well as the differencing levels of responsibility. Both positions fall under the overall authority of the dentist who oversees the entire practice.

Food and Drinks That Mask Bad Breath

We all know that embarrassing feeling: after enjoying a delicious lunch with lots of tasty garlic and onion, we then have to face returning to the office contending with bad breath all afternoon. Some foods, such as onion and garlic, linger in the system and cause bad breath, or halitosis. The good news is that you can still enjoy the foods you love that cause unpleasant breath. There are some foods and drinks that mask bad breath so simply consuming one of these after your meal will help your mouth stay fresh afterwards:

  • Parsley: Parsley is probably one of the best-known foods that can fight bad breath. It’s the oil the parsley leaves that helps to mask unpleasant odours. Other herbs such as rosemary, eucalyptus and cilantro or coriander also work in a similar way.
  • Crunchy fruits and vegetables: Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, pears, celery and cucumbers stimulates the production of saliva, which assists in rinsing the mouth of odour-producing bacteria.
  • Yoghurt: Yoghurt is full of good bacteria, which helps to combat the bad bacteria that causes bad breath and re-balance the ratio of good and bad bacteria in the mouth.
  • Green tea: The active ingredient in green tea that helps to mask bad breath is catechin, a powerful antioxidant that helps to fend off bacteria.
  • Nuts: Nuts such as almonds work in much the same way as crunchy fruits and vegetables in that they help to stimulate the production of saliva. Their consistency also helps to remove bacteria on the teeth as well.
  • Water: Simply having a glass of water after eating helps to rinse out your mouth and wash away bacteria.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum: This not only serves to mask the odour of your breath with a pleasant, minty aroma, but it also stimulates the production of saliva.
  • Breath mints: Popping a breath mint after eating will help to mask bad breath, at least for a little while.

In the end, masking bad breath is only a short-term solution. Practising good oral hygiene is the most important way to minimise halitosis. Be sure to brush your teeth twice a day, including your tongue where odour-causing bacteria like to live, as well as remembering to floss daily. If bad breath continues to be problematic for you, discuss this with your dentist or dental hygienist during your next routine check-up.

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