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How Does Whitening Gel Work?

Keeping teeth white doesn’t always happen through brushing and flossing. Those of you who want that extra sparkle added to your teeth may discover that whitening gel is considered effective but harmless. The majority of whitening gels include hydrogen peroxide as one of the main ingredients. When the whitening gel is applied it gently and slowly bleaches your teeth, removing unsightly stains and the unwanted discoloured appearance of your teeth.

How carbamide peroxide works

When carbamide peroxide is applied to your teeth it breaks down to form hydrogen peroxide and urea. It’s the hydrogen peroxide that does the bleaching, as it reacts with the stains and discoloration on your teeth altering their chemical structure while removing the discolouration.

Take home whitening kits

Your dentist can provide whitening trays which are custom made after an impression of your teeth has been carried out. This happens at your first appointment. At the second you will be given the trays to take home and the whitening gel which you will need to add to the whitening tray. You will be asked to apply the whitening gel for a specific period of time covering from 2 to 4 weeks. Some types and concentrations of whitening gels can remain on your teeth for up to 8 hours a time. This reduces the treatment time to just one week. This at-home whitening treatment typically contains 10% carbamide peroxide, which will break down into 3.5% hydrogen peroxide. This is a slower way of whitening your teeth.

Whitening gel applied by a dentist

You can choose to have the whitening gel applied by the dentist that acts more quickly because it contains a greater concentration of hydrogen peroxide. The whitening gel contains around 25 to 40 % of hydrogen peroxide. The treatment lasts about an hour because hydrogen peroxide used in this amount will most likely lose 50% of its bleaching properties in the first 30 minutes.

Another teeth whitening procedure which a dentist could provide is laser whitening. This is sometimes referred to as power whitening. Using this method a bleaching product will be painted onto the surface of your teeth followed by the shining of a laser or light which activates the whitening. This teeth whitening method takes usually about one hour.

Adding additional ingredients to the whitening gel

Some people’s teeth become more sensitive following treatment with whitening gel but other additional ingredients can be added to reduce this effect. These include potassium nitrate, which is used in toothpaste specifically targeting people who have sensitive teeth. Amorphous calcium is another ingredient for those with sensitive teeth.

What does whitening gel whiten?

As whitening gel doesn’t work on crowns and some filling material your dentist can suggest ways of keeping your teeth as white as possible. If used on your natural teeth it will improve the colour of them if it’s applied at several appointments over time.

Applying whitening gel achieves a brighter and cleaner outcome to your teeth and improves your self confidence when in the company of others.

Are Selfies the Motivation to Treatment Success?

In recent years selfies or pictures taken by you of yourself are becoming more and more commonplace. There hasn’t been any real explanation as to why this trend has become so popular but it seems to help a lot in determining what we feel about our looks. There are two positive outcomes for people when it comes to oral health. The first is that selfies in particular appear to have a positive role to play in improving the way we brush our teeth. This in turn lowers the incident of tooth decay and gum disease. The second is the desire to improve one’s smile by participating in cosmetic dental treatment.

Brushing teeth improves using video selfies

In a study conducted recently by a U.S. dental school the group who was willing to participate were asked to make a film of themselves in the process of cleaning their teeth. The research team found that when the participants were brushing, there was an 8% improvement in how well they brushed. The phones they were using for the video recordings were placed on stands so they could film independently from the participant’s actions. One of the researchers in the study stated that video selfies allowed a person to be able to see clearly which teeth were getting the best brushing and which were being left out. They can then make a bit of extra effort and concentrate on brushing those teeth that get constantly missed.

Cosmetic dental treatment on the rise

It’s quite usual when a photo is taken that you will be asked by the taker to smile even if it means inputting a joke or two at the time to encourage you to do so. Smiling involves exposing your teeth which will reveal both a perfect set of white teeth and any irregularities such as broken, crooked, chipped or stained teeth.

Posting selfies on social media has it seems encouraged people to seek ways of improving any irregularities in their teeth. They aren’t rushing in to make an appointment with their dentists but they are emailing selfies to dental surgeries asking for ways to improve their teeth’s appearance. Many dental procedures that correct misaligned teeth not only have better outcomes when you smile but moving the teeth into the right place enables you to bite and chew on food you had difficulty handling. This is because your front and bottom teeth didn’t meet exactly, making biting and chewing an arduous chore.

This rise in desire for your teeth to look white and natural in your mouth after taking selfies has become a bit of a concern because a camera doesn’t always reveal exactly what your teeth really look like. If shade in your mouth is obstructing the cameras ability to see properly it might even appear that you have no teeth at all in that part of your mouth.

Additionally, when the light flashes onto your front teeth when taking a selfie, it may appear that your teeth are sticking out more. According to dentists they applaud the concern people are having for their teeth as it means other more serious problems like dental decay can be picked up by a dentist because more people are attending appointments for cosmetic reasons. However, the selfie taker shouldn’t get too alarmed from the results of snapping a picture of their teeth but instead should go and get a dentist’s opinion first.

When I Floss Nothing Comes Out

Brushing and flossing doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to spit out all sorts of debris that has been clinging to your teeth or has got lodged in between them. This is one aim of cleaning your teeth and it not only minimises the chances of dangerous bacteria developing on and in between your teeth, but it also keeps your breath smelling fresh as decaying food particles are eliminated. These can often smell if left lodged between your teeth for too long.

Plaque is removed by flossing even if you don’t notice it

One of the most important reasons to keep to the habit of flossing twice a day is it removes bacteria that clings to your teeth in the form of plaque which is a sticky, colourless substance that will relentlessly attaches itself to your teeth until you floss and brush it away. Brushing will remove the plaque from the surface of your teeth while floss removes anything that has become lodged between your teeth.

If plaque is not removed, acid becomes present that will dissolve the enamel slowly over time and bring about the onset of cavity development. Plaque also irritates the gums and if left alone will eventually lead to gum disease. Each of your teeth has 5 surfaces. If you fail to regularly floss, at least 2 of your teeth’s surfaces won’t get cleaned.  You dentist will tell you that floss is the sole teeth cleaning tool for removing damaging bacteria from between your teeth.

Flossing regularly helps to maintain face shape

A lot of people don’t realise how teeth help to maintain your face’s shape, so if gum disease or tooth loss takes place due to offensive bacteria, creating unfillable cavities, then tooth extraction may be the only choice. Losing teeth means losing your youthful appearance and it also affects the bones which support your teeth and they start to lose their shape too. These sorts of things are more likely to happen if you have failed to floss your teeth on a daily basis.

Choosing the right floss

There are different sizes available, but if you have large gaps between your teeth using a flat, wider dental floss can create better results. If you have few gaps between your teeth it’s better to use thin floss. You can ask your dentist or chemist to recommend the best dental floss for your teeth.

If you have any bridges supporting false teeth or you are wearing braces to correct misaligned teeth you should really use what’s called a “floss threader”. This resembles a plastic needle and you thread the floss into the eye and weave it in and out of the gaps in the brackets or braces.

Don’t worry if you think you aren’t removing anything significant after flossing because you will be. Plaque and bacteria can’t easily be seen but they can be easily removed by regularly flossing. Of course this doesn’t mean you can avoid paying a twice yearly visit to your dentist. The dentist can assess your flossing and brushing tactics and make any recommendations. He or she can also give your teeth a more thorough clean once in a while so that you keep your teeth in your mouth as long as possible.

Why Dentists Polish Teeth

One excellent reason for visiting your dentist is to get your teeth cleaned and polished. Teeth cleaning and polishing enable your dentist to keep on top of your oral hygiene. Every day, simply brushing and flossing and even using a mouthwash won’t be sufficient to keep up a decent level of oral health in the long term.

Cleaning comes before polishing

Tooth polishing is not new to the dental check-up routine and is a part of dental cleaning performed by your dentist or dental hygienist. The whole purpose of a dental cleaning is to eliminate the presence of plaque and tartar which has over time accumulated on the surface of your teeth. If this is not removed it could lead to the later onset of cavities which can lead to painful gum disease.

If your dental hygienist has been given the job by your dentist to clean your teeth the first thing that will be done is the removal of plaque and tartar that has attached itself to your teeth. An ultrasonic tool that emits fine vibrations is used to remove the tartar which you can then rinse out of your mouth. Followed by this is the use of a hand tool to get rid of any smaller spots of tartar and plaque.

Polishing

Once the plaque and tartar have been removed from your teeth and they are clean, it’s time to polish. Polishing is generally done using a wand like instrument attached to a small rubber cup that spins around at the end of the wand. Before the polishing begins your dentist or dental hygienist puts what is called “prophy paste” on top of the rubber cup.

This paste is basically a grittier form of toothpaste and comes in a variety of flavours. It is applied to your teeth and the cup spins the paste on your teeth which both removes stains and polishes at the same time.  After you have rinsed out your mouth your teeth will be flossed. Usually a fluoride treatment is applied which helps your teeth to absorb certain minerals that serve to add extra strength to your teeth.

Stain removal is the main reason for polishing teeth

When it comes to efficient oral hygiene techniques the removing of plaque and tartar using the ultrasonic scaling method is the best and most successful way of controlling the bacteria that forms on your teeth. Polishing is used to remove stains caused by products like tobacco, coffee, red wine, and tomato sauce. Even though it may make your teeth feel smoother it’s still not the most effective way to keep bacteria at bay. It is part of the complete process of dental cleaning performed by your dentist or dental hygienist.

You have to help yourself too by keeping up your twice daily brushing and flossing and visiting your dentist twice yearly so that any necessary cleaning and polishing can take place on a regular basis. Neglecting this important dental hygiene programme could cost you your teeth in later life.

 

Waterlase

Some people simply don’t go for regular check-ups at the dentist because they fear if they need any treatment, like fillings, scaling and cleaning, that the tools the dentist uses will harm them in some way. Even though this is far from the truth this is just how some patients feel. A common noisy, vibrating but rarely painful tool used is the drill, but now there is technology becoming available that outdates this noisy device and that is Waterlase®

Waterlase® uses what is called hydrokinetic technology, which is able to eliminate both soft and hard tissue user laser-powered droplets of water. There isn’t any heat involved or vibrations and it makes no sound. The Federal Drug Administration in the U.S. gave the go ahead for its use in 1998.

The sorts of jobs the Waterlase® can do include:

  • removal of decay;
  • preparing a cavity for a filing;
  • preparing the enamel for bonding material and veneers;
  • gum reshaping and lifts;
  • soft tissue procedures;
  • teeth extraction.

What are the benefits of Waterlase® ?

The action of Waterlase® is to combine laser energy and atomized water in order to carefully remove soft and hard tissue.  Because it’s painless it eliminates the need to use anaesthesia.  At the same time it sterilises the area which needs attention which as a result the exposing of soft tissue is less likely to encourage the invasion of bacteria and the outbreak of infection.

Most of you have confidence in the dentist to ensure you have a pain free experience. However, some children are often dragged to the dentist kicking and screaming because they have this inner fear that the dentist is going to hurt them. Of course, this rarely happens but once they have experienced Waterlase® it gives them more confidence to attend their regular check-ups willingly. Apart from these benefits, Waterlase® also ensures that:

  • neighbouring teeth aren’t affected;
  • fillings bond better and far more quickly;
  • less of the healthy tooth needs to be removed;
  • minimal bleeding throughout the whole treatment;
  • there is noiseless operation;
  • there is far better accuracy when targeting dental problems.
  • further dental visits are minimised.

The process of a Waterlase® procedure

As with virtually all dental treatment, no one event is the same. However, there is a set procedure used for Waterlase®. First of all you will be provided with eye protection. Secondly, a Waterlase® laser device will stream atomized water which will cut into both soft and hard tissue depending on the type of treatment.  The laser will sterilize the area as it is moved around. It’s all quite straightforward and will not only increase your comfort level but it overall minimises the cost of dental treatment and you will relieve any anxiety that has often prevented you from plucking up the courage to visit your dentist as regularly as you should.

If you really want your teeth and smile improved your dentist has available the most up-to-date painless techniques like Waterlase®, which can be used for many cosmetic dental procedures as well as helping to ensure your teeth remain healthy.

What are Clear Braces?

Braces treatment used to be most commonly used for teenagers, as worried parents feared that their children would not get the most out of life if they had to live with a mouth full of crooked, unattractive teeth. Times have moved on since then and those who missed out on braces treatment when they were young have been searching for ways they can restore their facial appearance and smile with confidence but not necessarily keen on filling their mouths with what was often termed to be railroad tracks.

This has brought about the invention of clear braces treatment which is so much more aesthetic than wearing heavy metal braces. Many types can be barely seen if at all. They are not necessarily useful for all types of misalignment problems but they can help to correct:

  • crooked teeth;
  • overbite;
  • widely spaced out teeth or crowding.

Who make good candidates for clear braces?

Your orthodontist can make those sorts of decisions but generally they are considered to be more appropriate for adults and late teenagers.

Popular clear braces include:

  • ceramic braces;
  • inside braces;
  • clear aligners.

Ceramic braces resemble metal braces, except tooth-coloured brackets are used and not metal, so the tooth-coloured ceramic merges with your teeth ensuring they are barely noticeable. Inside braces are called invisible, as they are fixed on the back of your teeth while lingual braces such as “iBraces” and clear aligners make braces treatment almost invisible.

Ceramic or clear braces

These aren’t quite as strong as metal braces while the brackets are bigger. They need small rubber bands, or ligatures, to keep them attached to the arch wire. Every month the clear ligatures are changed when adjustments are needed as your teeth move into the correct position. Due to their strength clear braces do need quite a long treatment time compared to metal braces.

Inside braces

These include brands like 3M’s iBraces, which are fixed behind the teeth so they can’t be seen. Images taken from the inside of the teeth create computer-designed brackets that are fixed behind the upper teeth and on occasions the lower ones. The beauty of these types of braces is not only are they barely visible but they can’t be removed by the user.

They are fairly new in the orthodontic treatment options so not all orthodontists have gained sufficient confidence to fit and manage them.

Clear aligners

The well know brand of aligners called Invisalign falls into the “clear aligner” group and are removable, clear aligners which are custom-fitted with the aim of providing almost discomfort free treatment. They are practically invisible and brackets are not necessary.

They can be removed if necessary but they should be kept in the mouth for at least 22 hours a day to be of any use. Your orthodontist may recommend that a new set of aligners is fitted every 2 weeks depending on the progress of the movement of your teeth. These please many users because each time a set is replaced you can see the progress of your teeth.

When you look at that crooked smile and wish you had braces treatment when you were younger, make an appointment with your orthodontist and see what clear braces he or she recommends for you.

How Oral Hygiene Impacts Your Health

There are many reasons why people sometimes fail to maintain good oral hygiene, one of which is pure laziness. It’s so easy to go to bed or even go to work without bothering to go through the brushing and flossing routine. A lot of people may think chewing a bit of gum is sufficient to keep the mouth smelling fresh. When you are young failing to clean the teeth regularly won’t impact too much on the colour of your teeth until you begin to age. However, it’s not just the colour of your teeth and how fresh your breath smells. There are other reasons why maintaining good oral health hygiene is important.

The presence of bacteria and oral hygiene

You may not realise this, but your mouth harbours damaging bacteria, especially when plaque and its hardened form tartar cling to your teeth and allow bacteria to thrive. Eventually, if not removed, the enamel on the surface of your teeth becomes damaged and cavities start to form, which could lead to more serious afflictions like painful tooth abscesses when bacteria finds its way into the root of the tooth and causes a painful infection.

These sorts of oral health problems can be stopped in their tracks, not only be keeping to a good flossing and brushing routine but by regular visits to your dentist who will thoroughly clean your teeth and eliminate plaque and tartar build-up. At the same time, any sign of cavity formation can be repaired by cleaning out the bacteria and filling the tooth.

The bad side of poor oral hygiene and general health outcomes

Unfortunately, if you neglect your oral hygiene, more sinister things could happen to your health. Periodontal disease caused by bacteria could enter your bloodstream through your bleeding gums. It has been discovered that this could cause heart disease as the bacteria enter the bloodstream and travels through the blood vessels to the heart, possibly initiating a heart attack.

Endocarditis is another possible outcome of poor dental hygiene. This is when bacteria find their way to the heart’s inner lining and its valves. This could cause growth in bacteria in pockets, which could cause infection and inflammation of the heart’s inner linings. A stroke is caused by a narrowing of the walls of the artery. It has been suggested that as the body reacts to the presence of bacteria which has entered the blood stream via the mouth that it assists with the narrowing of the arteries. There are other conditions that are made worse by the presence of bacteria that have formed in the mouth. These include: rheumatoid arthritis, the lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and pneumonia.

The best 3 ways to maintain good oral hygiene are:

  • brushing at least twice a day with a soft bristled tooth brush;
  • flossing your teeth with the same frequency as brushing;
  • seeing your dentist at least twice a year or more if you notice you have a problem worth treating.

Put the above words into action and you will have done the best you can do to keep your teeth and overall body healthy.

Why do Gums Bleed?

On occasions you may notice when rinsing your mouth after brushing or flossing signs of blood, or you may even taste the blood. Blood occurring in these sorts of situations is not necessarily bad but if it happens almost every time you go through your teeth cleaning routines. The best thing to do is to arrange an appointment with your dentist who will be able to diagnose the cause of the bleeding and set your mind at rest and suggest a treatment option.

Causes of bleeding gums

Gingivitis

Unfortunately, despite eating healthy foods and avoiding sugary products and soft drinks, gum disease can occur, which could result in bleeding gums. The positive side to this is that the early stage of gum disease called gingivitis is quite treatable. It is when you have failed to eliminate the plaque from the surface of your teeth during routine brushing and flossing sessions. Bacteria that thrive in plaque can lead to gingivitis. This condition is when you may experience swollen gums which become tender and may even bleed when you brush and floss. This early stage of gum disease can be reversed if you keep up more regular flossing and brushing routines and go to your dentist to have a professional clean when all the damaging plaque and tartar is removed.

Blood thinning medications

Some medications are known to cause bleeding gums. This includes blood thinners prescribed to individuals to help to decrease the chance of blood clots forming. When you are brushing your teeth and you are taking blood thinner medications your gums may bleed more easily. You should tell your dentist about the problem so a solution can be found.

Back to flossing after a break

If you have neglected to floss your teeth for a while and then re-start you could experience bleeding gums for a short period.

Choosing the wrong toothbrush

Some people believe a nice hard, new toothbrush is best for teeth cleaning. This is not always the case. If you find your gums bleed you should revert to a softer bristled tooth brush which will be far kinder to your gums. If you are not sure what sort of toothbrush suits your teeth ask some advice from your dentist who will point you in the right direction.

Pregnancy and bleeding gums

A few women going through the various stages of a pregnancy may find that their gums become swollen and unexpectedly bleed. This is referred to as pregnancy gingivitis and is known to take place due to changes in hormone activity experienced while pregnant, which affects the way the body responds to the bacteria that may cause gum disease.

What you should do if your gums bleed

If you are experiencing bleeding gums, you shouldn’t leave it until the gingivitis has got out of hand, but you should rigorously maintain your flossing and brushing routine and arrange an appointment with your dentist to discuss the cause and treatment options.

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Celebs Wear Braces Too!

When you decide to improve the way you look, in particular what you look like when you smile, you may have decided the only way to achieve this goal is to get braces treatment from your orthodontist. It’s not just you that thinks this, but celebrities have braces treatment on their mind too. A celeb may sing or act well, which of course is important, but an award winning smile attracts fans and gives a boost to a celeb’s confidence. Once braces treatment is complete, celebs want to keep that award winning smile for the rest of their lives.

If you would like proof of a celeb that has had braces treatment take a look at Tom Cruise’s smile in “Rain Man”, Jerry Maguire in “The Firm” and compare the smile you see before he had braces treatment in “Tropic Thunder” or “Valkyrie”. There is no escaping the fact that a mouth full of white, gleaming, straight teeth can really influence just how well a celeb can perform an act. The better you think your smile is, the better you will perform. Braces are used as a treatment amongst celebs and non-celebs alike, as they do the same thing.

Teenage celebs get braces treatment too

The teenage years are the commonest time for getting braces treatment and that includes teenage celebs. Emma Watson, who became famous for the part she played as Hermione Granger in the films of Harry Potter, was a braces wearer when she was fifteen years old. Dakota Fanning, who started her film career at 7 years old, was a recipient of braces. It didn’t take long to figure out that Taylor Swift has worn braces as it only takes looking at old and new photos of the actor and you will see the amount of orthodontic work she has had done.

Adult celebs and braces

The singer, Faith Hill, certainly didn’t conceal the fact that she wore braces as she was seen with them in place at the Grammy Awards in 2013. Allegedly, Gwen Stefani, the rock star, couldn’t get braces treatment when she was young because her parents couldn’t afford it, but that hasn’t stopped her now! The famous actress, Faye Dunaway, recipient of an Academy Award, didn’t worry about getting braces when she was young. She only took the leap when she was 61 years old! Other well-known celebs who have been through braces treatment include Oprah Winfrey, Katherine Heigl and Heidi Klum.

What braces treatment does for celebs

A gleaming, white straight smile not only boosts a celeb’s confidence, but promotes good oral health too. Their careers are all about attracting attention and there is no better way of doing that than through a nice, healthy looking smile. Some stars don’t mind at all if their fans see them wearing braces but for those who are a little more self conscious advances in less conscious treatments such as Invisalign and lingual braces which are fitted out of the way behind the teeth cater for all the celebs needs.

 

Who Invented Toothpaste?

Toothpaste may seem to have been around for as long as you can remember, but ask one of your grandparents and you may find out that before toothpaste became commonplace people used to use a powder that more or less did the same thing.

Tooth powders and toothpastes help to keep the teeth clean and with regular brushing and flossing remove food fragments and sticky bacteria laden plaque from the parts of the teeth where they can do the most damage, in between the teeth and close to the gums.

Toothpaste is basically made of four or five ingredients:

  • an abrasive, which scours the teeth and removes food and plaque;
  • fluoride, which helps to strengthen the hard enamel part of the teeth and prevent tooth decay;
  • detergents, which make the toothpaste froth up in the mouth;
  • flavours, such as peppermint, which make toothpaste taste better without impacting on its cleaning properties;
  • humectants, which keep the paste from drying out.

Who invented toothpaste?

The history of toothpaste is quite a long one. Some people way back in the past probably used to keep their teeth clean by using a primitive toothbrush made out of a frayed stick, but it was probably the early Egyptians that actually invented a cleaning powder used for cleaning the teeth. Like more modern tooth powders and pastes, it contained an abrasive, but the Egyptians made theirs from crushed pumice, powdered, burnt eggshells, myrrh and the ashes of ox hooves!

The Romans and Greeks invented their own version of tooth powder. It used crushed oyster shells and bones as an abrasive.

It has been reported that an Iraqi musician actually designed the first toothpaste which was apparently so pleasant to use that its use spread right through to Spain under Moorish influence. That was back in the ninth century.

These early tooth powders and pastes were probably rubbed on to the teeth and gums using rags or sticks.

Modern toothpastes

Commercial toothpowders, using chalk, salt or baking soda, became much more widely used in the nineteenth century. Colgate still makes a tooth powder that is marketed in India. By this time, the first toothbrushes were being made and used together with powders.

It wasn’t until the First World War that pastes, often containing hydrogen peroxide and baking powder, became more popular than powders. The paste was soon put into a collapsible tube. The first tubes were made out of lead foil until it was discovered that lead was poisonous!

Colgate can probably be credited with the first toothpaste, containing ingredients in a familiar form and by the 1950s it was becoming more common for fluoride to be added, as it was acknowledged that this helped to strengthen the natural tooth enamel.

Does modern toothpaste do any good?

Most dentists would advise you to maintain an oral hygiene routine at home consisting of regular brushing with a flexible toothbrush and toothpaste together with flossing between the teeth. Toothpaste is part of the process of maintaining healthy teeth and gums, but is not a guarantee that you will never have any problems with your teeth. It is suggested that you make regular visits to your dentist to check that your teeth and gums are in a healthy condition and to pre-empt potential problems before they get too serious.

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