488 Scarborough Beach Road, Osborne Park WA 6017
08 9244 1382

Hill Bayford and Associates Dental Centre

Oral Hygiene

Tips For Treating Bad Breath

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Most of us have experienced bad breath at some point, but what actually causes it? Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is caused by an overproduction of sulphur producing bacteria which is commonly found on the tongue or throat. The treatment of bad breath is usually quite simple and most of it can be done at home. Listed below are tips to help treat bad breath.

  1. Brush and floss regularly
  2. Brush your tongue
  3. Stay hydrated
  4. Avoid certain foods and drinks
  5. Avoid smoking
  6. Clean your dentures and retainers regularly
  7. Regular dental check-ups and cleans
  8. Consult your GP for other underlying causes.
1. Brush and floss regularly

Good oral hygiene is important in reducing the sticky film of bacteria that causes bad breath. We recommend brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day to prevent the build-up of bacteria. We recommend a soft bristled toothbrush which should be replaced every three to four months.

2. Clean your Tongue

The most common reason for bad breath is because people often overlook the need to brush their tongue. Plaque and food can get trapped in the fibres (papillae) of the tongue which then causes bad breath. Gentle sweeps of your toothbrush along the surface of the tongue will help remove the plaque deposits. Alternatively you could also use a tongue scraper which are available from your local chemist.

3.  Stay hydrated

Drinking plenty of water and chewing sugar-free gum can help maintain good levels of saliva in your mouth. Saliva is important because it helps to counteract the acids produced by plaque, moisten the mouth and wash away the debris that collects on the gums, tongue and cheek.

4. Avoid certain foods and drinks

It is well known that certain foods and drinks can cause bad breath. Foods (strong cheeses, garlic, onions) and drinks (coffee, alcoholic drinks) leave a residue that binds to the plaque in your mouth creating bad breath. It is advisable to brush your teeth or chew sugar-free gum after consuming these drinks/food.

5. Avoid smoking

Any tobacco related product can cause bad breath by leaving smoke particles in the throat and lungs which can linger for hours, hence the stale smell associated with smoker’s breath. In the long term, repeatedly inhaling the tobacco gases can cause the palate to dry out resulting in a chemical film where bacteria often thrives. Avoiding smoking is the best solution, however if you are a smoker then the best way to try and counteract these effects is to brush your teeth, chew sugar-free gum and stay hydrated.

6. Clean your dentures and retainers regularly

Dentures and retainers that are not cleaned properly can harbour bacteria which can cause bad breath and other oral conditions. At Hill Bayford & Associates, we recommend cleaning your dentures and retainers with a soft toothbrush and hand soap daily, and to avoid wearing dentures at night.

7. Regular dental check-ups and cleans

Gum disease, tooth decay and infections are common reasons for bad breath. It is important to get your teeth checked and cleaned regularly. The dentists at Hill Bayford & Associates will be able to early-identify if you suffer from any of these conditions and help develop a treatment plan before these problems getting any worse.

8. Consult your GP for other underlying causes.

Sometimes the side-effects of medications, acid reflux or other general health conditions can cause bad breath. If you have tried the tips above with limited success then we recommend you consult with your doctor to determine if there are any other underlying causes of your bad breath.

If you would like further advice on any of the above tips, feel free to contact our friendly team for further information

How To Brush Your Teeth

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The brushing process seems simple enough, however there is actually an art to doing it well! We recommend that you brush twice a day for two minutes.

There are four main areas that need to be cleaned when brushing your teeth:

  • The outside tooth surfaces (next to your cheeks)
  • The chewing surfaces
  • The inside tooth surfaces (next to your tongue)
  • Your tongue

When brushing the inside and outside surfaces of your teeth we recommend you hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and brush in small circular motions, ensuring that the edge of your toothbrush reaches the gum-line as this is a common area for plaque build-up.

To brush your chewing surfaces and tongue, we recommend you use short gentle brush strokes backwards and forwards. You can tilt your toothbrush slightly so that the edge of the brush reaches into the deeper crevices of your molar teeth.

For some people brushing all the tooth surfaces using a backwards and forwards motion feels more comfortable. This is not the preferred brushing technique because it can cause a lot of scraping along the gum-line which could lead to gum recession and tooth sensitivity. If you are experiencing these symptoms then please talk to us!

Some people feel that to clean their teeth effectively they need to apply a lot of pressure and brush quite hard. This is not true. If you are using a good brushing technique then you only need to brush gently. Brushing too hard can lead to gum recession, so try and avoid it if you can.

What toothpaste to use?

At Hill Bayford & Associates, we recommend the use of fluoridated toothpaste. This is because of the well-documented effects of fluoride in preventing tooth decay. There are many good toothpaste options on the market – deciding which one to use can be overwhelming. Individual toothpastes are often designed to assist with particular aspects of dental health such as whitening, gum disease and sensitivity-just to name a few. It is your choice as to what toothpaste you feel is best for you. However, if you would like some guidance we are happy to recommend a toothpaste that would be most appropriate for you after formally assessing your oral health needs.

Remember, you only need a pea-sized amount of toothpaste to effectively clean your teeth!

Is a manual or electric toothbrush better?

If used properly, both types of brushes will provide a thorough level of cleanliness. Neither is better than the other – the decision of which toothbrush to use depends on your personal preference!

Manual Toothbrush

We advise our patients to use a soft bristled toothbrush with a small head. This is because the medium to hard bristled toothbrushes are known to cause gum trauma or wear the enamel away from your teeth, especially near the gum-line. Also the small bristles are useful in getting to those hard to reach areas (like wisdom teeth).

Electric Toothbrush

An electric or battery operated toothbrush can be particularly helpful to access difficult areas due to its small size and powerful cleaning ability. On average, a toothbrush should be changed every three months or when it shows signs of wear. If you are changing the brush more often than this, then chances are you may be brushing too hard.

For any further information, please feel free to contact the team at Hill Bayfrod & Associates Dental Centre

Do I need to brush my baby’s teeth?

Yes! You will need to start brushing your baby’s teeth from the time they erupt (generally around six months of age).

Using a very soft baby toothbrush, brush the teeth gently morning and night. You do not need to use toothpaste at this young age – just water will be enough to clean the teeth.

At around 12 months of age, you can start using baby toothpaste. You only need a tiny amount of toothpaste – about the size of a grain of rice. Because you are using such a small amount you do not need to worry about rinsing after brushing.

Babies and young children generally find it fun to chew on the toothbrush which is a part of helping them learn about brushing – but it can mean that you will need to regularly replace your child’s toothbrush as soon as you notice any wear.

How To Floss

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Flossing is a significant part of good oral hygiene, yet it is something most patients dread doing. As dentists we find that the majority of cavities form in-between your teeth where the bacterial biofilm or plaque is not cleaned properly which leads to decay. So how do you floss correctly?

  1. Purchase a floss that you are comfortable using. We recommend a waxed floss (ribbon or tape) as we find it is easier to slide between the teeth and is less likely to shred, but again this is a personal preference – it does not influence the level of cleanliness achieved.
  2. Tear off a piece of floss approximately 30cm long and wrap the floss around your middle fingers of both hands, with one finger having most of the floss.
  3. Hold it tight between your thumb and pointing finger and with a gentle side-to-side motion, move it between the teeth until it reaches the gum line.
  4. Once it reaches the gum line, gently wrap the floss around the side of the tooth forming a C shape and move it up and down, and side-to-side.
  5. Repeat the same technique on the other side of the tooth.
  6. Use a new section of floss and repeat the process between all of your teeth. Make sure you don’t forget the back of your last molar which is an area that is commonly missed.

Having trouble using normal floss? There are a wide variety of floss aids available including interdental brushes and floss handles. Some are better than others and it is all about what you feel works for you. These are available at your local pharmacy.

If you require any further information, or have a recommendation on which type of floss you feel is best (because you are all expert flossers now) then we want to know!

Treating a Knocked-out Tooth

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In the unfortunate event that you have knocked out a tooth, there is still a good chance that the tooth can be replanted successfully, especially if you see a dentist straight away. At Hill Bayford & Associates we understand that a knocked-out tooth can be very stressful and often happens at very inconvenient times, which is why all of our Dentists have after-hours phone numbers that you can contact them on for on-the-spot advice.

What to Do?

Treating a knocked-out adult tooth is quite different to treating a baby tooth. Please read the below tips to find out how to deal with both situations.

Adult Tooth – fully in-tact

  • Find the tooth and hold it by the enamel (smooth white part).
  • If it is dirty, rinse it quickly with milk, your saliva or even saline solution (such as contact lens solution). Just a few seconds is enough.
  • If possible, while holding the enamel of the tooth, replant the tooth into the socket and bite firmly on a towel or handkerchief.
  • If you can’t replant the tooth, seal it in a container with milk or your own saliva.
  • Seek immediate dental treatment.

Adult Tooth – broken

If the tooth is broken, seal it in a container with milk or your own saliva and contact your dentist for advice and immediate dental treatment.

Baby Tooth

Do not put the tooth back in! This is quite important as it can damage the permanent tooth underneath or cause the baby tooth to fuse into the socket which is likely to cause problems later on.

Contact your dentist for advice or seek emergency care at your local hospital.

The Secret to Whiter Teeth

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Having white teeth has become a very desirable attribute. Many patients enquire about teeth whitening procedures, however at Hill Bayford & Associates we would rather promote an understanding of the factors that lead to whiter teeth, before undergoing any procedures. There are three main factors that play an important part in white teeth.

  • Genetics: Genetics has a big influence on determining how white your teeth are. Your complexion, skin tone and type of teeth are significant factors in how white teeth can look.
  • Oral Hygiene: Incorrect brushing technique and lack of flossing can cause tooth discolouration.
  • Foods/Drinks: Many peoples’ guilty pleasure of having a glass or wine or a hot cup of tea/coffee at the end of the day can unfortunately also cause tooth discolouration.
How can I make my teeth whiter?
  • Brush and floss: Improper brushing and flossing techniques can cause plaque to stay on your teeth which can not only cause your teeth to look yellow but can also cause redness or inflammation of your gums. Over- brushing or brushing too hard can also cause your enamel to wear exposing the dentine underneath, which has a yellow colour. There is an art to brushing and flossing correctly! If you need further guidance on how to become a brushing artist, come speak to us.
  • Minimise colourful, acidic foods/drinks: If you think of your teeth as a clean, white tablecloth then it makes sense that consuming any intensely coloured food and drink can cause stains! Acidic drinks particularly soft drinks, wine and juices can cause acid wear of the enamel on your teeth causing them to look yellow. Similarly foods such as berries, sweets and sauces (tomato, soy and curry) can also have a staining effect. Drinking through a straw when possible, rising your mouth with water and chewing sugar-free gum after consuming these foods can help minimise the effects.
  • Regular dental scale and cleans: Even if you have mastered the art of brushing, over time teeth will still get some tartar build-up (or calculus). This is commonly found on the inside of your lower teeth but also can be found underneath your gum line. Not only does it look yellow and unsightly, but it can cause serious and permanent gum disease if not cleaned properly. We recommend getting a scale and clean every six months.
  • Teeth whitening procedures: If you are a non-smoker, who eats well and brushes and flosses regularly yet you still feel your pearly whites are not as white as they could be then we are more than happy to explore teeth whitening options with you. At Hill Bayford & Associates we offer home whitening kits which we believe is the safest and most cost-effective option for teeth whitening. We do not recommend ‘ultra violet light whitening’ as we feel that there has not been enough long term research conducted regarding the effects of this process. It is important to note that no teeth whitening options are lifelong so it is likely that the treatment will need to be repeated at some point in the future. Contact us for a chat about your teeth whitening desires!