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"Doc, My Teeth are all Sensitive."

"Doc, My Teeth are all Sensitive."

"Doc, My Teeth are all Sensitive."

You just need to look at the vast array of sensitive toothpastes available today in the supermarket aisle to realize that teeth sensitivity is a massive problem in the general population. But will this magic pill in these heavily marketed sensitive toothpastes be the tonic for all causes of tooth sensitivity?

To understand what causes tooth sensitivity, we need to know a little about tooth anatomy.

The brittle, outer protective layer of teeth called enamel is the hardest material in the body. Beneath the enamel is the flexible material called dentine, which is much like a stack of tubes piled on top of each other. Within the middle of the tubes of dentine is a fluid which communicates with the dental pulp. It is within the dental pulp where many blood vessels and millions of nerve fibre are housed. Heat, cold, touch, air and certain foods can cause movement of this fluid within the tubules of dentine resulting in stimulation of the nerve fibres and the resultant short, sharp pain.

But what does it mean when our teeth are sensitive?

If you are suffering from tooth sensitivity, it is most likely due to one or a combination of the following.

  1. Dental Decay
  2. Gum Disease and Gum Recession – when your gums have receded ‘i.e you are getting a little long in the tooth’ this can be due to gum disease, or recession caused by trauma to the gum due to over-zealous tooth brushing. It is the exposure of the dentine which is normally covered by enamel or the gum which causes the painful sensation.
  3. Microscopic fractures of teeth – Habits such as teeth clenching and grinding (bruxism) will eventually wear away the enamel layer. Each time you have decay and require a restoration, this ultimately weakens the tooth structure. The excessive load of bruxism coupled with a weakening of the tooth structure through dental decay can result in microscopic fractures within the tooth. It is this movement of the tooth structure under load which stimulates the nerve fibres within the pulp.
  4. Excessive consumption of acidic foods and drinks. Soft drinks, juices, wine, citrus fruits and some mouthwashes are all very acidic and the erosion of the enamel can also result in exposure of the dentine.
  5. Presence of plaque can cause tooth sensitivity
  6. Recent dental work – deep restorations close to the pulp, teeth whitening, crown placement and some gum treatments can cause teeth sensitivity.

Contrary to what the manufacturers will lead you to believe, their magic toothpastes will only be effective when there is exposed dentine – mostly due to gum disease or receding gums. These toothpastes work by blocking the dentin tubules and preventing the stimulation of the nerve fibres.

The other major causes of tooth sensitivity will not respond as positively to these toothpastes and further dental intervention will often be prescribed.

It is best to treat the presence of tooth sensitivity as a warning sign. Please call 5221 6610 and make an appointment with either Dr Gray or Dr Robinson to ensure that your sensitivity is not a sign of a more serious condition.

 

 

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Mother’s Day Reminder

Mother’s Day Reminder

Mother’s Day Reminder

Mother’s Day is often an enjoyable time of the year in rewarding those dear to us. Great family time, appreciation and of course in some cases, lots of chocolate. Watching my three boys indulge in ridiculous quantities of chocolate this past Easter, reminded me of a little known fact about chocolate, lollies and sugar in general.

Rightfully so, the anti-sugar movement has gained significant momentum and awareness, however, for the majority of us guilty of sneaking in the odd block of chocolate or two, the odd quick ‘pick-me-up’ handful of lollies or the quick squirt of sugar containing soft drink throughout the day, we need to be reminded of a fact with sugar and dental decay. “It is not the quantity of sugar that you consume that is a problem, but the frequency of the exposure to sugar.”

That’s correct, you can eat a bucket load of sugar, a bucket load of lollies, or a bucket load of soft drink within two minutes, then chew sugar-less gum and the effects on your teeth will be minimal. The sugar won’t do your waistline or diabetes any good, but your teeth will be ok. That’s my two-minute rule!

It's probably fair to say – Sugar Sucks!

 

 

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Dental Health Week

Dental Health Week

This week August 4-10 is Dental Health Week and the Australian Dental Association (ADA) wants all parents and children to ask each other : “Who is the Sugar Bandit in our family?”

Often Grandparents, parents, and friends will reward good behaviour, offer a special treat, comfort or even bribe children with sugary treats. It’s ok we’ve all done it! Unfortunately, children who consume high sugary foods and drinks on a regular basis are at greater risk of dental decay as well as obesity and diabetes.

Every time we eat, the bacteria (dental plaque) in our mouth and the acid from the food provide an acid attack which over time will develop cavities in our teeth. The greater and more frequent the exposure to these sugars, the greater the acid attack, the more rapid the progression of dental decay.

We are all aware of the obvious sugary treats such as confectionery and soft drinks, however, we must also be aware of the ‘hidden sugars’. These sugary treats can be often be marketed as ‘healthy’ options – such as dried fruit, museli bars, biscuits and fruit juice which still contain an abundance of sugars. Certainly it is normal to occasionally indulge in the odd sugary treat, and best to consume at meal times when salivary flow is high. However, we must be aware of the frequent ‘grazing’ on sugars to avoid dental decay.

So go on, dob in your families’ sugar bandit for the sake of your kids oral health.

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