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Keep vibing for life by taming chronic inflammation

Keep vibing for life by taming chronic inflammation

As we age, our bodies subtly change. Aches and pains become more commonplace, our movements might lack their youthful spring, and our eyesight might even lose some clarity. But what if there is a way to slow down this process, to feel younger and more energetic for longer? The answer could lie in understanding and managing a hidden culprit: chronic inflammation.

What is inflammation?

Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting itself when something harmful happens, such as an injury, infection or irritation. It’s a biological alarm that goes off to signal that something’s wrong. When your body detects a threat, like bacteria, viruses or toxins, it sends out immune cells, like white blood cells, to fight the problem and help you heal.

When you notice signs of inflammation, like redness, swelling, heat, pain or difficulty moving the affected area, your first thought should be that this is your body’s way of showing that it’s working hard to heal you. However, when it is severe or persistent, then it can spell trouble.

While acute inflammation is a necessary and beneficial process that helps the body fight off infections and heal injuries, chronic inflammation can be harmful. Chronic inflammation occurs when inflammation sticks around for too long, often due to underlying health conditions such as autoimmune diseases, obesity or long-term exposure to irritants like pollution and cigarette smoke.

Keep vibing for life by taming chronic inflammation

The connection between inflammation and ageing

Inflammageing is a specific type of chronic, low-grade inflammation that develops with age. It’s different from the acute inflammation you experience with a cut or infection because it happens in the absence of any obvious cause.

Cellular decline

Persistent activation of the immune system damages healthy tissues instead of just fighting off invaders. One way this happens is through cellular senescence. Our cells naturally slow down as we age, but inflammageing can accelerate this process. These dysfunctional cells accumulate and hinder tissue repair, contributing to wrinkles, muscle weakness and organ decline.

Weakened immune system

The constant low-grade ‘slow-burning fire’ of inflammageing can confuse the immune system. It becomes less effective at fighting off actual infections and diseases, making seniors more susceptible to illness.

Organ damage

Continually elevated inflammation levels can damage vital organs like the heart, lungs and brain. This increased stress is a major risk factor for age-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s.

We’ve discussed how chronic inflammation is linked to ageing. Now, you might be surprised to learn how our oral health significantly impacts this process. Our mouths, especially when affected by periodontal (gum) disease, can become a breeding ground for inflammation.

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory condition. It affects the tissues supporting our teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligament (fibres connecting teeth to bone) and jawbone. When plaque and bacteria build up along the gumline, they trigger an immune response, leading to inflammation and tissue damage.

Left untreated, periodontal disease can progress, causing tooth loss and increasing the risk of systemic inflammation. Furthermore, the harmful bacteria from these oral infections aren’t confined to the mouth. They can enter the bloodstream, triggering inflammation throughout the body. This systemic inflammation can then exacerbate the ageing process and contribute to the development of other age-related conditions.

Keep vibing for life by taming chronic inflammation

Fight inflammation and stay younger with healthy habits

Thankfully, we can turn down the flames of inflammation and promote healthy ageing through mindful lifestyle choices.

Brush away bad bacteria: Excellent oral hygiene is your first line of defence. Brushing twice daily, flossing regularly and visiting your dentist keep your mouth healthy and inflammation at bay.

Move your body: Regular exercise is a potent anti-inflammatory weapon. Get your body moving and reap the benefits of improved overall health and reduced inflammation.

Stress less, live more: Chronic stress fuels the fire. Find healthy ways to manage stress, like yoga, meditation or spending time in nature. You’ll be amazed at how much better you feel!

Sleep and recharge: Aim for 7-8 hours of quality sleep each night. When you’re sleep-deprived, your body struggles to fight inflammation. Prioritise sleep for optimal health and a more energetic you.

Fuel your body right: Go for a whole-food, anti-inflammatory diet rich in fruits, vegetables and healthy fats (e.g., nuts & fish). Limit processed foods, sugar and unhealthy fats.

Keep vibing for life by taming chronic inflammation

You’re in control!

Inflammation is a natural part of ageing, but don’t give it the final say on how you experience your adulthood. Through smart lifestyle choices, prioritising oral health and collaborating with your healthcare team, you can help keep this internal fire stay under control and experience a healthier, more vibrant life, no matter your age.

Remember, gaining understanding is only your first step toward living your best life. Consult your dentist and doctor for personalised advice on managing inflammation and thriving with outstanding health.

A comprehensive guide to electric toothbrushes

A comprehensive guide to electric toothbrushes

A comprehensive guide to electric toothbrushes

Taking care of your teeth is essential—it keeps your smile looking great and helps you avoid toothaches and bad breath. Choosing the right toothbrush is a personal decision with a range of things to consider, including preferred style, budget and dentist recommendations. Electric toothbrushes are becoming popular because they provide an excellent clean and are easy to use, adding special high tech features that can make your daily routine more effective and fun!

What are electric toothbrushes?

Electric toothbrushes, also known as powered toothbrushes, are equipped with a motorised head that moves the bristles in a way that aids in efficient and effective teeth cleaning. Unlike traditional manual toothbrushes, these devices automate the brushing process, which can be especially advantageous for individuals seeking a more convenient and thorough oral care routine.

How do electric toothbrushes work?

Electric toothbrushes feature a motor inside the handle, which powers the movement of the bristle head. The bristle head may oscillate (move back and forth), rotate (spin in a circular motion), pulsate (move in and out) or employ sonic technology (vibrate at high speeds) to create a cleaning action. Combining these movements enhances plaque and bacteria removal from the teeth, leading to a more thorough cleaning process.

Different features of electric toothbrush

Electric toothbrushes are available in different types and offer a range of features to meet diverse oral care needs. Here are some common features to consider when choosing the right electric toothbrush:

  • Oscillating-rotating: These toothbrushes feature a round head that oscillates back and forth or rotates, delivering an effective plaque and debris removal action.
  • Sonic toothbrushes: Sonic toothbrushes utilise high-frequency vibrations to disrupt plaque and bacteria, providing a gentle yet thorough clean for your gums.
  • Timer/quadrant pacer: Many electric toothbrushes have built-in timers to ensure you brush for the recommended two minutes. Some models also include quadrant pacers, which help divide your brushing session into four equal parts, ensuring comprehensive coverage.
  • Range of cleaning modes: Some electric toothbrush models offer multiple cleaning modes, such as high speed, sensitivity or gum care. These options allow you to customise your brushing experience based on your specific needs.
  • Pressure sensors: Electric toothbrushes with pressure sensors will alert you if you’re applying excessive pressure while brushing, helping to protect your gums from potential damage.
  • Waterproof design: If you prefer multitasking or enjoy brushing your teeth in the shower, consider models with waterproof features for added convenience.
  • Charging methods: Electric toothbrushes can be charged in two ways: either inductively using a charging cradle or via USB. Choose the charging method that suits your preferences and lifestyle.
  • Rechargeable or disposable batteries: Decide between rechargeable toothbrush models for long-term value and sustainability or disposable ones if you prioritise travel convenience.
  • Travel case: If you’re a frequent traveller, opt for an electric toothbrush that includes a travel case to protect the brush head while on the go.
  • Type and size of brush head: Select a brush head that matches the size and shape of your teeth and mouth. Smaller brush heads are ideal for reaching tight or hard-to-access areas.
  • Bristle stiffness: Choose a bristle stiffness level that suits your personal sensitivity. Electric toothbrushes offer different options, ranging from soft to firm, ensuring a comfortable brushing experience for all users.
  • Smartphone connectivity: An increasing range of electric toothbrushes wirelessly connect with phones and tablets to augment whole-mouth cleaning with digital interactivity. Benefits vary by model but may include real time brushing technique tips, gamification and rewards to encourage good habits (especially great for young brushers) and curated oral health content to match your use profile.

Benefits of electric toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes provide many notable advantages when compared to manual toothbrushes, including:

Superior plaque removal: Scientific studies consistently demonstrate that electric toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque and preventing its buildup compared to manual brushes. The oscillating or vibrating motion of electric brushes, combined with their advanced bristle technology, can reach and clean areas that are often missed with manual brushing.

Reduced risk of tooth decay and gum disease: Electric toothbrushes are particularly effective in reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease due to their enhanced cleaning action. These devices remove plaque more effectively and reach areas that can be challenging to clean with manual brushes.

Improved overall oral health: Regular use of an electric toothbrush can lead to a range of benefits, including fresher breath, reduced gingivitis (gum inflammation) and less plaque buildup. These factors contribute to an overall improvement in your oral health.

Convenience and thoroughness: Electric toothbrushes are designed for ease of use and can efficiently cover all areas inside your mouth. Their built-in timers help you brush for the recommended two minutes, ensuring you give equal attention to all parts of your mouth. This convenience makes it more likely for users to maintain a consistent and thorough oral hygiene routine.

How to use an electric toothbrush

Here are some essential tips for using an electric toothbrush:

1. Brush your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day.

2. Use gentle circular motions, ensuring you cover all areas of your mouth.

3. Pay special attention to:

  • The gumline: Imagine a tiny gutter between each tooth and the gum, which harbours bacteria. Focus on cleaning this area thoroughly.
  • All surfaces of your teeth: This includes the surfaces that face each other, those facing away from each other, and any teeth with grooves or pits.

4. Explore your electric toothbrush’s different cleaning modes and intensity settings to find the best combination for you.

5. Aim to polish your teeth smooth by using gentle, precise strokes. Don’t rush, take your time and avoid harsh scrubbing. Remember, repetition is more effective than force.

6. According to the ADA’s advice, replace the brush head every three months.

7. Regularly clean the toothbrush handle and charger to prevent bacteria buildup.

How to use an electric toothbrush

Where can I buy electric toothbrushes?

If you’re considering an electric toothbrush and want to explore your options, you can find a range of models at online retailers. Here are some reputable stores to consider when purchasing an electric toothbrush:

Before making a purchase, consider comparing prices, reading customer reviews and checking the return policies on these sites to ensure you find the best option for your needs.

Common FAQs about electric toothbrushes

Which brush head is best for me?

When choosing a brush head, consider the sensitivity of your teeth. Soft bristle heads are an excellent choice for sensitive gums and teeth. Additionally, you can find medium and firm brush heads to suit your individual preferences and oral health needs.

How often should I replace the brush head?

The ADA recommends replacing the brush head every 3 months; however, if you have ongoing orthodontic treatment, you may need to replace the brush head more frequently, roughly every 6 to 8 weeks. This ensures that the bristles remain effective and won’t harbour harmful bacteria, which is particularly important when undergoing orthodontic treatment.

How do I clean my electric toothbrush?

Rinse the brush head after each use, detach the head and rinse it again, tap off excess water, and dry the handle in an upright position.

How do I brush braces with an electric toothbrush?

When brushing braces with a sonic or oscillating electric toothbrush, ensure the bristles surround the brackets, but always be careful. Excessive pressure can damage the brackets. Slowing down and brushing each tooth individually is best, ensuring a sparkling smile without harming your braces.

Can you clean your tongue with an electric toothbrush?

Cleaning your tongue with an electric toothbrush is similar to using a manual one. Many brushes offer a gum care or massage mode ideal for tongue cleaning. Depending on the style of your electric brush, brushing with small concentric circles might be more comfortable. Be sure to cover your entire tongue and rinse afterwards.

Can electric toothbrushes cause gum recession?

Using an electric toothbrush correctly is crucial to avoid causing harm to your gums. Applying excessive force during brushing can lead to gum recession, creating more space for harmful bacteria to reach the bone below. It’s essential to be gentle when using an electric toothbrush. If you frequently replace your toothbrush head (more than once every three months), it’s a sign that you may need to ease up.

Can kids use electric toothbrushes?

When children start taking responsibility for brushing their teeth, a manual toothbrush may be a better choice, as it is lighter and easier to control. However, as children grow older, an electric toothbrush designed especially for kids might be a more suitable option. These toothbrushes are easier for children to handle, and their built-in features and app connectivity can help them correctly time their brushing sessions and encourage good oral hygiene habits. Plus, many children find electric toothbrushes more engaging and enjoyable, especially the digital features of smartphone and tablet connected options.

Maintain diligent oral care

Maintain diligent oral care

Electric toothbrushes offer a convenient and effective way to maintain your oral health. The choice between manual and electric toothbrushes depends on personal preference and individual needs. Regardless of the type you choose, consistent brushing, good oral hygiene practices and regular dental visits are key to a healthy smile.

Should I add a water flosser to my oral care routine?

Should I add a water flosser to my oral care routine?

A healthy, radiant smile begins with meticulous oral hygiene. For generations, string floss has been an essential part of keeping our teeth and gums in top condition. However, traditional flossing may not be the most comfortable option for everyone. With a water flosser, you can enjoy a gentle stream of water that effortlessly cleans between your teeth and along the gumline. It is a convenient supplementary tool, particularly useful for hard-to-reach areas between teeth.

Water Floss

Photo by Oral-B Aquacare 4 Irrigator

What is a water flosser?

A water flosser, or oral irrigator, is an electric device designed to clean between your teeth and along the gumline. It uses a stream of pressurised water to remove food particles and plaque, providing a gentle and effective way to maintain oral health.

How does it work?

Water flossers work by ejecting a controlled stream of water through a nozzle or tip. This targeted stream of water cleans the spaces between your teeth and gums, effectively dislodging debris and bacteria. You can adjust the water pressure to your comfort, making it suitable for different individuals.

What are the common types of water flossers?

Water flossers are available in different types, each offering unique features and advantages. Here are the common types of water flossers:

  • Countertop water flossers: These are the most common and powerful type of water flosser. They are designed to sit on your bathroom countertop and connect to a power source. Countertop models typically have larger water reservoirs and provide a strong, consistent water stream. They are suitable for home use and offer various pressure settings.
  • Cordless water flossers: Cordless models are more portable and convenient for travel. They have a smaller water reservoir, making them compact and easy to carry. Rechargeable batteries power cordless water flossers, eliminating the need for connection to an electrical outlet. While they may have slightly less water pressure than countertop models, they are still effective for daily use.
  • Faucet water flossers: Some water flossers can attach directly to your bathroom sink faucet. These models use the faucet’s water pressure to create a water stream, eliminating the need for a separate water reservoir. Faucet water flossers are a space-saving option and can be convenient for those with limited counter space.
  • Shower water flossers: Similar to faucet water flossers, these models attach to your showerhead and use the shower’s water supply. They can be a practical choice for individuals who prefer to floss while showering, as they save time and water.
  • Combination water flossers: Some oral care devices combine the functionality of a water flosser with a toothbrush or tongue cleaner. These combination devices offer a comprehensive oral care solution, allowing you to clean your whole mouth effectively with one device.

When choosing a water flosser, consider your specific needs and preferences, such as portability, water pressure settings and available space in your bathroom.

Benefits of using a water flosser

Compared with traditional string floss, water flossers offer a range of unique advantages that can significantly improve your oral care routine. Here are some of the benefits:

Photo by Waterpik Complete Care 5.0 WHITE
  • Effective plaque removal: Water flossers can effectively remove plaque from teeth and gums, reducing the risk of gum disease and cavities.
  • Gentle on gums: Water flossers are gentler on your gums, making them a suitable option for people with sensitive gums or those who find traditional flossing uncomfortable.
  • Improved gum health: Water flossing can help reduce gum inflammation and promote healthier gums.
  • Convenience: Water flossers are easy to use and can reach tight spaces, making them an ideal choice for those with orthodontic appliances or dental implants.
  • Enhanced Compliance: Water flossers encourage greater consistency in daily oral care routines due to their gentle, comfortable usage.

How to use a water flosser appliance

  1. Fill the reservoir with lukewarm water or an antimicrobial mouthwash, following the manufacturer’s instructions.
  2. Adjust the water pressure to your comfort level. Begin with a lower setting if you’re new to water flossing.
  3. Lean over the sink and place the tip in your mouth. Close your lips to prevent splashing.
  4. Aim the tip between your teeth and along the gumline. Start with your back teeth and work your way forward, spending a few seconds on each tooth.
  5. Allow the water to flow between your teeth and gums. Be sure to cover all areas.
  6. Once finished, turn off the water flosser and rinse your mouth and the device.
  7. Clean the tip and let it air dry. Empty any remaining water from the reservoir.

    Photo by Philips Sonicare Cordless Power Flosser 3000 Oral Irrigator

    Where can I buy water flossers?

    If you’re considering a water flosser and want to experience its benefits, you can find a range of options at trusted retailers. Here are some reputable online stores to explore for your water flosser needs:

    big w
    harvey norman
    chemist warehouse
    david jones
    shaver shop

    Be sure to compare options, read product reviews and check for ongoing promotions to make the most informed decision for your oral care needs. Keep in mind that the variety of water flosser models available may vary across these retailers, so get familiar with the market by shopping around before you commit to a purchase.

    Frequently asked questions

    What are the key differences between water flossing and traditional flossing?

    Water flossing uses a stream of water to clean between teeth and along the gumline, while traditional floss involves a string or dental tape. Water flossers are generally more comfortable and convenient for many users compared to traditional floss.

    Is a water flosser a replacement for string floss?

    Water flossers can complement your oral hygiene routine, but can’t fully replace string floss. While water flossers are good at cleaning between teeth and gums, string floss is better at scraping away plaque from teeth. Dentists often recommend using both methods together for the best oral care.

    Can water flossers help prevent gum disease?

    Yes, water flossers can effectively reduce the risk of gum disease. They clean below the gumline, targeting areas where bacteria can accumulate and lead to gum inflammation. Regular use can contribute to healthier gums.

    Are water flossers suitable for individuals with a history of gum disease?

    Yes, water flossers are often recommended for individuals with gum disease. They can help clean deep gum pockets, reducing the risk of further infection and promoting gum health.

    Can using the wrong water flosser pressure hurt my gums?

    Yes, using too much pressure can harm your gums. Adjust it to a comfortable level to avoid irritation or damage. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and consult your dentist if unsure.

    Can I use a water flosser if I have dental implants?

    Yes, water flossers are an excellent choice for individuals with dental implants. They can help maintain oral hygiene around the implant area, reducing the risk of infection or inflammation.

    Are water flossers suitable for individuals with braces?

    Yes, water flossers are an excellent choice for people with braces. They can easily clean around orthodontic appliances, ensuring efficient removal of food particles and plaque. Some water flossers also come with orthodontic tips designed for braces.

    Are water flossers suitable for individuals with sensitive gums?

    Yes, water flossers are often gentler on sensitive gums than traditional floss. They can be adjusted to a comfortable pressure level, making them a suitable choice for those with gum sensitivity.

    Can water flossing alleviate gum sensitivity?

    With consistent use, water flossing can help reduce gum inflammation, leading to improved gum health. However, if you have severe gum issues, consult with a dentist for a personalised treatment plan.

    How do water flossers remove plaque?

    Water flossers use a high-pressure stream of water to dislodge plaque from teeth and gums. The water pressure and pulsations target plaque, bacteria and food particles, flushing them away effectively.

    Are water flossers as effective as traditional floss in removing plaque?

    Water flossers are often considered equally effective or even superior to traditional floss in removing plaque. They can reach areas that are difficult to access with string floss, contributing to comprehensive plaque removal.

    Can children use water flossers?

    Water flossers are also available in age-appropriate models, safe for children. It’s essential to supervise children during use and ensure they understand the proper technique to avoid any discomfort.

    At what age can children start using water flossers?

    Most children can start using water flossers under parental supervision around the age of six or when they can understand and follow instructions. Consult with a paediatric dentist for personalised recommendations.

    Can water flossers be shared among family members?

    It’s generally recommended that water flossers should be used by one person to avoid any risk of cross-contamination. However, if you choose to share the water flosser among family members, it is crucial to use separate nozzle tips for each individual. Nozzle tips are replaceable and should be switched out between users to maintain proper hygiene and prevent the potential transfer of bacteria.

    Make the wise choice for your oral health

    Incorporating a water flosser into your daily oral care routine can be a smart choice for your oral health. Especially if you have sensitive gums, dental implants, braces or find traditional string flossing difficult. A water flosser is effective in preventing plaque buildup and is much easier to use.

    Understanding its benefits and using it correctly can lead to a healthier, brighter smile. Excellent oral health depends on consistent and effective care, and a water flosser can be a helpful extra tool in achieving that. Chat with your dentist next time you get your routine checkup to see what kind of water and traditional flossing routine they recommend to optimise your oral health.

    Simple ways to help mothers improve oral health and avoid chronic diseases

    Simple ways to help mothers improve oral health and avoid chronic diseases

    Mothers are often the cornerstone of their families, providing care, support and love. However, due to age and pressures of life, many mothers are at risk of chronic diseases. These conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer, can significantly impact their health, happiness and ability to fulfil their multitude of roles. Fortunately, many can be prevented or managed through healthy lifestyle choices, regular medical check-ups and early intervention.

    Maintaining good oral health is essential for overall health, as poor oral hygiene can be a contributing factor in the development of chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke and respiratory infections. In this blog, we will explore the role of oral health in overall health, and provide simple tips to help mothers improve their oral health to reduce their likelihood of suffering from chronic diseases.

    Common chronic diseases and oral health

    Oral health as a contributing factor to the development of chronic diseases is an ongoing area of study which we keenly follow. Our steadfast goal in educating our patients about this serious matter is ensuring their life-long health and quality of life. When our patients get into their motherhood years, they may be at greater risk of some of these common chronic diseases which can have a relationship with oral health.

    • Diabetes is a condition where the body cannot regulate blood sugar levels, leading to health problems. The immune response associated with gum disease can consume so much of the body’s endocrine supply that there is not enough remaining for insulin production, which is used in blood sugar regulation.
    • Heart disease is a group of conditions that affect the heart, including coronary artery disease, heart attack and heart failure. The link between oral health and heart disease is multifactorial, with a one factor being that oral pathogens can enter the bloodstream through gum infection. Once in the blood, bacteria and viruses travel throughout the cardiovascular system and may trigger the release of large white blood cells. These large white blood cells can become lodged in small blood vessels, especially in the heart. Other components of blood, including cholesterol, then join the traffic jam which forms atherosclerotic plaque. This blocks the supply of oxygen and nutrients and, in the case of the heart, can lead to heart disease.
    • Cancer is a disease where abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, often leading to tumours and other health problems. Dental infections can contribute to this condition by releasing bacterial toxins which can damage DNA and through triggering an immune response that causes systemic inflammation. Both of these can promote the growth of cancer cells.
    • Mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety can significantly impact a mother’s quality of life. These may be partially attributed to brain inflammation, chronic pain, lack of sleep and degraded self-confidence resulting from poor oral health. Since the brain inflammation factor is rarely considered, it is worth explaining. Inflammation of the brain can be caused by the inflammatory response that chronic gum disease can trigger throughout the body. Long-term brain inflammation can negatively impact mental health.

    Good oral health is a critical aspect of overall health, as it can reduce your risk of chronic diseases. Neglecting oral health can strain our immune systems, adversely affecting our overall health. Mothers often put the needs of others before themselves, which increases their risk of developing poor oral health that can lead to feelings of fatigue, illness and an increased risk of chronic diseases. Therefore, we need to recognise the need for mothers to prioritise oral health to ensure their overall health, happiness and well-being.

    Common chronic dental diseases

    Keeping in mind the impact of poor oral health on chronic disease, we need to also consider common chronic oral health problems. These can be mitigated by good oral hygiene and lifestyle choices, which in turn may reduce the incidence of other chronic diseases.

    • Tooth decay is a condition where the outer layer of the tooth, called enamel, is damaged by acid produced by bacteria in the mouth. This can cause pain, sensitivity and infection if left untreated. It can also become a factor contributing to chronic diseases.
    • Gum disease is a condition where bacteria builds up in the gums, leading to inflammation, swelling and bleeding. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and other serious health problems if left untreated.
    • Oral cancer is a type of cancer that can occur in any part of the mouth, including the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat. If left untreated, oral cancer can lead to serious health problems, including difficulty speaking, swallowing or breathing.

    Risk factors for chronic dental diseases

    • Poor dental hygiene can include inadequate brushing, flossing and dental check-ups. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria in the mouth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
    • Unhealthy diets are typically high in sugar and processed foods. These can contribute to tooth decay, as the sugar fuels bacteria in the mouth to produce acid that erodes tooth enamel.
    • Vaping or smoking can delay healing after dental procedures and increase the risk of gum disease and oral cancer.
    • Excessive alcohol consumption can dry out the mouth, reducing saliva flow and increasing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
    • Certain medical conditions, as well as certain health conditions such as diabetes, can affect dental health by reducing the body’s ability to fight infection and heal properly.

    How can mothers prevent chronic diseases?

    Preventing chronic diseases, especially when you are a mother, requires a multi-faceted approach. It includes healthy lifestyle habits, regular health screenings and check-ups, stress management and mental health support. Here are some methods that can help prevent chronic diseases:

    Healthy lifestyle habits

    A balanced diet, regular exercise and avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking and excessive alcohol consumption are crucial for preventing chronic diseases. A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats can help maintain a healthy weight, regulate blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

    Regular health screenings and check-ups

    Regular health screenings and check-ups can help detect and manage chronic diseases early. Women should schedule regular appointments with their healthcare provider, which may include oral exams, blood pressure checks, blood glucose tests, cholesterol tests and mammograms.

    Regular dental check-ups can help identify and treat early signs of dental issues, such as gum disease and tooth decay, before they become chronic. Your dentist can also advise on maintaining good dental hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing. Your dentist may recommend preventive measures, such as fluoride treatments, dental sealants or night guards if necessary.

    Stress management and mental health support

    Chronic stress can contribute to developing chronic diseases such as heart disease, depression and anxiety. Stress management techniques such as meditation, yoga and deep breathing can help reduce stress levels. Seeking support from friends, family or a mental health professional can also be beneficial for managing stress and maintaining mental health.

    Healthy mouths and happy mothers

    At Leeming Dental, we want to empower mothers in their journey towards optimal health. When mothers improve their health and reduce their risk of chronic diseases, they may find it easier to fulfil their multiple roles with vitality and happiness. This is hard to do alone, so it is essential that they and those around them prioritise the simple steps needed to improve oral health. Remember, maintaining good oral hygiene, making healthy lifestyle choices and seeking regular medical and dental check-ups are key to maintaining great health and preventing chronic diseases.

    How does the oral mucosa protect you from viruses and bacteria?

    How does the oral mucosa protect you from viruses and bacteria?

    What is the mucous membrane?

    The mucous membrane is a moist mucosal layer that lines cavities within the body. In fact, the mucous membrane extends throughout the body and protects all internal surfaces that are exposed to air, microbes and foreign matter (i.e. dust, food & beverages). These areas include the respiratory, digestive and reproductive tracts.

    This viscous lining is kept permanently moist by goblet cells that store and secrete mucins. These mucins form the protective mucous layer known as the mucous membrane.

    What is the oral mucosa?

    The oral mucosa, also called the oral mucous membrane, is the mucous membrane that lines the oral cavity specifically. This includes the mouth, tongue, inner cheeks, nasal passages and pharynx.

    The essential ‘barrier’ immunity function of the oral mucosa

    The oral mucosa has a number of protective functions. For example, it protects soft tissues from the mechanical forces of contraction, expansion and shearing when you talk, chew and swallow. It also contains receptors with sensory functions (e.g. the tongue mucosa contains taste buds).

    However, the most essential protective function of the oral mucosa is that it acts as your body’s first line of immune defence against oral pathogens and viruses.

    Your oral mucosal immune system functions as a barrier or ‘wall’ that separates oral bacteria and viruses from underlying soft tissue (or the serous membrane) thereby preventing infection, bacterial pathogenesis and disease.

    Keep your oral mucosa moist through adequate hydration

    If you’re thirsty and your lips are dry, there’s a good chance your oral mucosa is too. Keep your oral mucosa moist by drinking adequate amounts of water to maintain hydration.

    Best cleaning tools to remove plaque in infants & toddlers (3 months-3 years)

    Best cleaning tools to remove plaque in infants & toddlers (3 months-3 years)

    You might think that removing plaque happens automatically with brushing their teeth. But not all parents clean their child’s teeth and gums in equal measure. Some opt for a quick light brush and miss the hidden plaque behind teeth. Other more scrupulous parents ensure that 100% of tooth and gum surfaces are thoroughly cleaned with the right cleaning tools – and inspected for missed plaque with a dental mirror! Not surprisingly, it’s the latter group that that has the right attitude towards brushing their child’s teeth – it’s all about removing bacterial plaque every time, wherever it may be in the mouth.

    Oral cleaning tools for infant teeth and gums 3-12 months old

    Starting oral care for your infant can begin well before their first teeth appear. When your child turns 3 months old, you can gently wipe their gum surfaces with a clean, moist pad, finger gauze or cotton-gauze baby oral cleaner swabs – in the mornings and evenings. Gum care, especially along the gum line where primary teeth are emerging, keeps gums clean and healthy. Check other oral surfaces behind the lips, between the inner cheeks and gums. You’d be surprised by what you can find. Infant tongues need cleaning too with a baby tongue cleaner. Give them a quick sip of some water to wash away dislodged plaque and food residue still remaining in the mouth after you’ve completed cleaning. Drinking lots of water during the day keeps their mouths clean too.

    When the first teeth pop up, start using a soft, infant toothbrush or silicone finger toothbrush with water to clean them. You can purchase a wide range of age-specific infant teeth & gum cleaning products from your supermarket or chemist. If your child resists a toothbrush at first, make a slower transition and continue using the moist pad or gauze technique to wipe clean 100% of the surfaces of each individual tooth. Don’t miss their gum line and make it fun with song and games. Your child will look forward to brushing their daily oral care and hygiene routine.

    Oral cleaning tools for toddlers teeth and gums 1-3 years old

    Toddlers need to have their teeth cleaned twice daily – morning and night – just like everyone else. And they will need your help and supervision while they’re doing it. They’ll be using a toothbrush with water until they reach 18 months after which they brush with a small dab of low-fluoride toothpaste. Focus on cleaning each tooth with 360 degree coverage of tooth surfaces. Young toddlers probably won’t spit or rinse when told, so gently wipe away excess toothpaste residue, but leave a thin smear on teeth for its fluoride benefits. By about the age of 2, your toddler should be able to hold the brush while you their hand and guide it in all the right brushing angles and motions.

    Stand in front of the bathroom mirror so you can both see into their mouth. You can try cupping their chin for better stability. In effect, you are being a puppeteer and controlling their movements while they get to hold the toothbrush. Angle bristles appropriately to remove plaque from the front, back and between the teeth. To remove plaque build-up from the gum line, angle bristles towards this area and brush in an expanding circular motion to incrementally “shave” off plaque. Make sure you ease the toothbrush off a little when it comes in contact with gum tissue, so as not to cause irritation. Let them hold the tongue cleaner while you guide their hand movements and start teaching them to spit.

    New dental technology can benefit toddlers once they’ve got the hang of manual brushing. Infant electric toothbrushes with timers are very effective cleaning tools but a toddler has to unlearn their manual brushing technique to use them. Electric toothbrush are held in a stationary position and moved across each tooth – tooth by tooth. Always store their toothbrush away from other brushes and allow to air dry. Cross bacterial contamination with older family member’s toothbrushes can introduce new bacterial species into your child’s oral cavity. Replace brush or brush heads every 3-4 months.