Category Archives: Dental Care

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Stop touching your face during the coronavirus outbreak

Not touching your face to avoid the coronavirus or COVID-19 may seem like a trivial precautionary measure to take compared to washing your hands and wearing a mask. However, by taking this action, you are avoiding one of the main transmission mechanisms that the coronavirus utilises to get into your body – hand to face.

COVID-19 – the hand to face transmission process

This transmission model is as basic as it gets. Infected people deposit viruses (and bacteria) on public surfaces, and then those that touch the same contaminated surfaces afterwards, transfer the germs to their fingers and then their eyes, nose or mouth, thus complete the transmission process.

You can acquire up to 50% of microorganisms from a contaminated surface through one touch alone. To add to the risk, germs living on contaminated surfaces can live for several hours if not days. Compared to infection via inhaling infected water droplets in this scenario, the risk may be far greater.

Physical vs airborne transmission of the coronavirus

You would need to be in close proximity (5 metres or less) to an infected person to catch the virus through the air. Once they have moved on though, the airborne risk greatly diminishes. However, the transmission risk from that individual may still remain.

That’s because if the infected person has touched any hard surfaces, the coronavirus can still survive for long periods. Touching any of those surfaces in the meantime and then touching your face may still present an infection risk even though the infected party has long gone.

Face touching – a hard habit to break to avoid the coronavirus

Not touching your face is not as easy as it sounds. It is one of the most common subconscious habits people have, and it can be an extremely hard habit to break. Studies have shown that we can touch our faces hundreds if not thousands of times per day.

The problem is so significant that the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other disease and prevention organisations are begging people to stop touching their faces with unwashed hands.

Tedro Ghebreyesus, the director general of the WHO has stated that “Touching your face after touching contaminated surfaces or sick people is one of the ways the #coronavirus can be transmitted.” So when you are out and about during the coronavirus pandemic, don’t forget to keep your hands away from your face at all times!

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Vitamin K2 – the miracle vitamin for good teeth and bones

Most people are familiar with the important roles calcium and Vitamin D play in developing and maintaining healthy teeth and bones. That’s why we are advised to consume foods and drinks that are high in calcium in our diets. We also need Vitamin D from sunlight or supplements to aid in the absorption of calcium in our intestines and the maintenance of calcium levels in our bodies.

Is your calcium going into your teeth and bones?

However the buck doesn’t stop with calcium and Vitamin D. Just because you consume both of these nutrients, doesn’t guarantee that you’ll have strong teeth and bones. In fact, if you have high levels of calcium into your bloodstream, it may end up circulating aimlessly until it gets deposited in your joints, arterial walls and even your heart tissue. In time, you increase your risk for arthritic issues, calcified arteries (aortic calcification), cardiovascular disease and what you wanted to prevent in the first place – weak teeth and bones!

Vitamin D needs Vitamin K2’s help to direct calcium to the right places

Vitamin K2 is a little known fat-soluble vitamin that is essential for strong teeth and bones. Vitamin K2 is actually a type of protein that works along with Vitamin D to move calcium out of soft tissue and your bloodstream, and into your teeth and bones. If you have a Vitamin K2 deficiency, you may start to experience the health complications mentioned above.

Other health benefits of Vitamin K2

Additionally, Vitamin K2 can also help prevent calculus from forming on outside your upper molars and behind your bottom front teeth as a result of high levels of calcium in your saliva. Calculus tends to form in these specific areas because they are right next to saliva glands in your cheeks and under your tongue.

Vitamin K2 has also been linked to better brain health, kidney health, cancer prevention and blood sugar level stabilisation.


Foods high in Vitamin K2

You can get adequate levels of Vitamin K2 if you consume regular servings of the following high K2 foods as part of a nutrient-dense whole food diet:

  • Organic grass-fed butter
  • Organic unhomogenised grass-fed full cream milk
  • Organic grass-fed meats
  • Vintage cheddar cheese – aged over 18 months and depends on cheese culture
  • Fatty fish including cold water (North Atlantic) wild caught salmon, sardines and mackerel
  • Naturally-rich free range egg yolks
  • Goose liver
  • Fermented soy natto – a Japanese food product


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Christmas tooth cavities

7 essential tips to avoid getting a cavity this Xmas

Although tooth cavities are commonplace, they are nothing to ignore.  No one really wants a cavity yet half of Australia’s population live with untreated cavities. A large tooth cavity may be the end of the road for a tooth, unless it receives major restorative dental work.  Treat your teeth with a little more care and attention, and you’ll keep them for life.

By following the following tips over the Xmas period (and for the rest of the year!), you can reduce your risk of getting cavities and avoiding further oral complications:

  • Brush the hard- to-reach areas of your teeth. Most people typically clean the tooth surfaces they can see in the mirror, and fail on the areas that are out of sight or reach. Pay more attention to cleaning the back of your molars, in-between your teeth and the pits and grooves on top of your molars.
  • Avoid consuming sweet, sticky foods and drinks for long periods. If you’ve ever spilled some soft drink on the floor, you’d have noticed that after it dries, it’s really sticky. The same thing happens on your teeth and it’s not easily rinsed away by saliva, especially if it settles in a groove or crevice. If you really have to consume sweet foods and drinks, do so in a short space of time and resist the temptation of sipping or munching for extended periods)
  • Rinse your mouth out with water after snacking on refined carbohydrates or sweets. Otherwise, your teeth will be coated continuously in a sticky residue that bad oral bacteria love. It doesn’t take long for plaque to develop. Light brushing is beneficial after half an hour.
  • Ensure you have fluoride in your toothpaste. Fluoride is an essential part of your tooth enamel which is your tooth’s protective layer. Other sources of fluoride include fluoride mouth wash, fluoride dental treatment and drinking tap water.
  • Ensure your mouth is adequately hydrated. If it’s a hot day and you notice your lips are dry, then it’s a good bet that your oral cavity is getting dry also. Bad oral bacteria love a dry mouth because they can remain undisturbed and develop fast in these warm, slightly moist conditions.
  • Visit your dentist for a check-up and professional clean regularly. If you have missed any hidden plaque, your dentist won’t. They make sure it’s 100% removed and can polish your tooth surfaces, making it harder for plaque to reform temporarily.
  • Consume foods and drinks that benefit the health of your teeth. That includes most low-sugar fruits and vegetables with a lot of fibre to help “scrub” your teeth clean naturally. These foods can also balance your oral micro-biome with more good oral bacteria and less of the bad type. Other foods and drinks that have orally protective effects include cheese and green tea.

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Are dental caries and cavities the same thing?

Yes and no. Caries and cavities are often referred to as the same thing in oral health related articles and information, but there is a fundamental difference between the two terms. To further add to the confusion, tooth decay is often used alongside caries as separate terms to describe the process of bacterial damage to teeth, when in fact they are the same thing! How could three basic terms for a common oral condition get mixed up like this?

Well, to clear the air, let’s take a closer look at all three terms.

Tooth decay is the common term for dental caries

That’s right. Tooth decay is a commonly used layman term to describe the bacterial or infectious disease process that damages a tooth. The only difference between the two terms is that dental caries is the dental (or medical) term used to describe the very same process. Another difference is that tooth decay is the uncountable term (like “money”) whereas caries is the countable term (like “dollars”).

Dental caries (or tooth decay) ultimately develop into cavities

As acidic by-products from bacteria continue to break down tooth enamel, eventually caries extend closer to the dentin or inner tooth layer. Up until this point, the acid has slowly penetrated tooth enamel because it’s the hardest material in the human body. However, bacterial acid is quite corrosive and eventually, it manages to penetrate all the way through tiny holes in enamel to the dentin or inner tooth.

That’s when things take a turn for the worse.

With its hard protective enamel layer damaged or gone, dentin is exposed and vulnerable to bacterial infection and acid by-products. That’s because dentin is a softer, less mineralised material than enamel. Bacterial acid has no trouble breaking down dentin and does so a lot faster. So fast, in fact, that this accelerated process causes cavitation in the inner tooth. This continues to mushroom out until a “cave-like” cavity is formed.

At this point, tooth decay (or caries) becomes cavities (or deep caries).


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What is the main cause of bad breath?

The main cause of chronic bad breath is tongue bacteria in the mouth. While there are a range of oral conditions that can potentially cause bad breath (halitosis), it is a certain species of tongue bacteria that is responsible for between 80 to 90 percent of all normal cases of oral-related bad breath. The tongue bacteria in question – identified by American researchers in 2008 – go by the name of Solobacterium moorei, or S. moorei, in short.

American researchers found this bug present in 100% of their test subjects suffering from halitosis, while only 14% of those tested without bad breath were infected with S. moorei. However, it is interesting to note that all people in the latter group were experiencing periodontitis (gum disease).

So, let’s stop for a second and consider the implications of this information. The bottom line is this – no matter how thorough you are with brushing and flossing your teeth, your bad breath probably won’t go away unless you clean your tongue regularly as well.

What part of the tongue has the largest quantities of bacteria?

The part of the tongue that contains the vast majority of naturally and unnaturally occurring bacteria is located between the top dorsal and posterior dorsum of your tongue. In plain English, this area ranges from the top to the back of your tongue which is often left undisturbed by normal eating and cleaning activity.

As such, bacteria thrive within this bio-film habitat which is made up of food residue and other organic matter. As the breakdown of bacteria and organic matter occurs, odorous volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) are produced – known otherwise as bad breath.


Does tongue cleaning help reduce odours?

According to German researchers, cleaning your tongue reduces foul odours emanating from tongue coatings or bio-films. The results in the German study showed that tongue cleaners reduced VSC levels by 42%, tongue scrappers by 40% and toothbrushes by 33%.

The researchers also found that a combination of using all three tongue cleaning techniques yielded slightly better overall results. However, whether the subjects of the study actually cleaned the right part of the tongue (i.e. between the top dorsal & posterior dorsum) was not stated in the testing methods of the study.


Haraszthy, Violet & Gerber, D & Clark, B & Moses, P & Parker, C & Sreenivasan, P & Zambon, Joseph. (2015). Characterization and prevalence of Solobacterium moorei associated with oral halitosis, from

Seemann, R., Kison, A., Bizhang, M., & Zimmer, S. (2001). Effectiveness of mechanical tongue cleaning on oral levels of volatile sulfur compounds. The Journal of the American Dental Association132(9), 1263–1267. doi: 10.14219/jada.archive.2001.0369, from

Wikipedia contributors. (2019, September 13). Bad breath. In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 07:03, October 22, 2019, from

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The benefits of teeth straightening for teens


One of the main themes of Dental Health Week 2019 is the importance of maintaining your oral health. This includes keeping good oral hygiene, eating a healthy diet and visiting your dentist for regular checkups.

Malocclusion of the teeth is also an oral health issue

In addition to these key messages, there are other oral issues that need to be considered to ensure good oral health. One of these issues that may affect a developing child, teen or even adult is malocclusion. Malocclusion is an oral condition where there is a misalignment of the top and bottom rows of teeth when they meet – as the jaws close.

There are a range of malocclusion conditions including: crowded teeth, over bites, under bites, cross bites and open bites.

Malocclusion can lead to a number of oral health complications including:

  • changes in the shape and appearance of the face,
  • wear and tear from night-time teeth grinding and/or daytime clenching,
  • tooth & jaw pain,
  • stress on jaw joints, and
  • discomfort when chewing or biting.

The benefits of realignment or teeth straightening:

  1. Better appearance and a straighter, more balanced smile to increase self-esteem
  2. Easier cleaning, care and maintenance of teeth and gums
  3. Eat better and more comfortably with correct chewing and biting action
  4. Less stress, wear, tear and damage on teeth and jaw joints
  5. Avoid jaw strain and pain with correct jaw alignment
  6. Less vulnerability to bacterial infections of tooth root tips

Do you need to straighten up?

A quick look will tell you if you or your child’s teeth need teeth straightening. However, consulting with your dentist is the best way to determine if you or your child would benefit from teeth straightening. Your dentist can conduct a full diagnostic assessment and recommend an orthodontic treatment option to straighten your child’s teeth.

Teeth straightening treatment options:

  • Metal braces
  • Ceramic braces
  • Lingual (inside) braces
  • Clear aligners, such as Invisalign
  • Removable plates

Choice Dental have a range of treatment options when it comes to straightening teeth. To find out if you can benefit from straightening your teeth, book a consultation with our specialist orthodontist.

Call our helpful reception on 07 3809 3320 to book or find out more.

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Does fruit juice cause tooth decay in kids?

No. Fortunately, real 100% fruit juice doesn’t cause tooth decay – despite growing suspicion to the contrary. Some people even believe that drinking juice is as bad for your teeth as having a soft drink. However, there is clinical evidence that strongly suggests children who drink real 100% fruit juice do not experience any tooth decay as a result.

The problem is the “fake” fruit juice products out there that are starting to give real 100% fruit juice a bad name and reputation.

The research that proves it

A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2014 collected data from 2,290 preschool children following a dental checkup in the United States, between the years 1999 and 2004. The children were aged 2 to 5, and drank between 118ml and 177ml of fruit juice in the previous 24 hours before a checkup. Environmental factors, such as their socio-economic background, were also taken into consideration.

The results of the US study showed that there was no link between children who drank 100% fruit juice and signs of tooth decay & early childhood caries (ECC). The US researchers recommended consumption should be limited to between 118ml and 177ml, and for that guideline to taught to preschool within their general health education.


Beware of the 100% fruit juice imitators!

The “100% fruit juice”, which the US researchers referred to, means juice made directly from fruit, as opposed to a fruit juice product. The latter are basically water with added powdered fruit concentrates, high levels of sugar, preservatives and/or other ingredients. Unfortunately, these “fruit juice” products are easily mistaken for real 100% fruit juice by consumers via misleading labelling. A variety of misnomers are used with the intention of fooling consumers into thinking that they are buying 100% fruit juice – when in fact, they are just buying water with acidic additives that actually cause tooth decay & erosion in kids.

Misnomers to watch out for include “fresh”, “pure”, “natural” and “enriched with Vitamin C”, to name a few. However, some fruit juice product labels take it one step further, blatantly claiming the product contains 100% fruit juice, when in fact it is made from concentrates.

So next time you buy 100% fruit juice, don’t forget to check the ingredients list! Better still, avoid the fake juice minefield at the supermarket, and simply make the freshest 100% fruit juice for your kids – right there in your own kitchen.


1. J ADA Continuing Education: Early childhood caries and intake of 100 percent fruit juice: Data from NHANES, 1999-2004., Clemencia M. Vargas, Bruce A. Dye, Catherine R. Kolasny, Dennis W. Buckman, Timothy S. McNeel, Norman Tinanoff, Teresa A. Marshall, and Steven M. Levy., JADA December 2014 145(12): 1254-1261; doi:10.14219/jada.2014.95

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Dental Emergencies for kids 3-10 yrs

First Aid for children with minor mouth injuries

Minor mouth injuries in young children – such as small cuts and splits – are quite common because most kids just end up tripping over or running into something sooner or later! That’s when they’ll split their lip in a collision or accidently bite their tongue hard enough to induce significant bleeding – well enough to make you feel faint anyway!

However, parents shouldn’t be daunted or distracted by the sight of blood – kids do tend to bleed very easily from the tiniest of cuts. What’s more important is to look past the blood to work out where the bleeding is actually coming from – and then stopping it.

Most of the time, children experience only minor mouth injuries that can be easily treated with some basic First Aid steps – and a little recovery time.

Step 1 – Reduce or stop the bleeding

The first step and main priority of basic First Aid in this type of injury is to reduce or stop the bleeding. To do so, locate the source of the bleeding, such as an external cut, and apply gentle pressure on the wound with a clean cloth for at least 10 min if possible. Clean the injury site with cool water, apply an antiseptic and place a bandage over the cut.

If the cut is inside the mouth, on an inner lip for example, then apply pressure on it externally against your child’s teeth or gums. Don’t start probing the injury site with your finger because that may cause further bleeding.

Normal bleeding usually stops within 15 minutes – any longer means its heavy bleeding, so you should take your child straight to the Emergency Department at your nearest hospital.

Step 2 – Distract your child to keep them still

If your child can’t stay still while you are trying to stop the bleeding, take out their favourite toy or put on a Netflix cartoon for them to watch. It’s better if they don’t move at all while you’re applying pressure to the wound.

Step 3 – Reduce the swelling

Place an ice or cold gel pack over the injury site to numb and reduce any pain and/or swelling your child may be experiencing. Wrap an ice pack with a table cloth to prevent skin irritation. Giving your child an ice block treat to suck on is another novel option to help cool and numb the affected area.

Step 4 – Administer pain medication only if necessary

If your child experiences pain that doesn’t go away, it may be necessary to administer a dose of non-prescription pain medication, such as paracetamol or ibuprofen, to help relieve pain.

Step 5 – Make sure your child eats carefully

For, internal cuts to the mouth, avoid feeding your child salty and acidic foods or beverages which may cause irritation to the wound. Stick to soft, easy-to-digest plain and healthy foods to minimise discomfort while eating. After eating, make sure your child rinses with warm water to wash away food residue, and keep the mouth clean.

Step 6 – Monitor your child’s recovery

It usually takes about 3 or 4 days for a minor cut or split to heal. After that, your child should be in the all-clear. Keep a lookout for symptoms, such as persistent pain, increased redness and swelling, an abscess and/or fever – for these may indicate infection.

Don’t forget to educate your child about the reasons why the injury happened, and what safety precautions they should take to prevent or avoid a similar injury again in the future!

Go straight to the Emergency Department for major mouth injuries

Some mouth injuries need to treated as soon as possible at an Emergency Department of a hospital.

These include mouth injuries that:

  • don’t stop bleeding,
  • are very deep or punctured,
  • contain an embedded foreign object,
  • are a result of a bite or sting, or
  • involve bone injury.

Call your nearest dentist for advice if your child’s mouth injury results in a knocked out, broken or fractured tooth. Most dentists keep emergency slots open on their daily schedules to accommodate dental emergencies.


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The oral bacteria that can crawl into your brain

It might sound like a horror movie but the fact is, if you have certain species of pathogenic oral bacteria in your gums, they could be slowly making their way into your brain as you read this. These bacteria among 100s of others responsible for oral health issues, including tooth decay, cavities and periodontal disease (or gum disease).

The bacterial invaders identified so far

UK researchers have identified three bacterial species (see below) capable of entering the brain:

  • Porphyromonas gingivalis (left),
  • Treponema denticola (centre), and
  • Tannerella forsythia (right).

How do they get there?

First off, all of these bugs need to establish colonies in plaque and calculus. That’s easy for them if you fail to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine that includes brushing your teeth twice daily and visiting your dentist every 6 months.

Next, once firmly established in the periodontal tissues (below your gum line), they can infect surrounding soft tissue and bone. That’s when you start to develop periodontal pockets and gum disease. Along with these oral conditions, you may start experiencing symptoms such as bleeding gums – their first point of exit to the rest of the body.

All they have to do then is to wait until the next bleeding event – triggered by brushing your teeth or eating food – when they hitch a ride on your red blood cells along the blood stream super highway straight into your brain. And it’s a fairly easy entry for them since your brain lacks immune checkpoints.

The other way two of the mentioned bacteria can access your brain tissue is quite unique. Since they are motile (the ability to move), they can creep along the nerve fibres that connect your tooth roots to your brain.

What happens once they get there?

In short, they can settle in biofilms (similar to the plaque on your teeth) in the areas of your brain related to memory. When your immune system eventually cottons on to what is happening, it will respond and attack the bacteria.

Now that’s okay as a one off, but repeated daily exposure to these oral bacteria and their by-products, can result in neuron and nerve cell death in your brain according to UK researchers in a 2014 study. As such, the presence of oral bacteria in the brain and the associated side-effects has been linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.

Browns Plains Alzheimer’s disease

Stop them at the gates!

Once P. Gingivalis and company are in your system, it can be rather difficult to get them out completely. That’s why proper oral care and regular visits to a dental hygienist throughout your life are so important – to prevent these bugs from entering your body in the first place.


Poole, S., Singhrao, S. K., & Crean, S. J. (2014). Emerging evidence for associations between periodontitis and the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Faculty Dental Journal, 5(1), 38-42. doi:10.1308/204268514×13859766312719

Singhrao, S. K., Harding, A., Poole, S., Kesavalu, L., & Crean, S. (2015). Porphyromonas gingivalis Periodontal Infection and Its Putative Links with Alzheimer’s Disease. Mediators of inflammation, 2015, 137357.

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Dental Insurance cover

Choosing the right dental insurance cover

It is important to take out dental insurance extras cover to avoid expensive treatment fees for unexpected dental work, such as emergency dental, wisdom tooth removal and braces. Even though the monthly fees for major dental cover may be expensive in themselves, you can save a lot more money in the long term when the need arises.

Types of dental cover

There are two basic types of dental cover to choose from:

  • General dental cover – Covers you for a range of basic preventative treatments that can safeguard your oral health, and help prevent future oral health complications, including: oral checkups and examinations; clean, scale and polish; fissure treatments; fluoride treatment; tartar/plaque removal; small fillings and dental X-rays.
  • Major dental cover – Covers you for a range of more complex dental treatments to repair, restore and treat a number of oral health conditions, including bridges; crowns; orthodontics (e.g. braces); endodontic treatment for tooth decay and gum disease; root canal therapy; full and partial dentures; and dental surgery (e.g. tooth extractions).

Dental treatment that isn’t covered by health funds

Elective dental treatment such as cosmetic dental is usually not covered by health funds. That means you won’t be able to insure for dental work you need to enhance your appearance, such as veneers, bonding, teeth straightening and teeth whitening.

However, if cosmetic dental is necessary to improve your oral health and restore oral function, then cosmetic dental insurance coverage may be applied by a health fund.

Do I need dental cover at the moment?

There’s no point in getting the highest premium dental cover, if you are a young adult with healthy teeth and gums – unless you engage in a risky sports activity. When choosing a dental cover option, you have to consider your life stage and oral health needs.

Younger adults, who are aged 20 to 40, single or partnered, and in good oral health, are best suited for general or basics dental cover. This cover option provides basic preventative treatment that can help maintain oral health, and prevent future oral health complications.

Families, and older adults aged over 40, should consider major dental cover options, especially when more expensive, complex dental treatments may be required in the near future. Despite the higher premiums, you can avoid costly dental fees in the long run.


Find the best deal!

There are a lot of health funds out there, and each one is different. Most health funds are similar when it comes to general or basics dental cover. However, at each higher level of cover, access to more expensive dental treatment may differ between health funds.

Visit a comparison website to find a policy that best suits your dental needs and budget. You should consider the following when gathering policy information and comparing health funds:

  • Your budget and finances
  • Your life stage and oral health needs
  • Waiting periods
  • Annual limits
  • Benefit limits
  • Out-of-pocket expenses
  • Preferred providers in your local area

Health Insurance

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