Category Archives: General Dental

Teeth Whitening: DIY or At The Dentist?

Teeth whitening

With a new year approaching, what’s the best way to reinvent your image to inspire more confidence? The answer for many people is teeth whitening. If you are ready for a brighter smile but are confused with the many available options: DIY trays, paste, and strips; professional dentist take-home kits or in-clinic procedures – then you are not alone.

Never fear; by the time you are finished with this, you will be able to make an informed decision. Let’s look at the positives and negatives of each option and help you make the right choice.

For starters, over-the-counter (OTC) teeth whitening kits, as well as treatments done by your dentist both have their own pros and cons. To achieve the best possible outcome, it’s crucial that any patient knows what to expect.

Regardless of which teeth whitening method a patient chooses, it’s important to have a professional cleaning done by your dentist to ensure optimal results. Any plaque or left over adhesive from previous orthodontic work won’t whiten. If this isn’t cleaned and removed beforehand, the final product will be imperfect and blotchy, and very different than the perfect smile you likely envisioned. Teeth whitening Melbourne wide has become much more accessible with many more dentists now offering the service. So let’s dive in and see if it is worth the extra cost, or will the DIY option suffice.

DIY/Over-the-Counter Whitening Kits

There are many DIY teeth whitening kits from companies like Crest and Listerine, and they can offer a level of whitening for a much lower cost than a proper dentist treatment. DIY kits range from $15 to $100.


Positives: Because of the lower cost, over-the-counter kits are perfect for those who don’t want to have to wait for an appointment to whiten their teeth, and for those who can’t afford professional teeth whitening.
  • Negatives: The downside is that, although it isn’t rocket science, many patients use DIY kits incorrectly. The included bleaching solution should not come into contact with your gums, and doing so can lead to dental sensitivity from gum recession.

Advice: OTC kits should only be used in an emergency, or when there is extreme discoloration. They are a good idea if you just need a boost in advance of a major event of some sort, but for long-lasting results, see a dentist. Some patients also tend to get hooked on these kits and end up overusing them.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Professional treatments can be done at the dental clinic and offer quick results, or you could choose completely supervised take-home treatments. The home versions are far cheaper and can provide the same results that your dentist could give you, yet at a slower pace. Prices can run from $400 to $1,000 or more.

shades of teeth whitening


Positives: You will get longer lasting and improved results over the OTC kits. The FDA has approved amorphous calcium and phosphate (ACP) for desensitizing, and most professional products from your dentist use it to give you a healthier smile safely. Professional whiteners will lighten the teeth by seven shades or more in most cases. At-home treatments will have a completely customized tray that guarantees the effectiveness of the bleaching agent.
  • Negatives: The exorbitant price tag. Professional teeth whitening at your dental clinic will provide the best results, but also comes with the highest price tag.

Advice: Be careful of which professional you choose for your whitening treatment. Many will claim to offer a “professional grade” service, yet it may not be regulated and will leave you dissatisfied and broke.

Home Teeth Whitening Tips

1. Brushing

Regular brushing 2 times a day will help reduce stain and prevent cavities. Using whitening toothpaste will boost the color of each tooth.

2. Mouth Wash

Using mouthwash will reduce the possibility of staining. Rinsing with a whitening mouthwash will remove tiny particles missed with brushing and help keep gums healthy.

3. Flossing

Flossing sticks are convenient to carry with you to remove food particles after eating. Flossing regularly will reduce the risk of cavities, removing plaque and food residue.

Eating apple to whiten teeth

4. Fruit

Eating an apple a day will keep both the doctor and dentist at bay. Apples will help to bleach teeth and remove particles of food between teeth. Strawberries contain an acid which will whiten teeth if used as toothpaste. Mash up the fruit and place on toothbrush similar to using regular toothpaste. Rinse immediately after as the acid will continue to bleach the teeth and can damage the enamel.

5. Baking Soda

This home teeth whitening remedy has been popular for decades. Mix with water or used directly on toothbrush as toothpaste. Results will be noticable almost immediately.

6. Avoid Certain Foods and Drink
Blueberries, blackberries, and red wine have concentrated color and will stain teeth. Red wine and berries contain antioxidants which help reduce the signs of aging, brushing teeth after consuming these products will reduce the risk of staining. Coffee, tea and smoking can also stain teeth.

7. Avoid Fizzy Drinks

Fizzy drinks will cause teeth to discolor and stain. Over time fizzy drinks cause decay and make the staining difficult to remove.



The Correct Way to Brush Your Teeth

a lady brushing her teethAlthough most people know brushing their teeth is important, many simply do not know the correct way to do it. It is integral to learn the correct way in which to brush your teeth to avoid plaque, gum disease and excessive trips to the dentist that can easily be avoided.

First of all, you should dampen your toothbrush with water before adding toothpaste to it. Once you have your toothbrush damp, turn off the water faucet. While it is important to brush your teeth properly, it is also important to be conservative when doing so. Apply toothpaste to your toothbrush but only a small pea-sized amount. There is no need to cover your entire toothbrush with toothpaste. Do not copy the advertisements on television, they are just trying to condition you to use more toothpaste then necessary to make more sales. There is absolutely no benefit gained from using extra toothpaste.

The time you spent brushing your teeth should be 2-3 minutes. As you brush try to hold your brush at a 45-degree angle against your gum line. Brush gently, cleaning both the inside and outside surfaces of your teeth. The brush needs to be held vertically while you clean the inside surfaces of your top and bottom front teeth. Remember that your tooth enamel is fairly thin and brushing too hard over a period of time can result in damaged tooth enamel. If you have a tendency to brush too hard, purchase a brush with softer bristles to compensate.

toothbrushes hanging on the wall

Always place your brush somewhere to dry after use to avoid mould buildup

The brushing procedure is actually the same whether you are using a traditional toothbrush or an electric one. You need to bear in mind that it is important to brush each tooth individually. First, begin by brushing the front teeth, then move on to the back teeth. Brush each tooth thoroughly, including the backs and edges of each. Once you have finished brushing your teeth, you should always gently brush your gums.

Finally, brush your tongue. This helps to alleviate any bacteria within the mouth and also maintain a fresher breath. Once you have finished brushing all teeth, your gums and your tongue, rinse your mouth with clear, cool water. Be sure to also rinse your toothbrush thoroughly, before putting it somewhere to dry. Some people choose to cover their toothbrush to preventing the buildup of airborne bacteria, including microscopic particles from the toilet. This should only be done once the toothbrush is dry however, as a covered, wet brush can become a haven for mould to grow. Be sure to re-cap the toothpaste and put it away as well.

Always floss after brushing teeth, or prior to brushing if you prefer. This will ensure that you have removed all food particles from between your teeth. You can also use a mouthwash to ensure your teeth and gums remain healthy. Do not use mouthwash that contains alcohol as these have been found to cause oral cancers.

Finally, visit your dentist at least two times a year for professional cleaning and for preventative maintenance against any potential dental problems.

Why Do You Need to Floss Your Teeth?

Let’s start with the basics. Firstly, what exactly is dental floss?

Dental floss is a string like product you should use on a daily basis to remove bacteria build-up and food from in-between your teeth. Floss, which is usually made out of nylon or plastic, is a thin string/thread that you place between your teeth and pull back and forth in order to clean the gaps. As you pull on the thread, debris and food will come loose and then it can easily be removed.

dental flossWhat are the benefits of dental flossing?

Flossing daily removes much of the debris and plaque that mere brushing does not. When you floss your teeth each day, you reduce the risk of developing gum problems and you increase the chances of keeping your teeth for a lifetime by a significant margin.

Flossing also helps you to eliminate bad breath. Dental plaque is one of the major causes of halitosis (bad breath), and if the plaque is not removed, it can generate unpleasant smell from your mouth. This odor results from the metabolism of the bacteria contained in plaque. Bad breath can also be a result of tooth and gum decay, which are also caused by a buildup of plaque.

Regular flossing helps to prevent tooth decay. Dental plaque leads to cavities if it’s left to accumulate between teeth over a period of time. The bacteria that is found in plaque mixed with sugar can begin the process of tooth decay. It is a known fact that brushing alone does not perfectly clean in between teeth and dental floss is necessary to reach those areas and removes the plaque.

Jenny flossing her teethRegular flossing can also help prevent gum diseases. Inflammation of gums commonly known as gingivitis is the initial stage of periodontal disease (gum disease). It is primarily caused by an accumulation of plaque between teeth and around gums. This plaque also contains bacteria that is harmful to the gums. Therefore, flossing is important to remove all plaque that accumulates throughout the day.

An increasing body of evidence shows that not only does flossing keep your smile and your breath fresh, but it also can help prevent much more serious diseases. An increasing body of knowledge has shown diseases such as periodontal disease can result in life-threatening illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory illness. As such for you to reduces your chances of developing one of these more serious diseases, ensure you maintain good dental health by flossing on a regular basis.

The benefits of flossing are almost endless, and anyone who isn’t flossing is taking a big risk with their long term health. Dental health professionals recommend that your floss your teeth at least twice daily. Have you flossed today? If not it’s probably about time you did!

Top 5 Foods/Drinks that Cause Cavities

Food is a vital for survival. However eating has, for the most part, a negative effect on dental health. Among the foods that cause the biggest problems with oral hygiene are processed sugars, acidic food, alcohol, starchy foods and citrus fruits. These are known to wear away the protective coating on teeth and form cavities. A cavity is simply a hole in any given tooth. These are formed when food remains, acid and bacteria in the mouth combine to form a plaque. This plaque acts a haven for bacteria which attack the enamel, eventually resulting in cavities.

how cavities form

The progression of the formation of cavities in a tooth.

Here is a list of foods and drinks to avoid, to keep your teeth looking their best for longer:

Process Sugar

Process sugar foods are consumed on a regular basis by most people around the world. Manufacturers of fast foods and snacks commonly add processed sugar into their products. Sugar that gets left behind in the mouth combine forces with bacteria to form plaque. This plaque settles on the enamel and slowly eats away at it. The plaque’s acid works on the enamel and over time can cause cavities. Common foods and drinks which are high in processed sugar and should be avoided include: candy, soda, processed juice drinks, yoghurt, cakes, jam, sauce and many more. Beware of food with hidden sugar as these will not only discreetly affect our oral health, but also your general well-being.

no sodaAcidic Foods

There are a wide range of foods that are highly acidic. Sodas are one of these, due to carbonated acids, and as mentioned above also contain a high sugar content so should definitely be avoided. There are many other foods that may surprise you as containing acids. Among these foods are fish, bread, and even some fruits. The damage from these foods and drinks is fast as the acid starts acting on the enamel immediately after consumption. In an effort to combat this, drink a lot of water or eat a good mix of alkaline foods to neutralize the PH of the acidic foods.


Alcohol causes cavities. While many of us may not want to believe it, the writing is on the wall. Not only does alcohol usually contain high levels of sugar, it also dehydrates the mouth which makes it less effective in washing and preventing food particles from sticking to your teeth. When the mouth is dry, food particles cannot be flushed away. To curb this, it is advisable to drink water in between your alcoholic drinks. You can also use a mouthwash to kill bacteria in the mouth. We recommend using a natural mouthwash made from sodium bicarbonate or diluted clove oil.

bread and pasta

Starchy foods can cause a buildup of plaque on the teeth.

Starchy food

As you may know, food digestion starts in the mouth through the  breaking down of starch. The starch is broken down into sugar. Once the sugar gets trapped between teeth, it invites the bacteria and the process of creating a plaque begins. It is from this plaque that the acid and germs act on the enamel. The action leads to erosion of the enamel and the formation of holes known as cavities. Common foods that contain starch include baked potatoes, rice, cakes, pasta, French fries and doughnuts.


Citrus is found in some common fruits like oranges, lemons, blueberries, limes, raspberries, mandarin, and grapefruit. Some juices and other foods are made from these fruits as well. It is the acidity in these fruits that can cause erosion of tooth enamel, so always wash down your citrus fruit intake with some water or combine them with other foods to reduce the acidic effect on your teeth.

Now that you know the main culprits of tooth erosion, be sure to take steps to protect your dental health. Always keep yourself well hydrated by drinking lot of water and brushing your teeth any meals that contain cavity causing ingredients. Better yet, cut out the above mentioned foods and drinks from your diet as much as possible, and save yourself a few trips to the dentist in the long run!

Important Things to Consider When Choosing a Dentist

Dental health is something you should never take for granted. When searching for a dentist, you must ensure you land a professional who is going to meet your needs and those of your loved ones. Remember there are countless dental health care providers out there so choosing the best one can be tricky. Painstaking research should be done in order to settle on the right dental health specialist. Explored in this piece are some important things to consider when choosing a dentist.

1. Know Your Needs

You should know what your needs are before commencing your search for a dentist. Bear in mind that dentists belong to different specialties, such as oral, orthodontist, cosmetic, and pediatric dentistry, among others. If for instance, you want a specialist to deal with an aching tooth, make sure you look for an oral dentist. Always go for a specialist of any particular problem you have instead of opting for a general dentist, unless of course, general dentistry is what you need.

a happy dentist2. Know the Questions to Ask Your Prospective Dentist

Not all dentists are created evenly. As such, you may choose to try several dental health care practitioners before settling on one. To know who the right specialist to go for is, consider asking them the following questions before making that very important decision of hiring:

· Are You Really Qualified?

You really want a fully-trained dentist. The person must be qualified to deal with your particular dental complication. Look for someone who trained in a recognized dental school. If possible, request to see their qualification certificates to ensure they are honest and genuine.

· How Long Have You Been Practicing?

Bear in mind that dentists gain experience as they continue practicing in their specialization fields. This means that a dentist who has been practicing for longer will be highly experienced and knowledgeable. Do not be afraid to ask your prospective dentists how long they have been working in the industry, and if possible settle on one who has the relevant experience.

· Are You Licensed to Practice?

Find out whether or not your potential dentist is licensed to practice. This is very important because some dentists out there practice without proper licenses. Always choose a dentist who is licensed or permitted to practice in your area.

· Can You Provide Some References?

A good and reliable dentist must be in a position to give out some references upon request. If you are given a list of referees, call them up and inquire about their experiences with the dental health care specialist in question. You should be very inquisitive in order to make an informed choice. You can also look for reviews of the dentist online. These are more likely to be non-biased as opposed to any references you may have been given, who will almost always speak of the dentist in question in a positive light.
a nice set of teeth

3. Know the Location and Office Hours

If possible choose a dental clinic that is located near your home or workplace. This is going to save you time and money. Also, favour dental health clinics that operate 24/7. This is because an emergency may occur at any given time without giving a warning.

4. Know the Fees Charged

Inquire about the fee your prospect dentist charges before making up your mind. Note that dentists charge different prices depending on the kind of treatment they are offering as well as their level of competency. It is good to obtain price quotes from different practitioners and compare. Do not forget to ask about dental insurance cover. In order to save money, you need to go for a dentist who accepts your insurance cover.


The best place to begin when scouting for a dentist is with recommendations from people you trust. Talk to your friends, relatives or workmates to see if they are going to offer a good referral. If no one is willing to recommend you a dental health care provider, consider searching for a specialist online. Invest your time well to find a practitioner who is not only going to meet your needs, but also those of your family members.