Prevention & Recovery

Healthy teeth mean better health

istockphoto.com Image by: istockphoto.com Author: Canadian Living

Prevention & Recovery

Healthy teeth mean better health

Pop quiz! What is the physical attribute that Canadians rank number one in terms of sex appeal? (Hint: It’s not the bust or butt.) According to the third annual Crest and Oral-B Great Canadian Smile Survey, a killer smile is the physical attribute that is ranked first in terms of driving attraction.

This is wonderful news for busy women. Achieving a fabulous smile is easier and takes less time than, say, tightening your tush. Dental-care experts assure us that all we need is a thorough oral regimen, and – this is the crucial point – a regimen that is customized to our individual needs. The best part? It should only take a few minutes out of your hectic day.

“It doesn’t take long,” confirms Dr. Janet Tamo, who has practised dentistry in a private Toronto clinic for more than 25 years. “For the average person, flossing takes about one minute, and proper brushing takes two minutes.”

Healthy teeth keep your health intact
A healthy mouth means more than fresh breath and pearly whites; it has a domino effect on overall well-being. Extensive research has found inflammation and bacteria may have an impact on a variety of health issues, including pregnancy complications (preterm deliveries and low birth weight), diabetes, and heart and respiratory conditions.

Sharon Wilson experienced bleeding gums for 10 years. The Edmonton-based adult educator and conflict-resolution specialist tried to resolve the ongoing problem with regular dental appointments and a consultation with her family doctor. The doctor’s advice was to stop brushing so hard and to use soft bristles, but it didn’t help. Finally, about five years ago, the bleeding stopped for good, thanks to her current dental-care provider, Joan Leakey.

“Sharon’s first treatment involved extensive root planing, which involves removing tartar and biofilm from the tooth root. It was very aggressive and took two hours over two sessions,” says Leakey, who has worked in oral care for 32 years, first as a dental therapist, then as a dental hygienist, and is also a clinical associate professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.

According to Health Canada, 21 percent of adults have or have had a moderate or severe periodontal problem similar to the one ailing Sharon. The good news is periodontal issues can be managed. Sharon has annual dental treatments, flosses with a handled floss pick, brushes regularly with toothpaste for sensitive teeth and uses a tiny interdental brush to clean the gaps between her teeth.

Sharon discovered her customized solution. What is the right regimen for you? While it’s always important to consult with your dental-care provider before starting a new treatment, you can brush up on your oral acumen with these tips and tools.

Brush power

“Electric toothbrushes remove two times the plaque that manual brushes do,” says Tamo. Leakey says most people brush too hard, so she suggests using a soft or ultrasoft brush in a size that fits your mouth best. Toothbrush heads also come in a range of options: Choose from power brushes that whiten teeth by removing surface stains, brushes that light up if you’re pushing too hard and brushes with a massage mode
for gums. The Canadian Dental Association has given a seal of recognition to five power brushes, all of which are Oral-B models.

Floss and be fabulous
“If you are not flossing, you’re missing 30 percent of the tooth surface below the gum line and between the teeth,” says Tamo. “Flossing helps remove the bacteria hidden there that can cause bad breath.” But what if you have tender gums? No problem. Look for floss that’s specially formulated for sensitivity; it’s softer than other flosses. And what if you find floss awkward to use? To the rescue: shred-resistant floss and floss picks, including electric versions. There are even newer products on the market, such as Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Clinical Protection Floss Picks, that help protect against gingivitis (gum inflammation). Get the right fit and you’ll be ready – and willing – to floss.

White teeth for every season

Brilliant, sparkling white teeth can easily and quickly be yours. Tamo assures us that, when used properly, teeth whiteners are perfectly safe. The first step is to discuss all the options with your oral-care professional. (Whitening products should not be used by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.) Currently, you have three choices: in-office dentist treatments, prescription take-home kits or over-the-counter strips and trays. Leakey prefers the strips because they stay on better and are made with the same active ingredients as in-office whitening systems.

No kidding around
Good oral-health routines have a trickle-down effect on kids. “It’s important to lead by example,” says Tamo. Start cleaning your child’s teeth with a clean, soft cloth as soon as the first tooth appears.

As the years go by, model proper dental-care habits by brushing your own teeth and then brushing your child’s with his or her own brush; Leakey recommends continuing this routine until age 10, when your child will have mastered manual dexterity. Toothpaste with flavours such as apricot and vanilla mint make brushing fun, and you can now find handled floss picks that come in kid-friendly packagingPop quiz! What is the physical attribute that Canadians rank number one in terms of sex appeal? (Hint: It’s not the bust or butt.) According to the third annual Crest and Oral-B Great Canadian Smile Survey, a killer smile is the physical attribute that is ranked first in terms of driving attraction.
This is wonderful news for busy women. Achieving a fabulous smile is easier and takes less time than, say, tightening your tush. Dental-care experts assure us that all we need is a thorough oral regimen, and – this is the crucial point – a regimen that is customized to our individual needs. The best part? It should only take a few minutes out of your hectic day.
“It doesn’t take long,” confirms Dr. Janet Tamo, who has practised dentistry in a private Toronto clinic for more than 25 years. “For the average person, flossing takes about one minute, and proper brushing takes two minutes.”
A healthy mouth means more than fresh breath and pearly whites; it has a domino effect on overall well-being. Extensive research has found inflammation and bacteria may have an impact on a variety of health issues, including pregnancy complications (preterm deliveries and low birth weight), diabetes, and heart and respiratory conditions.
Sharon Wilson experienced bleeding gums for 10 years. The Edmonton-based adult educator and conflict-resolution specialist tried to resolve the ongoing problem with regular dental appointments and a consultation with her family doctor. The doctor’s advice was to stop brushing so hard and to use soft bristles, but it didn’t help. Finally, about five years ago, the bleeding stopped for good, thanks to
her current dental-care provider, Joan Leakey.
“Sharon’s first treatment involved extensive root planing, which involves removing tartar and biofilm from the tooth root. It was very aggressive and took two hours over two sessions,” says Leakey, who has worked in oral care for 32 years, first as a dental therapist, then as a dental hygienist, and is also a clinical associate professor at the University of Alberta in Edmonton.
According to Health Canada,
21 percent of adults have or have had a moderate or severe periodontal problem similar to the one ailing Sharon. The good news is periodontal issues can be managed. Sharon has annual dental treatments, flosses with a handled floss pick, brushes regularly with toothpaste for sensitive teeth and uses a tiny interdental brush to clean the gaps between her teeth.
Sharon discovered her customized solution. What is the right regimen for you? While it’s always important to consult with your dental-care provider before starting a new treatment, you can brush up on your oral acumen with these tips and tools.
Brush power
“Electric toothbrushes remove two times the plaque that manual brushes do,” says Tamo. Leakey says most people brush too hard, so she suggests using a soft or ultrasoft brush in a size that fits your mouth best. Toothbrush heads also come in a range of options: Choose from power brushes that whiten teeth by removing surface stains, brushes that light up if you’re pushing too hard and brushes with a massage mode
for gums. The Canadian Dental Association has given a seal of recognition to five power brushes,
all of which are Oral-B models.
Floss and Be FaBulous
“If you are not flossing, you’re missing 30 percent of the tooth surface below the gum line and between the teeth,” says Tamo. “Flossing helps remove the bacteria hidden there that can cause bad breath.” But what if you have tender gums? No problem. Look for floss that’s specially formulated for sensitivity; it’s softer than other flosses. And what if you find floss awkward to use? To the rescue: shred-resistant floss and floss picks, including electric versions. There are even newer products on the market, such as Oral-B Glide Pro-Health Clinical Protection Floss Picks,
that help protect against gingivitis (gum inflammation). Get the right fit and you’ll be ready – and willing – to floss.
white For every season
Brilliant, sparkling white teeth can easily and quickly be yours. Tamo assures us that, when used properly, teeth whiteners are perfectly safe. The first step is to discuss all the options with your oral-care professional. (Whitening products should not be used by women who are pregnant or breast-feeding.) Currently, you have three choices: in-office dentist treatments, prescription take-home kits or over-the-counter strips and trays. Leakey prefers the strips because they stay on better and are made with the same active ingredients as in-office whitening systems.
no kidding around
Good oral-health routines have a trickle-down effect on kids. “It’s important to lead by example,” says Tamo. Start cleaning your child’s teeth with a clean, soft cloth as soon as the first tooth appears.
As the years go by, model proper dental-care habits by brushing your own teeth and then brushing your child’s with his or her own brush; Leakey recommends continuing this routine until age 10, when your child will have mastered manual dexterity. Toothpaste with flavours such as apricot and vanilla mint make brushing fun, and you can now find handled floss picks that come in kid-friendly packaging
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Healthy teeth mean better health

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