Author: Ryan Shanahan

How to go on dates as a Broke-Ass Student

Our friends over at Broke-Ass Student have written a great article about going on cost-effective dates as a student. We certainly like #5, but make sure you cook something that supports a balanced diet to keep those teeth healthy. And don’t forget to brush before you meet your date!
-Ryan

See the post here:

via How to go on dates as a Broke-Ass Student.

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Mouth ulcers: causes and prevention

If you’re like myself, and another 20% of the population, you get regular waves of irritating mouth ulcers for no apparent reason. In the majority of cases, these break-outs are very spontaneous and don’t reflect your oral health or diet, however, maintaining a high level of care for your oral health can be extremely beneficial in the prevention and reduction of ulcer appearance and dissipation.

Some of the main causes for mouth ulcers are:

  • Biting your cheek
  • Rubbing against sharp teeth
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Oral thrush or herpes
  • Burns from hot food or drinks

The best ways to prevent mouth ulcers and reduce their severity are:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss regularly
  • Brush your teeth gently, do not use unnecessary force
  • Avoid spicy or physically hot foods and drinks
  • Avoid highly salted or sugary foods
  • Visit your dentist regularly (can help diagnose diseases and infections before they create ulcers)

If you currently have mouth ulcers that are causing you extreme pain and discomfort, visit your local GP. I also recommend Difflam Anti-Inflammatory Gargle in the meantime, as it will soothe the pain and numb your ulcers. You can purchase it here: http://www.epharmacy.com.au/product.asp?id=3431

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Have you ever had a bad experience with a pesky ulcer? Let us know:

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– Ryan

To chew or not to chew?

It has been an age old argument whether or not man shalt chew upon thine gum. But seriously, there has been a debate in recent years about the benefits and downsides to regularly chewing gum as part of your oral routine.

Essentially, it is a good thing to be chewing gum as long as it is sugar-free. Chewing gum can offer a number of hidden benefits:

  • Physically dislodges any food in between teeth. This can be handy as a replacement for flossing on the go if you don’t have access to your toothbrush or dental floss.
  • Stimulates saliva flow. This has been covered in our previous posts, but deserves to be revisited. Saliva is extremely important for naturally balancing the pH levels of your mouth, and by preventing harmful bacteria and sugars to sit on the teeth and cause decay.
  • Freshens your breath. Although it is no substitute, chewing gum can relieve a nasty case of halitosis and stop you from scaring away everyone you love.

So remember to stay away from any gum that contains sugar, and chew away!

I leave you with this amazing, yet extremely unnerving gum-sculpture:

gum sculpture face

What’s your favourite pack of chewy? Let us know below or on Facebook or Twitter:

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– Ryan

What toothpaste should you use?

Depending on your specific needs, there are a number of different toothpaste brands and types that will suit your needs. But first, you need to bear in mind that oral health companies are businesses just like any other, and although we would like to believe that more features and higher prices mean a superior product, it can often just be marketing and sale driving.

Firstly, you should always look for fluoride in your chosen toothpaste, as it coats your teeth and protects enamel.

If you have stained or discoloured teeth, it could be beneficial to use toothpaste with ‘whitening’, as these contain mild abrasives that will help prevent plaque build up, and attempt to remove stains. Keep in mind that you will most likely not be able to remove a stain that has been there for a while, and brushing too hard will actually damage your teeth by removing enamel and making them more susceptible to decay. If you are unable to remove stains or tartar build up, it’s time to see your local dentist!

If you have sensitive teeth, definitely seek out the sensitive toothpastes, as they contain different active ingredients like strontium chloride and potassium nitrate which act as desensitising agents.

When you’re brushing it can also be beneficial to brush and spit, but not rinse your mouth out afterwards, as this will allow fluoride-added toothpastes to sit on the teeth and continue to protect them.

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– Ryan

Hidden benefits of brushing your teeth

Apart from keeping your teeth clean and your breath fresh, there are a few hidden benefits to brushing your teeth and keeping good care of your oral hygiene that you may not have known:

  • Helps with weight loss. Brushing your teeth regularly after meals tells your body that you are done eating, and you are also less likely to snack with the knowledge that your minty breath will spoil the flavour of your treats.
  • Boosts your overall health. Brushing your teeth has been proven to reduce your risk of many diseases, by fighting the causes of gum disease.
  • Saves you money. Taking good care of your mouth from an early age can help reduce the need for unnecessary dental visits, expensive procedures, braces and some oral diseases. Spending those few dollars on a good toothbrush, paste and dental floss can go a long way in keeping your wallet healthy too!
  • Minimise your risk of diabetes and other diseases. Gum diseases make it very difficult to control your blood glucose level, and can also contribute to the progression of diabetes.

For a great article on some of the other benefits of brushing your teeth, head over to Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/13/brush-teeth-dementia-reasons-to-bursh_n_1870847.html

Which benefit surprised you the most? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter:

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– Ryan

Diet and keeping your teeth healthy

We all know that soft drinks and lollies are bad for your teeth, due to their high sugar content and tendency to linger in the mouth. Your diet is one of the most important factors in keeping your teeth and gums healthy, so you need to watch what you eat.

Dentists recommend you eat a balanced diet from the 5 major food groups:

  • whole grains
  • fruits
  • vegetables
  • lean sources of protein (lean beef, skinless poultry and fish; dry beans, peas)
  • low-fat and fat-free dairy foods

Not only will eating a balanced diet from these food groups keep your body healthy, but a balanced diet is the best way to avoid chemical imbalances in the body which cause tooth decay. For example, eating too much acidic foods (like cranberries or blueberries) can actually be bad for your teeth, because the acidic nature of the foods erode tooth enamel and cause decay. If you’re serious about your oral health, you should always avoid diets that cut out any of the food groups, due to the reasons above.

You should also drink plenty of water, as saliva protects oral tissues. If there is no ready source of water near you, you can alternatively chew some sugar-free gum, as this will stimulate saliva production in the mouth. Other drinks that are good for your teeth include milk and unsweetened tea.

So basically stay away from the sugary food and drinks, try to eat a balanced diet and you should be fine!

Can you think of any ridiculous diets that sound awful for your oral health? Let us know in the comments below, or on Facebook or Twitter:

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– Ryan

How to keep your breath fresh and your mouth clean

Here are some simple (yet effective!) tips for keeping your breath fresh, and your mouth as clean as it can be!

  1. Always brush before you leave the house. Not only will this stop any food from sitting in your mouth and rotting your teeth, but it will also keep your smile bright and breath smelling good.
  2. Floss regularly. Although it may not seem like such a big deal, flossing can greatly improve the status of your oral health, by helping to remove recalcitrant plaque build-ups and get into those hard-to-reach places in between your teeth.
  3. Keep some dental floss and chewing gum in your car or backpack. This has to be a lifesaver when it comes to rushing around on a busy day. If your happen to miss your morning brushing ritual or have a particularly nasty case of coffee-breath, you can give your teeth a quick freshening on the go, until you can get back home to your trusty toothbrush.
  4. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Doing so will ensure that food and sugars will not sit on your teeth, protecting yourself from oral decay, and washing away any unpleasant smells.

There you have it! We also recommend you see your dentist regularly, and brush the minimum twice a day for at least 2 minutes!

Do you have any special tips you use to stay your best on the go? Let us know in the comments below, or on our Facebook or Twitter:

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– Ryan

Best way to brush your teeth

There has been widespread debate on what is the most efficient and best way to give your teeth a deep clean. Suprisingly, there are actually a number of different methods that people unknowingly employ when they brush their teeth, like:

‘Fones’ – this is the oldest method and is recommended mainly for children, using large sweeping circles over the teeth, with the toothbrush at right angles to the tooth surface.
‘Bass technique’ – emphasises plaque removal from the area above and just below the gum line by holding the brush at a 45-degree angle to the gum and making very short back-and-forth movements.
‘Modified Bass’ – the bristle position and predominantly horizontal brush movements stay the same, but use vertical and sweeping motions to create circles
‘Stillman’ – similar to the Bass technique, but using vertical motions
‘Scrub’ – the simplest technique, the toothbrush is held parallel to the gingiva and horizontal motions are used to scrub the gingival crevice in an ordered fashion.
‘Hirschfield’ -circular motion is much smaller and concentrated.

Thanks to the Eastman Institute for Oral Health for providing these descriptions. You can check out that blog post here.

So, which method do you use? Let us know in the comments below, or on our social pages:

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– Ryan

Worst things for your teeth

There are a number of things in the scary world in which you must avoid when it comes to protecting your oral health, so we’ve summarised a few of the important ones into a list!

  • Too many sugary foods and drinks. An obvious but important one, we are all guilty one time or another of washing down a tasty chocolate bar with a coke, but you must fight the urges!
  • Brushing too early after eating or drinking acidic items. Doing so actually causes harm to your enamel and brushes away the protective layer that your mouth forms. Dentists recommend brushing 30 minutes to an hour after eating/drinking.
  • Brushing too hard. But I thought the harder I brush, the more plaque and germs I can scrape off? Wrong. Doing so actually damages your teeth and again wears down the protective layers of proteins.
  • Using too much toothpaste. Dentist recommend a small blob of toothpaste on your brush, otherwise there will be too much abrasive toothpaste in your mouth which will again cause harm to your teeth.
  • Not brushing long enough. Most people just give the quick once-over and assume that if their breath is smelling alright, they’ve brushed for long enough. You should always brush (not hard!) for at least 2 minutes, twice a day.
  • Not brushing or flossing. I know, I can’t believe they exist either. Barbarians.

Do you have any other scary things that are bad for your teeth? Let us know below or on our social platforms:

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– Ryan

Manual vs Electric Toothbrushes: Which one for you?

Since the beginning of time (or rather, a few years ago) there has been a great debate over whether or not electric toothbrushes offer additional benefits to keeping your teeth and gums healthy and clean, or whether they are merely a marketing gimmick aimed at snatching your hard-earned cash.

Electric Toothbrushes:

  • Built-in timer allows you to correctly brush for the right amount of time, not guessing roundabouts
  • Good if you suffer from any movement-restricted illness (arthritis, etc.)
  • Need to be charged often (impractical for travelling)
  • Are not as effective at cleaning your tongue and cheeks
  • Relatively low variance in size, bristle hardness and features
  • Inflexible and rigid, difficult to get to those hard-to-reach places

Manual Toothbrushes:

  • Easy to manipulate and manoeuvre around the mouth
  • Come in a variety of shapes, sizes and bristle hardness (more suitable for differing ages)
  • Compact and easy to travel with
  • Easy to clean your tongue and cheeks with
  • No timer may be difficult to judge how long you’re brushing for
  • Physically demanding for those who suffer from muscular illnesses

At the end of the day, you need to have brushed your teeth at least twice for 2 minutes or more, so how you are getting that depends on your personal preference, and how thick your wallet is! For us, we’ll stick to the good ol’ fashioned hand and brush.

What type of toothbrush do you prefer?

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– Ryan