Archive for June 2012

Ah, it is summertime and the weather is hot! Your teens are out of school and hopefully finding ways to enjoy their time. Perhaps they have summer jobs to keep them busy for part of it. The rest of the time, it can be a bit of a battle to make sure they are at least maintaining some good habits before school starts again!

As more and more schools try to remove unhealthy food options from their premises, we certainly hope that such action leads to better oral and overall health for our teens. However, in the summer, teens have that much more free time. And if you are a parent of a teen, you know how much harder it is to control any aspect of a teen’s life when they have time on their hands!

With that extra free time, will they be spending more of it at the store or a fast food restaurant, increasing the amount of sugary soft drinks they consume? We all know that teens tend to favour soft drinks over healthier options, such as water. And the amount of sugar contained in such drinks, combined with the amount teens tend to drink, can wreak havoc on their teeth by eroding away the protective enamel.

But that is not the only issue teens can have with their oral health in the summer. How can we make sure they are brushing their teeth properly? Teens often operate on a different schedule from their parents, going to bed later and also waking up later.

Hopefully, you have instilled in them good habits for brushing and flossing when they were younger. More importantly, we hope they will continue to adhere to those lessons on their own. Of course, since teens tend to want to look good, now may be a good time to appeal to their sense of vanity, but in a way that does not create any insecurities!

Even having them come in to visit us at Rideau Dental Centre can be a challenge. If they are due for a dental appointment during the summer, will they make sure they keep their appointment on their own?

Though it is much harder at this stage, you still need to talk to your teen about many aspects of their lives, including their oral health. We all understand that they think they know everything, but a friendly reminder from mom and dad still can help. If good oral health habits have been ingrained in them from a young age, that might help some of these friendly reminders go over a bit better. So if your child is not yet a teen, make sure you are stressing the importance of good oral health habits now.

Good oral health habits are more important than you might think. Amongst kids age 5 to 17, poor oral health is considered the most common chronic health condition they face. It is responsible for more missed school days than any other chronic condition. The pain and discomfort that accompanies poor dental and periodontal health contributes to poorer academic performance.

So while we all want our teens to enjoy their summer, we still want them to be responsible for themselves. Maintaining good oral health practices during the summer, complete with a health diet, will really help them when they head back to school in September.

So, just because they are teens and they know it all, don’t be afraid to show them you care by reminding them to look after their mouths! Because looking after their oral health in the summer is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Martin LaBoissonniere

Dental Surgeon

While we all may long for that perfect smile, with smooth, evenly spaced teeth you can gloss your tongue over, it is not something that everyone can come by naturally!

Though the problem may seem minor to some, many people experience gaps between teeth, referred to as a diastema. At the very least, such gaps can appear unattractive and inhibit a person from truly flashing their biggest smile! In other cases, the diastema may be indicative of other dental issues that need to be addressed before any corrective action can be taken to deal with the gap itself.

Technically, a diastema can occur between any teeth. However, the most common, and the most visible, is a gap between the two front teeth of the upper jaw. Given the greater visibility, it is usually the one people find most troubling.

In some instances, there may be a mismatch between the size and shape of the teeth or even between the jawbone and the teeth.  As the body grows and develops, the teeth are never able to set into perfect alignment as the connections are just not in place to allow for this.

Similarly, other people may experience a diastema as a result of missing teeth. An accident that results in the loss of one or more teeth can change the development path your teeth will take to deal with the additional space.

Thumb sucking commonly leads to gaps between the front teeth. A major problem for thumb suckers is that the gap may continue to grow unless the individual stops the thumb sucking activity.

Another common cause for such gaps is periodontal disease. Particularly as this condition advances, bone loss can become more and more of a problem. With such bone loss, a diastema may develop.

As you can see, the causes for developing a diastema are quite varied. At Rideau Dental Centre, we believe that in order to properly treat your specific condition, we need to know its root cause. Treatment may vary depending upon the culprit behind your condition.

For example, those with missing teeth may require an implant to properly fill the space and allow the teeth to fall back into a more normal alignment. An implant may also be required for someone with periodontal disease depending upon how advanced your condition is and whether there is sufficient natural bone in place to affix an implant.

Thumb suckers may ultimately require orthodontic treatment. However, the priority will be to look for ways to curb the thumb sucking before beginning with orthodontics.

Those with a mismatch in the size and shape of their teeth may simply have to consider some form of cosmetic treatment to enhance the appearance, such as veneers. The bottom line is that every situation will be unique and we will need to assess your condition before prescribing the treatment that is right for you.

It may even be necessary to consider a combination of more than one of the above suggestions. Whatever the situation, we are always happy to work closely with you to design the best option. Because developing options that best address your condition is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon

It goes without saying that there has been a great deal of attention given to the problem of obesity in our society.  Whether you are surfing news websites, watching coverage on television or reading a newspaper, you can be assured that, at some point, you will come across an article discussing the negative health implications associated with obesity.

Usually, the focus will be on how obesity rates have increased the incidence of heart disease, diabetes and other such medical conditions. Given that these can be fatal if not addressed properly, it comes as no surprise that these topics would garner the lion’s share of attention.

What you do not hear as much about is the link between obesity and oral health. Given what we know about the relationship between oral health and some of the same medical conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, we believe further consideration of this link is very justified!

Regardless as to the age of the individual, there is a tendency for obese individuals to also suffer from poorer oral health. To a great extent, one of the most common causal links between the two is poor diet.

In the case of children, the greater tendency for them to spend more sedentary time watching television of playing simple video games does affect their teeth. Less active children have more time to consume greater quantities of snacks. Unfortunately, the snacks they tend to eat have high sugar content. 

Furthermore, since they are just passively sitting and eating, kids will tend to keep these foods in their mouths for longer periods of time. This can allow more time for the sugars in these foods to be broken down and converted into acids that contribute to tooth decay. When combined with acidic beverages, such as soft drinks or fruit juice, it is easy to see how decay can become a problem.

In the case of obese adults, there are some studies suggesting a link between a high glycemic diet and both obesity and tooth decay. Fermentable carbohydrates, found in refined wheat flour and pasta, tend to be converted into simple sugars. Once again, these are the same sugars that can contribute to both obesity and tooth decay.

When you stop and think about it, it should not come as a surprise that there would be a link between oral health, obesity and poor diet. The poor nutritional value of foods that tend to make up a higher part of the diet of obese individuals clearly affects the teeth as well as the waist line.

At Rideau Dental Centre, our focus will obviously be on the oral health component.  We would be happy to talk with you about your diet. The fact that our discussion may actually have some benefits on your waistline, we would look upon that as an added bonus! Because improving your diet is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Peter Georgopoulos

Dental Surgeon

If you think it never really matters how something gets to its final destination, as long as it gets there, you have never really thought about the importance of proper breathing! The truth is, how you get oxygen into your lungs can have an impact on your oral health.

The normal breathing pattern involves inhaling and exhaling through the nose. Some people, however, actually have trouble maintaining such a normal breathing pattern. Particularly while sleeping, these people may breathe more through the mouth.

The reasons for breathing through the mouth are numerous. It may be an issue of suffering from seasonal allergies, a particularly challenging problem at this time of year. Other people may have specific obstructions to their airway, such as enlarged tonsils, or a deviated septum.

As dentists, we can actually spot the physical signs of mouth breathing in our patients. One of the most common signs is a deformity of the jaw. The jaw may appear elongated, with an overbite and small chin being common. As this happens, the problem can actually become compounded as the elongated jaw can actually lead to even more airway obstructions.

However, problems associated with mouth breathing are not restricted to the physical appearance of the jaw. Mouth breathing is much less efficient than nose breathing. This means mouth breathers process less oxygen as they breathe.

The result can be a poorer quality of sleep or even sleep apnea. And people who do not sleep well are obviously not as well rested. In children, the lack of sleep can have such a profound effect on behavior that many are misdiagnosed with ADD.

How we deal with mouth breathing will depend upon the cause of the problem. Some patients may require orthodontic treatment to address an overbite or otherwise misshapen jaw. However, such treatment will only address the consequence of mouth breathing, not the cause.

Solving the problem may require that we work with other medical specialists. If the problem is an obstruction such as inflamed tonsils or deviated septum, surgery may be the solution.

Other situations may be solved with something as simple as a dental appliance that we can provide you with right here at Rideau Dental Centre. How we address your mouth breathing will depend on what is causing your specific problem.

It you suspect mouth breathing may be a problem for you, come to Rideau Dental Centre to discuss it with us. We would be happy to provide you with treatment options. Because solving your problems with mouth breathing is a healthy habit…and healthier habits lead to healthier lives.

Dr. Bao Nguyen

Dental Surgeon