Noun: Vitality [ vīˈtalitē] the state of being strong and active; physical or mental vigour; energy; life
Synonyms: liveliness, life, energy, spirit, vivacity, exuberance, buoyancy, bounce, elan, verve, vim, pep, brio, zest, sparkle, dynamism, passion, fire, vigor, drive, punch, get-up-and-go
Did you know that your oral health can offer clues about your overall health & vitality — or that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body?
How vital would you like to feel?
If you had a scale of vitality, with 0 being low (death), and 10 being a picture of unconditional happiness, where are you now, and where would you like to be? Our role at Capricornia Dental Centre is to make you feel as happy as you can be.
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Optimal general health starts with optimal oral health. Failure to adequately care for your teeth, gums and your bite can result in the development of medical conditions far more serious than gum disease or tooth loss.
Studies suggest that a number of secondary health issues can be caused as a result of poor oral health. As Dr. Mayo of the Mayo Clinic once said, “If a person can take care of their teeth and gums they can extend their life by at least 10 years.”
“Vascular diseases and cancer have both been linked to oral health. Preventing oral disease often seems to prevent diseases in other organs or systems. The importance of maintaining good oral health is seen under a new prism. The oral cavity is often the mirror of the body.” This is a quote from staff at Harvard Medical School. In fact, the signs of many diseases appear first in the mouth and are commonly found while you are in the dental chair.
We understand you are unique, and we are here to consider your specific circumstances and needs. Our dentist and hygienists carry out thorough examinations and on some occasions will recommend specialised tests for diagnosis. This is our way of gaining a complete awareness of your health history to correctly interpret your current dental needs and provide a comprehensive individualised plan for both treatment and prevention. We consider your overall health as a key factor to feeling & looking your best and gaining optimum balance and long term health and vitality.
Because of the mouth/body health connection, be sure to tell us if you’re taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health and wellbeing — especially if you’ve had any recent illnesses or you have a chronic condition, such as diabetes.
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What conditions may be linked to oral health?
Your oral health might affect, be affected by, or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:
- Endocarditis is an infection of the inner lining of your heart (endocardium). Endocarditis typically occurs when bacteria or other germs from another part of your body, such as your mouth, spread through your bloodstream and attach to damaged areas in your heart.
- Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and stroke might be linked to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.
- Pregnancy and birth. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. An adaptive bite position has been linked to difficulty becoming pregnant.
- Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting the gums at risk. Gum disease appears to be more frequent and severe among people who have diabetes. Research shows that people who have gum disease have a harder time controlling their blood sugar levels.
- HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in people who have HIV/AIDS.
- Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle — might be linked with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
- Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 might be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Sleep Apnoea or disturbed sleep. The primary cause of obstructive sleep apnoea is compromised anatomical development of the bones of the face. Over 90% of the growth of the facial skeleton is complete by age 12, which makes it easy to understand why early assessment of your child’s facial growth potential is important – particularly when Orthotropics can recapture lost growth if started soon enough. For adults, it is a case of using the cards we have been dealt to win as many tricks as possible. A physiologic approach to dealing with sleep apnoea provides the surest way to optimise the situation. Everyone needs restful, refreshing sleep.
- TMJ disorder. Temporo-mandibular joint disorders have been termed “The Great Imposter” of the body. Many seemingly unrelated problems such as tinnitus (ringing in the ears), vertigo (dizziness or poor balance), tingling in the fingers, weakness of the hands, migraines, fibromyalgia, and many others can all have a temporo-mandibular joint disorder as the primary cause.
- Facial, head and neck pain
- Other conditions. Other conditions that might be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome — an immune system disorder that causes dry mouth — and eating disorders. In addition, certain medications — such as decongestants, antihistamines, painkillers and diuretics — can reduce saliva flow.
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We believe the best dentistry is no dentistry. Therefore, early detection and treatment of problems with your gums, teeth and mouth can help ensure a lifetime of optimal health. To prevent gum disease and other oral health problems, schedule regular dental cleanings and exams. In the meantime, contact us if you notice any signs or symptoms that could suggest oral health problems, such as:
- Red, tender or swollen gums
- Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
- Gums that begin pulling away from your teeth
- Loose permanent teeth
- Changes in the way your top and bottom teeth meet
- Persistent sensitivity to hot and cold
- Persistent bad breath or an unusual taste in your mouth
- Clenching and or grinding of your teeth
- Painful jaw joint or head and neck pain
- Poor sleep or snoring
- Dry mouth
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Maintaining your oral health to a satisfactory level to prevent disease requires regular cleaning; and not just by us. When our hygienists clean your teeth thoroughly and remove the plaque and scale from the teeth, your teeth will remain clean for about a day. After this time, bacteria will begin to recolonise the tooth surface. Your home care is more important than what we do in the surgery.
Oral health begins with clean teeth. Keeping the area where your teeth meet your gums clean can prevent gum disease, while keeping your tooth surfaces clean can help you stave off cavities. As long as you do a thorough job, it doesn’t matter if you brush or floss first. However, flossing before brushing might allow more fluoride from your toothpaste to reach between your teeth.
Consider these flossing and brushing basics:
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Flossing for oral health
You can’t reach the tight spaces between your teeth and under the gum line with a toothbrush. That’s why daily circumferential flossing is important. If you would like to be great at flossing we can show you how. When you floss:
- Don’t skimp. Break off about 50 centimetres of dental floss. Wind most of the floss around the middle finger on one hand, and the rest around the middle finger on the other hand. Grip the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
- Be gentle. Guide the floss between your teeth using a rubbing motion. Don’t snap the floss into your gums. When the floss reaches your gum line, curve it against one tooth.
- Take it one tooth at a time. Slide the floss into the space between your gum and tooth. Use the floss to gently rub the side of the tooth in an up-and-down motion. Unwind fresh floss as you progress to the rest of your teeth.
- Keep it up. If you find it hard to handle floss, use an inter-dental cleaner — such as a special wooden or plastic pick, stick or brush designed to clean between the teeth. You can even get “pressure-cleaners” for teeth if all other methods are just too hard to handle. As the ad says, ”Just do it!”.
- Start using circumferential flossing. Circumferential flossing allows you to clean all the way around the tooth with floss and not just the area between the teeth. It is absolutely the best way to use floss, but it does take a little longer. If you would like to know how to use this method of flossing, we would be delighted to show you how.
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Brushing for oral health
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day. When you brush, don’t rush. Take enough time to do a thorough job.
- Use the proper equipment. Use a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled toothbrush that fits your mouth comfortably. Consider using an electric or battery-operated toothbrush, which can reduce plaque and a mild form of gum disease (gingivitis) more than manual brushing. These devices are also helpful if you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush effectively.
- Practice good technique. Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle — aiming the bristles toward the area where your tooth meets your gum. Gently brush with a circular motion. Remember to brush the outside, inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue.
- Keep your equipment clean. Always rinse your toothbrush with water after brushing. Store your toothbrush in an upright position, if possible, and allow it to air-dry until using it again. Don’t routinely cover toothbrushes or store them in closed containers, which can encourage the growth of bacteria.
- Know when to replace your toothbrush. Invest in a new toothbrush or a replacement head for your electric or battery-operated toothbrush every month — or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
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Like many areas of the body, your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defences and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, without proper oral hygiene, bacteria can reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. Each person’s response to the bacteria is what determines the progression of disease. Some people can have a vast bacterial load and very little disease. Others can have very few bacteria, and still generate an exaggerated response.
Sometimes, the particular bacteria in your mouth can be a really nasty variety and be very hard to control by conventional methods. If we suspect this, then a sample of your plaque can be sent for analysis so that we can determine which antibiotics may be useful in getting your disease under control in conjunction with a renewed home and in-surgery protocol.
The Microscopic Plaque Test enables us to assess in real time the level of bacterial activity in your mouth and also enables us to identify specific types of bacteria within your plaque. This information is vital for your diagnosis as well as determining your individual treatment requirements.
The harmful bacteria which cause disease should be treated to avoid the spread of infection. It is not just about your teeth. Any infection has the possibility of spreading to adjacent tissues and even vital organs, thereby contributing to other serious health problems.
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