Something can be done about sensitive teeth which can arise from acid attack, grinding and tooth brush abrasion.

You may develop sensitivity when the protective enamel is disrupted and wears away to expose the dentine layer underneath. That’s the layer you feel if you didn’t have anaesthetic with your fillings.  It’s made up of lots of little pipes that contain fluid and nerve endings.  When different temperature liquids run across these tubules or this tooth structure is touched it causes a jolt of pain.  This pain is generally relieved shortly after the stimulus is removed.

Most desensitizing toothpaste utilises chemistry that aims to block these tubules, with some working better than others.  The latest research is showing that calcium and phosphate, minerals that exist in teeth,  work best to block these tubules.  These minerals are available in tooth mousse by GC.   Colgate has also released some new independent research that shows its Arginine chemistry in Pro-Relief toothpaste is very effective at desensitizing and remineralizing tooth structure.
If you apply these to teeth daily for about 4 weeks you can have relief from that cold pain.

  • Causes of Sensitivity:
    Gum Recession and gum disease
  • Excessive consumption of acidic drinks and reflux
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Incorrect Brushing techniques
  • Chipped and Broken teeth
  • Remember:
    Choose a soft toothbrush and use a good brushing technique
  • Visit your GP to treat any reflux and regurgitation from stomach acid
  • Wear a splint if you are grinding your teeth and fix any broken teeth
  • Drink plenty of water so you have a good saliva flow to carry the minerals to your teeth
  • Avoid acidic drinks
Dental health and systemic health


What is Health Focused Dentistry?  

Health focused Dentistry is recognising the link between your dental health and the health of your body.   Having a healthy mouth goes beyond having a nice smile.

The Impact of Poor Oral Health

When you have gum disease there is a higher level of bacteria and plaque that enters the blood stream compared to healthy gums.

When the gums are bleeding and inflammed they no longer form a tight collar around the teeth.  A pathway is created for bacteria to pass straight into your blood stream.

This bacteria contains a clot-promoting protein, potentially increasing our risk of strokes and heart disease.

There is continuing and emerging evidence linking this bacteria to:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Low birth weight
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory diseases


Oral bacteria aspirated by children have been shown to be associated with chronic coughs.  When aspirated by the elderly it has been shown to be connected to pneumonia.

Reputable studies have long demonstrated that oral health is significantly connected to fatal heart attacks.  (Janson et al. JClin Perio 2001;28:762-768.)

A recent study in the UK has found that addressing the oral health needs of diabetics immediately after diagnosis can lead to substantial savings in later medical treatment. As gum disease becomes more unstable, blood sugars increase leading to an increased risk of diabetic complications.

The FDI World Dental Federation on world oral health day spoke of studies showing up to 40% of people with gum disease reported having a second chronic health condition.

A Healthy Mouth is part of A Healthy Body.

Successful cosmetic treatments always start with an assessment of your dental health.  Having clear controls in place to prevent problems recurring, means your dentistry will have far greater long term success.  And excellent dental health means we can lower your risk of systemic complications from chronic health conditions.

In a healthy mouth function and aesthetics is very achievable.  Successful treatment outcomes is our goal that must incorporate a preventive dental health focus.

Water for Teeth


Small changes to your lifestyle can dramatically help protect you teeth against acid erosion and tooth wear.  Below are some tips to help you protect your teeth and change the pattern of destruction:

Erosion busting tips:

  1. Drink plenty of water after you consume any acidic food and drink.  Increase water intake to 8 glasses per day.  This will help wash the acid away and increase your saliva flow to neutralize the acid.
  2. Modify your diet and eliminate or moderate intake of acidic drinks and foods.  It is the small amounts of acid you are consuming regularly rather than large amounts less often, that create the biggest problems.
  3. After consuming acidic food or drinks, wait at least an hour if possible before brushing your teeth.  This is when the enamel is softest, time is required for the saliva to restore the mineral lost in the enamel.
  4. Limit the amount of times you consume acidic food and drinks.  When having an acidic drink, use a straw angled to the back of the mouth to avoid contact with the teeth and do not swish the drink around your mouth.
  5. Consider eating some enamel friendly foods such as cheese and nuts to help neutralize the acid attack, after consuming acidic food and drink.  Avoid consuming alcohol just prior to bed as this can leave a long lasting acid environment as your mouth becomes dry during sleep and you may increase the risk of acidic reflux.
  6. Use a calcium and phosphate containing toothpaste available online or at your dentist such as “tooth mousse” morning and night after brushing and do not rinse off.  In extreme acid environments you can also rinse with a baking soda mouth rinse (one teaspoon dissolved in a glass of water) before and after meals.
  7. Chew sugar free gum such as  “Extra” between meals.
  8. Avoid adopting habits promoted on social media, such as the recent trend towards consuming lemon and hot water.  This is being promoted as an aid to digestion, but what we are seeing is an incredible increase in enamel thinning and general tooth destruction.

So get started today and get back on track to keeping your teeth for life.  If you would like to read more about acid erosion you can also read our other article about erosion.

Acid Erosion Brisbane Dentist


Shortening and wearing of the teeth, yellow teeth and sensitive teeth often result from acid erosion.  Acid erosion is caused by drinking and eating too much acidic drinks and foods.  This is mainly noticed as cupping on the teeth where the enamel has dissolved inwards.  In today’s modern world there are so many delicious drink and food choices that have a high acidic content to cause acid erosion.  We often focus on the sugar content to prevent cavities, but acid content is of equal importance.

Why are my teeth getting shorter?

Combine an acidic diet with moderate grinding and the end result is tooth wear and shorter teeth.  As the enamel is softened and the molars grind together they become shorter, so the support for the front teeth is lost.  The front teeth then start to grind together more and more.  Very often by the time you may notice that your front teeth seem shorter than some old photos you have, significant damage is already done.

Why are my teeth going yellow?

Yellow teeth can result from acid erosion when the acidic drinks and foods dissolve and thin out the enamel.  Enamel is white and the underlying tooth structure is yellow.  Hence the yellow glows through more and more as the white enamel thins.  The drink hits the upper front teeth first, so they sustain the greatest acid erosion.

Why are my teeth sensitive?

Sensitive teeth result mostly from a thinning of the enamel with acid erosion along the gum line where teeth are most sensitive.  It can also occur on the tops of the teeth as molar cupping or incisal cupping.  It only takes a little acid to dissolve the enamel and expose the softer under layer or dentine which is very sensitive.  It is also frequently seen on the tips of the lower molars.

“It is also worth noting that dehydration means low levels of saliva in the mouth.  If there is limited or no saliva, there is nothing to neutralize the acid, making acid attack very easy and aggressive.” – Dr Barbara Szylkarski


What foods/drinks are acidic?

The biggest cause of acid eroison today is soft drink, both carbonated and acidic, which does a fine job in dissolving enamel.  This list is extensive and particularly points to black cola drinks which are also addictive and dehydrating.  There is also an emerging trend towards lemon and hot water drinks, used to improve digestion.  This is a very destructive habit.

To give you an idea:

Pool acid has a PH of 1, Milk is not acidic and has a PH of 7, Lemons and Black Cola drinks are approx PH 2.5.  Very close to Pool Acid!
Sport Drinks are acidic and consumed  during or after exercise, a significant time of dehydration when the saliva flow is low
Fruit Juices are often forgotten as we see these as being healthy.  But remember that a glass of juice may have up to 5 pieces of fruit in it, as opposed to just eating one piece of fruit! Excessive fruit consumption in itself can be a problem, particularly oranges, lemons and grapes.
Vitamin Drinks –  Vitamins are best consumed as a tablet/capsule with water, rather than dissolved in the water
•And don’t forget Wine! Delightful but destructive.

There are many other conditions and medications that can add to dehydration, loss of saliva and acid erosion. Reflux, vomiting, ventolin puffers, antidepressant medication are just some.

Next blog we will look at what you can do about acid erosion, but until then drink and rinse with plenty of tap water, before, during and after meals, snacks and exercise.

If erosion is extreme a full mouth reconstruction may be required.

White Teeth Brisbane Dentist Spring Hill


Teeth Whitening otherwise known as teeth bleaching is highly effective.  The best teeth whitening or the best teeth bleaching is completed in a professional setting at a dentist.   The following is from our published Linkedin Articles.

Following these 5 secrets will help you get the best results from your professional teeth whitening.

1. The cause of the stain or discolouration must be diagnosed.  Discolouration or yellow marks on teeth can be due to caries or holes in your teeth, old fillings that need replacing, dead teeth, staining from foods in your diet, habits such as smoking or drug induced stains.  Trying to whiten teeth with discolouration’s that cannot be whitened is frustrating and a waste of your time and money. Whitening agents will not be able to penetrate through staining, plaque and build up on your teeth.

2. Know your whitening agents.  There are two agents we use – Carbamide Peroxide(CP) and Hydrogen Peroxide(HP).  CP releases its activity over 6-8 hours.  HP releases its activity over 30-60 minutes so you need way less time for it to work.  If we look at strength the % of carbamide peroxide is equal to approximately 1/3 of the % hydrogen peroxide. (eg: 10%CP is about equal to 3%HP).  The relationship is also not linear so 22% CP is not 2 times faster at working than 10%CP.

3. “In office whitening lights” that are marketed to whiten your teeth do not improve the ultimate end result of whitening.  They can be used to jump start the whitening process and can help shorten the whitening time in severe stained cases, but the take home kits at about 1/3rd the price will give you the same end result.  ALL in office teeth whitening, light or no light,  is subject to a relapse of half a shade in the week following completion.  However, In office whitening can hold its shade if a take home kit is used for a few days following.  All our in office whitening at Leichhardt St Dental Practice is accompanied by a take home kit.

4. You can continue to drink red wine and drink tea and coffee whilst whitening your teeth, but it will slow the process down.  You may need to follow up with an extra few days of whitening to make up for it.

5. Sensitivity is a side effect of whitening your teeth. With the newer and modern formulations provided in our take home kits today, we rarely find this to be a problem.  Pre-brushing with a de-sensitising toothpaste that contains potassium nitrate as its active ingredient 2 weeks prior to commencing teeth whitening will diminish or even eliminate sensitivity.

Want more?  Click to find out How Teeth Whitening Works?

If you would like to know more about how effective the best teeth whitening is,  call us for a chat on (07) 3839 7279.  We look forward to making you smile again!

The Wand pain free injections


The WAND numbing may help you manage your fear of the dentist.  The WAND is a computerised numbing system invented in America by Milestone Scientific.  Many people have an incredible fear of needles and a fear of the dentist.   The WAND  is designed to help you manage your anxiety and keep you comfortable.  Its shape and feel matches it’s name – The WAND!

Why use the WAND numbing?

The Wand is a highly advanced piece of technology that we have been using for many years in our practice.  When we look back at the old needle, we can see why you may have developed a fear of the dentist.   Feedback from our patients has been highly positive, with the Wand helping to minimise the discomfort during numbing.  It utilises a small computer chip that very carefully controls the flow of anaesthetic, and a feather weight hand piece to deliver the anaesthetic in a way that is very gradual and thus comfortable.

The Wand also offers different ways of numbing a tooth.  Traditionally the old dental needle cannot perform what is known as PDL numbing.  This numbing means you can numb up individual teeth and go without the entire face numb for many hours following the dental procedure. This is called “STA” and works by numbing the ligament around the individual tooth only, rather than numbing all the soft tissues such as lip and tongue around the tooth.  This is useful for some dental procedures where only one tooth requires numbing.  Ask our Dr Barbara our Brisbane Dentist next time you are in if this is suitable for you.

“It has positively changed the way we do dentistry as we aim to positively change the way you feel about going to the dentist.”– Dr Barbara Szylkarski

So take the first steps to getting back to looking after your teeth today.

We also have some tips to help you overcome your fear of the dentist.

Cheese and Healthy Teeth


The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has teamed up with Dairy Australia to help promote other dairy food options and stop the tide of sugary drink consumption.You may  have seen our facebook or linkedin post earlier this month outlining the latest Australian Dental Associations education campaign.

You will be most pleased to hear that studies show, eating hard cheese may protect against tooth decay. Plain milk and sugar-free yogurt have also been shown to have either a neutral or a beneficial effect on teeth. Dairy’s beneficial impact on dental health is likely to be due to the fact that milk, cheese and yogurt contain calcium, phosphorus and the protein casein. These are nutrients which have been shown to protect tooth enamel.

So eat a small amount of hard cheese after meals to help protect teeth from dental decay. Maybe there has always been a good reason why the Europeans finish their meals with a cheese platter!

A healthy balanced diet combined with good oral hygiene and regular preventive dental care can help keep teeth healthy. Tooth decay is the most common health problem in Australia, but it is largely preventable!  Preventive dentistry is the cornerstone of exceptional dental care, this is yet another way you can protect your teeth for a lifetime.



Professional Athletes Oral Health


Being an elite athlete or a great runner has always been synonymous with fit and healthy. But what Dentists may find in the mouth paints a very different picture.

It is often recommended to “fuel up” and hydrate to improve performance. The products designed to do this can be highly acidic and full of sugar. Sugar laden sport drinks, gels and chews commonly used are viscous and sticky and will hang around the teeth for long periods of time. These are like a Christmas feast for the cavity causing bacteria. Clean away the plaque that sticks along the gum line and white chalky lines have been etched into the enamel from the acid producing bacteria, the start of cavities.

Worse still, drinks splashed across front teeth and swished around the mouth have created waves of thinned enamel. These waves often follow precisely the way the drinks are consumed. Obliterating the enamel completely in some locations will leave the teeth raw and sensitive.

During high-intensity training the mouth also dries out, removing the critical saliva. Saliva is the lifesaving substance that teeth long for, to push the minerals back into the teeth. Many runners are mouth breathers with saliva that has become thick and frothy.   The type of saliva that does little to wash away and neutralise the acids and lubricate the mouth.

There is also a high incidence of broken teeth, failed restorations and short teeth. Runners and athletes are commonly teeth grinders or clenches, especially during periods of intense work out. Teeth that have already been softened by the acids are easily worn away. Sticky and chewy protein bars and energy blocks will help to remove fillings and crowns already struggling to hang on, to short weak teeth. Creating restorative plans that will last can be complex and challenging and require expert dentistry.

So what should you do? Rinse with water after consumption of sugars and acidic drinks. It is best to not consume them at all, but try and avoid sugar the remainder of the day to give the teeth a break.   It has been shown that it is the number of repeated sugar and acid attacks throughout a day that causes the most destruction. There is much debate as to whether the consumption of these products actually help to improve performance. Use products such as tooth mousse that will help to restore lost minerals. And once the oral environment is healthy, consider a dental splint that clips to the top teeth during the night to protect against further wear to the teeth.

We have also performed many full mouth rehabilitations, having undertaken the expert dental training required to match your elite level fitness training.

Department of Veteran Affairs Dentistry


Leichhardt Street Dental Practice,  located in Spring Hill Brisbane, offers DVA – Department of Veteran Affairs dentistry to Australian Veterans.

Veterans must be eligible for treatment under the Department of Veteran Affairs Dental Scheme.  A fact sheet can be found here.  We have easy free parking and easy access into the practice.  The practice is also wheel chair accessible.

We particularly care for many of our older Veterans to help them retain teeth.  Very often limited dental options are made available to veterans due to the limits placed on dental treatment.  Dr Barbara has experience in preparing treatment plans that are not limited and are eligible under the Department of Veteran Affairs that will help you keep your teeth.  Dr Barbara is particularly experienced in ball retained dentures that help you keep your teeth and Maryland bridges that are all available to eligible veterans under the scheme.

Our Dentist:

For 24 years, Dr Barbara Szylkarski has been a dental provider for the Department of Veteran Affairs, offering eligible veterans treatment with no out-of-pocket expense in accordance with the DVA’s schedule.

Dr Barbara Szylkarski has worked alongside Brisbane specialists in completing both simple and complex DVA treatment plans, and has been involved in the process of seeking approvals for more complex treatments.  Dr Barbara also works with certain specialist who take particular care of Veterans, helping them improve their quality of life with better dental options.

Please let us know when you book your appointment that you are an eligible DVA card holder so we can have the necessary paper work completed for you.

Call today on (07) 3839 7279.

Holes in my teeth


This is a question I am asked all the time – Why do I always have holes in my teeth?  And the answer is far more complex than you might think.


Everyone has different types of bacteria in their mouth which cause holes.  This bacteria  passed on from  mother/father to child has been found to be good bacteria. But the bacteria changes to bad bacteria if the environment changes.  For Example:  With high sugar diets, hole causing bacteria grow in abundance and good bacteria decrease. We used to ask if your mum or dad had bad teeth as we thought this meant the child did.  But we now know we can change the bacteria if we improve the diet.


We also have different types of enamel.  Some of us have had fluoride as children and will have stronger enamel.  If you were very sick as a child, had a lot of medication and fevers, you are far more likely to have weaker enamel that allows holes to form in teeth easily.  Some people have genetic enamel conditions. These are factors we do not have a great deal of control over.

What can I do to stop getting holes in my teeth?

What we can do is control the environment in our mouth.  If we are more susceptible to dental disease, we have to work harder at controlling the environment to stop holes forming in our teeth.

Obviously good brushing and flossing are critical factors, but we often forget about saliva and diet.
We supply the bacteria in our mouth with sugar, the bacteria convert this to acid and create holes in our teeth.  Tooth cavities are classified as a disease.  Sometimes we have very acidic diets and go straight to dissolving the protective enamel on our teeth.  A critical factor in creating a healthy mouth is a good supply of saliva.  Saliva is needed to neutralise the acids we have in our diet as well as those produced by bacteria.  So start drinking more water today!  At least 2 litres per day is needed to hydrate your body.

Once you have done that you then need to get the saliva glands working.  Chewing sugar free gum is the best way of doing this.  If you don’t like gum, try chewing celery as its full of water and helps to stimulate the saliva glands with the chewing action.

Saliva and plaque testing is one of the most effective tests we can do at your examination, we can determine your risk, identify the cause and start you on a plan to reverse your dental destruction.  Please don’t hesitate to let us know if this is something you would like to try when you book in for your next examination and chat further to answer your question “why do I always have holes in my teeth?”

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