This year, the theme for the Australian Dental Association (ADA) Dental Health week is Oral Health for Busy Lives. Dental Health Week acts as a reminder to Australians about the importance of oral health and how easy it can be to incorporate healthy habits into our busy daily lives.

Four Oral Hygiene Hacks for Busy People:

  1. Brushing
    There are no shortcuts when it comes to brushing – Twice daily for two minutes.
    It is important to brush for a total of 2 minutes at least two times per day to keep your teeth clean and healthy. Many patients find it more convenient and easier to brush using an electric toothbrush. They do most of the work for you and can also be programmed to run for two minutes, taking the guesswork out of brushing.
  2. Flossing
    A common excuse for not flossing maybe ‘It’s too time consuming’ or ‘I don’t have enough time’.
    Does this sound like you? Flossing doesn’t have to be a chore.  Flossettes or floss handles can be a helpful alternative for flossing between your teeth. And for wider spaces in between teeth we suggest using an interdental brush. It is best to floss and then brush, otherwise you may not bother following up with the flossing as your teeth already feel clean after brushing.  How often should you floss ? You should floss at least once per day. Floss cleans the spaces in between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.
  3. Diet
    When on the go, busy people tend to snack on sugary foods, but the frequent exposure to sugar increases the risk of dental caries – cavities. Cheese, nuts, seeds, fruit, vegetables, eggs and dry biscuits are good snack alternatives. Also, don’t forget to read the ingredients list on food products as you may be surprised how many “on the go” food options contain hidden sugars.
    Many people are also unaware of the amount of sugar  in fruit juices, flavoured milks and soft drinks. Water is certainly the much healthier, inexpensive and better option.
  4. Regular Dentist Check-ups
    Taking the time and effort to visit your dentist regularly and addressing your oral health can lead to great success in achieving or maintaining healthy teeth. Discussing the various options of home cleaning including flossing and brushing best suited to you and your busy lifestyle can help improve plaque control, reduce gum inflammation and bleeding.   The benefit of a decreased risk of caries and periodontal disease, can actually save you time in the long run.


Dental Health Week is occurring this week all over Australia and at our Brisbane Dentist here in Spring hill we welcome any questions you may have.  Is it time to sort out your oral health and bring back that great smile and fresh breath?


sugar and teeth


It can be very difficult to cut back on sugar as it finds its way into many of our daily foods.  Sugar is everywhere from our cereals and sandwiches to our daily dinners.

Sugar makes our food taste great making us crave more.  At the same time it does not fill us up, encouraging us to consume larger portions.

Fats and sugars have always been part of our lives.  However the new abundance of carbohydrates, in particular sugar, has led to the obesity and diabetes epidemic.

And as the saying goes “the mouth is the window to the body”.  The increase in cavities in our teeth, particularly in children, forms part of this same epidemic.

Helpful Hints to Cut Back on Sugar:

  1. Cut back on adding extra sugar to your food.  No more sugar in your tea and coffee and don’t add sugar to your breakfast.  Added sweeteners  include sugar, honey, molasses and maple syrup.  Identify them and start to remove them.
  2. Breakfast cereals are packed with sugar. They have been nicknamed breakfast dessert.  Choose options such as porridge and add fruit for sweetness, or make your own natural muesli where you can control the amount of sugar.  There are low sugar cereal options so read the handy ingredient list.   1 teaspoon of sugar = 4gms.  Or choose another options such as eggs and toast.
  3. Aim for no more than about 25 grams (6 teaspoons) of  sugar each day.
  4. Avoid juice or dilute your juice by 50% with water. You make think juice is healthy but by removing the fruit fiber you are intensifying the sugars and drinking the sugars of 4 oranges,  instead of eating 1 orange.
  5. Choose fruit and veges. It is possible to overeat fruit and consume too much sugar.  However most people find this difficult to do, as the fiber in fruit and vegetable is very good at filling us up.
  6. No more soft drink. Soft drink represents the single biggest problem for your teeth.  It is loaded with sugars and acid’s and can destroy teeth is a very short time.
  7. Check savoury foods for sugar. Sugar has managed to find its way into foods we do not expect.  Check your pasta sauces, crackers and spreads such as mayonnaise and pickles.  These are often loaded with sugar.
  8. Avoid bad habits such as snacking for a quick sugar fix. Snacking creates the perfect environment for cavity causing bacteria.  Without other foods or water to wash away the sugars, the bacteria are free to feed and produce acid.

Little by little it is possible to significantly cut back on your sugar, making room for the times in life you require a little treat, such as Easter!

Water Pik Water Flosser


The waterpik – water flosser,  makes it easier to turn flossing into an important part of your daily oral hygiene routine.  Flossing is important to clean in between your teeth and gums where your toothbrush alone can’t reach.  While nothing is as good as physically flossing with floss, the waterpik can help those who simply cannot floss.  It is also great if you have braces as you can wash the food away from around the braces.

What is a Water Flosser?

A water flosser, also known as a Waterpik or an oral irrigator, is an electric device that uses a stream of high pressure water to remove plaque and food debris from between the teeth and below the gum line.

An American dentist and an engineer designed the first oral irrigator. Its purpose was to help and encourage patients to clean their mouths at home and improve their oral health.

Marketed as easy and fast to use and effective in cleaning, the popularity of Water flossers has been noted of late. There is no clear scientific evidence as of yet, to say water flossers are as effective as traditional floss. However,  Water flossers when used correctly, can be a great addition to your daily dental hygiene routine.


Can a Waterpik Help Gum Disease?

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is the infection and inflammation of the gum that surrounds teeth. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It’s the inflammation of the gums when dental plaque is not cleaned away properly.  Gingivitis can be identified by red, puffy, bleeding gums.  The regular use of an oral irrigator, combined with brushing, can improve the health of gums and help treat the gingivitis in the early stages of gum disease.


Is a Waterpik Good for Braces?

When undergoing orthodontic treatment, such as braces, oral hygiene becomes challenging.  Not only does plaque easily accumulate between teeth and orthodontic components, it becomes tricky to floss.  Thorough cleaning is very important as problems such as gum disease and decalcification of the enamel (cavities) can occur around the braces.  The stream of water from an oral irrigator can easily access and effectively clean plaque and remaining debris from between wires, around brackets and in between teeth. This is much easier than trying to thread floss between brackets and wires where it can be very easy to give up on flossing.


Can I use a Waterpik to Clean Dental Implants?

Like real teeth, it is important to floss your dental implants. Maintaining good oral hygiene, is critical to the success of implants. Implants should last a long time, but they are more likely to fail with poor oral hygiene and in the presence of gum disease. A Waterpik can be used to clean around and in between Dental Implants and your gums, removing remaining plaque and debris.  It is better to floss, but a Waterpik is better than not flossing at all.


If you have any further questions about flossing or to see if water flossing is the right alternative for you, contact our Brisbane Dentist, at Leichhardt Street Dental Spring Hill.

SACM Dentist Brisbane Dentist Xrays


What are the different types of Dental X-rays?

Dental x-rays are  called dental radiographs.  There are different types of dental x-rays that you may require.

Each type of dental x-ray has a specific purpose:  to  analyses a specific area of the mouth and the surrounding structures.

Dental x-rays can either be intra-oral,  where the film or sensor is placed inside your mouth or extra-oral, meaning the film or sensor is placed outside your mouth.

These different types include:


•interproximal or bitewing





Periapical Radiographs

Periapical x-rays show the tooth and the full root.  This type of  dental x-ray is used to analyze the structure of a tooth, the surrounding bone and the root. Our dentist uses this type of x-ray to detect periodontal disease and infection of a tooth.


Interproximal x-rays, also know as bitewing x-rays, show the crowns of the teeth top and bottom on one side of the mouth. These x-rays are used to detect cavities between the teeth, cavities under previous fillings and also bone loss caused by periodontal disease.


Much like a periapical x-ray, an occlusal x-ray shows the entire structure of a particular tooth on the top or bottom of your mouth. This type of x-ray is mostly used to x-ray your front teeth. These x-rays detect impacted teeth, supernumerary (extra) teeth and infections.


Panoramic x-rays, commonly know as an OPG, is an extra-oral x-ray which shows a panoramic view of all your teeth, the jaws, the joints, and the sinuses. This type of x-ray is usually taken for wisdom tooth pain, jaw fractures, to identify cysts or tumours and also before commencing orthodontic treatment.


Commonly used for orthodontics, cephalometric x-rays are extra-oral x-rays which show the whole cranium. This type of x-ray determines the relation between the teeth and the jaw, which helps plan orthodontic treatment.


Cone-bean x-rays create a three-dimensional image of a certain area in the mouth. This type of x-ray is used to determine where to place dental implants and also for difficult root-canal treatments.

What are the benefits of digital x-rays?

Digital x-rays are better than the old film x-rays as they require less radiation.  Changes in the contrast on x-ray films had to be achieved by increases in the radiation dosage.  Today a minimum dosage can be used, and the contrast adjusted on the computer.

Can I have x-rays when I am Pregnant?

As a courtesy to our patients we tend not to take x-rays while pregnant as you may feel uncomfortable with the idea.  However in our practice we use a modern lead x-ray apron over the body which prevents x-rays passing through, making it very safe.  Dental x-rays taken here in our rooms are also extremely low dose, primarily because they are modern digital x-rays.



Child Dentist


Did you really inherit your bad teeth from your parents?

We know that as children we inherit oral bacteria from our parents and carers, but what is the relationship between bad teeth and genetics?  When training to be a dentist we would always ask the parents about their teeth while checking their child’s teeth, the assumption being that if the parents had bad teeth, the child was likely to also have bad teeth.

This new study  published in Cell Host and Microbe has changed this concept.

The study is the first large study to analyse tooth plaque swabs from 485 sets of Australian twins aged between 5 and 11 with 205 being genetically identical twins.

The study set out to examine the oral microbiome (the bacteria that live in our mouths) to determine if it was genes or environment that influenced the presence and growth of the bacteria.  What is the relationship between bad teeth and genetics?

•What they found was the bacteria that are inherited were not the cavity causing bad bacteria.  It was those bacteria linked to the environment – such as a high sugar environments that increased in abundance.  The inherited bacteria decreased in abundance over time.

•In other words, children that had a high sugar diet had managed to grow far more abundant communities of “bad cavity causing bacteria” and decrease the communities of “good or inherited bacteria”.

It has never been shown before that the bacteria that protect us from tooth decay decrease in numbers with high sugar diets.  Because the types of bacteria and their growth are significantly influenced by the environment, we can no longer blame our genetics for tooth decay.

But most importantly if we can control the environment we can significantly change the prevalence of oral disease and treatment.

Good Oral Hygiene

Starting early with good oral hygiene habits has never been so important.  Even before teeth have erupted,  what we feed out children is having an impact on their future dental health.

Avoid sugar, sugary drinks and lollies as much as is possible.  Practice good oral hygiene habits with twice daily brushing and flossing and help to save those “good bacteria”.

For more idea’s on looking after your child’s teeth, visit our Children’s Dentistry Page.

How to floss your teeth


A guide to help you floss your teeth:

You have made a life changing step and decided it is time to floss your teeth, this guide will help you learn to floss your teeth.

  1. Begin with dispensing approx. 30cm of dental floss.
  2. Wrap the ends of the floss around each middle finger, leaving a few centimetres of floss to work with.
  3. Holding the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers, slide the floss gently up-and-down between the teeth.
  4. To remove the floss, use the same back-and-forth motion to bring the floss up and away from the teeth

It is highly recommend to floss daily. Flossing is important to remove plaque and debris from between your teeth- places where a toothbrush cannot easily reach.

Which dental floss do I buy?

Our favourite floss is Colgate total.  There are similar flosses in other brands.  The floss should be a ribbon shape rather than a cotton string shape.  It should also have a thin wax coating so it can easily slide between your teeth.

Thicker flosses can be better at cleaning but they can be very difficult to use.  If it becomes a chore to floss, you will no longer do it every day!

Flossing has been shown to decrease the spread of inflammatory cells into your blood stream, helping to improve your general health.



How to brush your teeth


A Guide to help Brush your Teeth:

You may think you know how to brush your teeth, but you may be surprised.  Remember you should brush for at least two minutes.

Starting at the back, position the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle, direct the bristles at the margin where the gum and teeth meet. Gently brush in a circular motion. Be careful not to brush too hard and avoid scrubbing from side to side. Scrubbing too hard and particularly in a side to side motion can cause damage to the tooth enamel and can cause your gums to recede over a period of time.

Take care and clean each section and surface as follows:

• Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth and lower teeth.

• Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth and lower teeth – This step is often missed

• Clean the biting surfaces

• And don’t forget to brush your tongue too. Brushing your tongue reduces bacteria in your mouth, helping your breathe stay fresh. To brush your tongue, push the bristles on the tongue and gently brush forward to the tip.


– images courtesy of Colgate

If you use an electric powered toothbrush, position the toothbrush at the same 45 degree angle and ensure the bristles are positioned where the gum and teeth meet.  Electric toothbrushes supply all the movement for you. All you need to do is simply guide the brush slowly from tooth to tooth, stopping for a few seconds on each one. Do this for every surface for each tooth.

When you have finished, spit out the toothpaste and don’t rinse with water. Leaving some toothpaste on your teeth gives your teeth some extra ongoing protection.


What toothbrush should I buy?

We prefer the small head Colgate ultra compact head toothbrush.  This toothbrush has a smaller head to reach tighter areas.  At the same time it is not so small that you feel like it is a baby toothbrush.  As a manual toothbrush, we find the circular inserts work in a similar way to our dental cleaning tools.


When Should I replace my Toothbrush?

Replacing your brush should take place when the bristles start to spread apart, or every three months, whichever comes first.


How Often Should I Brush my Teeth?

At least twice daily. Brush in the morning and at night before bed.


How Long Should I Brush my Teeth for?

It’s all in the timing – you should brush for at least two minutes.


Am I Pressing too Hard with my Toothbrush?

It is a common mistake for people to think that pressing harder on your teeth cleans them better. The fact is, too much pressure and ‘scrubbing’ can damage your gums and tooth enamel.  A good indicator is if the bristles on your toothbrush are wearing out quickly and well before the three month mark.


Brush or Floss First?

We recommend flossing first before brushing. By doing so, you remove plaque and debris from between your teeth. These surfaces then become accessible to clean when you brush.
Although it is not critical which order, the important thing is that you do both.


Wanting to also learn how to floss?  Click through to find out more.

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