Tuesday, February 27, 2018

The Importance of Smiling!

If you feel great, a smile comes naturally. It's an outward sign of joy, amusement, or excitement. Obviously, it is not natural to smile when we're sad or upset; but it turns out that smiling might be the best thing to do when you're ready to shift into a brighter mood. And it's not just for you; each time you smile at a person, their brain coaxes them to return the favour. You are creating a reciprocal relationship that allows both of you to release 'feel good' chemicals in your brain (endorphins) , activate the reward centres, increase attractiveness and the chances of living longer, healthier lives.

Scientists have found that smiling on purpose can help people feel better. Just the simple act of putting a smile on your face can lead you to feel actual happiness. Smiling on purpose changes brain chemistry.

More serious problems including depression require more than just putting on a smile, and should be discussed with your doctor. But when you are simply looking to improve your mood, smile!

How Smiling Affects Your Brain

Each time you smile you throw a little feel-good party in your brain. The act of smiling activates neural messaging that benefits your health and happiness.

For starters, smiling activates the release of neuropeptides that work towards fighting off stress. The feel good neurotransmitters dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin are also released when a smile flashes across your face. This not only relaxes your body, but it can lower your heart rate and blood pressure.

How Smiling Affects Your Brain

You are actually better looking when you smile - and we're not just trying to butter you up. When you smile, people treat you differently. You're viewed as more attractive, reliable, relaxed, and sincere. A study published in the journal Neuropsychologia reported that seeing an attractive smiling face activates your orbitofrontal cortex, the region in your brain that processes sensory rewards. This suggests that when you view a person smiling, you actually feel rewarded. (How does this affect the body though?)

How Smiling Affects Those Around You

Did you know that your smile is actually contagious? The part of your brain that is responsible for your facial expression of smiling when happy or mimicking another's smile resides in the cingulate cortex, an unconscious automatic response area. In a Swedish study, subjects were shown pictures of several emotions: joy, anger, fear and surprise. When the picture of someone smiling was presented, the researchers asked the subjects to frown. Instead, they found that the facial expressions went directly to imitation of what subjects saw. It took conscious effort to turn their smile upside down. So if you're smiling at someone, it's likely they can't help but smile back. If they don't, they're making a conscious effort not to.

So, the next time someone tells you to "cheer up" when you're in a low mood, own it. Your happiness might end up making that person feel happier too. It's shared!

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What is Fluoride and Do You Really Need It?

Fluoride: it’s best known for protecting teeth, but just how does it do that?
If you have ever wondered what all the fuss over fluoride is, why your toothpaste contains it, or how much of it you really need, then you have come to the right place! We have demystified fluoride and explained everything you need to know about this tooth-loving mineral.

What is fluoride exactly?

Fluoride is a colourless, naturally-occurring mineral that can be found throughout the Earth’s surface. It can be found in solid, liquid and gas forms and, when applied in small doses, has been proven to strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay. It’s for this reason that fluoride is often added in very small doses to the drinking water of municipalities as it has been proven to prevent cavities when compared to areas without fluoridated drinking water. 

If you have been to our office at Dr. Ian Gray Dental Group lately for a routine dental checkup, you likely experienced a concentrated fluoride treatment which usually comes in the form of a flavoured foam and is applied to your teeth using dental trays.

How does fluoride protect my teeth?

Fluoride protects teeth in a few different ways. One way is by strengthening the structure of the tooth for small children, which is still in the developmental stages for their teeth enamel. If the right amount of fluoride is applied during this period, the actual structure of the enamel is strengthened and becomes more resistant to acids. This means that, as the child grows, they will have teeth that are better protected right from the beginning.

When plaque builds up on and around teeth, the destructive bacteria within it is in direct contact with the enamel of the teeth. The bacteria slowly eats away at the enamel and weakens it by leaching vital minerals out of it. This process is called demineralization and, while the mouth naturally fixes the weakened enamel through remineralization, the natural process can become ineffective if teeth are not cleaned properly or if too much sugar enters the mouth on a regular basis.

So another way that fluoride helps to protect teeth is through remineralization. Fluoride helps to promote the process of remineralization and makes sure that the enamel which is replaced during the process is stronger and less susceptible to breakdown.

Fluoride also works against the destructive acid produced by plaque which is extremely important in preventing tooth decay. It does this by blocking some of the most harmful enzymes found in plaque and prevents them from producing the acid that weakens tooth enamel.

How much fluoride should I be consuming?

All water contains some fluoride, even natural spring water that has never been treated.

The recommended dietary allowance for fluoride differs depending on your age, gender, and whether or not your drinking water has fluoride in it already. In general, the amount of fluoride an adult female of 14 years of age or older should be consuming each day is 3 milligrams, while adult males of the same age range should be consuming 4 milligrams per day. Children from four to 13 years old should have one to two milligrams, while infants and small children shouldn’t consume more than half a milligram.

To compare how much fluoride is in your daily diet, consider that one conservative use of fluoridated toothpaste can contain between one and three milligrams of fluoride, depending on the brand and type of the toothpaste. Keep in mind that the suggested amounts of fluoride above are concerned with how much fluoride should be consumed internally, and that when you use toothpaste you should absolutely not be swallowing it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to keep track of how much fluoride is in your diet to ensure that you are meeting but not exceeding the recommended dosages. 

How can I make sure I’m getting enough fluoride?

The most effective way to ensure that you are introducing fluoride into your mouth, and one of the most important steps in general oral care, is to brush your teeth twice each day with fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure that when you are brushing, you take the time to go over and around each tooth on all sides and along the gum line to ensure that you aren’t leaving any area uncleaned or unprotected.

You can also introduce fluoride into your diet through foods such as taro root, yams, milk, eggs, cassava, red meats, and fish, especially if it’s canned. All of these foods contain less than 0.1 milligram of fluoride in them per serving.

Having a regular dental checkup every six months is also extremely important, not just because your mouth will be professionally cleaned, but also because you should receive a concentrated fluoride treatment each time. The treatment may come in the form of a flavoured foam or gel that is applied using dental trays or it may just be a rinse.

However it is given, the effects of professional fluoride treatments last much longer than those of at-home products or through dietary consumption. Professional treatments are especially important for those who are more susceptible to tooth rot or cavities as they boost the tooth enamel strength and make sure that every surface of each tooth is reached.

What if I’m still unsure about fluoride?

If you want to learn more about how fluoride can help to protect your teeth or if you’re unsure about how much you really need to have in your diet, make an appointment with us at Dr. Ian Gray Dental Group and our team will be more than happy to discuss it. The dental professionals at Dr. Ian Gray Dental Group will assess your oral health, your dental habits and specific needs, and will give you advice that is tailor made for you!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Importance of Dental Care for Caregivers

Good oral care is important at any age. However certain segments of the population require help with their oral hygiene care, including elderly, sick and mentally or physically challenged. Studies have shown that many family members are taking on the role of a primary care giver and oral hygiene should be another important area of focus to consider for any caregiver.

There is a huge link to oral health and overall health, and keeping the mouth healthy, keeps the body healthy (since the two are connected). A thing to consider is micro- organisms (bacteria) from oral infections that can enter the bloodstream and lungs and travel through the body. This can increase the risk for heart disease, stroke, and respiratory disorders.
Brushing and flossing are crucial activities that effect general health just as much as medications, proper diet and physical activity. Seeing a dental hygienist regularly aid in the process of general well being, and should be a part of everyone's regular routine.
When providing care to an individual with needs certain signs should be observed for inadequate oral care:
  • Food debris
  • Weight loss
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Red, swollen, bleeding tender gums
  • Loose teeth/ tooth pain
  • Abscess or pus around gums or teeth
A good routine to get into with oral hygiene should include:
  • Brushing and or cleaning the mouth twice daily for two minutes
  • Remove and brush dentures twice daily or more if needed
  • Floss teeth at least daily
  • Brushing or scraping tongue
  • Booking regular dental hygiene/ dental visits.
An important resource to utilize should be your dental professionals. We can aid in advice and tips to help make home care effective and give you the tools to help make sure that individuals, no matter their disability, receive the proper care they need to maintain oral and overall health.