Tips for Looking After Your Child's Teeth | Dental Excel Blog

Looking After Your Child’s Teeth from the Very Start

Tips for Looking After Your Child's Teeth | Dental Excel BlogMany parents find it difficult to judge when and how you should begin looking after your child’s teeth. It is never too early to start teaching your child how to look after their teeth and gums, and helping them to understand the importance of a healthy mouth and smile.

According to US dental professionals, even before the teeth appear, parents should be paying attention to the soft tissues of a baby’s mouth, and suggest that a soft, clean cloth could be run gently over those tiny gums to remove bacteria and avoid damage to the equally tiny teeth behind them.

When do the first baby teeth appear, and what should we do when they arrive?

Generally speaking, the front teeth appear first – two on the top and two at the bottom – at any time around six months of age. The rest of the baby teeth will gradually appear after that, until the age of around 2 and a half, when all 20 first teeth should be visible.

Very young children often suffer with teething problems as the first teeth break through the gums, resulting in symptoms such as (but not always):

  • Red cheeks
  • Swollen, painful gums
  • Raised temperature
  • Dribbling
  • Difficulty sleeping

Teething troubles can be eased with cooled teething rings that are widely available at pharmacies across Australia, or by gently massaging the child’s gums.

Brushing should begin as soon as the first tooth appears, with a soft, baby toothbrush and water. Baby toothbrushes are specially designed to be extra soft.

Opinions differ, however, on the use of toothpaste. Some dental professionals are against the use of toothpaste before the age of two, but others recommend a tiny amount of specially-formulated baby toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Everyone agrees that swallowing toothpaste should be avoided!

Speak to your own dentist about looking after your child’s teeth, and take your child to the dentist with you. Starting this regular routine early is the key to making sure your child gets off to the right start with dental hygiene.

Why it is important to establish a good routine early for your child’s teeth and gums

The baby teeth are the first teeth your child has, and they form a basis for the second, permanent teeth, which will begin to arrive around the age of six. Although the first teeth will fall out, they still need to be meticulously cleaned and looked after professionally to ensure a healthy set of permanent teeth will follow.

Getting everyone involved in looking after your child’s teeth

Getting young children involved in looking after their teeth and gums is crucial if they are to get on the right road to a healthy smile in later life. It is not always easy to persuade young children to do this, but there are a few tricks you can have up your sleeve to help establish a fun, regular routine, such as:

  • Find dental hygiene books and online videos developed especially for kids
  • Encourage your child to select their own toothbrush, or choose one in their favourite colour – remember that children’s toothbrushes are specially developed for tiny mouths, so ensure you pick a dedicated baby toothbrush
  • Encourage a daily routine of morning brushing after breakfast, and evening brushing before bedtime
  • Play a fun or favourite song for two minutes to encourage brushing over a period of time
  • Avoid sugary drinks or treats. This is the perfect time to introduce healthy snacks for children that won’t harm their teeth. (have a look at our recent blog post here for some ideas).
  • Offer a reward for good dental hygiene
  • Do something fun after a dentist appointment

Parents of young children want to make sure cavities are avoided, and looking after your child’s teeth right from the start can give them the perfect grounding for a healthy mouth and smile.

Dental Excel dentists take a fun, holistic approach to children’s dental care, and nothing pleases us more than to teach our young visitors how to look after their teeth and gums. Come and see us with your children, meet our special teddy that helps look after them while they are here, and start your child on the right path to a happy, healthy smile that they can keep for life with Dental Excel.

Choosing the Right Toothbrush | Dental Excel Blog

Choosing the Right Toothbrush – Dental Tips

Choosing the Right Toothbrush | Dental Excel BlogEveryone knows that brushing your teeth is an important part of the daily bathroom routine, and you need a toothbrush and paste to do that effectively. With a mind-boggling array of toothbrushes available, however, how do you know you are choosing the right toothbrush to use?

Toothbrushes are widely available today, in supermarkets, pharmacies and even in the local service station shop! As a general rule of thumb, unless your toothbrush is showing obvious signs of wear, you should consider changing it every three months or so.

It is also wise to consider changing your toothbrush after having a cold or flu virus, as the bristles can store bacteria, which in some cases can lead to reinfection.

How do you go about choosing the right toothbrush for you when there is so much choice?

Many people don’t realise that it is important to select the right toothbrush to suit your teeth and gums. Some of us will apply a simple strategy, such as the colour of the toothbrush, the grip style or the head shape that is most attractive. Cost can come into the fore too, and it can often be tempting to buy a cheap toothbrush, or a multipack for the whole family to save on the expense.

Although there is nothing wrong with applying these strategies to your next toothbrush shop, you should bear in mind that some types of toothbrush may not be suitable for your teeth and gums, particularly if you have any dental issues going on, such as overbite, overcrowding or problems with the wisdom teeth. You may have sensitive teeth, or struggle with plaque retention which will determine your personal needs to apply to your choice of brush.

We have put together a few tips that you could apply to shopping for your next toothbrush:

Ask your dentist for advice – dental professionals are by far the best to ask for advice. Your own dentist will know what type of toothbrush you should be using and can recommend some attributes to look for.

Here at Dental Excel, our general dentistry services include helping our patients to establish a good dental routine, and we can advise you in choosing the right toothbrush for your own particular needs.

Bristle texture – hard, medium or soft?

Choosing the Right Toothbrush | Dental TipsToothbrush bristles typically fall into three texture categories – hard – medium – soft. For most people, soft bristles are the right choice. This depends upon how vigorous you are when you brush, but hard bristles could damage the soft gingival tissues of the mouth if you are a vigorous brusher, and cause sensitivity.

Soft bristles are generally the safest and most comfortable to use, and should always be selected for children.

Head size and shape

Again, there is a huge range of toothbrush head sizes and types on the market. Choosing the right size and type is a personal thing, but as a general suggestion, the toothbrush head should fit comfortably in the mouth and be able to reach all the teeth.

Some modern toothbrushes have longer bristles located at the front of the head to enable easier cleaning of the back teeth, and some also have a rubber, grooved plate on the back of the head to make cleaning the tongue an integral part of the brushing process. These are useful additions to the toothbrush, but not always a necessity, particularly if you already have a good technique for reaching the back of the molars.

Children’s teeth require much smaller heads for clear reasons. They also need soft bristles to avoid damaging baby tooth enamel and the gums. Most manufacturers produce toothbrushes specifically for children and babies.


The handle of the toothbrush should be a comfortable length for you to hold firmly without it slipping. If you struggle holding your toothbrush, think about one with a rubberised handle to limit the chance of it slipping.


Although cost can often be a relevant factor, it does make sense to buy a well-branded toothbrush by a manufacturer that understands the importance of the toothbrush design. Buying the best that you can reasonably afford is probably the best way to go.

Our teeth can last a lifetime if properly cared for and monitored by regular check-ups at the dentist. Your dentist will always be the best person to recommend options for you when you are next ready for choosing the right toothbrush.

How to Clean Your Tongue | Dental Blog

How to Clean Your Tongue

How to Clean Your Tongue | Dental BlogCleaning your tongue can be an important part of your dental hygiene routine, and can help to remove plaque and toxins from the mouth. When performed regularly, bacteria build-up is inhibited, bad breath is reduced, and some patients experience an enhanced sense of taste because of a clean tongue. Let’s take a look at how to clean your tongue and what tools are available to help you.

What should you use to clean your tongue?

There are a variety of tools available to clean your tongue, and we will look at those below, but a good result can be produced simply by using your current toothbrush and regular toothpaste, depending on the level of cleaning needed. Using a combination of tools, in addition to your toothbrush, can sometimes produce the best results.

Your dentist or dental hygienist will be able to advise you about the best methods to employ, and tools to use.

Tongue brush – a tongue brush is often located on the back of the head of a good-quality toothbrush, and will appear as a series of soft, plastic ridges. You can buy a dedicated tongue brush too.

Tongue scraper – these are available in different materials, such as copper, stainless steel, plastic and silicone. Metal scrapers can be easily sterilised and generally last longer than those made of other materials.

How to clean your tongue

If using your toothbrush, or a dedicated tongue brush, simply give your tongue a soft brush from back to front in long, firm sweeping motions. If you are prone to gagging, you may need to give yourself some time to do this, as the gag reflex is often triggered at the back of the tongue.

When using a tongue scraper, work with light pressure, as you are aiming for a gentle scrape that removes the thin layer of plaque and mucus from the tongue. Exerting too much pressure at this stage could lead to soreness or bleeding. Most harmful bacteria live in the centre of the tongue, so focus more on this area with either tool of choice.

Finish off by rinsing with plain water or mouthwash.

You can repeat this procedure after every brush and floss, for the best results and a clean tongue, but a minimum of once a week should suffice to keep your mouth clean and fresh, and to reduce significantly the likelihood of bad breath.

How Long do Tooth Fillings Last | Dental Excel Blog

How Long Do Tooth Fillings Last?

How Long do Tooth Fillings Last | Dental Excel BlogThere is a widespread assumption that once a tooth cavity is filled by your dentist, the tooth fillings will last forever. This is a common myth, as the lifespan of a filling remains largely dependent upon the material that is used to fill the tooth. Other factors include the care you give your teeth every day as a part of your dental hygiene routine, and which teeth have been filled.

When do you need tooth fillings?

During a routine check-up at the dentist, your teeth will be examined for general health and condition. An experienced dentist is able to tell from the examination which teeth need to be filled or treated, if any, and will advise during the appointment about the different types of fillings available to suit your particular circumstances.

The most common reasons for patients needing tooth fillings are:

  • The appearance of a cavity, either in its early stages or ‘full-blown’.
  • Cracked or broken teeth.
  • Worn teeth, which can happen if the patient grinds their teeth or bites their nails.

What types of tooth fillings are available?

Historically and most commonly, tooth fillings were made from a silver amalgam substance, made up of a mixture of silver, zinc, copper, tin and mercury. Although this type of filling is still widely available, many dental professionals are looking to the latest materials for filling teeth to suit a patient’s individual requirements.

Modern dental filling materials include the use of:

  • Gold
  • Porcelain
  • Composite resin
  • Glass ionomer
  • Plastic

Which types of fillings last the longest?

The longevity of tooth fillings varies, and as previously mentioned, depend also on the care given to the teeth during a daily routine of brushing and flossing, and which teeth are filled – whether they are large or small teeth, and their position in the mouth.

Some types of fillings are unsuitable for certain groups of people, such as those with an allergy, for example, to the minute amounts of mercury present in amalgam fillings. Your dentist will be able to recommend the type of filling that best suits your needs, right down to budgetary requirements.

Let’s take a look at each type of modern tooth filling material to compare longevity expectations and advantages:

Gold fillings

Gold fillings can be more costly than other types of filling, but often please patients that prefer the look of a gold filling to a silver one. Gold does not corrode, and is expected to last for at least 10-15 years, often much longer.

Composite resin fillings

Composite resin fillings match the colour of the tooth, making them less visible than gold or silver amalgam fillings. Composite resin fillings mean a little more time in the dentist chair for treatment, and are expected to last for around five years, although with dedicated care, can last for longer.

Glass ionomer fillings

These types of fillings are most commonly used in children and for dental work below the gumline. Although made from a weaker material, glass ionomer releases fluoride and can inhibit further decay of the tooth. The latest types of glass ionomer perform better than the older types, which had a life expectancy of five years or less.

Porcelain (or ceramic) fillings

The average life expectancy of porcelain fillings is more than 15 years, with a cost comparable to gold fillings.

Dental Excel dentists in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast are experienced in all types of dental tooth fillings, working with our patients closely to achieve oral health. We can advise our patients during a routine appointment about the best types of fillings to suit their personal taste and circumstances.

Contact us to make your family appointment today, and let us help you with friendly and professional advice, and top-class dentistry to make your fillings last.

What is Gingivitis and What Can You Do if You Have it?

Gingivitis is an inflammation caused by a build-up of plaque around the teeth and over the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to problems in the mouth, such as bleeding gums, bad breath and recession of the gums from the teeth. Gingivitis is also an early-warning sign of gum disease.

Plaque is a colourless coating of bacteria that is consistently produced by the mouth, and leaves a film over the teeth and gums. The toxins in the bacteria are usually removed when a daily brushing and flossing routine is established.

If plaque is not removed regularly, the toxins begin to attack the delicate gum tissues, which can lead to a hardening of the plaque, or a transformation into tartar. At that stage, only a dentist can remove it.

How can you tell if you have Gingivitis?

As Gingivitis is not painful in its early stages, many sufferers can be unaware that they are affected, although some sufferers experience tenderness in the gums.

The first signs can include a reddening of the gums around the teeth, and small amounts of blood on your toothbrush or dental floss after brushing. You may also notice a small change in your gums, as a softening of the soft tissues around the teeth (gingival tissues) is a common symptom. There may be some recession of the gums, and this will make the teeth look longer.

If you suspect you may have Gingivitis, a dentist will be able to confirm or deny your suspicions very quickly during a routine check-up, or with a general appointment. Make sure you address this quickly with your dentist, and avoid any progression of the disease to something more serious.

How can Gingivitis be treated?

If caught at an early enough stage, Gingivitis can and should be treated quickly, to avoid a progression of the disease into Periodontitis, which can leave the sufferer with permanent damage to the teeth, connective tissues and the bones of the jaw.

Treating Gingivitis at an early stage is a straightforward process, involving removal of the hardened plaque or tartar build-up above and below the gum line by your dentist during a ‘scale and polish’ treatment. If the disease has progressed to another stage, or has led to Periodontitis, your dentist will give you advice about treatment that you need.

How can Gingivitis be prevented?

Prevention of Gingivitis is far better than treatment, and is very easy. The establishment of a regular brushing and flossing oral routine is the only way to prevent the onset of Gingivitis and other issues that can affect the delicate periodontal and gingival tissues of the mouth.

Looking after your teeth and gums can not only give you a healthy mouth, but can elevate your confidence levels and make you feel happier.

  • Maintaining a regular brushing and flossing routine, in addition to making sure that your dentist has a regular look inside your mouth, ensures that plaque is removed and is not allowed to build up to unhealthy levels.
  • Using a bacterial mouthwash can also help, and is a good addition to your bathroom cabinet.
  • Tartar-control toothpaste products are readily available, if you are susceptible to Gingivitis, and should be used twice-daily
  • Flossing with a good-quality dental floss product once a day to remove bacteria between the teeth.

Dental Excel dentists in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast can help you with Gingivitis if you are affected. Contact us to make your appointment today, and let us help you keep a healthy mouth for life!

Five Ways to Fight Bad Breath

Fighting Bad Breath | Dental Excel BlogAlmost everyone suffers with bad breath at some point in their lives, often caused by foods, smoking, certain medications or even crash dieting.

Some people simply have ‘morning breath’, which can easily be ‘cured’ by brushing and flossing, or with the use of a good mouthwash. Children and young adults often have days when their breath is bad-smelling, sometimes attributed to hormonal changes in the body.

Most cases of bad breath are temporary and mild, but sometimes can point to a more serious, underlying cause, particularly if the sufferer experiences it for a prolonged period.

Experiencing bad breath can place the sufferer in an awful position. It can be embarrassing, particularly if you work in an environment in close proximity to other people. Some sufferers are not even aware that their breath is bad. Not everyone is comfortable with telling someone they have bad breath, and those sufferers do not get the chance to receive treatment.

What is halitosis?

Halitosis is the medical term given with a clinical diagnosis of bad breath. Halitosis is not the same as ‘ordinary’ bad breath.

What causes halitosis?

The causes of halitosis can be wide-ranging, but the most common causes are:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Smoking
  • Gum disease
  • Low-carb diets or fasting
  • Xerostomia (Dry Mouth)
  • Medication
  • Alcoholism

What can you do to fight bad breath?

Visit the dentist

It is a good idea to find out what is happening in your body to cause bad breath before you can begin treating it, and the best way to do this is to visit your dentist. Don’t be shy! Your dentist or dental hygienist is specifically trained, and has seen many, many cases of bad breath in all guises before you.

Regular trips to your dentist for routine check-ups at least twice a year will ensure that any underlying issues can be spotted earlier and treated more effectively.

Improve dental hygiene routines

Often, poor dental hygiene is the root cause of breath smelling badly. Improve your dental hygiene routine by brushing and flossing at least twice a day, particularly after eating. Cleaning the tongue regularly can also help to improve your breath, as can the use of a good quality mouthwash.

Take a trip to your local dentist and ask them for tips and advice to help you.

Stop smoking

If you are a user of tobacco products, whether cigarettes, cigars or chewing tobacco, then you are at higher risk of contracting gum disease or other periodontal issues that can lead to bad breath.

Tobacco products can produce a foul smell of their own that can become offensive when breathed out. Smoking cessation improves oral health, and reduces the likelihood of Dry Mouth and halitosis.

Keep hydrated

Drinking water instead of coffee or tea can not only reduce occurrence of bad breath, but can also improve oral hygiene significantly. Keep your mouth moist and hydrated throughout the day for the best results.

Drinking green teas can also be beneficial, as they contain polyphenols that can help to reduce the sulphuric compounds present in the mouth and throat, subsequently reducing oral bacteria.

Avoid certain medications

If you suffer from halitosis, taking certain medications can exacerbate your condition. Although it can be difficult to avoid certain medications if you are unwell, speak to your GP about possible alternatives if you suffer with bad breath as a result of taking:

  • Antidepressants
  • Pain killers
  • Antihistamines
  • Products containing sodium lauryl sulphate
  • Diuretics

How Dental Excel can help you

Dental Excel in Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast can help you if you are suffering with bad breath. We take a holistic approach to your oral hygiene, and are happy to discuss your condition with you, offering some real, practical advice that you can put into practice straightaway.

We strongly advocate the practice of taking regular oral health checks at your dentist. Your dentist or hygienist can be your closest friend and ally when you suffer with bad breath! Contact us today, and let us help you with your condition.

Dental Phobia | How to Cope | Dental Excel Blog

What is Dental Phobia and How Can You Cope with It?

Anyone who suffers with a dental phobia will understand how terrifying a simple, routine visit to the dentist can be. Symptoms vary according to the severity of the condition, but can include:

  • Dental Phobia | How to Cope | Dental Excel BlogA build-up of fear over days leading up to the appointment.
  • Loss of sleep.
  • Sweating and nausea.
  • Lack of appetite.
  • Nausea.
  • A debilitating anxiety on the day, often leading to cancellation of the appointment.
  • Paralysing terror in the waiting room.

What is a dental phobia?

The widely-accepted definition of a phobia is ‘an intense, irrational fear’ of something. It is not simply a dislike of attending, which many people have for the dentist, hospital or the doctor, but a condition that leads to the inability to face that fear; igniting the body’s ‘fight or flight’ reaction, and leaving sufferers with the inescapable thought that they will do almost anything to avoid the situation.

A dental phobia is an intense, irrational fear of the dentist.

Sufferers of dental phobia face frustration, anxiety, physical symptoms and as a result, embarrassment when they have a routine appointment approaching. It is an uncontrollable condition, often entirely misunderstood by the people around you. The symptoms are very real, and can be terrifying.

Can dental phobia cause health problems?

Dental phobia, if not overcome, can lead to severe oral health issues. Regular dental check-ups are vital to maintain healthy teeth and gums, and if not attended at least twice a year, issues that may arise in the mouth can easily be missed.

Some dental phobia sufferers can put off routine dental care for years, and will suffer in silence with dental issues, such as pain in the gums or teeth, infection or even broken teeth to avoid a visit to the dentist.

Sufferers of dental phobia face a heightened risk of gum disease and can lose teeth earlier in life than a patient who attends for regular check-ups. Also, the appearance of the teeth can suffer, which can have a knock-on effect to self-esteem. Discolouration is common in teeth that are uncared for professionally, and conditions such as misalignment, overbite or underbite are not recognised early enough. There are many conditions that can be treated quickly and easily with a regular visit to the dentist, as they are spotted early enough to make treatment possible.

At a regular visit to the dentist, patients can ensure that plaque does not build up, and a quick scale and polish can do wonders for the health of your mouth and your confidence.

What can you do to begin coping with dental phobia, and how can Dental Excel help you?

The physical and emotional effects of dental phobia can be treated, and should be addressed, as over time they can only get worse.

For effective treatment of your condition, you need to assess the level of the phobia, and give yourself a little time to work out what will work best for you. Generally, the biggest fears people have are; the fear of pain, the lack of control they experience in the dentist chair and also, the self-consciousness that one’s mouth may be unsightly. All these things (and many more) can trigger an attack of acute anxiety or dental phobia.

Dental Excel dentists on the Sunshine Coast are experienced in handling patients coping with dental phobia on many levels. Our friendly dental nurses and reception staff are also trained to recognise your symptoms, and are happy to help you to overcome your fears.

We have a few ideas, and tricks up our sleeves to assist you with your dental treatment concerns, whether you experience nervousness or a full-blown dental phobia. We enjoy a relaxed, friendly atmosphere at all our practices, and extend a warm welcome to our patients, who benefit from our warm approach. We want to help you keep your teeth for life, and enjoy having us look after you!

Here are some things you could try:

  • Make an initial call to one of our four dental practices on the Sunshine Coast, or our practice in Bracken Ridge – talk to us about your fears.
  • Call in to one of our dental practices and meet the friendly teams. The atmosphere in all our practices is relaxed, we all work better that way! Talk to us and take a seat in the waiting room for a few minutes to familiarise yourself with the place.
  • Ask to see one of the treatment rooms.
  • Ask to sit in a dental treatment chair.
  • Make an appointment with one of our friendly, experienced dentists. Once you have talked through your appointment, you may find you feel more relaxed.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions about treatments – we are more than happy to listen and discuss your options with you in advance.

Dental Excel dentists are skilled in pain relief, and can offer you a range of options, including Happy Gas, should you require advanced treatment beyond your regular check-up.

Dental practices today are not what they were a decade ago. Advancements in treatment and technology have brought changes to dentistry, and if you haven’t been to the dentist for a few years, you may be pleasantly surprised at these changes.

Dental Excel technology includes some of the very latest in next-generation dental care practices, such as the Intra Oral Camera, which allows you to see what we see. We pride ourselves in keeping up-to-date, ensuring we can provide our patients with a holistic approach to dentistry. Let us help to alleviate some of your concerns – talk to us today at Dental Excel.