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Is Your Toothbrush Making You Sick?

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on May 30, 2013 | Comments (0)

Keeping Toothbrushes CleanOttawa, Ontario – Do you have a cold that seems to be lingering, but can’t figure out why? The answer might be lurking in your medicine cabinet. That’s right; your toothbrush could be harboring germs that can result in you being unable to shake that cough.

Researchers from the University of Manchester have reported that one toothbrush can contain more than 100 million bacteria. But don’t rush to throw out all the toothbrushes in your home, says Dr. Pamela Li, a dental care expert with a practice in Ottawa.

“Our mouths harbor bacteria,” says Dr. Li, whose Ottawa office practices laser dentistry. “We brush our teeth to remove plaque, which is itself bacteria. The good news is that our bodies’ natural defenses protect us from getting sick from the bacteria that live on our toothbrushes.”

There are, however, several things we should be aware of, such as storing your toothbrush as far away from the toilet as possible. For homes with small bathrooms, find the place farthest from the toilet to keep your toothbrush. Every time a toilet is flushed, bacteria spray into the air. Keeping a toothbrush near the toilet can let those bacteria jump onto your toothbrush.

Other tips to remember include:

  • Keep your toothbrush dry. Bacteria thrives in wet areas so be sure your toothbrush has a chance to fully dry in between brushings. Don’t use toothbrush covers because they can prevent a toothbrush from drying completely.
  • Rinse your toothbrush. Wash the toothbrush thoroughly every time you use it.
  • Store it upright. Never store a toothbrush lying down.
  • Never share toothbrushes. Even keep toothbrushes of other people from touching yours because they can swap germs.

“Before brushing your teeth, always thoroughly wash your hands with warm water and soap,” says Dr. Li, whose office fits patients with porcelain veneers. “For my patients who wear dentures in Ottawa, having clean hands before brushing or flossing can eliminate any germs that might be on their hands from transferring to their toothbrushes.”

Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months, not just because of the buildup of bacteria, but also because toothbrushes can wear out. Toothbrushes should always be replaced after suffering from an illness. While the chances of getting sick from your toothbrush are pretty small, continuing to use a toothbrush after you’ve been sick can result in germs transferring back to you. That means the life of a cold might be extended.

For those who swoon at the mention of germs and are looking for a way to sanitize their toothbrushes, there are several products on the market that claim to kill germs There are sprays and rinses, as well as products that use heat or UV light to get rid of the germs. And some toothbrushes claim to have bristles that are antibacterial. While some of these products may be efficient at killing germs, no solid evidence exists that they can in fact reduce someone’s chances of getting sick. And before buying any product, be sure it’s use has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to ensure your safety. The FDA will have checked any claims a product makes.

“In truth, the only fool proof way to eliminate germs on your toothbrush is to replace it frequently,” says Dr. Li, who provides dental care in Ottawa dental clinic. “Most antibacterial products will only eliminate 99.9 percent of bacteria, which can still leave behind a lot of germs. I recommend that my patients throw their toothbrushes away immediately after an illness or every few months when they are healthy. And for my patients with weak immune systems that should be even more often.”

It’s important to remember that bacteria cause gum disease, bad breath and all of the things we dread when it comes to our oral health. Part of maintaining a good oral health care regimen includes proper cleaning and storing of your toothbrush, as well as replacing it often. All of the hard work you put in regularly brushing and flossing can be undone by your toothbrush. And if you’re sick, failing to replace your toothbrush can leave a lingering illness that might be hard to shake.

© 2013 Sinai Marketing and Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization to post is granted, with the stipulation that Sinai Marketing and Dr. Pamela Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this document is strictly prohibited, with the exception of herein imbedded links.

Dental Implants Can Replace Missing Teeth and Preserve More Tooth Structure

By Pamela Li, in Articles, on June 10, 2012 | Comments (0)

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – Teeth are an important part of the body. Not only do they break down the food we eat, but they are also one of the first physical elements that people see.

Approximately 10 million Canadians are missing one or more of their natural teeth. Of this group, more than 3 million are missing all their natural teeth, according to the Canadian Academy for Esthetic Dentistry. Tooth loss can be a result of tooth decay, root canal failure, gum disease, excessive damage due to wear and tear, congenital defects, or trauma to the mouth.

Fortunately, if you have lost a tooth, we are living in the most technologically advanced era of dentistry and dental professionals can easily restore missing teeth with aesthetically pleasing results.

“Regardless of the cause for missing teeth, it can be damaging to your long-term oral and medical health,” said Ottawa dentist Dr. Pamela Li. “Missing teeth can alter your appearance and sometimes make you look older. The vertical lines around the lips can deepen and the chin can jut out because the lips no longer rest on teeth. The result is a harsher face that looks aged, which can have negative effects on your self-esteem.”

Not only are your physical and emotional well-being affected by having missing teeth, but not replacing them can seriously damage your oral health.

Jaw Bone
To keep your jawbone strong and stimulated, it needs the chewing action of teeth. Otherwise it will begin to deteriorate, the Ottawa family dentistry professional said. Jaw shrinkage beings after the tooth root falls out, which causes bone cells in the area to die. The major cause for concern is after bone loss, the remaining teeth can eventually become loose and fall out.

Bite Issues
Each tooth depends on the tooth next to it for support. When one goes missing, it can affect the way the jaw closes. Teeth left in the mouth begin to shift and fill in the gaps, which can cause issues for the opposing teeth. An opposing tooth can start to hypererupt and move into the space left behind by the missing tooth. This causes the jaw line to have bite irregularities. To complicate matters, food debris can also become trapped in the space and increase your risk for decay and gum disease.

Replacing missing teeth serves a much greater purpose than providing you with an aesthetically pleasing smile. Replacing a tooth as soon as it is lost will prevent the jawbone from dissolving, reduce movement and help surrounding teeth avoid unnecessary decay.

One of the most popular options to replace a missing tooth is a dental implant, which can restore your smile and your confidence, said the TMJ treatment specialist.

Three components of dental implants

  1. Surgical implant: A titanium alloy screw that is surgically placed into the jawbone. This screw will fuse with the bone and serve as the replacement for the natural root portion of the missing tooth, which is attached to the gums where the original root once was. During the integration time, a temporary restoration can be fabricated to the missing tooth.
  2. The abutment: This is the piece that connects the surgical implant to the crown. This can be made from a variety of material including gold, titanium and ceramic.
  3. The implant crown: An implant crown is shaped like a tooth and is matched perfectly in color with the other teeth. It is functionally contoured to replace the missing tooth and can either be screwed or cemented into place.

“Dental implants look, feel and function just like your natural teeth,” said the Ottawa Invisalign provider. “They are considerably more comfortable than other replacement options like dentures and bridges. They also preserve more of your natural tooth structure, which improves your oral health.”

Aside from comfort and aesthetics, the greatest advantage implants provide is the ability to preserve your jawbone. As with any dental treatment, the recovery time depends on the procedure, how many teeth are being replaced and the patient. The implantation surgery is virtually painless and after a three to four month healing time, the implant crown can be placed on your implant.

“Dental implants are like your own teeth and require the same daily hygiene care,” said Dr. Li. “You may resume eating normal foods as soon as the implant process is complete, but use common sense and avoid foods that are hard, sticky and chewy.”

© 2012 Master Google, Dr. Pamela Li. Authorization is granted, with the stipulation that Master Google and Dr. Li are credited as sole source. Linking to other sites from this press release is strictly prohibited with the exception of herein imbedded links.

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World No Tobacco Day Takes Place May 31

By Pamela Li, in News, on April 3, 2012 | Comments (0)

OTTAWA, ONTARIO – May 31 is World No Tobacco Day, sponsored by the World Health Organization, which is the perfect time for dental professionals to highlight the effects of smoking on dental health.

The theme for 2012 is tobacco industry interference, and the day will focus on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry’s brazen and increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control because of the serious danger to public health.

Smoking tobacco is an addiction, which can result in physical and psychological dependency. While smoking affects every part of the body, it is particularly harmful to the mouth.

“Despite the health threat and the likelihood of developing cancer, people are just not motivated to quit anymore,” said Dr. Pamela Li, an Ottawa cosmetic dentistry specialist. “The main effects of smoking on the mouth are gum disease, oral cancer, tooth and denture stains, bad breath and tooth loss.”

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