What Are the First Signs of Wisdom Teeth Coming In?

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The arrival of wisdom teeth, or third molars, is a natural and common dental occurrence. These latecomers typically make their debut between the ages of 16 and 25. While their emergence is a rite of passage for many, it can also be accompanied by noticeable signs and symptoms. In this blog, we will explore the early signs that may indicate the onset of wisdom teeth eruption, helping you to better understand what to expect during this phase of dental development. 

Understanding Wisdom Teeth:

Before delving into the signs of wisdom teeth eruption, let’s start by understanding what these mysterious molars are all about. Wisdom teeth, scientifically known as third molars, are the last set of molars to emerge in the mouth. While most individuals have four wisdom teeth—two on the upper jaw and two on the lower—they do not appear in everyone. In fact, it’s not uncommon for some individuals to have fewer than four or none at all. They are the teeth to be the most commonly missing and possess the largest variation of appearance. 

Common Signs of Wisdom Teeth Eruption:

As wisdom teeth make their way into the oral landscape, they can bring about a variety of early signs and symptoms. It’s important to note that not everyone will experience these indicators, but here are some common signs to be aware of: 

  • Mild Discomfort: One of the initial signs is often a mild, dull ache or discomfort in the back of the mouth. This sensation may come and go as the teeth gradually move into position. 
  • Swelling and Tenderness: The gum tissue surrounding the emerging wisdom tooth may become swollen and tender. This can lead to tenderness, particularly when eating or brushing near the area. 
  • Redness: Inflammation of the gum tissue is a typical response to the pressure exerted by the erupting wisdom tooth. This can result in redness and bleeding around the affected area. 
  • Bad Breath: Difficulty in properly cleaning around a partially erupted wisdom tooth can create a breeding ground for bacteria. This can lead to bad breath, also known as halitosis. 

The presence of these signs doesn’t necessarily indicate a problem, but they should prompt you to pay closer attention to your oral health and consider seeking professional evaluation if discomfort persists or worsens. 

Also Read: What to Eat After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

Potential Complications:

While the emergence of wisdom teeth is a natural process, quite often it does not go smoothly. Here are some potential complications associated with wisdom teeth eruption: 

  • Impaction: Wisdom teeth are notorious for becoming impacted, which means they don’t fully emerge from the gum line. This can lead to pain, discomfort, an increased risk of infection, and tooth decay if left untreated. 
  • Crowding: The arrival of wisdom teeth can exert pressure on adjacent teeth, causing them to shift or become crowded. This can impact your bite and overall oral alignment. 
  • Infection: The partially erupted gum tissue around wisdom teeth can create pockets that trap food particles and bacteria, increasing the risk of infection. This condition is known as pericoronitis. 
  • Cysts and Tumours: Although rare, wisdom teeth can sometimes be associated with the development of cysts or tumours, which may require surgical intervention. 
  • Trauma to soft tissues: Particularly on the top, the wisdom teeth can erupt through at an angle, rubbing the insides of the cheeks and causing repeated trauma here. 

Understanding these potential complications highlights the importance of regular dental check-ups and early detection to address any issues that may arise during the eruption of wisdom teeth. 

Seeking Professional Evaluation:

If you experience any of the signs mentioned earlier, or if you have concerns about the emergence of your wisdom teeth, it’s advisable to seek professional dental evaluation. Dentists possess the expertise and tools to assess the situation and provide guidance on the best course of action. 

In Australia, dental professionals adhere to guidelines and standards set by the Dental Board of Australia, ensuring that dental evaluations and procedures are performed with the highest level of care and safety.  

Management Options:

The management of emerging wisdom teeth depends on various factors, including their position, the presence of symptoms, and your overall oral health. Here are the primary management options: 

  • Extraction: Wisdom teeth extraction is a common solution for impacted or problematic third molars. Your dentist will evaluate the position of the teeth and may recommend removal to prevent potential complications. In Australia, dental extractions are performed in accordance with guidelines set by the Dental Board of Australia. 
  • Monitoring: In some cases, wisdom teeth may be monitored rather than immediately extracted. If they are erupting without causing issues and there is sufficient space in the mouth, your dentist may choose a “wait and see” approach. Regular dental check-ups are essential during this period to assess their progress. 
  • Pain Relief: To alleviate discomfort associated with wisdom teeth eruption, over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or paracetamol, can be effective. Follow the recommended dosage and consult with a healthcare professional if you have any concerns. 
  • Treating gum infections: When the wisdom teeth are only partially erupted, the gums can become easily infected (pericoronitis). Mild infections can be treated with gentle but thorough tooth brushing and saltwater rinses, or with a chlorhexidine mouthwash as an adjunct. In more severe infections, a script for antibiotics may be necessary. If swelling of the face presents (cellulitis), do not wait, see a dental professional ASAP. Antibiotics are required to treat cellulitis. Though rare, if left untreated mouth and facial swelling could become so severe the airways could become compromised. A medical emergency, known as Ludwig’s Angina, could result. 

Alleviating Discomfort and Maintaining Oral Hygiene:

If you’re experiencing discomfort due to wisdom teeth eruption or if you’re waiting for a dental evaluation or procedure, here are some strategies to manage the situation: 

  • Warm Saltwater Rinses: Gargling with a warm saltwater solution can help reduce inflammation and soothe discomfort. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water and use it as a mouthwash. 
  • Cold Compress: Applying a cold compress to the outside of your cheek for 15-20 minutes can help reduce swelling and numb the area. 
  • Soft Diet: Opt for a soft diet that doesn’t require extensive chewing. Avoid hard, crunchy, or sticky foods that can aggravate the discomfort. 
  • Proper Oral Hygiene: Continue with your regular oral hygiene routine, but take extra care around the emerging wisdom teeth. Gently brush and floss the area, being mindful not to irritate the gum tissue. 
  • Avoiding Irritants: Steer clear of tobacco products and alcohol, as these can exacerbate irritation and delay healing. 


The emergence of wisdom teeth is a natural part of dental development, but it can be accompanied by noticeable signs and, in some cases, complications. Understanding the early signs of wisdom teeth eruption and being aware of potential issues is key to maintaining optimal oral health. 

If you suspect your wisdom teeth are coming in or if you’re experiencing discomfort, seeking professional dental evaluation is crucial. Dentists have the expertise to assess the situation and recommend the appropriate management approach, whether it’s extraction, monitoring, or pain relief. 

For residents of Kangaroo Point, Brisbane, Smile Design Dental is a trusted dental practice where you can receive expert dental care and guidance on managing wisdom teeth-related concerns. Whether you require an evaluation, extraction, or simply advice on maintaining oral hygiene during this phase, the team at Smile Design Dental is here to assist you on your journey to a healthier and more comfortable smile. 

The Power of a Smile: Understanding the Benefits of Regular Dental Check-ups

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Introduction: A radiant smile is more than just a sign of happiness. It’s a reflection of health, confidence, and the care we give to our oral hygiene. With modern lifestyles becoming increasingly hectic, it’s easy to neglect the simple act of visiting the dentist for a regular check-up. But the implications of doing so stretch far beyond mere aesthetics. In this blog, we’ll uncover the profound impacts of a smile and emphasise the importance of regular dental visits

Section 1: The Science Behind a Smile

A smile is more than just a physical act. When you flash those pearly whites, a series of physiological changes occur in your body. Here’s a closer look:

  • The anatomy of a smile:The act of smiling activates several muscles in our face, predominantly the zygomatic major muscles, which pull the corners of the mouth upward. But it’s not just about muscles. Our teeth play a starring role in making a smile captivating. Their health and alignment are central to the aesthetics and functionality of a smile.
  • Endorphins and the act of smiling:It’s no myth that smiling makes you feel good. When you smile, your brain releases endorphins—natural chemicals that promote feelings of pleasure and reduce perceptions of pain. So, the act of smiling not only enhances your mood but can also act as a natural stress-reliever. But, for many, the confidence to flaunt a genuine smile stems from the assurance that their teeth are in good health, emphasising the need for regular dental check-ups.

Section 2: The Aesthetics of a Healthy Smile

The psychological impacts of having a luminous smile are vast. Here’s how it translates to real-life scenarios:

  • The confidence boost:Everyone has experienced that surge of self-assurance after a dental cleaning when our teeth feel fresh, and our breath is at its best. That confidence carries over to our day-to-day interactions, whether it’s a presentation at work or a casual meetup with friends.
  • First impressions:In many cultures, a smile is a cornerstone of making a positive first impression. Think about job interviews, first dates, or any social gathering. A bright and healthy smile can communicate approachability, trustworthiness, and attractiveness. In contrast, discoloured, missing, or misaligned teeth might make one self-conscious, leading to a hesitancy to smile openly. Regular dental check-ups ensure that minor issues don’t escalate, allowing everyone to smile with unabashed confidence.
  • Role of regular dental check-ups:It’s not just about avoiding cavities. Dental check-ups also encompass cleaning, which removes tartar and plaque, and potentially polishing to reduce surface stains. This maintenance is the secret behind many of the dazzling smiles you see around.

Section 3: Beyond the Surface – Dental Check-ups and Oral Health

While a smile’s aesthetics are undoubtedly vital, the health benefits of maintaining one’s oral hygiene through regular dental check-ups are even more profound:

  • Identifying potential issues:Think of regular dental check-ups as your early warning system. Cavities, when detected early, can be dealt with minimal interventions. Gum diseases, which might manifest as simple gum bleeding, can be a sign of more severe periodontal issues. Regular visits allow your dentist to identify and rectify these issues before they become complicated – and often more expensive to treat.
  • Preventive care:Many people fear the drill, but ironically, the best way to avoid it is through regular check-ups. Routine cleanings can prevent the buildup of plaque, the primary culprit behind cavities. Exams can also spot early signs of gum diseases, ensuring timely intervention and avoiding potential tooth loss.
  • The link between oral health and overall health:Our mouth is a gateway to our body. Chronic gum infections can have links to cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and even respiratory diseases. There’s also mounting evidence that poor oral health can be a factor in Alzheimer’s disease. Regular dental visits not only safeguard your oral health but can also be a crucial step in maintaining your overall well-being.


Section 4: Financial and Long-Term Benefits

When we think about our health, we often consider our diet, exercise, and even our mental well-being. But how often do we contemplate the financial aspects of our health, especially concerning our oral care? Here’s a closer look:

  • Saving money in the long run:You might think skipping a dentist appointment is saving you money, but in reality, it could be just the opposite. Minor dental issues, when left untreated, can become significant concerns. A small cavity today can lead to a root canal or even a tooth extraction in the future. And the cost difference is vast. Regular check-ups aim to prevent these extensive procedures, ensuring that your oral health doesn’t become a financial burden.
  • Prolonging the lifespan of your teeth:Regular dental care isn’t just about maintaining a bright smile today but ensuring you have a functional set of teeth well into your golden years. Tooth loss can have profound effects, from dietary restrictions to speech challenges. Routine care, including professional cleanings and check-ups, can ensure the longevity of your natural teeth, saving you from potential prosthetics or implants in the future.

Section 5: Overcoming Anxiety – Making Dental Visits a Routine

Dental anxiety is real, and it’s more common than you might think. Here’s how you can tackle it:

  • Addressing dental anxiety:Everyone has their reasons. Some fear the pain, while others have had past traumatic experiences. Recognising that you’re not alone in this fear is the first step. Many modern dental practices now offer a soothing environment and employ techniques to make your visit as comfortable as possible.
  • Modern dentistry:Gone are the days when every dental issue required invasive procedures. With advancements in technology and techniques, many treatments are now minimally invasive and nearly pain-free. Sedation dentistry offers options for those with heightened anxiety, ensuring their comfort during procedures.
  • Tips for a smooth dental visit:If you’re anxious, consider the following:
    1. Bring headphones:Sometimes, it’s not the procedure but the sound that can be unsettling. Listening to your favourite music or a podcast can be a distraction.
    2. Deep breathing:Simple breathing exercises can relax your mind and body.
    3. Communicate with your dentist:They’re there to help. Letting them know your fears can allow them to tailor their approach, ensuring your utmost comfort.

Section 6: How Often Should You Visit?

You’ve understood the importance of regular dental visits, but how often is “regular”?

  • The general recommendation:Most dental professionals advise a visit once every six months. These biannual visits typically include a thorough cleaning and an examination, ensuring your teeth are in optimal health and catching potential issues early.
  • Individualised care:Not everyone’s oral health is the same. Some might be more prone to cavities or gum diseases due to genetics, diet, or other factors. In such cases, your dentist might recommend more frequent visits to ensure your oral health is maintained at its best.


The brilliance of a smile goes beyond mere aesthetics. It’s an interplay of health, confidence, and the care we dedicate to our oral hygiene. Regular dental check-ups are an investment – in your health, in your confidence, and even in your finances. Whether it’s the release of those feel-good endorphins, making a lasting first impression, or avoiding a costly dental procedure, the benefits of regular dental visits are manifold.

So, the next time you think about pushing that dental appointment, remember the power of your smile and everything it encapsulates. And if you’re in the Brisbane area and are looking for expert dental care, consider visiting Smile Design Dental in Brisbane. Your smile deserves nothing but the best!


  1. Why are biannual dental check-ups recommended for most people?

Answer: Biannual (twice a year) dental check-ups are recommended to maintain optimal oral health. Regular check-ups allow dentists to clean areas of your mouth that might be challenging to reach with regular brushing and flossing. Additionally, frequent visits help in the early detection of potential issues like cavities, gum disease, or oral cancer, ensuring timely intervention and treatment.

  1. If I maintain good oral hygiene at home, do I still need regular dental check-ups?

Answer: Yes, even if you are diligent about your oral hygiene at home, regular dental check-ups are crucial. While brushing and flossing are essential, professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar buildup that home routines might miss. Moreover, dentists can identify early signs of oral health issues that may not be visible or noticeable to you.

  1. How can regular dental check-ups impact my overall health?

Answer: Your oral health is a window to your overall health. Chronic gum infections can be linked to conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and respiratory issues. Regular dental check-ups not only maintain your oral health but can also detect symptoms or signs related to broader health concerns, ensuring you receive the necessary medical attention early on.

  1. I have dental anxiety. How can modern dentistry help me?

Answer: Dental anxiety is common, and many modern dental practices are equipped to ensure patient comfort. From sedation dentistry, which can help patients relax during procedures, to painless treatments using advanced technology, the focus is on minimising discomfort and stress. Always communicate your fears with your dentist, as they can offer solutions and techniques tailored to your comfort.

  1. Are there any visible signs that I should immediately see a dentist, even if my regular check-up is months away?

Answer: Yes, if you experience persistent pain, swollen or bleeding gums, sudden sensitivity to hot or cold, loose teeth, or any unusual changes in your mouth or on your tongue, it’s essential to schedule a visit with your dentist as soon as possible. Such symptoms can indicate underlying issues that need prompt attention.

What Can I Eat After Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

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Everyone has heard of wisdom teeth and how painful they can be if not grown properly. Sometimes, the only treatment for the pain caused by wisdom teeth is removing them. Irrespective of the procedure of wisdom teeth extraction, aftercare is very important. The situation may lead to severe complications if proper precautions are not taken. After surgery, you must be careful about what you eat during recovery. Eating good and healthy food after tooth extraction helps to heal the mouth. It lowers the chance of infection and decreases swelling and pain.

Tips to Follow 

Following are some tips for the after-protection of tooth extraction. 

  • Eating is essential during the recovery after an extraction. Eating the right foods right after an extraction is important for recovery.
  • It is better to avoid hard food. Switch to softer foods because chewing is not recommended. Chewing food immediately after tooth extraction is impossible because it leads to discomfort and pain. 
  • In the first twenty-eight hours, drink plenty of fluids. We all know hydration is the key to proper relief and treatment. So, stay hydrated most of the time. 
  • Ice cream is a good idea because it works like an ice pack to help reduce swelling and pain.
  • Soft foods like yogurt, scrambled eggs, and mashed potatoes help to gain nutrients. These are easy to chew. The body needs these nutrients to heal. After the procedure, eating foods with proteins, vitamins A, C, zinc, and iron is important. They help your body heal and grow new cells.  Eating fibre-rich foods can reduce swelling and inflammation.
  • Vegetable intake is a rich source of nutrients. You should not take raw vegetables as chewing is not allowed. Mashing the vegetables helps to reduce the need to chew. Mashed potatoes are a soft and nutritious option.
  • Smoothie shakes with various fruits help provide the nutrients required for healing. Remember one thing: that every fruit is not suitable for healing purposes. You should avoid seeded fruits. The seeds in them can get stuck in the wound and cause severe pain, irritation, and even bleeding. 
  • Avoid foods with alcohol and hot beverages. They can dislodge the clot of blood, leading to a dry socket.  A dry socket, in turn, can cause intense pain in the jaw or gum.
  • A healthy diet is a part of recovery. Pain and inflammation can make eating difficult. Doctors suggest using anti-inflammatory drugs and pain relievers. On the first day, use ice packs to ease pain, reduce swelling, and be cautious with what you eat.
  • Some doctors prescribe an antibiotic after extraction. This antibiotic reduces the risk of infection. It is better to listen to your doctor anyhow. Many doctors advise rinsing with salt water to control bleeding. Avoid smoking and drinking. With the right after-care, it takes about one to two weeks for full healing.

You can return to your regular diet a week after a tooth extraction, but if there are problems, it might take longer. If you feel this comfort or pain in any area of your mouth, immediately consult the dentist and do as prescribed.

Good hygiene and the right diet are essential to recover after tooth extraction. Eating a soft diet with the right nutrients helps keep the blood clot in place, nourishes your body, and speeds up healing.


Gum Health 101: The Surprising Connections Between Your Gums and Overall Health

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Dental health is often centred around sparkling teeth and a bright smile. Yet many of us tend to overlook a crucial component: gum health. While we might be quick to brush off a bit of bleeding after a vigorous floss, there’s growing evidence from Australian health bodies that suggests the health of our gums can greatly influence other systemic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. Let’s dive deeper into this.

The Basics of Gum Health:

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, medically known as periodontal disease, is an inflammatory condition affecting the tissues surrounding the teeth. In Australia, it’s a prevalent issue. According to the Australian Dental Association (ADA), there are two main types:

  • Gingivitis:This is the milder form, characterised by red, swollen gums that bleed easily, especially during brushing or flossing.
  • Periodontitis:If gingivitis isn’t treated, it can advance to periodontitis. This involves the inner layer of the gum and bone pulling away from the teeth, forming pockets, collecting debris, and becoming infected.

Common symptoms and signs of gum disease

While regular dental check-ups can identify early signs of gum disease, being aware of the following symptoms can be a lifesaver:

  • Red or swollen gums.
  • Tender or bleeding gums.
  • Painful chewing.
  • Loose teeth or sensitive teeth.
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste.

Causes of gum disease:

Several factors can contribute:

  • Poor oral hygiene:skipping regular brushing or flossing leaves plaque to harden and form calculus/ tartar, leading to gum inflammation.
  • Smoking:The Australian government’s Department of Health has long warned about smoking’s role in gum disease, as it hinders the gum tissue’s ability to repair itself.
  • Hormonal changes in women:Fluctuations during periods, pregnancy, menopause, and even using contraceptives can make gums more sensitive.
  • Medications:Some medicines, as noted by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), can reduce saliva flow, which is crucial for cleaning the mouth and neutralising bacteria.

Gum Health and Systemic Diseases:

The Biological Link:

One might wonder, How exactly does a gum issue impact the rest of our body? The connection lies largely in inflammation and the entry of bacteria into the bloodstream. Inflamed gums act as a gateway for bacteria to enter the bloodstream, which can then travel to various parts of the body, potentially contributing to other health issues.

Gum Health and Heart Disease:

What research says about the connection

The link between gum health and heart disease is quite compelling. Several studies, referenced by the Heart Foundation of Australia, indicate that individuals with periodontal disease have an increased risk of heart disease. It’s not merely a coincidence; the same bacteria found in inflamed gums have been discovered in the arteries of patients with heart disease.

Potential reasons for the link:

Gum inflammation may cause bacteria to enter the bloodstream and cause atherosclerosis. Obstructions can cause heart attacks. The inflammation may also increase the chance of endocarditis, an infection of the heart’s inner lining.

Proactive measures to protect both gum and heart health

Protection is a two-fold approach:

  • Prioritise oral hygiene:regular brushing with fluoride toothpaste, flossing, and getting professional cleanings at least twice a year can keep gum diseases at bay.
  • Lifestyle changes:eating a balanced diet, cutting down on sugar and salt, quitting smoking, and regular exercise—all these recommendations by the Department of Health not only benefit your heart but your gums too.
  1. Gum Health and Diabetes:

How diabetes can exacerbate gum issues

Diabetes, prevalent among many Australians, has a close-knit relationship with gum health. Those with poorly managed blood sugar levels are more susceptible to infections, and that includes gum infections. The gums, in turn, become another battleground where the body fights to maintain equilibrium, often unsuccessfully if diabetes remains uncontrolled.

The two-way street: how gum disease can influence blood sugar control

This relationship isn’t just one-sided. While diabetes can make gum disease worse, the reverse is also true. Severe gum disease can hinder the body’s ability to utilise insulin, making it even tougher to manage blood sugar levels. In this sense, maintaining gum health can actually be a key aspect of diabetes management, something that Diabetes Australia has frequently underscored.

Also Read: What causes bad breath?

Managing and preventing gum issues for diabetics

For those living with diabetes, a bit of extra attention to oral care goes a long way.

  • Monitor blood sugar levels:Regularly checking and maintaining optimal blood sugar levels reduces the risk of gum infections.
  • Regular dental check-ups:With diabetes, routine dental exams are paramount. These should ideally be more frequent than for the average person.
  • Dietary management:A balanced diet low in sugar and high in nutrients, as recommended by the National Health and Medical Research Council, is essential.
  1. Other health concerns linked to gum health:

Respiratory diseases:

Emerging research indicates that the bacteria causing gum inflammation can be aspirated into the lungs. This can contribute to respiratory conditions such as pneumonia. The Australian Lung Foundation has even emphasised the importance of good oral hygiene in the prevention of respiratory diseases.

Rheumatoid arthritis:

This autoimmune disorder, which affects many Australians, shows striking similarities with gum disease. Both are essentially inflammatory conditions. Studies suggest that individuals with gum disease have a higher likelihood of developing rheumatoid arthritis.

Pregnancy complications:

For expectant mums, gum health is vital. Research in Australia has unveiled a connection between gum disease and complications like preterm birth and low birth weight. Pregnant women are recommended to have regular dental checkups to monitor and maintain gum health.

Prevention and Management:

Daily oral hygiene habits

The cornerstone of healthy gums:

  • Brushing:At least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush every three months or when the bristles fray.
  • Flossing:Daily flossing is crucial. It reaches those spots between the teeth and beneath the gumline that a toothbrush can’t.

Regular dental check-ups and cleanings

Yearly visits might not cut it. Depending on your oral health, your dentist might recommend visits every six months or even more frequently.

The role of a balanced diet in gum health

A diet rich in fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and dairy, as advised by the Australian Dietary Guidelines, provides the essential nutrients for optimal gum health.

Quitting smoking and other harmful habits

The Australian government has run numerous campaigns underscoring the risks of smoking for our health. When it comes to your gums, quitting smoking might be one of the best decisions you can make.


From heart disease to diabetes, the health of our gums casts a long shadow over our overall well-being. Ensuring they remain healthy isn’t just about flashing a confident smile; it’s about nurturing our entire body. For those around Kangaroo Point, Qld, seeking expert dental advice or services, “Smile Design Dental” is an excellent option.


Can gum disease be reversed?
Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, can be reversed with proper dental care. However, advanced gum diseases like periodontitis require more intensive treatments.

How often should I visit the dentist for a gum health check?
Ideally, every six months. However, those with existing conditions like diabetes or a history of gum disease might need more frequent visits.

Are electric toothbrushes better for gum health?
Electric toothbrushes can be more effective in removing plaque, but what’s more important is the technique used. Whether manual or electric, it’s the consistency and method of brushing that count.

Can children develop gum disease?
Yes, though it’s less common in adults. Proper oral care habits from a young age can prevent its onset.

Remember, the mouth is the gateway to our overall health. Prioritizing gum health is an investment in your holistic well-being.

Are Bad Teeth Genetic?

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It is quite common for tooth decay and crooked teeth to occur more in families. Many people will despairingly state that they have, “chalky teeth” or “soft teeth”, like their parents. But does that really have to be the case and how much is genetic and environmental?

There are some genetic factors that lead to weaker teeth. Amelogenesis Imperfecta, Dentinogenesis Imperfecta, Enamel Hypoplasia, Dentine Hypoplasia, are conditions where the teeth do not develop correctly and can be softer, more prone to decay, and fall out much sooner. These conditions are quite rare however, and typically occur with other genetic conditions and will be more clearly diagnosed in people that possess them. There are other conditions where teeth may be absent, smaller, or fused to other teeth. In otherwise healthy people these conditions do not usually affect the whole dentition and can be managed with your dentist.

Some people are also more susceptible to gum diease: gingivitis and periodontitis, which can also lead to early tooth loss. Most cases are of a chronic nature and tooth loss/recession does not usually present until people start to age. More aggressive cases can occur younger and can be much more destructive. Fortunately aggressive cases are rare and both can be well managed with professional dental care before too much damage occurs.

There are a number of genetic conditions that can lead to poorer tooth quality though generally, the more destructive they are the rarer they are, and the more likely there are other genetic conditions being managed. For the vast majority of the population the genetic structure of their teeth are actually quite sound. So, if genetically bad teeth are so rare then why is it so common to see bad teeth in families?

Environmental Factors

For most families that see more tooth decay environmental factors play a large role and that starts before bub’s first tooth even erupts.

Oral bacteria runs in families. Studies show that a parent with tooth decay, will carry more cariogenic (hole-causing) bacteria in their mouths and will more likely lead to early colonisation of this same bad bacteria into the infant’s mouth. This association is even more directly linked to the mother. So all those loving kisses could be spreading worse germs for young bub. Of course, we don’t recommend stopping the kissing but rather, that parents get onto their oral health before the delivery of their children and seek a dentist’s advice as soon as teeth start erupting. It may be that fluoridated toothpaste is recommended from an earlier age to help counteract this bacteria.

Parents Set The Stage

Parents have a hard time raising kids whether it be fifty years ago with less access to information and health care, or now where two parents are typically expected to work and are critically time-poor, as well as facing today’s financial pressures. However, it is in the formative years that sets the stage for the health of your teeth as an adult. The biggest predictor of tooth decay in adult teeth is the presence of decay in baby teeth. In addition, space issues and dental anxiety can develop if there’s decay in baby teeth and these are lost early.

Then you’ll likely learn off your parents’ habits. However your parents have learnt to clean their teeth and mouths they’ve passed onto you. Unfortunately, if they didn’t have the best knowledge or motivation at the time, they may not have brushed their teeth for two minutes, twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste, and once daily flossing. And then they may have been less likely to force their uncompliant child to do the same.

Dietary habits are formed here as well and any diet that has frequent exposure to sugars will lead to weakening of the tooth structure. Chalky teeth may develop from here, or only become a little bit weaker, but this could lead to damage and wear not obvious for years down the track.

If your family lives off tank water, or use more advanced filtration for your drinking water, you may also be missing out on fluoride. Some regions in Australia and places overseas also do not add fluoride to the water. Without fluoride in the water, your teeth will just be a little less acid resistant and will be a little more susceptible to tooth decay. Understanding this, teeth can still remain strong with good oral hygiene care.

Some people are also opting for fluoride-free toothpaste and refraining from giving their children any as well. Of a particular note, baby teeth are a little less acid resistant than adult teeth, so holding back fluoride content here can be even more hazardous to children’s oral health. It is best to speak to your dentist about what toothpaste you and your kids are using and together you should be able to accommodate a plan that is right for your family.

It’s hard being a parent, but it is so important to get onto your child’s oral health from the time their first tooth appears. Even before the first tooth you can wipe their gums with a moist cloth to help disturb the bacteria in the mouth and allow your child to get used to the action. At this time, have a simple consult with your local dentist to ensure you’re doing the right things for your child’s teeth and to help guide their care into the future. Aside from early holes, these teeth cleaning habits are carried into adulthood and will have long-term ramnifications.

What to do about chalky teeth

So unfortunately you didn’t have the best factors affecting your teeth as a child or they’ve softened over time and find yourself with “chalky teeth” or “bad teeth”. Now what to do about it.

Firstly, you can always strengthen your teeth.

When teeth are soft, or chalky, the enamel (the stronger outer layer or your teeth) is demineralised. It is weakened by acid and the structure can be worn off easily just with a fingernail in some cases. But this can harden up again.

First step is to reduce acid. Reduce acidic beverages and best to just drink water. Then, if your really want something with a bit of flavour, drink it at mealtimes and drink it quickly. Try not to graze on snacks all day. Increasing your water intake will improve your saliva flow which will help to return your mouth to a more neutral pH. Use an extra soft toothbrush with soft pressure, a high fluoride toothpaste and potentially a home remineralising agent, like Tooth Mousse. Discuss a plan to strengthen your teeth with your dentist and once they’re a bit harder, then start any restorative work that needs to done.

The enamel is the strongest layer of the tooth. It can be demineralised by acid and become soft or chalky, and flake away easily. This can be reversed by gentle brushing with high fluoride toothpaste and remineralising agents.
Dentine is a softer inner layer of the tooth that gets exposed when enamel is lost. This layer is more susceptible to tooth decay. Like enamel however, dentine can also harden up with good oral hygiene. If there is a lot of exposed dentine/structure loss then restorations or crowns may be indicated.

With good oral care chalky teeth can become hard strong teeth.

Prevention is certainly better than a cure. The cycle of bad teeth running through families can end simply by ensuring good oral hygiene practices. And it all starts with the parents, so make sure you’re onto your children’s teeth from the time they’re in the womb. Improving your own oral health will have a downstream effect on your child. Teach them the right habits from the time the first tooth erupts. As an adult, you can always harden your teeth by brushing and flossing, so go gently at first so as to not wear off the softer structure. In time, you should find your teeth will become firmer and decay progresses slower and is less likely to develop.

You’re not destined to have chalky teeth like your parents!

How to prevent bleeding gums

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At times when brushing or flossing you may notice some bleeding, it could be a little bit, or it could be a lot. The gums can get swollen, tender and red, a condition called gingivitis.

The cause all comes back to bacteria.

Bacteria releases chemicals that are detected by your body where your immune system tries to fight it off. But the more that builds up, the harder it is for your body to clear it away. Your first line of defense is your saliva, then immune complexes are released from the blood stream in an attempt to reach the bacteria on your teeth. However, once bacteria builds up a thick layer called plaque, it is protected from our body’s defenses. The immune system keeps trying to penetrate into that thicker plaque and as more chemicals are released from bacteria, so too are more chemicals released by the immune system. The result is inflammation: red and bleeding gums.

The solution? Remove the bacteria, aka: plaque.

Plaque is a thick layer of bacteria that has its own defenses from being removed so things like mouthwashes and antibiotics are not that effective at targeting deep into it. That means physical removal is the most effective method. This involves brushing two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Don’t be scared of the bleeding, go gently but thoroughly. Once you’re consistently removing that plaque the bleeding will subside shortly after.

Still bleeding even with thorough brushing and flossing?

Other factors such as calculus (a hard substance that builds up on teeth over time), or poor margins on restorations can lead to areas not properly cleaned. A visit to the dentist to perform a thorough and at times, deep clean, may be warranted. They can also check to see if any of your fillings are defective which may need to be replaced. Other health conditions can also lead to bleeding gums, such as pregnancy (pregnancy gingivitis), uncontrolled Diabetes, certain medications, or other oral pathology. Looking after your health and removal of the bacteria should still resolve your gums. If your gum disease is more severe it may have progressed to periodontitis, which occurs when gingivitis has been untreated for a long time. Periodontitis requires further intervention with a dental professional.

It is recommended to have regular check ups and cleans every 6-12 months. Most health funds will cover two a year so it’s good to be vigilant and take full advantage of this.

End message:

Don’t be afraid of bleeding gums, it just means you need to brush and floss more thoroughly (but gently). And don’t forget your dental maintenance appointments!

Did you know about the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS)?

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The Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) is eligible for families that receive Family Tax Benefit Part A.  Children between the ages of 2 and 17 will be able to claim up to $1000 worth of Medicare funded treatment over a two-year period.

The Child Dental Benefits Schedule means Medicare will cover up to $1,000 over 2 calendar years for general dental services. The services Medicare will cover include check-ups, x-rays, cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canal treatment and extractions. The services Medicare will not cover are orthodontic treatment, cosmetic dental work, and any dental services in a hospital.

You can confirm your child’s eligibility and balance amount by accessing your Medicare online account at or calling the Medicare general enquiries line on 132 011. Not all dental clinics have accepted to partner with the CBDS or may charge a gap fee, so check ahead before booking. At Smile Design Dental we will not charge you any gap fees for our services – because we want to support this initiative in encouraging good dental health for children.

If your child is not eligible for CDBS then don’t worry, the great thing about Smile Design Dental is we make looking after your children’s oral hygiene more affordable. We offer gap-free or $59 for kids under 6, $99 for kids under 12 and, $149 for adults and kids 12+ for check up and cleans.

Why use a dental mouthguard?

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Sports are a vital part of life for children and adults that keep us fit and healthy. However, they can also lead to injury that can take you out of the game or rack up your dental bill. So, why wear a mouthguard? In the same way helmets protect against head trauma, mouthguards prevent injuries to the face and mouth.
Now you may ask, what is wrong with the old fashioned “boil and bite” mouthguards? Over-the-counter mouthguards are poor fitting, and the lack of resilience fails to provide adequate protection for the entire mouth. With these injury still commonly occurs.
Professionally made mouthguards are the best choice for all contact sports because they are specifically moulded to your mouth. They are perfectly fitted, comfortable, will not shift or fall out, and will not restrict your breathing.
Dental mouthguards are moulded to your teeth so that impact is spread evenly, highly reducing the chance of fractures and injury.
Borders of the mouthguard extend over the gums to protect the deep roots and supporting bone from fractures.
Trimmed to fit over where the support is needed only, reducing bulkiness and chances of gagging that can occur with mouthguards that over-extend.
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