Hornsby bleeding gums

What is Gum Disease and How Can I Prevent It?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common dental problem that affects the gums and surrounding tissues. It is caused by bacteria that build up on the teeth and gums and can lead to inflammation, bleeding, and eventually tooth loss if left untreated. Here’s what you need to know about gum disease and how to prevent it:

  1. Know the signs: Early signs of gum disease include red, swollen, and bleeding gums, bad breath, and a receding gumline. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist right away.
  2. Practice good oral hygiene: Brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily can help to remove bacteria and prevent the buildup of plaque, which can lead to gum disease.
  3. Use mouthwash: Using an antiseptic alcohol-free mouthwash can help to kill bacteria and freshen your breath, reducing the risk of gum disease.
  4. Quit smoking: Smoking increases your risk of gum disease and can make treatment more difficult. If you smoke, talk to your doctor about ways to quit.
  5. Eat a healthy diet: A diet high in sugary and starchy foods can contribute to gum disease. Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  6. Visit your dentist regularly: Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can help to prevent gum disease by removing plaque and tartar buildup and identifying and addressing any dental problems before they become more serious.
  7. Consider gum disease treatments: If you have gum disease, your dentist may recommend treatments such as scaling and root planing, antibiotics, or referral to a specialist Periodontist.

By following these tips, you can help to prevent gum disease and maintain good oral health. If you have any questions or concerns about gum disease or your dental health, talk to your dentist for personalized advice and recommendations.

Man flossing his teeth

How Often Should I Brush and Floss My Teeth?

Brushing and flossing your teeth are two of the most important things you can do to maintain good oral health. But how often should you be doing it? Here’s what you need to know:

Brushing: Most dental professionals recommend brushing your teeth at least twice a day, for two minutes each time. It’s best to brush after meals, especially if you’ve had sugary or acidic foods and drinks. Make sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, and be gentle when brushing to avoid damaging your teeth and gums. Remember, hard brushing is a no no!

Flossing: Flossing is just as important as brushing, as it helps to remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and under your gumline. It’s recommended to floss at least once a day, preferably before bed.

Use about 30cms of floss and wrap it around your fingers, gently sliding it between each tooth in a C-shaped motion.

If you have braces or other orthodontic appliances, you may need to floss more often and use special tools to reach between the wires and brackets.

Other Considerations: In addition to brushing and flossing, there are other things you can do to maintain good oral health. Using an alcohol-free mouthwash (such as Savacol) can help to kill bacteria and freshen your breath, but it’s not a substitute for brushing and flossing. Eating a healthy diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can also help to promote oral health and prevent tooth decay.

It’s also important to visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings. Your dentist can provide advice on how to maintain good oral health and detect any issues early before they become more serious.

Baby eating in a high chair

Baby Teething Tips and Tricks

Teething can be a difficult and painful experience for both babies and parents. It’s a natural part of a baby’s development, but it can be uncomfortable and stressful for everyone involved. As a parent, it’s important to know how to ease your baby’s discomfort and make the process as smooth as possible. Here are some tips and tricks for dealing with baby teething:

  1. Massage your baby’s gums

Gently massaging your baby’s gums with a clean finger or a cool, wet cloth can help to relieve the discomfort of teething. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly first to avoid introducing any bacteria.

  1. Give your baby something to chew on

Chewing on a teething ring, cold washcloth, or other safe chew toy can help to ease your baby’s discomfort and provide a distraction.

  1. Use a topical numbing gel

A topical numbing gel or cream can help to numb your baby’s gums and provide some relief from teething pain. Be sure to use a product specifically designed for infants and follow the instructions carefully. There are some great products out there.

  1. Offer cool foods or drinks

Offering your baby cool foods or drinks can help to soothe sore gums. You can try chilled purees, yogurt, or even breastmilk or formula from a cold bottle.

  1. Consider over-the-counter pain relief

If your baby is really struggling with teething pain, you may want to consider an over-the-counter pain relief medication specifically designed for infants. Always read the label and use as directed.

  1. Give lots of love and comfort

Finally, don’t forget the power of love and comfort! Your baby is going through a tough time, and your soothing touch and reassuring presence can make all the difference. Offer lots of cuddles, extra attention, and extra love to help your baby feel safe and secure.


Which Toothpaste Should I Use?

There are hundreds of different types of toothpaste out there and the choice can be overwhelming.

Here’s a few things to look out for….


  1. Always use fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral which not only strengthens your enamel but provides a protective layer on the outside of your teeth. So, by using fluoride both morning and night, your teeth are protected when you eat.

  1. Avoid toothpaste with Triclosan

Triclosan is an ingredient which is proven to prevent gingivitis (gum disease). However, it has been banned in the United States due to the risk of being carcinogenic. Although it has been approved in Australia by the FDA, many toothpaste companies have voluntarily removed it from their products following the ban in the US and concerns about emerging evidence1.


  1. Choose a toothpaste to suit your needs

If you have sensitive teeth, then consider either a long-acting or short-acting sensative toothpaste that works for you.

If you are prone to decay, are a heavy smoker or drinker- it is best to choose a toothpaste that is high in fluoride to give your teeth the best chance of staying healthy.

If you want to have whiter teeth, be careful not to choose a whitening toothpaste that is too abrasive as it can permanently damage your enamel. Remember whitening tooth paste can only remove surface stains as deeper stains will need to be treated by your dentist.


  1. Good brushing is Key

No matter what toothpaste you use, it is essential that you are correctly brushing 2 times a day.



  1. https://www.cancerwa.asn.au/resources/cancermyths/toothpaste-cancer-myth/#:~:text=Triclosan%20is%20an%20antibacterial%20and,to%20prevent%20gingivitis%20(gum%20disease.

I Wear A Mask To Protect Others

There is a lot of debate at the moment about ‘should I wear a mask if I’m not sick?’. Some of the main reasons the Australian government is advising not to wear one unless you are sick is because it doesn’t stop you getting COVID-19 AND they don’t want the limited supply of face masks taken away from healthcare workers.

But the WHO (World Health Organisation) is currently reviewing their advice for healthy people wearing face masks as new research shows droplets from a cough or sneeze can travel as far as 6 meters1.

And by wearing a mask you can limit the spread of those droplets by up to 90%2. Wearing a mask helps protect other people if you are carrying the virus.

So… What’s the Solution??

  1. Firstly, if you have bought masks that are still in their box PLEASE donate them to your nearest hospital! Our healthcare workers are coming in contact daily with hundreds of potential/suspected COVID-19 cases- which is a very difference scenario from you doing your weekly shopping trip. If you have any N95, P1 or KN95/P2 masks these are particularly helpful.

We need to do everything we can to support them and keep them safe as they care for us.

Happy Smiles recently donated a carton of masks to our local hospital and they were so incredibly grateful. A teary nurse told our staff ‘We need them desperately’.


  1. Make your own mask

With supplies most people would have at home, you can easily make a mask that will protect other people for the times you need to leave the house (ie shopping).


Key points to remember about Home-Made Masks:

  • They do not help protect you from COVID-19, except in the fact that they prevent you from touching your face
  • Please don’t touch your face when wearing a mask as you are more likely to spread germs from your hands to yourself. If you need to adjust your mask, use hand sanitizer first
  • Home-made mask do help protect others.
    Home-made masks that include a non-woven material can be up to 90% effective. If everyone wore a home-made mask we would all be protecting others (and they would be protecting us)
  • Wash your mask after each use

Key Features for a Good Home-Made Mask

  • A good fit is essential. Make sure that your mask pattern includes bendable wire (pipe cleaners work too). This makes sure it securely fits around your nose.
  • It should include a non-woven barrier, this can either be a disposable mask or a dried nappy wipe works well.

Check out this detailed video to make a great fit mask.


It includes a removable wire and a pocket to insert your non-woven barrier. It’s very comprehensive. You could make a mask in about 20 minutes if you are a competent sewer or up to an hour if you are a beginner.

  1. Keep washing your hands. It’s more effective than any mask!!!
  2. If you have any symptoms- stay at home.
  3. Share the love! For all those sewing people out there- make some for your family and neighbours! Just make sure they know how to wear them by giving them the top tips below…

Mask Wearing

  • I understand this mask does NOT protect ME from COVID-19. It is so that I do not infect others unknowingly.
  • I will ensure the fit is correct over my nose and under my chin with no gaps.
  • I will wash this mask before I use it for the first time and after every use.
  • I will always make sure the mask is completely dry before wearing it
  • I will wear it with a non-woven barrier such as a dried nappy wipe.
  • I will not touch my face/ adjust my mask when wearing it unless I have just used hand sanitizer.

Written by Sarah Cohen
Practice Manager at Happy Smiles Dentist

Updated 07/04/2020


World Health Organisation, URL: https://www.who.int


Lydia Bourouiba. Turbulent Gas Clouds and Respiratory Pathogen Emissions, JAMA (2020). DOI: 10.1001/jama.2020.4756


A study on the microbial filtration efficiency of surgical face masks- with special reference to the non-woven fabric masks. URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/343940

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