Dental Health

Plaque is the clear sticky film that builds up on the surface of your teeth and tongue. It contains thousands of bacteria in a sticky matrix that helps them adhere to your teeth. The trouble with plaque is that the bacteria produce acid and other noxious chemical substances. If plaque is not cleaned away quickly enough, it can calcify and form a hard substance called calculus (or tartar) that can’t be brushed away.

The acid that the bacteria produce, especially immediately after you eat, starts to dissolve away the surface of your enamel. Over time, if cleaning is not removing this plaque adequately, enough enamel is dissolved away that you end up with a cavity (or “hole”).

The other substances that bacteria in plaque produce irritate your gums; making them red, puffy and prone to bleed easily. This is known as gingivitis. If left untreated, it can lead to permanent damage around the teeth, referred to as periodontitis. The gums can come away from the teeth. Pockets form and fill with more bacteria, plaque and calculus. If the gums are not treated, the bone around the teeth can be destroyed. The teeth may become loose and even fall out. Gum disease is a main cause of tooth loss in adults.

If you keep the plaque cleaned off your teeth every day, you are well on the way to maintaining a healthy mouth. It is also important to have a balanced diet and limit snacking between meals.

Most foods and drinks cause the bacteria in plaque to produce acids.  Every time you eat, your teeth are getting attacked by acid. If you snack frequently throughout the day, your teeth may be getting one long acid attack, all day long.

Sugary foods, such as lollies, biscuits and soft drinks are not the only culprits. Starches, such as breads and cereals also cause acids to form.  If you do snack, choose something nutritious that is low in starch and added sugar. Raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese or a piece of fruit are good options.

Plaque is very sticky and hard to see, so a concerted effort is required to remove it effectively. Toothbrushing cleans the plaque away from most surfaces of your teeth, and you should remember to brush the top of your tongue also. No matter how well you brush, you won’t be able to clean all the plaque away that builds up in between the teeth, where they touch each other. You will need to use dental floss or a very small brush designed to get in between your teeth to clean these areas.

For most people, we recommend brushing twice a day, after breakfast and after dinner; and flossing every night.

Many studies have compared manual and electric toothbrushes. They have looked at their ability to remove plaque effectively and to prevent or reduce calculus (tartar) build-up, thereby reducing the development of decay and gum disease.

Research has shown electric and manual toothbrushes to be equally effective when used correctly; which means it is not so much the brush you choose, but how you use it that is the critical factor. Having said that, many people find electric toothbrushes easier to use, and they are especially good for children and older adults. They clean very quickly and have a small round head which helps children tolerate them better. For the elderly, with reduced dexterity they are easier to hold and allow a good clean with less physical effort.

Advice from our dentists can help ensure that your brushing routine is effective no matter which brush you prefer to use. The brush is only as good as the person holding onto it!

Clinically referred to as halitosis, bad breath is an unpleasant condition that can cause much embarrassment.  Bad breath can be caused by plaque and food particles, decay and gum disease. It can also be caused by your diet and by many systemic diseases. Dieters can develop bad breath from infrequent eating.

If you’re concerned about bad breath, see one of our dentists for an assessment. They can help to identify the cause if it’s due to an oral condition and will develop a treatment programme to help eliminate it. If you do not brush and floss daily, particles of food accumulate between the teeth, on your tongue and around the gums, collecting bacteria, and causing bad breath. The bacteria and gum destruction associated with periodontitis (gum disease) cause a very distinct halitosis.

If the problem is caused by diet or systemic illness, brushing, flossing and mouthwash will only mask the odour temporarily. You should seek medical advice.


Yes. We have a HICAPS terminal and are able to process all health fund claims instantly and efficiently.

The Child Dental Benefit Scheme (CDBS) is a government funded allowance thru Medicare. The allowance covers a large portion of dental treatment for eligible children from 2 to 17 years of age. $1000.00 per two year period is available for eligible families and is bulk billed using your Medicare card. We proudly support this government initiated scheme and have a “No Gap” policy for our patients. This means that there are no out of pocket expenses for eligible patients, when receiving treatment covered by the CDBS.