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Why do we need fluoride? By Christine Fischer-Stoess

You may have noticed a new addition to your hygiene appointment at your most recent visit. The Dentist has incorporated fluoride treatment into the hygiene appointment. Fluoride, as you may already know, helps to prevent dental caries (tooth decay). Why are we choosing to offer this to our patients? The evidence for the efficacy of fluoride use in the prevention of tooth decay has always been very sound. Most of the adults we see in the practice are drinking water that is from the city supply, which is fluoridated at the amount of 1 part per million.1 This amount is well within acceptable ranges for fluoridated water and is considered to be an effective measure against dental caries.2

What we also know is that the population are maintaining their teeth for longer periods than ever before. This means that the majority of patients will have at least a few (we hope all!) of their natural teeth into their seventies and beyond. With tooth retention at a fantastic all time high we need to ensure that your teeth are as healthy as possible! The professional application of fluoride during the hygiene appointment will contribute to strong, caries resistant teeth. 3

Fluoride application will also help with remineralisation and prevention of caries in the cementum (root surfaces).3 As we age, we may have a few areas of recession appear and these can be from brushing too hard at one point, traumatic occlusion or frenum attachments, just to name a few! Whatever the cause of the recession, the cementum is not as hard as the enamel and we know that fluoride will help to strengthen, and therefore delay or prevent caries in this tissue.

We also have patients who experience tooth sensitivity. As many of you know, brushing with toothpaste for sensitive teeth can be a great help for achieving comfortable teeth but having the fluoride treatment will also help to further desensitize those surfaces. 4

These are a few of the reasons why we are using fluoride at The Dentist. For further information on fluoride and its place in dentistry, please have a look at the Australian Dental Association webpage at and click on the “Fluoride Now” link or give us a call or email us using the link on this site!

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Do you Flu Vax? By Christine Fischer-Stoess


I was noticing on my way into the office today that it is “that” time of year again. The time of year when I actually can’t notice anything on my commute to the office because it is so dark outside! This means that winter is on its way to Australia and although I never actually put my barbeque away for any season, the days are going to be getting colder, darker and shorter. Here in Australia, it is also time for the annual influenza campaigns by the Health Authorities, including NSW. Do you get a flu shot?

I have been getting a flu shot (or jab, as I was informed this morning) since I was a teenager. This will be my first flu shot since I have moved to Australia and I have to admit, I’m excited about it. Not because I like needles (because I don’t) and not because I have a particular interest in vaccinations (because I don’t) but because I didn’t get one when I moved here last year. So, I missed a year of getting vaccinated but interestingly enough, I haven’t missed a year of being protected. My flu vaccine this year will “catch me up.” This is because the World Health Organization recommends what should be in the vaccination and Canada had already finished their flu campaign for the winter of 2011-12 when I moved here. So, I am going to be vaccinated with something that is recommended for the population in Australia, which for this year was also recommended for the past flu season in Canada.1

NSW Health recommends that all persons aged 65 or older have an influenza vaccine, as well as pregnant women, Aboriginal and Torres Strait islander peoples aged 15 years or older and people with certain medical conditions including diabetes, cardiac disease and COPD. The full list of recommendations can be accessed on their website.2

So, unless you have plans to migrate to Canada in order to avoid having “the jab” in the next few months, I would encourage you to consider having a flu shot. In fact, the WHO states, “those with essential functions in society” should have an annual flu vaccination.3 I think we are all important enough to require a flu shot.

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Is Botox for you? By: Christine Fischer-Stoess

Does your dentist do Botox? It seems that Botox has become a mainstream product that is being used for everything from smoothing facial wrinkles to treating excessive armpit sweating to relieving chronic migraines.1 The Dental Board of Australia’s position on Botox is that it is a safe treatment to be administered by Dentists with training in it’s correct administration for the relief of temporomandibular joint disorder.2 This is sometimes referred to as “TMJ” disorder.

So, what exactly is Botox? The brand name “Botox” refers to a specific product registered for use in the USA for medical and cosmetic procedures.3 It is actually derived from a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum.3 This bacteria does not require oxygen to survive and is usually contracted when a person eats contaminated food.4 Infection with this bacteria is usually fatal. Perhaps this does not sound like something that you might like to try? Don’t worry–medically available strains of this toxin, such as Botox are purified to be safe for human injection, they are not intended to be eaten.3

How does this relate to TMJ and the Dentist, you may be wondering? Well, there is evidence that when used correctly by a Dentist (or a Doctor) with the appropriate training, Botox injections can relieve symptoms of TMJ which can include soreness of the jaw joint, headaches, popping or clicking noises and ear pain.5,6 In fact, Botox injections can alleviate the pain and symptoms of TMJ for up to three months.7

Is this something that might be relevant to you? The first thing to do is to visit the Dentist to see if you truly do suffer from TMJ disorder. We may even refer you to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis. Once this has been confirmed, you can choose to have treatment with the Doctors associated with our practice. Who knows—you may even want to have some cosmetic Botox done in the same visit? For more information, please contact us at (02) 9232 6367 or email To contact Dr. Bitlan’s office directly please ring (02) 9233 3399.

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Works Referenced:








Floss to prevent erectile dysfunction: By Christine Fischer-Stoess


I had the pleasure of going to Hobart with my wonderful husband last weekend and I couldn’t help but notice the Prostate Cancer awareness information in the airports. I think it’s a great way to promote awareness. On the topic of ailments reserved for men, there may be a link between erectile dysfunction (ED) and periodontal disease. 1, 2

Periodontal disease is a chronic, inflammatory condition that affects more than half of the American population.3 I do not have the same statistics on the Australian population, but when you consider the vast amount of similarities between the two countries, I think I can make a fair assessment that the Australian population most likely has a similar rate of periodontal disease. According to the American Academy of Periodontology website, periodontal disease has been assessed by the CDC to be more prevalent in men than in women.3 Periodontal disease is an inflammatory process that has been linked with endothelial dysfunction, atherosclerosis and systemic inflammation.2

The correlation between ED and periodontal disease in the study found in the Journal of Sexual Health is based on the idea that chronic periodontal disease is present more commonly in men with ED than men without ED.1 This study also suggests that periodontal disease may increase endothelial dysfunction.1 However, the authors note that endothelial dysfunction needs to be further assessed to determine if it is the causative pathway between periodontal disease and ED. They also advise that periodontal health be considered as a potential cause for ED in otherwise healthy young men.1

So, even though the data suggest the connection, I think the important part of this is to realize that oral health is important in all aspects of total body health. Your mouth is attached to the rest of your body and it should be included in your plans for overall health. The best way to take care of your mouth is to floss, brush and check in with your dental team on a regular basis. Hopefully, none of you reading this article will have to consider periodontal disease as a complication to your health because you are one of our many educated patients taking steps to promote both your oral and total body health!

1)    1- Oğuz, F., Eltas, A., Beytur, A., Akdemir, E., Uslu, M. Ö. and Güneş, A. (2013), Is There a Relationship Between Chronic Periodontitis and Erectile Dysfunction?. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 10: 838–843. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2012.02974.x

2)     2-Zadik, Y., Bechor, R., Galor, S., Justo, D. and Heruti, R. J. (2009), Erectile Dysfunction Might Be Associated With Chronic Periodontal Disease: Two Ends of the Cardiovascular Spectrum. Journal of Sexual Medicine, 6: 1111–1116. doi: 10.1111/j.1743-6109.2008.01141.

3)      3-

We are happy to introduce our patients and friends to an electric toothbrush called Sonicare. It is brand-new to our office and we are going to have the Diamond Clean model available at a discounted rate for our patients. It is made by Philips who is a world renowned company for medical devices.
For those of you I haven’t met yet I am Christine the dental hygienist at The Dentist at 70 Pitt street. I have been using a Sonicare for more than 15 years and when we moved to Australia I was surprised at how many patients had never even heard of this type of brush before. They are very popular in both Canada and the USA. I have been recommending this type of electric toothbrush to my patients, family and friends since the beginning of my career as a dental hygienist.

Part of the reason that this type of brush is so effective is because of the features that it has. It has a 2 minute timer in all of the models. Did you know that most people don’t brush their teeth for long enough? The 2 minute timer helps to make sure you are spending enough time brushing your teeth. There is also a signal to let you know when to move to a different area of your mouth to help ensure you don’t miss any areas.

The other thing that we really like is that the brush is engineered to be gentle. For all of those people who press too hard with a regular toothbrush—including myself!—the Sonicare will take the guess work out of the equation by ensuring that you are not brushing away your teeth. No more wondering if you are being gentle enough—the Sonicare will always be gentle on your teeth and yet thoroughly remove plaque. 1

The Sonicare also removes more plaque than a regular toothbrush. Plaque is full of bacteria and the less you have in your mouth the healthier you can be. The Sonicare range has been shown to remove more plaque than a regular brush in clinical studies updated in 2010 and published in the Journal of Dental Research.2

The Diamond Clean comes with a spiffy travel case that can be charged via USB—no more worries about taking it travelling. It also has a lovely glass charger to be used at home. This particular model is also shown to remove stains more effectively than a manual toothbrush.

In fact, the only thing that the Sonicare doesn’t do is floss your teeth! So, for all of you who hate to floss, Philips has come out with the Air Floss—pop by our office and have a look at it for yourself!

Works Cited
1) de Jager M, Nelson R, Schmitt P, Moore M, Putt M, Kunzelmann KH, Nyama I, Garcia-Godoy F, Garcia-Godoy C. In vitro assessment of toothbrushing wear on natural and restorative materials. Compend Contin Educ Dent. 2007; 28 (Suppl 1):42-50. As viewed on October 11, 2012 at:
2) de Jager M, Schmitt P, Jain V, Master A, Wei J, Strate J. Updated meta-analysis on the clinical efficacy of side-to-side powered toothbrushes vs. manual toothbrushes. J Dent Res. 2010; 89 (Spec Iss B): 3694. As viewed on October 11, 2012 at:

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