Everything begins in the mind, including habits. It happens when our behaviour goes into autopilot mode, and the decision-making part of our brains enters into a kind of default mode— which means less brainpower is needed to carry out an activity. Meanwhile, bad habits can potentially put your life at risk if you don’t break the unhealthy loop. At our clinic, we have patients who encounter dental problems caused by daily “harmless” habits which they’re not even aware of. So here are 7 common everyday habits that could be ruining your teeth:

Habit #1 Mouth breathing


Habit #1 Mouth breathing

This habit affects at least 6 out of 10 children and adults, and it’s associated with dry mouth and dry lips. Now that wearing a mask is a must when we’re out in public, for those who are not used to it, you may find yourself starting to breathe through the mouth more than ever. When your mouth gets dry, the lack of saliva can result in a higher risk of tooth decay.

Meanwhile, mouth breathing in children is quite alarming as it affects the growth and development of the jaw, and this leads to crooked teeth. What’s more, if it’s left untreated for extended periods of time, it can set the stage for other health problems. Some signs of mouth breathing you can look out for are sleeping with the mouth open, the habit of drooling and snoring, and nighttime teeth grinding (look at habit #5).

Habit #2 Drinking soft drinks


Habit #2 Drinking soft drinks

Soft drinks can be addictive and are also very harmful to our health. From diabetes to heart disease, you should really think twice before downing your next can of soft drink. Furthermore, the acids in these sugar-loaded drinks will wear away the enamel that is supposed to protect your precious teeth. As a result, it does not only change the appearance of your teeth, but also opens the door for bacteria which can cause cavities and infections. If you really cannot resist it, try drinking with a straw and then follow up with a water rinse.

Habit #3 Chewing on ice


Habit #3 Chewing on ice

The best company on a hot and humid day—ice. In fact, some weight loss articles even promote ice munching as a healthier, zero-calorie “snack replacement”. From our standpoint, however, chewing on ice can damage your tooth enamel, and you may even risk cracking and chipping your teeth. Eventually, you may also find yourself extremely sensitive to the different temperature of food and drinks, which is not something you want to experience.

Habit #4 Using teeth as openers

Coast Dental Opening bottle

Habit #4 Using teeth as openers

Can’t find a blade/scissors/bottle opener? Use anything but your teeth. You only have a set of permanent teeth so please treat it kindly. When you use your teeth as openers, you run the risk of chipping your teeth, cutting your gums, tongue, or lips, among others. It’s really not worth it.

Habit #5 Grinding & clenching your teeth


Habit #5 Grinding & clenching your teeth

Teeth grinding and clenching is a condition known as ‘bruxism’, and it usually occurs while you’re asleep. Here are some signs that you could be unconsciously grinding your teeth:

  • Wear marks in your teeth
  • Gum recession
  • Chipping of teeth
  • Sensitive teeth

While bruxism is a common condition, heavy grinding may result in teeth aching and loosening, teeth wear, and exposing the dentin (the layer under enamel) which increases the risks of sensitivity, decay, and discolouration. In fact, nighttime grinding can also be a cause for constant headaches, neck and shoulder aches, and tired jaw muscles. Imagine working out in the gym 7 days a week without giving your muscles a rest, and then keep doing it week after week, year after year. But this is where we step in—our dentists are able to spot the signs of your grinding habits during your check-up.

If you noticed your child has bruxism, there are usually 2 views on this: 1) It’s a natural development of synaptic pruning that occurs in the basal ganglia, typically among kids between age 3 to 10. Put it simply, it’s the natural rewiring of the brain; 2) It can be due to the lack of space in the jaw, resulting in tongue partially obstructing the airway. And this brings back habit #1.

Habit #6 Brushing too hard
or not brushing at all


Habit #6 Brushing too hard
or not brushing at all

It may appear that brushing your teeth harder with stiffer bristles will help remove plaque and stains off your teeth better. On the contrary, aggressively brushing your teeth can wear down and damage both your gums and teeth in the long run. So always remember to brush in gentle circular motions, and the ideal toothbrush for most people is one with a small head and medium-to-soft bristles. We also encourage simple massaging of the gums to gently remove plaque and this will keep your gums healthy too.

As for people who skip toothbrushing every now and then, the effects are more than just bad breath and a few cavities. Your mouth is the gateway to your body. This means that the health of your mouth can also affect your overall health.

Habit #7 Not going for dental check-ups regularly


In general, you should be visiting your dentist at least twice a year to ensure optimum oral and dental health. When you’re proactive, we’re able to help catch any potential issues early and offer you the best solution before it turns into a serious problem. Also, with regular checking and cleaning, you will grow more comfortable with these sessions as there’s less inflammation of the gums!

If you’re due for a dental check-up, come book an appointment with us!

Have a specific topic that you would like us to talk about? Just let us know!

It is perfectly normal for you to want a bright and white smile like a celebrity to boost your self-confidence.  Our teeth naturally become darker and yellowish as we age especially together with  lifestyle habits such as drinking coffee, tea, coke, red wine and smoking, which will result in more dull and yellowish discoloured teeth.

Porcelain  veneers, composite veneers, dental implants and whitening are some of the current options available to improve the colour and cosmetics of a smile. Teeth whitening is the most simple and least invasive procedure, and it is proven to be safe and an effective way to brighten up stained and discoloured teeth.

Can all teeth be whitened?

Teeth whitening CAN cover up the stains and discolouration from the followings Teeth whitening CANNOT whiten the discolouration from the followings
  • Food and drinks (Coffee, tea, red wines)
  • Tobacco
  • Natural ageing
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Dental restorations; fillings, crowns and bridges
  • As a result of Injury or trauma
  • As a side effect of health condition or medication (genetic disorder of enamel)

It is important to have healthy gums and teeth prior to whitening treatment. Therefore, it is crucial to have a full dental examination beforehand to check for any tooth decay, any leaking/faulty fillings or gum disease. If we detect any underlying problems causing your teeth to be darkened, this has to be treated beforehand.

Who is eligible?

Teeth whitening is not recommended for people under 16 years of age or women who are pregnant or lactating. Nonetheless, It is considered to be a safe treatment when it is carried out by a professional dentist.

The side effects of teeth whitening are minimal. These include temporary sensitivity to the teeth and possible irritation to the gums or lips. All these side effects disappear after a few days and topical creams are available to reduce these side effects if needed. It is known that these risks can be reduced considerably when you choose professional whitening (as opposed to commercially available kits) and follow your dentist’s instructions.

How long does teeth whitening last for?

Teeth whitening is not a permanent treatment but to keep your teeth white for longer it is recommended that;

  1. To avoid or reduce sources of stains such as coffee, tea, red wine and tobacco
  2. To keep good oral hygiene by every 6 month regular check up
  3. To use of take home whitening tray & gel

To find out if you are eligible for tooth whitening, please make an appointment with us. You can call us at +65 64404605 or email us at info@coastdental.com.sg  to make a no obligation consultation where your dentist will explain the different whitening options we offer and can answer any questions you have about teeth whitening cost and risks.

– Written by Dr Eunji Park

Do you have any missing teeth? If you have one or more missing teeth, it will not only affect your appearance but could also affect other healthy teeth as a result of the biting forces being spread over a lesser number of teeth. This can lead to cracking or fracture of other teeth resulting in further tooth loss.

When gaps are present from tooth loss, shifting of the surrounding teeth can also occur. This makes it harder to maintain good oral hygiene leading to a greater risk of having tooth decay and gum disease.

There are three main teeth replacement options. 1) Dental Implants, Bridges or Dentures. This article will focus on the Implant option.

What is a Dental Implant?

Dental implants are a fixed, permanent, long-term solution to replace missing teeth. They are the most functional tooth replacement option and will look, feel and perform just like a natural tooth.

A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is securely placed into the jawbone and replaces the root of a missing natural tooth. A dental crown (artificial tooth) is then attached to the top of the implant to fill the gap of the missing tooth.


Who is eligible for dental implants?

People who have lost one or more teeth as a result of an accident, gum disease or tooth decay can consider implant options. Dental implants are usually done for people above 18 years of age.

The jaw bone starts shrinking soon after the tooth is lost. When too much is bone is lost the implant procedure becomes more challenging as additional procedures such as bone grafting need to be carried out to artificially increase the amount of available bone.

It is therefore advisable to not wait too long before replacing the missing tooth with an implant. Good oral health condition has to be established before placing an implant, so it is best to get a full check-up done by the dentist beforehand.


How long is the procedure?


The entire process of getting dental implants can take anywhere between 3-6 months. Usually the treatment follows 3 steps:

  1. The implant is placed and eventually fuses with the jawbone. This usually takes between 3 to 6 months. Depending on your remaining amount of bone, bone graft may or may not be necessary.
  2. After the implant has fused with the bone, an extension called a dental abutment is attached to it. Once the gum has healed around the abutment it will act as the foundation for your tooth.
  3. Finally, your customised implant crown is made and will be attached to the abutment. Time to enjoy your brand new smile!

Make an appointment with us to find out if you are eligible for a dental implant. You can call us at +65 64404605 or email us at info@coastdental.com.sg for a no-obligation consultation to go through each option in detail to make a fully informed decision.

–  Written by Dr Park Eunji

The benefits of breathing through the nose is that the fine hairs present inside the nose acts as a filter to prevent unwanted particles from entering the lungs. Breathing through the nose also helps to warm and humidify the air which is inhaled. When breathing through the mouth, the benefits of nasal breathing is lost.



Apart from not getting the benefits of nasal breathing, mouth breathing carries a large number of harmful effects. Craniofacial development (the development of the bones of the head and face) is greatly affected with mouth breathing. The tongue has a big role to play in this. During mouth breathing, the tongue adopts a low forward position rather than resting at the palate (roof of the mouth). The picture below shows where the tounge should rest during nasal breathing.

For some children, even as nasal breathers the tongue does not rest at the top of the mouth due to a presence of a tongue tie, poor muscle tone of the tongue or a change in resting posture of the tongue from the extended use of milk bottles and pacifiers during infancy. Breast-fed babies naturally adopt a good resting tongue posture and predominantly nasal breathers.




Due to the low resting posture of the tongue, the upper jaw develops in a forward direction and becomes narrow. More vertical growth is seen in children who mouth breathe leading to long, narrow faces and gummy smiles. The lips which are meant to be together at rest fail to guide the developing teeth in good alignment which also contributes to crowding of teeth.

Apart from poor craniofacial development and crooked teeth, mouth breathing also affects quality of sleep, memory formation and may be contributing factor to learning disorders and neurological disorders. This will be discussed in detail on another post.



Keep Similing

Coast Dental
Written by Dr Nijamuddeen A. Latiff
BDS (Singapore)
FRACDS (Australia)

A filling is needed when bacteria in your mouth has caused a decay in your tooth. The decay is then removed and a filling is placed. However, a filling is only beneficial if it continues to protect the tooth. Over time some fillings may begin to have gaps in between and bacteria can easily get between the filling and the tooth and cause decay to occur underneath a ‘leaky’ filling.


The picture above shows an example of a ‘leaky’ mercury filling where bacteria can get between the filling and the tooth. When the filling was removed tooth decay can be seen underneath the old filling


As in most dental diseases there usually is no sign that there is decay underneath a filling. Most people do not feel any sensation of having tooth decay. The first sensation only occurs when the decay has reached the nerve of the tooth. At that point pain sets in and at times can be very severe. The tooth then would either have to be removed or need a root canal treatment.

Filling materials of today can look extremely natural. Composites or porcelain can be used to fabricate undetectable fillings which lasts a long time. These materials are also kinder to the tooth and do not place heavy stresses on the tooth structure.


At Coast Dental we don’t simply ‘fill’ your teeth we restore it back to its natural strength and beauty. For this reason we prefer to use the word Restorations rather than Fillings.

Do get your existing fillings checked regularly and have them changed to beautiful restorations if needed to ensure that your teeth are well protected!

Your smile often says a lot about your personality. In today’s highly competitive world there is no saying how important a first impression can be. Whether you want to make a good first impression to ace your job interview, impress your clients or to turn that first date into a second date with that special someone….. a great smile will go a long way. A beautiful set of pearly whites can never replace strong values such as honesty, hardwork and humility but it sure can give you an added advantage.


In his TED talk, Ron Gutman speaks about the power of smiling and shares research conducted on smiling. The research found the following benefits to smiling


  • People who smiled more frequently were more successful in marriage, had more successful careers and earned more money
  • People with beaming smiles lived longer
  • Smiling stimulates the brain to produce chemicals which make us feel better. A study showed that a smile produces the same effect as eating 2000 bars of chocolate!!!
  • Smiling helps to reduce stress enhancing hormones such as cortisol, adrenaline and dopamine and increases the level of endorphins and has a overall effect of reducing blood pressure.
  • When you smile you appear to be more likeable, look better and more competent.


But if you feel conscious about your smile then your smile may be reflecting qualities opposite to your true self.

Cosmetic dentistry can enhance and rejuvenate your smile. There are many types treatments available for cosmetic dentistry. Cosmetic dentistry can range from simple treatments that can be completed within 1-2 sessions as well as treatments that can take about 12-18 months to complete.

Cosmetic dentistry can be wallet friendly as well. Many people assume that cosmetic dentistry will cost several thousands of dollars. While there are treatments that may cost several thousand dollars, there are also treatments within a few hundred dollars which may be affordable to many.

Cosmetic dentistry should never compromise the health of your teeth and must always be minimally invasive. Invasive procedures will never give you lasting benefits. Make sure you have an in depth consultation with your dentist to find out the most conservative way to improve your smile without compromising the health of your teeth.

A Trial Smile is one of the best ways to get a sneak preview of your improved smile before any lasting treatment is done on your teeth. The best part of a trial smile is that it is completely reversible.

Visit us at Coast Dental and ask us for a trial smile and see what improvements you can make to your smile which will never go out of fashion.


Preventive dentistry is the foundation of modern dentistry. Most dental diseases have no symptoms till advanced stages of disease. As dentists we often tell our adult patients to visit a dentist every 6 months for an oral check to detect diseases early and to prevent these diseases from progressing to advanced oral diseases. Detecting dental diseases in children and treating them is one of the best forms of preventive dentistry.

A child’s first adult tooth usually erupts at the age of about 6 years old. Once the adult tooth has erupted the tooth is meant to function throughout the entire life of the child through adulthood! That tooth needs to be healthy in the mouth for the next 60-70 years.

Some children lose their adult tooth at a very early age and this can become a stressful situation for parents when thinking about replacement options.

Options for tooth replacements include dentures, bridges and dental implants. Some of these procedures can only be carried out when the child is older. Although these replacement options are readily available, every effort should be made to maintain and protect one’s own natural tooth.


Apart from genetics, lifestyle and habits also have a big role to play in the health of children’s teeth. The extended use of pacifiers, the age at which a child changes from using a children’s toothpaste to an adult toothpaste, the age a child switches from drinking from a milk bottle to a cup, timing of snacks during the day, falling asleep while drinking milk from a bottle, medications the child is taking and thumb sucking are some of the many lifestyle factors that can significantly affect the dental health of a child which can lead to dental problems in adulthood. Breathing through the mouth while sleeping instead of using the nose can lead to poor developments of the jaws. Allergies, enlarged tonsils and adenoids are common causes of mouth breathing. Some adults go through extensive braces treatment and even consider jaw surgeries later in life to correct a cosmetic or functional problem that can arise from poorly developed jaws contributed by mouth breathing.

Dental treatment can be an unnerving experience for both adults and children. The bright lights from the dental chair, strange sounds from the dental equipment and water being squirted into the mouth can all seem very daunting at first. But this can change to a very comfortable experience when a child knows what to expect during a dental treatment.

Children need to be introduced to various dental experiences gradually for them to overcome this fear. The American Accademy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the first dental visit to be before a child’s first birthday. Sometimes a child’s first dental visit occurs when he/she is having a toothache. Although the dental treatment can still be managed the experience for the child may not be ideal. A nervous and anxious child may sometimes need general anaesthesia or sedation to proceed with dental treatment which may otherwise be completed under local anaesthesia in a co-operative child.

There are many benefits in bringing a child early for a dental consultation. A child’s baby teeth are needed for proper speech and social development, nutrition and act as a guide for the adult teeth to develop. A negative dental experience during childhood can lead to dental phobias to develop in adulthood.

Bringing a child early for a dental check up will help in preventing many dental problems and also create positive dental experiences for life.

By Dr Nijam Latiff
BDS (Singapore)
FRACDS (Australia)