Bruxism—or the more familiar term, teeth grinding, is a condition where you grind, clench and gnash your teeth. People might unconsciously grind their teeth while they are awake but in most cases, they grind them during sleep. The latter is called Sleep Bruxism.

There are many views on why bruxism happens in the first place. One view is that it is a natural development of synaptic pruning—the natural rewiring of the brain—that can occur in children between 3 to 10 years of age. Another view is the lack of space in the jaw that leads to the tongue partially obstructing the airway. When this happens, the lower jaw will move forward to open up the airway and as a result, the lower teeth will inevitably grind against the upper teeth.

Why is Sleep Bruxism on children concerning?

Sleep Bruxism if occurs occasionally is less of a concern. For some children, it is a normal occurrence and will resolve on its own. However, for some other children, it may be an indication of underdeveloped jaws, poor tongue posture and result in sleep disruptions which can affect growth, memory consolidation and hormone regulation.

#1 Teeth wear, teeth crowding and underdeveloped jaws

Teeth wear

#1 Teeth wear, teeth crowding
and underdeveloped jaws

Bruxism has a strong association with the underdevelopment of the jaws. The underdevelopment of the jaws can lead to cosmetic concerns from teeth sticking out to a protruding lower jaw that may require surgery to correct in adulthood. This can be prevented with early intervention.

Bruxism can also result in cracked teeth, chipped teeth or cause teeth sensitivities from damaged tooth enamel (the hard surface surrounding the outer part of the tooth). Cracked teeth are less of a concern in baby teeth but when it occurs to an adult tooth, it may require a root canal treatment to treat the problem. This, too, can be avoided with early intervention.

#2 Sleep disruption

Sleep disruption

#2 Sleep disruption

Sleep bruxism is associated with micro-arousals during the sleep cycle. A sleep cycle consists of different stages involving Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep generally occurs after NREM sleep. REM sleep is involved in memory consolidation amongst other benefits to the human body. Sleep bruxism is associated with micro-arousals that occur in the brain preventing a child or adult from progressing from NREM sleep to REM sleep. Several studies have shown the links between teeth crowding, mouth breathing, sleep bruxism, poor tongue muscle tone with increased levels of stress, anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders and hormone dysregulation.

As mentioned, if bruxism occurs occasionally, it is less of a concern. However, if it occurs frequently and especially if accompanied by other symptoms such as mouth breathing, tongue-tie, teeth crowding and poor development of the upper and lower jaws, then early intervention is important.

Poor quality of sleep also affects a myriad of health-related problems that revolve around hormone imbalances. Growth and development will be affected due to the reduction of growth hormone production in children lacking good quality sleep. These children may be associated with being underweight or overweight.

Bruxism is also related to the increased production of the stress hormone cortisol. Increased cortisol production affects neurogenesis (the formation of nerve connections within the brain) in the hippocampus (an area of the brain involved with learning and memory)

#3 Stress and anxiety

Stress and anxiety

 #3 Stress and anxiety

Children may also experience bruxism due to stress and anxiety. Bruxism may be an indication of sympathetic dominance (fight-or-flight response). Our bodies have a fight or flight response which is controlled by the sympathetic nervous system and a “rest, digest and relax” response which is dominated by the parasympathetic nervous system. I will discuss more on this in subsequent email articles.

Bruxism may be a manifestation of sympathetic dominance in children and adults. Our stressful lifestyles accompanied with excessive screen time and a diet of processed foods add lots of stress to our body to cope with leading to sympathetic dominance where our bodies are constantly in a fight or flight mode. During night time, this manifests in unconscious clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep.

Practising good sleep hygiene such as avoidance of screen time 1-2 hours before bedtime, maintaining a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables and cutting down on processed foods go a long way in reducing sympathetic dominance in our bodies.

What are the signs to look out for?

Sleep Bruxism

The first thing you can do is to check on your kid while they are asleep. If you hear harsh grinding and gnashing sounds, your child is most likely dealing with bruxism. Another noticeable symptom is when your child’s tooth surface is flat due to the repetitive grinding of teeth. Other signs to look out for are if your child sleeps on their tummy or sleeps with their mouths open. If they do so, simply use your fingers to close their lips or change their sleep posture so that they are sleeping on their sides. Sleeping on the side naturally places the tongue in a better position and prevents obstruction of the airway.

As much as it is important to self-diagnose, it is more advisable for you to bring your child to a dentist for a more accurate diagnosis. With regular dental checkups, your dentist can also detect the signs of teeth grinding early and suggest the right treatments accordingly.

Are you due for a dental checkup? Come book an appointment with us here!

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


Machado, E., Dal-Fabbro, C., Cunali, P. A., & Kaizer, O. B. (2014). Prevalence of sleep bruxism in children: a systematic review. Dental press journal of orthodontics, 19(6), 54-61.

Lee, B. K., Glass, T. A., McAtee, M. J., Wand, G. S., Bandeen-Roche, K., Bolla, K. I., & Schwartz, B. S. (2007). Associations of salivary cortisol with cognitive function in the Baltimore memory study. Archives of general psychiatry, 64(7), 810-818.

You may look at oral piercing as just another form of accessory but is it actually safe? There are some safety issues and potential risks that need to be addressed when we talk about oral piercings. Dental pain, excessive bleeding, trauma to the tongue and infections are some of the common complications that can occur. If you already have an oral piercing, let us help you minimise the risks involved!

Oral piercings are defined as the insertion of rings, studs or pins to the oral cavity; a needle is used to create an opening in the mouth or areas around the mouth to keep oral accessories intact. Such oral cosmetics are commonly displayed on the lips, tongue, chin and cheeks!

Details on oral modifications

  • Oral piercings on the lips include:

Bottom lip, upper lip, bottom/upper side lip, double piercings on each corner of the bottom/upper lip, four piercings distributed on the edges of upper and lower lips, among others.

  • Oral piercings on the tongue include:

Midline tongue piercing, side tongue piercing, two piercings at the tip of the tongue, frenulum linguae piercing (the skin under your tongue that juts out and connects the bottom of your tongue to the floor of the mouth), tongue splitting (dividing the tongue into half) and so many more

  • Oral piercings on the cheek include:

Dimple piercings, dermal cheek piercing, cheekbone piercing, piercing on both apples of the cheek, just to name a few.

  • Oral piercings on the chin include:

Piercings directly under the bottom lip, side chin piercings, upper and lower chin piercings and many others.

Cosmetic oral modifications are not just limited to the lips, tongue, cheeks and chin. It is inclusive of the entire anatomy of the mouth such as the jawline, uvula, teeth, the roof of the mouth and the floor of the mouth. Oral piercings are growing in popularity and it is quite literally expanding into new areas! It has become a prominent fashion statement, body art and a means of self-expression in the millennial age.

Are there any repercussions to oral piercings?


Unfortunately, the list of complications attached to oral piercings is just as long as the list of oral piercings available. As with any puncture wound or incision, this type of accessory typically causes immediate complications such as excessive:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Bleeding
  • Oral infection
  • Potential permanent scars

However, some complications are built up over time, which will require longer or more complicated oral remedies to take place. Late complications relating to oral cosmetics include:

  • Drainage of purulence
  • Damage of reactive tissues
  • Spontaneous bleeding
  • Dental pain
  • Trauma in the tongue
  • Palate trauma
  • Gum trauma
  • Gingival recession
  • Trauma in the mouth floor
  • Tooth loss
  • Tooth fractures

The wound associated with the insertion of oral accessories allows various microorganisms that normally inhabit the mouth to have direct access to enter the bloodstream and affect other body structures such as the heart or brain. Severe infections resulting from oral piercings are rare but can be potentially life-threatening. There have been reported cases of people suffering from Ludwig’s angina after getting oral piercings. Ludwig’s angina is a fast-spreading cellulitis involving the submandibular, sublingual and submental fascial spaces. Antibiotic therapy and possible surgical intervention are required to treat Ludwig’s angina.

Oral accessories may also break and cause choking or damage to your teeth while you sleep, talk or chew. They also cause:

  • Interference with speech patterns.
  • Involuntary drooling.
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Difficulties for dental X-rays to be taken

People with existing health concerns such as diabetes, haemophilia and autoimmune diseases are more vulnerable to oral complications due to the fact that it may take a longer period for them to heal from obtaining oral jewellery. These accessories can also trigger an immunemediated reaction based on the type of metal being used in the piercing.

Here’s what you need to know if you have oral piercings:


There are risks involved in getting an oral piercing but it does not mean everyone who has it is doomed. There are preventive measures you can take to ensure your safety:

  • Get your piercings done by a licensed practitioner who has good experience in doing
    oral piercings and maintains good infection control.
  • Maintain good oral hygiene and extra hygiene measures for the piercing. For example,
    brushing the tongue stud.
  • Maintain routine visits to your dentist

If you are thinking of getting yourself an oral piercing, reach out to us and let our dentists help you make an informed decision. Speaking of oral care, are you due for a dental checkup? If you are, come book an appointment with us!

Have an interesting topic you would like us to cover? Just let us know!


(n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2021, from,site%20for%20oral%2Dpiercing%20placement.

15, W. (2020, November 27). Tongue Piercings: Guide & Images. Retrieved January 14, 2021, from

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Donnelly, W. (2016, April 25). Guide: Types of Mouth & Oral Piercings. Retrieved January 14, 2021, from

Oral (Lip and Tongue) Piercings: Risks, Home Care, and More. (2020, August 27). Retrieved January 14, 2021, from

The Oral Cavity. (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2021, from

Vieira, E. P., Ribeiro, A. L. R., João de Jesus, V. P., & Alves Jr, S. D. M. (2011). Oral piercings: immediate and late complications. Journal of oral and maxillofacial surgery, 69(12), 3032-3037.

Your Complete Guide to Cheek Piercings (Pros, Cons and Tips). (n.d.). Retrieved January 14, 2021, from

It’s important to keep our health in check especially now that we are dealing with a pandemic. However, it’s important to note that your mental health matters just as much as your physical health. Don’t leave it unattended.

Mental health is a serious issue that affects all ages and people from all walks of life. It is estimated that approximately 450 million people worldwide experience mental illness and disorders, rendering them vulnerable to physical and emotional harm. According to the Singapore Mental Health Study (SMHS), about one in 7 Singaporeans have experienced a mood or anxiety disorder at some point in their lives.

The Covid-19 pandemic has unfortunately added an extra fold of stress and anxiety. With fear and uncertainty creeping over every aspect of life, it is important to know how to cope with mental health amid this crisis and how to overcome it. At the same time, Covid-19 has also given us the opportunity to reassess what is truly important in our lives.

What is Mental health?

Mental health in a medical standpoint refers to cognitive, behavioural, and emotional wellbeing. It affects our emotions, how we feel and how we interact with one another. An individual with good mental health is able to cope with the everyday challenges of life, develop positive relationships between loved ones, and is able to find joy in living life. There are several factors that contribute to mental illness and a genetic predisposition is one of them. There are several social factors that contribute to mental illness and here are some of them.

What are the social factors that contribute to mental illness?


One of the key social factors that contribute to mental illness is the stigmatisation of mental disorders. A lack of awareness of the causes, symptoms and treatment options of mental disorders in the general public and a lack of interpersonal contact with affected individuals will result in increased stigmatisation and discrimination of individuals suffering from mental illness.

An important point to note is that mental health and mental illness lie on a continuum. This means it is difficult to categorise any individual to a state of complete mental wellbeing. It is perfectly normal for a healthy individual to have an episode of a mental breakdown or even a psychotic episode such as a hallucination without being labelled as an individual suffering from a mental disorder.

This makes mental illness similar to other diseases that lie on a continuum such as heart disease and cancer where individuals can have genetic factors and lifestyle factors that either increase or reduce the chances of the illness occurring. Studies have shown that 75% to 90% of people who have suffered an episode of mental illness can recover completely and are able to lead a normal and fulfilling life. Therefore, only a small percentage of people suffer from long term mental illnesses that are debilitating.

Other than the points stated above, some of the other social factors that contribute to mental illness are our modern, urbanised lifestyle, immigration and poverty that result in lack of resources. Recreational drug use is a significant contributor to mental illness. Fortunately, the drug laws in Singapore are very strict.

5 ways to cope with mental health during Covid-19

1) Stay in touch with your loved ones


1) Stay in touch with your
loved ones

Although it may sound obvious, not many people would muster the courage to talk to their loved ones when they are suffering from mental health issues. It’s important to have social interactions with your loved ones and express your fears and worries to them. They might not have the solution to your problems, but at least they would listen and try to understand your situation. By keeping constant contact with them, you effectively put your worries to rest and reduce the amount of anxiety and stress within yourself as well.

2) Practice mindfulness and seek spirituality

Partial Denture

2) Practice mindfulness and
seek spirituality

Take a few minutes to practice slow breathing exercises. Meditation and prayer help us to remember the existence of a higher power and keeps our egos in check. Remind yourself that the success you have seen is not your efforts alone. Likewise, don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Be a seeker of spirituality and whichever faith you belong to, there are pearls of wisdom and life lessons to be learnt in scriptures and holy books. However, these can only be understood when we actually take time to study religion and spirituality. Unfortunately, most of us become too focused on the rituals and forget the lessons behind the rituals.

Regardless of whether you belong to a formalised religion or not, the practice of mindfulness, meditation and prayer will help you cope. Always believe that when something negative occurs, there will always be something positive to uplift you.

3) Limit the amount of exposure to news


3) Limit the amount
of exposure to news

It is good that we keep ourselves informed. However, too much negative information from all forms of media can not only heighten fears of the virus but also spread misinformation. It is advisable to limit the amount of time spent on social media as it may expose us to false rumours and misinformation. The dilemma of choosing who to believe and having to evaluate whether the information is trustworthy can take a toll on our mental health. Therefore, it is recommended that we keep up with the latest news from reliable and accurate sources only, such as the government officials or the World Health Organization.

4) Practice gratitude

4) Practice gratitude

The many changes that have occurred as a result of Covid-19 will be a cause for stress and anxiety for many. Some of our patients and friends who are in the entertainment industry, tourism and other business owners have seen massive changes in their business models but they have taken it in their stride and have adapted well. It is important for all of us to take a step back and be grateful for what we have regardless of our current circumstances and be grateful for all the things that we have been blessed with.

5) Stay Active

Do not wear dentures overnight

5) Stay Active

Exercising and eating right keeps the mind and body healthy. Exercise helps to regulate our hormones such as cortisol which is related to stress. Exercise also releases endorphins that make us feel good and with just 20 to 40 minutes of physical activity, we can improve our anxiety levels and mood for several hours. Whether it is a jog at the park, hitting the gym or joining a yoga class—they all have benefits to mental health and wellbeing.

Where to seek help?


We understand how it can be overwhelming at times so here are some of the numbers that you can refer to whenever you are having trouble coping with mental health or in need of professional help.

  • 1. National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (available from 8am to 12am daily)
  • 2. Institute of Mental Health’s Mental Health Helpline: 6389-2222 (24 hours)
  • 3. Samaritans of Singapore: 1800-221-4444 (24 hours)
  • 4. Silver Ribbon Singapore: 6385-3714 (Mon to Fri 9am-5pm)
  • 5. TOUCHline (Counselling): 1800 377 2252 (Mon to Fri 9am-6pm)

Do note that your dental health is closely related to your mental wellbeing as well, so don’t forget to keep your teeth and gums healthy during this challenging time.

If you’re due for a dental checkup, you can book an appointment with us here!

We know that you have plenty of questions that need answering. Don’t be shy and let us know! We are more than happy to answer any questions pertaining to your dental health.


1. What is Mental Illness | Singapore Association for Mental Health : Mental Wellness for All. (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from

2. Bentzen, J. (2020). Rising religiosity as a global response to COVID-19 fear | VOX, CEPR Policy Portal. Retrieved 25 September 2020, from

3. Mikkelsen, K., Stojanovska, L., Polenakovic, M., Bosevski, M., & Apostolopoulos, V. (2017). Exercise and mental health. Maturitas, 106, 48-56.

4. Van Os, J., Linscott, R. J., Myin-Germeys, I., Delespaul, P., & Krabbendam, L. J. P. M.(2009). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the psychosis continuum: evidence for a psychosis proneness-persistence-impairment model of psychotic disorder. Psychological medicine, 39(2), 179.

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6. Stress: Signs, Symptoms, Management & Prevention. (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from

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9. WHO | Mental disorders affect one in four people. (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from

10. Suicide Facts and Figures | Samaritans of Singapore (SOS). (2020). Retrieved 25 September 2020, from

Dentures help fill in the gap that occurs due to teeth loss and although it is more common among older people, almost anyone can have dentures. Read more to find out what dentures are, and how you can maintain it.

If you think dentures are only for old people, you are wrong. Younger people do sometimes lose their teeth too and end up needing dentures for cosmetic reasons or to simply chew their food better. Overloading of remaining natural teeth, shifting of natural teeth, inability to chew well, bone loss, and changes in appearances are some of the many problems associated with missing teeth. But fret not, dentures are a quick and cost-effective means to solve some of these problems.

Dentures or false teeth are either made of acrylic (plastic) or metal. They are replacements for missing teeth and need to be removed daily for cleaning.

Types of dentures

1. Full Denture


 1. Full Denture

Full dentures are made after the removal of teeth and when the gum has begun to heal. People opt for full dentures when they have lost either all of the upper or lower teeth. In general, it can take up to 12 weeks for the jaw bone to stabilize after teeth removal. However, most patients are unable to be without any teeth for such a long time. As such, dentures are occasionally made in advance before teeth removal and these are called Immediate Dentures. Dentures can also be made without waiting for complete healing of the jaw bone, but this means that the dentures have to be refined as the jaw bone heals.

2. Partial Denture

Partial Denture

2. Partial Denture

Partial dentures, on the other hand, are used when one or more natural teeth remain in the upper or lower jaw. The dentures are attached to a pink or gum-coloured plastic base and are sometimes connected by a metal framework to hold the denture in place. Partial dentures fill in the gaps to avoid any teeth from changing position.

The best time to consider dentures is…

If you have missing or damaged teeth, dentures can be one of the options for teeth replacement. Damaged teeth could lead to an infection, leaving you with no choice but to lose your teeth if you do not have it checked immediately. Avoid the loss of teeth from tooth decay, gum disease or cracked teeth so that you will not require dentures.
The best-time-to consider-dentures is

Getting used to dentures might not be an easy task for everyone and some patients may need about 3 to 6 months to get used to a new pair of dentures. Eating with dentures will never quite be the same and this means sometimes being unable to eat certain foods comfortably—for example, chewing on a steak or biting into an apple.

With today’s technology, however, there is a good chance that you can still fix your damaged teeth before dentures are needed. When you visit your dentist regularly, they are able to detect the early signs of tooth decay or gum disease and recommend the best treatment.

Getting a TENS recording is a painless procedure. In fact, it can be very relaxing. It’s almost like getting a massage for your jaw muscles!

At Coast Dental, we use an equipment known as the J5 TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) machine to relax the muscles of the jaw during the measurement stage to record the most relaxed position of the jaw and its muscles. This is done mostly for patients who have lost all their teeth or several teeth resulting in an altered jaw position. The new dentures will then be fabricated in this newly recorded jaw position, and our patients have found this to give enhanced cosmetic and functional benefits.

How long do they last?


On average, dentures can fit well for about 3-5 years. During denture usage, the jaw bone continues to change its shape and after about 3-5 years, there can be considerable bone loss resulting in a poor-fitting denture. So at this point, the current denture may need to be adjusted for a better fit or a new denture may be required. This is because poor-fitting dentures tend to accelerate bone loss, which can be uncomfortable to wear in later years. Eating and speaking become inevitably difficult and it can also lead to a sore mouth, fungal growth in the mouth and other problems. Dentures that are supported by implants, on the other hand, can last longer as the implants help to retain the natural bone and give support to the denture.

5 simple tips maintain your dentures

1. Clean it daily


 1. Clean it daily

Your dentures need to be cleaned daily. You can use a toothbrush, denture brush or a non-abrasive denture cleanser to remove food, plaque or other deposits. Be careful not to use denture cleansers inside your mouth.

2. Soak in a denture-cleaning solution


2. Soak in a denture-cleaning

Generally, dentures need to stay moist in order to retain their shape. You can soak your dentures in water or denture-cleaning solution overnight to clean the remaining plaque and to disinfect the
dentures. You should check with your dentist regarding soaking your dentures overnight first.

3. Do not wear dentures overnight

Do not wear dentures overnight

 3. Do not wear dentures

Unless told otherwise, you should not wear your dentures overnight. This is to help relieve any soreness, prevent infection and the potential risk of denture-related stomatitis, especially among older people and those at a higher risk of developing stomatitis.

4. Clean your mouth after
removing dentures

Clean your mouth

4. Clean your mouth after
removing dentures

Cleaning your mouth is just as important as cleaning your dentures. So, be sure to clean your mouth after removing your dentures. You can use a soft-bristled toothbrush to clean your natural teeth,
tongue, cheeks and palate (roof of your mouth). Don’t forget to remove the remaining denture adhesive from your gums too!

5. Schedule regular dental

Schedule regular dental

 5. Schedule regular dental

The best option is to seek professional help from your dentist. They are able to offer you the best advice on maintaining your dentures as well as how often you should have it examined. They can also check the inside of your mouth to make sure that everything is in good shape.

Are you due for a dental checkup? If yes, come and book an appointment with us here!

If you have any questions regarding dentures or would like us to cover a specific topic, let us know!


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Dentalhealthorg. (n.d.). Denture care guidelines. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from

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DENTURE. (n.d.). Retrieved September 17, 2020, from

Friedman, M. (2019, April 23). Dentures: Types (Partial and Complete), Cost, Cleaning, and More. Retrieved September 17, 2020, from

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Food pocketing may seem cute at first but when your child keeps on doing it, it may become a cause for concern. Read more to find out why your child pockets their food and how to stop it.

Does your child store food in their mouth instead of swallowing them? If that behaviour weirds you out, do know that it is quite common among young children. In fact, some kids even hold food in their mouth for hours! However, when this food pocketing habit continues until your child is 5 years of age, that could be a cause for concern.

What is food pocketing?

Food pocketing is the action of storing food inside the mouth without swallowing it. Children
usually store or “pocket” their food inside their cheeks but some even store it in front of their gums. Alaina Everitt, a licensed psychologist, said that food pocketing usually starts at an early age when the child is still young. Occasionally, children may experience something painful or sore in their mouth and thereby, making it difficult for them to swallow (see more below). As a result, they would store, spit or refuse food altogether.

Why does it happen?

1. Sensory Issue

Most children tend to hold food in their mouth because they dislike the texture of the food. Meanwhile, some children store it because they are not even aware there is food left in their mouth. This happens when a child has oral sensory issues where they cannot feel where the food is in their mouth. As a result, they would stuff their mouth with food to increase the sensation but then it would be too much to swallow. This condition is fairly common among children with autism and sensory processing disorder, and it may require a more extensive therapy.

2. Oral motor skills

The other potential reason as to why your child is storing food is because they have weak oral motor skills. Oral motor skills have everything to do with the strength and coordination of the muscles inside your mouth, including how you move your tongue to help with swallowing and chewing, as well as keeping your lips shut to ensure that the food doesn’t spill out. If your child has weak oral motor skills, they might have trouble trying to remove the food that is stuck in their mouth.

3. Painful swallowing

It could start off as a sore throat, a swollen tonsil or chronic reflux for that matter, but the main point is that it hurts whenever your child swallows. As a coping mechanism, your child may decide not to swallow and hold onto their food instead. Worse still, the fear of swallowing becomes a habit or learned behaviour and if this happens, your child may need help to move past that mental block.

What can I do to stop my child from food pocketing?

1. Demonstrate how to eat properly


1. Demonstrate how to eat

Walk your kid through the process, step by step, from scooping the food to chewing and swallowing. You can also teach your child to use an open cup instead of a sippy cup and take sips of water to help wash the pocketed food down the throat. Cutting their food to tiny bits may help them chew and swallow better too.

2. Use a toothbrush or a Myo Munchee

2. Use a toothbrush or a
Myo Munchee

If your child is struggling with weak oral motor skills, you can use a toothbrush to help them remove the pocketed food from their mouth. Another option is to use a device called Myo Munchee, a chewing appliance, that can help develop the muscles involved in chewing and also increase the muscle tone of the tongue. Just by chewing the Munchee for about 10 minutes every day, it can improve oral function and swallowing and as a result, improvements in facial development can also be seen.

3. See a dentist


3. See a dentist

If the solutions above do not work, the best option is to seek medical help. Your dentist will examine your child’s mouth to determine why your child pockets food. Sometimes, tooth abscess occurs in the roots of decayed teeth, which is why your dentist may take an X-ray of your child’s mouth to identify any tooth decay or infection. If the problem persists, your dentist may refer your child to a specialist as pocketing food can be a sign of a more complex feeding challenge and a feeding therapy may be required.

It is important to maintain a regular dental check-up in order to detect dental issues early. If you are due for a visit, come book an appointment with us!

Also, let us know if you have any topics that you would like us to cover!


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2. MOT, A. (2020, September 04). Pocketing Food Strategies and Causes in Kids. Retrieved October 08, 2020, from

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5. Unantenne, N. (2014, June 18). “Help! My Child Stores Food in Her Mouth Without Swallowing… What Do I Do?” Retrieved October 08, 2020, from

Mouth ulcers are very common and can be due to a variety of reasons. Trauma from accidentally biting your tongue or lip is a common cause of ulcer. Drinking a hot cup of coffee too quickly can also result in an ulcer. Other causes include certain medications, stress, viral, bacterial or fungal infections and certain foods. The mouth is often the part of the body that gives us clues about the health of the entire body. As such, mouth ulcers can also be due to nutritional deficiencies such as deficiencies in Vitamin B12, folate and iron. Skin disorders (Lichen Planus), gastrointestinal disorder (Crohn’s disease) and immunological disorders (Bechet’s syndrome) can manifest as mouth ulcers. Among these many different causes, a persistent mouth ulcer can also be due to oral cancer which if not detected early enough can lead to significant spread to other areas of the head and neck requiring invasive treatment or result even in death.

From 2008 to 2012, about 500 people were diagnosed with oral cancer in Singapore, making up an average of 100 cases a year. In Singapore and other parts of the world, only half of the oral cancer patients managed to survive for more than five years after diagnosis and treatment. It gets more difficult to treat cancer if it is diagnosed later, and this is why it’s extremely important to look out for the warning signs and go for health checks regularly to detect the early signs.

What is Oral Cancer?

Oral cancer is cancer that develops in any of the parts that make up the mouth and throat such as lips, gums, tongue, the inside lining of the cheeks and the roof or floor of the mouth. The possible signs and symptoms of oral cancer are swelling, lumps or bumps, red or white patches in the mouth, a persistent ulcer that does not seem to heal after 3 weeks, a change in the way the teeth fit or dentures fit, difficulty chewing, and persistent sores, among others.


Oral cancer or mouth cancer can be particularly dangerous as the early symptoms are usually painless or not easily noticeable. Hence, patients would either self-medicate or completely ignore the symptoms until the cancer has metastasized (spread) to another location—mostly the lymph nodes of the neck. Prognosis at this stage of discovery is significantly worse than when it is caught in the localized area in the mouth. This is because the cancer has not only spread, at the later stages, the primary tumour also has had time to invade deep into local structures, which may make it even harder to treat.

Oral cancers are also more frequent among men than women, especially the middle-aged and elderlies. However, in recent years, an increasing number of women are being diagnosed with oral cancer. This year, the American Cancer Society estimated around 10,750 deaths surrounding the oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers in the United States. Nevertheless, there are ways to treat and control oral cancer, mainly with early detection. If cancer has spread to deeper areas of the face and jaw considerably, extensive surgery will be required to remove the cancerous growth and this often leaves the patient with some disfigurement of the face.

There are plenty of factors that lead to mouth cancer but the biggest risk factor is the consumption of alcohol and tobacco use—chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes, cigars and pipes.

Canker Sore VS Oral Cancer


What differentiates between the two?

  • Canker Sore – Typically small, bubble-like ulcers that can be found inside the mouth, lip, cheeks or tongue. They can be painful at times but they are not contagious nor cancerous. Canker sore looks like an ulcer but the middle part may appear white, grey or yellow while the edges are red. You can self-medicate canker sore by applying medications, eating soft food or gargling with salt water, and it will go away in a matter of one to two weeks’ time.
  • Oral Cancer – In the early stages of oral cancer, it may look like an open canker sore (which explains the confusion) or it could also take the form of a discoloured lump on the edge of the lip. However, unlike canker sore, oral cancer does not heal or go away. It will stay in a concentrated spot before spreading more aggressively. So before it spreads, it is vital for you to get a quick check-up with your dentist for early detection.

How to reduce the risk of Oral Cancer

1. Do not smoke


1. Do not smoke

If you are an avid smoker, refrain from using tobacco be it chewed or smoked. Tobacco exposes the cells in your mouth to dangerous chemicals that can lead to cancer. If you don’t use tobacco, great! And don’t start!

2. Drink alcohol in moderation


2. Drink alcohol in moderation

High alcohol intake can irritate the cells in your mouth, making them vulnerable to cancer. You can drink, but try to do so in moderation. Healthy women can drink up to one glass (approx. 350ml) per day. As for adult men, one drink per day is recommended for those aged 65 and above, and two drinks (approx. 700ml) per day for those below the age of 65.

3. Avoid excessive sun


 3. Avoid excessive sun

Excessive exposure to the sun can cause lip cancer. Limit your sun exposure or use UVA/B-blocking sun-protective lotions on your skin and lips when going out.

4. See a dentist


4. See a dentist

Sometimes, dangerous lumps or spots in your mouth can appear very tiny and difficult to detect on your own. Therefore, it is advisable to seek professional help from your dentist. With regular dental checkups, we can detect any unusual signs early and suggest the next best step to you. So be sure to not skip your biennial dental appointment!

Are you due for a dental health check? Come book an appointment with us!

Have an interesting topic you would like us to cover? Just let us know!


1. Facts about moderate drinking. (2019, December 30). Retrieved September 09, 2020, from

2. Fighting Oral Cancer with Drool //. (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2020, from

3. Friedman, M. (2019, October 10). Oral Cancer: Symptoms, Causes, Treatments, and More. Retrieved September 09, 2020, from

4. Key Statistics for Oral Cavity and Oropharyngeal Cancers. (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2020, from

5. Mouth cancer. (2019, January 03). Retrieved September 09, 2020, from

6. Oral Cancer (Mouth Cancer). (n.d.). Retrieved September 09, 2020, from

For some children, brushing their teeth is more than just a good hygiene practice, it is also their “snack time.” Kid-friendly flavoured toothpastes were invented to encourage children to brush their teeth. They come in different fun colours (and sometimes glitter too!), packaging designs, candy-like scents and flavours. As more and more parents worry about their child’s dental hygiene, the best way to entice a child into regular, and thorough, brushing is finding a toothpaste they like.

“My child swallowed some toothpaste, should I be worried?”

Most toothpastes contain fluoride to help strengthen our teeth and prevent tooth decay. Even in most children’s toothpastes, there is fluoride but the concentration is much lower than adult’s. This special ingredient is what makes our teeth more resistant to acids found in food and beverages. Children can, however, get fluoride from other sources such as drinking water. Other natural sources of dietary fluoride include tea, fish, and vegetables such as spinach. Nevertheless, if your child is swallowing too much toothpaste, they may run the risk of developing ‘fluorosis’ on their permanent teeth. This may result in the change of colour and texture of your child’s teeth.

To prevent this, you can control the amount of toothpaste your child is using. For kids under 3, a smear of children’s toothpaste is enough; for kids between the ages of 3-6, use a pea-sized amount. In this case, if your child swallows their toothpaste, it is not as harmful. However, do note that if your little one accidentally swallowed a large amount of toothpaste, they may experience an upset stomach.

“My child won’t stop eating toothpaste, how do I stop it?”

#1 Do not leave your child
unattended when
brushing their teeth

Do not leave your child unattended when brushing their teeth

#1 Do not leave your
child unattended when
brushing their teeth

Firstly, you should not let your child brush their teeth without an adult’s supervision if you fear for their safety. While you’re watching, you can also take the opportunity to show them the correct way of brushing. After all, it is important to start young when inculcating healthy habits, and parents should lead by example.

#2 Apply the toothpaste for them

Apply the toothpaste for them

#2 Apply the toothpaste
for them

As mentioned earlier, one of the ways to prevent your little one from ingesting more toothpaste is to control their usage. Treat toothpastes like medicines—hide it away in a cabinet or somewhere out of their reach. This way, you can rest assured that your child is not consuming an excessive amount of toothpaste.

#3 Make sure they spit it out

Make sure they spit it out

#3 Make sure they spit it out

Show your child that toothpaste is not meant to be swallowed by making sure they spit it out after brushing. Then, teach them to rinse their mouth with water to ensure that there is no residual toothpaste. Your child will develop permanent front teeth at about 7-8 years old. So if they have been ingesting a high amount of fluoride at about 2 years of age, those permanent front teeth are at risk of fluorosis where white or brown spots will appear on the surface of the teeth.

#4 What about babies?

What about babies

#4 What about babies?

When brushing your baby’s teeth, angle their head slightly downward so that any extra toothpaste can dribble out of their mouth. Otherwise, you can use teeth and gum wipes meant for babies to remove any excess toothpaste. Same goes with toddlers. Although it is safe for them to consume a small amount of toothpaste, it is still better to be watchful of them. If your child is not capable of spitting out the toothpaste yet, opt for fluoride-free toothpaste for starters.

#5 Switch to a more minty toothpaste

Switch to a more minty toothpaste

#5 Switch to a more minty toothpaste

As your child gets a little older, you can start looking for a slightly mint-flavoured toothpaste. This is a good trick to deter them from eating toothpaste as it is not as enjoyable as the fruity ones they were used to. However, you need to be careful when buying mint-flavoured toothpaste. Since they are mainly catered to older children and adults, it might be too strong for your little one.

In general, children’s toothpastes contain a fluoride concentration of less than 600ppm (parts per million) while adult’s have a fluoride concentration of 1,000-2,500ppm. Children should, therefore, NOT use an adult’s toothpaste and only use toothpaste specifically made for them.

If your child (or you) is due for a dental checkup, come book an appointment with us!

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

Journal References:

1) American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs. (2014). Fluoride toothpaste use for young children. Journal of the American Dental Association (1939), 145(2), 190.

2) Pretty, I. A. (2016). High fluoride concentration toothpastes for children and adolescents. Caries Research, 50(Suppl. 1), 9-14.

3) Ismail, A. I., & Hasson, H. (2008). Fluoride supplements, dental caries and fluorosis: a systematic review. the Journal of the american Dental association, 139(11), 1457-1468.

4) Ammari, A. B., Bloch-Zupan, A., & Ashley, P. F. (2003). Systematic review of studies comparing the anti-caries efficacy of children’s toothpaste containing 600 ppm of fluoride or less with high fluoride toothpastes of 1,000 ppm or above. Caries research, 37(2), 85-92.

In commemoration of the World Humanitarian Day, we thank all the humanitarian workers that have fought, despite all odds, to protect us, and the people most in need. While we do our part and practice physical distancing to flatten the curve, our fellow frontliners have been working tirelessly to keep us safe, protected, and well-fed.

A big ‘Thank You’ to all the frontline essential workers. If not for their sacrifices, we would not have made it this far. And in this trying time, we believe that any small act of kindness can help brighten someone’s day. So, here we have shortlisted a few charity organisations which you can help support and give back to our frontline workers:

WHYQ Gift-a-Meal

Credit: WhyQ

The WhyQ Gift-a-Meal initiatives let you sponsor meals for our healthcare heroes working at Singapore’s public general hospitals, and more recently, they started supporting migrant workers and nursing homes too. To donate, all you need to do is visit their website, choose how many meals you would like to donate, be it 1, 4,10, 50 or as many as you wish, and WhyQ will deliver it for you. Each meal only costs S$5 and will not be subjected to delivery charges and other fees.

“By gifting 1 meal, you have sponsored 1 Hero’s meal”, so let’s help our heroes do their job with a full stomach and an even fuller heart.

SGH Health Development Fund

Credit: Melvin Lim

SGH Health Development Fund needs your help to continue supporting SGH healthcare workers to serve and care for the elderly and the more vulnerable. During this Covid-19 pandemic, the SGH healthcare workers have been doing home visits to help patients-in need, especially those with severe or multiple health conditions. They provide services such as doctor visits, medical support to reduce readmissions, and nursing services.

To support this cause, you can donate to SGH Healthy Communities Fund via Your donations will be used to acquire necessary medical devices for these patients. A 250% tax deduction will be eligible for all donations until December 31, 2020.


Donate any unused surgical masks, N95 masks or sanitising items that you don’t need to any of’s drop-off points by courier service. will give out your donations to those in the Voluntary Welfare Organisations, NGOs, and medical institutions within Singapore. Furthermore, will also give out your donations to healthcare staff and drivers along with home bound patients and lower income families.

For hygiene reasons, remember to pack your unused masks in a zip lock bag or in the original box which it came with. You can find the drop-off points here and donate anytime from Monday to Friday, between 8am to 5pm.

Workout for Courage Singapore

Workout for Courage Singapore
Credit: Workout for Courage Singapore

Make a change to the communities around you and your lifestyle. Join Workout for Courage Singapore in giving back to those in need by working out. You read that right! Not only will your participation help fund the affected community, but you will also keep your health in check. Join any of the 400+ online fitness, yoga, and dance classes hosted by fitness leaders and celebrities for only $10 per 45-min workout session.

If you are a frontline worker reading, you can join for free too! All payments will be shared transparently daily on, and 100% of the proceeds will go towards The Courage Fund. For more information, you can check their app WorkoutParty! or visit their website.


Credit: Healthcare Heroes SG

Besides donating money, there is another way of showing your gratitude—that is, showcasing your artistic talent! Dedicate your artwork as a tribute to our #HealthcareHeroes.

#HealthcareHeroes compile and collate all artworks ranging from drawings, paintings, illustrations, animations, calligraphic arts and doodles that deliver the message of well wishes and gratitude to our frontliners. To share your love, all you need to do is visit their website and upload your artwork.

“No gesture is too small when done with gratitude.” —Oprah Winfrey

Over 80 per cent of Singaporeans have mild to moderate symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease, according to a 2003 report by the Health Promotion Board (HPB). 17 years later, the numbers have continued to rise and gum disease remains a big concern. When treated poorly, bacteria in the plaque can build up, harden and form “tartar” that normal brushing can’t properly clean. In advanced stages, it can cause an infection of the tissues that hold your teeth in place or worse.

It might be presumptuous to think that one small tooth problem can be that big of a deal. But severe gum disease has been linked to an increased risk of developing diabetes or pre-diabetes among dental patients. Higher blood sugar levels in diabetics lead to an exaggerated inflammatory response from the harmful bacteria in the gums leading to gum and bone loss known as Periodontitis. Diabetic patients with periodontal disease also have a higher chance of developing diabetic complications.

Additionally, periodontal disease is also a significant risk factor for a heart attack or stroke. Patients with severe periodontitis have a 3.5 times higher risk of dying from heart disease or kidney disease than from patients with mild or no periodontitis. Many pregnant women are predisposed to developing periodontal disease as well. During pregnancy, the hormonal changes in a woman will promote an inflammatory response, which increases the risk of developing gum disease. If not treated, it can be a risk factor in preterm delivery, preeclampsia, and low birth weight.

How can you tell if you have gum problems?

  • Gums that bleed even with gentle brushing
  • Red and swollen gums
  • Persistent bad breath from your mouth
  • Receding gums from your teeth
  • Hypersensitive teeth
  • Gaps forming between your teeth as a result of teeth movement

Here are 5 common myths about gum disease we hear from our patients occasionally. Keep on reading to learn more about them and how you can keep your gums strong and healthy:

Myth 1: Teeth are more important than gums.


Myth 1: Teeth are more
important than gums.

Both your teeth and gums are interconnected, so they are equally important. The gums are an important barrier to protect your teeth. If your gums are infected, your teeth may lose its support and this can lead to loosening of the tooth, eventually leading to tooth loss. The teeth, on the other hand, when it has defective fillings or cavities act as a source of bacteria accumulation resulting in inflammation of the gums, it eventually leads to bone loss

Myth 2: No cavities mean no gum disease.


Myth 2: No cavities mean
no gum disease.

Just because you don’t have any cavities, it does not automatically rule you out of gum disease. For a majority of people, gum disease is painless and asymptomatic, so it is not noticeable until it further develops in the later stages.

In the earlier stages, while it’s still recognised as Gingivitis, you may notice red, swollen or tender gums. Why does this happen? If you do not practice good oral hygiene by daily brushing and flossing, it can cause a buildup of plaque along your gumline that will irritate your gum tissues. When it’s not treated early, it can lead to advanced stages of gum disease, which could result in the loss of teeth.

Myth 3: Children can’t get gum disease.


Myth 3: Children can’t get
gum disease.

Gum disease is often associated with adults. However, it does not mean that children can’t get it too. As mentioned earlier, gum disease may not present obvious symptoms so it can be tricky for you to identify in your little one. The treatment also depends on the symptoms your child may be having, their age and overall health. Certain medications that your child may be taking may result in red and swollen gums too.

Myth 4: You can ignore the signs of bleeding gums.


Myth 4: You can ignore the
signs of bleeding gums.

Do you find your gums bleed easily? This could be due to your aggressive brushing or flossing, or it could just be an early sign of gum disease. Many studies have proven the link between diabetes and gum disease can go both ways. In other words, you really should not be ignoring the bleeding signs.

For diabetic patients, dry mouth is a common symptom; when there is a lack of saliva, you are naturally more susceptible to infections like gum disease and cavities because saliva protects you against disease-causing bacteria. Furthermore, diabetic patients usually experience higher blood sugar levels and this can often make it harder for your body to heal, thereby making gum disease worse.

Myth 5: Poor oral hygiene is the cause of gum disease.


Myth 5: Poor oral hygiene is the
cause of gum disease.

While poor oral hygiene can cause gum disease, other factors could increase your risk of getting it too. For example, smokers and users of tobacco are two to six times more likely to develop gum disease. One of the many causes of this is that smoking affects your body’s natural defence mechanism to fight infections. Smokers also do not show clinical signs of gum disease as the bleeding in gums is reduced as Nicotine reduces the blood flow in the gums. Smokers may, therefore, have severe gum disease and not realise it as the usual signs of bleeding gums may be absent. This results in the destruction of gum and bone tissue. Smokers are also more likely to develop oral cancer.

Gum disease doesn’t just develop overnight, it happens gradually. The best way to prevent yourself from getting it is to visit your dentist regularly. If you’re due for a dental checkup or suspect you may have gum issues, come book an appointment with us here!

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

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 dentine (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 the 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!