5 Tips to protect your teeth and gums this winter

Winter brings more than just chilly weather, and though many of us experience changes in our skin and allergies, it can also bring unwelcome changes to our oral health. If you’ve ever noticed increased sensitivity in your teeth or a persistently dry mouth during colder months, you’re not alone. These sensitivities are caused by lowered temperature, as well as a decrease in moisture in the air.

While there’s not much we can do about the seasons, there are some things we can try to reduce to keep our mouths happy and healthy all winter long.

Stay Hydrated: Cold weather often coincides with cold and flu season, leading to stuffy noses and increased mouth breathing. It’s important to stay well hydrated at any time, but particularly when our immune system is working overtime and fighting off or dealing with an infection. Hydration not only supports your body’s recovery but also helps keep your lips and mouth tissues moist, preventing sensitivity and discomfort. Sipping water throughout the day also maintains saliva flow, which is vital for protecting against tooth decay.

Moisturise Your Lips: Dry, chapped lips are common in the winter and can be prevented by using a lip balm, preferably with a SPF (sun protection factor). Using a lip balm with SPF not only prevents dryness but also shields your lips from harmful UV rays. If you’re prone to cold sores, keeping your lips hydrated also helps to reduce the risk of cold sore outbreaks and maintains the health of this delicate skin. Keep a lip balm handy wherever you go to lock in moisture and keep your lips smooth and supple.

Care for Your Teeth and Gums: When your immune system is busy fighting off winter the flu, your oral hygiene needs extra attention. Bacteria quickly multiply in the warm, moist area of the mouth, and feed on food particles left on the teeth and gums. Frequent snacking, which is common in the colder winter months, can lead to an increased risk of decay. Regular brushing and flossing become even more critical during these times to remove food particles and maintain a healthy balance of bacteria. Take your time with your oral care routine, especially before bedtime when saliva flow decreases, leaving your teeth more vulnerable.

Address Sensitivity: If you struggle with sensitive teeth, winter can increase your discomfort. Desensitising toothpaste can provide relief by covering and healing exposed areas of your teeth. Talk to your dentist to find the right product for you and incorporate it into your daily oral care routine.

Our top five tips to care for your oral health this winter

A few simple habits can go a long way in protecting your oral health during the winter months:

  1. Replace your toothbrush regularly, especially after recovering from a cold or flu.
  2. Maintain a balanced diet to support your immune system.
  3. Rinse your mouth with water after consuming staining beverages like tea, coffee, or wine.
  4. Consider using a humidifier in your home or office to combat dry air.
  5. Don’t forget to schedule regular dental check-ups to catch any issues early on.

Maintaining good oral health during the winter months is essential for your overall well-being and comfort. Follow these tips to minimise discomfort and book your next check-up to keep your smile healthy and happy.

Baby teething misconceptions: fact vs fiction

Caring for your family’s dental health can feel overwhelming, especially when it comes to your little one’s precious smiles.  Baby teeth, also called milk, primary, or deciduous teeth, usually start to emerge around 9 months of age*, but this can vary from 3 to 12 months. By the time they’re 3 years old, most children will have their full set of 20 baby teeth.

There are many misconceptions when it comes to baby teeth and it’s natural for parents and soon-to-be parents to have questions about how to best care for them. We’ve clarified the myths and facts about baby teething to make sure you baby’s dental health journey gets off to a great start.

Fact vs fiction


Looking after baby teeth starts before their first tooth appears. Clean your baby’s gums and tongue with a soft, damp cloth, even before they have any teeth. Once their teeth appear, progress from a cloth to a small, soft, toothbrush and start using a children’s, low-dose fluoridated toothpaste from 18 months of age.

  • Baby teeth set the pattern for the adult or permanent teeth to follow. Every tooth is important, so caring for baby teeth is crucial.
  • Baby teeth are prone to decay. Baby teeth aren’t as strong as adult teeth and can be damaged by bacteria much easier. Early childhood decay is often caused by sugary drinks and foods, including fruit juices, flavoured yoghurts and dried fruit.


  • Baby teeth move up and down in the gums. It can look like those little teeth are coming up, then down, but that’s an illusion. When a tooth emerges, there may be swelling in the gum. This swelling usually goes down, revealing more of the tooth.
  • Baby teeth don’t matter because they’re going to fall out anyway. Each baby tooth helps with eating, speaking, and making space for adult teeth.
  • Baby teeth don’t need brushing. Tooth decay works in the same way, regardless of age. Sugar in foods fuels bacteria in dental plaque, leading to acid erosion of tooth enamel and the formation of cavities. Maintaining good oral hygiene and limiting sugar intake can help break the cycle of decay.
  • Don’t worry if a baby tooth falls out. When a baby or adult tooth falls out, it’s like removing a book from a bookshelf without replacing it. Similarly, in the mouth, the surrounding teeth can then shift into the empty space. This shifting can cause both functional (chewing) and aesthetic (appearance) changes.
  • Babies and children can brush their own teeth. Children usually develop the ability to do a thorough job of tooth cleaning around age 8. Let them practice, but make sure to always brush their teeth yourself as well.

A final tip!

Take your baby for their first dental visit when their first tooth appears or when they turn 1, whichever comes first. Book an appointment with your dentist to learn more about your baby’s teeth. If you’re unsure of what is best for your child, your dentist can provide information and help for you and your baby.




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How sleep dentistry and general anaesthetic can help manage dental anxiety

Dental anxiety is common and can often prevent someone from going to the dentist. As a result, people may miss dental check-ups, leading to an increased need for emergency care or complex treatments. It’s important to recognise that dental care is crucial for both oral and overall health. Regular check-ups can prevent many dental issues related to our lifestyles. It’s important to remember the benefits of dental care for our entire bodies, not just our mouths.

For most people, managing dental anxiety starts with an open and honest conversation with their dentist. Sometimes, a partnership approach involving your GP, dentist, and other health professionals may be necessary.

How can I manage my dental anxiety?

There are a range of options when it comes to managing dental anxiety, including medication to help with relaxation, nitrous oxide gas (happy gas), IV sedation and general anaesthesia. These can be given in addition to local anaesthetic.

Sleep dentistry

Sleep dentistry, also known as IV sedation, is a type of conscious sedation and is an excellent option for managing dental anxiety. There are a few types of sedation used in sleep dentistry including;

  • Nitrous oxide mixed with oxygen; this gas is administered via a mask which covers the patient’s nose.
  • Oral tablets; work by relaxing the muscles and slowing down the nervous system.
  • IV sedation; is the deepest form of conscious sedation and involves receiving sedating medication through an IV drip. This allows your dentist to manage your dosage throughout treatment.

Sedation can be administered by your dentist, or an anaesthetist who comes to the dental clinic and can only be received at a dental practice which has the right equipment. Your dentist will let you know if their practice can offer IV sedation, or they may recommend an alternative clinic.

What are the effects of conscious sedation?

Having conscious sedation makes you feel calm and relaxed. You will still be breathing for yourself, but the combination of medications means you won’t have any memory of the procedure. Many people drift off to a light sleep, but they can still respond to verbal prompts.

General Anaesthetic

Under general anaesthetic (GA), you are fully asleep, so you’re not conscious or aware of the procedure being done. The use of a GA depends on your current dental health or other medical, physical or behavioural factors.

You and your dentist will work together on planning all aspects of your dental treatments. If you’re undergoing treatments under GA, your dentist may perform preliminary, separate treatments in preparation. After these preliminary treatments, we find that some patients tolerance for ‘in-chair’ procedures improves, and they no longer need to proceed with a GA as planned.

Common procedures under GA;

  • Removal (extraction) of wisdom teeth
  • removal of other teeth
  • Dental implants
  • bone grafts
  • and a range of other more complex procedures

What is involved in general anaesthetic?

Because administering general anesthesia requires an extra level of care, hospitals with an anesthetist typically handle this procedure. Many private health insurance providers cover part of the cost of general anesthesia, so it’s useful to discuss this with your health fund.

Going to the dentist doesn’t always have to be nerve-racking. If you feel anxious about dental visits, you can schedule a non-invasive check-up. During this appointment, your dentist or oral health professional will conduct a visual examination of your mouth and discuss any concerns before jumping into treatment options.

Book an appointment and speak with your dentist about your options when it comes to maintaining your oral health and managing dental anxiety. They will be able to determine the best option when it comes to IV sedation and treatments under general anaesthetic.



Dental anxiety and phobia – Better Health Channel
Oral health and dental care in Australia, Dental procedures requiring general anaesthetic – Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (


Specialist Orthodontist now at nib Dental Chatswood

Meet Dr David Peters, nib Dental Care Chatswood’s new Specialist Orthodontist.

Dr David Peters is excited to join the team, adding a depth of clinical experience with his contemporary evidence-based approach to individualised treatment planning and patient care.

Raised in Adelaide, Dr Peters studied dentistry at the University of Adelaide, and worked as a general dentist for 10 years prior to embarking on his postgraduate orthodontic career. He attained his master’s degree in Orthodontics and Doctorate of Dental Science at the renowned University of North Carolina Dental School in Chapel Hill, USA.

Dr Peters has more than 20 years of experience as a Specialist Orthodontist, developing his friendly patient-oriented practice style, helping to bring out the best possible smiles in his wonderful patients. His greatest reward is to see confidence grow in children and adults alike, throughout their orthodontic journeys.

Honorary university teaching in orthodontics has been an interest for Dr Peters, as well as having held executive committee roles in local branches of the Australian Dental Association and the Australian Society of Orthodontists. He maintains active membership in these core organisations, as well as the American Association of Orthodontists and the World Federation of Orthodontists. He has also completed certification with the Australasian Orthodontic Board.

Dr Peters values family time with his wife, daughter and their energetic dog, and keeps up the family traditions of music and a healthy outdoor lifestyle. He enjoys swimming laps at the pool, mountain biking, and playing cello in the Ku-ring-gai Philharmonic and Australian Doctors Orchestras.

Get in touch with nib Dental Care Chatswood to book an orthodontic consultation today.

A healthier Hot Cross Bun recipe and our Easter colouring-in for your family

Try our healthier Hot Cross Bun recipe

Are you a fan of hot cross buns? Consider making a healthier version of hot cross buns at home using whole wheat flour, dried fruits, and nuts. You can also reduce the amount of added sugar in the recipe or opt for natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.



1 ½ cups skim milk

7g dried yeast

2 tbs maple syrup (plus extra to glaze and serve)

3 ⅓ cups plain wholemeal flour (plus extra for dusting)

⅓ cup traditional rolled oats

1 tbs ground cinnamon

1 tbs mixed spice

¾ cup mixed dried fruit

1 tsp vanilla extract

5ml olive oil cooking spray

smooth light ricotta (to serve)

Step 1

ACTIVATE YEAST: Microwave milk in a heatproof jug on high for 30 seconds or until just warm. Add yeast and syrup, stirring to combine. Set aside for 10 minutes or until frothy.

Step 2

MAKE DOUGH: Place flour, oats, cinnamon, mixed spice and fruit into the bowl of stand mixer fitted with a dough hook. Make a well in the centre and add yeast mixture and vanilla. Mix on medium speed for 4 minutes or until dough is smooth and starts to come away from the side of the bowl. Cover and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.

Step 3

SHAPE BUNS: Spray a 21 x 30cm pan lightly with oil. Punch down dough to remove excess air, then place on a lightly floured surface and knead briefly until smooth. Divide dough into 12 portions, then shape each portion into a ball. Place in pan, then cover and set aside in a warm place for 45 minutes or until doubled in size. Preheat oven to 180°C/160°C fan-forced.

Step 4

MAKE CROSS MIXTURE: Combine flour with 1/4 cup water in a small bowl, then mix to a smooth paste. Transfer cross mixture to a piping bag fitted with a 2mm round and pipe onto the bun dough.

Step 5

BAKE: Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and cooked through. Brush tops with a little extra syrup to glaze. Serve topped with ricotta and extra syrup.Enjoy your Easter weekend without sacrificing your healthy smile. If it’s been more than 6 months since your last check-up, book an appointment to see your dentist and keep on top of your oral health.




Download our Easter colouring-in.

nib colouring in image

nib easter colouring in