In this blog post our Watford dentist takes a detailed look at dental cavities and fillings.
What is a dental cavity?
A dental cavity forms when the outer surface of your teeth are attacked by acid excreting bacteria. The bacteria excrete acid as they digest sugar in your diet. The cavities can become larger as more bacteria sit in the cavity, excreting more and more acid.
In the beginning small cavities may have zero pain as they are in the outer surface of the tooth, but as they deepen and get closer to the nerve your teeth may become more sensitive or even painful whilst eating or drinking, particularly hot or cold food/drink.
What is a dental filling?
A filling is simply filling up this cavity with a suitable material, your dentist will remove any decay and then fill the cavity back up to the original contour of the tooth.
What do they fill cavities with?
The exact material used to fill a cavity depends upon various factors:
- The size of the cavity
- The location of the cavity (in between the teeth, on the biting surface, on the front of the teeth etc.)
- The philosophy of the dental practice, some practices prefer not to use mercury containing amalgam.
What is a filling made of?
Depending on the criteria listed above there are a variety of filling materials which can be used.
This is a malleable metal alloy containing mercury. It has been shown to be extremely durable as a dental filling material and lasts many years. It does not however look particularly attractive.
Gold is virtually inert and is very well tolerated by the body. It’s highly polished surface also very closely matches the surface of dental enamel when viewed microscopically. This means it does not wear the opposing teeth and can be considered a highly biocompatible material.
Many people like the look of gold, it does not however look particularly natural and some people prefer to have a more natural looking filling.
Dental porcelain is made by combining various minerals with quartz, effectively making dental granite, an extremely hard and durable material! The porcelain is naturally tooth coloured and can be made highly aesthetic to blend in with the surrounding teeth. A porcelain filling will be made by a dental technician; this adds time to the procedure which means a porcelain filling often takes two weeks to complete.
Your dentist can also use a tooth coloured composite material to pack into the cavity once the diseased area has been removed. This has the advantage of being highly aesthetic and also highly convenient as it can be placed in one appointment. Dental bonding does however tend to discolour over time so may need to be replaced more often.
The cavity filling procedure
The procedure for having a cavity filled depends upon the material being used, generally the procedure will be similar to the following:
- Either your dentist or you notice the cavity and decide to take action.
- A discussion is had as to the best material to use clinically, there may be a few options which can be discussed that have different prices.
- A decision about the material is made, based on this decision the dentist will prepare the cavity accordingly. Some materials require specific shaped cavities in which to fit and so your dentist will prepare the cavity in the correct way.
- If you are having a direct dental bonding them the composite material will be placed directly, if not your dentist will take an impression of the prepared cavity, place a temporary filling and send this impression off to the dental laboratory to have the new restoration manufactured.
- If you had a dental bonding composite filling then step 4 would have been your last stage, if a dental laboratory is manufacturing your filling then this will be returned approximately 2 weeks later and you will visit the dentist to have this fitted.
- A review of this filling will take place at your six monthly check-up at the dentist.
Tooth cavity fillings at home
There are cavity filling kits available in various pharmacies and online. They may seem like a cheap and convenient option however they should never be used as a permanent solution.
Home kits may well fill the cavity however the chances are you will be filling over bacteria which will continue to cause dental decay underneath. This means you may not notice this decay until it has reached the nerve of your tooth, by which time more expensive dental procedures may be required.
If you need to use a tooth cavity filling at home, consider this an emergency repair and always make an appointment to visit your dentist within the next week or so.
Preventing dental cavities
It is always better to prevent problems arising in the first place rather than try to cure them once they do. The best way to prevent dental cavities is to:
- clean your teeth twice per day for 2 min using a fluoride releasing toothpaste.
- Clean in between your teeth with an interdental brush or floss.
- Use a fluoride mouthwash after meals but NOT after brushing.
- Visit your dentist regularly as they will be able to detect the tiniest cavities in places that you cannot see.
By doing everything you can to prevent cavities forming and then visiting your dentist regularly so that if there is any decay it can be dealt with quickly and simply, you can keep the cost of dentistry down and ensure you remain fit and healthy for life.
Our Watford based dentist is here to help you stay dentally fit for life, keeping dental decay and cavities to the absolute minimum.
Straight Teeth in a matter of weeks with the Inman Aligner
In recent years the Inman aligner has revolutionised dental braces around the world and is one of the fastest orthodontic braces available.
It has even made it to an article in magazines such as Marie Claire. Because the Inman aligner uses a unique system of springs which push and pull different parts of your tooth at the same time it is possible to straighten teeth in approximately 12 weeks.
This article takes a detailed look at the aligner, from the cost, the problems, the results and the process.
How does the Inman Aligner work?
At the beginning of treatment the aligner may only be putting pressure on a single tooth, but as the treatment progresses and that tooth moves into position other teeth will then be touched and affected which means these will also have pressure pushing or tipping them into the correct place.
The aligner has a wire on the front of the teeth and one on the inside part of the teeth with strings attached. The front part on the outside of your teeth will be pulling the tooth inwards and the inside part will be pushing the tooth outwards, thereby meaning it is rotated and pushed into the correct position.
This action is limited to smaller amounts, if your teeth are extremely rotated you may find that the Inman Aligner is not suitable for you, in which case another form of orthodontics may be best.
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Dr Jay Padayachy
What results can be expected with the Inman Aligner?
The important thing to remember is that we should be limiting our goals and expectations, we are not trying to achieve the perfect result using this type of rapid orthodontics. We’re not necessarily trying to fix your bite although the bite can be affected and often improved.
With the Inman Aligner we are focusing on the front (anterior) six teeth and moving them to a more acceptable cosmetic position.
The process of having an aligner
The actual dental process is very simple.
- Your dentist will assess your teeth for suitability and have a discussion with you about the pros and cons of using an Inman Aligner.
- Dental impressions will be taken and sent off to the laboratory.
- About two weeks later the brace will be sent back to the dentist ready for your appointment.
- You have your dental brace fitted and the dentist will give you instructions on how to look after it and wear it.
Problems with the Inman aligner
One of the biggest problems people experience is not wearing the Inman Aligner for long enough each day. The recommended daily amount is to wear your Inman Aligner for 20 hours per day, only taking it out whilst you eat and brush your teeth.
This means it takes some effort on your part to ensure that you do your thing to be part of the process and help things along.
If you only wear your liners for 11 hours per day you could end up doubling the amount of treatment time, which contradicts one of the main reasons for using this type of rapid orthodontics in the first place.
Will I be able to eat with an Inman aligner?
You will not be able to eat whilst wearing your orthodontic brace. You need to remove the aligner whilst eating and for cleaning.
What will the results be like after wearing the Inman Aligner?
How much does an Inman Aligner cost?
Would the Inman aligner work for me?
The inner man aligner is typically suitable for people with:
- Crowded upper teeth
- Crowded lower teeth
- Protruding front teeth
- Gaps between the teeth
- Uneven teeth
- Misaligned teeth
It is less suitable for people with biting problems and cannot be used to move back teeth.
The aligner can also be used in what is known as pre-restorative alignment.
You may have a chipped or broken down tooth, typically we could use dental bonding or dental veneers to restore this tooth but if the body of the tooth is in the wrong place this can be compromised.
By using an Inman aligner to move the body of the tooth into the correct place it allows your dentist to restore them using veneers, bonding or crowns in a more conservative and natural way.
Does the Inman Aligner hurt?
They should not normally be any pain when wearing this type of orthodontic brace. You may find that your teeth feel a little tender for the first week or so but as the pressure from the brace reduces you should become more accustomed to this pressure.
Here’s a great video which shows a patient having an Inman Aligner From Start To Finish…
What does the Inman Aligner look like?
The Inman Aligner. is almost imperceptible, the part which wraps around the front of your teeth is clear and unobtrusive. Also, because the Inman Aligner is only worn for a couple of months it is a highly acceptable form of orthodontics.
Senova Dental Studios is a dentist in Watford offering cosmetic and general dentistry, for more information please call the number above or request an appointment online. You may also find our page on how to find an orthodontist near you quite useful.
In life we know that if things are particularly complicated then a specialist in that area is the best person to sort it out. Dentistry is no different. Understanding which specialist to see can often be rather confusing so in this blog post, our Watford dentists takes some time to go through each of the specialist areas to help you understand which person can best solve your dental problems. The following definitions are taken from the General Dental Council specialist register.
The development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite and jaw.
Many general dentists are now offering what are known as either short term orthodontics (STO) all limited outcome orthodontics, these treatments move teeth to a more cosmetic situation and include treatments such as Invisalign (clear braces), Six Month Smiles (tooth coloured brackets) and the Inman aligner (rapid orthodontics). These systems typically only move front teeth and don’t address more complicated biting problems.
A specialist orthodontist will typically use more complex techniques to move teeth greater distances. A specialist orthodontist can correct biting problems and even work with a growing jaw during the early teenage years to help move the jaw and bone into a better position.
If you have a child whose teeth don’t seem to be biting correctly then a specialist orthodontist may be the person to see, many children begin their orthodontic treatment at the age of 12, but it’s worth seeing an orthodontist sooner if you suspect they could be a problem.
Adults with crooked teeth could start with a general dentist, see if one of the short-term orthodontic techniques could work and have a discussion about whether a specialist orthodontist would be better suited due to biting problems.
The diagnosis, treatment and prevention of diseases and disorders (infections and inflammatory) of the gums and other structures around the teeth.
Gum disease can often progress painlessly, it can start as red inflammation with bleeding on brushing, this may be a sign of gingivitis. As this gingivitis and inflammation spreads it can move down the tooth towards the root at this point it becomes the more serious periodontitis which can lead to tooth loss.
At this point your dentist will probably refer you to a periodontist. The periodontist will then look at the extent of any disease and work with the treatment and help you prevent it happening again.
Prosthodontists are also the specialist which place dental implants. Their detailed knowledge of the gums and other structures surrounding the teeth makes them the perfect person to restore your missing teeth with implants.
The replacement of missing teeth and the associated soft and hard tissues by prostheses (crowns, bridges, dentures) which may be fixed or removable, or may be supported and retained by implants
A Prosthodontist will work extremely closely with a dental laboratory. It will be the dental laboratory which manufacture your crowns, bridges or dentures to replace any missing teeth. These restorative options are also offered by your general dental practitioner but in some instances the restoration of the missing teeth becomes extremely complex, perhaps combining crowns, bridges and dentures in complex ways. Understanding how these restorations perform together takes specialist knowledge, in this case a Prosthodontist will often help to restore your smile.
You may also find that a prosthodontist will work with a periodontist. The periodontist may place the dental implants (as in the example above) and the prosthodontist may work closely with the dental laboratory to make the denture on top. It is a close coordination of a specialist team to achieve the best result.
The cause, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of diseases and injuries of the tooth root, dental pulp, and surrounding tissue.
Endodontics is a specialist field which many general dentists do not offer themselves. It takes many years training to be able to work in the small environment which is the root of a natural tooth. Many people think that root canal treatments are painful, the reality is that this type of treatment actually gets you out of pain. The results can be quite immediate!
Working with an endodontist your general dental practitioner is able to save teeth rather than remove them. This is always the preferred option of treatment if at all practical.
The treatment and ongoing management of irregularities and pathology of the jaw and mouth that require surgical intervention. This includes the specialty previously called Surgical Dentistry.
There are times when, unfortunately, some form of surgical procedure is required, for example:
- Simple and complex dental extractions
- Removal of Simple and Complex Wisdom teeth
- Removal of retained roots
- Orthodontic extractions
- Exposure and bonding of Unerupted teeth for Orthodontics
This is when an oral surgery specialist will step in and support your general dental practitioner in the more complex surgical procedures.
The restoration of diseased, injured, or abnormal teeth to normal function. Includes all aspects of Endodontics, Periodontics and Prosthodontic
A specialist in restorative dentistry works particularly with your natural teeth in order to restore them. This could be the complex combination of crowns, bridges, bonding, looking after the gums or treating complex problems with the teeth themselves. It involves a wide range of skills in order to save teeth.
You only ever get one set of adult teeth so it would make sense to restore them whenever possible, rather than have them extracted and be lost for ever. A restorative specialist helps you do this.
With so many specialists working to help save, restore and generate your perfect smile it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. Our dental practice in Watford works with resident specialists, in all areas, we can refer you to the right person for you, alternatively you could search the specialist register on the GDC website.
Choosing where to go for your orthodontic treatment can be a little bit of a mine field, how do you choose an orthodontist? How do you even begin finding a dentist that can offer orthodontic braces near you? in this blog post we’re going to look at a series of questions you could ask an orthodontist and how to go about finding one in the first place.
Finding and orthodontist
1. Ask for recommendations
“I can’t begin to tell you all just how much all your hard work and effort means to me. It was worth every minute and every penny.”
Mrs V. (Watford)
The best way to find many things in life is to ask your friends and family, personal recommendations are one of the best ways to ensure that your service providers are of the highest quality.
If you have friends that have had dental braces then these would make the ideal person to ask. Towards the end of this blog post will also give you a list of questions that you could ask your preferred dentist once you have found them.
2. Search on Google
Modern technology is extremely clever and it is likely that Google will know your geographical location, so searching for something like ‘orthodontist near me’ should return some good results. It is important to remember that just because someone is top of the search results does not mean that their clinical services will be good. Here are a few things to look out for on a dental practice website which would indicate that they are a trustworthy dentist:
- Lookout for patient testimonials and reviews, these tell you how good the service was from this practice, lookout for sites with lots of reviews, ideally recent ones.
- Does the dental practice offer a low risk way of seeing them in the first place, either by a free consultation or perhaps a refund of the initial assessment.
- Is the website regularly updated? Look for a date on the website, this is often at the foot of the page. ‘Last update’ or ‘copyright date’ are a good indicator of how often the site is updated. A frequently updated site indicates a dentist that wants to hand out the most recent and useful information.
- Does the website display registration numbers for all of the dentists? The General Dental Council require all dentists to list their GDC numbers on the website, this gives traceability and ensures you are visiting a registered dentist.
3. Ask your existing dentist
Another way to find a dental practice that can offer orthodontics near you is to ask your existing dentist. General dental practitioners often refer to a specialist orthodontist in the local area, if you ask your general dentist for a referral then they should be able to recommend an orthodontic practice locally to you.
Specialist orthodontists have extensive postgraduate training in orthodontics, they are able to offer more complex treatments which can deal with almost any orthodontic problem.
4. Other online resources for orthodontics
The following places give some good information on your options.
The British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry aims to promote clinical excellence in cosmetic dentistry, that is carried out in an ethical, minimally invasive way. They have a list of various treatment options which explains how the treatment works and what it may end up costing.
This is a completely independent website which lists your options sorted by dental problem for example you could view ‘Straighter teeth’ and see all of your options available.
As ever, the Wikipedia community continues to keep this page updated with most of the modern treatments available.
We recommend you take some time to view each of these resources to see which treatment option may be best for you. We would then be privileged to answer any questions personally by way of an initial consultation.
Questions that you could ask before having treatment
Once you have found a dentist you believe may be right you or your child then you will need to book an appointment. Many dentists offer either as free consultation or perhaps a refund of your initial assessment fee. Ensure that you are given adequate time to ask all of the questions you feel appropriate, sitting in a relaxed environment, perhaps over a cup of coffee can help the conversation flow with your dental team member.
A few questions to ask your dentists at that assessment:
- Are you certified?
Each of the differing orthodontic systems such as Invisalign, Inman Aligner or Six Months Smiles have extensive training courses and certification programs. Dentists offering these systems should have certificates clearly displayed. Specialist orthodontists are the only dental professional entitled to use the word specialist, this means they have postgraduate training enabling them to offer a wider range of treatments.
- How long have you been offering orthodontics?
This question also helps you identify the experience of your chosen dental professional.
- How many patients have you treated?
Again, another question to help you identify experience.
- Can I see examples of your work?
A good dentist should have plenty of examples to show you, before and after photographs are a great way to help you understand your treatment. Your dentist may be able to show you photographs of patients treated with clinical situations very similar to your own, this will give you a good understanding of what the possible results maybe.
- How often will you review my progress?
Before you commit to treatment you will want to know how often you may have to visit the dentist, hopefully, you will find a dentist near you to make things as convenient as possible. With orthodontics, you may find that you need to visit the dentist roughly every 4-8 weeks.
Senova Dental Studios are a local dentist in Watford offering clear orthodontics with Invisalign & rapid orthodontics with the Inman Aligner and Six Months Smiles. If you live locally, around Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Bushey or Gerrards Cross and are looking for a dentist near you then please do give us a call.
It has long been known and understood that your lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on your risk of age-related diseases. However, there has been less information available looking at the link between lifestyle and facial ageing… Until now.
A recent study [Gunn, Dick & van Heemst 2015] that was published in the British Journal of dermatologists look at the links between various factors and perceived facial age, specifically, they looked at skin going red in the sun, sun bed use, wearing false teeth, not flossing between teeth, few remaining teeth, body mass index (BMI) and irregular skin moisturisation.
The research consisted of data from two cross-sectional studies of 318 Dutch men and 329 women aged between 45 and 75, they also studied 162 Englishwomen in the same age range.
Results for men
In Dutch men, smoking, having skin that went red in the sun, being outside in the sun most of the summer, sunbed use, wearing false teeth and not flossing were all significantly associated with a total of 9.3 years higher perceived facial age.
Results for women
In Dutch women, smoking, sunbathing, sunbed use, few remaining teeth and a low body mass index (BMI) were associated with a total of 10.9 years higher perceived facial age.
In English women, cleaning teeth only once a day, wearing false teeth, irregular skin moisturisation and having skin that went red in the sun were associated with a total 9.1 years higher perceived facial age.
Interestingly, smoking and sunbed use were associated more strongly with aging in women than in men.
Although associative in nature the results of this study support the notion that lifestyle factors can have long-term beneficial effects on your youthful looks.
What can you do to lower your perceived facial age?
The first thing to consider is how you can prevent your face from prematurely ageing.
It would seem from the studies that regular skincare in both the forms of avoiding excessive sun and regularly using moisturiser is a good place to start.
The other thing that the study mentions this looking after your teeth. it certainly seems that for men, wearing false teeth and not flossing are significantly associated with higher perceived facial age.
With women, cleaning teeth only once a day and wearing false teeth increases perceived age, therefore looking after your teeth by cleaning them adequately is a pre-requisite for keeping them healthy for life.
Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan, here are a few ways you may be able to restore your perceived facial age.
- If you are missing tooth and want to replace them, consider dental bridges or dental implants.
- If you have false teeth then consider dental implants as a viable alternative.
- If you have excessive winkles and/or lines then consider anti-wrinkle injections or fillers.
Senova Dental Studios in Watford have experience in restoring the signs of facial ageing using a combination of dentistry and facial rejuvenation techniques.
Gunn DA, Dick, van Heemst et al ‘Lifestyle and youthful looks’. D Br J Dermatol. 2015;172(5):1338-45. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13646. Epub 2015 Apr 15.
Image Credit: nhs.uk/change4life-beta
It seems that, each day, many of us may be eating too much sugar.
It may come as a surprise to discover the amount of sugar you are eating and how quickly the added sugar that many of us consume can build up during the day.
The government are now advising that parents take action by installing a new app onto their smart phone which is able to read the barcodes on many food products giving them a visual representation of the amount of sugar a product contains.
The “sugar smart app”, from Public Health England (PHE), functions by checking bar code scans and revealing total sugar content of the food in either cubes or grams.
Authorities hope it can help combat tooth cavities, weight problems and type 2 diabetes and encourage families to select more healthy options with their daily diet.
TOOTH CAVITIES & DENTAL DISEASE
Approximately 46,500 children and young people under 19 were admitted to hospital for a primary diagnosis of dental caries in 2013–14 according to The state of children’s oral health in England report by the Faculty of Dental Surgery – that’s more children than were admitted for tonsillitis.
As a nation, if we are going to reduce these hospital admissions for young people we need to get dental disease under control.
Dental cavities arise when the bacteria in your mouth secrete acid. This acid secretion happens as they digest the sugar in your diet. This acid attacks the hard enamel of your teeth and can continue to penetrate deep into the tooth structure.
If this acid attack is left unchecked then the tooth can become seriously infected.
The only way to stop the dental cavity from continuing to grow is to visit the dentist, have the caries removed and then the hole filled. Advice on a good oral health routine can then be given as well as dietary advice.
It is this acid attack which can be limited if we control the amount of sugar that we have in our diets.
There are however other reasons to limit the amount of sugar.
Straight Teeth can also be more Healthy Teeth
It’s true. The hardest area to reach when you clean your teeth is the area between them, this is where the bacteria lurk and where plaque tends to build up the most.
If you keep these areas clean by using floss or an interdental brush then you will reduce the chance of developing caries, however if these areas are difficult to reach due to teeth being crooked or overlapping then you may not be able to keep them quite so clean.
It is therefore particularly important to manage your sugar intake and dental health routine if your teeth are crooked.
TYPE 2 DIABETES
Chris Askew, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said:
“Diets that are high in sugar are fuelling the rise in obesity, and in turn the dramatic rise in Type 2 diabetes, a serious health condition that can lead to devastating complications such as blindness, amputations and stroke. This is unlike Type 1 diabetes which cannot be prevented and is not caused by being obese. With the average child consuming three times the recommended daily amount of sugar, the need for action has never been more urgent. The new Sugar Smart app will help parents to understand and take control of their children’s sugar intake.”
PHE states that young people are eating 3X more sugar than is recommended in their new Change4Life marketing campaign. Their research indicates that normally children aged 4 to 10 years of age are consuming 22kg of added sugar annually. That equates to about 5,500 sugar cubes which is more that the average 5-year old weighs!
It’s all as simple as 3 easy steps:
- Get The App
- Start Scanning
- Reveal The Sugar
HERE’S HOW TO USE THE SUGAR SMART APP
- Download the application through the Apple Store or Google Play.
- Based on how old you are, your everyday sugar allowance will differ. The application informs you on the maximum you should eat.
- Select the product that has a barcode.
- Open the application.
- Permit the application the use of the digital camera on your phone- a box will appear requesting permission.
- Line the barcode track up with the red-colored line and wait for a beep. If it’s doesn’t work, yo may be trying to scan too close up, so move the camera further away.
- The application will let you know just how much sugar there is in the product – however the application does not have every food item available yet as it is still in it’s development stage.
- After that you can share the end result together with your connections on Facebook, Twitter & other social media sites.
- Clicking the menu button gives you more about sugar content in meals, a scanning history and let’s you go to the app’s website.
If you have children we can highly recommend that they download the app and begins scanning food, this can be a fun way to educate your kids about the amount of sugar in food.
Senova Dental Studios are a Watford Dentist, helping the local people around Rickmansworth, Chorleywood, Gerrards Cross and Garston with their dental health.
Many people wonder if it’s actually important to visit a dental hygienist or not, in this article we will look at some of the problems that can arise and how a dental hygienist can help you spot these early symptoms.
In a recent article, it was reported that sugar-free sweets and ‘diet’ soft drinks are just as bad for teeth as their high sugar competitors. The sugar substitutes can also wreak havoc on people’s dental health, according to health researcher Eric Reynolds from the University of Melbourne
“Although the link between sugar and dental caries is widely recognised, dental erosion, another damaging dental condition, is less well known and is caused by some foods and beverages that are perceived by consumers to be healthy” – An extract from a BRIEFING PAPER
Heightened levels of acid in the mouth can occur for a range of medical and lifestyle reasons, but the most common cause of dental erosion is repeated exposure to acids in foods and drinks. Beverages with pH levels below 5.5 are comparatively acidic. This includes soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juices, cordials and wine.
“CONSUMERS SHOULD BE AWARE THAT MANY SUGAR-FREE PRODUCTS ARE POTENTIALLY HARMFUL TO TEETH DUE TO THEIR CHEMICAL COMPOSITION.”
Why Have a Dental Hygienist Checkup
Dental hygienists are specially trained to work as part of the dental team, to give care to patients.
They play an important part in dental health care and are mainly concerned with preventive dental health and treating gum disease – showing you correct home care and helping to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Dental hygienist are an integral part of the dental team, and in fact, can save you a great deal of money at the dentist by helping you keep your teeth healthy and prevent gum disease.
Symptoms of gum disease include:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- Red or swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums or longer appearing teeth
How much is hygienist appointment.
Using advanced screening methods, our highly trained hygienists can determine the level of infection (gum disease) in your mouth. Advice and education on how to achieve good gum health and prevent further periodontal problems. At our practice in Watford an Initial New Patient Periodontal Assessment is £149.00
Tooth Cleaning Tips
It is easy to get your mouth clean and healthy, and keep it that way. A simple routine can help prevent most dental problems:
- brushing your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste
- cleaning between the teeth with ‘interdental’ brushes or floss at least once a day
- using a good-quality fluoride mouthwash at least once per day, but not at the same time as cleaning your teeth. (Toothpaste has a higher fluoride content then mouthwash, so if you rinse your mouth out with mouthwash after cleaning then you actually reduce the amount of fluoride in contact with your teeth.)
- good eating habits – having sugary foods and drinks less often >>> further advice on cutting down on sugar
- regular dental check-ups.
Although most people brush regularly, many don’t clean between their teeth and some people don’t have regular dental check-ups. A few small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in the long term. Your dental team can remove any build-up on your teeth and treat any gum disease that has already appeared. But daily dental care is up to you, and the main weapons are the toothbrush, toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth.
How often should you visit the hygienist?
If you have good oral hygiene habits and a healthy mouth, your dentist and dental hygienist will probably suggest professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year. Many dental insurance policies will cover two cleanings per year, If you have insurance it is well worth ensuring that you make full use of its benefits.
Images courtesy of imagerymajestic & stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
As Christmas approaches we can often find ourselves having less time to cook food at the end of each day. The temptation to snack or pop out for a takeaway becomes ever increasing. But what can it do to your dental health? And if you do decide to have the odd takeaway what can you do to protect your teeth and gums?
The purpose of this blog post is to give you some information about how you can look after your teeth better during the festive season, perhaps cut down on some of the most harmful foods and then change your dental health routine to be more efficient. We want you to enjoy Christmas and all of that delicious food and remain healthy at the same time, it is possible, we will then finish this article by giving you our top tips to enjoying the amazing food available over Christmas and staying dentally healthy at the same time… Read on.
Think about what you are eating
Our first piece of advice is to think clearly about what you are eating, look at the entire meal, particularly sauces. Many sauces are processed and during that processing extra ingredients such as sugar are added. It is sugar that feeds the bacteria in your mouth, the bacteria are responsible for the acid attack on the enamel of your teeth each time you eat.
Just being aware of all of the ingredients in every meal, thinking about the amount of extra sugar you may be eating is a simple step in becoming more dentally health conscious.
What about all those take-aways?
The holiday season is a classic time where we want to slow down and do less, popping down the road for a takeaway becomes a popular past time! We want to encourage you to support your local businesses, but at the same time be dentally health aware. Each time you eat a takeaway just be aware of the ingredients and how they might affect your dental health.
If you have orthodontics then you might find that eating highly coloured food, such as some curries can discolour your brackets, choosing a less strongly coloured meal can mean that you can still enjoy the takeaway without discolouring your orthodontic braces.
Sandwiches for lunch
Having sandwiches for lunch are a great English tradition, but the same rule applies, think about what you’re having in them. If you are going to go out for a takeaway in the evening then you may want to consider having a healthier option sandwich for lunch, perhaps with fresh food rather than anything process which typically has more sugar.
Your Christmas dental health routine
We want you to enjoy all of the amazing food that is available over the festive season, so here are our top tips to enjoying your food and keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
Wait 20 min after eating before cleaning your teeth.
Immediately after you eat the bacteria in your mouth are at their most active. They will be feeding on the sugar in your food and as they do this they excrete acid, this acid attacks the outer surface of your teeth, making it slightly softer. If you wait 20 minutes before brushing it gives time to the natural process whereby your saliva neutralises this acid attack. 20 minutes after you have eaten your teeth have begun to recover and the enamel is not quite so vulnerable. You can now brush your teeth without fear of damaging them anymore.
After you’ve eaten that take-away or your amazing Christmas dinner, spend some time unwrapping a few more presents so that 20 min have passed… Then you can clean your teeth.
Use Interdental brushes daily
Interdental brushes are extremely good at cleaning in between your teeth. They allow you to quickly and simply clean that difficult to reach area much easier than a regular toothbrush. If you like, you can use these brushes at the same time as you clean your teeth, but if it’s more convenient you can use the interdental brushes at other times of the day.
Over the Christmas period, you might find you need a little time away from grandad moaning at the television… It’s a perfect opportunity to pop to the bathroom and spend a couple of minutes with your interdental brushes giving them a little clean.
Use a mouthwash but NOT when cleaning your teeth
Many people mistakenly use a mouthwash after they have cleaned their teeth. You should avoid doing this as mouthwash contains less fluoride than toothpaste. Fluoride helps to strengthen teeth and protect them from the acid attack, if you use mouthwash after toothpaste then you are effectively rinsing off much of the fluoride.
After you clean your teeth don’t rinse with anything, simply leave the toothpaste in your mouth. Then, perhaps midway through the day, use a mouthwash to freshen your breath and give your mouth a quick rinse out.
So there you have our guide to surviving the holiday season food intake whilst maintaining a happy, healthy smile.
Senova Dental Studios are a Hertfordshire-based dental practice helping the local people of Watford, Gerrards Cross, Chorleywood and Rickmansworth areas look after their dental health and keep their teeth bright and healthy life.
Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Mouth Cancer Action Month was set up in the late 90’s to look at ways to combat the large increase in the diagnosis of mouth cancer. The primary concern was that there seemed to be a lack of general awareness about the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, knowing what to look out for and being confident to report it to a healthcare professional. This year our dental practice in Watford is doing its part to raise the awareness of mouth cancer.
The causes of mouth cancer.
Most mouth cancers can be linked back to smoking cigars and pipes, there are also instances of habits such as chewing tobacco being a contributory factor to mouth cancer. Alcohol also gives an increased risk of mouth cancer, particularly if consumed at the same time as tobacco.
With a tendency for people to lay out in the sun more, over exposure to sunlight can also responsible for causing some cancer of the lips.
Many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body. HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Practicing safe sex and limiting the number of partners you have may help reduce your chances of contracting HPV.
The signs of oral cancer
There are many different forms of oral cancer. However, the primary signs and symptoms may include:
- A lump or thickening of the soft tissue in your mouth, including the gums, tongue and cheek.
- Soreness and/or a feeling that something is caught in your throat.
- Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
- Jaw pain.
- Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw.
- Numbness of the tongue or other area of your mouth.
- White or red patches in the mouth the do not normally. (Typically these areas should heal within three weeks)
- Mouth ulcers that don’t heal within three weeks.
Early detection of mouth cancer
The two best ways of detecting mouth cancer early are to be mouth aware at home and to have regular visits to your dentist. A modern dental practice should always undertake the mouth cancer check with every dental health assessment and this is a primary way of spotting the first signs of mouth cancer.
In order to be more mouth aware we have created a free guide, this goes through seven points for self-assessment at home. Looking at the risk factors for oral cancer and how you can lower them. You can download your 7 point mouth cancer self assessment guide here.
If your dentist believes they have found an early sign of mouth cancer than they will immediately refer you to the local hospital who can carry out more extensive tests which may include biopsies.
If mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, and the smaller the area or ulcer the better the chance of a cure.
How to keep a healthy mouth
Mike tells us how he found his mouth cancer early. Learn about possible symptoms of mouth cancer and why it is important to see your doctor as soon as you have symptoms.
Blue Lip Selfie Campaign – #bluelipselfie
Get involved with our Blue Lip Selfie campaign and show your support for mouth cancer!
This year, the British Dental Health Foundation have joined forces with main sponsors Denplan and created a fantastic new campaign to help raise awareness of mouth cancer.
They’re asking people to wear blue lips as a visible sign of support for mouth cancer and take a selfie. We hope this positive, interactive approach will significantly boost awareness of the disease and get everybody taking about mouth cancer, the risk factors involved, the signs and symptoms, and what we can do to help reduce our risk.
So what are you waiting for? Show the world your perfect pout and be part of something huge that aims to get everybody talking about mouth cancer!
How to take part
Everybody can take part in the Blue Lip Selfie campaign; men or women, old or young, it doesn’t matter.
All you need to do is take a selfie of yourself or alongside family, friends or colleagues, and share it with the hashtag #bluelipselfie to help raise awareness get the campaign going viral and encourage others to show their support for mouth cancer.
You may already know about the health benefits of reducing the amount of sugar you eat, and equally you may already know that sugar is a great source of food for the bacteria which can cause dental decay. If you can cut down the amount of sugar you eat then you greatly reduce your chances of dental decay, so here are 10 ways to kick your sugar habit.
1 – Eat regularly
Eat 3 balanced meals and 2 healthy snacks per day, this will help prevent your blood sugar levels dropping dramatically. The more hungry you feel the more you will stray toward sugary snacks and junk food.
2- Choose whole foods and read the label
Choose natural foods that haven’t been processed. Real food is fresh and can perish. Packaged, branded food is often processed and contains added and/or hidden sugars. Look out for hidden sugars such as sucrose, fruit juice, maltodextrin and honey. Food labels are listed by mass, some manufacturers can use many types of sugars in small amounts to fill out one product.
3 – Don’t start the day with sugar
Breakfasts containing high starch and added sugar will only lead to cravings later in the day as your blood glucose spikes and dives. Eggs, fats and whole grains (whole oats, wheat, brown rice) can help you feel fuller for longer, with slow-release energy.
4 – Fruit, not fruit juice
The fibre in whole fruit helps us to balance out its sugar content. Smoothies and juices shred or remove the fibre completely which expose us to high levels of fructose, which raises blood sugar. Stick to water if you’re thirsty.
5 – Spice up your life
Use spices and herbs to add a natural sweetness to foods. Add nutmeg, cinnamon or coriander to your food to kill off cravings.
6 – Keep busy
Filling your day with distractions, even a simple stroll can help you ignore the nagging need for a sugar hit.
7 – Get physical
Exercise improves your insulin sensitivity which helps with blood sugar levels. By increasing muscle mass you increase your body’s ability to use energy from food and reduce fat.
8 – Sleep and distress
Tiredness can tempt us to use sugar for extra energy. Aim to get adequate sleep. Look at the causes of stress or emotional issues that may be pushing you to find comfort in junk food.
9 – What you don’t have, can’t harm you
Keep sugary snacks and junk food out of the kitchen and office. You then won’t have access to it when temptation hits. Try whole fruits and unsalted nuts and seeds when hunger strikes.
10 – Drink plenty of water
By keeping hydrated and drinking plenty of water you will reduce the likelihood of turning to sugar filled juices or fizzy drinks in order to quench your thirst.
By looking after your teeth with daily cleaning and following a responsible and healthy diet you are far more likely to be able to keep your teeth fresh and healthy life which is, after all what everybody wants.
If you find you need further advice on your dental health and live in the local Watford, Rickmansworth, Chorleywood or Gerrads Cross area then please do give us a call or request an appointment online.
*Images sourced from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/
Content adapted from Babi Chana BSC Nut Med.