Why early years oral care is so important.
We often discuss how you can take better care of your teeth as adults. For babies and very young children though, they can’t take care of their own teeth and the responsibility falls to their parents to do so. Oral health care for a baby is important but sometimes gets forgotten amongst the hundreds of other things there are to do.
For mums to be and those who are mums of young children already, our Synergy Clinic dentists offer some useful advice.
It seems reasonable to think that as babies typically have no teeth you shouldn’t have to worry about them at this stage. Whilst you obviously can’t clean their teeth, you should still make sure that their gums are kept clean to prevent infections and discomfort. This can be done quite easily by using a damp clean cloth and gently wiping the gums.
Baby’s first dental visit
One parental dilemma is when you should take your baby to the dentist for the very first time. We generally recommend that this is done around the time of their first birthday. Although no dental treatment is likely at this stage, it is a good opportunity to chat about their oral health care and for any advice to be offered. It is also a good opportunity for the baby to start to get used to a dental environment. There is some evidence that suggests that early and regular exposure to a dental practice will help them to avoid unnecessary anxiety about visiting when they grow older.
Please try to make sure when you leave our Addlestone practice to book your next appointment so that you stay in the routine and don’t let their oral care slip.
Young children and first teeth
A new study shows that there has been an increase of 26% in outlets offering this popular cosmetic treatment illegally.
The teeth whitening procedure has been steadily growing in popularity for a number of years, perhaps spurred on by TV shows such as Love Island. Whilst it was once more widely used by middle aged people whose teeth had started to discolour as they got older, it is increasingly popular with younger people who are looking to achieve a perfect smile like those on the TV.
As a teeth whitening procedure performed by a professional is perfectly safe, there is little harm in this. Unfortunately though, there are an increasing number of illegal outlets which may be putting patient’s teeth at risk.
A report by the BBC indicates that there has been a rise of 26% in establishments that are offering this treatment illegally. The real number could be even higher as that figure depends on customers reporting them to the GDC (General Dental Council), which many dissatisfied customers probably do not. For clarification, only dentists registered with the GDC such as those at the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone, are allowed to perform this procedure.
What are the risks?
There are few risks to a teeth whitening procedure when carried out by a qualified professional. We always assess a patient’s suitability before we start and the strength of the whitening ingredient is carefully monitored. There are rarely any side effects although a few patients do occasionally experience additional sensitivity for a short time. This is typically only temporary and the teeth will return to normal soon afterwards.
There are big risks though if you use an illegal outlet. Most people working at them will not be qualified and have little idea how to use the products safely. Especially where a patient has requested a ‘super white’ smile, they may well use a strength of whitening solution that is positively harmful for the patient’s teeth. The most likely outcome if done incorrectly is that the patient will suffer from significant tooth sensitivity caused by damage to the nerves in the teeth. Unfortunately, not only is this often quite significant but it may be permanent as well, causing ongoing discomfort for the patient. Even worse than this, tooth loss is a real possibility when things go badly wrong.
Finally, it is not just the teeth that can suffer. If the soft tissues of the mouth such as the gums and lips are not correctly protected, burning is likely. This can be both painful and unsightly and simply isn’t worth the risk.
How do they get away with it?
Looking after your new dental implants is essential but fortunately, relatively straightforward
One of the biggest advances in dental technology over the past twenty years or so has been the increasingly widespread use of dental implants to replace missing teeth. Whilst dentures do have some advantages, such as removing the need for a procedure in many cases, they also have a number of drawbacks for a lot of people who wear them.
Dentures can be fiddly to clean and sometimes become unstable. There is also the problem of bone loss when a tooth root is lost. On all three counts, dental implants offer a solution to these problems. Because they include a replacement root as well as a crown, bone loss is minimised and they are much more stable. They are also easy to keep clean as we will see in this blog.
Before we move on to everyday cleaning and maintenance of your dental implant, it is worth stressing that the first 3 months after it has been placed are very critical. This is a time when damage and infections are most likely to occur and you will need to be more careful about what you eat and how you clean the implants.
You should avoid harder foods for this period and probably eat only liquid foods for a short while. Cleaning can be more difficult too as you won’t be able to brush the area for a short while after the procedure. During the initial period, you will need to use a warm saline solution tipped over the area gently with no spitting or other forceful movements. Your Synergy Clinic dentist will discuss this immediate aftercare with you in detail when you have an implant placed at our Addlestone clinic.
Long term dental implant aftercare
Once your new dental implant is established and you can eat whatever you want once more, it is still very important to continue to look after them well. Despite the fact that the crown can’t decay as it is made from an artificial material, there are still potential threats to the implants. These come predominantly in the form of periodontitis and peri-implantitis. These are infections of the gum, bone and soft tissues surrounding the implant. If these become too advanced, the bone holding the implant in place can deteriorate, causing the implant to become loose or even fall out.
The good news is that taking care of them is not at all difficult and is very similar to looking after your natural teeth.
Brushing your implants
Smoking is a significant contributor to oral health issues amongst other things.
Have you made any New Year’s resolutions? Is to stop smoking one of them? If so, you will be one of many thousands who attempt to do this each year. Some will succeed while others will fail to maintain it for very long and there are good reasons for this. Apart from the fact that it is often a social habit and one that is sometimes influenced by our peer group, cigarettes contain nicotine, a highly addictive substance that can lead to withdrawal symptoms when we deprive our bodies of it by not smoking.
Unfortunately, by not keeping up our pledge to quit smoking, we put our health at risk. Smoking has long been associated with heart and lung diseases amongst other things but it can also have a significant negative impact on our oral health as well.
There are three key areas where smoking affects our oral cavity and our Addlestone dentists discuss these below.
Let us start with the least serious of the problems that smoking can cause. We see many patients at the Synergy Clinic who have teeth that have been stained through years of smoking. The tar in cigarettes is a sticky substance and will stick to the surface enamel of our teeth. Over time this starts to discolour them and can lead to anything from a light yellow to a dark brown appearance depending on the extent of your smoking habit. Although stopping smoking won’t reverse this discolouration, it will mean that it won’t get any worse. Once you are satisfied that you have successfully stopped for good, you might wish to consider rewarding yourself with the money you will save by having the whiteness of your teeth restored with one of our cosmetic dental treatments.
Depending on the extent of discolouration, your teeth can be whitened using a teeth whitening procedure; either a fast acting one done ‘in clinic’ or a custom home whitening kit. Both offer excellent results and the choice is often down to your own preferences. For more badly discoloured teeth, dental veneers may prove to be a better option. We will be able to advise following an examination of your teeth.
Our Addlestone dentists are here to help you have a great looking smile in the New Year!
This will be our last blog post before Xmas so we thought that we would use it to look forward to the year ahead, and especially for patients of the Synergy Clinic who may be considering some improvements to their smile in 2020.
Each and every one of our patients is an individual, and you will need to have a consultation with us so that we can put forward an effective treatment plan for your new smile. Some patients may need just one step whilst others might need several.
With that in mind, here’s a typical route to a full smile makeover from a relatively unhealthy mouth in our four step guide:
A healthy mouth
For all the improvements that we can help you with to make your smile more attractive, these mean little unless your mouth is in good health. There is no point in having a beautiful white smile if your gums are sore and inflamed for example.
The first step is to have a thorough oral health check to make sure that no decay is present. Where it is, restoration will be necessary, possibly using our tooth coloured fillings or a dental crown. You will also need to see the hygienist who can clean your teeth and remove hardened tartar from them, along with your gums. Once this has been done and we are satisfied with your oral health, your cosmetic dental treatment can start.
The festive season can be great fun but it is also a time of challenges for your teeth.
The tinsel is up and the TV is constantly promoting products for sale which can only mean one thing; it’s nearly Christmas. Love it or not, this is a time of year when many of our routines are broken as we prepare ourselves for a few days of relaxation and probable excess.
It is also a time of year when, as dentists, we are also fully aware of the additional risk to oral health that the season brings. In today’s blog, your local Addlestone dental team examine some of the risks to oral health and what you can do to minimise them.
Sweets and Chocolate
Let us start with one of the most obvious ones. Most of us will abandon any attempt to eat healthily at least for a few days of the year. Shopping sprees and stocking fillers mean that most of us will consume chocolates and sweets in a far greater quantity than we do the rest of the year. It doesn’t take much to work out how damaging this can be for our teeth!
The most obvious advice is not to overindulge but this is probably unrealistic to expect. Do try though not to eat these sweets to excess and if you want to snack whilst watching TV, try swapping some of them for more tooth friendly snacks such as nuts, cheese and crispy vegetable dips.
Teeth cleaning regime
Our Synergy Clinic team looks at the ever increasing range of toothpastes now available.
Ask almost anyone to name the two most fundamental pieces of dental equipment necessary for healthy teeth and they will almost certainly say toothbrush and toothpaste.
We will look at the question of manual or electric toothbrush in a future blog, but today, your handy Addlestone dentists take a look at some of the different toothpastes that are now widely available in supermarkets, and also how suitable they are for patient use.
It is no longer just a case of choosing between different brands, but differently targeted dental issues too. Whether for teeth whitening, gum disease, or decay prevention, an awful lot of money is currently being spent on advertising these products.
Teeth whitening toothpastes
This type of toothpaste is probably the most widely advertised, but do they work? It is entirely understandable that people want to have nice looking white teeth, and if using a toothpaste designed for that purpose works, then it makes absolute sense to use it, doesn’t it?
Patients should be cautious. From a whitening teeth perspective, you are unlikely to see anything but the smallest improvement if you use these. The reason for this is that whilst they do contain a whitening ingredient similar to that used in a dental practice for a supervised teeth whitening treatment, they do so in much smaller quantities. The amount of whitening ingredient is restricted for safety reasons. Not only could it cause potential burning to soft oral tissue if it was too strong (these tissues are protected when done professionally), but young children may accidentally swallow toothpaste, or even eat it in some cases. This could be potentially dangerous and therefore the quantities in these toothpastes are kept very low.
In addition to this, some toothpastes aim to clean the surface of the teeth better through the use of additional abrasives. Whilst this may result in slightly whiter teeth, it may also cause damage to the enamel on your teeth which could lead to sensitivity and even decay due to lack of protection.
A plant based diet may offer some health benefits, but patients should beware of potential pitfalls.
There are now thought to be in excess of half a million vegans in the UK according to the Vegan Society. Add to that, a growing section of the population who are increasing the number of plant based meals they consume, and it would appear that this is a growing trend that may be here to stay.
There have been many studies which have advocated the health benefits of a vegan diet, with the caveat that care needs to be taken to obtain the right nutrition.
There have also been notes of caution from the dental profession as there are risks to the teeth, especially if you follow this diet without being aware of the potential harm to your teeth in doing so if you don’t take the correct precautions.
A restricted diet?
When patients come to our handy Addlestone dental clinic, we don’t generally ask them about their diet, although some chose to tell us so. We do sometimes detect signs that their diet may be falling short of what is necessary to keep teeth and gums healthy though, and we will come to those in a minute.
We should say that the purpose of this blog is not to deter or encourage people to choose (or not) a vegan diet, but to present some of the facts so that you can make your own decisions.
A vegan diet can be said to be a ‘restrictive’ diet as it cuts out a lot of products that are available to us. The same can be said for some other diets such as the Keto diet. Vegans will point out that it also introduces new foods which we may otherwise not have eaten, and whilst this is true, it is also true that a plant only diet can mean certain challenges in getting the right nutrition.
What is ‘lacking’ from a vegan diet?
How times of increased stress and anxiety can cause problems for our oral health
It might be that you are revelling in the intricacies of the political world at the moment. It is probably more likely though that you are wishing that politicians would disappear from our TV screens, at least for a little while, to give us some breathing space.
Whatever your view, research has found that anxiety levels are on the increase at the moment, perhaps unsurprisingly.
Whether this has affected you or not, there is little doubt that stress is a much more significant issue in our lives than it was in the past. From Brexit to personal concerns, stress is on the rise, and with it comes a whole host of medical problems.
General and oral health
There is plenty of evidence to indicate that stress can contribute to medical issues such as heart disease. We will leave the discussion on that to those who are experts in that field though and concentrate on our own area of interest, oral health.
At the Synergy Clinic in Addlestone, whilst we are able to offer a large range of restorative dental treatments to repair damaged teeth, we believe in taking a more holistic and preventative approach where possible. Stress reduction can certainly help with this.
Impact of stress on our teeth
Addlestone dentist, Dr Mani Virdee, explains why porcelain veneers offer a great opportunity to have beautiful teeth.
In an ideal world, we would all have a full set of healthy, even and beautifully white teeth. In reality, this is very rare indeed without the intervention of cosmetic dentistry.
There is a lot that we can do to keep our teeth healthy, with regular brushing, flossing and six monthly dental examinations, but life and ageing usually eventually takes it toll, especially when it comes to the appearance of our teeth.
Even with the healthiest of teeth, most of us will find, as we get older, that our teeth have lost the sparkle of our youth and often look dull and discoloured. Providing that this is not too severe, a professional teeth whitening treatment is often an effective way to restore the whiteness. For those whose teeth have become very discolored, perhaps through lifestyle choices such as smoking, or drinking red wine over a period of time, or whose teeth have been affected by chips and cracks, this may not be the most effective solution however.
Permanently damaged tooth enamel
At the Synergy Clinic, we strive to help our Addlestone patients keep their teeth in as good a condition as they can. Where heavily stained or chipped teeth are a problem though, we are able to provide dental veneers as a solution when the enamel of the teeth has been permanently affected in this way.
This is an excellent way to restore the appearance of your teeth and provide you with that great looking smile that you may have thought was a thing of the distant past.
What are dental veneers?