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Blog Archives

5 Bad Habits that Ruin Your Teeth

We all have some natural bad habits like biting our nails or clenching our jaws due to stress, which wears down the teeth. However, there are some more subtle habits in your daily lifestyle that could be sending you to the dentist more than necessary. Here are six different habits that could be damaging the health of your mouth.

Oral Piercings

Movements of your tongue bar or lip piercings in your mouth can cause you to chip or crack your teeth. The jewellery can also increase the risk of gum disease, injure gums from direct contact but can also cause receding gum tissue. All of these factors can lead to either tooth loss or loose teeth, which will result in replacing the teeth with either bridges or dental implants.

Chewing Gum

They may only be small but they are packed with sugar, even the ‘sugar free’ versions damage the enamel. The sugar and sweeteners in gum reacts with the sticky plaque that coats your teeth – so don’t be fooled into thinking they help to clean your teeth after a meal. Continuous chewing of gum wears down your jaw and can alter your bite. This can hugely affect your mouth as you may end up grinding and chipping away parts of your teeth.

Teeth Grinding

Many people find that they grind their teeth in times of stress or when they are experiencing bad sleeping patterns. This nasty habit can wear down the enamel that protects your teeth. Try to wear a mouth guard at night, as this can limit the damage while you sleep. If you grind your teeth during the day when experiencing anxiety, try to be more aware of the damage you are doing to your teeth to put you off the habit.

Eating Sugary Carbs

Anything like white bread, pasta, rice and cereals are classed as sugary carbohydrates. This type of food contains a lot of starch and refined carbohydrates, which convert sugar in the mouth. So by eating sugary carbs leaves a residue of paste in the mouth, which lodges in your teeth and builds up in your molars. This creates an ideal breeding ground for bad bacteria which causes cavities.

Drinking Fizzy Drinks and Fruit Juices

Many fizzy drinks and fruit juices contain not just sugar which we already know is bad for our teeth, but also contain phosphoric acid, citric acid and tartaric acid which causes severe damage to the teeth. The high levels of these ingredients in drinks such as Coke can be helpful for cleaning household items such as toilets. So just imagine what damage it does to your teeth!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Weekend Antics that could be Damaging Your Teeth

During the weekends, we all indulge in a little treat or two to relieve the stress of the week’s events. But did you realize the stress and damage that you could be causing to your teeth in the process? Here are some common weekend activities and things to avoid, preventing you from harming your oral health.

Watching a Movie

Eating popcorn may be a cinematic tradition, but those little corn kernels are a hazard for your oral hygiene. When they get wedged in-between the gaps of your teeth, they help to harbour the bad bacteria that causes cavities. Try to ensure you floss after the film has finished, as this will prevent any cavities from occurring.

Enjoying a Night Out

Fizzy drinks such as cider and prosecco are a popular choice for many on a night out. But did you know that the bubbles in these drinks contain high levels of highly acidic carbon dioxide? This acid erodes and attacks the enamel coating on the teeth, which makes them weaker and more sceptical to decay. An alternative option if you do not wish to ditch these drinks is to use a straw to avoid any contact with the teeth.

Eating a Takeaway

At the weekend there is nothing more tempting than a takeaway. But not only can this treat wreak havoc on our waistlines they can also heavily damage our teeth. Heavy pigmented foods such as curries or Chinese dishes can stain teeth yellow over time. Other takeaways like pizza and pasta cause acid erosion which leads to tooth decay, due to the refined carbohydrates in the dough and pasta that contains sugar.

A Pamper Evening With Friends                                                                                             

A home beauty evening with friends is not without some DIY treatments like face masks, hair treatments or shop bought dental whitening kits. But many are aware of the dangers associated with whitening their teeth at home. Many kits have been found to contain hazardous levels of bleach and hydrogen peroxide. Dentists warn that using these kits can cause stomach problems, toothache, gum-shrinking, mouth infections and nerve damage.

Eating Out With Friends

It is tempting when you eat out with friends to indulge in the mouth-watering, sugar filled desserts on the menu. But by doing this you are posing a huge risk to your overall oral health. Rather than eating tooth destroying desserts like chocolate, cake or ice-cream, have something that could benefit your teeth instead.  Eating fruits like apples are a sweet alternative as they produce salvia in the mouth, which washes away any build-up of bacteria from your meal. They essentially act as a natural toothbrush until you are able to next clean your teeth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The A – D of Vitamins and Minerals Vital for a Healthy Mouth

Your gums and teeth depend on particular nutrients to stay in excellent condition. Here are some vitamins and minerals you need to include in your diet, to maintain good oral health.

Vitamin A

Normally vitamin A is associated with clear skin, a strong immune system and good eyesight, but it also helps to maintain a healthy salivary flow in the mouth. Not only that it makes sure that your gums stay healthy and helps them to heal – thus reducing the risk of gum disease.

You can find vitamin A in:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Egg yolks
  • Fish
  • Carrots
  • Mangoes
  • Spinach
  • Kale

B Vitamins

Do you suffer with tongue inflammation or mouth ulcers? Well you may not be including enough B vitamins in your diet to prevent these appearing. And if you are a vegan, it is much harder to get enough B vitamins, as it is predominantly found in meat products. So if that is the case you may need the supplement B12 to ensure you can include this in your dietary needs.

You can find B vitamins in:

  • Fish
  • Egg
  • Poultry such as chicken and duck
  • Dairy

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is essential for repairing and building connective tissue, which aids in preventing gum inflammation and gum disease. If you don’t include enough vitamin C in your diet, it could lead to getting a serious gum disease called scurvy.

You can find vitamin C in:

  • Citrus fruit
  • Broccoli
  • Kale
  • Berries

 

Calcium

To maintain strong teeth a diet rich in calcium is highly beneficial – helping to prevent bone fractures and weak bone tissues around the teeth. It also protects you against getting periodontal disease and keeps your jaw bone healthy.

You can find calcium in:

  • Dairy products like milk and yoghurt
  • Salmon
  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Almonds
  • Soy milk

Coenzyme Q10

You may not have heard of this vitamin, but it is naturally produced by the body and plays a key part in kick starting the healing process for unhealthy gums. To improve your oral health it will reduce pain, swelling and bleeding associated with gum disease.

You can find Coenzyme Q10 in:

  • Pork
  • Beef
  • Chicken Liver
  • Parsley
  • Some vegetable oils

Vitamin D

This vitamin is commonly known as the ‘sunshine vitamin’ as it helps your skin when you are out in the sun. Like the illuminating sunshine, vitamin D brightens up the health of your teeth. It prevents tooth decay and helps your body to absorb calcium.

You can find vitamin d in:

  • Milk
  • Fortified breakfast cereals
  • Cod liver oil

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 Tooth Truths!

Man Hand writing Did You Know with marker on transparent wipe board. Business, internet, technology concept. Stock Photo

23 Tooth Truths to Make You Smile

  • Dolphin’s jaws do not have muscles, so they use only their teeth to grasp.
  • In the Middle Ages in Germany, kissing a donkey was the only remedy for painful teeth.
  • Ancient Greeks were the first to invent dental pillars.
  • The enamel on your teeth is the hardest tissue in your entire body.
  • An elephant’s molar tooth weighs nearly 4 kilograms and is almost 7” square.
  • When a crocodile loses a tooth, unlike humans, another one grows to replace to old one.
  • Originally toothbrush bristles were made of hog hairs.
  • According to the Guinness World Records from 2002, Sir Isaac Newton had the record for the most valuable tooth of all times. It was sold in London for £3,000 in 1816 and the tooth was put in a ring.
  • Your dental plaque comprises of more than three hundred species of bacteria.
  • It takes 43 muscles to frown but only 17 to smile.
  • 80% of us on a night out would be more likely to talk to a random person if they smiled at us.
  • A ‘smile’ is one of the first things we psychologically notice when meeting a new person.
  • 50% of us would not tell a friend if they had bad breath, in danger of risking a friendship.
  • Teeth and smiles are rated the second most important attractive feature after personality.
  • Nearly 48% of the UK population are unhappy with their teeth.
  • More than half of us would share our toothbrush with someone.
  • 1 in 5 of us cannot recall when we last replaced our toothbrush
  • 1 in 4 think electric toothbrushes are for lazy people and a third think they do not have to brush for as long when using one.
  • 1 in 5 people don’t believe in using fluoride.
  • Chocolate is top of the list for foods that make us smile the most, then Sunday roast, curry and a fry up.
  • When seeking a new partner, a smile is the most wanted trait, beating body shape, dress sense and eyes.
  • A toothbrush is top of the list of things we ensure we always take when we go away on holiday.
  • The colour yellow is psychologically known to make us smile the most. And purple makes us smile the least.

 

Tips for Taking Care of Your Children’s Teeth Over Easter

Easter is about to spring upon us and we all know it can become difficult to limit our children’s sugar intake, especially with all the chocolate goodies that the Easter bunny will bring. Their oral health however, doesn’t have to suffer if the right precautions are taken.

Happy children celebrate Easter at home. Boy and girl wearing bunny ears enjoying egg hunt. Kids playing with color eggs and flower basket. Spring crafts and art for toddler child and preschooler kid. ** Note: Soft Focus at 100%, best at smaller sizes

Ensure chocolate is kept to mealtimes

It is not always the case of how much chocolate your child consumes, but mainly how often that causes oral health problems. By keeping the chocolate to mealtimes, means that the teeth can be cleaned after, preventing cavities which could be caused by sugar.

Give your child a glass of water after eating chocolate

This will help to produce salvia in the mouth, which will help to rinse away any plaque, bacteria and debris. A glass of water also doesn’t contain any sugar, so is the healthiest option for your child to drink whilst washing down their Easter egg.

Monitor their intake

The longer amount of time chocolate is in the mouth, will produce more acids that cause tooth decay. Oversee your child’s intake of their Easter egg, and give them small pieces that won’t stay in their mouth for long periods.

Give them sugar free options

If you are really worried about your child eating chocolate, due to the sugar content, there are sugar free options available online. You will still have to ensure they have a good dental routine to clean their teeth after eating to reduce tooth decay. But the lack of sugar compared to their sugar filled counterparts, will prevent cavities further.

Give them certain foods to clean the mouth

Eating crunchy fruits and vegetables such as carrots, apples and celery stimulates the production of saliva. This is beneficial for teeth, since saliva helps to protect the teeth from bacteria, by helping to break down and wash away chocolate that can become stuck in the teeth. Or you could give your child a small piece of cheese after eating chocolate, as this will help to neutralise the acids that cause tooth decay.

Offer them other forms of treats than the traditional chocolate egg

If you wish to completely eradicate your child sugar intake from eating chocolate, you could offer them other fun alternatives. Why not swap chocolate eggs for fancy dress items or cuddly toys? Or you could take them on a day trip to the zoo or a fairground, as a special treat in the Easter holidays. Just make sure you don’t let them indulge in other forms of sweet treats, like candy floss, that could harm their oral health just as much as chocolate.

 

 

 

The Mysteries of the Mayan Molars – Dentistry in the Ancient Mayan World

The Mayans practiced a form of modern dentistry and were very advanced for their time. These ancient dentists filled cavities, cleaned tartar with copper instruments and removed teeth. What is even more remarkable is that they had names for every procedure and tooth. In the present day, when we have a dental procedure we rinse our mouths out after with a saline solution. Did you know that the Mayans thousands of year ago also used to do this? This just shows how forward-thinking and sophisticated their level of dentistry really was.

old surgical and dentist tools - ancient medical equipment

Ancient Mayan dentists used a bow drill to perform procedures. The drill was made from metal, mounted on a shaft and was then rotated by the bow. It was the main tools that the Mayans used to carry out various dental procedures. They were so skilled with this tool, that they could carefully carve into a tooth without generating an infection, break a tooth or provoke the loss of a tooth.

 

The most popular form of Mayan dentistry was not for corrective or restorative dental procedures. Instead the dental skills they had devised were mainly for religious or ritual purposes. They would use their skills to place stunningly carved stone inlays, in precisely prepared cavities, cutting a perfect hole around the tooth enamel. These inlays were made of minerals such as; turquoise, quartz, cinnabar, serpentine and jadeite. Two different types of adhesives were used to secure the inlays including liquid amber and the other from the maguey plant. Archaeologists have found that due to the gems used, the inlays were mainly confined for the upper classes. Typically, the inlays were found in the upper and lower teeth and were for aesthetic purposes.

 

The Mayas also carried out other forms of fashion statements with their teeth, to boost the appearance of their smile. Women were known to dye their teeth red or black and it was said that many Mayan men didn’t like coloured teeth. The red dye was derived from insects and was named cochineal. Other aesthetic procedures included filing their teeth in different ways. It is not completely known what the significant reasons for this are, but it is thought that it was possibly done for tribal or religious meaning. Archaeologists have discovered more than fifty different patterns.

 

Nowadays popular cosmetic procedures that are carried out, do not involve inserting gems into a patients tooth. Contact the surgery today, to discuss some of the most up-to-date procedures.

 

 

 

Extracting the Egyptians – Dentistry in Ancient Egypt

Just like us, the ancient Egyptians had many different oral health problems. The main contribution to their oral ailments was a combination of their poor diet and bad dental hygiene. This would lead to various diseases like attrition, dental caries and periodontist that affect the overall health of the mouth. The Egyptians however, were very inventive and devised many practises and treatments, to treat their dental issues.
Religion of Ancient Egypt. Thoth - the ancient Egyptian god of wisdom and knowledge. God with the head of an ibis. Vector illustration.

The most common dental affliction in ancient Egypt was Attrition. This was caused by their diet of uncooked vegetables and lack of necessary vitamins and minerals. Archaeologists have previously discovered skulls and jaws in burial shafts and tombs, that all show signs of the disease. If untreated it could lead to abscesses, inflammation of the jawbone and gums and tooth loss.

 

As previously mentioned, the Egyptians had bad dental hygiene. This was partly due to their bread having grit and sand in it, which wore away their enamel. Whilst they hadn’t established dentistry, they did create the world’s oldest known formula for toothpaste. They would crush rock, mint, salt, pepper and dried iris flower to create a tooth cleaning powder. However, the concoction is now known to have caused bleeding gums. Luckily we have various different types of fluoride based toothpastes, which have the opposite effect by preventing bleeding gums, cavities and can create a whiter smile.

 

Egyptians also had numerous mouthwashes to combat gum disease, which usually had to be chewed up and spit out. The mouthwashes were made up from ingredients such as bran and celery, and some included more active ingredients. This was to provide the patient with some form of pain relief from toothache and other oral pains. Others were just for the precise purpose of preserving a healthy mouth and teeth.

 

According to many historians, dental braces date back to as far as the Egyptian period. Archaeologists have discovered mummies with crude metal bands around their teeth and believe that the bands were used, to create pressure to move around the teeth. It was also found that lost teeth were reattached by means of silver or gold wire to the neighbouring teeth. But it is not completely proven, if these procedures were performed during the life of the patient or after death. Because Egyptians placed value on the appearance of the dead, to ensure they were sent off correctly to the afterlife.

 

With up-to-date dentistry these techniques are outdated, but have set the basics for the modern day procedures that are around today. Contact the surgery today, to discuss some of the more current choices with your dentist.

 

 

Dental Health Concerns for Women

Everyone needs to look after their oral health, but for women, surges in hormones at specific periods in their life can affect their oral health significantly. Women have special oral health requirements during the unique stages of puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, lactation and menopause, making it even more important to maintain good dental hygiene habits during these times. Women can expect their dental health to change during these specific periods of their life in the following ways:

 

  • Puberty: The increase in oestrogen and progesterone causes blood vessels to dilate which can affect gums and can cause bleeding, swelling and redness. The changes in hormones affects the bacteria in the mouth at this time, meaning that cavities and bad breath can develop. Ulcers are also more common in teenagers than children.

 

  • Menstruation: In the lead up to their period, some women experience swollen or sensitive gums that are prone to bleeding, while others can experience mouth ulcers or cold sores. Once menstruation begins, these symptoms commonly disappear.

 

  • Use of oral contraceptive: Taking an oral contraceptive is commonplace for many women. The synthetic hormones in these tablets can cause gingivitis, an inflammation of the gums, which results from an excessive build up of plaque. It is important to remove plaque adequately through careful brushing and flossing to avoid gingivitis.

 

  • Pregnancy: The significant changes in hormones during pregnancy make oral health care a priority for women during this time. Gingivitis is, again, common in pregnant women, but also ‘pregnancy tumours’, which are non-cancerous, benign growths that develop when swollen gums become irritated. Normally, these tumours will naturally shrink and disappear after the baby’s birth, although if they interfere with brushing or are uncomfortable, the dentist may decide to remove them.

 

  • Lactation: There are many benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and baby, but the period of lactation can also negatively impact a woman’s oral health. Adapting to life with a new baby can often mean that women skip brushing and flossing their teeth, resulting in an increased likelihood of cavities and gum disease developing. The increase in stress and tiredness can also cause Bruxism to develop, which is the grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep. This can result in headaches, neck and jaw pain, or teeth cracking.

 

  • Menopause: There are many possible changes that can occur in a woman’s mouth during menopause. These include burning mouth syndrome, dry mouth, gingivitis and mucosal changes which can result in changes in the appearance of gums and can cause them to bleed easily.

 

 

 

 

How to Manage Dental Anxiety

Anxiety about going to the dentist can be crippling and for some people, can result in the postponement of regular dental check-ups or procedures. Improvements to dental technology and treatment methods mean that there is much less to be worried about today than there once was. If you’re someone who gets anxious about visiting the dentist, here’s the best way to manage your anxiety:

 

  1. Talk to your dentist about your anxiety

Despite what you might think, your dentist sees anxious patients every day and knows a thing or two about putting them at ease. One of the most pro-active things you can do is to be upfront and make your concerns known to your dentist. You’ll find that the simple act of talking about it helps relieve stress. Your dentist will also be able to reassure you about what exactly the visit will involve and talk you through every step of the way.

 

  1. Ask questions

During your visit you should feel comfortable asking questions about any of the dental tools or procedures. If there’s anything that makes you feel uncomfortable, speak up and ask about it. This will help to put your mind at ease if you know exactly what is happening.

 

  1. Agree on a cue

Before your procedure begins, discuss a cue you can use with your dentist that will act as a signal if you are becoming distressed. This will alert the dentist to how you are feeling and will be a sign for he or she to stop and check in with you. Your cue could be as simple as raising your right hand.

 

  1. Engage in positive self-talk

An excellent strategy for dealing with anything that makes you feel stressed or anxious is the practice of repeating positive mantras to yourself. This can be as easy as saying, ‘I choose to be in control of my feelings’ or ‘I am capable of this’. Our thoughts have so much power in shaping our behaviour so if you try to actively think positively about your dental visit, you’ll find that it becomes less overwhelming.

 

  1. Listen to soothing music

As you are driving to your appointment or waiting in the waiting room, listen to some soothing music on your phone or iPod. This will work wonders for calming your nerves. While you’re listening, become conscious of your breathing and try to focus on taking long and slow breaths.

6 Christmas Dental Hazards to Watch Out For

The silly season is upon us, which means lots of excitement, celebrations, and maybe a little bit of stress. Don’t let your teeth suffer this Christmas by watching out for these 10 Christmas dental hazards:

1. Forgetting to pack your toothbrush

If you’re lucky enough to be going away over Christmas, be sure to remember to pack your toothbrush! Whilst it can be easy enough to purchase a replacement in urban destinations, if you’re travelling to somewhere more remote, it might not be as easy. Brushing twice daily is very important for removing plaque and decay-causing bacteria.

2. Consuming sugary Christmas treats

There’s no doubt that Christmas is a time of indulgence, with many celebrations and parties taking place across both the workplace as well as the home. Desserts and sweets will most likely be a feature of these occasions, but remember that these foods are the enemy of your teeth! The bacteria in your mouth can convert sugar to acids, which can erode the enamel of your teeth, leading to decay. Enjoy these treats in moderation and remember to brush and floss regularly.

3. Opening things with your teeth

You should never try and open gifts or bottles with your teeth, no matter how difficult they are to get open. This can cause your teeth to chip and crack so keep some scissors and a bottle opener handy instead.

4. Grinding teeth through stress

There’s no doubt that Christmas is a stressful time of year for many, which can take its toll on your oral health. Stress can cause some people to grind or clench their teeth while they sleep. In addition to experiencing headaches and pain in the jaw from this, teeth grinding can also chip or crack teeth too. Be sure to see your dentist if you suspect your are grinding your teeth.

5. Silver coins in Christmas puddings

A favourite British tradition is to hide silver coins in the middle of Christmas puddings, which, if found, is supposed to bring wealth. If you’re unfortunate enough to bite into the hard metal of a hidden coin and break a tooth, your wealth might suffer in actual fact! Be careful to check for coins before you have a mouthful.

6. Kissing under the mistletoe

Kissing is a common way for germs to spread and for people to contract illnesses so remember that when you are caught under the mistletoe!

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