Childhood Oral Health: How the Childsmile Initiative is Helping Parents Look After Their Children’s Teeth.

Seven years ago, the NHS in Scotland launched a successful initiative called ‘Childsmile’. The purpose of this is to promote the importance of good oral hygiene from childhood and beyond and to educate parents and carers in practical ways to encourage good dental health habits in their children. Childsmile says that “good oral health in childhood means healthy teeth and gums throughout life. Childsmile is working to ensure all children, regardless of income or background, have the best possible start.” We don’t have anything like this in England yet, but at Kennett Road Dental Practice, we admire the efforts of the Scottish NHS for the work they do to educate families and to promote good dental health for the next generation. So here are some of the helpful features of the Childsmile website that anyone can access and some ways that Childsmile are pioneering a blanket improvement in oral health in Scotland.

Oral health guide by age. The user-friendly Childsmile website provides advice on age-appropriate oral care products and practices. The free guides and tips are divided by the age of your child so parents can easily make sure they are getting the correct advice for their child’s age. There is a page for children from birth to 3 years old, one for 3 to 5 year olds and also one for children aged 5 to 12. This makes it so easy for parents and carers to know what they should be doing to look after their child’s teeth and at what age they need to do something slightly differently, such as changing the fluoride content of their toothpaste.

Toothbrushing help for parents. We know that not all children like having their teeth brushed. The important thing to remember is that if you ease up on oral care because they’re upset, then when they’re older, they won’t thank you. Better a tear now, and a beautiful smile they can be proud of later in life. With that being said, we understand that toothbrushing can be a source of stress and anxiety for both parent and child. Childsmile have some great advice and tips on their website for parents to accomplish toothbrushing with small children without the drama. What is particularly great about the advice from Childsmile is that they effectively communicate that there is no one “right” way to brush your baby or child’s teeth. There are different options, various positions you can try, different toothbrushes, toothpastes and tools you can try to relieve toothbrushing time of unpleasantness. Whatever gets the job done well, with the minimum of tantrums, that is what works for you. So, do what works for your child and for you.

Visiting the Dentist. Although we don’t have Childsmile here in England, their advice is still sound. They offer advice on what to expect when you take your baby to the dentist, when you should register them with a local practice and who the dental professionals are that you might meet while your child is young. Childsmile write that “taking your baby to the dental practice as early as possible helps them to get used to the sights, sounds and smells of a dental practice and give you access to information, advice and support for looking after your child’s teeth.” We couldn’t agree more. If you think it’s hard getting at your toddler’s teeth imagine how hard it would be for us to get a good look in their mouths if they aren’t used to going to the dentist. Your child already trusts you. Us, not so much yet.

Childsmile in Scotland. Childsmile is so dedicated to providing not just life-changing information to parents, but also physical dental care equipment for children. Regardless of the parent’s earnings or background, Childsmile provide every parent through their health visitor “with a free dental pack containing a toothbrush, toothpaste of at least 1000 parts per million (ppm) fluoride and oral health messages. They can also direct you to a dental practice in your area.” Talk about putting your money where your mouth is. The Scottish government are clearly willing to spend out a lot of money to ensure that children’s dental care is a priority. Scotland, we salute you!

Once the child reaches nursery age, they are then entitled to another free pack of dental care goodies as well as access to educational talks and supervised tooth brushing at nursery if your child’s nursery is part of the Childsmile program. What an amazing resource to ensure that parents are maintaining their small children’s teeth properly. This can be a crucial age for dental care because most milk teeth will have erupted by then and children grow in independence at this age. They become more responsible for their own self-care and their parents take on a less active role. This is fine as long as teeth really are being brushed properly and consistently, but it never hurts to check that this is actually the case. Did you ever lie about brushing your teeth as a child? No? Gold star, but seriously, if children are left to see to their own dental care routines, they might not be managing it as well as an adult would. That’s why regular dental checks for young children and age-friendly dental health talks are such a good idea in nurseries.

At Kennett Road Dental Practice, we admire the work of the Childsmile scheme, and we live in hope that our NHS will adopt a similar program to encourage good dental health routines from birth. To have such a well-connected network working with families, nurseries and dentists to take care of their children’s oral health is such a great idea. With an initiative like this, we hope it will continue to provide a long-term escape for those struggling with dental poverty and lack of access to information and resources to properly look after their family’s teeth.

If you need to register your baby or child with the practice, you can get in touch with us here. We are always happy to see new faces and we’ll work with you to make sure your children have no cause for anxiety when visiting the dentist.

 

 

Why You Don’t Need to Be Afraid of Your Dentist

We know a lot of people experience anxiety at the thought of attending their dental surgery. Don’t worry, we don’t take it personally. Of course, we know that very few people are afraid of the actual dentist, it’s the vulnerability and the fear of the possibility of pain that frightens most people. But we want you to be as relaxed about your next trip to the dentist as possible, so here are our top reasons why you shouldn’t be scared of your dentist, your dental surgery and why you shouldn’t skip your next appointment.

1. Dentists are awesome. No really, we can back that up. According to Dentalorg.com, “dental surgeons are very compassionate and kind people.” The same source suggests that people with a natural inclination towards helping people are attracted to the dental career and that dentists are predominantly easy-going, calm people. See, we are pretty nice people on the whole. We’re the opposite of scary.

2. Dentists only want to help. The truth is that no one actively enjoys rooting around in other people’s mouths all day. Well, no one we know, anyway. So, someone who has committed years of their life to the study of teeth and is prepared for decades to come of seeing tooth decay and dealing with bad breath, they’d have to be damn sure they’d get something out of it. What do we dentists get out of our work? We get to help people. We’re not out to cause anyone pain. We only want to heal and soothe.

Remember that you only have to deal with your own dental issues, we have to deal with everyone’s, so you can be sure that we are committed to being helpful in our jobs and to do no harm, otherwise no one would do it. Whatever you think we get paid, it’s not nearly enough to deal with all the gross parts of dental practice without the satisfaction of feeling that you helped someone that day.

3. Dentists aren’t scary. Imagine that two people met at a party and through polite conversation it becomes known that one of them is a dentist. Never in the history of small talk has the other person screamed out loud and fled from the room. That’s because dentists aren’t scary. We don’t look scary, we look just like normal people, because that’s what we are. However, for some reason, when we are in our uniform, our PPE and our masks, we suddenly become the plaque police in your eyes ready with a stern ticking-off and a rap on the knuckles for not flossing.

The truth is, we’re not here to judge you, we only want to help you feel good about yourself and to be without pain. You wouldn’t be afraid to sit next to us on the bus in our normal clothes, so there’s no need to be intimidated by us at our workplace. We don’t bite. If anything, we’re the ones getting bitten!

Woman and dentists. Hands of doctors holding tools. Dental care services.

4. Dentists don’t want you to have treatments. There’s no getting around it, some dental treatments aren’t too pleasant and that’s what many people are afraid of when they visit their dentist. They’re afraid that a routine dental health check could unearth some bad news that will lead to a painful procedure. The NHS Adult Dental Survey in 2009 unearthed that “30 per cent of adults said that having a tooth drilled would make them very or extremely anxious and 28 per cent reported similar levels of anxiety about having a local anaesthetic injection.” We don’t want that for you. Modern dentistry is centred around the concept that preventative care is the best treatment, which is why attending regular dental health checks and hygienist visits are so important, but according to the Oral Health Foundation, “more than a quarter of adults only visit the dentist when they have a problem”. Of course, sometimes further dental treatments are required after a dental health check, but seriously, we only want you to have a healthy, beautiful smile that you can be proud of.

Actually, you are more likely to need dental treatments such as fillings, root canal or dental implants if you don’t attend dental health checks regularly. That’s because it’s better to catch dental problems early and to implement a course of preventative treatment than to let it worsen and need a more invasive solution. This means that not going to the dentist can create a self-fulfilling prophecy. That the less you go to the dentist for dental health checks, the more you may have to go later on to have uncomfortable treatments as serious oral problems worsen. It’s best not to let a fear of the dentist cause you to have a foundation for those same worries.

A 2009 NHS study claims that as many as “twelve per cent of adults who had ever been to a dentist had an MDAS (Modified Dental Anxiety Scale) score of 19 or more which suggests extreme dental anxiety.” That’s so sad, to think that so many grown humans are afraid of something that can only do them good. We doubt as many people are phobic about eating their greens, but by all means, correct us if we are wrong.

We just hope that this post can alleviate any worry you may feel about visiting the dentist. We encourage you not to let a fear of routine appointments result in your having to visit us even more often in the future for less gentle treatments. Prevention is power when it comes to dental health and we really believe that here at Kennett Road Dental Practice.

If you wish to see the preventative, restorative and cosmetic services we offer at Kennett Road Dental Practice, click here. Or if you wish to contact us and book an appointment you can do so here.

Sugar Erosion: What Does it Mean for Children’s Teeth?

Yes, it’s time we talked about the big bad monster: sugar. We know your kids love the stuff. Don’t we all if we’re honest? The problem is that allowing teeth to be in contact with high quantities of sugar over long periods of time can really affect oral health, general health and even self-esteem in the long run. This can particularly be the case among children and young people.

According to the British Dental Association, “official data has revealed an 18% increase in the number of [tooth] extractions taking place on children in hospitals since 2012.” They also state that these (mostly preventable) extractions in young people are annually “costing the NHS £205 million.” That’s a lot of tax-payers money paying for the avoidable damage from sugary and acidic foods and beverages. Action on Sugar states that ’Tooth decay is the leading cause for hospitalisation among 5-9 year olds in the UK, with 26,000 children being hospitalised each year due to tooth decay – in other words, 500 each week.’

Manufacturers don’t help parents much though. Despite the hefty sugar tax on unhealthy products there are still so many foods and drinks on the supermarket shelves that are marketed for children but contain obscene amounts of sugar. To try and de-bunk some sugary myths, we’ve put together some answers to the questions we get a lot about the effect sugar has on teeth and especially children’s teeth.

How does Sugar harm teeth? Sugars in food and drinks play a major role in the development of dental caries. Bacteria within the plaque use the sugar as energy and release acid as a waste product, which gradually dissolves the enamel in the teeth (NHS Choices, Tooth Decay). So, there we have it. The sugar feeds the harmful bacteria in yours and your child’s mouths which can accelerate the erosion and decay process. Even though sugar does not directly harm tooth enamel, it enables the natural bacteria in our mouths to do its worst.

What about baby teeth? It’s a common misconception that children’s baby teeth, or milk teeth, aren’t as important to look after as adult teeth. We suspect that some may think this because they only last us for a fraction of our natural lives compared to adult teeth which must last us many decades. Some parents assume that if a child’s tooth falls out too early through decay, that it is not a concern, because it would have fallen out soon anyway- but premature tooth loss can certainly cause dental issues further down the line.

Baby teeth are eventually replaced by permanent teeth, but they need to stay in a child’s mouth until they come out naturally. Your child’s baby teeth keep space open for permanent teeth to replace them. If they lose a tooth too soon, the other baby teeth can move into the open space and prevent the permanent teeth from erupting correctly. This can lead to unsightly crowding of the teeth and cleaning problems. It is really important that as a parent who wants the best for their child that you are mindful of how much sugar is in your child’s diet, because these decisions can affect their oral health down the line. Having a beautiful smile they can be proud of is what we want for all our babies and you can help them grow beautiful adult teeth by looking after their baby ones.

Where is the sugar coming from? According to NHS initiative Change 4 Life, “kids are getting half their sugar intake from unhealthy snacks and sugary drinks.” It’s not only the obvious things like sweets, chocolate and cakes that contain too much sugar for our own good. The hidden sugars in our diets are just as dangerous. Check the labels on the sauces you use in your cooking and on the table to see how much sugar they contain. Lower sugar alternatives to these are available in most supermarkets. One portion of breakfast cereal can contain more sugar than a sugary fizzy drink. Drinks are certainly a source of hidden sugars too. Sujatadin.com suggests that a portion of apple juice contains almost as much sugar as a can of Coca-Cola. A normal portion of Ribena contains around 6 and a half teaspoons of sugar whereas the no added sugar variety contains less than half a teaspoon.

Drinking too much sugar can really increase the overall amount of sugar we consume per day so be mindful and look at the labels if you are unsure. Many products use a traffic light system on the label to indicate how good (or bad) for you an item is. Making sure your shopping trolley is mostly filled up with green items is a good start to reducing the amount of sugar in your family’s diets. Do remember though that the traffic light system indicates what is healthy for an average adult and children cannot process sugars, fats and salts as well as we can, so they need to consume less of these things than adults, not more.

How can parents and carers help? Simply put, you need to limit the amount of sugar your child’s teeth come into contact with and also limit the time it is on their teeth for. You can do this by restricting the occasions they are allowed sugary treats per week and by encouraging and supervising the brushing of their teeth twice daily. We’re not saying to live a sugar-free existence, (we’re not even sure it’s possible these days) and it wouldn’t necessarily be healthy either since fruits and even vegetables contain sugars and acids. We are advising that parents are mindful of the amount of sugar that goes into your child’s diet and make better choices for their health and futures. Look out for sugar-free or reduced sugar alternatives to the staple items in your cupboards next time you do your weekly shop.

Sugar not only affects dental health but too much of the stuff can lead to other health complications. Change 4 Life advises that “too much sugar is bad for children’s health as it can lead to the build-up of harmful fat on the inside that we can’t see. This fat can cause weight gain and serious diseases like type 2 diabetes, which people are getting younger than ever before, and heart disease and some cancers.”

No one wants any of these health complications for their child, so be sugar aware. If you are unsure about how sugar affects the health of young people or how much sugar is too much, we encourage you to visit the sugar subsection of the Change 4 Life website where lots of helpful information is available including tips to help you easily cut down the sugar in your family’s diet.

If you are worried about tooth decay in your child or yourself, you can contact Kennett Dental Practice here to make an appointment where we can assess and advise. Dental practices are still open in lockdown to provide routine and emergency dental services to patients. Find out about our new safety measures that are in place during the pandemic by clicking here.

Fear of Visiting the Dentist? 5 Fears and How to Conquer Them

Fear of visiting dentist Oxford

It’s a worry many of us suffer from and although a genuine phobia of dentists is rare, a touch of anxiety is quite normal. The NHS Adult Dental Health Survey (2009) found that over 40% of adults are moderately or extremely anxious about dental procedures and 15% are extremely anxious just sitting in the dentist’s waiting room; but why?

We’ve done a little research to try to explain why anxiety around dental treatments and even just routine check-ups is so common. We think it’s important to know about where fear comes from and why you might have negative feelings about visiting us. Knowledge is power and the more we know about ourselves, the better we can manage our feelings.

So, without further ado, here are our top five reasons why people might be afraid of visiting their dentists.

1. It’s learned

The Association for Psychological Science says that fears of experiences like going to the dentists is a learned behaviour. They write, “Fear can be learned through direct experience with a threat, but it can also be learned via social means such as verbal warnings or observing others’. As humans, we are social animals who learn from people around us. If, as a child we see that our parents are frightened, we may learn to take up their fears. Scared parents who take their children to the dentist can easily influence their kids to adopt their worries. One of the best ways to break the cycle of fear for the next generation is to go for regular check-ups as an adult, even if you aren’t experiencing dental problems. This shows your children that there is nothing to be afraid of, it’s not something to be avoided and it’s not a negative experience.

You might think that your children haven’t seen you being anxious about visiting the dentist, they’ve never witnessed your fear, but just knowing that they have to go, and you never do is enough to plant a doubt in the mind of a child. They will subconsciously ask themselves “why don’t mum or dad go to the dentist like I do?” Which will naturally lead to “What’s wrong with the dentists?” So, you see, children don’t need to see your fear to suspect it exists. They are much more intuitive than we realise.

2. It’s in the air

Some people find themselves afraid specifically of having their airways blocked in the process of visiting their dentist. On paper it seems like an odd idea, I mean who has ever accidentally had their mouth and nose covered during a check-up? But it’s not a logical fear, it’s an instinctual one.

Part of our instinctual behaviours that have evolved with us and been passed down through generations, is to avoid situations where either of our air passages could conceivably be blocked. It makes sense. We instinctually avoid putting objects over or near our faces that air can’t pass through. The fear is over what could happen, not what is likely to happen. The subconscious idea that a dentist could slip and put their hand over your mouth and nose is what can cause the anxiety. It’s a ridiculous thought though, when has this ever happened and how could it ever happen? As we say, it’s not a logical thought or a conscious one, but once we know it exists, we can process that fear, label it as absurd and move on.

Close up of female dentist holding instruments while treating patient, copy space

3. We’re vulnerable

The very position we must be in during dental appointments makes us feel psychologically vulnerable. Having someone looming over us as we lie on our backs, sort of suspended in mid-air is a most unnatural position for us humans. We tend to only lie on our backs when we are extremely relaxed and feeling safe, such as when we are sleeping, lounging, or sunbathing.

We would never walk into a job interview, hand over a CV with trembling hands and when asked to take a seat spread out on the carpet like a beached starfish. When we are anxious, we sit upright or stand. Again, it’s our instinct to engage our muscles and be in a position from which we can easily move off from in case we need to retreat.

When the body releases adrenaline, the fight or flight instinct can kick in, which feeds our muscles extra power in case we are in danger. The problem is that our bodies cannot tell the difference between real and perceived threat. Your dentist is obviously not a real threat. We’re really very nice. But the truth is that lying in a recumbent position while experiencing anxiety can be psychologically confusing.

So, what’s to be done? We recommend taking a couple of deep breaths once you’re in position in the dentist’s chair and saying if it’s not a comfortable position for you. We want you to be as calm as possible during your appointment so whatever we can do to help relax you, we will. We don’t mind if you’re imagining that you’re on a beach in Jamaica and the bright lamp is the warm sun. Go for it! Do whatever works to relax your body and your mind will follow.

4. It’s the mouth

The thing about visiting the dentist is that they always want to look in your mouth. This won’t be new information to you, but we mention it because the mouth is a particularly sensitive part of the body. The mouth is also a very personal part of the body. It is where your thoughts become words which are used to communicate to others. There are not only teeth inside the mouth but the soft tissues inside it are very sensitive too. The gums and the tongue are full of nerve endings and for those of us who have accidentally bitten their tongue, we know how much the slightest injury can hurt. That is why we fear pain in that area in particular. It’s a very sensitive part of our bodies.

In addition to being a sensitive area, we also associate our mouths with intimate acts. Kissing is the obvious one and eating and speaking are all activities we use our mouths for.

When we associate our mouths with intimacy and familiarity it’s very difficult to accept someone you don’t know well invading it, particularly with instruments and tools. We understand that it can feel strange to have a near-stranger’s hands in your mouth, but a good dentist will do their best to put you at ease and alleviate the tension that such a strange encounter can create. They’re not just amazing with dentistry, they are masters of small talk. So, freely complain about the weather if you wish. We won’t mind and we’ll happily rabbit on about the roadworks in return to make your appointment as friendly and relaxing for you as possible.

5. It’s the head teacher’s office effect

Have you ever been called to the head teacher’s office when you were at school? Or maybe your boss asked to see you at work and wouldn’t tell you why beforehand. Sitting in the waiting room at the dentists can feel just like that. Anxiety over whether or not you’re going to be in trouble is a very unsettling feeling. Many people put off going to the dentist for routine appointments because they are afraid of getting told off by their dentist or don’t want to get bad news about their dental health.

It’s a legitimate fear because dentists do want the best for your teeth and it’s their job to advise you accordingly to make the most of your smile. With that being said, no dentist should make you feel inferior or guilty because of the state of your teeth. A good dentist will make you feel comfortable, but informed and at Kennett Road Dental Practice, we strive to always put you at ease during every stage of your experience.

Dental anxiety can make maintaining your oral health difficult. We sympathise, but we also wish to assure you that every member of our team at Kennett Road Dental Practice is trained and ready to make your experience as worry-free as possible. You do not need to be afraid of attending routine appointments or receiving dental treatments. We want the best for you and your smile, and we’ll find a way to achieve results together.

Staying Positive over Christmas

Despite the ‘five days of Christmas’ plan the government has announced, details of which can be found here, many people will still not be able to enjoy Christmas in the way they usually do this year. The government guidance states that from the 23rd to the 27th of December this year, people are permitted to form a Christmas bubble. This would mean that up to three households could socialise in an unrestricted way indoors and outdoors in that time. The three-household bubble could attend churches or other places of worship, restaurants and pubs.

In short, it will allow many people to enjoy the festive period and socialise with loved ones in a way that we have been unable to do for much of this year. But what if you can’t form a Christmas bubble? Christmas can be a hard time in normal years without the looming presence of a viral pandemic overshadowing the proceedings. Here at Kennett Road Dental Practice, we want you to be safe this Christmas and to look after your mental wellbeing. So, we have brought you our top five tips on handling Christmas this year and maintaining balanced full-body health.

  1. Be aware. Mind.org suggests that “whether or not Christmas is part of your life, your mental health might be affected by it happening around you. It’s a time of year that often puts extra pressure on us, and can affect our mental health in lots of different ways.” That means that even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, the hype of it and constant reminder of it can affect your mental wellbeing negatively, especially if you are not with loved ones this year.

We suggest taking some time for yourself this festive season to become aware of your mental state. Perhaps trying meditation or mindfulness exercises can help you listen to yourself and to align your thoughts to more positive avenues. A bit of quiet time in the chaos of Christmas can do wonders for your mental balance and being aware of your mental state is the first step to improving it.

  1. Consider New Year’s Eve. It isn’t only Christmas we need to be mindful of. New Year’s Eve can have a profound effect on us. This year has been tough on many. Covid-19 hasn’t left any of us alone. Whether you’ve lost loved ones this year, felt lonely or the lockdowns have affected your finances negatively, looking back on this year might be very hard for you. Prepare yourself for NYE being different this year. Not just with the absence of parties and social events but also emotionally. New Year’s Eve will likely feel different this year as we look back on the last year and look ahead to the next.

None of us know what 2021 will have in store for us and this pandemic has taught us that life is precious and should never be taken for granted. While that is true, looking ahead to an unforeseeable year might make you anxious and unsure about the future. Mind advises that “New Year may also feel like a hard time, if it makes you look back at difficult memories or worry about anything in the coming year”. If you have worries, make sure you have someone to talk to about them. That could be a family member or friend, or someone on the other end of a phone you’ve never met. A problem shared is a problem halved and we’re sure you wouldn’t mind a bit of emotional weight lifted.

  1. Get in shape. Speaking of lifting weights, did you know that exercise can improve your mental health? It’s been said that since we’ve had such a hard year this year, that we deserve to let ourselves go and veg out on the sofa with a tin of Quality Street each. Well you could do that, of course, but comfort eating doesn’t help in the long run. Live Science outlines how being overweight can lead to a compromised Immune system and that is not something we need right now. They write that “for obese individuals, shedding just 10 pounds could straighten out an off-balance immune system”.

We encourage you to get up off the sofa this Christmas and make a Boxing Day ramble a new tradition for your family. Maybe the kids would benefit from getting a fitness game from Father Christmas as well as the new FIFA. Think of activities you can do together as a family or if you’re on your own this Christmas why not organise a socially distanced walk with a neighbour or friend? Fresh air is a natural mood-lifter and exercise has been proven to release endorphins and improve your mental state as well as physically. According to NCBI, “exercise improves mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative mood and by improving self-esteem and cognitive function”. So, a bit of activity this festive season could improve your immune system, your physical health and your mental health. You have nothing to lose by trying a new home workout (except a bit of weight), so up you get and get moving!

Senior-Christmas-Oxford
  1. Connect with people. We know not everyone will be a part of a Christmas bubble (or as we like to call them: baubles) this December. Perhaps you’re one of three grown-up children and the other two are forming a bubble with Mum and Dad because they have kids who they need help with over Christmas. Perhaps you don’t live near your family and don’t want to risk travel or maybe a member of your household is shielding for medical reasons. Whatever the reason, some people will not be spending Christmas with who they want to or might even be spending it alone.

Reach out to your friends and neighbours this Christmas, to ensure everyone has someone to talk to on Christmas day. It’s often been said in this pandemic that “we’re all in this together”, but we’re not all going to manage in the same way. For some people, the restrictions will mean that comfort and joy will be in short supply. Make sure you are connecting with people this winter, even if it’s over the phone or on video chat. Be virtually social even if you have to be physically isolated. NHS England recommends that “maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing”. We couldn’t agree more, so stay connected.

  1. Look after your dental health for your mental health. Alright, you caught us, but we had to sneak it in somewhere didn’t we? Protecting your dental health is worthwhile all year round but our point is that toothache or other avoidable dental problems can seriously add to your mental burden at this time of year. Trying to figure out how the bubble system works, combined with attempted socially distanced Christmas shopping can send anyone off the deep end, so don’t add preventable dental issues to your load.

It’s a busy time and every other advert on the television has a glass of fizzy wine or a hunk of sugar masquerading as a piece of healthy fruit in it. We’re just saying, don’t forget to look after your teeth this festive season. Your bodily health and mental health are very important to look after, but your teeth are a part of you too and your smile is worth protecting. Your pearly whites might even need a little extra care in the weeks ahead what with acidic fizzy drinks and sugary, foil-wrapped goodies mysteriously placing themselves within arm’s reach. We know treats do that at Christmas.

Remember to protect your full-body health this December and make the right choices to start 2021 off on a good note.

Should I go to the Dentist in Tier 2?

With confusion surfacing over government advice coming out of the second lockdown, we wanted to direct your attention to the facts around dental care during the pandemic and outline when you should and shouldn’t visit the dentist.

What does the government say?

According to the government website, “medical and dental services” are allowed to remain open.

So, why are dental practices permitted to stay open when so many other businesses are having to shut? Well, because dental care is essential. Tooth and mouth care are a basic right of every British citizen and pandemic or not, the government acknowledges the chaos that would reign if people could no longer access that basic care. Much of the routine dental care that you receive is preventative. Regular dental checks can help to prevent gum disease, tooth loss and even mouth cancer.

The NHS website says, that “gum disease may increase your risk of all kinds of other health complications, including stroke, diabetes and heart disease” and the key to beating oral cancer is to catch it early. See our blog post for mouth cancer action month here for more information on the risks of oral cancer. So, you see routine care is essential for preventing emergency dental care and also emergency medical care. While hospitals are observing every safety measure possible to protect patients, it is by far safer not to have to attend hospital with the current pandemic in progress. It would make more sense to attend necessary dental appointments to prevent health complications which could lead to making an unplanned trip to hospital.

The NHS recommends that “A check-up allows your dentist to see if you have any dental problems and helps you keep your mouth healthy. Leaving problems untreated could make them more difficult to treat in the future, so it’s best to deal with problems early, or, if possible, prevent them altogether.” There you have it. Preventative care is essential care.

Is it safe?

At Kennett Road Dental Practice, your safety and wellbeing is our first concern. We are making changes to our usual operating practices to improve hygiene and promote physical distancing where possible. We want to assure you that our practise is a safe place to be and are observing every safety measure possible to safeguard you and our staff against the coronavirus.

We have excellent infection control procedures along with a robust triaging policy to ensure the safety of both patients and staff. Our dedicated team are very familiar with the infection control procedures being used to manage the virus as they are much the same as those that have been applied by our practice for many years. We would also like to assure you that we have all the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) and will continue to follow national guidelines and standards to the letter.

We advise that you wear a mask at all times while inside the dental practice and only remove your mask at the request of one of our team. This is to protect both our staff and our patients. Please also ensure you arrive at the correct time for your appointment to promote social distancing inside the practice and be sure to use the available alcohol disinfectant when entering the building. We are maintaining high standards of infection control by sanitising all surfaces in treatment rooms between patients and we have a good supply of PPE which we use to great effect.

We are working hard to make Kennett Road Dental Practice as safe for you and us as it can possibly be. However, if you show any signs or symptoms of coronavirus including loss of taste or smell, a high temperature or a new dry cough then you should not attend your appointment. Instead call us on 01865 761965 to cancel, reschedule or discuss a remote course of treatment if you require emergency care. If you are feeling well and don’t have any symptoms of covid-19, the full list of which can be found here, then you should attend your dental appointments as normal.

What’s the difference between a routine procedure and an emergency?

You can attend your dental practise for emergency and routine procedures but in case you were wondering which category your dental issue falls into, then here is a list of what constitutes a dental emergency according to NHSinform.scot

“Dental emergencies include, but are not limited to:

  • toothache or mouth pain
  • abscesses and swellings in and around the mouth
  • bleeding
  • trauma
  • non-healing ulcers that have no obvious cause and last for several weeks”

According to the NHS, routine dental appointments could be check-ups. Or appointments regarding “fillings, teeth cleaning (scale and polish), [and] having a tooth taken out” also count as routine procedures.

So, whatever dental care you need during COVID-19 and beyond, give us a call and be assured that we are doing all we can to ensure your safety while maintaining your oral health. We encourage all our patients not to leave any dental concerns you have untreated. Not accessing the dental care you need in a timely fashion could lead to other, more serious health issues which we know you would wish to avoid at all costs.

How to Overcome Your Fear of The Dentist – Advice from Friendly Dentists in Oxfordshire ☺

fear of the dentist

Here at Kennett Road Dental in Oxfordshire, we are working hard to help hundreds of patients conquer their fears for better dental health.

If you suffer from dental anxiety, you are not alone.

The Oral Health Foundation found that almost half of adults in the UK have a fear of the dentist, with 12% suffering a severe phobia.

At Kennett Road Dental we have some patients who are so anxious about going to the dentist that they firstly have a couple of appointments to just talk about their dental problems.

The key to overcoming your fears is to firstly talk to your dentist about them. It may be comforting for you to know that no matter how anxious or scared you are of the dentist; we will have seen and treated a patient far more nervous than you. Even calling the dental practice may make you feel nervous but our friendly and welcoming team at Kennett Road Dental will be here to talk and support you through your dental journey.

Here are some common concerns about going to the dentist and strategies to subdue them:

  1. The worry that dental treatment will hurt

If you’re nervous about pain, let us know so that we can talk you through the different pain numbing and relief options for the treatment you are having.

  1. Bad experiences in the past

Many people think that dental treatment is painful and have associated smells and sounds with unpleasant memories from their past. However, dentistry has advanced so much in the past decade, it’s much more gentle and dental practices are far more relaxing and friendly.

If you have had bad experiences previously, explain your fears and concerns to your new dentist who will be understanding and supportive.

  1. Feelings of helplessness or loss of control

Being confined in a chair can provoke feelings similar to claustrophobia. If this is you, let your dentist know so that during the appointment you can raise your hand to take a break.

  1. Fear of judgement/embarrassment about your teeth 

Some patients may be worried about visiting the dentist because of judgment or they’re embarrassed about their teeth. Before your appointment you may wish to tell your dentist that you’re embarrassed about the state of your teeth – but you would like their help to fix them. This may make you feel more relaxed knowing that your dentist is aware of your anxieties and they will not be judging you.

Remember: Dental professionals at Kennett Road Dental want to help you improve your dental hygiene, we will NEVER be judging you!

  1. Anxiety about cost

If you are worried about the cost of your treatment, you can speak to our team about finance and monthly payment options to suit you.

Please get in contact with us today if you have any concerns about booking an appointment at Kennett Road Dental. We will always be happy to help and support you overcoming your fears of the dentist, no matter how big or small!

Are you damaging your teeth during your sleep?

Bruxism

It’s a well-known fact that our lifestyle can affect our teeth through consumption of sugary foods and drinks, smoking, not brushing or flossing etc.

However, not many people are aware that they may be damaging their teeth by jaw clenching and teeth grinding during their sleep. This is known as bruxism.

So, what are the causes of bruxism?

Stress is one of the most common causes of bruxism and can occur during the day when a person is placed in stressful situations, but it can also happen at night when we sleep.

Anxiety is another cause of bruxism when people teeth grind and clench their jaw but are unaware that they are doing so.

Substance abuse, sleep apnoea and issues with teeth alignment and bite are also factors which can contribute to bruxism.

What are the symptoms of bruxism?

If you wake up in the morning and your jaw feels tight or your mouth feel sore, this is a sign that you may have been clenching your jaw or grinding your teeth in your sleep.

If you share a bed with a partner, they may notice that you are grinding your teeth at night because of the sound it makes.

Long-term teeth grinding and jaw clenching can lead to earaches and headaches.

Another indication that someone may be suffering from bruxism is if they have uneven tooth wear, usually around the back molars.

What is the treatment for bruxism?

If you are showing any symptoms of bruxism, it’s important to visit your dentist. They will be able to examine your teeth and jaw for signs of grinding or clenching.

Once diagnosed with bruxism, your dentist will prescribe a mouth guard to help prevent your teeth from grinding whilst you sleep, and it will act as a barrier if you are clenching your jaw at night.

Using a mouth guard to help treat bruxism will also help you feel refreshed from your night’s sleep and prevent jaw pain or tightness.

How can my dentist prevent and fix missing teeth?

Statistically, the over-75’s are an age group who are most likely to experience tooth loss. However, it can actually affect people of all ages. It’s possible to lose your natural teeth through accident or injury as well as the most common tooth loss causes which are gum disease and tooth decay.

If you’ve knocked your tooth out in an accident, store it in a glass of water and get an emergency appointment with a dentist the same day. In many cases your dentist will be able to re-implant your natural tooth back into its socket.

To avoid losing your natural teeth through gum disease and tooth decay, having a consistent dental hygiene routine and visiting your dentist at least every 6 months will help you retain your natural teeth for much longer.

If you are concerned that you have already started experiencing some tooth loss, at Kennett Dental we can help replace your missing teeth using dentures and dental bridges.

Kennett Dental offer modern dentures which are made of acrylic or a combination of acrylic and metal. We offer partial dentures for patients who only have a few missing teeth and we provide complete dentures when all-natural teeth are missing.

If a patient is missing only one or two teeth, a bridge is often the preferred option. They consist of an artificial porcelain crown anchored on either side by natural teeth that have had crowns placed on them as well. At Kennett Dental we offer aesthetic bridges which are made with a ceramic material which look just like natural teeth.

It’s so important to maintain your regular check-ups with your dentist in Oxford to prevent tooth loss. Even mildly damaged teeth can allow bacteria to enter which can lead to infection, abscesses and eventually tooth loss if left untreated.

To see a dentist at Kennett Road Dental in Oxford, give our friendly team a call on 01865 761965

Avoid teeth staining – Use these tips to keep your smile bright!

Don’t let teeth stains get in the way of a great smile! Here is everything you need to know about teeth staining and how you can keep your smile squeaky clean!

There are many reasons why patients experience tooth staining. For example, food and drink choices play a big role in this as well as oral hygiene and medication use.

Tooth stains can develop on the surface of the tooth or below the tooth enamel.

What are the main causes of tooth stains?

There are three main categories of tooth discoloration:

  • Extrinsic teeth stains: This is where stains are found on the surface of the tooth. It occurs because of particles (commonly food and drink) building up over the tooth enamel. Regular tobacco use, coffee and tea, wine and cola drinks typically cause these types of stains.

If you have an extrinsic teeth stain, regular dental cleaning and the use of whitening toothpaste will reduce this.

  • Intrinsic teeth stains: This is where the stain appears below the surface of the tooth and accumulates within the tooth’s enamel. This type of tooth stain has been linked with excessive fluoride use.

Intrinsic stains are more difficult to remove compared to extrinsic. They may require bleaching using professional products.

  • Age-related teeth stains: This is a combination of intrinsic and extrinsic tooth discoloration. The core tissue of your teeth naturally turns yellow over time causing your teeth to discolour with age. Equally, the enamel on your teeth becomes thinner as you age which will allow the yellowing core to show. When these intrinsic stains are combined with extrinsic causes such as the consumption of certain foods and beverages, most adult’s teeth will discolour with age.

How can I reduce teeth stains?

  • Drink using a straw: When drinking fizzy and sugary drinks try to use a straw (preferably environmentally friendly!) so that the liquid won’t touch the visible front surfaces of your teeth.
  • Have a consistent dental hygiene routine: Brush, floss and rinse with antibacterial mouthwash to fight plaque daily. Plaque is bad for your teeth and encourages stains by being sticky and giving stains something to hold on to.
  • Regular check-ups and professional cleans: By getting your teeth cleaned at least twice a year by a dental hygienist, it will help clear bacteria and keep your mouth healthy.
  • Use professional teeth-whitening methods: teeth-whitening works well if your teeth have started to turn yellow, if they are brown this may take longer. 

For patients in Oxfordshire, get your appointment booked in with us today to keep your smile shining!

Scroll to top