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!

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