New Year, New Me: How Fad Diets Can Hurt Your Health

In January, we’re all tempted to make those resolutions, you know the ones we mean: the booze inspired ones. At midnight on New Year’s Eve with a glass in our hands we tend to set difficult and somewhat unrealistic goals to make the next morning that much harder. In addition to a fabulous headache, you now have the responsibility of carrying out your plans in arguably the worst mental health month of the calendar. January is difficult enough to negotiate what with the British weather, the come down from Christmas, the sugar low as you run out of Quality Street and the long slog of uninterrupted work looming ahead till summer. That’s without having declared on social media or to your friends and family that you’ll lose ten pounds by February 1st. Unless you’re pregnant and due in January, it’s going to be difficult to accomplish.

Many people embrace fad diets to lose weight in an attempt to keep to their badly thought-out resolutions. Although losing a few pounds can be very beneficial to your health if you happen to be overweight, some of the most popular fad diets can have a detrimental effect on other aspects of your health. So, before you sign up to the juice cleanses or start pounding back the diet shakes, read our advice on what to avoid if you’re wanting to improve your overall health this January.

1 The juice cleanse: Fruit juice is good for us. It contains all sorts of vitamins and minerals that we might not otherwise get in our diets. Nutritionally speaking, orange juice, or other juices rich in vitamin C, can help you absorb more iron from the foods you eat. This can help fight anaemia and helps your body to create more haemoglobin to make blood. Important stuff, right? So why would a diet consisting solely or mainly of juice be bad?  Everyday health writes that fruit juice is “high in sugar and can also be quite acidic”.

Sugar can attack your dental health like nothing else, as we all know, but you might be surprised at how much sugar your average fruit juices contain. Many have added sugar in addition to high levels of natural sugar. There’s also the acid to consider. Acid erodes the enamel on your teeth, (the hard white part) which protects the other layers of your teeth. If the enamel gets damaged too much it can expose the yellow layer underneath the enamel, making your smile less white and putting your teeth at greater risk from bacteria and sugar erosion.

Juice diet and teeth

2 The shake diet: We all know someone who knows someone who has had success on the Slim fast diet or a similar program. The clue is in the name, it helps you to slim down fast but at what cost? Not only are quick fix diets proven to discourage long-term weight loss, but the sheer amount of sugar some diet shakes contain can make them unhealthy things to drink at all. Not to mention the chocolaty meal replacement bars some companies offer.

Nutritionist Melissa Eboli says, “You’d be better off taking a scoop of sugar and adding it to water than drinking all of the chemical non-food, sugar-laden ingredients that make up SlimFast.” Not that we’re suggesting you actually do that. We don’t. Seriously, don’t do that. But do be aware of what the beverages you’re consuming contain and spare a moment for your teeth before you splash out on a new shake regime.

3 Smoothies: Blenders are a popular New Year’s impulse buy since many people think that smoothies are the easiest way to increase the amount of fruit and vegetables you consume. Although ingesting more fruit and vegetables is a healthy thing to consider, we urge you to think how they can be added to your diet, rather than your blender. Smoothies, like fruit juices can contain a lot of sugar and not just the naturally occurring sugars found in the fruits themselves. After a while, people find themselves wanting to make their smoothies more creative and diverse. Some people add a spoonful of peanut butter, honey or a flavouring of some kind. These sugar rich concoctions aren’t necessarily good for your body and they aren’t great for your teeth either.

The NHS recommends that if you do choose to drink smoothies, then drink them at mealtimes “as they can cause tooth decay” and drinking them with food limits the damage. According to Everyday Health, “If you drink slowly, you allow the liquid to have more contact with your teeth”, which allows more time for the acid and sugar to damage your enamel. So, if you do knock back the kale extracts in the New Year, make sure you don’t sip them. Trust us, no one wants to make a kale smoothie last any longer than it has to anyway.

4 Dry January: After the over-indulgence of the festive season, it’s quite usual for people to resolve to cut back on the booze for a while and there’s nothing wrong with that. Wine can contain up to a calorie per millimetre which can add up to a lot, so cutting the alcohol can certainly help your weight loss. We’re not suggesting that having a dry January would hurt you, but we would advise you to be mindful of what you are replacing it with.

Some people are of the opinion that if you give up alcohol, it gives you carte blanche over all other beverages and even food too. Cutting out beer and wine will be harder for some more than others but what is important to remember is that alcohol is not the only drink that can be bad for you. Without a glass of wine in your hand you might find a sugary tea or coffee there instead or an acidic fizzy drink. Some people also find that they eat more chocolate and sweet treats to stop feeling deprived without the booze. Dry January is a fine idea, just make sure you make wise decisions about what else you’re eating and drinking.

We’re not saying you can’t drink juice or smoothies or abstain from booze if you want to. We are advising you to be mindful of what you are eating and drinking this January. No matter how tempting it is to try to cut a few corners in pursuit of a trimmer physique, there is no substitute for a healthy, varied diet and an exercise program you can stick to. This is your health we’re talking about and, in our opinion, there are no risks worth taking where that is concerned.

Be sensible this January and stay safe.

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.

Mouth Cancer: What you need to know.

Dental Check Oxfordshire

Here at Kennett Road Dental Practice, we’re supporting mouth cancer action month, but you can be vigilant all year round by keeping an eye out for signs and symptoms of mouth cancer.

So, what is mouth cancer? According to the NHS “mouth cancer, also known as oral cancer, is where a tumour develops in a part of the mouth. It may be on the surface of the tongue, the inside of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth (palate), the lips or gums.”

If you haven’t heard much about oral cancer, you’re not alone, but according to the Oral Health Foundation, Mouth cancer currently kills more per year than cervical and testicular cancer combined. So, it really is important.

Because early diagnosis is so critical, we want you to be aware of the signs of oral cancer. Dentalhealth.org suggests that “with early diagnosis, the chances of surviving mouth cancer are nine out of ten. So, it is vital that you know what to look out for.

  • Ulcers which do not heal within three weeks
  • Lumps or swellings in the mouth, neck, or head area
  • Red and white patches in the mouth
  • unexplained loose teeth or sockets that do not heal after extractions
  • unexplained, persistent numbness or an odd feeling on the lip or tongue

These are the symptoms of mouth cancer you can look out for yourselves. If you notice any of these signs, then make an appointment with your dentist or doctor today. One of the most important things you can do to minimise your risk of late diagnosis is to attend regular appointments with your dentist who is trained to detect signs of oral cancer. Early detection is key so it’s essential to see your dentist frequently and especially if you notice any changes in your mouth.

Mouth Cancer Action Month Oxfordshire

Another thing you could do is to spend two minutes watching this video on how to carry out a self-assessment for mouth cancer on yourself at home.  We’re all busy but taking two minutes out of your day seems to be a low price to pay for your wellbeing and peace of mind. Although this is no substitute for professional medical care, it can help you spot any signs early on.

“If in doubt, get checked out” is the catchy slogan from the Oral Health Foundation and it’s a good job it is catchy because even though cases of mouth cancer are rising rapidly compared with ten years ago, general knowledge about oral cancer is dangerously low. The State of Mouth Cancer report indicates that cases of oral cancer have risen in the last ten years by 49% and 135% in the last two decades.

Another worrying statistic is that although 88% of the British public have heard of mouth cancer, 75% do not know what the main signs and symptoms are. Visit the mouth cancer action month page to find out how you can help raise awareness.

Although there is no way to absolutely prevent oral cancer, there are many lifestyle choices you can make to reduce your risk of developing it. The NHS advises that “the leading causes of mouth cancer in the UK are tobacco and alcohol.” If you drink more than is recommended or smoke at all, then you are increasing your risk of mouth cancer. The Oral Health Foundation writes that “up to 90% of all mouth cancers are linked to lifestyle factors”, and that smoking can increase your risk by up to ten times.

If you smoke and want help quitting, then click here for advice and help from the National Health Service. There may never be a good time to quit, but there is a right time and it’s now.

Other risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing mouth cancer include:

  • chewing tobacco or other smokeless tobacco products
  • chewing betel nuts with or without added tobacco
  • an unhealthy diet
  • the human papillomavirus (HPV)

With oral cancer cases rising, it’s never too late to change your lifestyle for the better and for the benefit of your loved ones.

So, be vigilant in checking for changes in your mouth, decrease your risk factors if you can and ensure you make and attend regular appointments with your dentist. Be mouth cancer aware and share your knowledge to help others.

Don’t forget: “If in doubt get checked out”. Throughout November, the Kennett Dental team are offering free mouth cancer checks, so get in touch today to book your appointment!

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