Dental Care for Oxford Students: Keeping Your Smile Bright and Healthy

Oxford University Students

Embarking on Your University Journey is exciting, however, sometimes things we do in our daily routine at home can get lost in all the work and the party life of a uni student. 

Starting university is a fun and transformative time in one’s life. It brings new experiences, challenges and responsibilities. Among all the changes and independence, it’s essential not to overlook your dental health. In this blog, we’ll explore why dental care is crucial during your university years and provide tips to ensure your smile stays healthy throughout your academic journey. 


Preventing Future Problems

Neglecting your dental health can lead to more significant issues down the road. Tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health problems can escalate if left untreated. As a university student, you’re already dealing with various causes of stress; dental issues should not be one of them. Regular dental check-ups and good oral hygiene can help prevent major dental problems and save you from pain and costly treatments in the future.

Boosting Confidence

Confidence plays a significant role in your social and academic life. A healthy smile can boost your self-esteem and make you feel more comfortable in various situations, from making new friends to delivering presentations in class. Poor oral health can lead to bad breath, tooth discolouration, or missing teeth, which can negatively impact your self-confidence.

Focusing on Academics

University life can be hectic, with classes, assignments, and exams demanding your attention. Dental problems, such as toothaches or oral infections, can be extremely distracting and disruptive to your academic success. By taking care of your teeth, you reduce the chances of dental emergencies that could affect your ability to concentrate on your studies.

Enhancing Overall Health

Oral health is interconnected with your overall well-being. Poor oral hygiene can contribute to systemic health problems like heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory issues. University students are already exposed to various health risks, including irregular sleep patterns and unhealthy diets. Prioritising dental care is a small but significant step in maintaining your overall health.

Saving Money

University life often comes with financial constraints. Preventive dental care is usually more cost-effective than treating dental issues that have progressed to a severe stage. Regular check-ups and cleanings can help identify and address dental problems early, potentially saving you money on extensive treatments.

Tips for Maintaining Dental Care at University


  • Schedule Regular Dental Check-ups: Make dental appointments a part of your routine. Kennett Road Dental Practice is located centrally in Headington and you are assured of a warm welcome at our modern practice.


  • Practice Good Oral Hygiene: Brush your teeth at least twice a day, floss and use interdental brushes daily, and use mouthwash. Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush regularly.


  • Eat a Balanced Diet: Limit sugary snacks and drinks, as they can contribute to tooth decay. Even low sugar drinks can damage your teeth due to the high levels of various acids in the drinks. Opt for nutritious foods that promote dental health.


  • Stay Hydrated: Drinking water helps wash away food particles and bacteria from your mouth, reducing the risk of cavities and neutralising damaging acids.


  • Use Protective Gear: If you play sports, consider wearing a mouthguard to prevent dental injuries.


  • Manage Stress: Stress can lead to teeth grinding and clenching. Find healthy ways to manage stress, such as exercise or meditation. Teeth grinding in your sleep can be overcome with a simple night guard, arrange to see your dentist about having one custom made.


  • Replace your brush: To keep the bristles on your toothbrush healthy and functional, replace it every few months. 


  • Cooking and dealing with junk food are common challenges for university students, especially those living on their own for the first time. Your diet has profound effects on your dental health. Learn basic cooking skills, meal planning, cook in batches, healthy snacking alternatives and stay hydrated.



Despite headlines claiming that many younger people are drinking significantly less than earlier generations and some are abstaining from it entirely, a brief stroll through university towns on a weekend night reveals that this isn’t the case for everyone. Alcohol can be enjoyable when consumed sensibly, but just like smoking, it increases the chance of developing periodontitis and other gum diseases including gingivitis. This danger is largely due to the potential for dehydration. Learn more about the effects of alcohol on your dental health by reading our blog post How Does Alcohol Affect Your Teeth? – Kennett Road Dental Surgery Oxford 


Your time at university is a valuable period of personal growth and learning. Don’t let dental care fall by the wayside amid the excitement and challenges. Remember that maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly are essential for your overall well-being, confidence, and academic success. By prioritising your dental health, you’ll have one less thing to worry about during your university journey and beyond.


Contact our friendly team on 01865 761965 or or find us on Instagram.

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Teeth?

The party season is well and truly upon us, and although it means a lot of fun for all, it could also mean disaster for your oral health. Drinking alcohol has been a festive tradition for lots of people for many, many years, and it doesn’t look to become any lesser part of the celebrations anytime soon.

It is commonly known that drinking can be harmful to your body, but are you aware of the detrimental effects it can have on your teeth also?

We wanted to delve into some of the ways alcohol can negatively impact your oral health and share our best advice for drinking responsibly to protect your teeth from the effects of alcohol this holiday season.

How Does Alcohol Affect Your Teeth?

The main issues caused my drinking alcohol are:

Dry Mouth

Alcohol dries up the saliva in your mouth, and with less saliva, bacteria is more likely to grow on your teeth and gums, which can lead to:

  • Bad Breath – Dry mouth causes bad breath because when you don’t have enough saliva, it’s harder for the mucus membranes inside your mouth (which trap bacteria) to clean themselves off and get rid of odour-causing substances like hydrogen sulphide or methyl mercaptan gas.
  • Tooth Decay/Gum Disease – By not having enough saliva in our mouths, we are more susceptible to tooth decay due to the decreased acid neutralising effects of saliva.

Gum Disease

One potential effect of alcohol consumption is gum disease. Gum disease is caused by bacteria that accumulate on teeth and gums, leading to inflammation and pain. It’s estimated that nearly half of the adult population suffers from gum disease at some point in their life, but regular brushing and flossing can help prevent it from occurring in the first place. Alcoholic drinks are known to increase bacteria levels in saliva, which then causes plaque build-up around your teeth.

Tooth Decay

When you drink alcohol, it is broken down into sugar, and it can cause tooth decay just like any other amount of sugar you eat. The sugar in your mouth is a food source for cavity causing bacteria. The acid produced by the bacteria causes damage to your teeth and, if left unchecked, can lead to decay.

Breakdown of Enamel

Alcohol is a major culprit of enamel erosion.

The breakdown of enamel occurs when you’re consistently exposed to substances that are high in sugar content or acidity. The sugar content of alcohol encourages bacterial growth on your teeth, which eats away at the enamel over time. Acidic drinks erode your tooth enamel as well because it lowers its pH level and causes overexposure to harmful acids in food and drinks (such as wine). Alcoholic beverages have both sugar content and acidity levels higher than most other beverages—making them doubly damaging for our teeth!

The Increased Risk of Accidental Trauma

Alcohol can make you feel more confident, and it’s easy to understand why. Alcohol lowers inhibitions and increases your willingness to take risks (whether or not you realize what those risks are). This creates a greater chance of you falling or being involved in an accident when intoxicated, which could lead to accidental trauma or facial injury such as a tooth being fractured or knocked out.

Oral Cancer

It is widely understood that the consumption of alcohol can increase your risk of mouth cancer. You can find out more about mouth cancer in our previous blog posts Mouth Cancer Awareness and Everything You Need to Know About Mouth Cancer.

Protecting your teeth whilst drinking

There are several ways that you can protect your teeth from the negative effects of drinking alcohol, this party season try to:

Avoid drinking on an empty stomach – This will increase the chances of stomach acid reflux which can lead to tooth decay or erosion.

Drink in moderation – This means no more than one or two drinks per hour. Consider having an alternative beverage such as water as well as alcohol so that you don’t feel left out!

Drink water between alcoholic beverages – This will help to dilute the alcohol in your mouth and rinse your teeth of bacteria.

Choose drinks with less sugar and acid – The lower the sugar content, the more tooth-friendly the beverage is.

Brush and floss your teeth after a night of drinking – This will help to clear your mouth of lingering harmful bacteria.

In between the social gatherings this festive period you can help your teeth stay strong and healthy by brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for 2 minutes, flossing or using interdental brushes once a day, and if you wish you can rinse with mouthwash in between meals- but make sure it is alcohol free mouthwash!

If you are at all worried about your oral health at this time of year you can always book a check-up or hygienist appointment in the new year to put your mind at ease and ask any further questions you may have.

If you have damaged your teeth due to drinking, call us on 01865 761965 to discuss how we can help.

Be Mouth Cancer Aware – What to Expect at Your Oral Cancer Screening

Be Mouth Cancer Aware – What to Expect at Your Oral Cancer Screening

Each year the month of November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, supported by the Oral Health Foundation and Mouth Cancer Foundation. At Kennett Road Dental, we take this opportunity every year to promote oral health and encourage our patients to become mouth cancer aware!

Our previous blogs tell you everything you need to know about mouth cancer and why you should care about mouth cancer action month.

In this blog, we wanted to take the opportunity to arm you with all the information you may need about your mouth cancer screening. Walking you through the steps taken in your routine hygiene appointments and oral cancer screenings and what you can expect after your screening is complete.

After you have digested this information, we hope that you are entirely prepared for your screening and that we have answered any potential questions you have.

What is an oral cancer screening?

An oral cancer screening is an examination by your dentist or doctor which looks for signs of cancer or precancerous abnormalities in your mouth. You may not be aware of this but we carry out an oral cancer screening at every dental health examination appointment.

Cancer screenings should occur before symptoms begin to show, according to the National Cancer Institute. This is why most dentists will perform a mouth cancer screening during your routine dental visits but can also perform these on request as a precautionary measure for those at higher risk of mouth cancer or if you discover any changes in your mouth that need to be checked.

Oral cancer screenings are performed to reassure you that there are not any apparent problems or signs of cancer or to trigger early investigation or treatment if needed.

It is the perfect opportunity to air any concerns and fears you may have about mouth cancer to your dentist. You can ask any questions you may have, and your dentist will aim to arm you with the best information you need to put your mind at ease and identify any lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your chances of mouth cancer in the future.

Your oral cancer screening

A comprehensive screening can take less than two minutes, quicker than brushing your teeth!

The screening will cover your whole oral cavity and connected tissue which includes all areas of the head and neck.

There are two main aspects of an oral cancer screening, visual and physical.

The visual exam

To ensure your dentist can examine your entire mouth, you should remove any dentures or dental appliances.

During the visual exam, your dentist will observe your face, neck, ears, lips, jaw, cheeks, nose, and oral cavity, looking for abnormalities, including:

  • Asymmetries
  • Swelling
  • Lumps
  • Colour changes
  • Ulcerations

To perform the visual exam, your dentist will use a light and mirror to see further into the mouth. They’ll also more than likely ask you to say “ahh” to expose difficult-to-see areas in your throat.

The physical exam

Mouth cancer in its early stages is usually painless, which is why touch is imperative for your dentist to feel for any unusual masses or nodules.

Your dentist will check your mouth, face, and neck during the physical exam.

What to expect after your oral cancer screening

It is important to remember that usually, a mouth cancer screening is precautionary instead of diagnostic, meaning it is more common than not to leave with your dentist or hygienist not having found anything abnormal during your exam. If this is the case, then you can carry on as normal. Keep up with your normal examination and dental hygiene appointments, regularly returning for further screenings, especially if you are at greater risk of developing mouth cancer.

If abnormalities are found during your screening, you may be referred for further testing. It is important to remember that this does not necessarily mean a cancer diagnosis and if cancer is found, then this early diagnosis could reduce any treatment-related health problems later. At Kennett Road Dental Practice, we prefer to be proactive and investigate anything unusual, no matter how innocent it looks.

The number of mouth and throat cancer diagnoses has been rising over the last several years, and now more than ever, we recognise the importance of early detection. Between dental visits, you can do your part to spot the signs of mouth cancer.

Spotting the signs of mouth cancer

Look at the roof and floor of your mouth under your tongue, cheeks, gums, lips, tongue, and tonsils for ulcers that do not heal within three weeks and red or white patches. You should also check your head and neck to identify any unusual lumps and swellings.

Mouth cancer can affect anybody, and it’s important that we all know what to look out for. If you notice any changes in your mouth, please speak to a dentist or doctor immediately.

How to check for changes in your mouth, head, and neck


Run your finger on the roof of the mouth to feel for any lumps. Repeat on the floor of the mouth.


  1. Look for any changes in the colour or texture of the surface.
  2. Check the sides for any swellings, changes in colour, or ulcers.
  3. Examine the underside also.


  1. Pull down the lower lip and look for any sores or changes in colour.
  2. Use your thumb and index finger to feel the lips for lumps or changes in texture.


  1. Look out for red, white, or dark patches.
  2. Put your index finger inside the cheek and your thumb on the outside.
  3. Squeeze the cheek to check for any lumps, tenderness, or ulcers.

Head & Neck:

  1. Do both sides look the same? Look for any lumps or swellings that are only on one side of the face.
  2. Feel and press along the front and sides of the neck. Can you feel any lumps?

What are the risk factors for mouth cancer?

There are several risk factors that increase your chance of developing mouth cancer. By understanding your own risk, you can make positive changes to reduce your chances of being diagnosed with mouth cancer. It is important to note that these risk factors do not mean that you will develop mouth cancer but simply increase your chances.

  • Smoking tobacco increases your risk by up to ten times. This includes cigarettes, pipes, or cigars and vaping.
  • Excessively drinking alcohol is linked to 1/3 of all mouth cancers. Guidelines recommend 14 units per week maximum.
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV), spread through oral sex, is now one of the main causes.
  • Chewing and smokeless tobacco, such as gutka, betel quid, zarda, snuff and nass.
  • 1/3 of mouth cancers are linked to a lack of vitamins and minerals from an unhealthy diet.
  • Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a cause of skin cancer and can develop on the lips or ears.

Who is at greater risk of developing Mouth Cancer?

  • Those who have had a mouth cancer.
  • Those who have previously had other types of cancer especially oesophageal and skin cancer.
  • Those who have had a close relative diagnosed with the disease have a slightly increased risk.
  • Links have been found for those with genetic conditions affecting the bone marrow, skin, or fingernails.
  • Those undergoing treatment for HIV or AIDS and those taking medication after organ transplants.

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 at Kennett Road Dental.

Be mouth cancer aware and share your knowledge to help others!

Protecting Your Teeth in the Season of Sugar

Protecting teeth from sugar in summer

Summer is here, which means you’re probably spending a lot more time outdoors than not. If you’re like us, that means you’ve been snacking on all sorts of sugar-laden treats like fizzy drinks, ice cream, and sweets. But have you ever wondered what those treats are doing to your teeth?

The answer is: A LOT. Snacks high in sugar can lead to tooth decay! So, keep reading to discover everything you need to know about sugar, how it can affect your teeth, and the best ways to maintain good oral health this summer!

How does sugar affect your teeth?

Sugar causes plaque to build up on your teeth, which can lead to cavities and gum disease.

When you eat sugary foods, bacteria in your mouth use the sugar as fuel to create acid that erodes tooth enamel. If you don’t brush and clean between your teeth after eating sugary snacks, those bacteria will spread even more quickly throughout your mouth.

Should I brush straight after eating sugar?

Try not to brush immediately after eating or drinking sugary foods.

By brushing right after, you are helping the sugar erode your teeth. Wait at least an hour after consuming something sweet before brushing your teeth so that the sugars have time to dissolve naturally in your mouth and your saliva can neutralise any acids. Drinking water will also help with this.

Does cutting sugar help teeth?

Yes! Cutting sugar is one of the best things you can do to improve your oral health. It will take some time for your mouth to adjust, but once it does, you’ll notice that your teeth feel stronger and healthier. You’ll also notice that plaque build-up will be less and when it does occur, it’s much easier to remove!

Does rinsing with water remove sugar?

Yes, drink lots of water throughout the day, at least 8 glasses.

Water helps wash away plaque build-up on teeth and can even help prevent tooth decay.

What are good sugar alternatives?

Straight swap sugar alternatives are sweeteners that have a lower glycemic index than regular white sugar.

They include honey, Stevia, and fruit juices (cranberry, grapefruit, apple, and orange juices all have lower glycemic indices than white sugar).

There are lots of alternatives for tasty sugar snacks out there—you just have to know where to look. However try to confine these to mealtimes- even  though they are lower in sugar the acid in fruit juices can damage tooth enamel.

If you’re looking for something crunchy that’ll satisfy your sweet tooth without wrecking your smile… look no further than carrots! Carrots are naturally sweet and crunchy.

How can I keep my teeth healthy in summer?

You can help your teeth stay strong and healthy by brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day for 2 minutes, flossing or using interdental brushes once a day, and if you wish you can rinse with mouthwash in between meals- but make sure it is alcohol free mouthwash!

If you are at all worried about your family’s oral health at this time of year you can always book a check-up or hygienist appointment during the summer months to put your mind at ease and ask any further questions you may have.

We are here to help!

Everyone deserves a healthy smile – National Smile Month

National Smile Month is a charity campaign by the Oral Health Foundation running between 16 May and 16 June 2022. National Smile Month is all about championing the benefits of having good oral health and promoting the value of a healthy smile.

Maintaining a healthy smile can be simple but for so many in the UK oral disease is far too common. Despite the many improvements in oral health over the last 40 years, inequalities continue to be a burden for countless individuals.

We wanted to get involved by helping to spread the message of the four main ways you can achieve a healthy smile.

Toothpaste in the shape of heart coming out from toothpaste tube. Brushing teeth dental concept. 3d illustration

1. Brush teeth for two minutes, last thing at night and one other time during the day, with fluoride toothpaste.

Why do we recommend brushing your teeth for two minutes? 

Brushing for the full two minutes is important in ensuring you have removed any food and plaque that has built up on your teeth during the day. The sugars found in food feed the bacteria in plaque; removing both food and plaque is imperative for your oral health. Plaque build-up causes tooth decay and gum disease.

Why do we recommend brushing twice a day?

Brushing twice a day prevents tartar build-up by removing plaque before it hardens. It will also help to prevent bad breath, keep your teeth whiter, and improve your gum health, preventing gum disease!

Why do we recommend fluoride toothpaste?

Most toothpaste now contains fluoride because it is very effective in preventing tooth decay. The amount of fluoride found in toothpaste is usually enough to reduce decay by keeping tooth enamel strong. Some areas add fluoride to their water supply, in these areas using fluoride toothpaste will give extra protection.

It may seem like a laborious task, but brushing for 2 minutes, twice daily with fluoride toothpaste is a little bit of work with a huge payoff!

2. Clean between your teeth every day.

Interdental cleaning is an important step in keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Even if you don’t do it yet, it’s never too late to take this step toward a healthier smile!

Why do we recommend cleaning between your teeth daily?

A daily clean between your teeth helps remove plaque from hard-to-reach areas that your toothbrush can’t get to. Reducing plaque build-up helps with three things we’d all rather avoid: gum disease, bad breath, and decay.

Floss is the most well-known tool for interdental cleaning, but you can now find interdental brushes which can be easier for some to use than floss. You can also use interdental picks, wooden plaque removers, and dental picks to clean specific areas in between your teeth. Speak to our friendly hygienist Krystyna who will talk you through what you need to do to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Cut down how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
Delicious milkshakes on the table

3. Cut down how much and how often you have sugary foods and drinks.

Sorry to all the sweet tooths out there!

We all have bacteria in our mouths, that’s something we can’t change, but when we consume sugar it combines with the bacteria to produce acid which weakens tooth enamel. . The more your teeth are exposed to sugar the more time the bacteria have to produce this acid and the more detrimental it will be for your oral health.

It’s a no-brainer, cutting down your daily sugar intake can reduce your risk of tooth decay, cavities, and tooth loss!

Portrait of dentists and child patient in dental clinic

4. Visit a dentist and hygienist regularly.

You should visit your dentist for a check-up every 6 months and see your hygienist on a regular basis.

Why do we recommend visiting your dentist and hygienist every 6 months?

We recommend regular visits to your dentist because plaque and tartar can build up in a very short time. If not removed, soft plaque can harden on the teeth and irritate the gum tissue, and subsequently if left untreated, plaque can lead to gum disease.

Checking for tooth decay is just the start! During your dental health check appointment, your dentist and dental hygienist will also evaluate the health of your gums, perform a head and neck examination and examine your mouth for any indications of vitamin deficiencies, diabetes, or oral cancer.

Our hygienist uses gentle air polishing to clean your teeth leaving them feeling silky smooth and free from surface staining!

Regular dental visits are essential for healthy teeth and gum maintenance. If you need additional help, your dentist or hygienist may even suggest more frequent visits depending on your risk level.

It’s important that you work to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy in between dental exams so follow these simple steps and you will have the healthy smile you deserve!

Find more information about National Smile Month over on the Oral Health Foundation website, plus lots of ways you can get involved and activities to get children interested in oral health too!

How to have a tooth-friendly Easter

Tooth friendly Easter - Oxfordshire Dentist

With a long Easter weekend coming up, there’s plenty of time to rest, spend time with family and indulge in a few Easter treats. Easter baskets and egg hunts are a fantastic way to treat your little ones (and yourself) to a fun surprise this springtime holiday, and it’s true that when it comes to chocolate eggs, even us dentists can’t help ourselves this time of year! 

We can’t wait for the festivities, but it’s still important to remember that even at Easter, overindulging can wreak havoc on your teeth. 

It’s inevitable that we’re going to enjoy an egg or two, but to keep your teeth in excellent condition, why not try a few of our favourite tooth-friendly Easter alternatives from our Easter top-tips!

Dark Chocolate  

If you’re indulging in some chocolate, dark chocolate contains significantly less sugar than milk varieties, making it one of the best types of chocolate for your teeth. If you’re able to create your own treats, using dark chocolate and other ingredients such as nuts too is a great way to know exactly how much sugar you’re consuming.


As the Easter bunny’s favourite treat, carrots are not only a perfect Easter food, but they’re good for your teeth too. Eating crunchy carrots can act as a natural toothbrush, which helps to prevent plaque build-up!

Decorative Eggs

With brightly coloured eggs adorning your Easter basket, it can be tempting to grab a bit of chocolate every time you walk past. So as a project for the kids, or even creative adults, it can be a fun and relaxing activity to decorate a few hard-boiled eggs to use as a lovely touch to your spring decorations. You could even add a large Papier-mâché egg for a bold centrepiece!

Fillable Eggs

Steer clear of chocolate altogether with fillable eggs. The best thing about these is that you can hide anything you wish inside. Toys, crafts, jokes and riddles will keep the kids happy and add an extra element of surprise to their treats. Fillable eggs are a perfect chocolate replacement for your Easter egg hunt and as an added bonus they can be used again and again, year after year!

Tooth friendly Easter - Oxfordshire Dentist

Non-edible gifts

Easter isn’t just about the chocolate, you can purchase and make a whole host of gifts that your friends and family can enjoy and keep. Easter-themed books, colouring and craft activity sets are always a winner with the little ones and are a great way to keep them entertained during the holidays. 

Along with choosing alternatives to high sugar treats this easter, there are a few other things you can do to make sure your Easter break is as tooth-friendly as possible.

Portion Control 

Did you know that some chocolate eggs can include up to 10 times the recommended daily amount of sugar? Read the packaging of all sweet treats before tucking in, to make sure you and your family are eating the right amount per serving.

Treat O’clock

Sticking to the right portion per serving may become difficult if you are grazing on treats throughout the day. Consuming chocolate just once a day will not only help with controlling your intake but will also give your mouth a chance to return to neutral acidity. Pick a specific time to enjoy your sweet treats together and follow them with a glass of water or milk to remove any sugary debris from your teeth. 

Wait Before Brushing

Tooth enamel is at its weakest after being exposed to sugar and acid. With this in mind, we would recommend not brushing straight after eating and stopping eating at least one hour before starting your bedtime routine. 

Stick to Routine

Maintaining your oral health routine throughout the holidays will contribute to keeping your teeth healthy and free from decay. Just remember the perfect combination of brushing for 2 minutes twice a day, flossing, interdental brushing and using a mouthwash. 

We hope these tooth-friendly tips will enable you to enjoy an Easter break that involves fewer sugar crashes and more family fun! 

If you are at all worried about your family’s oral health at this time of year you can always book a check-up or hygienist appointment following the Easter break to put your mind at ease and keep your teeth healthy and pearly white.

It’s not too late to join Fizz Free February!

Over the past few decades, drinking fizzy beverages has become an inseparable part of a daily routine for many people. We all know that sugary drinks are a well-known cause of weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes, but did you know they also affect your teeth?

Fizzy drinks contain high amounts of sugar that interact with the bacteria in your mouth, forming acids that attack your teeth. You might well be thinking, ‘I only drink sugar-free fizzy drinks. Isn’t that okay?’ – unfortunately not! Both regular and sugar-free fizzy beverages contain other harmful acidic ingredients like citric acid, phosphoric acid, and tartaric acid, which can be extremely detrimental to your dental health.

If you haven’t already started, it’s not too late to join Fizz Free February and enjoy a healthy challenge this month with us. Don’t forget to spread the word and get your friends and family to join too!

Fizzy Risks

The two most harmful effects fizzy drinks have on teeth are erosion and cavities. Our teeth have a hard outer protective layer made up of minerals, enamel, which is destroyed by the acids contained in fizzy drinks. When enamel erodes the sensitive layer of teeth-dentine, is exposed, which can lead to cavities, tooth pain and sensitivity. Tooth enamel and does not regenerate itself, which is why maintaining it is so important!

Fizz Free Benefits

Removing fizzy drinks from your diet will not only help you reduce the amount of sugar you consume every day but will help you prevent erosion and could save you from pain and complex, expensive dental treatment in the future. Reaching for a glass of water instead will not only help you avoid those problems but also keep you hydrated.

Managing your Fizz

Committing to a month free of fizzy drinks can help you limit the consumption of them or maybe even eliminate them from your diet. If you decide to go back to drinking those beverages, here are some top tips to reduce the damage they cause to your teeth:

  • Confine consumption to a mealtime – this reduces the number of acidic attacks on your teeth. Drinking through a straw will help keep the acids away from the teeth and limit the damage.
  • Finish a meal with cheese or milk – this helps to neutralize any acids in your mouth.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after eating– this produces more saliva to neutralise acids
  • Brush twice a day – brushing your teeth twice a day, just before bedtime and at one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste will help protect your teeth. When you brush spit out the excess toothpaste- do not rinse your mouth. This allows the fluoride in the remaining toothpaste to protect your teeth.
  • Wait at least one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeththis gives your teeth time to recover
  • Get regular dental checkups – regular dental health checks will help spot the problem before it’s too late.

Remember – it’s never too late to take control of your dental health! If you need advice, or are in need of a dental health check, contact Kennett Road Dental today to speak to a member of our team.

New Year, Same Teeth: Taking Better Dental Habits into 2022

Christmas and New Year’s Eve can be a horrendous time if you’re a tooth. Sugar intake is typically doubled and then some with boxes of chocolates and mince pies a frequent appearance. It’s not just the food either, festive beverages can contain a whole lot of sugar. Add up the hot chocolate while visiting Christmas markets with the mulled wine at the carol concert and then tally up all the glasses of sparkling wine you’ve consumed over the festive period and you’re looking at literally bags of sugar.

Why are we telling you this now, you ask? Because we’re not out to ruin anybody’s fun. We’ve all had a trying couple of years and there’s no one we know that hasn’t earned a little treat shared with loved ones after dealing with the stress of the pandemic. Wellbeing is a balance and sometimes you have to prioritise one thing over another to achieve it. But now it’s a new year and it seems to us that resolving to make good decisions for your teeth and dental health is one of the best things you could do for your overall wellbeing.

When teeth are healthy, they don’t cause you pain or attract your attention. It’s only when they start to hurt or cause problems that we pay them much attention. The irony is that if we treated them right all year round, then it’s less likely they’d need much assistance. Dentistry is 90% preventative actions and 10 % noisy machines in our dental practice, so the more you can do for your own dental health the less likely it will be that you’ll need any dental interventions from us.

For the sake of our client’s everyday dental health, we thought it would be a good idea to draw your attention to some things you can do, or not do, to help the health and longevity of your teeth.

1. Sensible Sipping: Sugar in drinks tends not to register in many people’s minds as bad for you, at least in the same way as we consider sugar in foods. We’re British and drink millions of cups of tea as a nation every single day. At least half of tea drinkers have a sugar or two in each cup. They do add up. Juice diets and sugary meal replacements can cause an increase in the amount of sugar you consume and they’re particularly commonplace in January.

One of the most sensible things you can do in the new year for your all-round health, is to regulate the amount of sugar in the drinks you consume. Check the sugar content in the products you buy by using the traffic light system on the nutrition information. If you can get an alternative drink product that has a green rating for sugar over amber or red, then choose that one- but remember, it is best to keep consumption of these drinks to mealtimes. In between meals water is the safest and healthiest option!

2. Carbon Consideration: It isn’t just the sugar in some drinks to be mindful of. Sparkling wines like prosecco, cava, and Champagne contain around a teaspoon of sugar per glass (even the dry/brut ones) but they also contain carbonic acid due to the carbon dioxide. Carbonated drinks (even the ones that contain zero sugar) can damage enamel leading to thin, brittle, sensitive teeth and while many people consider their sodas and fizzy soft drinks, they don’t associate sparkling wines with the same issues. All carbonated drinks should be limited for the health of your teeth and drinking alcohol to excess can cause other health problems too that aren’t connected with your teeth.

3. Improve Your Dental Hygiene Routine: Everyone knows that you should brush twice daily and use mouthwash and interdental cleaning aids regularly, but that doesn’t mean everyone does it. The excuses we’ve heard about not practicing good dental habits each day range from “I don’t have time,” to “I heard floss isn’t eco-friendly”. We’ve heard every excuse under the sun, but you can’t argue with a tooth abscess or gum disease. We all have a responsibility to make good choices for our planet, but we must make good choices for us too. There are plenty of effective, eco-friendly alternative products for your teeth available cheaply online or in supermarkets. You can get bamboo toothbrushes, non-plastic floss and mouthwash in fully recyclable packaging without much trouble or cost to you. So let this be the year you build positive dental habits that will last a lifetime.

4. See Your Dentist: Despite our implacable safety measures, we’ve found that some people are still reticent to resume their regular dental health checks and appointments. We urge people to consider getting a dental health check if you haven’t had one since the pandemic began. We understand your concerns about keeping safe from the Coronavirus, but attending your dentist and hygienist regularly is one of the most important things you can do to ensure your own dental health and general wellbeing. Also, none of us are getting out much these days and we dentists get lonely. We miss you, so come and see us sometimes.

If you are mindful of your dental habits and dietary behaviours, then your teeth will thank you. As we say, too many people only pay attention to the health of their teeth when they cause pain and discomfort. We can’t say enough how important preventative care is in dentistry and that we dentists are only responsible for a tiny fraction of your oral care. The person who makes the real decisions that affect your dental health is you, so make sure you make good choices for your teeth and your general health too.

Finally, we’d like to say a very happy New Year from Kennett Road Dental Practice to you. We wish this year will have only good things in store for you and your family and zero toothaches thrown in.

Your Daily Oral Care Routine: The What’s the Why’s and the When’s

At Kennett Road Dental Practice, we hope you all know how and when to brush your teeth. It seems like the most basic thing to remember, but basic oral health is one of the things that we know can slip through the cracks when life already feels like a juggle. To make things nice and clear, we wanted to share some helpful tips about how to keep your mouth healthy between dentist visits and share some statistics from the Oral Health Foundation. They have collated some interesting figures about how many of us are actually fitting in the recommended course of oral care in our busy daily lives.

Toothbrushing: Most people are aware of the recommendations around toothbrushing. Use a fluoride toothpaste and a comfortable toothbrush to brush your teeth twice a day. Simple right? Well apparently not, because although thousands are making time to tune into Love Island recently, 26% of Brits are only brushing their teeth once a day. Is it just lack of time, or something else that causes over one in four people to skip an important step in their daily dental routine?

More concerning still, is that 1 in 4 adults do not brush their teeth before bed. Perhaps it’s the same people who are only brushing once. Who knows, and who cares if some people aren’t brushing their teeth before bed? What’s so special about the before bed brush anyway? Well, brushing at this time is actually the most important dental habit you can adopt. The official advice from the Oral Health Foundation is to “brush teeth last thing at night & one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste.” So, not just ‘twice daily,’ specifically before bed and at any other time of day. If you take nothing else from this article, remember this: Brush your teeth before bed. Your teeth will thank you in later life.

Mouthwash: Some people are a fan, other’s not so much but how important is it really? It is important to remember that using mouthwash is not a substitute for effective toothbrushing and between the teeth cleaning. It is a useful add-on to your dental routine and can make your mouth feel extra fresh and clean. Brushing your teeth is the best way to keep them clean, but what about your gums, your tongue and the rest of your mouth? It is well known that many of the bad breath causing bacteria are present on your tongue and the soft tissues in your mouth, as well as your teeth. You use your whole mouth to process food, not just your teeth. To best protect from gum disease and other unpleasant, yet extremely common issues, we suggest you use an appropriate mouthwash at least once a day along with toothbrushing and interdental cleaning. If you don’t, then why not start now? When using mouthwash as an add-on, your mouth won’t be ‘extra clean’, it will be as clean as it should be. We recommend using an alcohol-free mouthwash as it is less harsh on your mouth.

Flossing and Interdental Cleaning: Not the contemporary dance move. No, we can’t figure out how to do it either, but we do know a lot about how to floss between your teeth. We recommend using interdental brushes to clean between your teeth for optimum dental protection. After all, brushing only removes up to 60% of the plaque and debris that builds up in your mouth on a daily basis! Food particles can easily get wedged between your teeth and breed infection-causing bacteria. The best way to protect your teeth and gums from that is to brush or floss between your teeth. Some people are pros at using dental floss or choose to use floss holders which prove less fiddly, but interdental brushes are our recommendation to keep your whole mouth healthier. We know that remembering all these things daily can be a task and a half in modern life, but we know teeth and we know how to care for them. If you think your teeth are important enough for us dentists to look after, then they’re important enough for you to look after too. After all, they’re your teeth and they’re the only set you get. Treat them well and smile with confidence.

If you’re prone to forgetting to perform your basic dental care, then why not set an alarm or reminder on your phone or smartwatch? We have access to amazing technology now, so use it to your advantage and get organised.

We’re happy to help and advise you at any dental appointment. The staff at Kennett Road Dental Practice are here to help and answer any questions you may have about your daily oral care routine, or any other queries. You can contact us by clicking here, or you can visit the Oral Health Foundation’s advice on daily dental care here.

It’s Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, But Why Should We Care?

We have spoken about how to detect mouth cancer in our blog before but it’s again that time of year that we try to spread the message about mouth cancer. It’s not a cheerful subject exactly, but it’s an important one. The truth is that a lot of people still don’t know that oral cancer even exists, let alone how common it really is.

It’s important for us dentists (who know the chilling statistics) to educate and explain the risks of mouth cancer and indeed the benefits of early detection. So, please, share this post far and wide and hopefully it might save someone a great deal of suffering by prompting them to take early or preventative action.

No one really wants to talk about mouth cancer. For one thing the word cancer still isn’t deemed an appropriate word for every occasion, but if word of mouth can spread the message and help people get the help they need, then it’s worth talking about. Sadly, oral cancer has started to soar over the last two decades. The Oral Health Foundation has this to say: “With a 97% escalation in oral cancer across the UK in the past 20 years and patients slipping through the net during the Covid-19 crisis, it is more important than ever before that as a profession we play our part in educating the world about oral cancer.”

So, the number of oral cancer cases has almost doubled in the last 20 years. That’s not good news and while there are campaigns to encourage checking for signs of breast and testicular cancer and government funded adverts to remind people to seek early help for signs of lung and bowel cancer, we have yet to establish a way to effectively start a national conversation about mouth cancer. November is mouth cancer awareness month but how many people does it reach? Is everyone, indeed, aware of mouth cancer in November? We suspect not. At least, not to the same extent that people engage with other cancer awareness campaigns.

It seems so strange to us that there seems to be some kind of body-part hierarchy which implies that some parts of our bodies are more precious and worth looking after than others. Even if that is the general feeling, it can’t be the case that people have decided that their mouths aren’t that important, can it? I mean imagine how our lives would change if our mouths and subsequently our speech were compromised. Everyone knows the dangers of skin cancer, and rightly so, but why aren’t we willing to protect our mouths in the same way that we diligently apply sunscreen? Perhaps we need a celebrity behind the campaign to get people to listen, or perhaps we need a spot on a news channel breakfast show. Maybe we need to get people muddy and sweaty in some sort of physical challenge to spread the news that mouth cancer is on the rise and is described by the OHF as a “silent killer”. Actually, Moveit4smiles does just that. The initiative aims to take part in strenuous physical challenges to spread the word about mouth cancer. Heard of it?

In 2011, the BDA wrote that “a major problem is that more than half of all oral cancer cases have already metastasized to regional or distant structures at the time of detection which decreases the 5 year survival rate to less than 50% for tongue and floor of mouth cancers”. In layman’s terms that means that by the time most oral cancers are found by professionals, they have already spread to other areas, in the mouth or in the body. This means that the survival rates for those with mouth cancer are considerably lower and more distressing than they need to be. Indeed, the statistics aren’t pleasant.

Cancer research UK reports that 80 percent of those diagnosed with oral cavity cancer live for one year or more after diagnosis, but only 45 percent live up to ten years after. There are different types of oral cancer and the statistics change based on which type is diagnosed and your age and gender. The types are:

  • Mouth (oral cavity) cancer – Cancer of the mouth including lips, gums, roof and floor of the mouth and cheeks.
  • Oropharyngeal cancer – The part of the throat just behind the mouth.
  • Tongue cancer – Cancer manifesting on or under the tongue.

For full statistics of the survival rates of different types of cancers you can see the Cancer Research UK website.

Who gets mouth cancer though? Surely there are risk factors which put some more at risk than others. Cancer Research UK confirms that “mouth and oropharyngeal cancer is more common in men than women. 1 in 75 men and 1 in 150 women will be diagnosed with mouth cancer at some point in their life [and that] most mouth and oropharyngeal cancers are diagnosed in people over 60.” Tongue cancer in particular is associated with “smoking, drinking a lot of alcohol and infection with the HPV virus” as causes of the cancer.

Smoking and/ or drinking alcohol are associated risk factors with all mouth cancers. “Smoking tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, cigars) increases your risk of developing mouth and oropharyngeal cancer. Research suggests that more than 60 out of 100 (more than 60%) of mouth and oropharyngeal cancers in the UK are caused by smoking”, according to CRUK. They also say that “drinking alcohol increases your risk of mouth and oropharyngeal cancer. Research shows around 30 out of 100 (30%) of mouth and oropharyngeal cancers are caused by drinking alcohol. Smoking and drinking together further increases the risk of cancer more than either by itself.”

We mention this because while the cause behind many cancers remains a mystery, there are trends in data which can help us prevent certain cancers should we wish to. Of course, we all know we shouldn’t smoke and shouldn’t drink to excess but it’s just too tempting to replace that thought with one along the lines of “but it won’t happen to me.” Well, if you’ve read this post all the way to here, you’ll know that scientific data doesn’t necessarily reflect that, particularly if you drink and smoke. Perhaps it’s hard to take mouth cancer seriously because it’s not talked about much, but that needs to change.

We encourage you to open your oral cavities and talk to your loved ones today about mouth cancer. We need everyone to understand how serious such a dramatic increase in mouth cancer is. Particularly this year when people were put off from attending their usual routine dental appointments and check-ups because of Covid-19. We need to be vigilant and make sure we know what to look out for. You can see our blog post about the signs of mouth cancer here. First, though, we need to know that oral cancer exists, so spread the word, share this article, and talk about it with those in your life.

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