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.

Carrots

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.

Which Toothbrush Is Right for Me?

There are so many toothbrushes on the market, it’s hard to know which one is for you. Should you get electric or manual? Plastic or eco-friendly? We know it’s confusing with so much choice and although we don’t want to recommend any specific brands of toothbrushes or dental care products, there are a number of factors you may wish to consider when the time comes to replace your old toothbrush.

1. Electric or manual?

There is some debate as to whether electric or the traditional elbow-grease powered ones are more effective in the fight against plaque. According to the Oral Health Foundation, a 2019 study found that electric toothbrushes may help your overall dental health better than their manual counterparts. The OHF reports that, “scientists found that people who use an electric toothbrush have healthier gums, less tooth decay and also keep their teeth for longer, compared with those who use a manual toothbrush.” Clearly the evidence suggests that electric toothbrushes are more effective at maintaining and improving oral health, but they are also considerably more expensive. It is more important that you have a toothbrush and use it than that it is top of the range. We advise that you get the kind of toothbrush that you are most comfortable with and that appeals to you visually because you are more likely to use it consistently if there’s something you like about it.

2. Plastic or eco-friendly?

There has been an increase of dental products on the market in recent years that are made from sustainable and more eco-friendly materials than the usual plastic ones. The electric toothbrush market is a little more behind in this regard, as these tend to last longer and need therefore to be made from more resistant and durable materials. There are bamboo varieties of electric toothbrushes now available from some online retailers and also varieties of degradable toothbrush heads which are compatible with big brand electric toothbrush units. That means you don’t have to replace your whole toothbrush if you want to be more eco-friendly but still use an electric toothbrush for a better all-round clean.

Until recently, finding an eco-friendly toothbrush has been a fairly niche market for online retailers. But now Colgate has brought out a very competitively priced bamboo toothbrush with degradable and recyclable packaging too. Since it is produced by such a named brand, it is available at your local supermarket making it even more convenient to be a friend to your planet. Bambooth is the only biodegradable toothbrush brand that is approved by the Oral Health Foundation to our knowledge. According to them “more than 3.5 billion plastic toothbrushes are produced every year with the majority of these ending up in oceans and landfill.” With the average plastic toothbrush taking 1000 years to degrade into microplastics, we do see the appeal of making more eco-friendly choices when it comes to replacing your toothbrush. We applaud any company’s efforts to be more planet kind in their manufacturing and we hope there will continue to be more advances in the eco-friendly oral health product industry in the future.

3. Branded or supermarket brand?

Although we recommend getting a toothbrush from a brand you trust, we would point out that the oral care products manufactured by the majority of British supermarkets are approved by the Oral Health Foundation, including those sold by Lidl and Aldi. A full list of the brands and products they approve of can be found here. As we said before, get a toothbrush you like the look of as well as one that is in your price range. Whether you feel you trust a known named brand more to look after your teeth or you’d rather save a few coins, as long as you have a toothbrush that is comfortable to use and that you like, you’re doing fine.

So now you’ve got an idea of what sort of toothbrush is right for you, when should you go about replacing your toothbrush? Most oral care brands recommend replacing your toothbrush or electric toothbrush head every three to four months. According to scientific studies An investigation into the effect of three months’ clinical wear on toothbrush efficacy: results from two independent studies – PubMed (nih.gov) ‘a worn toothbrush is less efficient with respect to plaque removal than a new brush’. Also, a lot of bacteria can build up on your brush over time,so, if it’s possible for you to do so, replace your toothbrush every three months. Using four toothbrushes a year means that switching to an eco-friendly alternative may be a very sensible consideration.

With life expectancy in the UK around 80 years, that’s around 320 toothbrushes ending up in landfill or in the ocean per person in their lifetime. That’s a lot of microplastics in our marine life and wildlife’s stomachs. Just one side of the argument, but now more eco-friendly alternatives to plastic brushes are more widely available, it might be worth considering making more planet friendly choices regarding your dental care products. As we’ve said before, whichever toothbrush is comfortable for you and appeals to you, that is the right one for you.

We hope we’ve given you something to think about for the next time you come to replace your toothbrush. Remember that Kennett Road Dental Practice are still here for you, even during lockdown to cater to your dental needs. Check ups and routine appointments are available as well as emergency procedures. Please feel free to get in touch with us if you have any concerns over your dental health or wish to book an appointment.

 

Gum Disease: How Does It Affect Me?

Healthy Smile

Almost everyone has seen the Corsodyl adverts about tooth loss. You know, the ones with a beautiful girl putting on her make up or frolicking through a field of wheat and then it’s shockingly revealed that she has a very obvious tooth missing that she can’t hide. And suddenly you feel so bad for her because she’s so gorgeous apart from the gaping hole in her smile, but you just can’t miss it.

The adverts are hard to watch and as a viewer you feel very aware that the more horrific the experience of watching it, the better their mouthwash sales are going to be. You may even wonder if gum disease is real or if it is simply a myth made up to sell more toothpaste. Maybe you haven’t heard of it, or don’t think you know anyone who has had it. Well, we want to give you the facts about gum disease, no scare tactics, just truth. Because knowledge is power, and we want you to know how to prevent against tooth loss and more.

  • It’s not a myth. Gum disease is real, and it affects a surprising amount of people. So, what is it? Well, it’s pretty much what it says on the tin. It’s disease of the gums. The gums are the pink, fleshy part of your mouth that hold your teeth, well…in your mouth. So, they’re kind of important and looking after them is just as crucial as looking after your teeth because, simply put: no gums = no teeth.

Gum disease is primarily caused by a build-up of plaque which contains bacteria. This bacteria can attack the tooth and gums, causing gum disease to develop. According to the Oral Health Foundation gum disease has been linked with general health conditions such as diabetes, strokes, heart disease, poor pregnancy outcomes and even dementia.

  • What does gum disease do? It’s also referred to as gingivitis, or periodontal disease The Oral Health Foundation states ‘the first sign is blood on your toothbrush or in the toothpaste you spit out after cleaning your teeth. Your gums may also bleed when you are eating, leaving a bad taste in your mouth. Your breath may also become unpleasant ‘. NHS England writes that “If periodontitis is not treated, the bone in your jaw may be damaged and small spaces can open up between the gum and teeth. Your teeth can become loose and may eventually fall out.” So, I think we can all agree that is to be avoided at all costs.

 

  • It won’t happen to me. Anyone can get gum disease although some people are more prone to it than others and some other factors can increase your chances of it affecting you too. Up to 80% of the adult population are affected to some degree before the age of 60.

The NHS website advises that “most adults in the UK have gum disease to some degree, and most people experience it at least once.” That is even less welcome news, but it does prove that this is an issue that few people talk about, but many people must experience. That also means that you absolutely do know someone who has or has had gum disease.

  • Who can get Gum disease? The short answer is, absolutely anyone with gums. But there are a few factors that can increase your odds of getting gum disease. You are more likely to suffer from gum disease during pregnancy for example. Obviously, that only refers to the ladies, but it is precisely why dental care is free for NHS patients during pregnancy so do take advantage and make sure your teeth are healthy if you’re expecting.

Other factors that can increase your likelihood of getting gum disease are:

  1. If you smoke, you are much more likely to get gum disease.
  2. Your age. Gum disease is more common the older you get.
  3. Diabetes can put you more at risk of gingivitis.
  4. Pregnancy. Yes, the swift changes in hormone levels can make you more susceptible to gum disease.
  5. If you suffer from a weakened immune system or a poor diet you may be more prone to gum disease.
  6. Stress has also proven to be counterproductive to healthy gums, and general health for that matter. Who knew?
  7. Genetics – if your mum or dad have had gum disease, then you are more at risk.

 

  • How do you treat it? The best treatment for gum disease is prevention but there are dental treatments that can help gum disease. The most important thing to do in order to prevent gum disease causing further dental problems for you, is to attend your regular, routine dental appointments at your local dental practice. Your dentist or hygienist will be able to tell you if you are suffering from gum disease and what to do about it.

Dentistry is not just about teeth for us. At Kennett Road Dental Practice, we want your whole mouth to be healthy and for you to have a smile you can be proud of. If you are concerned about gum disease, then do discuss your worries at your next dental check-up or appointment. If you think you might be suffering with gum disease (see symptoms here), then our advice is to book an appointment with your dental practitioner or hygienist to get it treated before it causes more severe problems for you.

The most important thing to remember where gum disease is concerned is that it is absolutely preventable. You can seriously reduce your risk of gum disease and resulting dental issues by brushing your teeth twice daily with a fluoride rich toothpaste, cleaning between your teeth daily with floss or interdental brushes and visiting your dentist and hygienist regularly. It’s really that simple.

Everything You Need to Know About High Fluoride Toothpaste and Dental Caries

Man cleaning teeth

Although we wish to make it clear that Kennett Road Dental Practice is open and ready to help you with both routine appointments and urgent treatments, we know that for many, visiting the surgery is still difficult. As a preventative measure to avoid the coronavirus pandemic causing a rise in long-term dental problems, we have come up with a solution. We can prescribe high fluoride toothpaste to our patients who meet certain criteria. The aim of this is to help counteract the effects of not visiting the dentist and hygienist as often as you might otherwise have done.

We need to be clear though, that if you need to see us, you can do so in as safe an environment as it is possible for us to create. We are sanitising surfaces, ourselves and patient areas more often between appointments and have introduced several additional safety measures to protect our patients and ourselves. You can find a detailed video of our new safety procedures on our Facebook page or by clicking here.  We are able to see you for both emergency treatments as well as routine check-ups, but with the extra hygiene measures in place, fewer appointments are available than we would have offered before the coronavirus pandemic.

Even though we are able to see any patients who wish to receive dental care at this time, we also acknowledge that some of our patients will have to weigh the risks and benefits of leaving their homes more carefully than others. Because some people are at a higher risk of suffering with Covid-19 more seriously than others should they become infected, we decided that it would be wise to offer home preventative treatments for those who would benefit from it.

Happy mother and daughter cleaning teeth with toothbrushes on white

What is high fluoride toothpaste? Different toothpastes have different ratios of the tooth-protecting substance, fluoride. Baby toothpastes, for example contain much less fluoride than adult ones. Fluoride levels are measured in PPM or parts per million because most people only need a small amount of it to effectively fight tooth decay. According to the NHS website, children under six years old should have a toothpaste containing 1,000 ppm of fluoride, while most adult toothpastes contain between 1,300 and 1,500 ppm. High fluoride toothpaste contains a significantly higher level of fluoride, (up to 5,000) which effectively fights plaque and helps prevent tooth decay or caries in higher risk patients. The Oral Health Foundation states that “prescription high fluoride toothpaste at 5000ppm has more than three times the usual amount of fluoride you would expect in an adult toothpaste.”

We wish to stress that although prescription toothpastes may be a good preventative tool for some, nothing substitutes good dental health rituals at home and keeping regular check-up appointments with a dentist. High fluoride toothpaste is not a replacement for receiving professional dental care, but it can help aid your oral health, especially if you are at a high risk of tooth decay.

Who is it for? High fluoride toothpaste isn’t suitable for everyone. Hence why it requires a prescription. The oral health foundation explains that “sometimes following a dental check or caries risk assessment, you may need more fluoride in order to prevent tooth decay.” If your dentist has told you that you are at risk of tooth decay before, or if you think you match any of the risk factors that might suggest you are, consider talking to your dentist about a high fluoride toothpaste prescription.

Factors associated with a higher risk of tooth caries and decay are:

– Those with a past history of tooth decay and active tooth decay.

– The elderly.

– Those on medication containing sugar.

– Dry mouth sufferers, or those on medications that cause dry mouth.

– People undergoing cancer treatment causing dry mouth.

– People with diabetes.

– Those having orthodontic treatment.

– People with receding gums or those who have had insufficient restorations.

– Those with poor oral hygiene.

– People with high sugar diets.

– Those who do not attend a dental appointment regularly.

If you think any of these apply to you, then get in touch with your dentist to discuss whether a high fluoride toothpaste prescription might be advisable for you to prevent long-term oral and dental problems in the future.

How do I get it? The best way to assess whether you might benefit from a high fluoride toothpaste is to book an appointment with your dentist. They will be able to evaluate whether it is the right treatment for you or not. If you would rather not attend a physical appointment with us right now, then we urge you to still get in touch with us. Our phone lines can be very busy at this time answering other queries from our patients, but you can still contact us here via email or by using our online query form and we will get back to you.

As always, the team at Kennett Road Dental Practice wish you peace and safety, especially in these difficult times. Stay safe and we look forward to seeing you soon.

3 Tooth Whitening Fads
That Actually Harm Your Teeth

Woman Brushing Teeth In Bathroom

We would all like to wave a magic wand or snap our fingers and suddenly have whiter teeth, but in reality, some of our “time and money saving” tooth whitening tricks are actually making our teeth worse.

Dental life hacks or DIY tooth whitening are popular searches on social media or video hosting sites. Let’s be honest, there’s not much we wouldn’t try to improve our aesthetic look if it’s cheap and easy. Here’s the thing though, some of these so-called “life hacks” can actually make your pearly whites more yellow in the long run. Desired effect? We think not

Here are three popular dental fads we think you should be careful of, for your overall dental health and the appearance of your teeth.

1. Hydrogen peroxide.

You know the stuff that hairdressers use to bleach people’s hair, the dangerous chemical they must wear gloves while handling and dispose of responsibly? Yes, people are applying undiluted peroxide to their teeth in a DIY attempt to bleach them. These people are seriously misinformed if they think this is safe to do. Perhaps they thought that because some shop-bought whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes contain small amounts of this chemical, that a purer form would do the job quicker. Although peroxide does make whatever it touches lighter, it’s not as simple as that.

While small, diluted amounts of the chemical are safe and therefore used in approved dental treatments, high levels of the substance can harm your teeth, your gums and potentially your health. It’s essentially bleach, after all. Healthline advises that “peroxide can cause significant damage to the protective enamel of teeth if used too often or in too-high concentrations. More serious side effects of hydrogen peroxide whitening include inflammation of the teeth roots in the gums. This problem can lead to secondary issues, such as infection, which can be expensive to treat.” We can’t stress this enough: do not put pure hydrogen peroxide on your teeth, no matter what you’ve seen on tiktok.

Woman using charcoal toothbrush and charcoal toothpaste

2. Charcoal

Healthline describes activated charcoal as “one of the biggest trends in the world of wellness and cosmetics” and with good reason. It’s become a very trendy ingredient in dental products and skincare alike in recent years, but does it work and is it safe to use? Well according to Healthline.com activated charcoal powder may have some benefits however, it has not been proven that whitening is one of them. They write that “charcoal toothpaste is too abrasive for everyday use. Using a material that’s too abrasive on your teeth can wear down your enamel. This may make your teeth look more yellow by exposing the dentin, a calcified yellow tissue. It can also make your teeth more sensitive.” So, like the peroxide, it can wear away the enamel on your teeth, leaving them open to further staining. It has also been suggested that the black particles could become lodged in the crevasses they create in the surface of the tooth which will make your teeth appear darker from a distance.

Something else to consider is that lots of charcoal toothpastes don’t contain fluoride so it should never be used as a substitute for actual toothpaste. Using charcoal toothpaste instead of a dentist approved one could leave your teeth unprotected from the sugar and acid in your diet, erode the surface of the enamel and increase the sensitivity of your teeth. It’s not what you’d call ideal.

 

3. Baking soda.

With or without lemon juice, homemade whitening solutions containing baking soda can be harmful to your teeth enamel. It’s a tooth whitening hack that’s been around for years. It’s said to work because of its abrasive quality but that is what could turn your white smile yellow! Baking soda can create cracks in your enamel which can lead to accelerated staining of your teeth. We’re going to go out on a limb and assume that’s not the look you’re after.

Lots of DIY whitening concoctions combine lemon juice with baking powder which is further folly because we all know that fruit juice (particularly citrus) is highly acidic and therefore bad for your teeth. Lemon yellow is the hue you’ll end up with if you use these “home remedies” for too long.

The truth is that there are no cutting corners when it comes to dental health. A good fluoride toothpaste, brushing twice daily and dental check-ups are what you need for good dental health and believe us that it’s far better to have good dental health than to hide poor dental health behind an artificial white screen that won’t last.

If you feel that you do want a whiter smile though, we recommend talking to your dentist about the treatments they offer. Our takeaway advice is to stick to approved dental products and to seek professional advice on whitening your teeth from reputable establishments like us if you wish to. After all, it’s your smile and we think it’s too important to gamble with.

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