Tooth Friendly Christmas Tips

Our Greenwich dental team offers some seasonal oral health advice

Adults and children togetherMost patients of the Confidental Clinic are probably looking forward to Christmas. For many, it is a time away from work where we can put our feet up and let our hair down a little. Once the presents have been bought and wrapped and Christmas dinner eaten, we can start to relax and indulge, or occasionally overindulge, in some of the things that we tend to enjoy.

This is all great fun and we have no wish to spoil your enjoyment at this time of year. It is worth noting though, that some of our Christmas and New Year festive habits might not be as great for our teeth, and oral health in general.

Too many sweets and sugary goods

Most of us probably get sweets and chocolates bought as stocking fillers and perhaps decide to eat them over Christmas and Boxing Day. But of course all of this additional sugar is potentially very harmful for our teeth. If you do eat a lot of extra sweets, make sure to clean your teeth really well and floss them also. Preferably, resist the temptation to over indulge.

Smoking

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Is there such a thing as a “best” toothpaste?

With so many toothpastes now available, deciding which one to use can be confusing.

picture of a dentistIf you ask your parents or grandparents, the likelihood is that, providing it is still in existence, they are still using the same brand of toothpaste as they did as a child. There were few choices then and the one that you used was often based more upon taste than anything else.

It couldn’t be more different these days. A quick trip to any supermarket or chemist in Greenwich will reveal just what a wide selection of toothpastes there is to choose from these days.

As patients quite often ask us which is the best one to use, we thought we would put a summary together of the most common types of toothpastes currently available.

Charcoal toothpaste

We’ll start with this one as it seems to be one that is currently being widely promoted by celebrities and influencers and is probably in the public eye a lot at the moment. There are two apparent reasons for using this toothpaste. Firstly, it is claimed that the charcoal ‘pulls’ toxins and bacteria from the gums and therefore helps to prevent gum disease. Some also claim that it helps to whiten teeth.

As far as the first point goes, there has been no real evidence to support this and there are better toothpastes available which can help with your gum health. If it does whiten your teeth, it will do so because of the abrasive qualities of the charcoal. This can also damage your teeth by wearing away the protective enamel if used regularly – verdict – probably best avoided.

Tooth whitening toothpaste

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Nervous Patients And Dental Implants

Is dental phobia stopping you having this popular tooth replacement procedure?

3 parts of a dental implantSome of our Greenwich patients will be denture wearers. Some will be happy with this and find them adequate for the role they are intended to play, whereas others may find them less practical and sometimes a little uncomfortable.

Some of the latter group may have considered dental implants but, realising that it means a minor surgical procedure, decided against it.

Although some people will just stick with what they already have rather than undergo a procedure, others may appreciate the benefits that dental implants offer but still be afraid to undertake it due to their dental anxiety. We appreciate that this may be challenging, but it would be a shame if their anxiety prevented them from having this ‘gold standard’ in tooth replacement options.

Dental implants

For those who don’t know, dental implants are titanium artificial tooth roots. These are placed into the jawbone where they fuse with the bone in a process known as osseointegration. This then provides an extremely secure base upon which a dental crown is attached, in effect replacing the whole tooth, unlike dentures or bridges which don’t replace the root.

Whilst any invasive procedure may cause anxiety in phobic patients, there is a particular aspect of this procedure that seems to cause the most anxiety and that is the way that the implants are placed.

Most of us will have had a filling and whilst not actually liking it, will be aware that with anaesthetics, it isn’t too uncomfortable. Unless you have had an implant before, unsurprisingly, you will likely not have had any surgery on your jawbone. This is an essential part of implant placement and it seems to be this which some patients find worrying.

How implants are placed

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Challenges For Teenage Teeth

Teenage years can be fun but there are lots of challenges for our teeth!

Teens and their teethWhilst being a teenager can be fun, it can also be a challenging time of life when we are just discovering who we are.

In today’s world, this is often done in public via social media, adding to the difficulties that teenagers are going to face now and potentially in the future as those social media posts tend to not go away!

It is also a challenging time for their teeth. During our teen years we will have lost most, if not all, of our baby teeth, and the ones that we are left with will have to last us for the rest of our life. Given that fact, we can see why it is so important that we look after them, but arguably this can be quite difficult for a teenager to do.

Diet and lifestyle

As we mature from children into young adults, it is understandable that we seek to have more freedom and make more decisions of our own. The most visible sign of this is likely to be in the way that we dress, and perhaps, the music that we listen to. We will probably also have found ways to circumvent the meals that we only previously ate because we had no choice and we will become increasingly responsible for the food and drinks that we consume.

Although some teenagers are oral health savvy, the fact is that most aren’t, and a diet chosen by a teenager is likely to be high in sugars and possibly acids too. Both of these are likely to lead to enamel damage, often resulting in decay and sometimes root canal infections too.

Teenage rebellion

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Questionable Dental Advice From When We Were Young!

A brief look at a few old sayings and how relevant they are today.

Adults and children togetherAs we get older, we sometimes start to recall some of the things that were said to us as children. Indeed, there is every likelihood that this memory recall may have come about because you have found yourself, perhaps unexpectedly, saying exactly the same things to your own children.

It has been said that what we learn early on in life stays with us throughout our lives. This can be very beneficial but can also have long term negative effects, even when said with the best of intentions.

Today, our Greenwich dental team at the Confidental Clinic discuss some dental related sayings that some of you may have heard as a child.

‘Stop picking your teeth’

Let’s start with the one that most likely irritated our parents when we did it, a bit like biting our fingernails or scratching our hair. It is worth asking though, why we actually did this. In all likelihood, it was because we were aware that we had something stuck between our teeth, such as a piece of food. Often we would try to rectify this using our fingernails but as we know, dental floss or a proper “toothpick” is a much better approach – and more hygienic too!

Done regularly and as part of our daily cleans too, flossing will also help to prevent cavities and gum disease.

‘Give your teeth a quick brush’

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The Impact Of Oral Cancers

Mouth cancer – a major impact on lives.

At the Confidental Clinic, we put a lot of emphasis not only on having healthy teeth but also on full mouth care. Our gums, cheeks, tongue and throat are all important and any problems that arise with them can have a significantly negative impact on our lives.

Taking good care of this area of our body is not difficult and, in addition to brushing our teeth and gums, largely involves avoiding certain bad habits which we will come to later. We will also take a brief look at what our patients need to do to minimise the risk of oral cancer, but first we are going to take a look at what it can mean if you do suffer from this disease.

Fatalities

The worst possible outcome of oral cancer is death. Although this is relatively rare if detected early on, it does happen and in the US, around 10,000 people die of it each year. Of course, with a smaller population, this number is not as high here in the UK, but it is important to remember that it can, and does, happen. One important way to minimise this risk is to make sure you keep up your oral health checks at Confidental Clinic so that any potential problems can be diagnosed and treated as early as possible.

Eating and drinking

The treatment sometimes used for mouth cancer cases can often leave the mouth very dry for a long period of time. This not only often causes soreness and irritation but makes swallowing much more difficult. Cancers in certain areas of the mouth can make this even more so, with some patients finding it difficult to even swallow liquids.

This can sometimes be eased with gels provided by your GP and you should use these as instructed. However sore your mouth is, you should also make sure that you clean your teeth and gums as well as possible and on a regular basis.

Speech

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Selfies And The Rise Of Orthodontic Treatments

Be careful how you achieve that great ‘selfie’ smile!

Dental braces have been around for many years now, but for quite a while, the only people who were happy to have them typically had teeth that were badly crooked and so very detrimental to their appearance.

Minor imperfections such as slightly overlapping teeth, were more likely to have been accepted by most people as just ‘one of those things’, and one that didn’t warrant treatment.

Things have changed though and one of these is the rise of the ‘selfie’ on social media. Not only are these images very often close up and very revealing of any flaws in your smile, but are also there for others to comment on, and those comments can often be very far from complimentary!

A business article out recently has claimed that a large American firm who ‘specialise’ in ‘online orthodontics’ has been successful, largely due to the popularity of the selfie. In today’s blog we will look not only at why you might want to improve your smile through orthodontics, but why you should do so using a reputable dentist such as those in the team here at our Greenwich dental surgery.

The Selfie smile

Especially if you are someone in the public eye; if you post a selfie, you can almost guarantee that not only will your fans be complimentary about it, but a whole host of others, sometimes deemed to be ‘trolls’, will do exactly the opposite. Although we might consider ourselves to be thick skinned, it really isn’t any fun being attacked by hundreds of people because of our appearance. This is probably one of the reasons that we are seeing an increase in the number of people expressing interest in our modern braces treatments.

Whilst some treatments are predominantly used to realign teeth that have become significantly crooked and uneven, there is also a wide range of orthodontics that are great for those minor imperfections that can spoil an otherwise attractive smile. One of the most popular of these is the Inman Aligner.

Unlike many orthodontics that can take a year or more to work, the Inman Aligner is designed to correct the appearance of the bottom and top front teeth, commonly known as the ‘social six’.

It is a removable brace which means that you can take it out to clean your teeth. This is important as tooth decay can occur more easily for those who wear fixed braces. Depending on the type of misalignment problem, the treatment time for this particular type of dental brace is between 8 and 16 weeks, often significantly less than most.

You will need to see one of our experienced dental team to make sure that this is the right approach for you, but if your issue is relatively minor, this may well be the best method available to give you straighter teeth.

Use a qualified dentist

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Is The Rise In Measles And Tooth Decay Linked?

Greenwich Practice Principal Dr Sandeep Patel explores what these issues may have in common.

On the face of it, you might think that measles and oral health issues have no common links. It is certainly true that one does not directly lead to the other.

There are important lessons to be learned though in how measles, once almost eradicated from the UK, is now becoming a serious problem once more.

A direct link?

As we said earlier, having measles does not lead directly to tooth decay, and vice versa. It is worth saying though, that any illness is likely to mean that we take less good care of our teeth. If we are tired, listless or in pain, brushing our teeth twice a day will probably be one of the last things on our mind. As with any illness, although it may not be our number one priority, we should still take care to brush and floss our teeth regularly.

The real link

Where the two problems are linked  is through misinformation. It is widely agreed that the current rise in measles is largely down to parents refusing to let their children have the MMR vaccine. There was a lot of concern from parents when this vaccination was linked with autism. This report was subsequently dismissed by most of the medical profession, but the damage was already done; with groups of concerned parents gathering together on Facebook and similar social media platforms, encouraging parents not to vaccinate their children.

As the incidences of measles rose, Facebook was finally encouraged to ban these groups that were spreading false information, sometimes with the best of intentions, but harmful misinformation nonetheless. As measles spread, others who had not had the vaccination became infected, increasing the rise in cases.

How is this related to your teeth you may ask? The reality is that there is an awful lot of misinformation available on the internet. Some of this is deliberate, and aimed at people for commercial reasons. ‘Influencers’ too sometimes offer ‘quick fixes’ to whiten or straighten your teeth without the need for a visit to the dentist, usually for financial reward. Some information is just wrong and potentially harmful and is often simply ‘forwarded’ or ‘re-tweeted’ without much thought at all. Each time this happens though, more people may take decisions about their teeth and gum health based on potentially harmful information.

Where should I get information about my teeth from?

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Mistakes To Avoid When Brushing Your Teeth

Optimising this basic, but essential, tooth care routine.

Modern dentistry can now do wonders to save and restore damaged teeth, and even to replace them using permanent methods such as dental implants. By and large though, much dental care revolves around the simple, yet important, act of brushing our teeth (and flossing as well, we hope!)

Whilst the vast majority of people do carry this out twice a day, it is not always the case that they do so as well as they could. In today’s blog, our Greenwich Confidental Clinic team take a look at some of the more common mistakes that people make when brushing their teeth.

Keeping a toothbrush too long

Ask yourself when was the last time you bought a new toothbrush, or changed the head on the electric one. If it was over three months ago, you need to change it. Using an ineffective brush is one of the more common mistakes that people make. Using a new one with bristles that aren’t worn out will make cleaning your teeth much more efficient.

Rushing it

We know that life can be busy, but cutting time out of brushing your teeth is asking for trouble. It is thought that, on average, we brush our teeth in the region of 45 seconds. This is a long way short of the recommended 2 minutes. Set a timer on your phone or play your favourite two minute song while you do it. You might be surprised at how long two minutes is and how far short of it you have been falling!

Brushing too hard

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Keeping And Re-Using Your Invisalign Trays

Once used, should you keep or throw away your transparent plastic trays?

In today’s world we are increasingly conscious of the need to preserve the environment and perhaps not live in such a disposable way as we have in the past. This probably suits the natural ‘hoarders’ amongst us, but may be more challenging for those who like to replace things regularly and often.

At our Greenwich dental practice, we try to be as ‘eco friendly’ as we can, and most of our dental equipment is sterilised and re-used. Some products, such as surgical gloves, have to be replaced to prevent cross infection. One of the more unusual, but perhaps not illogical, questions that we sometimes get asked on ‘green’ subjects, is what patients should do with their Invisalign trays once they have been used.

During the treatment period

As regular readers of this Confidental Clinic blog will know, the discreet Invisalign treatment uses a series of transparent plastic trays, made from impressions that are taken of your teeth. Each of these trays are worn for a short period of time, usually a few weeks. During this time, the trays will work to gently coax the misaligned teeth towards their desired position. The tray is then removed so that the next in the series can be fitted, and the correction continues on a gradual basis.

What do you do though, when you have finished with a tray? Should you keep it, or simply throw it away?

We generally recommend that patients undergoing this treatment should keep the tray that they have just taken out and store it somewhere safe. The reason for this is that if the tray that you are using to replace it becomes lost or damaged in any way, you can then re-fit the previous one as a ‘holding’ tray to prevent any reversing of the progress made. You should then, as soon as possible, consult our dental team to have a new tray made to replace the one that is lost or damaged.

There is no need to keep any other previous trays and these can be disposed of using the guidelines of your local council’s recycling scheme.

Full sets of trays

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