A great looking attractive smile in just six months (or less).
One of the most visibly obvious aesthetic problems with a smile is when the teeth are crooked and uneven. This problem is quite common and often has its origins in the past, when patients may have avoided wearing braces when they really needed to.
Old style metal “train track” braces resulted in a significant number of younger patients opting to ‘take their chance’ with crooked teeth, rather than suffer the potential embarrassment of having to wear highly visible braces. This can leave problems in the adult years with teeth that protrude or overlap, consequently spoiling their smile.
At Alexandra Dental Care, we understand the reluctance of some patients to have worn braces but also realise the huge benefits of having straight teeth. To this end, we offer a selection of discrete, almost invisible orthodontics which are particularly suitable for adults.
Six Month Smiles
How this advanced form of gum disease can harm your mouth.
As we have mentioned in previous blogs, there are two key stages to gum disease. Early stage gum disease is generally known as gingivitis, whilst the more advanced stage is known as periodontitis, and it is this that we will look at in today’s blog.
Periodontitis is a serious condition that is not easily treatable and can cause significant harm to your mouth. The tragedy is that it really should not get to this stage as prevention is relatively straightforward. A reasonably healthy diet, with no smoking, along with good personal care and 6 monthly appointments with the hygienist at our dental practice near Ashby should be enough to keep your gums in good health.
The symptoms of periodontitis are similar to those of gingivitis but are likely to be more advanced. Whilst the bleeding of gums following brushing your teeth is a well known sign of gum disease, it is far from the only one. Periodontitis sufferers may also have gums that are very red and inflamed and often very tender to the touch. Halitosis (bad breath) is also very common and also very unpleasant. Gum recession, revealing the tooth roots, may also occur. The most significant possible result of periodontitis though is bone loss in the jaw.
Bone damage and tooth loss
Taking care of your teeth and gums in this pleasant but challenging weather.
Hopefully, most of our Ashby and Swadlincote patients are enjoying this rare spell of hot weather. Given how little of it we tend to get, it makes sense to take advantage of it where we possibly can. A lengthy spell of hot weather though, can present some additional challenges when it comes to looking after our teeth and gums.
In today’s blog, our Alexandra Dental Care dentists take a look at some of these risks, and how to address them.
Cool fizzy drinks
When we are out and about and start to feel thirsty, it can be the easiest thing in the world to pop into a nearby shop for a cool and refreshing drink from the cooler. There is little doubt that these provide immediate satisfaction and help to make you feel refreshed again. The trouble with many of these drinks though, is that they are likely to be very high in sugar, and, in many cases, fruit acids too. However natural these are, they can cause damage to your tooth enamel. Consuming an excess over a period of hot weather could cause significant damage.
Leading on from the issue above, we naturally want to stay well hydrated when the weather is hot. Not only will this make us feel better, but it is beneficial for our general health too. The immediate pleasure of a soft drink may feel great, but is far less effective than water in actually rehydrating us. Water is also free from sugar and is not acidic so there is nothing better for rehydrating us and helping our mouths stay moist. This helps to keep the number of bacteria that can lead to gum disease, to a minimum and it is also useful in flushing away small pieces of food that have become stuck between and on our teeth.
A nice cold beer … but!
Alexandra Dental Care take a look at an increasing problem that patients are advised to avoid.
In previous blogs we have discussed the rise in tooth decay in children, primarily due to the consumption of high sugar drinks. Whilst adults are not exempt from this, they probably have a better awareness of the issue, and hopefully limit the amount of these that they consume.
The same cannot be said though, when it comes to energy drinks. These are becoming increasingly popular with adults and it is quite usual to see people walking down the streets of Ashby with a can of energy drink in their hand. Without being disrespectful, it is difficult to see the need for these products, especially if you are just going about your usual day-to-day activities. A reasonably healthy diet should cover all of your energy needs.
What’s the problem?
The problem with these products lies in their ingredients. In addition to flavouring, the ingredients usually contain caffeine and sugar in some form. Remember, even a ‘natural’ source of sugar such as fructose, can still cause harm to the enamel of your teeth. Caffeine levels too, should be monitored. This may have consequences with raised heart rates etc although there are few concerns when it comes to caffeine and oral health, other than tooth staining from drinking coffee.
After drinking these products for a while it is suggested that the new raised energy becomes the norm. Consequently when you stop drinking them, energy levels decrease and you may reach for another can to get out of the ‘slump’. Ongoing consumption of these drinks is almost certainly going to increase your risk of tooth decay and other dental problems.
If you must….
Why “whole of mouth” cleaning is important!
Having great looking teeth is important for a large section of the population and an increase in the number of patients seeking treatments such as teeth whitening and veneers indicates that this trend may continue for some time. However nice our smile looks though, if we pay insufficient attention to the less visible parts of our teeth, we may soon run into trouble, with decay and gum disease becoming real possibilities.
If we only clean our teeth superficially, just focusing on the easy-to-reach front surfaces or those near the front of our mouth, then there is an increased risk that we will need to have dental treatment to restore them at some point.
Although they are very important in the chewing and breaking down of our food, our rear teeth are generally less visible, apart from when we yawn or laugh out loud. This can lead to some people giving them only a cursory brushing; but to do this would be a mistake and cavities and gum problems are a likely consequence if you do.
Even those who try to brush diligently, may still miss out some of the important areas at the back of the rear teeth. These can be quite tricky to reach but you should still clean the area as best as you can. We also recommend that you use floss and see the hygienist at Alexandra Dental Care on a regular basis as an aid to keeping all of your teeth strong and healthy.
A look at the internal structure of our teeth.
If we look in the mirror and smile, our teeth appear to be individual, solid objects. Although they may look like straightforward blocks of enamel though, nothing could be further from the truth and they are far more complex structures than that. Here at Alexandra Dental Care, we feel that if people understood the structure of their teeth better, it also helps them to understand how to care for them better too. So to help our Swadlincote and Ashby patients with this, today’s blog takes a look at the three main components of a healthy tooth.
The enamel on our teeth is the part that we all know best. Good strong enamel will help to protect our teeth from problems like decay, as well as providing much of their strength. If we keep them clean and avoid teeth staining food and drinks, it is perfectly possible to also have attractive white enamel, at least until the ageing process catches up with us. Even when this finally happens, a fast acting teeth whitening procedure can be carried out to restore it.
Survey shows a lack of understanding about keeping children’s teeth healthy.
A recent survey carried out during National Smile Month showed that parental understanding of children’s oral health issues is often quite poor. Many said that they didn’t think that baby teeth mattered and that cavities were not important. With the wealth of knowledge now available at our fingertips, this is quite surprising.
Although ‘baby teeth’ are temporary, they do still matter, and, contrary to popular belief, these can sometimes still remain in our mouth in early adulthood and do not always fall out when we are very young.
Why baby teeth matter
Aside from not wanting to see your young child in pain with a severe toothache, there are a number of reasons why you should help your child keep their teeth and gums in a healthy condition.
Eating – Once a child’s teeth have come through, they should be eating solid food. If their teeth are painful due to decay, they may revert to eating softer foods, potentially limiting their nutritional intake.
Speech development – Our teeth affect the way that we speak. This is especially important in a young child and could even affect their whole future. If teeth are lost prematurely due to decay, your child could potentially develop a speech impediment.
Facial development – Our teeth affect the way that we look. They offer support to our cheeks, and significant tooth loss can change the way that children’s facial features develop.
Advice for our Ashby patients – what to do, and what not to do.
However well we take care of our teeth on a day to day basis, the unexpected can suddenly occur that changes things. Even minor mishaps such as eating a supposedly stoned olive, may reveal that a remnant of stone is still there. As we bite down hard, not expecting a problem, we can suddenly end up with a cracked or broken tooth. Whilst our first instinct may be to check the tooth to make sure that it hasn’t broken, even if we find nothing obvious, unfortunately it doesn’t always mean that damage has been avoided.
Even what feels like a complete tooth may have suffered some damage, and this should be checked out by the dentist at Alexandra Dental Care. A small crack in the enamel of the tooth, or a broken filling, could lead to significant problem if ignored.
In the situation mentioned above, it may well be a rear tooth that might be affected. If we see a crack in a front tooth, we are likely to have this checked due to it affecting the way that our teeth look. It might be tempting though, to ignore the less visible rear teeth; but there are two reasons why this is likely to be a mistake.
Any crack in a tooth will expose the more vulnerable porous dentin layer beneath it. The crack will allow bacteria to enter, with tooth decay, and quite possibly a painful toothache, to follow. A rear tooth especially, is exposed to significant force when we bite and chew our food. If the tooth has been weakened, further damage, such as complete breakage may well follow.
Helping our patients make an informed choice when shopping.
We are sometimes asked, by our Burton and Ashby patients, which toothpaste they should buy. The choice of toothpastes is now much wider than at probably any other time in the past. TV adverts regularly make claims for toothpastes aimed at a number of dental problems and choosing the right one can sometimes prove to be a headache!
Although Alexandra Dental Care don’t wish to recommend one particular brand over another, our general guide to toothpastes below, might be useful to patients unsure of which toothpaste to buy.
Brushing your teeth is very important, and you should always make sure that you change your toothbrush, or brush head, every three months in order that it remains effective. If you continue to use a worn toothbrush, it probably won’t matter greatly which toothpaste you use, as the soft and damaged bristles will not clean your teeth efficiently. Prices of toothpastes can vary widely, and it is very difficult to ascertain whether a newer, cheaper brand is as efficient as a well known brand. Whilst everyone will have their own favourites, there are a few things to keep an eye open for when looking for a good quality toothpaste.
Fluoride – A good toothpaste must include fluoride. This helps to strengthen the enamel on your teeth, helping to protect your teeth from decay. Whilst most toothpastes will contain this, you should especially check ‘natural’ toothpastes as these may not always do so.
Small print – If you are attracted to a particular toothpaste because of a TV advert, try to make sure to read the small print at the bottom of the screen. This often contains a legal requirement about the claims, and is likely to give a truer picture of the results that you might expect.
In today’s fast moving society, always make time to look after your teeth and gums!
It is true that many of us live very busy lives. The fast pace of change in society, and especially the use of various technologies, means that we are always available to our boss, friends and family. Sometimes these communications come at an inconvenient time and may leave us chasing to catch up on other things.
However much society is changing, some things remain the same, and one of these is the importance of looking after your oral health. It really doesn’t take very long but will certainly improve your quality of life and help you to avoid common problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.
Even if you receive an important email from your boss that has to be dealt with late at night, leaving you feeling shattered, this shouldn’t be used as an excuse not to brush, and also floss, your teeth before going to bed. Both of these should be a regular part of your daily oral care regime. It only takes a few minutes but is the basic defence against decay and gum disease.