So what is the solution?
Rapid Tooth Straightening
- Six Month Smiles
- Inman Aligner
In the dental profession we have been warning about the intake of too much sugar for many years, but why is this? It was originally the ancient Greeks that noticed that if they ate too many soft sweet things it destroyed their teeth, at first they thought it was the sugar which was directly responsible for attacking the teeth however we know today that this is not the case.
When you eat sugar not only does it act as a food for you, it acts as a food for the streptococcus bacteria in your mouth. As these bacteria feed on the sugar they excrete acids and it is these acids which eat away and attack the enamel outer layer of your teeth. These bacteria can be found in the plaque which often collects in between teeth or around the tooth/gum margin, this is why it is important to keep your teeth cleaned daily, flossing and rinsing to ensure that the plaque does not build up and give somewhere for the bacteria to hide.
So, back to our original question..
The Journal of Dental Research carried out a systematic review to inform WHO guidelines on the effects of restricting sugar intakes in various age groups. The research looked at % of sugar in a daily diet and its relationship to the onset of decay. The problem has been that the research has been interpreted misguidedly.
Various newspapers have unfortunately taken the step of converting this % of sugar into a spoonful amount, probably to make it easier for the general public to work out how much sugar they should be having. These Papers have converted this into between 5 and 7 teaspoons per day. Unfortunately doing this leads people to assume that they can have 5 or 7 teaspoons per day on their cereal, coffee , tea or anywhere else they add sugar.
The biggest problem is they forget that most of the sugar we eat daily is hidden within foods, not added by us afterwards. If we only count the spoonfuls of sugar we add to our food then we will be dramatically exceeding the recommended amounts!
The research reported the following results in their abstract:
So it seems that the research is suggesting if we keep our sugar intake below 10% of calorie intake then there is ‘moderate quality’ evidence to show a lower risk of dental decay… So perhaps we should start doing that!
We thought we’d give a rough guide to the amount of sugar contained within various food stuffs so that you can be sure to keep your intake ideally less than 10%.
Statistics taken from Sugar Stacks - They have included all forms of sugar in these statistics and have simply turned it into a ‘spoonfuls’ amount to make it easier to understand.
Research over the years has clearly shown that Eating too much sugar will directly impact oral health, the only question lies around exactly how much is too much. The new research seems to suggest that when we keep sugar intake below 10% (Or around 5 to 7 spoonfuls of all sugar intake per day) there is moderate quality evidence showing a lower risk of dental decay, and that can only be good.
Our advice therefore is to look at the quantity of sugar in the food that you eat, remember that sugar can be from many sources and it’s not just the sugar which we add to food that counts.
So how much sugar do you eat per day? Let us know in the comments section below this blog post, and then tell us what you’re going to do to cut down…
With more and more people looking for cosmetic dentistry, particularly teeth whitening in the Harrow area we thought we would write an article which outlines some of the problems faced by the general public when looking to have whiter teeth.
Teeth whitening is often viewed as a quick fix and many people are looking for the cheapest option. This has driven many patients to the idea of whitening their teeth at home – just doing a search for teeth whiteners on Amazon brings up a whole host of options including home whitening kits, elastic gel whitening strips, advanced teeth whitening programs, toothpastes, laser lights and whitening pens.
Amazingly some of these products start from as low as 30p for the plasma whitening light and £3.17 for the whitening pens so it is easy to understand why the temptation is there. Here’s more detailed information on that search on Amazon.
Also reported in the Harrow Times a couple of years ago was a trading standards report which carried out tests on some DIY whitening products and found some of them contained 7.3% hydrogen peroxide which is way over 0.1% legal limit.
We’re aren’t suggesting that any of these products shown here contain these unacceptable levels of hydrogen peroxide, but it’s worth noting that when you purchase things on the Internet you don’t always know exactly what you’re getting as everything is unregulated.
Whilst whitening clearly falls within the realms of helping one’s self look and feel better it is worth noting that the General Dental Council (GDC) say:
“We believe that teeth whitening is part of the practice of dentistry and dentistry must only been carried out by the professionals that are registered with us…”
This means that if you have your teeth whitened by anyone other than a dental professional it could be considered illegal and prosecution could follow. The process of whitening teeth uses hydrogen peroxide to bleach them, whilst this is in a very low concentration it needs to be carefully controlled around your delicate gum area. The way this is controlled is by manufacturing a highly customised and bespoke ‘tray’ which fits over your own teeth, this tray is designed in such a way to prevent leaking of the bleaching gel into the gum area.
The manufacture of these trays is something which needs to be undertaken by professional that knows exactly how to design them to prevent damage to your delicate gum.
Teeth whitening is also not suitable for everyone, you need to have good oral hygiene and be free of certain dental diseases. Only a trained dental professional will be able to tell if your oral health care routine is good enough to have whitening, we have even seen cases where patients have had teeth whitening by non-dental professionals and that patient’s teeth was covered in plaque. The results of this was that it wasn’t the teeth which were whitened, but the plaque, and this will pick up staying again very quickly.
A dental professional would recognise this problem early on and recommend a course of oral hygiene education/treatment before the teeth whitening is carried out.
In rare circumstances we have also seen teeth whitening performed by non-dental professionals to cause burning of the gums. This can happen if the customised whitening tray does not fit well enough, once again it takes a fully trained dental professional to recognise this problem at an early stage.
The problem of non-dental professionals undertaking teeth whitening has become so great that a new organisation has come into formation.
The teeth whitening information group (TWIG) is a group of dental professionals and manufacturers who are concerned about the problem of harmful, illegal products and unqualified people carrying out teeth whitening. They offer a useful information leaflet and a facility to report any illegal teeth whitening happening around Harrow area and beyond.
If you notice any non-dental professional offering teeth whitening please do contact TWIG
The only way to know for sure that you will be safe during teeth whitening is to visit a dentist. This dental professional will have a detailed understanding of your oral health and be able to advise if teeth whitening is suitable for you. Unfortunately it’s not always that simple this article in the mail online talks about how one patient spent £600 on teeth whitening and saw no result at all, and that was with a dentist. Results can vary and can never be 100% guaranteed so we recommend asking any dentist that you go to see for before and after photographs of happy patients.
You also need to feel that you can trust your dentist, so ask them about the risks, discuss with them the possibility that the whitening may not work and what would happen then. Being open and honest with your dentist before any treatment is the best way to ensure that you get the excellent teeth whitening result that you will be looking for.
Having said all of that teeth whitening remains one of the easiest ways to look and feel more confident with your smile. It is generally available to anyone with a healthy dentition and with all of their own teeth (if you have crowns, veneers or white fillings then these will not whiten so you will need to discuss with your dentist the possibility of having them replaced after your natural teeth have been bleached).
When carried out by dental professional it is also one of the most predictable and safe techniques available in modern dentistry, you will find that many dentists have had their own teeth whitening in their own practice, and that says a lot in itself about how good the procedure can be when carried out by a dental professional…
Poor oral hygiene can affect your whole body, from your heart to your lungs to even your genitals! Take a look at the diagram above and then read on to find out what the likely results of poor hygiene are on your body. Perhaps you should think now about looking after your teeth and gums?
Lack of regular brushing and flossing leaves small food particles wedged between the teeth that collect bacteria and emit chemicals like hydrogen sulphide, the same compound that gives rotten eggs at their characteristic smell.
Bone deterioration around the teeth leads to loosening and eventual tooth loss. 25% of adults in America over the age of 65 have lost all of their teeth!
High levels of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth can lead to clogging of the carotid artery and increased risk of stroke.
People with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop heart disease and arterial narrowing as a result of periodontal bacteria and plaque entering the bloodstream through the gums. In fact, one study found that the presence of gum disease, cavities and missing teeth are as good at predicting heart disease as cholesterol levels.
Bacteria from periodontal disease can travel through the bloodstream to the lungs where it can aggravate respiratory systems, especially in patients who already have respiratory problems.
95% of adults in America with diabetes also have periodontal disease and one third have advanced periodontal disease that has led to tooth loss.
Periodontal bacteria can travel through the bloodstream inflaming blood vessels and blocking blood flow to the genitals. In fact men with periodontal disease are seven times more likely to experience erectile dysfunction than men with good dental hygiene.
So there you have it, seven good reasons to look after your dental health… And one extremely good reason for men!
Last week on 30 August we posted the first of our two-part article about the prevention of gum disease, we talked about the risks of gingivitis and periodontitis and explained some of the symptoms of both of these conditions. In this second blog post we talk in more detail about the treatment of both gingivitis and periodontitis. Read the first blog post by clicking here.
The best way to treat all gum disease is to practise good oral hygiene, lower your stress levels and improve diet. Visit your dentist or hygienist for treatment.
Good oral hygiene involves:
Your dentist or hygienist may recommend using an antiseptic mouthwash that contains chlorhexidine.
On their own, antibiotics are not effective at treating periodontitis, and they may only be recommended in severe cases of gum disease. Metronidazole and Amoxicillin are the most common antibiotics prescribed. Your dentist will advise you accordingly if required.
The following dental treatments may be recommended to treat gum disease and periodontitis.
To remove plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) that can build up on your teeth. This is a “professional clean” carried out by your dentist or hygienist.
In some cases of gum disease or periodontitis, root surface debridement may be required. This will involve several visits. It is a ‘deep clean’ under the gums removing the plaque and tartar deposits and bacteria from the roots of your teeth and the pockets.
Before having the treatment, you may need to have an anaesthetic to numb the area. You may experience some sensitivity after the procedure.
If you have severe gum disease or advanced periodontitis, you may need further treatment which requires a referral to a periodontist (gum specialist) who can carry out advanced treatments such as periodontal surgery.
However in some cases, it may be necessary to remove the infected tooth.
It is important to visit your dentist and hygienist at least every six months so any problems with teeth and gums can be detected and treated early.
If you have had problems with gum disease and periodontitis in the past, or you have increased risk of developing gum problems, for example, if you smoke or have diabetes, you may be advised to visit your dentist and hygienist more frequently so your teeth and gums can be closely monitored
By failing to look after your gums you increase the risk of the gums becoming inflamed and turning into gingivitis. If this is left untreated it can progress into the more serious condition periodontitis which can ultimately lead to tooth loss. Not only is this unattractive but it can be costly to replace missing teeth, and so we recommend that you do everything you can to look after your teeth and gums.
In this series of two blog posts we will look at gingivitis and periodontitis, what causes these conditions, how you can spot them and then in the second blog post we will look at the treatments on offer.
Gum disease, which includes periodontal disease, is inflammation and infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth, including the gums, the periodontal ligaments and the tooth sockets (alveolar bone). Gum disease affects more than half of the adult population with natural teeth. It can be treated by a dentist or hygienist and in the early stages the effects can be reversed. There are two main types of gum disease:
Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. Gingivitis is due to the long term effects of plaque deposits on your teeth. Plaque is a sticky material made of bacteria, mucus and food debris that develops on the exposed parts of the teeth. If you do not remove plaque, it turns into a hard deposit called tartar (or calculus) that becomes trapped at the base of the tooth. Plaque and tartar irritate and inflame the gums. Bacteria and the toxins they produce cause the gums to become infected, swollen and tender. You may notice bleeding on brushing or a bad taste in the mouth.
Periodontitis occurs when inflammation or infection of the gums (gingivitis) is untreated or treatment delayed. Infection and inflammation spreads from the gums to the ligaments and bone that support the teeth. Loss of support causes the teeth to become loose and eventually fall out. Periodontitis is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. Plaque and tartar build up at the base of the teeth.
Inflammation causes a pocket to develop between the gums and the teeth, which fills with plaque and tartar. Soft tissue swelling traps the plaque in the pocket. Continued inflammation leads to damage of the tissues and bone surrounding the tooth. Because plaque contains bacteria, infection is likely and a tooth abscess may develop, which increases the rate of bone destruction and may lead to eventual tooth loss.
Researchers have found that people with gum disease are almost twice as likely to suffer from coronary heart disease. This type of heart disease occurs when plaque (deposits of fat, cholesterol, calcium and other material) form in the walls of the coronary arteries causing the walls to become thicker. This limits the amount of oxygen and nutrients that are necessary for proper heart function.
Bacteria from gum disease enters the bloodstream and connects to the plaque in the coronary arteries, possibly contributing to the formation of blood clots.
Watch out for the second post in this series which talks about the treatments for both gingivitis and periodontitis, this will be posted on this blog on Friday, 6th September.
How to Look After Your Teeth
There are lots of things you can do to maintain your dental health and achieve a fresh and attractive smile. Here are a few top tips to get you going….
01 Brush your teeth at least twice a day. When you brush, don’t rush. Take enough time to do a thorough job – two minutes is recommended.
02 Use toothpaste that contains flouride to help prevent cavities.
03 Consider using an electric or battery-operated tooth brush, especially if you have arthritis or other problems that make it difficult to brush effectively.
04 Practice good technique. Hold your toothbrush at a slight angle against your teeth and brush with short back-and-forth motions. Remember to brush the inside and chewing surfaces of your teeth, as well as your tongue. Avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing, which can irritate your gums.
05 Know when to replace your toothbrush. Invest in a new toothbrush or a replacement head for your electric toothbrush every two to three months – or sooner if the bristles become frayed.
06 Cleaning between the teeth at least once a day is important as it removes food and plaque from between the teeth where even the best toothbrush can be ineffective. For most people, doing this once a day is enough and the best time to do it is after your last meal of the day. Clean between your teeth before or after brushing, but rinse your mouth afterward to wash out everything that has been dislodged.
07 Brush your tongue as well as your teeth to help eliminate mouth-borne bacteria and to keep your mouth and breath fresh.
08 A mouthwash can help with oral health. Mouthwashes with alcohol can dry out the mouth, so try to use brands that contain no alcohol.
09 Always wait 20-30 minutes before you brush your teeth after eating or drinking acidic food or drink, such as oranges, as this can erode the enamel on your teeth.
10 Avoid eating too much sugar and drinking sugary drinks such as soda, sweetened teas, or fruit juices, particularly in between meals.
11 Nuts, dairy foods such as cheese, and meats are all good dietry choices that can help strengthen enamel because of the calcium and vitamins they provide.
12 Chewing sugarless gum after a meal is a good way to substitute brushing inbetween meals; it can help remove food particles for between the teeth and produces saliva which counteract the bacteria.
14 If you have a toothache, it is important to seek emergency dental care immediately as this could be a potential infection or abcess.
There you are a range of Six Month Smiles videos that have been uploaded to the Internet and so to help you in your search we thought it was a good idea to post a few of them here. Six Month Smiles is a revolutionary new orthodontic technique which allows you to have tooth coloured braces that can move your front teeth into a more cosmetic and aesthetically pleasing alignment.
Up until recently the only option for braces was to have the metal train track type – well, no longer is this the case with 6 Month Braces.
Our dental practice is the only provider of Six Month Braces in Harrow and we would be happy to welcome you to a free consultation, simply enter your details below and we will send you a voucher entitling you to a free assessment for orthodontics.
This first video shows what can change in six months…
People are often asking for personal reviews of six months braces and how this treatment could work for them as an individual. Here is one such story of Mia who underwent straight teeth treatment with six month smiles.
Another video on six-month smiles
This video shows some patient reviews of the treatment, and then talks to a dentist about the treatment with braces and whether it could be right for you.
The Videos above have been taken from the six month smiles YouTube channel, however here is another video, again taken from YouTube, but this time taken from a private channel of a happy patient having six-month smiles… Here she gives her own case review.
We often have people come to our dental practice with sensitive teeth and so we thought we would provide some top tips for people in this situation.
01 Make sure you are cleaning your teeth properly. A simple message but if bacteria and plaque build up on the teeth they produce acids and toxins that attack the teeth and gums. These acids can cause decay and make the teeth uncomfortable, whilst the toxins can cause the gums to shrink away from the teeth making the situation worse. Always remember to clean your teeth.
02 Avoid acidic food and drink. Certain foods contain a great deal of acid, examples are many types of fruit; oranges, lemons, apples etc which contain citric acid. Some fizzy drinks like cola and lemonade, alcoholic drinks like sparkling wines and drinks with mixers are also high in acid. Using a straw to drink through reduces the amount of liquid that goes onto the teeth and helps sensitive teeth.
03 Avoid extremes of hot or cold. Sensitivity of teeth is believed to be due to movement of fluids along tiny tubes on the root surface. Extremes of hot or cold move the fluid in these tubes causing pain. The nerve is not actually exposed, but it can feel very uncomfortable. Luke warm drinks can usually be tolerated well.
04 Use a sensitive formula toothpaste. There are many good toothpastes that can help reduce sensitivity. It is often essential to use them for a few weeks to feel the effect and they work better if some of the toothpaste is rubbed into the area and left to soak in. Some mouthwashes that contain fluoride can also be helpful. Ask your dentist or hygienist for advice.
05 Have a dental examination. Although sensitivity is often caused by the problems mentioned, there may be other reasons for the discomfort. It is always worth seeking professional advice in case there is some decay, a cracked tooth or broken filling. Your dentist will be pleased to discuss your needs and offer you tailored help and advice.
Most people would rather spend as little time in the dentist as possible and the best way to do this is to keep your teeth and mouth in as good a condition as you possibly can. Doing this ensures that you keep your dental costs as low as possible and keep your teeth for life, but there is one group of people who have a higher chance of developing tooth decay… Do you know who they are?
A recent survey has identified that people who eat small meals and snacks throughout the day are generally more at risk of developing oral health problems as this continual eating prevents the mouth from stabilising acid attacks.
Also in this survey it was identified that many dentists and dental hygienists are noticing that patients are not following oral healthcare recommendations, again this leads to oral healthcare problems. These problems can involve dental decay, gum disease and ultimately tooth loss-all of which can mean you end up spending more time and money at the dentist.
The issue is that your teeth are under constant attack and the only way to keep this attack under control is to combat it with good oral healthcare routines which can be provided by your dental hygienist.
We’ve placed the full details of the survey in an article below.
Blue Court Dental Centre in Harrow is your local dental practice dedicated to helping you achieve a healthy and bright smile with a range of treatment options and oral health care advice.
Dentists and hygienists* across the UK were polled alongside 1,000 consumers** by sugarfree gum brand Extra®to examine current oral health understanding and behaviour. Nearly half (42%) of the UK dentists and hygienists polled identified ‘grazers’ – people who eat small meals and snacks throughout the day – as one of the groups most at risk of developing oral health problems*. And the majority (84%) believe that awareness of the oral healthcare issues surrounding ‘grazing’ is low. Snacking, rather than eating three meals a day, prevents the mouths’ pH levels from stabilising and the acid attacks caused by food are more frequent and prolonged.
The survey also identified office workers as the worst culprits for snacking at their desks, with 40% admitting to snacking throughout the day**. People who drink wine or mixed long drinks three or more times a week (51%) and coffee shop regulars (23%)* were also high risk categories, suggesting how modern work and lifestyle trends are contributing to poor oral health habits.
The majority (79%) of dental professionals questioned believed that most patients are failing to follow even the simplest oral care recommendations – such as brushing for two minutes twice a day. Dentists’ concerns are substantiated by the consumer research, which revealed that a fifth of office based employees (21%) regularly miss brushing their teeth in their rush to get to work. And when they do brush a massive 88% fail to do so for the recommended two minutes**.
Louisa Rowntree, Wrigley Oral Healthcare Programme Manager, said: “These research findings demonstrate that consumers simply don’t understand that their teeth come under constant attack and the importance of committing to a daily oral care routine. Dental professionals recognise that sugarfree gum is a vital addition to brushing twice a day especially when consumers are away from home.”
“At Wrigley we continue to significantly invest in Extra, the UK’s number one sugarfree gum brand, with the launch of a new 46-pellet bottle. Its convenient size and shape means that it can be carried around in a handbag, placed in the car or simply placed on a desk in the office, and our aim is always to communicate the benefits of chewing sugarfree gum after eating and drinking.”
The new handy bottle format has also been proven to drive chewing frequency – a study in the US and China revealed that the more gum people carry on them then the more they chew***.
The benefits of chewing sugarfree gum are well documented and it is a clinically proven way to look after oral health whilst ‘on the go’. The science behind chewing is simple – chewing sugarfree gum after eating and drinking stimulates the flow of saliva which washes away food debris, helps neutralise damaging plaque acids and remineralise tooth enamel****. The proven benefits of chewing sugarfree gum provide a strong reason to recommend chewing sugarfree gum to patients.
*175 dentists surveyed on SurveyMonkey with distribution via Intentor. Both dentists and dental hygienists were polled. Survey was in the field between the 26th November 2012 and 6th December 2012.
**1,000 UK adults (aged 16+) surveyed 11th December 2012 by One Poll. OnePoll are members of ESOMAR and employ members of the MRS. Office professionals included in this research refer to respondents in full time work.
***U&AStudy China 2011
****Alcantara E, Leveille G, McMahon K, Zibell S. Benefits of Chewing Gum: Oral Health and Beyond. Nutrition Today, Volume 43, Number 2, March/April 2008