Category: Oral Hygiene

Blog posts and articles about oral hygiene and looking after your mouth to ensure you have teeth and gums which are healthy

Why do I have tooth sensitivity?

Many people suffer from sensitive teeth for a variety of reasons, this article highlights why you may suddenly develop sensitive teeth, what you can do about it at home, what treatments the dentist may be able to offer you and how to reduce the pain from tooth sensitivity.

What causes tooth sensitivity?

diagram of a toothYour teeth are made up of three primary layers:

  1. The nerve and pulp. This is the deepest living part of your tooth, it contains the nerve and has blood flowing through it to keep your tooth alive, it is protected by two out of protection layers.
  2. The dentine. This is the softer portion of your tooth, it gives the tooth it’s primary colour and its role is to support the hard yet brittle outer enamel.
  3. The enamel. This is the hardest substance in the human body and protects the outer portion of your tooth.

Sensitivity occurs when hot or cold substances, such as eating ice cream, get too close to the nerve, there are many reasons this could happen, including:

  • Tooth wear caused by over brushing.
  • Gum recession caused by over by over brushing or general ageing.
  • Cracked teeth caused by trauma.
  • Decay in teeth caused by poor oral hygiene.
  • Tooth grinding or clenching.

Why are my teeth suddenly sensitive?

The key to understanding this is to think about how the hot or cold feeling may be getting through to the nerve. If you have had a recent trauma then perhaps the tooth is correct. If you haven’t been to the dentist for a while perhaps there is an area of tooth which is decayed.

The image below shows gum tissue recession around the gum line, possibly caused by over brushing. The enamel is thin in this area which can easily lead to teeth sensitivity.

Image Credit: www.implantdentist.co.nz/procedures/gum-regeneration/
Image Credit: www.implantdentist.co.nz/procedures/gum-regeneration/

If you can’t immediately identify what the problem is then visiting a dentist or dental hygienist may be best option.

How do you stop sensitive teeth pain

If you have sensitive teeth with no obvious cause then you may find that using a protection and relief toothpaste such as Sensodyne may help.

How does Sensodyne work?

These toothpastes work because there are tiny holes, called tubules, in the dentine of your tooth. If the enamel becomes eroded away then these tubules can transmit the hot and cold through your tooth. These toothpastes work by quickly creating a barrier so that the hot and cold feeling can’t be transmitted to the nerve.

However, it’s worth noting that these types of toothpastes WILL NOT work if the sensitivity is caused by excessive enamel or dentine loss such as cavities, excessive wear or cracks caused by trauma.

How long does tooth sensitivity last?

Tooth sensitivity is usually only instantaneous when the nerve becomes exposed to hot or cold. Remove the hot or cold and the sensitivity goes away. However, the reality is that this is not practical to do on a day by day basis, we have to eat and drink after all! Unfortunately, if your teeth are sensitive they won’t get better on their own, you will either need to use a relief and protection toothpaste or visit a dentist to ascertain why your teeth are sensitive.

What does the dentist do for sensitive teeth?

The basic premise for reducing tooth sensitivity is to protect the outer surface of the tooth to prevent the hot and cold sensations been transmitted through to the nerve, or in extreme circumstances to remove the nerve itself. There are a variety of ways of treating sensitivity at the dentist, including but not limited to:

  • Fluoride treatments to strengthen tooth enamel. These fluoride gels can be applied topically at the dentist or trays can be provided for use at home.
  • Bonding. Composite bonding materials can be used to bonded to the outer surface of the tooth to rebuild the enamel where it has been lost. This can cover up the dentin hypersensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft (Please see the explanation video below). If the sensitivity is caused by excessive gum resorption which exposes the more sensitive root of the tooth then a gum graft to replacing some of the gum tissue may be undertaken to cover up some of this exposed area around the gum line.
  • Root canal. In extreme circumstances a root canal can be used to remove the nerve of the tooth. This is not normally a preferred option and will only be undertaken in extreme circumstances.

Summary

One of the key things to focus on is brushing your teeth and maintaining good dental care throughout your life, ensuring you brush and floss regularly. Tooth sensitivity is a common problem, particularly in later life as the gum becomes more exposed and the teeth wear. Certainly, this is one of the best ways to prevent tooth sensitivity. If you are older then be aware about using a soft bristled toothbrush, watching to ensure you don’t consume too many acidic foods and drinks and be aware if you grind your teeth. Cold air can also affect sensitivity, so you may find you need to wear a scarf in cold weather.

 

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

Looking for an emergency dentist? Here’s what you need to know

The search term “Emergency dentist near me” gets almost 4000 searches in the local area per month, so we know that people looking for an emergency dentist and that they need information about treatments and options available.

We have broken this article on emergency dental treatments down into a few headings:

  1. Teeth which have come out completely.
  2. Loose teeth.
  3. Broken teeth.
  4. Tooth abscesses.

1. Teeth which have come out completely

What to do if the tooth comes out completely

If the tooth has come out completely you may be able to replace it so long as it is not damaged. If there are still blood vessels or nerves attached do your best to keep these intact and only hold the tooth by the crown section and not the roots.

Where to hold a tooth if it has been knocked out

If you can, gently place the tooth back into the socket ensuring it is the right way round. Only do this if the tooth is completely clean and hasn’t been in contact with the ground.

If the tooth has been in contact with the ground place it into a clean (ideally sterile) plastic bag with some milk and take it with you to your dentist or accident and emergency at the local hospital.

If the socket is bleeding profusely then gently bite down onto a soft piece of gauze, when the bleeding subsides don’t immediately remove the gauze as this could dislodge the blood clot and the bleeding could start again. Alternatively use a cold teabag, it has been shown that the tea contains substances which can help to reduce the amount of bleeding.

Do teeth grow back in adults?

Unfortunately not. Once your baby/deciduous teeth have fallen out you only get one set of permanent teeth. The only teeth which may grow after this initial set have come through are the very last molars or wisdom teeth.

2.Loose teeth

Can a loose tooth become tight again?

If the looseness of the tooth has been caused by gum disease then yes, if the gum disease is treated and the problem resolved then the tooth can tighten up again. This shows the importance of the early treatment of gum disease and how the situation can be saved if caught early.

3.Broken teeth

Is a chipped tooth an emergency?

A chipped tooth is only an emergency if either the tooth is bleeding or the gum surrounding the tooth is bleeding and won’t stop. If the tooth has chipped and there is no pain or bleeding then this would not normally be considered a dental emergency, you should however make an appointment to see the dentist as soon as possible to rebuild the tooth if required.

Can a chipped tooth heal itself?

Amazingly, yes, a chipped tooth can heal itself but it won’t rebuild itself. If the tooth chips and the softer underlying dentine has become exposed the tooth will react to this and create what is known as secondary dentine. This secondary dentine is often much darker but is also harder and will protect the softer underlying tooth. If you want the full contour of the chipped tooth to be restored then the only way to do this is to visit your dentist who will then use dental bonding or possibly veneers or a crown.

How to fix a chipped tooth

A chipped tooth can only be fixed by your dentist. If the chip is small then they may use dental bonding to rebuild the full contour of the tooth. If the chip is significant then dental bonding may not be adequate and a full dental crown or veneer can then be used. This may require a small amount of reduction of the healthy tooth structure in some instances.

4.Tooth abscesses

Is an abscess a dental emergency?

Yes. an abscess is a buildup of pus from an infection around the tooth. It is characterised by significant swelling, redness and pain. An abscess will not go away on its own and in extreme circumstances can spread to other parts of the body and make you ill.

What helps a tooth abscess?

If you have a tooth abscess then we recommend you contact your emergency dentist as soon as possible, whilst you are waiting to see them you can reduce the pain by rinsing your mouth with warm salt water, this is particularly effective if the abscesses caused by gum infection. Saltwater can help to remove bacteria from the infected area.

 

We also recommend:

  • Taking recommended doses of over-the-counter painkillers.
  • Avoiding particularly hot or cold food and drinks as it may make the pain worse.
  • Eating on the opposite side of your mouth.
  • Using a softer toothbrush than you would normally and don’t floss around the affected area until it has been seen by a dentist.

Please note, these are all temporary solutions and you will need to see a dentist to get the abscessed sorted.

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

What does a dental hygienist do and do I really need to go?

We get asked this question all the time at our dental practice in Harrow, Middlesex, people often wonder if a dental hygienist is just an excuse to get a little more money out of people… Some people wonder why the dentist can’t do the same job as the hygienist and have everything done in one appointment.

In this blog post we explain why the hygienist is so important and crucially, why the hygienist can save you money by helping you stay dentally fit and healthy.

What is dental plaque, tartar and calculus?

Formation of dental cavitiesDental plaque is a soft, sticky film that builds up on your teeth every day. This film contains millions of bacteria and as these bacteria feed on the sugar in your diet they excrete acid and it is this acid which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Tarter or calculus is when this soft, sticky film hardens, typically this is in between your teeth in difficult to reach areas where it is not removed each day. When it hardens into calculus this is where bacteria can lurk and excrete more acid directly onto your teeth.

If this calculus remains in place for too long the gums can become inflamed, read and puffy. The acid can also eat away the hard outer enamel layer of your teeth, if this progresses then the teeth can begin to rot from inside!

What is the difference between a dentist and a dental hygienist?

A dental hygienist is uniquely trained to look after your dental health only. They have in-depth training to understand how and why your teeth and gums can become unhealthy, they are able to spot the early warning signs of gum disease, help you change habits which may be exacerbating the onset of gum disease and work with you to treat any gum disease.

Your dentist on the other hand, as well as doing all this will be treating any decay, helping to restore broken down teeth, replace missing teeth, straighten crooked teeth plus have a deeper understanding of the anatomy around your head, face and neck enabling them to spot the early warning signs of oral cancer as well as biting problems which can lead to headaches and neck pain.

In an allocated appointment time your dentist will be hard pushed to do the role of the hygienist as well, doubling the appointment time to give the dentist time would increase the cost to you, so seeing a hygienist not only ensures you see someone uniquely trained to help you with your dental health but also keeps costs down as the dentist is not doing it themselves.

A typical routine dental health check appointment with your dentist will last around 30 min, a typical routine dental hygiene appointment will also last about 30 min. It is quite usual to have a visit to the dentist and then the hygienist consecutively every six months. Many practices offer dental membership plans to help spread the cost of these appointments over an extended period throughout the year.

What is a scale and polish?

This is the common term used to describe removing calculus (scale) from your teeth and then polishing them to make it more difficult for the calculus to adhere again. A scale and Polish is however an oversimplification of what is actually done. Your hygienist will check the dental health of each individual tooth and surrounding gum area, they will assess your cleaning and diet habits to work out why calculus has built up in particular areas, they will then give you advice on how you can reduce this in future. Once the calculus has been removed the teeth will be polished and cleaned and flossed in between.

How often should you go to the dentist and hygienist?

If you haven’t been to the dentist or hygienist for some considerable time you may find that more frequent appointments are required in order to get your teeth and gums to a healthy state. Sometimes a monthly appointment at the hygienist are required for 3-4 months in order to do this. Once your dental health is in a satisfactory condition routine appointments at the dentist and hygienist are then recommended every 6 months.

What tools do dentists and hygienists use to clean teeth?

Plaque on teethMost dentists invest heavily in technology and equipment to ensure you receive the very best treatment. A clever piece of technology that many dentists use is an ultrasonic scaler. This uses ultrasound waves which are conducted through to the calculus on your teeth at the end of probe connected to an ultrasound device. The high frequency ultrasound dislodges the calculus from your teeth in a comfortable, painless and rapid fashion. Using this device means your hygienist can clean your teeth faster than using a hand-held instrument alone.

As well as the ultrasound device your hygienist will also use various hand tools to clean in the difficult to reach areas in between your teeth. Right at the back of your mouth, in between the last molars can often be very tricky to reach with a toothbrush meaning calculus buildup readily in these areas. Cleaning in these areas and removing the calculus can be quite tricky sometimes, especially if teeth are very crooked.

How to remove calculus from your teeth?

Unfortunately the only way to remove calculus from your teeth safely is to visit your dentist and hygienist. Trying to pick away at home can result in damaging your delicate gums. If you visit your hygienist they can give you oral health advice as to the best way to keep your teeth as clean as possible and prevent the buildup of calculus in the first place.

Visiting the dentist and hygienist is an important thing to do if you wish to keep your mouth (and whole-body) as healthy as possible as well as keeping your overall dental costs as low by being dentally fit.

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

 

 

How to Look After Children’s Teeth Properly

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

tooth and mirror

Most parents want to look after their children’s teeth in the best way possible but often find the advice given confusing or difficult to follow. In this blog post we set out to explain in simple terms  the easiest way to look after children’s teeth, prevent future problems and keep visits to the dentist to the absolute minimum.

1. Brush using the right kit, in the right way at the right time

Using the right kit

Children have smaller mouths than adults, clearly and so need to have a smaller toothbrush. If you try to clean a child’s mouth with an adult’s brush you will find that you will be missing parts of their teeth, particularly right around the back teeth. Use a child’s toothbrush with a pea sized amount of Children’s toothpaste. Children’s toothpaste has a reduced amount of fluoride compared to adults toothpaste, this ensures that your child does not receive too much fluoride.

Brushing in the right way

Brush your children’s teeth twice per day. Up until the age of 7 we recommend brushing your children’s teeth for them and then supervising after this age. When you brush clean for 30 seconds in each quadrant, top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right ensuring that you clean the biting surface, tongue side and cheek side of your Children’s teeth.

Brushing for the right amount of time

The whole process should take 2 min and this should be done twice per day.

2. Maintain a healthy diet

ID-10044145Ambro.Maintaining a healthy diet is important for overall body health  as well as dental health, but the two are linked. The simplest piece of advice, and probably the most important, is to watch the amount of sugar that your child has in their diet. It’s not just the added sugar (such as on cereal in the morning)  it’s the hidden sugar in so many  food items particularly fizzy drinks and processed food. A good way to monitor this is to use the governments sugar smart app which we have blogged about in the past.

Sugar is so damaging because it feeds the acid excreting bacteria which cause dental decay. Limiting the amount of sugar your child eats will have a dramatic effect on tooth decay.

3. Visit your dentist

We would say that, wouldn’t we! But it’s true, your dentist is able to detect the early warning signs of gum disease and dental decay before you will notice it at home. They can advise on your  child’s oral health care routine and let you know if there are areas that you are missing whilst you are cleaning. It’s extremely important to ensure  that your child’s over all dental health remains in good condition throughout their lives, and this starts from an early age.

Many people mistakenly believe that because children lose their teeth that they don’t need to worry about looking after them…… they will get a new set after all. This is  a misconception, the habits that we form at an early age will continue into later life. If your children don’t have a good oral health care routine with their baby teeth, why would they change that routine and habit when they lose their baby teeth? The reality is that they won’t and those same bad habits will continue through to the adult teeth…  Which don’t get naturally replaced.

For further advice and information  please request an appointment with our dental hygienist at our practice in Harrow, we’ll be happy  to answer any questions and give you advice on your own dental health care routine.

Images courtesy of  freedigitalphotos.net

Are Sports Drinks Destroying Your Teeth and a Risk to Your Health?

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

Some recent research from the University of Cardiff showed that of the 160 children that responded to their survey 89.4% of them stated that they drank sports drinks with half of them drinking them at least twice a week. These drinks are intended to improve performance and keep athletes hydrated and are not intended to be drank as recreational drinks, especially by young people.

Drinking these drinks has been marketed as being fashionable, trendy and often healthy which has led to a surge in popularity amongst the younger members of our population.

The main reasons for consuming these drinks was attributed to the nice taste (90% of respondents) With 80.4% of respondents purchasing the drinks from local shops. 77.9% of boys came to drink sports drinks during physical activity whilst only 48.6% of girls claimed the same thing however, more girls claim to drink socially, 51.4% compared to 48.5% for boys.

Alarmingly, a study reported in the independent.ie says that 55% of the sports drinks consumed at home rather than during any exercise at all!

The problem is not the sports drinks themselves, the problem is the fact that these drinks are formulated for enhanced exercise performance. The sugar in sports drinks is there to give fast absorption of carbohydrate so that the muscles can run at peak performance. Yet if these drinks are consumed with out the physical exercise then the body is not using the sugar in this way.

Lucozade sport, for example Contains 27 g of sugar or 7 teaspoons worth in a 750 mL bottle. The world health organisation recommends people consume a maximum of 50 g of added sugar per day, meaning one bottle of Lucozade sport is more than 50% of your daily recommended intake.

Obesity expert Dr Donal O’Shea says:

“If you’re a gold medal Olympian who’s burning 6,000 calories a day and can’t eat enough to replace that, maybe a sports drink is okay, but for everyone else they have no benefit,”

Credit: PHE

The government’s recent launch of their Change4Life campaign of the Sugar Smart app goes a long way to helping children understand how much sugar is contained in various drinks, because this is an app, children find it more interactive and a useful way to scan their favourite drinks to see how much sugar is included.

What are the risks to your dental health of too much sugar?

With written in other blog posts about the effects of too much sugar with regards to diabetes and obesity but there are also risks to your dental health.

Dental decay is caused by the acid excreting from the bacteria in your mouth, these bacteria feed prolifically on the sugar in your diet, the more sugar you have, the more they feed on the more acid they excrete.

In the most part your saliva neutralises this acid but it can only work to a certain degree, too much acid and it attacks your teeth and causes dental decay.

One of the biggest problems is that these bacteria lurk in between your teeth which is notoriously difficult to clean, this is why using an interdental brush or floss is absolutely vital for maintaining your dental health.

Bluecourt Dental Centre in Harrow, Middlesex can advise you on the best cleaning techniques and oral health advice in order to keep your teeth fresh and bright for life. They can also provide dietary advice and encouragement to children to drink healthy drinks rather than sports drinks designed for athletes.

Dry mouth? Here’s what you need to know…

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

It is very normal for people to occasionally have a dry mouth, this can be caused by dehydration or anxiety. If you have a persistently dry mouth then it may have an underlying cause which needs further investigation, your dentist may be able to help.

What are the causes of a dry mouth.

A dry mouth is caused by under active salivary glands which are not producing enough saliva to keep your mouth wet. This could either be because you don’t have enough water in your system and you are dehydrated or due to a medical reason causing the glands not to work as they should.

A few of the causes of dry mouth are:

  1. Medication. Some antidepressants and antihistamines can cause your mouth to dry out, if you are taking either of these medications take a quick look at the instructions and see if a side-effect is a dry mouth. Never stop taking prescribed medicines until you have spoken to your doctor about any potential side-effect.
  2. A common cold. If you have a cold and your nose is blocked it can cause you to breathe excessively through your mouth, this can dehydrate your mouth, particularly whilst you are asleep.
  3. Medical conditions. There are a couple of medical conditions including diabetes and Sjogren’s syndrome which cause dry mouth.

What problems can dry mouth cause?

Dry lips are very often associated with a dry mouth, as is halitosis. The saliva in your mouth keeps bacteria at bay, without the saliva the bacteria multiply and cause the bad breath.

Tooth decay and gum disease are also associated with a dry mouth. If they are not bathed in the saliva then the bacteria which secrete the acid are not neutralised, the acid can then become stronger and cause decay in your teeth faster than normal.

ID-10040609nixxphotography.How to treat a dry mouth

Before you know exactly how to treat a dry mouth you need to understand what is causing it. If you believe you are fully hydrated then medical assistance may be required, either from your doctor or dentist.

Some things you could try include:

  1. Staying hydrated by drinking as much water as you need per day.
  2. Stopping smoking.
  3. Limiting the amount of caffeine you drink as this can dehydrate you.
  4. Chewing gum to stimulate the flow of saliva, make sure this gum is sugarfree to avoid tooth decay.
  5. Visit a pharmacy and ask for some over-the-counter saliva substitute.
  6. Try to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth.
  7. Use a room humidifier at night if you think you may be mouth breathing.

Preventing tooth decay due to a dry mouth

One of the big problems of a dry mouth is maintaining good oral hygiene to prevent tooth decay. It is extremely important to regularly visit your hygienist and dentist if you have a dry mouth to ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy.

Gum disease can progress painlessly on the whole and only a dental health professional will be able to tell in the early stages if you have either gingivitis or periodontitis.

The general rule of thumb for good teeth cleaning is:

  1. Start brushing your molars and then moved forwards towards the front of your mouth.
  2. Brush from your gums towards the chewing surface and use little strokes to get your teeth clean.
  3. Make sure to clean all your teeth. Hold your toothbrush up and down to get behind them.
  4. Remember to brush your tongue.

Do all of this twice per day and use a fluoride mouthwash in between meals as a top up. Avoid using mouthwash after you brush as toothpaste has a higher percentage of fluoride than mouthwash, if you use a mouthwash immediately after brushing then you reduce the amount of teeth strengthening fluoride around your teeth.

For advice on dental health and dry mouth please give Blue Court Dental a call or request an appointment online.

Image source nixxphotography at freedigitalphotos.net

Five Tips for Fixing Stained Teeth

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

A clear, vibrant smile is among the most important aspects in looking and feeling your very best every single day. In cases where your teeth are yellow or stained it may affect ones self-esteem thus making you embarrassed to speak or smile for photos.

Fortunately, many instances of tooth discoloration have easy fixes. The technique you will decide on to whiten your teeth is dependent mainly on the cause of the stains, so below, we’ll review the most common causes and how to repair the unsightly damage they cause.

Whitening Plaque-Stained Teeth

 Plaque on teethBrushing alone cannot fully remove plaque from your teeth, so with time it may accumulate and cause surface discoloration. There’s a couple of steps you can take with plaque stains, and not one of them is remotely complicated! You can change to brushing with a whitening tooth paste, make use of a tooth-bleaching system, or visit a dentist for air abrasion which can gently remove these stains.

Getting rid of Drink and Food Discoloration

red whiteUnfortunately, it is a fact: certain meals stain the teeth. Coffee is probably the worst offender and the most obvious, but also think about  fizzy drinks, wine, sports drinks, pasta sauce, vinegar, and berries.  Tea can also be a culprit, you will find that black tea is worse than white tea. To combat food discoloration, get a jar of activated charcoal, an all natural product which lifts surface stains off teeth. Nowadays,  you can buy this type of charcoal in mint flavours.  You may also want to consider tooth whitening toothpaste.

Fighting Age-Related Tooth Discoloration

Most of us are quite familiar with the normal complaints of ageing, aching joints, memory loss and inability to use modern technology, we are joking on that last one by the way!

Did you also know that tooth discolouration can happen as we get older? Unlike the majority of the others in our list, age-related yellowing isn’t brought on by surface stains, but by worn-lower enamel and calcified tissue referred to as “secondary dentine.”

Secondary dentin starts to develop once our teeth are fully formed, and keeps growing gradually throughout adult life. Secondary dentine is darker and much more opaque compared to “primary dentine”  this means that it can show through the more translucent primary dentine.

There is no way you can reduce this at home, deep teeth whitening or perhaps some form of restorative treatment such as veneers crowns may be the only way to fight age-related tooth discolouration.

Eliminating Stains from Smoking

smokingIt’s well-known the most visible manifestation of a smoker may be the yellow or brown teeth that tobacco causes. If you are hooked on cigarettes or eating tobacco, it’s embarrassing to broadcast this every time you open your mouth. Fortunately, tobacco stains mostly affect the surface of the teeth instead of penetrating further in, so for example a whitening gel with peroxide might help  reduce the yellowing of tobacco.

Dealing with Discolouration Caused by Medication

IMG_6096An unwanted effect of tetracycline antibiotics is yellowing or graying on the teeth, and regrettably, because this happens from inside-out as opposed to outside-in, it is not as simple as  simply treating the surface and to.

A very similar situation arises if you have been exposed to an excessive amount of fluoride causing fluorosis. Fluorosis leads teeth to yellow and become mottled.

In some instances this discolouration can be treated with very precise bleaching techniques, perhaps using lasers. However, in most cases discolouration caused by medication will need to have some form of restoration over the top of the tooth is to completely cover the discoloured area. This would typically be a dental veneer or dental crown.

Biography

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental in Harrow. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation. It is important for him to provide care in a calm and unhurried manner, taking the time to make even the most nervous patients feel at ease and informed about any procedures they need.

Patients come from all across the country and even overseas to experience the outstanding treatment that Dr Dixit provides, and his record speaks for itself as many patients have been under his care for over 20 years. Building long-lasting relationships with patients is at the heart of Dr Dixit’s dentistry.

Images via Master-isolated-images @ freedigitalphotos.net

Mouth Cancer – Are You at Risk?

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

November 2015 is mouth cancer action month.

Mouth cancer action month was set up in 1998 to begin to combat the growing concerns about a significant increase in diagnoses of mouth cancer in the UK. The primary concern was that there seemed to be a lack of general awareness about the signs and symptoms of oral cancer, knowing what to look out for and being confident to report it to a healthcare professional. This year our dental practice in Harrow is doing its part to raise the awareness of mouth cancer.

Throughout this blog post we have placed several hyperlinks to additional resources, if you click on these you can find out more information about the subjects highlighted.

The causes of mouth cancer.

Tobacco

Most mouth cancers can be linked back to smoking cigars and pipes, there are also instances of habits such as chewing tobacco being a contributory factor to mouth cancer. Alcohol also gives an increased risk of mouth cancer, particularly if consumed at the same time as tobacco.

Sunlight

With a tendency for people to lay out in the sun more, over exposure to sunlight can also responsible for causing some cancer of the lips.

Sexual Preferences

Many recent reports have linked mouth cancer to the human papillomavirus (HPV). HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body. HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Practicing safe sex and limiting the number of partners you have may help reduce your chances of contracting HPV.

The signs of oral cancer

There are many different forms of oral cancer. However, the primary signs and symptoms may include:

  • A lump or thickening of the soft tissue in your mouth, including the gums, tongue and cheek.
  • Soreness and/or a feeling that something is caught in your throat.
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing.
  • Jaw pain.
  • Difficulty moving your tongue or jaw.
  • Numbness of the tongue or other area of your mouth.
  • Hoarseness.
  • White or red patches in the mouth the do not normally. (Typically these areas should heal within three weeks)
  • Mouth ulcers that don’t heal within three weeks.

Early detection of mouth cancer

The two best ways of detecting mouth cancer early are to be mouth aware at home and to have regular visits to your dentist. A modern dental practice should always undertake the mouth cancer check with every dental health assessment and this is a primary way of spotting the first signs of mouth cancer.

In order to be more mouth aware we have created a free guide, this goes through seven points for self-assessment at home. Looking at the risk factors for oral cancer and how you can lower them. You can download your 7 point mouth cancer self assessment guide here.

If your dentist believes they have found an early sign of mouth cancer than they will immediately refer you to the local hospital who can carry out more extensive tests which may include biopsies.

If mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, and the smaller the area or ulcer the better the chance of a cure.

 

How to keep a healthy mouth

Mouth cancer awareness



 

Blue Lip Selfie Campaign – #bluelipselfie

Get involved with our Blue Lip Selfie campaign and show your support for mouth cancer!

This year, the British Dental Health Foundation have joined forces with main sponsors Denplan and created a fantastic new campaign to help raise awareness of mouth cancer.

They’re asking people to wear blue lips as a visible sign of support for mouth cancer and take a selfie. We hope this positive, interactive approach will significantly boost awareness of the disease and get everybody taking about mouth cancer, the risk factors involved, the signs and symptoms, and what we can do to help reduce our risk.

So what are you waiting for? Show the world your perfect pout and be part of something huge that aims to get everybody talking about mouth cancer!

Take your  #bluelipselfie and donate to mouth cancer

How to take part

Everybody can take part in the Blue Lip Selfie campaign; men or women, old or young, it doesn’t matter.

All you need to do is take a selfie of yourself or alongside family, friends or colleagues, and share it with the hashtag #bluelipselfie to help raise awareness get the campaign going viral and encourage others to show their support for mouth cancer.

 

Answers to Some Common Questions about Mouth Cancer

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

Did you know that your routine six monthly dental health check should include a mouth cancer screening? There is unfortunately no national programme in the UK regarding screen for mouth cancer and it is down each individual to ensure they visit their dentist to be screened every six months.

As part of our oral healthcare information program we have written this blog post to answer your common questions about mouth/oral cancer.

First signs of mouth cancer.

There are a range of signs of mouth cancer which typically include things like:

  • Mouth ulcers which don’t heal.
  • Persistent discomfort or pain in your mouth.
  • Read or white patches in and around your mouth or towards your throat.
  • Lumps in your neck caused by enlarged lymph nodes.
  • Difficulty in swallowing which may be accompanied by pain or burning sensation when chewing.
  • Bad breath otherwise known as halitosis. Bad breath in itself is not a sign of mouth cancer but if you have cancer bad breath can be worse or more frequent than normal.
  • A lump on/or thickening of your lip.
  • Unusual numbness or bleeding in your mouth.

Checking for mouth cancer.

When your dentist undertakes your dental health check and includes a mouth cancer screening they will:

  1. Check inside of your mouth with the help of a small mirror.
  2. Look at your neck and underneath your jaw.
  3. Check to see if your lymph nodes are swollen.
  4. Observe your face and neck looking for swellings, skin abnormalities, moles and asymmetry.
  5. Look for any changes in colour or texture around the board of your lip.
  6. Visually examine your gums and the inside of your lips/cheek.
  7. Examine your tongue for changes in colour, texture, Mobility and symmetry.
  8. Move your tongue from either side to check underneath.
  9. Asked you to say “Ah” and check the back of your mouth and soft tissue areas.

Oral Cancer Beauty Dental

We have also written a self examination guide for mouth cancer screening in Harrow, this can be downloaded here.

Free guide available for immediate download…

“7 Point Self Examination Guide for Oral Cancer”

One of the most important things with mouth cancer is early detection, so in this guide we will talk about how you can examine yourself at home, the risk factors for oral cancer and how you can lower them.Our guide is exclusively available by e-mail so please enter your details opposite for immediate access.Dr Nishan Dixit
Dr Nishan DixitBDS (Lond) 1994,

LDS RCS (ENG) 1994

GDC Reg No. 70208

Mouth cancer prognosis.

The prognosis for mouth cancer depends largely upon how advanced your cancer is and the type of cancer that you have. It also depends upon exactly where your cancer is located. Cancer Research UK gives the following statistics.

Rates for individual mouth cancers include

  • Lip cancer – nearly 90 out of 100 people diagnosed (89%) will live for 5 years or more
  • Tongue cancer – 55 out of 100 women (55%) and 44 out of 100 men (44%) will live for 5 years or more
  • Oral cavity – this includes all other mouth cancers (not lip or tongue) and nearly 55 out of every 100 women (55%) and 48 out of every 100 men (48%) will be alive 5 years later

The key with improving the prognosis for mouth cancer is early detection. The National Institute Of Dental and Craniofacial Research reports that A five-year survival rate for those with localised disease at diagnosis is 83% compared with only 32% of those whose cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Steps you can take to lower the risk of mouth cancer.

There are various steps you can take to lower your risk of developing mouth cancer, these include:

  1. Monitoring your tobacco/alcohol use. Many cases of mouth cancer can be linked directly to smoking cigarettes.
  2. Be aware of transmitting sexually transmitted diseases. Human papillomavirus (specifically the HPV 16 type) have been linked also to the increased risk of developing mouth cancer.
  3. Exposure to the sun. You might think that you don’t sunbathe with your mouth open, so how can this increase your risk of mouth cancer? The reality is that mouth cancer can also happen on your lip , which does indeed come into contact with direct sunlight.

Mouth cancer treatment.

As we have already said the prognosis depends upon the type of cancer and how far advanced your cancer is. So long as your cancer has been detected early and hasn’t spread to other areas of your body then a complete cure may be possible with a combination of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.

Once again, the effectiveness of treatment really does depend on early detection.

The NHS has written an excellent introduction to the various treatments of mouth cancerincluding:

  • Photodynamic therapy (PDT)
  • Surgery
  • Radiotherapy
  • Chemotherapy
  • Cetuximab

>> Read more about these treatments here

 A patient’s experience of oral cancer

This gentleman gives a very positive story of oral cancer and how its early detection impacted him.

 

Blue Court Dental Centre  are a local family dental practice in the heart of Harrow, Middlesex. As well as offering a range of dental treatments to the local people they also offer dental healthcare assessments including routine oral cancer screening.

How much sugar is too much sugar?

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit

Dr Nishan Dixit is the founder and principal dentist of Blue Court Dental. Patients enjoy his relaxed, friendly and gentle approach while experiencing his meticulous attention to detail. He has a special interest in providing smile makeovers, natural-looking white fillings and cosmetic braces, but also provides a range of treatments from preventative and general dental care to complex dental rehabilitation.
Dr Nishan Dixit

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..

How much sugar is too much sugar?

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:

  • 42 out of 50 of the studies in children, and 5 out of 5 in adults, reported at least one positive association between sugars and dental decay
  • there was “moderate quality” evidence showing a lower risk of dental decay when sugar intake is less than 10% of calorie intake, compared with more than 10%
  • there was “very low quality” evidence showing a lower risk of dental decay when sugar intake is less than 5%, compared with 5-10% of calorie intake

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!

How do we know how much sugar we are eating?

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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%.

  • A can of Coke contains approximately 11 spoonfuls of sugar increasing to 28 spoonfuls in the largest bottle
  • a McDonald’s Coke also contains 28 spoonfuls of sugar
  • a tub of Haagen Das ice cream contains 21 spoonfuls of sugar
  • the average chocolate bar contains around 10 spoonfuls of sugar
  • one breakfast pop tarts contains approximately 4 1/2 spoonfuls of sugar
  • One bowl of frosted cornflakes contains 6 spoonfuls of sugar
  • One NutriGrain Contains 3 1/2 spoonfuls of sugar
  • A Starbucks Mocha Frappuccion contains 12 spoonfuls of sugar
  • A McDonald’s Medium chocolate milkshake contains 28 spoonfuls of sugar

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.

Summary

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…