Category: Questions & Answers

Questions and answers that patients ask about the range of dental treatments available from blue court dental centre, here in Harrow.

Ways to manage your dentist fear

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

The British Dental Association estimate that around 25% of the UK population suffer from some form of dental anxiety with around 12% having extreme fears affecting their ability to attend the dentist.

Visiting the dentist is key to ensuring that your oral health remains good. Without good dental health gum disease can take hold meaning that more dental treatment is possibly required, thereby exacerbating the dental fear.

Finding ways to relax and stay calm at the dentist is what this blog post is all about.

Why are we scared of dentists?

The first thing to understand is that fear is a learned behaviour, think about it, we aren’t born afraid of the dentist, it is something that we have learnt to do as we have got older. Accepting this is an extremely beneficial thing to do as it means that if we can learn to be afraid then we can also learn to relax and be calm.

 

Fear of pain is one of the most common reasons people cite for being scared of the dentist, this is quite understandable especially if people have had bad experiences in the past. What is worth noting is that modern dental care has made extremely big advances in recent years. With topical numbing gels and fine needles injections can be extremely comfortable with no pain, this then also leads to painfree treatments.

Will dentists judge me and my teeth?

This is often another common reason people give for not visiting the dentist, a dentist is not there to judge or to criticise, we are here to help, encourage and educate you about how to stay dentally fit and healthy. A dentist cannot achieve this goal if they are judgemental so you will find that any good dentist will support and encourage you and not be judgmental.

What are my options if I’m afraid of the dentist?

The really important thing to understand is that you do have options. It’s quite common that people feel they have no options, especially nervous or anxious patients.

A good dentist that specialises in treating anxious or nervous patients will ensure you have as many options available to you as possible. Here are your options:

  1. Talking to your dentist. You should always ensure you have a dentist you can trust and talk to, a good dentist will take time to listen to your concerns and ensure they take your anxiety into account.
  2. Ensuring you stay in control. Make sure you agree a stop signal with the dentist before any treatment begins. Simply knowing that you can raise your hand at any point to take a quick break means you’re in control and can really help you relax.
  3. Breathe slowly and gently. Breathing slowly and gently helps muscle relaxation generally, if you just breathe slowly and gently throughout your treatment you will find you stay more relaxed.
  4. Ask about sedation. Some dentists offer gas and air via inhalation sedation. This can also help if you are feeling anxious.

How to stop being scared of the dentist

Relaxation techniques are a great way to stop being scared of the dentist. Understanding that fear of the dentist is a learned behaviour and can therefore be unlearnt is a key principle to accept.

Practising breathing techniques both before your appointment and during treatment can also help.

Requesting an early morning appointment is also a great way to ensure that any dental phobia is contained to a short period early in the day, rather than allowed to build throughout the day.

You may also find of bringing a friend with you can help to keep you calm.

Good ways to relax and calm the mind at the dentist

  • Enjoy a cup of green tea. Green tea has been shown to have a chemical, L-Theanine, which has been shown to elevate levels of serotonin and dopamine in the brain which can help you relax.
  • Chew sugarfree gum. This can help to keep saliva flowing and prevent your mouth from drying out. It’s also been shown to lower anxiety and control cortisol levels. Of course you can’t do this whilst in the chair!
  • Remember to breathe slowly and gently. You could do this in the waiting room of the dental practice and during treatment to help relax.
  • Visualise your happy place. Most people have a happy place that they think of, this could be a holiday or a time you spent with friends. Visualising this whole experience can be extremely relaxing and calming.
  • Listen to calming music. This type of music can be different for each person but listening to the music you find relaxing and peaceful can also help you with your dental anxiety.

We hope you have found the information contained in this blog post useful, our dental practice in Harrow is a friendly and calm practice, taking time to listen to your needs and concerns and help out wherever required with any dental fears.

Just remember, it’s good to talk…

 

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

 

 

Why do my teeth look yellow?

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

 

This is a question we get asked lots at our dental practice here in Harrow, so we thought we would take some time to take a look at the common reasons why your teeth may not be quite as white as you’d like to be… Some of those reasons are obvious but others aren’t!

What are you eating?

red white
Image credit: Master-isolated-images FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It sounds quite obvious but there are many foods which have any impact on the colour of your teeth. Some foods stain your teeth directly whilst others contribute to dental decay by being rich in sugar.

Foods which contain high amounts of sugar feeds the acid excreting bacteria which live in your mouth, the more sugar there is in your food the more this bacteria is able to feed and excrete the bacteria which then attacks your teeth causing dental decay. Teeth can then become dark either through the dental decay or by the bacteria forming solid deposits, known as plaque, which then become stained by the strong colours in some foods.

Some food on the other hand is naturally dark staining such as dark berries, tea and red wine. These may stain your teeth on their own but the staining is compounded if you have plaque on your teeth caused by a combination of poor oral hygiene and sugar in your diet.

Of course, so many of us like to eat foods like this, so if we want our teeth to be bright and white then we just have to get on top of our dental healthcare!

Are you brushing as well as you could?

Even if your diet isn’t too rich in sugar and you avoid the food with strong colours then your teeth could still be yellow then it would likely that your oral health care routine isn’t as good as it should be.

Quantity of bacteria in your mouth
Image credit: wellordie.com/health

Your mouth contains so many bacteria, more than the population of the world in fact, so it’s really important that you keep on top of this and remove as much bacteria and food as you can after each meal.

When brushing your teeth we recommend using a pea sized amount of fluoride toothpaste twice per day for 2 min each time. We also recommend flossing daily to ensure your teeth clean in between and then using a fluoride mouthwash in between meals (never after brushing as the mouthwash has less fluoride in than toothpaste).

Are you scrubbing rather than brushing?

anatomy of a toothYes, it’s possible to clean your teeth too much! If you scrub your teeth too much then the gum can recede as it will often become irritated due to the excessive brushing. As the gum recedes it may expose the softer dentine part of your tooth which is lower down towards the root. This part of the tooth is softer than the enamel (a part which you usually see) and is therefore more susceptible to both dental decay and staining.

When you brush, go easy and don’t scrub, if you visit a dental hygienist regularly they will be able to tell you if it looks as though you may be pressing too hard when you clean your teeth. It may also be worth considering an electric toothbrush, many of these have pressure sensors and light up red if you are pressing too hard, a really useful aid if you find this is a problem for you.

Your teeth just are naturally yellower!

Some people’s teeth are just not naturally as white as other peoples. Over the years celebrities have had so much teeth whitening that the commonly accepted shade for teeth is now considerably whiter than it was a few years ago.

Dental manufacturers have had to create new whiter and brighter colours for their materials to match this new trend, what was considered an average tooth colour 10 years ago would now be considered yellow.

Shade guide
Whiter shades have been created by the dental manufacturers to cope with the cosmetic demand of white teeth

Perhaps you are taking medication which makes your teeth look yellow?

The first thing to say is that you should never stop taking any medication that has been prescribed to you without first consulting your doctor. It has however been reported that some medications may affect the colour of your teeth, most often this happens if the medication is taken during childhood whilst the teeth are still forming, rather than extrinsic staining of the teeth at a later date in adulthood.

Some medicated mouthwashes can also stain teeth, so please ensure that you read the label of any medicated mouthwash that you may have been prescribed.

Rest assured though, if your teeth have been stained through using a medicated mouthwash this can easily be removed by your dentist or hygienist.

Do you smoke?

Well, you knew this would probably come up at some point! Smoking darkens teeth because it changes the delicate PH balance in your mouth, it also dries your mouth out which leads to an excessive buildup of bacteria. This bacteria not only has a rather noticeable smell, but also can contribute to increased rates of dental decay.

Plaque on teeth

The smoke itself also has many of these colouring components which, particularly when coupled with poor oral hygiene, can stain the teeth quite noticeably.

As a sidenote, if you have any damage to the gum in your mouth then smoking also slows down the healing process, just another reason to begin the quitting process.

You are older than you were yesterday!

It’s just a fact that as we age various things happened to our body! Gravity takes over and alas, our teeth can appear yellower. The reason for this isn’t because your teeth are actually going yellow, it’s because that as we get older the outer surface of the tooth (enamel) wears away, as the enamel wears away with age the yellower underlying dentine becomes more exposed. As that dentine nears the surface it has the effect of making the teeth look yellower.

This is often more prominent on the lower teeth towards the biting incisal edge. It can be noticed that there is significant yellowing or staining right on that chip area, this is known as secondary dentine and is a common concern with people in, shall we say, more senior years!

And the good news is…

The good news is that most of these problems can be quickly and simply resolved. If you give up smoking, look at your diet and ensure your oral health care routine follows the suggested procedure then you can have a big impact on the colour of your teeth. Your dentist can also whiten your teeth in a couple of ways.

If your teeth just have surface staining perhaps from smoking or food stains then this can be removed with an air abrasion technique. This blasts very small particles at the end at your teeth which very gently remove the surface stain. If however the enamel of your tooth is intrinsically not as white as you would like them teeth whitening could also be the perfect option for you.

What ever you decide, your friendly dentist in Harrow is here to help, please contact us today to book your appointment and begin your journey to brighter, whiter teeth.

 

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.

Have your teeth become crooked again after having braces when you were younger?

 European Society aesthetic orthodonticsOne of the most common reasons for patients visiting the dentist for teeth straightening is relapse after having orthodontics when they were younger. Patients often find that once they stop wearing their retainers that their teeth can begin to move back to where they were before. Coupled with the fact that as we get older our teeth have a tendency to drift forwards and become more overcrowded.
So if you find that your teeth are becoming more crooked again, after having orthodontics as a child, then you are not alone.

So what is the solution?

The European Society of Aesthetic Orthodontics (ESAO) recognises the need for a variety of orthodontic treatments of this nature and ensures that its members provide a qualified, informed choice for patients when considering this type of treatment, Dr Nishan Dixit is pleased to be a member of the ESAO and can offer you a wide range of orthodontic options from his dental practice in Harrow.
Teeth-straightening  can be a relatively simple, speedy and painless option if you have crooked teeth, so let’s look at what those options are:

Rapid Tooth Straightening

Within this category of orthodontics fall 3 particular treatments:
  • Six Month Smiles
  • Inman Aligner
  • CFast

Six Month Smiles

Faith Hill has adult orthodontic bracesAs the name suggests Six Month Smiles offers orthodontics which take, on average, six months to achieve the new look. The system is fixed using tooth coloured wires and brackets to ensure that no one else knows that you have braces fitted. As with most of these aesthetic orthodontic options Six Month Smiles is only used to straighten the front six teeth, often known as the social six.

Inman Aligner

This is a removable appliance, which utilises a revolutionary spring design which both pushes and pulls at the same time depending on where we want teeth to move. The brace can only move your front six teeth by gently  de-rotating them and then realigning them. Unlike six month smiles you can take out an Inman Aligner, you need to resist this temptation as much as possible and ensure that you wear your aligner for around 20 hours per day, simply removing it to eat, drink and clean your teeth.
One of the big advantages with the Inman Aligner is due to the revolutionary technology in the springs which  enable it to move your teeth very quickly, often in around 12 weeks. If you have a short period of time to have your teeth straightened then the Inman Aligner could be your ideal option.

Cfast

This technique is similar to 6 month smiles in that it utilises fixed orthodontics to move your teeth into their new positions. The system also utilises almost invisible orthodontics with clear braces in some instances. This makes Cfast one of the most versatile orthodontic systems around meaning you get the best teeth, straightening result with the minimum amount of hassle.

Almost Invisible Tooth Straightening

Clear Aligners

Clear Aligners - invisible bracesClear Aligners are exactly that, completely clear. They work by moving your teeth a small amount at a time. You will be provided with a series of aligners which you will typically wear for about two weeks each. Each aligner puts a small amount of pressure on your teeth to move them or rotate them to their new position. Once your teeth have moved a tiny amount you will replace the aligner with the next one in the series.
The art with using clear aligners is for  your dentist to choose exactly the right amount aligners for your particular case to ensure that your teeth move gently into their new positions.
Many people like clear aligners as they are virtually invisible to the naked eye, this means that if you have a high profile job or are in the public eye you can have straighter teeth with no one else knowing!

In Summary

Adult Orthodontics are one of the most popular cosmetic treatments requested by patients in many dental practices around the UK, and certainly, this is the case at our practice in Harrow, Middlesex. By offering you a range of treatments and being members of the ESAO you can be sure that you are offered something which fits not only your budget but your exact dental requirements.
We strongly recommend that you keep an open mind with regards to treatment, the descriptions listed above are relatively simple and there are additional requirements for each of them to be used. It may be that your dental situation is more suited to one system than another. So going to your dentist with an open mind allows you to be free to choose the best option to you.
Blue Court Dental Centre offer a free consultation, with our treatment co-ordinator, for anyone wishing to find out more about aesthetic orthodontics for teeth that have moved after having braces as children. Simply complete the download here to request your appointment.
 
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 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…

 

Six Month Braces Videos

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

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
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.

Top tips for people with sensitive 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

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.

Blue Court Dental Practice in Harrow’s top tips for people with sensitive teeth

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.

Bad Breath Causes, Treatment and Prevention

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

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is a common problem that can affect anyone of any age. Most people have short periods of bad breath at some point, and it is estimated that up to 50% of people have persistent bad breath.

Causes of bad breath

Bad breath can have several causes:

Poor oral hygiene

The most common cause of bad breath is poor oral hygiene. Bacteria that coat your teeth, tongue and gums can cause plaque (the soft white deposit that forms on the surface of the teeth), gum disease and dental decay. These bacteria combine with saliva and food in the mouth, breaking down food particles and proteins. This releases an unpleasant smelling gas.
If you do not floss your teeth regularly, any food that is trapped between your teeth will be broken down by the bacteria, causing bad breath.

Morning bad breath

Most people have bad breath when they wake up in the morning. This is normal and occurs because the mouth dries up overnight. This slows down the flow of saliva that normally washes away food particles. Bacteria quickly break down any bits of food left in the mouth, and an unpleasant, stale smell is released.

Food and drink

Eating strongly flavoured foods, such as garlic, onions and spices, often cause your breath to smell. Strong smelling drinks, such as alcohol and coffee, can also cause bad breath. This type of bad breath is usually temporary and can be avoided by not eating or drinking these types of food or drink.

some foods can cause bad breathsome medicine can cause bad breath

Medicines

Some medication can cause bad breath. Medicines that have been associated with bad breath include:
– Medicines used to treat angina
– Some chemotherapy drugs
– Tranquilisers

Smoking

If you smoke, your breath is likely to smell of stale smoke. As well as making your breath smell, smoking also causes staining and loss of taste and irritates your gums. This increases your risk of gum disease, another cause of bad breath.

Medical conditions

Bad breath can be caused by a medical condition, although this is rare. Dry mouth is a condition that affects the flow of saliva. This can cause bacteria to build up in the mouth, leading to bad breath.

  • Other medical conditions that can cause bad breath include:
  • Infections in the lungs, throat or nose
  • Bronchitis
  • Sinusitis
  • Diabetes
  • Liver or kidney problems

Crash dieting, fasting and low carbohydrate diets can also cause bad breath.

Treatment and prevention of bad breath

dental instruments to keep halitosis at bayThe most effective treatment of bad breath is usually improving your dental hygiene. To avoid bad breath, keep your mouth and teeth clean.
– Regularly brush your teeth and gums. Choose a small to medium sized toothbrush with soft multi-tufted bristles and replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Your dentist is likely to recommend that you brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

– Floss in between your teeth. Use dental floss to clean between your teeth and remove any trapped food that could cause bad breath and tooth decay.

– Keep your tongue clean. Use a separate tongue scraper to lightly brush your tongue.

toothbrushRegular check-ups with your dentist will make sure any plaque is removed from your teeth. It will also ensure any signs of gum disease are noted and treated early on.