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What you eat plays an important role in your oral health

Why is a healthy diet so important for good oral health?

Proper nutrition means eating a well-balanced diet so that your body can get the nutrients needed for good health and wellness. If your diet is low in the nutrients your body needs, your mouth may have a more difficult time resisting infection. This may contribute to gum disease which is a major cause of tooth loss in adults.

A poor diet can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. Foods high in carbohydrates, sugars and starches greatly contribute to the production of plaque acids that attack the tooth enamel. Eventually, these acids can cause tooth enamel to break down, forming a cavity.

What are the foods you should avoid or limit?

  • Too much sugary food and drinks
  • Avoid any foods that stick to your teeth, because these can produce more plaque
  • Too many citrus fruits can be acidic and break down enamel
  • Coffee, tea and red wine can stain teeth
  • Toffees can crack teeth

What are the good foods and drink for oral health

  • Water is the best drink for maintaining your oral health.
  • Phosphorus-rich foods such as meat, poultry, fish, milk and eggs help to strengthen your teeth
  • Fruits and vegetables are an important part of any balanced diet, and they are also good for your teeth. Since they are high in water and fibre, they help to balance the sugars they contain and help to clean your teeth.
  • Nuts contain protein and minerals important for overall health. In addition, nuts that are low in carbohydrates don’t add to your risk of cavities. Plus, chewing nuts stimulates saliva production, which can reduce your risk for tooth decay.
  • Dairy products contain calcium and they neutralise enamel destroying acids

Keeping your and your family’s teeth healthy, depends on cleaning in between your teeth once a day, brushing your teeth twice a day, and seeing your dentist regularly, but your diet also plays a role in the health of your teeth. Foods containing sugar are a particularly common cause of tooth decay. You don’t need to avoid them altogether, but making them a treat will help protect your teeth for years to come.

 

The effect of sugar on your teeth

It will come to no surprise to you that sugar is bad for your teeth. Frequent sugar consumption can lead to poor oral health. The most common complaint when visiting the dentist is sugar related problems.

Recently it has been reported by The Faculty of Dental Surgery at the Royal College of Surgeons that baby teeth loss has increased by 24% in the last decade due to sugary diets

Tooth decay is preventable in both adults and children by reducing the frequency with which we consume sugary food and drink, visiting the dentist regularly and brushing teeth twice a day.

How Sugar can cause cavities  

Depending on the amount, type and form of sugar consumed it can depend on the severity of the impact on your teeth but the effects remain the same – cavities. How often you consume sugar has the biggest effect not the amount consumed.  For example, a can of fizzy drink is not as harmful to your tooth enamel if you drink all of it in a few minutes versus sipping the can over a few hours.

Plaque, is always forming on your teeth and gums and plaque contains bacteria. The bacteria contained in the plaque feeds on the sugar in foods you eat or drink. Acids are created in about 20 seconds and last for about 30 minutes. Those acids can destroy your tooth enamel over time. Acidic environments promote cavities.

How can cavities be prevented

Even though sugar is in almost everything we eat, it is possible to prevent tooth decay by:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice each day
  • Cleaning between your teeth at least once each day
  • Rinsing your mouth with a fluoride mouthwash
  • Seeing your dentist at least twice a year for teeth cleaning and check-ups
  • Avoiding food and drinks high in sugar, such as fizzy drinks, juice and sweets, in between meals.

How to reduce sugar in your daily diet

Go a step farther, reduce your overall sugar consumption by incorporating these steps into you and your families lives

  • Eat a good breakfast – Some breakfast cereals contain high levels of sugar, therefore switching to a lower sugar cereal and not adding sugar yourself will have a massive impact on your dental health. Eating a good breakfast will also reduce snacking later in the morning
  • Healthy snacks – Snacks such as nuts, sugar free snacks and vegetables provide great alternatives to biscuits as they provide that energy boost you need.
  • Check the sugar quantity on products – Look out for the traffic system on products and check the sugar quantity before you buy
  • Don’t add sugar to anything – try to stop adding sugar to your cereal, coffee and tea
  • Don’t eat anything the hour before you go to bed
  • Don’t have too many smoothies – Eat fruit whole as when eating fruit in smoothies it releases sugars which will coat the whole tooth
  • Cut back on alcohol - Alcoholic drinks account for 11% of the UK population’s daily intake of added sugar. Try to moderate the amount of alcoholic drinks you have and have some water nearby as it helps wash some of the sugar from the mouth.

If you have any queries about anything you’ve read in my blog please email me at stuart@spiresdental.co.uk

How to prevent tooth decay in children

A survey by Public Health England has revealed that one in 10 three-year-olds has tooth decay. Toddlers had an average of three teeth that were decayed, missing or filled.

There are some simple steps that parents can follow to prevent this:

  • Avoid sugary drinks and snacks – The British Nutrition Foundation advices that foods and drinks containing sugar should be kept to mealtimes only. The more often your toddler has sugary foods or drinks, the more likely they are to get tooth decay. As a dentist, I recommend that children should have sugar-containing foods and drinks no more than four times a day.
  • What are good snacks – snacks such as fruit and raw vegetables, including tangerines, bananas, pieces of cucumber or carrot sticks. Other good snacks include toast, rice cakes and plain popcorn. Plus, limit the sugary drinks, water and milk are the best drinks for toddlers.
  • Brush teeth twice a day – Thorough brushing for two minutes, twice a day, once before bed, will help to prevent tooth decay using a small pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. As a dentist, I advise that you should start brushing children’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears and supervise their tooth brushing until they are seven or eight years old.
  • Regular dental check-ups – we offer free children’s dental check-ups for existing patients. Children’s examinations are held on a Monday during school half term in Feb, July & October. The next one scheduled is 31st July so call our reception and get your child booked in for a quick check up.

This is what I advise J

Childrens teeth 

There are three main things that we feel are very important when taking care of your children’s teeth:

  1. AVOID SUGAR IN BETWEEN MEALS!!!!!- the single most important thing that you need to do is train your children, and their guardians, that sugar in between meals will ALWAYS rot/decay the child’s teeth.  The quantity is not relevant, it is the frequency of exposure of sugar that matters.  Our advice is simple- only allow your children to have sugar with one of their three meals a day.  Simple J.
  1. FLUORIDE IS AWESOME!!!  We advise that fluoride is used twice a day via an age appropriate children’s tooth paste.  Only small amounts are required so we recommend dipping the toothbrush into the toothpaste itself.  If the child eats too much toothpaste they may end up with Fluorosis (white/brown mottling on their adult teeth).
  1. USE AN ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH -  Cleaning your own teeth is hard, cleaning someone else’s is even harder.  Now try it on a 2-year-old L.  It thus makes sense to use the best tool we have to clean the teeth and that is an electric toothbrush.  Sometimes it’s easier to start with a child’s battery powered toothbrush but we advise moving up to a rechargeable brush as soon as you can.

Obviously it is also important to allow us to see your child for a dental examination at least once a year so we can ensure you are doing the right things and that the teeth are developing normally.

The importance of dental check ups

The importance of dental check ups

More and more people only visit the dentist when they have a problem. By having infrequent check-ups, it has meant that 31% of adults have tooth decay, 66% having visible plaque and 29% are suffering from toothache.

Many of us ignore the health of our mouth and ignore problems until it is too late.

How often should you visit the dentist?

At Spires, we offer consultations where you can attend and see our dentist who will advise if you need to visit yearly or every six months. As well as visiting the dentist for checks ups it is important to visit the hygienist who will thoroughly clean your teeth and remove any hard plaque that builds up where you miss with your cleaning.

Why are dental checks ups and hygienist appointments so important?

Prevention is everything in dentistry.  Dentistry itself is not an alternative to your teeth; it is merely an alternative to having a problem that could have been prevented.

By ignoring the health of your mouth problems cannot be detected earlier. For instance, regular hygienist appointments can ensure your gum health is maintained preventing bone loss around your teeth as well as the smells and tastes that gum infection causes.

Regular dental checks ups can detect the beginnings of tooth decay which if undetected can result in a lot of pain, root canal treatment or an extensive fillings. By visiting the dentist, it means this can be identified earlier and treated with as little work as possible- we don’t need to fill teeth with early decay, instead we can advise you about the problem and employ preventative measures to stop it spreading.

By having regular check-ups can therefore be more cost effective than having to pay for expensive dental work such as tooth replacements, fillings, crowns and treatment of advanced gum disease.

What are the health factors associated with bad oral hygiene?

We are seeing an increasing amount of evidence in the dental literature that unhealthy gums can lead to other health problems:

1.     Risk for Heart Disease and Stroke

People who have a periodontal disease (gum disease) are twice as likely to develop heart disease because of the narrowing of the arteries that causes plaque and bacteria to get into the blood stream through the mouth and gums.

2.     Risk of Dementia

Poor oral health and tooth loss can increase your risk of suffering from memory loss at an early age. If your gums become inflamed due to infection, this can also cause brain inflammation which could cause death of certain brain cells.

3.     Respiratory Problems

The bacteria that cause periodontal disease can travel through the bloodstream and in to your lungs where it can impact the respiratory system.

4.     Cancer

The number of mouth cancer patients has grown in the past ten years with more than 6,700 people diagnosed in 2015. Mouth cancer can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat. Regular checks ups can help detect the early signs of mouth cancer.

The cost of checks ups

By not taking good care of your oral health it can lead to severe health problems, and expensive dental bills that could have been avoided.

The myth is that private dentistry is expensive however a 20 minute full dental examination is just £44. A 30 minute routine hygienist appointment to remove all the build up and staining around your teeth is £58. Plus, you can spread the cost of your dental care by paying monthly payments of £11.55. Find out more here.

Therefore, if you haven’t been to see your dentist for a while use this blog post as a reminder and motivation to book your appointment today.

STUARTS 5 TIPS TO GUM HEALTH!

Gum disease smells, tastes funny and eats away the bone around your teeth and most of the population has it.  According to the world health organization ‘Severe periodontal (gum) disease, which may result in tooth loss, is found in 15–20% of middle-aged (35-44 years) adults’.

Ultimately none of us want it and it is so simple to prevent so please follow our tips below and you’ll start to look after your gums that much better.

1.     Brush your gums!!!

‘Brush your teeth Kevin!’….. Yup that’s what we heard when we were growing up and that’s what we tell our own children (if you’re as old as I amJ).  Sadly it’s just plain wrong.

Plaque builds up around your gums and in between your teeth.  By all means brush the biting surface of the teeth (most of you do this anyway) but you need to angle the brush into the gums like this:

teeth

2.     Brush your gums- with an ORAL B electric toothbrush

Oral B electric tooth brushes are scientifically proven to remove the most plaque from your gums.  I’m not a huge fan of Sonic tooth brushes and manual ones simply do not cut the mustard!

I recommend the ORAL B PRO 2000 or 4000.

3.     Brush your gums (are you noticing a theme?J) – in between your teeth

Plaque builds up in between your teeth……well why wouldn’t it?  There’s a natural shelter in between your teeth that plaque finds irresistible and you need to clean it.  Yes I know that you’ve never done it before but maybe that’s why you’re reading this ;)

Floss?  For those really tight gaps, of which I have two, yes.  On the whole I recommend Tepe brushes http://www.tepe.com/uk/products/interdental-brushes/.  These brushes are the single best way to rid you of most of your gum disease.

Ultimately you need to gently feed them in between your teeth and move it back and forth.  Start with a small brush, generally a red one will do, but as the gums heal you will need to use a larger brush.

This video is great:

4.     Brush your gums- even though they bleed and are sore.

Imagine you had a skin infection; its red, it’s a bit crusty but when your GP tells you to keep it clean you think ‘well that’s a good idea!’  So off you go, give it a clean and hey, it’s sore.  No surprise there.

So……why do people expect their infected gums to feel fine when they clean them?  It will be sore and it will bleed.  The key message is ‘Don’t panic and carry on cleaning’.

1-2 weeks after following our tips the bleeding stops

1-2 months later your mouth will feel so much fresher and cleaner.

5.     Brush your gums – and see a dental professional.

Yes, I knew you saw it coming but, sadly, you do need us.

By following the advice above you will have a significant impact on the health of your gums BUT you can only remove the soft build up, the plaque.  You cannot remove the hard build up which clogs the gaps between your teeth and can build up below the gum line.  This is where we come in.

If you have any queries about anything you’ve read in my blog please email me at stuart@spiresdental.co.uk

Good luck,

Stuart

Benefits of teeth whitening

Tooth whitening is the number one cosmetic dental procedure worldwide and often offers the maximum benefits as it is one of the easiest, most effective ways to enhance your looks. Whether you want to have that bright, white smile for your wedding day, or you wish to feel more confident when you smile in those important business meetings, whitening is simple affordable and safe.

Whitening is big business these days leading to a number of products that promise to whiten your teeth, sometimes even coming with a guide to show you how much things have improved.  They all look very impressive but sadly they do not work other than removing surface staining from your teeth.

Only a dentist can diagnose the cause of your tooth discolouration, see that whitening will work, and prescribe bona fide tooth whitening that will work every time.

On average this takes within 4-6 weeks of whitening and will last indefinitely with some very simple maintenance once a month.

What causes discoloured teeth?

Diet and lifestyle can cause teeth to become discoloured with the main culprits being:

  • Smoking
  • Black coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine

But we know that whitening even whitens teeth that are naturally more yellow.

How do you whiten teeth?

Over the year’s teeth soak up the stains from tea, coffee, smoking etc. This process is gradual and can take many years to discolour the teeth beyond an acceptable limit. The whitening is accomplished by wearing whitening trays in 2-8 hour stints. Whitening trays fit like a glove and are comfortable and easy to wear. They are similar to very thin gum shields. If you can wear them through the night, the colour change will occur more quickly as the gel is in contact with your teeth for longer.

What are the benefits?

  • A cleaner, fresher looking smile!!……not worrying about how your smile looks is a great boon in social situations.  Who wants to worry about how their smile looks when they are meeting people?
  • Dental professionals have noticed that patients who’ve had their teeth whitened tend to show an improvement in their oral health care routine.
  • Looking more youthful – we associate white teeth with youth, as the older we get, the more our teeth have been exposed to foods and drinks which can stain our teeth.
  • Camera ready – whatever the occasion, a wedding or you simply like taking selfies making the teeth a few shades whiter can help a person to feel camera ready.
  • Affordable – teeth whitening is an affordable procedure which produces great results without harming your teeth.  Due to the way we educate our clients once you’ve whitened with us you’ll never need to pay for whitening again, merely buying the odd tube of gel every now and then.

Download our teeth whitening brochure

Are you mouth aware?

The number of mouth cancer patients has grown in the past ten years with more than 6,700 people diagnosed in 2015. Mouth cancer can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat. At Spires Dental we think it is important people know what to look out for.

Remember to never ignore:

  • Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks
  • Red and white patches in the mouth
  • Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth

If you are in any doubt just ask me and I will be more than happy to advise. as knowing what to look out for can help reduce the risk and reduce the number of lives mouth cancer affects. On 24th November 9am until noon we are offering FREE mouth cancer checks. So why not pop into the clinic and get checked out.

What are the risk factors?

Mouth cancer can affect anybody and 91% of diagnosis are linked to lifestyle. Therefore, by adjusting our lifestyle choices we can significantly reduce the chances of developing this type of cancer.

The following risk factors are associated with mouth cancer:

  • Smoking
  • Drinking to excess
  • HPV virus
  • Poor diet
  • Chewing or smokeless tobacco

For more information, please visit www.mouthcancer.org or www.mouthcancerfoundation.org

April’s progress

Hello ………

Well April is upon us and Lichfield is getting a new addition to the skyline….well, that may be exaggerating a little.

We’ve excavated, placed the footings and started on the structure so hopefully things will all be due to be completed by the start of July 2016.

Sadly things haven’t all gone smoothly, making a hole in the neighbours’ wall was a low point, but thankfully we now seem to be on track.

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

IMG_1600

Well the main aims are:

  1. To add a ground floor surgery to our practice
  2. To fit a decontamination suite so we can carry out central sterilising (of dental instruments J), the GOLD standard of cross infection, something you would expect to see in hospitals.
  3. To fit a central x-ray room
  4. To open out reception and create a better flow for our clients- if there is one part of the practice i dislike it is the reception……URGGHHHHHH L
  5. To renovate how the practice looks and feels. There is no doubt in my mind that we offer a very high standard of dentistry but sadly the appearance of the front of the building and the general look of the interior just looks a little dark and tired.  No longer!!…..our interior designer Kate has come up with a really relaxing, non-dentisty look that is just FAB!! IMG_1597

WHY ARE WE EXPANDING?

Our philosophy (to help people need dentists as little as possible) is strong and chimes well with our clients.  Almost all of our clients notice they need less and less dentistry as time goes on.  Thankfully this is working well and thus we now need a bit more help and a bit more room to see more and more patients.

WHAT’S IN IT FOR OUR CLIENTS?

Well there are a number of things……

  1. A new ground floor surgery will grant better access to clients who can’t quite manage the stairs as well as they used to.
  2. A new dentist means we can now offer our Spires Essentials range to all our membership clients.  Our essentials range offers patients treatments at more affordable costs.
  3. When i go on holiday we will have in house cover for our clients…..no more referrals to one of my colleagues.
  4. A renovated practice will provide a fresh and relaxed atmosphere for all our clients.

THE DOWNSIDE?

IMG_1598

Well there are two downsides:

Firstly, in June, we are going to have to shut down parts of the practice whilst we renovate meaning we will be operating a reduced service out of the new downstairs surgery.

Secondly…..the damn thing is costing around £200K (GULP!!).  God bless the banks and low interest rates eh?

Wish us luck :)

Stuart

The benefits of braces over veneers

I saw a lady the other day and she had noticed one of her veneers had chipped.  Her previous dentist had recommended that she have it replaced but I wasn’t so sure….the veneers looked very bulky to me and didn’t do her smile any justice so spending money to repair a chip didn’t exactly make sense.  We had a nice chat, went over her options and she’ll decide the best course of action for her.

Anyway….this got me thinking on how many patients I had donebraces veneers for without having to replace old veneers.  Going through my records I can only find one case, the rest of my veneers have been to replace old veneers because they had fractured, didn’t look nice or the gums had receded.

Looking back over this it re-affirmed my stance that although I like the technical aspect of doing veneers (they are professionally very rewarding to do) I don’t like adjusting teeth and possible affecting the health of the teeth.

Compare this to braces; I move your teeth into a better position, we take off the braces, whiten and contour your teeth so they look great, the result lasts a very long time (as long as you wear your retainers)…and that’s it.  There are no significant long term costs, no major failures, the health of your teeth is maintained.

The downside is it takes 12-24 months, but I would argue more and more people are having braces so whats the problem?  We Brits are moving with the times more and more when it comes to our mouths.

The clear radiance braces we use are discreet, they work no matter your age and when used in conjunction with other cosmetic techniques we can get a great (not just good) smile.  Yes they do take time but cost wise you can normally have a whole course of brace treatment for £3000-£4000 inclusive of planning, whitening and retainers, whereas veneers only align one tooth at a time and cost £500-£600 each.

Taking all this into account I don’t think I’m going to change.

Stuart

P.s. I always like getting questions via email so feel free to quiz me by emailing me at stuart@spiresdental.co.uk

Stuarts 5 Tips to Gum Health

Gum disease smells, tastes funny and eats away the bone around your teeth and most of the population has it.  According to the world health organization ‘Severe periodontal (gum) disease, which may result in tooth loss, is found in 15–20% of middle-aged (35-44 years) adults’.

Ultimately none of us want it and it is so simple to prevent so please follow our tips below and you’ll start to look after your gums that much better. Continue reading