Is flossing really as important as dentists say?

In most people’s oral hygiene routine, flossing isn’t a common task for many. Despite all dentists and dental hygienists advising their patients to floss everyday, many still don’t do it.

Without flossing, a person can miss cleaning around 35% of their tooth surface. Some people also don’t have big enough spaces in between their teeth for the bristles of their toothbrush to get in between, meaning less of the tooth surface is cleaned. Flossing also helps to maintain healthy gums, reducing risk for periodontal diseases. Reducing the risk for periodontal disease means patients are more likely to keep their adult teeth and require less work to maintain their oral hygiene. A common early sign of gum disease is bleeding of the gums during brushing and/or flossing. However, flossing everyday can quickly resolve this bleeding, showing signs of healthier gums.

Some tips for effective flossing are listed below:

  1. Grip the floss rightly, so there is no slack, between your forefingers and thumbs, allowing for around an inch of floss to be used.
  2. When flossing, use a gentle rocking motion to manoeuvre the floss between your teeth. Effective flossing doesn’t have to be aggressive.
  3. Ensure to floss the back surface of your last tooth, despite it not having a tooth next to it.
  4. Work in a strategic way throughout the mouth to avoid missing any teeth. E.g. Start at the right of the top of your mouth and work your way around to the left.

What are the differences between private dental care and NHS dental care?

There isn’t much clarity as to what the differences in the treatments offered by NHS clinics and privately owned clinics unless external research is conducted by the patient. The most common preconception of private dental care is that it is more expensive, however this isn’t necessarily always the case.

In terms of restorative dentistry and preserving the teeth the patient already has, treatments don’t have much variation in terms of whether the clinic is public or private. The main differences between these two types of dental care is with the amount of time allocated per patient. With NHS clinics, there is such a large clientele that it may be harder to book an appointment, resulting in longer waiting times for an appointment. With private clinics, there is a lot more freedom in choosing when you would like an appointment and for how long the appointment will need to last.

The main purpose of NHS dental treatment is to treat patients as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Treatments from the NHS are also centred around functionality of the teeth, rather than the aesthetics of the mouth. This means that for any cosmetic treatments, a dentist from a privately owned clinic will need to carry out these treatments. As a result of private clinics offering cosmetic-based treatments, higher quality materials may also be used to achieve the best looking teeth possible. All in all, privately owned clinics have much more freedom when it comes to the materials and labs they use, as they have no government funding that they need to stick by.

Despite there being slight differences between the two types of clinics available, the main aim of both public and private dental care is to help people with any problems concerning the teeth find appropriate treatment so that it doesn’t affect their day-to-day life.

A discussion with Dr. Kazem

When he’s feeling under the weather, dentist Dr. Kazem says one thing always helps him feel a little more like himself. “Brushing my teeth when I’m sick actually makes me feel better,” he says. “My mouth feels clean, and in a way, I feel like my health is starting to improve.”

When you have a cold or the flu, taking care of your body is your top priority—and that includes your mouth. “It’s important to take care of your dental health all year round, but especially when you’re sick,” Dr. Kazem says.

Here are some simple ways to care for your dental health when you’re not feeling well: 

Practice Good Hygiene

When you’re ill, you know to cover your mouth when you cough and don’t forget to keep up your dental and toothbrush hygiene as well.

According to the CDC, the flu virus can live on moist surfaces for 72 hours. “The number one rule is not to share your toothbrush anytime, but especially when you are sick,” Dr. Kazem says.

You also probably don’t need to replace your toothbrush after you’ve been sick. Unless your immune system is severely compromised, the chances of re-infecting yourself are very low. “But if you’re still in doubt, throw it out,” says Dr. Kazem. “Especially if you’ve had your toothbrush for 3-4 months, when it’s time to replace it anyway.”

Choose Sugar-Free Cough Syrup

Make sure to reead the label before you pick up a bag at the pharmacy with an eye to avoid ingredients like fructose or cough syrup. “Many cough drops contain sugar, and it is like sucking on candy,” says Dr. Kazem. “Sugar is a culprit when it comes to cavities.” The longer you keep a sugary cough drop in your mouth, the more time cavity-causing bacteria has to feast on that sugar, which produces the acid that can leave holes in your teeth.

Swish and Spit After Vomiting

One unfortunate side effect of a stomach flu, among other illnesses, is vomiting. You might be tempted to brush your teeth right away, but Dr. Kazem says it’s better to wait. “When you vomit, stomach acids are coming in contact with your teeth and coating them,” he says. “If you brush too soon, you’re just rubbing that acid all over the hard-outer shell of your teeth.”

Instead, swish with water, a diluted mouth rinse or a mixture of water and 1 tsp. baking soda to help wash the acid away. Spit, and brush about 30 minutes later.

Stay Hydrated to Avoid Dry Mouth

When you’re sick, you need plenty of fluids for many reasons. One is to prevent dry mouth.  Not only is it uncomfortable—dry mouth can also put you at greater risk for cavities. The medications you might be taking for a cold or flu—such as antihistamines, decongestants or pain relievers—can also dry out your mouth, so drink plenty of water and suck on sugarless cough drops, throat lozenges or candies to keep that saliva flowing.

When it comes to your mouth and your body, one beverage is always best. “The safest thing to drink is water,” Dr. Kazem says. “Sports drinks might be recommended to replenish electrolytes when you’re sick, but drink them in moderation and don’t make them a habit after you’ve recovered because unless they are a sugar free version, they contain a lot of sugar.”

You might also want something to warm you up. “When you have a cold or the flu, you may want something comforting to get through it, like tea,” he says. “Try not to add sugar or lemon if you can avoid it. Sugar can helps to fuel cavity-causing bacteria, and lemon is acidic. It’s something to keep in mind once you’re feeling 100% again, as well.”

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Millions putting themselves at risk of mouth cancer by being unaware of the ‘big three risks’

A leading health charity is urging Brits to be more aware of how their lifestyle choices can increase their risk of mouth cancer.

The Oral Health Foundation is calling for the UK to be more Mouthaware, following new research which shows a systemic misunderstanding of mouth cancer and what causes it.

The newly-published State of Mouth Cancer UK Report finds two in three (68%) British adults do not consider themselves to be at any risk of developing mouth cancer, despite many admitting to making lifestyle choices that contribute to the disease.

One-in-two smokers (50%) do not realise tobacco is linked to mouth cancer. Just under half (48%) of those who exceed the government’s weekly alcohol intake are unaware that drinking to excess increases the risk of mouth cancer.1

More than three in four (76%) sexually-active adults do not know that oral sex, which is how the human papillomavirus (HPV) is transmitted, is a risk factor of mouth cancer.1

The charity, currently campaigning as part of Mouth Cancer Action Month, is looking to spread awareness of the causes of mouth cancer, to highlight the importance of recognising whether you are at greater risk.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, says: “More than half of all mouth cancer cases are linked to lifestyle factors. This includes smoking, drinking alcohol excessively and sexual contact. Our findings show that there is clearly not enough information about mouth cancer and the risks associated with it.

“One of the biggest problems we face in getting more people to make healthier choices is that many are guilty of thinking “it can’t happen to me,” but sadly, it could.

“Cases of mouth cancer have increased by 135% over the last generation and for those who smoke and drink too much alcohol, the likelihood of developing the disease increases by 30 times.

“The good news is that by altering lifestyle choices and making healthier decisions for your body, you can give yourself a better chance of avoiding the disease.”

Latest statistics show that there are 15.8 million smokers across Britain and 8.6 million people who regularly drink over the weekly recommended limit of 14 units.2

There are now more than 8,300 new cases of mouth cancer every year in the UK,making it one of the country’s fastest-growing cancers.

Mouth Cancer Action Month aims to raise awareness of mouth cancer and save lives by promoting the values of prevention and early detection.

The charity campaign runs throughout November and is sponsored by Simplyhealth Professionals, with further support from Dentists’ Provident.

Chief Dental Officer at Simplyhealth Professionals, Dr Henry Clover, adds: “It is really important to remember that even if you don’t smoke or drink, it doesn’t mean you are not at risk of developing mouth cancer.

“Be pro-active in checking for the signs of mouth cancer. Look for long-lasting mouth ulcers, red or white patches and unusual lumps and swellings. Mouth cancer can appear in the mouth, lips, tongue and throat. Be vigilant and recognise the signs, as well as the causes.

“If you think you are at higher risk, make sure you keep to regular dental appointments. By spotting mouth cancer early, it gives you the best possible chance of beating the disease. So, if you notice any of these signs or anything else unusual, make sure you visit your dentist immediately.”

Despite being historically known as a disease which primarily effects older men, there has been a substantial rise in the number of cases in both women and younger adults in general.

Mother of one, Laura Taylor, was only 23-years-old when she was diagnosed with cancer of the tongue in September 2017.

“Age is just a number, I was 23, a non-smoker and didn’t drink alcohol, yet I still was diagnosed with mouth cancer,” Laura says.

“Early diagnosis is key so please check your mouth, if you notice anything abnormal, get it checked out by visiting the dentist immediately.”

Download the full State of Mouth Cancer UK Report 2018/19.


Air pollution and why we should be aware – for both good general health and oral health

Whilst we already know that air pollution is both bad for the environment and us, for a number of reasons such as putting ourselves at risk of asthma and other diseases as well as the bad overused use of fossil fuels!

It’s also fact that smoking, drinking and oral sex have all been linked with increasing the chances of having oral cancer.

So whether you are a smoker yourself, or are in an environment where passive smoking is common (inhaling others’ smoke through the nasal passage rather than smoking to yourself), you must ask yourself if these are habits you want to continue if you wish to have a long-lasting life.

The same goes for drinking! If you are a regular drinker then this applies to you also, found in multiple case studies such as the research that has been conducted in Taiwan and other countries that can be found here

If you’re worried you may have any diseases, dentists are qualified to check for some! Why not come visit our Guidlford dentists at Guildford Dental Practice and receive an examination which will identify any imperfections in your teeth, and inform you of any diseases!


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Xylitol chewing gum and why you should use it

Xylitol chewing gum should be substituted for the chewing gum you use these days for a number of health reasons.

Since xylitol slows demineralization and enables some rebuilding of the enamel, it assists in the prevention of new cavities from forming and over time can reverse tooth decay that already occurred. Studies have shown that using xylitol five times per day is very effective at preventing caries. (

We know cavities are parts of teeth where decay has been present, and that is what creates a visit to your dentist! It’s also been proven xylitol has 40% less calories than sucrose meaning quicker blood absorption potentially helping towards reducing hyperglycemia – an excess of glucose which can ultimately lead to diabetes.

The only concerns of xylitol that we know to date is that excessive use for 3 or more years can lead to tumors in some cases and that xylitol can cause diarrhea.

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Alcohol increases disease-causing mouth bacteria

A study tells us that ‘changes in oral microbes may lead to gum disease, heart problems, and cancer.’

Whilst we all know the most well known problems that come along with alcohol, and alcohol addiction especially, such as liver failure and other health risks, new research shows that drinking alcohol can imbalance your oral bacteria and make yourself more prone at risk for a variety of diseases.

Depending on how many units of alcohol you drink per day/week, this can impact your oral microbes which can then lead on to further serious worries, such as gum infection, cancer or cardiovascular disease.  To prove this a study from a NYC Professor claimed “Particularly, we found that beneficial bacteria disappeared, and several inflammatory bacteria contents increased in heavy alcohol drinkers.”.

This is why it is important to know your limits on alcohol and not to binge drink! In 2017, among those who had drink alcohol 27% were classed as binge drinkers in the week before being interviewed for a study. That is 16% of all adults aged 16 or over in Great Britain.  For men this was defined as eight units or more on the heaviest drinking day and six units or more for women.

It is important that you evaluate how much you drink and decide whether you are within the health and safety regulation for units, or if you are drinking far too heavily against the advised consumption! In the long term this can reduce your visits to the dentist and ultimately, the main factor, prevent any ongoing issues in the future such as cancer, cardiovascular disease or any other problems that come with excessive drinking!

Do you floss your teeth?

We all know it is important to brush our teeth – but do you know that flossing BEFORE brushing your teeth has been proven to be more effective than flossing after brushing? A recent study tells us that interdental brushing with floss before conducting a full wash loosens bacteria and food waste which means a larger surface area for the toothbrush to work on – hence providing better oral hygiene!


So, whether you don’t floss, or if you do but have recently just found a more advantageous way to clean your teeth – be sure to include this before your brushing routine! Flossing can remove almost half the plaque around your teeth – responsible for cavities, gum disease and other nuisances!


The best practice of flossing would include; 1. Holding the brush between your thumb and index finger 2. Gently brushing between gaps without forcing the brush further through a gap than what feels comfortable 3. Brushing consistently through each gap between your teeth.


If you follow these steps and continue to brush at a high standard afterwards you are on your way to maintaining the best oral health you possibly can at home.

Why you should get your teeth whitened professionally

Over the years, it is only natural for our teeth to get stained over periods of time through excessive drinking of fizzy drinks, too much tea or or other reasons.

Just as each human being has a different tone of skin colour, hair colour, eye colour, the same applies to teeth in that some may have more yellow teeth in comparison to others.

So – whatever your reason for teeth whitening be it cosmetically appealing, you’re afraid to show your teeth or before your next big wedding where you wish to have a perfect smile, dental professionals including here at GDP (Guildford Dental Practice) offer a range of both in-chair and at home teeth-whitening courses that start from £320 and range in price dependent on your choice of path on how to whiten your teeth.

For example, at Guildford Dental Practice one of the methods we use is Phillips ZOOM! which will require multiple visits to the dentist and arguably is not harmful at all. Your dentist will consult you upon these visits have you any problems or questions and will guide you to getting your teeth as white as possible! More information can be found at

If you think teeth whitening is for you, go have a look at peoples’ results on social media such as Facebook, Instagram and even the internet on results from Phillip ZOOM! and other traditional whitening techniques, and save yourself from the hassle and myth of teeth whitening at home which can turn out for not the better – but for the worse!

Enamel erosion

Dental enamel provides an incredibly hard shield for your teeth, but it has one major weakness: its pH.

The enamel is targeted and can be eroded by many goods we use day-by-day, sugary drinks, coffee, sweets and so forth.

More and more primary data is being shown such as this report which shall be credited at the end of the page:

A 25-year-old man presented with the severe worn-out of the front teeth during the past 3 years. The patient reported that he had a history of drinking cola for more than 7 years and had a poor oral hygiene. In the first 3 years, he drank 0.5~0.75 L cola a day and toothbrushed once a day. During the period of 4~5 months into the 4th year, he drank 1.5 L cola a day and some fruit juices (especially grape and citric juices), and he brushed his tooth or gargled with water once a day, mostly in the morning. In the latest 3 years, he continued dranking 1.5 L cola a day and toothbrushed once or twice daily.

This may or may not be relevant to you – however it is important to know how much this can affect your oral hygiene! And if in a similar case what you can do to avoid having a similar fate or outcome.

To summarise the case, the 25-year-old man suffered severe decays and cavities. The erosive acid of these drinks such as Coca Cola cause this and, over time such as this young man having been drinking cola for over 7 years has lead to pain and suffering and requirement of more dental care needed than would’ve been had checks been done more regularly.

As a friendly reminder, enjoy your fizzy drinks by no means in this tropical weather England is having now! In fact, enjoy them, but if in doubt be it toothache or anything serious be sure to visit your dentist at any time and at least every six months!

Credit to the report can be found at the article :