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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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 https://www.dentistry.co.uk/2018/10/16/high-levels-air-pollution-linked-oral-cancer/

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. (https://xylitol.org/healthcare-professionals/professional-dental-info-about-xylitol/)

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.

We hope you found this blog interesting, if you have any questions or requests on an article tweet us at https://twitter.com/GuildfordDental or Instagram DM us at https://www.instagram.com/guildforddentalpractice/ 

 

 

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.

Five oral myths you never knew were bad for you

There are many myths that circulate around oral health with all the new ad-campaigning on how to protect your teeth from early days to your elderly days and the products that are advertised. Many of these are uninformative and can lead to people neglecting their teeth when they’re trying to look after them!

  1. Spit Don’t Rinse

Fluoride is very good for your teeth. You’re likely to find it in most of the toothpastes on the shelf at your local supermarket. To give your teeth the best chance of staying pearly white, you don’t want to lose the full benefit of brushing with a fluoride toothpaste. So, after you’ve finished brushing, spit out the excess and then do not rinse. Let the fluoride work its’ magic after you’ve finished brushing!

 

  1. Mind the loo!

This is something you might not think of too much, but where you keep your toothbrush when you aren’t using it is very important. If you keep your brush a little to close to your toilet, every time someone flushes, some of the spray will fly out the toilet and may land on your toothbrush. Now we aren’t saying that you’ve been brushing your teeth with bad bacteria for years, but we’d recommend moving your brush a safe distance away. Just to be on the safe side.

 

  1. Sharing is a no-go

It doesn’t matter how close you are, or if you’re related, if you want your oral health routine to be air-tight, you should be the only person who uses your toothbrush. No exceptions. Not just because you can get colds and blood-borne diseases from people you share your brush with but also because you could be sharing your germs with others! Nobody is perfect, keep your germs to yourself, just like your toothbrush!

 

  1. Brushing is not a quick fix

Have you ever had a drink of something sugary or acidic right before bed and go to brush your teeth straight after you finish? You’d think it was a good idea, but you’d be wrong. Consuming anything even remotely bad for your teeth makes them weaker and if you brush straight away you could actually be brushing away fragments of your enamel. That can lead to toothache and increased sensitivity. Instead, give it an hour and then brush with a fluoride toothpaste for two minutes last thing at night. In the meantime, read a book, catch up on your favourite TV series or do those chores you’ve been putting off all week!

 

  1. There is such a thing as brushing too much!

The enamel of your teeth is the hardest substance in your body – but it isn’t indestructible. Again, it might sound like a good idea to brush hard to provide the most thorough clean but being tough on your teeth can do more harm than good. By all means be firm with your teeth and make sure you clean every tooth but there is no need to go crazy, whether that means brushing too hard or for too long.

 

 

There’s a lot more to your oral health than you might think. Hopefully you’ve gained a new perspective on how you can improve your dental hygiene at home, whether that be closing the lid of the toilet more often or deciding to buy a new toothbrush for your significant other or children.

Why you should visit your dentist at least every six months

What is HPV?

 

HPV stands for ‘Human papillomavirus infection’ which some variants of which can increase the risk of or trigger cancer of the mouth, throat, and other body areas.

 

HPV is one of the leading causes of mouth cancer; which every year more than 7,500 diagnosed in Britain alone and taking away more than 2,000 lives. This beats both testicular and cervical cancer combined.

 

Prior to this new vaccination scheme coming into play for adolescent boys, there are other ways to identify mouth cancer and issues.

 

In fact, your dentist is properly trained to identify diseases such as mouth cancer even from just a check up. It is important that you should visit your dentist every six months at least for check ups to ensure your wellbeing and prevent future issues, with simple dental routine everybody can have great teeth and health.

 

Credit to Oral Health Foundation

If you’d like to read more on the adolescent children HPV issue visit https://www.dentalhealth.org/news/oral-health-foundation-delighted-by-announcement-that-boys-will-get-hpv-vaccine

7 of the most common dental health pitfalls to avoid

Keeping our oral hygiene high is something few of us actually manage to achieve on a permanent basis. We are all entitled the occasional lapse in our routines but here are the 7 most common dental pitfalls that you absolutely must try to avoid whenever and however possible.

7pitfalls

 

These 7 tips will help you maintain your oral hygiene:

1. Twice a day brushing

Whilst the most obvious of our tips this is undoubtedly the most important. Nearly a quarter of adults in the UK don’t brush their teeth twice daily. However, regular brushing stops the bacterial build-up of plaque. Studies have shown that even missing one brushing session can start the process of forming cavities. Make sure you brush twice a day for two minutes to keep your teeth plaque free.

2. Incorrect brushing technique

Brushing technique is just as important as brushing. One of the most common mistakes we make is missing areas of the mouth. When brushing you need to ensure that every tooth is cleaned and that we clean the total surface area of the tooth. When you’re in a hurry it can be easy to just skim over areas but this often leaves plaque on the teeth and along the gum line – leading to cavities and gingivitis. In addition also be careful not to brush your teeth too hard as you can damage your gums.

3. Not using the right toothbrush

You need to make sure you are using the right tools for the job. Toothbrushes come with different thickness and strength bristles. Small headed brushes are widely regarded as the best as they allow you to reach everywhere in your mouth more easily. In terms of bristles softer tend to be better – ideally with rounded heads to prevent aggravation of the gums.

4. Not replacing your toothbrush enough

We’ve all used a toothbrush past its best. Once the bristles start to lose their strength and you have a spread it is already past time to replace your brush. Our best tip is to buy multiple brushes and always have one spare in the bathroom cabinet. Using a brush past its sell by date makes it more likely that you will miss areas of your mouth whilst brushing and that plaque will not be removed efficiently.

5. Not Using Floss

No matter how good your brushing is you cannot reach every area between your teeth. Regular flossing helps remove plaque and food that builds up between your teeth. The build-up of plaque along the gum line is one of the leading causes of gum disease. Daily flossing helps remove plaque and prevent gum disease.

6. Too much sugar

Our diets are the leading cause of tooth decay. The big enemy here is fizzy drinks – as many of us now drink these all day. Drink sugary or fizzy drinks irregularly to avoid cavities. Your health and your mouth will thank you.

7. Not visiting the dentist

Even if your oral hygiene is superb you still should visit the dentist twice a year. Visiting the dentist regularly ensures that any problems that do arise can be quickly dealt with. Your dentist can also make sure you are using correct brushing techniques and advise you on the best options for oral care. If you need to find a local dentist use dental review sites like WhatClinic to find the best local options.