How Important Is Good Dental Hygiene?

Do we sometimes consider our oral health to be of secondary importance?

Flossing teethMost of us would probably agree that staying healthy is important. With better awareness, many of us can now expect to live into our old age, helped by being active, eating healthily, exercising and not smoking. Having successfully raised the awareness about this, we feel that more focus now needs to be put upon oral health as this can also have a significant effect on our overall quality of life.

Over time, the dentists at the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich have seen the results of oral neglect. Whilst, for many, this may have been routine dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease, the effects of poor oral health can go much further and potentially cause serious general health issues.

How to achieve good oral health

Although we have covered this before, we believe that it never hurts to repeat important messages about our health and that includes oral health too of course.

Left alone, our teeth and gums would come under attack from acids and bacteria and it wouldn’t be long before discomfort and diseases took hold. Thankfully, looking after the oral cavity is relatively straightforward although there is always room for improvement. Eating a tooth friendly diet is a good start. This means trying not to eat too many sugary foods and avoiding overly acidic drinks and harsh citrus fruits.

When we clean our teeth, we generally start by brushing them. This needs to be done effectively and we advise our Ipswich patients to discuss the best way to do this with our dental hygienist. Flossing between the teeth should also be added on a daily basis as well. As bacterial and mineral deposits build up on our teeth over time, especially where it is difficult to brush, this produces a rough surface that can attract bacteria which needs to be removed by the hygienist with a procedure known as a scale and polish. With this and regular dental visits for a checkup, you should be on your way to having a healthy mouth.

Oral health problems

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Any Dental Related New Year Resolutions?

oral hygiene equipmentOur Ipswich dentists offers easy tips for improving your oral health in the new year ahead.

Are you taking part in Dry January by giving up alcohol for a month? If you are, this is one way to help your teeth and gums, although an overall reduction for the whole year would probably be more effective. The fact is that there are many relatively simple things that we can do to improve our oral health and sometimes, all it takes is just a few small changes in our daily habits.

Whether you make new year resolutions or not, it is worth taking a look at your present life style to see if there are any changes that you can make that will be beneficial to your teeth, and often for your general health too. For your consideration, the team at the Foxhall Dental Practice have put together a few suggestions that will help you keep on track.

Stop smoking

This should really be a ‘no brainer’ in as much as its unhealthy effects are now well known. Giving up isn’t always easy though, especially if you have smoked for a long time. Nicotine is highly addictive, with some claiming it to be more addictive than heroin. The action of smoking is also often embedded in our lifestyle .. for example, a cigarette after a meal. These habits can take some breaking and it would be advisable to seek out a local support group.

As well as benefiting your pocket, stopping smoking will greatly reduce the risk of gum disease and oral cancers.

Alcohol

Alcohol, drunk in moderation, shouldn’t cause too many problems but it is still worth looking at whether you can cut back at all. Although perhaps not as dangerous as smoking, excessive or regular alcohol consumption can also contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.

Start flossing

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Fancy Trying Our Foxhall Dental Xmas Quiz?

See how much you remember from the blogs we posted in 2019!

Dentist in surgeryAs we are coming towards the end of the year, we thought that this would be a good time to see how well our Ipswich patients can remember the various dental advice that we gave on our blogs this last year. We hope that our patients find these to be useful and are always happy to try to cover any aspect of dentistry that you would like to know more about.

So, make yourself a cup of tea and get a pen and paper ready and get ready to answer the questions below (answers towards the end of the page … no peeking)

  1. What is a ‘dry socket’?
  2. Are there alternatives to a root canal procedure?
  3. How does the Invisalign orthodontic system differ from traditional dental braces?
  4. What causes a dry mouth and why is this a bad thing?
  5. As we haven’t eaten since we last brushed our teeth at night, why do we need to clean them in the morning?
  6. Name a key difference between dental implants and either dentures or a bridge
  7. Is it possible to permanently whiten your teeth?
  8. Name some of the factors that might lead to oral cancer
  9. Should a cracked tooth be defined as a ‘dental emergency’?
  10. Does it matter if children lose their first teeth early?

Answers

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Halitosis – The Battle Against Bad Breath

Bad breath can be embarrassing and isolating. With improved oral health, it can be a thing of the past.

Worried dental patientIf we don’t know anyone who has bad breath, we will almost certainly have come across it at some point in our lives. There are moments when you speak to someone and the smell of their breath makes you take a quick step backwards. It definitely isn’t pleasant and most of us will cut the conversation short as soon as we get an opportunity.

What if the shoe is on the other foot, and it is you that has the really offensive smelling breath?  It may not be noticeable to us as we can’t easily smell it, but you are likely to find that people avoid you and possibly don’t even invite you to parties and other social occasions.

It isn’t only the social aspects of halitosis that should be of concern. The root cause of the problem may have significant implications for both your oral and general health.

What causes bad breath?

There are a number of things that can cause bad breath. Some foods can, as we know, cause the breath to be smelly. Foods such as garlic and curries can leave an unpleasant after smell. Unless you eat these regularly though, the smell soon goes and isn’t a long term problem. Smoking and alcohol can also make the breath smell and can also play a role in long term bad breath problems.

Some medical conditions as well as the side effects of some medications may also cause this problem. There is one cause in particular though which is in our control to change and that is when it is caused by poor oral health.

Gum disease

Bad breath is just one of the possible symptoms of gum disease. It should be noted that if you don’t have bad breath it doesn’t mean that you are necessarily free of gum disease and regular inspections by the dentist and hygienist are still essential.

If you do have persistent bad breath; i..e not caused by eating garlic etc, you should definitely have an oral health check at the Foxhall Dental Practice as this is a possible indication that gingivitis or periodontitis is present.

The smell of bad breath caused in this manner is due to both infected flesh and the gases that are given off by the bacteria as they attack the gums. Given this, it is probably not surprising how bad some people’s breath can be.

Dealing with bad breath

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Spotlight On Alcohol & Oral Health

Ahead of the festive season, our Ipswich dentists take a look at how alcohol can harm our teeth and gums.

Gum disease checkSome of you may be looking forward to it whilst others will be pleased when it is all over, but either way, the fact is that Christmas is not far away at all now. In addition to the lights, TV specials and presents, one thing that is almost certain to increase at this time of year is alcohol consumption, at least for a lot of people.

Whether we drink at parties, while watching TV at home, or both, most of us will probably drink more than we usually do unless we are entirely abstinent. For most people, apart from a few groggy mornings, this will probably pose no long term problems. If we are unlucky or, from a dental point of view, don’t look after our teeth well, the problems of excessive drinking are very real indeed.

Immediate risks of drinking too much

Let us start with the instant impact that too much alcohol can have. Anyone who has drunk to excess will be aware of the effect that it has on us. Unstable when we walk, we are very likely to bump into things or even fall as we trip. We may also even walk into someone much bigger than us who is far from happy about it! All of these can result in injuries, and, if we hit our face as we fall, we may possibly break or knock out a few teeth.

Another problem which people are much more aware of these days, but some still ignore, is drink driving. Sadly, even when drunk, the added confidence that we are a ‘good driver’ may convince some to attempt to drive home rather than take public transport or a taxi. This is obviously very serious and could result in accidents, including fatal ones. Facial injuries are also common and catastrophic damage could occur.

Where severe damage has been caused in this or any other manner, patients will need to make an emergency appointment. Where damage is severe enough, it is advisable that you go to your local A&E department straight away to make sure there are no serious injuries that might need immediate treatment.

Longer term risks

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Cases Of Oral Cancer Are On The Rise

A gentle reminder from our Ipswich dental team that you should not ignore the risks.

fast dental careMost of us probably don’t spend a lot of time thinking about the possibility of getting any type of cancer, unless perhaps, it has affected a family member or someone else who is close to us. Especially as it is not one of the more widely known ones, it is very possible that you don’t think about the risk of mouth cancer at all.

It sometimes seems to be in our human nature to take a ‘head in the sand’ approach to some health issues, thinking that they won’t happen to us. The fact though is that they can, and they do as cases of oral cancer have increased by 64% since 2007 according to the Oral Health Foundation (reference 1). There may be some presumption that these figures probably relate to the earlier part of this period and that things may be improving now, but the reality is that the figures have actually increased yearly over each of the last 10 years.

What can you do to avoid it?

At the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich, we strongly believe in overall mouth care. Whilst most patients probably think that we just look after their teeth, the fact is that we also monitor your soft tissue health in all areas of the mouth and not just those of your gums.

We have excellent facilities on site to help in the treatment and prevention of gum disease, but we also keep an eye on your tongue, cheek and throat when we carry out oral examinations during your check up appointment.

Where we detect anything that we are not sure about, you are likely to be referred to your GP so that they can examine you and, if necessary, refer you to a specialist. You should not be alarmed if we refer you to your GP. This is purely precautionary and the symptoms may well be caused by other health issues.

Why we intervene

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How Permanent Are The Results Of A Teeth Whitening Procedure?

Ipswich dentist, Chirag Kothari, offers advice to patients considering this popular treatment.

Dr Chirag KothariThere is little doubt that the teeth whitening procedure is one of our most popular cosmetic dental treatment, as it is at many other dental practices in the UK. There are many possible reasons for this.

Not only has it widely been used by many TV reality ‘stars’, giving it a much higher profile that it would probably normally attain, but the fact that it is very affordable and produces such instant results appeals to many, especially those who want to look their best at short notice, perhaps for a special occasion.

The treatment that we use at the Foxhall Dental Practice is not only non invasive and therefore comfortable, but can be done in just one hour in a single visit, after which, your teeth will be significantly whiter than before.

Because so many high profile people have had this treatment, patients are generally happy to accept that it will produce great results for them in most cases. Where patients are not suitable candidates, we will advise and offer alternative options, as we shall see later. The question that we do get regularly asked though, is how long patients can expect the whiteness to last?

Whiter teeth for longer

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Preventing Childhood Cavities

Too many children are still having their baby teeth extracted because of decay.

In 2017/18, almost 13,000 children under the age of five years old had teeth extracted due to tooth decay. This is an extremely high number for a problem that is almost entirely preventable. It might not always be easy, but as parents, we can do an awful lot of things that can help to minimise any risk of a child of ours suffering in this way.

As well as the long term pain and distress that tooth decay can cause a child, it may also have a negative impact on their development and self confidence, as we will see a little later on. In today’s blog, your local dentists take a look at this unnecessary problem.

Why tooth decay?

Any teeth that are not kept clean are likely to suffer from cavities. This applies whether you are 4 or 104 (if you are lucky enough to have any teeth left at that age!) The key is in avoiding food and drinks that are high risk for your teeth and gums, and making sure that you clean them diligently. As children can’t be expected to clean their teeth well themselves until they reach a certain age, the responsibility falls upon the parents to help them with this.

Watch what they eat and drink

We always presume that children crave sweet things, and there is much evidence for this. That being said, it is also possible that they develop a taste for this because we encourage it, giving them sweet things as a treat, for example. Try to keep these treats down as much as possible and experiment a little to see if your child enjoys other treats that are less harmful for their teeth.

The following are some of the more common ways that parents give their children unnecessary levels of sugar in treats.

  • Dipping their dummy/pacifier in sweet liquids
  • Putting sweet drinks in their bottle
  • Giving them ‘healthy’ treats such as raisins. These are terrible for tiny teeth
  • Giving them milk after their night time teeth cleaning

These things are very likely to lead to tooth decay and are easily avoided.

Clean their teeth

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Long Lasting Results From Your Dental Implants

Although implants have a high success rate, you can help make it even higher!

Although they have now been around for over fifty years or more, many people are still unfamiliar with dental implants. Indeed, just a quick overview of them might put some people off having them due to the fact that they are placed into the jawbone. This may sound really painful, but the reality is quite different.

With modern dentistry and advances in the manufacture of implants, the procedure is now becoming increasingly popular, and as more people have them, word has spread that they offer a great alternative to dentures and the procedure really isn’t too bad at all. This is very true, especially in light of the long term benefits.

One of the appeals of dental implants is that the success rate of the procedure is very high and you can be quite confident of success. That doesn’t mean that they can’t fail though, or that problems can’t arise later on. In nearly all cases however, where this does occur, it is because the patient hasn’t followed the correct aftercare advice and the health of the implant has been compromised. With that in mind, here is some advice for our Ipswich patients to help them get the best from the procedure, and long lasting success from their implant investment.

Go local

The first thing that we would say is that we advise you to avoid travelling abroad for cheaper dental implants. There are many reasons for this and we have covered them in a previous blog here. In summary, there are a lot of potential risks involved in this approach and we advise you to use a UK dentist with experience in placing implants, such as those in our team here at the Foxhall Dental Practice.

Improve fitness

Although dental implants can be placed for most people, and in fact are often placed for older patients, it is a good idea to get a little fitter before your procedure. This will help the blood flow throughout the body, including around you new implant and help to keep it healthier by reducing the risk of infections. You don’t need to join a gym but try to walk or cycle a little more. Every little helps.

Cigarettes and alcohol

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Poor Oral Health Common In Athletes

Study shows that, despite brushing their teeth, many athletes suffer from tooth decay.

Athletics seems to be going through a popular stage with the relatively recently successes in both the Olympic and Paralympic games. Most of us probably admire the dedication and determination of these people who give up a relatively normal life to reach the peak of fitness in order to compete for medals.

We probably also presume that their lifestyle and diet is incredibly healthy too, so it may have come as a surprise to read that almost half of our top athletes have tooth decay, compared to around a third in the general population in that age group (reference 1 – BBC).

Many of us probably play some type of sport but don’t aspire to reach the top level, perhaps balancing a regular family life with a moderate amount of participation. Despite this, it is still worth taking a look at why top athletes have tooth decay to the extent that they do, in order to avoid the same pitfalls.

Good brushing

Before we move on to the more negative aspects of this report, it was found that nearly 95% of athletes brushed their teeth twice a day, compared to 75% of the general public. 44% also flossed their teeth, compared to 21% of the rest of us. There is no doubt that both brushing and flossing are essential for a healthy mouth, but it also indicates the extent of the problems caused by some of their other habits, especially as fewer also smoked and generally ate a healthier diet.

Performance enhancing supplements

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