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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Kombucha – Is It Safe For Your Teeth?

This increasingly popular ‘health drink’ could be putting your teeth at risk.

‘Kombucha’; sounds like a new form of martial arts doesn’t it? In fact, it is a probiotic drink that is becoming increasingly popular in the UK, especially with those wishing to follow a healthy diet.

It is a fermented tea-like drink that contains a small amount of naturally produced alcohol.

As it can be sometimes a little ‘vinegary’ in taste,  sugar is also usually added to make it more palatable and to aid the fermentation process.

Like some natural yoghurts and other products, kombucha also contains bacteria that are said to be beneficial for a healthy gut.

How can it damage teeth?

We won’t try to validate, or otherwise, the claims that are made for the health  properties of this fermented drink; that is not our role. Our Foxhall Dental Practice team are more concerned about whether drinking this type of tea will have any negative effects on your teeth.

The first thing to note is that this drink contains sugar and any type of sugar, whether a refined or natural sugar like honey, is potentially harmful to your teeth. As this drink has a slightly vinegary taste to it, it is unlikely to appeal to many pallets in an unsweetened state. Because we are perhaps accustomed to sweeter tastes these days, with sugar being added to many products, and because we can sweeten this drink to our own taste, it is quite possible that the sugar levels could be significant.

Kombucha is also an acidic drink, in some cases reaching similar levels to that found in high sugar carbonated drinks. As we have noted before, this could lead to our Ipswich patients suffering from enamel erosion on their teeth, making them more susceptible to tooth decay as well as sensitive teeth.

Should you drink it?

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Childhood Dental Emergencies

What you should do if your child suffers from tooth damage or dental pain.

With diligent cleaning and generally taking good care of our teeth, as adults we can at least minimise any dental treatment that we might need. We can also help our children to protect their teeth by encouraging and supervising good cleaning habits.

As most parents know though, children don’t tend to sit around for long periods of time and are off on their adventures, sometimes with painful consequences!

Whilst most of the problems discussed below can also happen to grown ups, it is children that are generally more at risk. Our Ipswich dental clinic offers advice on what you should do in these situations.

Knocked out teeth

Whether through sports or a collision in the playground, banged heads and knocked out teeth are not that uncommon. They can be distressing to a child though and the loss of a first tooth can also have an effect on how the following tooth develops. With this in mind, here is what you should do.

  • Pick up the tooth by the crown part. Do not touch the root. Rinse it in water to remove any dust etc.
  • If the child is old enough, they can store the tooth under their tongue or in the cheek. If not, it should be put in a clean container and milk or saliva (including the parent’s) added. This will help to preserve it.
  • Get to the dentist as quickly as you can. The faster you get there, the better the chance that the dentist can replace the tooth for you. Do not try to do this yourself.

Dental pain

Toothache can be excruciating even for adults but for children, it is likely to feel many times worse. If your child is suffering from a toothache, here is what you should do. If the problem is caused by teething, give your child age appropriate painkillers. Do make sure to read the instructions and medical advice on the packaging correctly.

If it is caused by tooth decay,  you can also give them appropriate painkillers, but then also make an appointment to visit one of the children’s dentists at the Foxhall Dental Practice as soon as you can. If you explain to the receptionist that your child is in pain, they will do their best to arrange a speedy appointment for you.

Damaged tooth

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Is Your Anxiety Stopping You Considering Dental Implants?

Ipswich implant dentist, Dr Hiten Pabari, considers why you might  want to think again.

With dental implants being universally accepted and acknowledged as a great way to replace missing teeth, it isn’t surprising that patients of the Foxhall Dental Practice are becoming increasingly interested in the procedure as an alternative to both dentures or a bridge.

There is no getting away from the fact that an implant placement requires some quite complex dental surgery, and this is something which may deter some potential patients from having the treatment, especially those of a nervous disposition.

Whilst we respect our patient’s decision if they choose not to have this treatment, we do feel that they are missing out on a great opportunity and swapping short term benefits for long term gains.

The many benefits of dental implants

It is one thing to say that patients should consider dental implants, but of course, there has to be a genuine reason why this is the case. After all, dentures can often be used without the ‘hassle’ of dental surgery, so why bother?

The most compelling reason to have a dental implant is that it is as close to a natural tooth as you can currently have. Unlike dentures and a bridge, dental implants replace the root of the tooth with an artificial structure. As this replicates the roots, it provides an unequalled level of strength and stability, certainly greater than that of dentures. It also helps to prevent bone loss in the jaw that occurs when a tooth is lost, unlike the alternatives.

Once the treatment is completed, providing that you look after them, there is every chance that you will need no further work doing on that tooth for the rest of your life. With dental implants often lasting for over 20 years, you can more or less forget about them once they have been placed and fused with the jawbone.

An additional benefit is that implants are more straightforward to keep clean than a bridge or dentures and this can be done at the same time as you clean your natural teeth.

But I’m afraid of dentists

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Correcting An Overbite

Dr Samuel Ofori-Attah, dentist at the Foxhall Dental Practice, explains what this is and how it can be treated.

An overbite is a type of malocclusion, or incorrect bite, where the teeth do not meet as they should. It occurs when the front teeth at the top overlap the bottom teeth by more than a few millimetres. It is also possible to have an underbite, where the reverse occurs but this is less common. Overbites are fairly common and are deemed to potentially need treatment where the overbite is more than around 4mm, although this will depend on each individual patient’s situation.

This problem can lead to a change in a person’s appearance and also has the potential to cause some problems with the rest of your teeth. Let us take a look at these problems and how they can be addressed at your convenient Ipswich dental practice.

Aesthetic problems

When a patient has a deep overbite, where the top front teeth significantly overlap the bottom ones, this has the visible effect of shortening the length of the face by pushing the chin backwards a little. Although the extent of this varies from person to person, this can lead to them having a somewhat ‘grumpy’ expression, however far from the reality that may be. This also often has the effect of making them look older than their actual years.

Dental issues

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No Time To Brush Your Teeth In The Morning?

A study says that around one in five people in the UK don’t brush their teeth before going to work.

Are you one of the 22% of the UK population who don’t clean your teeth in the morning, and if so, why is this?

According to a recent survey, this is more common than we probably think. There may well have been occasions when most of us have done this ourselves, perhaps in a rush to get the kids to school, but this should never become a regular daily habit.

The following are some of the more common reasons that were given by people who fall into this category:

  • Ran out of toothpaste
  • Too busy watching TV
  • Staring at their mobile phone

In addition to this, of course, there is the general rush in the morning, especially if you have a young family to feed and to get to school or nursery.

Get into the habit

Our Ipswich dentists do appreciate that mornings can be difficult. Some of us are simply not morning people and are likely to lie in bed until the last possible moment. The problem when we do this is that, from this point on, everything is a rush and we are likely to forget important things … such as cleaning our teeth!

The consequences

Missing brushing your teeth once is probably not going to cause any long term harm, but it appears from this study that for some people, this is a regular occurrence. If we skip this part of our morning ritual, there are a number of things that are very likely to happen.

Tooth decay and gum disease

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Men – The Need For Better Oral Care

Why the ‘superman syndrome’ is bad for your teeth and gums

Although it may be true that men, in general, are now more open about talking about their feelings and generally not being as machismo about their lifestyle, there is still plenty of evidence to suggest that this is probably still a minority.

The ‘macho tendency’ amongst some men can lead them to believe that they are almost invincible (hence the ‘superman syndrome’). This can have an effect on many parts of their lives, and that includes how they look after their teeth and gums, or don’t, as the case may be!

This can also apply when a dental issue does occur. For example, bleeding gums can be brushed off as ‘irrelevant’ as there is often little blood and sometimes little or no discomfort. This approach though could well lead to tooth loss if not treated in time.

In today’s blog, our Foxhall Dental Practice Ipswich team takes a look at a few of the issues surrounding the ‘superman syndrome’ and what can be done to counter it.

Cigarettes and alcohol

Perhaps one of the more traditional ‘markers’ of masculinity. The times are definitely changing but it is not so long ago that to not smoke or drink would have probably resulted in derogatory comments. Whilst there is evidence that the younger generation is slowly drifting away from these habits, they are still a mainstay with many men.

Both of these habits, but cigarettes especially, can be incredibly harmful for both teeth and gums. Your teeth are likely to become badly stained, but more seriously, the risk of oral cancers are greatly increased if you regularly smoke and drink. The odd glass of beer should be relatively harmless, but excess or regular alcohol intake can be as bad as smoking on this issue.

Alcohol is also responsible for a large number of accidents and collisions. Stay sober to stay safe!

If you do smoke, our advice would be to seek help to stop smoking. Vaping is a solution that works for many smokers although the long term effects of this is not yet fully known.

Your teeth are not ‘tools’

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Stopping Oral Cancer In Its Tracks

What you can do, as a patient, to help prevent this potentially deadly disease.

Oral cancer may not be as well known as some other types of cancer, but it can still have devastating effects for anyone suffering from it. This is especially the case for those where it was not detected until it had reached a relatively advanced stage.

Aside from any treatment that you might need to undergo, facial deformities, difficulty in swallowing, and even death, can follow. Although treatments for cancer have improved over the years, it is obviously far better to prevent it from happening in the first place.

Before we move onto the patient’s role, it is important to remember that the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich examines your mouth during routine checkups for possible signs of cancer symptoms and will refer you to your GP for further examination if required. It is worth reminding patients that just because we ask you to have something checked by your GP, this is to err on the side of caution and there may well be other reasons for the symptoms. It is not a cancer diagnosis.

The patient’s role in cancer prevention

Although no strategy is entirely foolproof, there are certain actions and habits that some of us carry out, often on a daily basis, that may be contributory factors towards your oral, or mouth, cancer risk. By eliminating, or at least reducing these, the chances of a healthy mouth are increased and your cancer risks reduced.

Smoking

The biggest thing that you can do to minimise your mouth cancer risk is to stop smoking. We appreciate that this is easier said than done, but it very important. Smoking has many negative effects on the mouth including increased likelihood of gum disease, bad breath, teeth staining and the slowing down of the healing process following dental surgery. Above all though, smoking greatly puts you at risk of mouth cancer and should be stopped. There are many different ways to stop and we suggest that you look around for a local support group, possibly via your GP. Many people also find that switching to vaping is an effective method,  although long term health risks of this is not yet clear.

Drinking

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