Are You Giving Up Sugar For Lent?

It may be a religious festival but everyone can use this occasion to take a look at their diet

Foxhall Dental PracticeSugar is responsible for a lot of health problems in the UK and indeed, other parts of the world.

Not only does this apply to obesity and related issues such as diabetes, but it is also responsible for a lot of tooth and gum health problems too. In the West, we eat far too much sugar in our diet, and not only in the obvious places such as cakes and sweets but also as added ingredients to foods and drinks.

Even if we make conscious efforts not, for example, to put sugar in our tea, the impact will be limited. Far too much sugar is consumed in other ways and although any reduction is good, we need, perhaps, to be more radical in our thinking if we are to look after ourselves better.

Hidden sugars

We can probably skip talking about sweets, chocolates, cakes etc. Most of our Ipswich patients will be fully aware of how high in sugar they are. It is often in the things that we wouldn’t expect, or if we do, probably don’t really think about, where we consume a very large proportion of our total sugar intake. So where are some of these areas?

Coffee – Whilst we can control the amount of sugar we put in coffee at home, many of us are addicted, it seems, to store bought coffee. Whilst cappuccino was once thought to be ‘exotic’, it is now one of the more mainstream coffee drinks with new ones coming along all of the time. These newer ones often contain added ingredients such as flavoured syrups, creams and marshmallows. All of these add to the total amount of sugar in our drinks. Although each drink will vary in the amount they contain, it is worth considering that one of the most sugar heavy drinks at a popular coffee shop contains as much as 23 teaspoons of sugar!

‘Sports’ and fizzy drinks – We have discussed these before but it is always worth a reminder, especially as these seem to be popular with children who sometimes use them for an energy boost. Unfortunately, these are terrible for our teeth. Not only can they contribute to tooth decay but also enamel erosion due to their high acidity. Very few of us require the energy that they allegedly provide and it is largely marketing that makes us believe that we do. Water is often the ‘healthiest’ drink for you with others drunk more sparingly as a ‘treat’.

Harmful sugar

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Gum Disease – A Common Dental Problem

How to prevent gum disease and how we can treat it at our Ipswich dental clinic

gum disease probeSome people may think that the health of their gums comes secondary to the health of their teeth and whilst this is understandable to some degree, it isn’t really correct. We may want our teeth to look as nice as possible and not cause a painful toothache that keeps us awake all night, but it’s well worth understanding that a nasty infection of the gums can cause us some fairly serious problems too.

Although some degree of gum disease is likely if we neglect our oral health regime for a time, perhaps due to being ill, it will usually revert again once we commence brushing and flossing properly. That said, even when we brush regularly, it can still occur, which is why we always recommend that our patients see the Foxhall Dental Practice oral hygienist on a six monthly basis for a professional clean and advice.

Potentially harmful bacteria

Our mouths are full of bacteria, some of it good and some not so good. Generally, if we maintain a healthy balanced lifestyle and good cleaning, this will not be a problem. If we neglect them though, or due to external causes such as illness, the potentially harmful bacteria can grow significantly in numbers and then start to attack our gums, leading to gum disease.

There are a number of things that we can do to keep the number of potentially harmful bacteria down to a healthy level. The most obvious of these is to brush our teeth well. Even if you think you already do this, it is worth making sure that the bristles on your toothbrush aren’t worn (usually no more than 3 months old). Make sure too, to angle the bristles so they reach beneath the gumline, helping to rid them of food particles and bacteria. Flossing too, should be an important part of your daily oral health care routine so if you don’t already, you should start to floss between your teeth too.

Dehydration can also cause bacterial numbers to increase. You should not only make sure that you stay well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, but also avoid smoking and excess alcohol consumption as these are well known to cause a dry mouth which prevents bacteria from being flushed away efficiently.

Treatment of gum disease

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Beware Dental Implant ‘Special Offers’ – Are They All They Seem?

If you are tempted to travel for cheaper implants, you might want to think again….

Single tooth implantDental implants are becoming increasingly popular for replacing missing teeth, offering as they do, a long lasting and secure solution that both looks and feels like a natural tooth. One barrier to having these placed, for some people however, is the cost.

There is no getting away from the fact that this is not a cheap option for replacing lost teeth although it should be remembered that they actually offer good value for money over their lifetime and shouldn’t need repairs etc providing that you take care of them as instructed by our Ipswich implant team.

As teeth implants become more widely known, it is natural that those with less disposable income are also likely to want them instead of dentures and will look for a way to save financially. This is entirely understandable but can lead some to make poor choices, easily tempted by ‘special dental implant offers’. These are often not the bargain that was hoped for though.

Dental implant holidays

As the weather starts to warm up, we anticipate that you will see a rise in the number of these adverts. The reason for this is that many of the treatments are carried out abroad, often tempting patients with an ‘all in’ offer which includes not only implants, but a holiday too. Although this might be tempting, and we will come to the implications for the treatment shortly, the reality is that after you have had an implant placed, you may not feel like doing much for a day or so and will be restricted in what you can eat, making it less of a holiday than you might have wished for.

Clinical qualifications

Most people register with a local dentist, and most of the Foxhall Dental Practice patients come from Ipswich and the local areas around it. This makes sense as it enables you to get to know your dentist’s team and how they operate. It also means that if there are any follow up problems to a procedure you have had, they are on hand to help you out.

If you travel abroad for treatments and in particular dental implant placement, the likelihood is that you won’t know the dentist who is carrying out the procedure. Although there are some excellent dentists abroad, and we don’t wish to denigrate their abilities, this isn’t always the case and, because you don’t know them, you may be taking a gamble on how skilled and experienced they are at placing implants. For example, one of the reasons why a procedure may be cheaper is that they are less experienced and, in effect, you are helping them ‘practice’ their skills. This might go well for you, of course, but it is a risk, especially with such a complex treatment.

There is also the possibility that some countries have less strict requirements to qualify as a dentist. At the very least, you should check this out before you go.

Cheaper materials

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Invisalign Or Quick Straight Teeth?

Orthodontic solutions for different problems available at out Ipswich dental clinic

Invisalign bracesOne issue that we see at the Foxhall dental practice quite often is that of crooked teeth. This is quite a common problem and perhaps more so because there is often a reluctance to do anything about it as crooked teeth rarely hurt and may not appear to pose any immediate problems.

Whilst some people do acknowledge that their smile would be improved if they had their teeth straightened using orthodontics, fewer seem to recognise that crooked teeth can also lead to other problems too. The fact is that crooked teeth make it easier for food and bacteria to become trapped, often in places that are very hard to clean. This can lead to tooth decay and even gum disease. Crooked teeth often also wear quicker and may become damaged more easily.

Modern orthodontics vs old style braces

Before we look at the orthodontic options that we have available, we should point out to anyone who has crooked teeth that there is no longer the need to have highly visible ‘train track’ braces to straighten them. Whilst these are still available and do work, modern orthodontics now also offer a more discreet option, providing a solution that will straighten your teeth but which are much less visible to those around you.

As well as offering a more discrete teeth straightening solution, there are also different methods available that can be used in various situations. There are two types, in particular, that are popular options at the Foxhall Dental Practice so let us take a look at those now.

Invisalign

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Does Chewing Your Food Cause You Pain?

If putting pressure on your teeth causes significant discomfort, you may have a root canal infection

root canal workEating should be an enjoyable experience, but when the taste of your favourite food is spoiled by a severe pain when you bite down on it, you know that you have a problem.

Whilst we might often assume that this means we have tooth decay and that a straightforward filling should be all that we need, a symptom such as this could mean that you have an infection in the root canals of your teeth, a problem that will require a more complex treatment at our Ipswich dental clinic.

Root canal infections occur following damage or major wear to the enamel on our teeth. This allows bacteria to enter into the more porous dentin part of the tooth. In many cases, discomfort will be noticeable at this stage, often in the form of a toothache, and usually patients will then visit the Foxhall Dental Practice to have this checked and treated.

Where this initial discomfort isn’t felt, or where patients choose to ignore these early warning signs, the bacteria may then enter into the root canals of the tooth, causing an infection that can lead to severe pain.

Treating a root canal infection

When the root canals of a tooth become infected, the tooth can not be restored using the normal filling method. In order to access the root canals, your dentist will first of all provide you with a local anaesthetic to minimise any discomfort that the procedure might cause (more on that later). They will then need to access the top section of the tooth so that the root canals can be reached. Once this has been done, the infected material can then be removed and the hollow canals thoroughly cleaned to remove any remaining bacteria.

Once cleaned, the root canals then need to be filled. Usually, fillings are carried out using either an amalgam filling or one of the increasingly popular tooth coloured fillings that we offer our Ipswich patients. In the case of a root canal procedure though, a special type of filling called ‘gutta percha’ is used. Gutta percha is a thermoplastic substance that comes from the percha tree, most commonly found in Malaysia. This material is used as it can be heated and then compressed into the root canals. This provides an excellent sealant that minimises the risk of any reinfection following the procedure. Finally, in most instances, the dentist will apply a crown to complete the restoration. This has the advantage of providing additional strength to the restored tooth as well as making it look natural again.

A ‘dead’ tooth

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Planning Your New Year Smile Makeover

Will 2022 be the year when you finally feel confident about your smile?

White teethIt’s fair to say that the last couple of years haven’t been great for the majority of us and most of us have had to make sacrifices, with some making bigger sacrifices than others. This has probably left a lot of us feeling less than happy and fulfilled with our lives and just waiting for things to change so that we can get our lives going again.

There is always optimism at the start of a new year and that can be no bad thing. It is also a time when we often take stock and look at changes that we can make in our lives to feel better about ourselves.

For some people, this will mean a new wardrobe, a change of career or simply losing a few pounds. Although the Foxhall Dental Team aren’t able to help you with those, what we can do is help you to have a more attractive and confident smile, helping you to feel better about yourself.

A new year smile makeover

So how can we help you have a smile to be proud of? Much of this will depend on your own expectations and what you feel you need to achieve. Some of you will no doubt have looked in the mirror and wished your teeth were white like they used to be, or that your crooked teeth were nice and even. You may even think that there is little that can be done about problems like this, but you would be wrong. Our Ipswich based dentists offers a wide range of cosmetic dental treatments that can really change your smile for the better. Let us take a look at some of the more popular ones now.

Teeth whitening

One of the most popular treatments that we provide for our patients is a teeth whitening procedure. It is not only food and drinks that cause our teeth to become discoloured, but the fact that as we get older, the dentin beneath the enamel of our teeth darkens, causing a dull appearance. The only way that this can be reversed is by using a teeth whitening procedure. This is an affordable and non-invasive treatment that is done within our practice and typically takes just one hour. After this time, we are sure that you will be delighted with the result and your teeth will be several shades whiter.

Dental veneers

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Festive Alcohol Consumption – Link To Oral Health

A few too many drinks at Christmas and New Year could have a negative impact on your teeth and gums….

Worried dental patientAfter the restrictions imposed due to Covid last year, most of us will be hoping that we can have a relatively normal family Christmas this year. Despite the pressure of buying presents, planning dinners and social events, the fact is that when the day arrives, we relax and think that it was ‘all worth it’.

One thing that many of us enjoy doing at this festive time of the year is letting ourselves go a little, and eating and drinking in a way that we probably don’t for the rest of the year.

As well as eating more food than usual, a big part of many people’s Christmas and new year celebrations includes the consumption of more alcoholic drinks than they would normally. There is no doubt that having a few drinks can contribute to a good time, but alcohol can also have a detrimental effect on the health of your teeth and gums.

Our Foxhall Dental Practice team takes a look at a few of the problems that alcohol can cause for your oral health below.

Gum disease

One of the most common problems caused by alcohol that can negatively impact your teeth and gums is gum disease. Many of you will have experienced a dry mouth after drinking and this often is most noticeable in the morning. As your mouth dries whilst you sleep, this allows more bacteria than usual to form. These warm and dry conditions means that potentially harmful bacteria can start to attack your gums whilst you sleep and can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis.

Oral cancers

Whilst smoking is the leading cause of oral cancer, alcohol can play a role too. This is unlikely to happen if you only have the odd drink, but if you drink regularly or excessively, you run the risk of getting oral cancer. This can be a devastating disease and can lead to facial disfigurement and even death in some cases. Our Ipswich dentists check for possible indicators of this when we examine your mouth and will advise if we think you need to see your GP for further investigation.

Accidents

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The Benefits Of Whiter Teeth In Middle Age And Beyond

Teeth whitening treatments are popular with the young, but older generations can benefit from them too

Older couple with white teethMost beauty products and treatments are advertised largely to younger people. This is understandable as there is more pressure on us when we are young to look our best.

Many people of this age will be looking to date and in order to attract a partner, will spend a significant amount of time and money on looking their very best. It could also be argued that younger people are more susceptible to trends and social media ‘influencers’. If this is the case, then it is not surprising that this generation is queuing up to have their teeth whitened.

All of this is very understandable but at the Foxhall Dental Practice in Ipswich, we also believe that this popular cosmetic dentistry treatment offers a number of significant benefits for more mature people too. Let’s take a look….

Life begins at forty

There is little doubt that being forty these days is very different to what it was half a century ago. Then, the chances are that you would have been in ‘pipe and slippers’ territory. These days though, people of forty and much older are far more active and involved in various interests, whether that be travelling or some form of sport. In most cases, these activities will also involve an element of socialising with others.

Although some people who marry young do stay married for life, the fact is that many don’t. This means that there are a large number of people in their middle age who might be looking for their second (or third) life partner. Just because you are older doesn’t mean that you should neglect your appearance. Getting a new wardrobe and hairstyle is relatively straightforward, but those yellow teeth simply won’t get any whiter by regular brushing. This is where our one hour teeth whitening procedure comes into its own.

This treatment is very affordable and, whilst not permanent, it is long lasting and can be repeated regularly with no ill effects to your teeth. This means that you can either have a one off treatment if, for example, you had an important function to attend or just wanted to look your best on holiday. Alternatively, you could decide that you were not going to put up with your discoloured teeth any more and have this done on an ongoing basis to maintain nice looking white teeth.

The treatment

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A 10 Point Plan For A Healthier Mouth

Making a few small improvements in your life can help you to maintain healthy teeth and gums

Flossing teethMost of us probably wish that there was a simple solution to our everyday problems, including around our self image. How many of us would simply pop a pill and have an instant six pack if we could? Probably a great many of us.

Unfortunately, that is just a fantasy and that also applies when it comes to maintaining a healthy mouth. There is not one single thing that will keep teeth and gums healthy, but a combination of things.

Many of our Foxhall Dental Practice patients will almost certainly do at least some of these, but take a look at the following ten tips that your local Ipswich dentists have put together and see if there is any room for improvement in the way that you care for your teeth and gums.

1 – Have the right tools

Any tradesman will tell you that to do a job well, you need the right equipment, and looking after your teeth and gums is no different. Make sure that you have a good quality toothbrush (electric is best) and that the bristles aren’t worn down. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and doesn’t include additional abrasive ingredients as can be the case with some teeth whitening toothpastes. Make sure that you also have some dental floss. We will discuss that a little later.

2 – Take time to do it right

Our lives are often busy but that doesn’t mean we have an excuse to skip looking after our teeth. This doesn’t take very long at all and brushing should last for just 2 minutes both morning and night. Where children are concerned, please make sure that this is 2 minutes of actual brushing and doesn’t include having a brush in the mouth whilst talking to you. Using floss will only take a short time too, so both morning and evening oral health routines should take between 10 and 15 minutes in total; a small investment in time in return for a healthier mouth.

3 – Check your daily habits

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Dental Implant Maintenance

Long term care of your tooth implant

Two dental implantsAs dental implants become more widely known, an increasing number of people are choosing to have them when they have lost a tooth. One key factor for those that choose to have them placed via our Ipswich dental clinic is the fact that, unlike dentures, they are relatively straightforward to keep clean and healthy.

This doesn’t mean that you don’t have to pay attention to them though. As with your natural teeth, things can easily go wrong if you fail to take care of them as you should.

Whilst it is true that special care needs to be taken for the first 3 months or so after an implant has been placed, this doesn’t mean that maintenance of them should stop there. Foxhall Dental’s implant dentists cover some of the most important aspects of this long term aftercare below.

Why the need for diligent care?

You might think that as an implant is made entirely from artificial materials, it shouldn’t need to be brushed etc. It is true that the implant itself won’t suffer from decay if you don’t brush it, but remember that its survival and stability depends on the healthy surrounding bone which holds the implant securely in place. If this fails, it is likely that the implant will too.

Gum disease, and especially periodontitis and peri-implantitis are particular threats to a dental implant, but this can be avoided if you take good care of your gums.

Mouth guards

Before we move on to general implant maintenance, it is worth stating that if you play a contact sport such as football, you should wear a mouthguard. This will protect not only your natural teeth but your implant too. Whilst an implant can be replaced, if there is any damage caused to the bone in that area, perhaps from a collision between players, replacing it may not be straightforward.

If you regularly play contact sports where facial damage might occur, you might wish to delay having implants until you no longer play, perhaps using dentures as a temporary solution instead.

Cleaning your implant

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