Sharing A Toothbrush And Other Bad Bathroom Habits

A little carelessness could create problems for your oral health

Dr Chirag KothariMost of us have probably built our oral health regime based on what others, most likely our parents, have taught us. We may believe that this is perfectly fine as we haven’t really known any other way.

Whilst some of these habits may have sound foundations, some are also likely to be out of date and could even be affecting your teeth and gums.

This blog will hopefully also be useful to those Ipswich students who will be returning to university in this unusual year. Although there may not be the parties of previous years, student living can be quite chaotic initially and until people start to settle into a new routine. Hopefully, our suggestions will at least help to avoid some common errors.

We asked some of the Foxhall Dental Practice team to name some of the poor habits in the bathroom that might be most damaging to oral health. Here are some of their suggestions.

Never share a toothbrush

There are no circumstances when it is OK to share your toothbrush. This applies whether it is with your family, friends or complete strangers, although the latter is obviously the most risky. Your toothbrush should be yours alone and sharing another person’s toothbrush is almost certain to mean the transference of bacteria from mouth to mouth. Regular readers of our blogs will be aware of the potential harm that some bacteria can cause. As well as the possibility of tooth decay, periodontal diseases can occur which can not only be uncomfortable and unpleasant (bad breath anyone?) but can also, ultimately, result in tooth loss if not treated effectively and in time.

It isn’t just oral health problems that can be passed on in this way either. Serious health issues such as hepatitis and HIV can also be passed on by sharing your toothbrush. This is obviously a higher risk if you share with strangers but it is best to eliminate the risk altogether by not sharing your toothbrush with anyone at all.

If you do find yourself in a position where you have forgotten or lost your own toothbrush, use something such as kitchen towel with some toothpaste on, or if all else fails use your finger. This is better than sharing a brush although you should replace your lost/missing brush as soon as you can.

Chewing sugar free chewing gum can also be useful to help keep your teeth clean on a temporary basis so it is always a good idea to keep some handy. Do remember though that this should never replace brushing your teeth and you should return to this (with your own brush) as soon as you can.

Keep your toothbrush away from the toilet

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Causes Of Plaque And Tartar

Don’t neglect your gums recommends Foxhall Dental hygienist, Clementine Hynes

oral hygiene equipmentFrom a very young age we are encouraged by our parents and schools to take good care of our teeth and to brush them well twice a day. This is good advice but unfortunately the gums are rarely mentioned at this age. This is unfortunate as habits learned early on in life tend to stay with us as we grow up.

As a result of the focus largely being on the teeth, many of us start to get a buildup of tartar on our teeth and especially around the gum line. This can lead to gum disease as well as tooth loss if not managed better.

What is plaque and tartar?

Plaque and tartar sometimes get confused and although they are similar in some ways, they are not the same. Plaque is very common and, in fact, we all produce plaque every day of our life. It is a thin film of bacteria, both good and bad, which coat our teeth during the day and night. In itself, it is not especially harmful as long as we maintain a good cleaning regime. Whilst we may not notice plaque; if you go to bed dehydrated and wake the next morning with a white gooey substance around your teeth and gums, that is plaque. It builds up especially in warm dry places and a dry mouth is the perfect environment for that.

Tartar contains bacteria but also minerals from the saliva. Unlike plaque, which is a soft substance, tartar hardens and attaches itself to our teeth and especially on the gum line. This presents a problem in two ways; firstly, it is almost impossible to remove simply through brushing your teeth and secondly, it creates a rough surface which additional bacteria can collect on, to say nothing of substances that can cause tooth discolouration.

Prevention

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Family Dentistry – Something For All Ages

From baby to grandparent, Foxhall Dental helps families to have healthy and attractive teeth

Big familyOur Ipswich dental practice has been here for over 50 years now. In that time, we have treated thousands of patients including some that came to us when they were very young and are still registered with us well into their later life.

As the practice has evolved, we have also increased the number of treatments that are available so that you can not only have healthy teeth, but attractive ones too, thanks to the range of cosmetic dental treatments that we have available.

Although we all need general oral health care throughout our lives, there are some problems that can arise at various ages. In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at some of the problems, and potential treatments for them, as we go through life.

Babies and very young children

We always advise that you bring your children to see one of our child friendly dentists at around the age of one year old. It is unlikely that there will be any problems at this age but it does help them to get used to being in a dental practice. It is thought that this helps to reduce anxiety about visits which will stand them in good stead in the future.

Young children

Once your child’s teeth start to come through, it is important that they are monitored. There can be a tendency to pay less attention to these as they will eventually fall out quite naturally anyway. Good health in ‘milk teeth’ is important though. Apart from not wanting your child to suffer from a painful toothache, premature loss of a first tooth can cause the adult teeth to erupt in a crooked manner. This could then require the use of orthodontics to straighten them.

Later childhood

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Is A Coffee Habit Harming Your Teeth?

With coffee shops open again, many are gradually returning to daily visits

Gum disease checkIt is not so long ago that having a coffee outside your own home would invariably mean a mug of ‘instant’ at a cafe, especially if you lived outside the major towns and cities.

These days though, coffee shops are everywhere in the UK; indeed, there are estimated to be in the region of 30,000 of them and they appear to be gaining in popularity by the day.

Coffee shops have been popular in the past and were often frequented by artists and intellectuals. These days they are more accessible to the rest of us and may provide an alternative meeting place for those who don’t wish to drink alcohol, whether for health or religious reasons.

Whilst coffee itself is not directly harmful to our teeth, the speciality drinks and snacks that often go with it, can be.

The ‘problem’ with coffee

As mentioned above, coffee itself will not cause any actual harm to our teeth. It can stain them though and a frequent espresso drinker may find that their teeth become quite badly discoloured over time. This can be treated at the Foxhall Dental Practice by using our popular teeth whitening procedure, but if the staining is too heavy, you may need to consider having porcelain dental veneers fitted instead.

The real issue with coffee is that few of us drink a non sugar version, and indeed, many of the ‘speciality coffees’ offered in these premises are likely to contain very high quantities of sugar. To take just one example, a ‘Mocha Latte’ in one of the well known coffee chain stores, contains 14 teaspoons of sugar, and that isn’t the worst offender! As we add creams and syrups to our drinks, the amount of quantity we consume increases. If we also add a blueberry muffin from the same store, we add another 10 teaspoons of sugar. In total then, one of these coffees and a muffin will give us 24 teaspoons of sugar, an incredible amount. To put it into perspective, a can of coca cola contains around 9 teaspoons, so our coffee habit there is the equivalent in sugar of drinking just under 3 cans of cola.

If this were an occasional treat, we could perhaps let this go as long as we generally look after our teeth well. As we know though, many people do this almost every day, or at least a few times each week and this habit is likely to lead to a great deal of tooth decay and gum disease.

Whilst our Ipswich dental team can help to restore teeth damaged in this way, it is better to be aware of the damage that our coffee habit can cause and make choices that help to prevent these problems from occurring in the first place.

Obesity

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Do You Have Confidence In Your Teeth?

Are your teeth unhealthy or don’t look good? Here are the solutions….

double dental implantAs we get older, and perhaps even more so if we haven’t always taken good care of our teeth in our earlier lives, some of us will be aware that our teeth are not functioning quite as well as we would like.

Teeth that have been filled can remain reasonably strong but there is little doubt that some teeth with larger fillings may feel more vulnerable than a healthy natural tooth would.

Teeth that have worn away over time, perhaps due to tooth grinding or enamel erosion, or teeth that are a little wobbly, may also not feel as strong as we would like them to be and we may find that we are conscious of them and feel insecure when we are eating.

As food offers one of the pleasures in our lives and provides important nutrients for good health, it is a little worrying that we might find ourselves avoiding eating certain foods because we find them ‘challenging’ or that the difficulty we find in eating them removes the enjoyment.

Restoration of damaged teeth

At the Foxhall Dental Clinic in Ipswich, whilst we do believe in treating problems in as minimally invasive way as possible, there does come a time when patients might want to explore more advanced options to resolve an ongoing problem. An example of this might be a tooth whose filling keeps coming out. This can be caused by a number of things including size, age and location of the filling. If a filling does come out a couple of times, we are likely to wonder when it will happen again and it can make us a little nervous about eating.

A filling is a common and relatively straightforward dental treatment, and this is why it is most often used where decay or a breakage to the tooth has occurred. It is not the only available solution though and if it is causing you problems, there are opportunities to have other treatments that, whilst slightly more invasive, offer a stronger and longer lasting alternative.

Dental crowns

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Are You Considering A Post-Lockdown Smile Makeover?

Let our Ipswich dentists restore your smile!

White teeth and dental mirrorIt has seemed like a very long time for us, and probably for you too, but the Foxhall Dental Practice is now open and seeing patients once again. There are changes of course, and extra hygiene and social distancing measures are in place, and may be for some time; but we can at least start to treat patients again as the lock-down restrictions are progressively eased.

Our priority has been to see those most in need of urgent treatment to help relieve pain and restore broken or damaged teeth. As this need reduces over the next few weeks, we will also be able to start seeing patients who desire cosmetic dentistry to improve their smiles.

Side effects of lockdown

How much we needed to isolate ourselves from others during lockdown will have depended on a number of circumstances, especially whether we went to work and if we were classed as key workers. The majority of us though will have led somewhat restrictive lives for the last few months and we may have also neglected ourselves a little in some cases. Some of us will have missed the fresh air from being indoors too much along, perhaps,  with too little exercise. Add to this less than tooth friendly habits such as eating too many sugary foods, drinking alcohol and possibly even starting smoking again, and it isn’t hard to see how these last few months may have contributed to a deterioration in our overall appearance, including our smiles.

In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at just a small sample of the procedures that we offer at your convenient Ipswich dental surgery which can help to renew your appearance and give you a fresher look for what is left of the summer!

Whiter teeth

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Dental Care In The Near Future

Dental practices in the UK are able to open again from June 8th, but what should you expect when they do?

Foxhall Dental PracticeMost of you will have seen the news that dental practices in the UK are able to open again following our closure because of the Covid-19 situation.

On the surface, it may appear to some patients that this means that everything is more or less back to normal. Much as we wish this were the case, it isn’t unfortunately.

When the government announced this, we heard about it at the same time that patients did. As you can probably understand, running a dental practice means not only performing treatments but also ensuring that the whole practice environment is safe for both staff and patients. This is even more important at this particular time for obvious reasons.

As the announcement came with no real forewarning, dentists and their staff have been doing all that they can to get things ready to open again as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this is not as simple as just unlocking the doors. The most obvious thing to note is that we have to plan for the new ‘normal’, at least until such a time that the virus is no longer such a threat or a vaccine is widely available.

PPE and staff training

Most of you will have now heard of PPE, the protective equipment that keeps both patient and staff safe. Due to the worldwide demand, it is challenging to source this in sufficient quantity to be able to operate safely. Our Ipswich dental patients can rest assured that we are doing all that we can to source this as quickly as possible.

Systems are also being put into place to make the practice a safe environment. This stems right from how patients can safely wait in the reception areas to how we thoroughly clean the environment after each treatment.

What should patients expect?

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Wobbly Teeth In Children And Adults

Why teeth become loose and where it requires professional advice.

Dr Samuel Ofori-AttahMost of us can probably remember having a wobbly tooth or two when we were younger. Some of us may even be unfortunate enough to remember the traumatic experience of a parent tying all sorts of ways to remove them? We will discuss why you shouldn’t do this a little later on in this blog, but first, let’s take a look at what causes wobbly teeth both in children and adults, and the potential consequences.

Children and wobbly teeth

Our patients who are parents of young children may already have experienced their child having a wobbly tooth. This is usually nothing to be concerned about and is quite natural as their first teeth will eventually fall out so that their adult teeth can erupt in their place. The temporary nature of the first teeth can, unfortunately, cause some parents to pay less attention to them as they will come out anyway. Even though these are temporary teeth, it is still important to make sure that your child cleans them well, and also the gums. Anyone who has had a severe toothache would not want to put their child through that, and, although temporary, these teeth still play an important role.

The first teeth, or milk or baby teeth as they are sometimes known, enable a young child to progress from soft foods to a more normal diet. If the teeth are not looked after and have to be extracted, this can cause problems in this transitional stage that could have long lasting effects. In addition to this, confidence and speech development can also be affected and can cause problems during a child’s developmental years.

Just a word of caution here; if your child has a wobbly tooth, even if it has been ‘hanging on’ for a little while, please don’t forcefully try to pull it out by the ‘door handle’ or any similar technique. Gentle and gradual pressing on it with the tongue should see it soon fall out. If you have one that is particularly problematic, please contact our Ipswich dental team for advice. Using a more forceful method may cause not only discomfort to the child but also possible damage to the gum tissue.

Try to keep your children’s teeth healthy and make sure that they brush them well, ideally supervised by yourself or another responsible adult.

Loose teeth in adults

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Stress And Anxiety – Challenges For Our Teeth

Additional side effects of the Covid-19 crisis – guidance for our Ipswich patients

Worried dental patientAs if it wasn’t enough that some of us have suffered stress and anxiety not only from the threat of the disease itself, but also of the many weeks of isolation; reports now indicate that many of us are anxious about the safety aspects of having to return to work.

Although we are not yet at this stage; with the numbers of deaths and new cases going down gradually, it can only be a matter of time before many of us have to return to a situation where we are less able to control our own safety.

All of this ongoing anxiety and stress can be harmful and have adverse knock-on effects, including for our teeth and gums.

How stress and anxiety affects our oral health

There are two main ways in which these problems can have a negative effect on our teeth and gums. These are both direct and indirect. Our Foxhall Dental Practice dentists explain below.

The direct effects include immediate or gradual damage caused by grinding of the teeth; a condition known as bruxism. In most people this occurs at night and is therefore very difficult to control directly. In rare cases, and under extreme stress, people may also do this during their waking hours.

There are two likely outcomes to this. The most likely being a gradual wearing away of the protective enamel layer of the teeth. This exposes the underlying dentin layer, thereby increasing the likelihood of both tooth decay and tooth sensitivity. Less likely, but not unheard of, is that teeth can break under the strain. This is probably more likely to happen on teeth that have already been restored or are already weakened by damage. The breakage can range from a small chip coming away from the tooth, to a complete fracturing.

The main indirect way that we harm our teeth and gums through stress is by changing our daily habits, nearly always for the worse. When stressed, we are less likely to care of  ourselves, and especially when it comes to what we eat. Under normal circumstances, most of us probably eat reasonably well balanced meals, with perhaps the occasional junk food ‘treat’. As stress levels rise, the latter is likely to feature more. With stress and anxiety often comes some degree of depression or at least a lowering of the mood.  When this happens, making an effort to cook a meal is one of those things that is likely to go amiss when we simply ‘can’t be bothered’.

Unfortunately, most junk food and even general ready meals often contain high levels of sugar. Add to that the additional cakes and biscuits we may eat and it is easy to see how damage to our teeth and gums can occur, especially over a period of time.

What can you do about it?

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More Dental Advice To Help You Through Lockdown

A few more tips from our Ipswich dentists on how to keep your teeth looking the best that you can.

Flossing teethIn the greater scheme of things, keeping our teeth looking nice is probably a fair way down our list of priorities right now. Even from a dental perspective, it is far more important to keep your teeth healthy than to keep them white.

For some patients though, it will be a bit of a concern, especially those who may have previously lost confidence due to having stained or unattractive teeth.  As we are currently unable to see patients for treatments, including cosmetic ones, we thought that we would offer a few tips below that might help to keep your teeth looking OK for just that bit longer.

Some of these tips will also be of benefit, not only to the appearance of your teeth, but their health too. Enamel erosion is a factor which can affect both for example.

Brush your teeth well

This one should be pretty obvious. Brushing your teeth regularly will help to remove much of the surface staining that can occur as foods and drinks become stuck to our teeth. It will also help to remove acids which can cause tiny pits to appear in the surface enamel which in turn can trap discolouring substances as well as potentially harmful bacteria.

Avoid damaging foods and drinks

A surprising amount of foods and drinks can cause our teeth to look less pleasant. Some of this is down to the acidity as mentioned above. Some though are more likely to have an immediate impact than others. If you smoke, or if you drink very strong coffee such as espresso, you probably shouldn’t be too surprised if your teeth darken relatively quickly.

Whilst it might be a difficult time to cut down or cut out habits like this, by doing so, you will help to maintain the current condition of your teeth for longer. In the case of smoking; if you can use this time to stop, you will be doing your teeth and gums a favour. There is also some medical thinking that smokers are at a greater risk of the more serious consequences of the Coronavirus, so stopping now would certainly be beneficial.

Drink water

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