Taking Care Of Your Oral Health During Lockdown

Some simple oral health care tips to help you through the coming weeks.

oral hygiene equipmentHopefully we are all following government advice to stay at home, apart from essential workers and for exercise or food suppliers. Although this initial period technically ends soon, there is a widespread belief that the restrictions will be extended for several more weeks, and perhaps even more strictly.

We are sure that our Foxhall Dental Practice patients are finding it stressful and worrying and, like us, can’t wait for things to return to normal, or at least to some degree of normality. As it is though, what is happening is necessary and we encourage our patients to follow government guidelines strictly. We also encourage you to look after your own welfare, including teeth and gums during this testing time. Bearing in mind that even emergency dental care is quite restricted at the moment, it makes sense to do all that you can to avoid requiring it.

In today’s blog, our Ipswich dentists offer some general oral health care advice to help keep your teeth and gums healthy during lockdown.

Teeth cleaning routine

In ‘normal’ times, most of us will live by certain routines to some degree and this includes when we clean our teeth. Our night time clean should be easy to replicate as it should always be done last thing at night before we go to bed, with nothing (except water) eaten or drunk afterwards. Mornings may be a different matter though.

If we usually brush our teeth just before leaving for work, we may not currently have that situation as many businesses are closed. As this gets us out of a routine of getting ready for work, it is possible that we may also forget to clean our teeth. If you are in this situation, try to find a regular time to brush your teeth, whether that is the first thing upon getting up or perhaps before you walk the dog; whatever fits in with your own lifestyle – but please keep the discipline.

Start flossing

One of the things that we sometimes hear is that people don’t have the time to floss between their teeth. In all likelihood, this is because some people find it difficult to do and perhaps give up. So if you find that you currently have time on your hands, this is a good opportunity to learn how to do it. There are videos available online, though please make sure you choose a reputable one to help you. We are sure that once you have practiced a little, you will be able to do this in just a few minutes and subsequently improve the health of your teeth and gums.

Don’t eat too much junk food

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Samuel Ofori-Attah – General And Aesthetic Dentist

A spotlight on our experienced Ipswich dental team.

Dr Samuel Ofori-AttahAt the Foxhall Dental Practice, we offer both private and NHS dentistry as well as a range of cosmetic treatments that help patients to have the best smile possible. In our blogs, we have discussed many of these treatments and tried to offer useful general dental information for our patients.

In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at the roles that one of our dentists plays within our team and we will continue this topic for other members in later blogs.

Dr Samuel Ofori-Attah has worked both in private and NHS dental practices and takes pride in his ability to restore patient’s mouths so that they can eat and chew normally. In addition to this, he loves to help patients have more attractive teeth. This includes the use of white fillings, teeth whitening and crowns; three areas that we will take a look at now.

White teeth fillings

Traditionally, the filling of a tooth has been carried out using a dark coloured material known as amalgam. This is made from a combination of metals including silver, tin, copper and mercury. This does provide a strong filling and has been used for a very long time. There are disadvantages to it though, in addition to its dark colour. It sometimes requires significant amounts of natural tooth material to be removed so that it can be securely placed. It can also shrink over time, exposing tiny gaps that can allow bacteria to enter and potentially lead to further decay.

Amalgam fillings also contain mercury compounds and there has been some debate about its use in fillings for some time. The advice is that mercury is safe to use but it is also encouraged that its use is reduced over time and this is partly due to concerns about the harmful leaking of mercury into the environment. By using white composite fillings, this issue is avoided altogether.

White fillings have very strong bonding qualities which can often mean that we don’t need to remove as much tooth material when placing them. From an aesthetic perspective, the fillings can also be made to match the colour of your natural tooth, providing a natural looking and strong filling.

Crowns

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Foxhall Dental Practice – 50 Years And Still Going Strong!

A full range of services for our Ipswich dental patients

Foxhall Dental PracticeIt is hard to say whether the newer generation of dental practices that are now opening will still be here in 50 years time, but we are proud of the fact that we are a long established dentist that has served our patients for just that length of time. In some cases we have treated 3 generations of the same family and our staff, of course, has also seen a number of changes over that time too.

The biggest changes though have probably been around the treatments offered and the technology that allows us to perform the procedures. We suspect that if we could go back to when the practice first opened, we would probably shudder a little if we could see the less refined equipment that was used back then.

As we now offer both private and NHS treatment, we can deliver a wide range of treatments to fulfil a number of different needs. In today’s blog, we will take a brief look at some of the treatments that we currently have available.

Family dental care

Fillings – Something many children who eat a lot of sweets will be familiar with. These are useful for restoring a tooth that has suffered from tooth decay. Increasingly these are being done using tooth coloured filling materials rather than the dark coloured amalgam that many will be familiar with.

Dental crowns – These can often be used where a tooth is more badly decayed or has broken. A damaged tooth is shaped and a natural looking crown then attached using a special dental adhesive.

Hygienist services – Perhaps best known for the ‘scale and polish’ procedure; seeing a hygienist helps you to have healthy teeth and gums and also helps you to learn ways to improve the way you look after your teeth and gums.

Root canal treatment – This treatment is used when the root canals of a tooth become infected. As this is where the nerves are located, an infection of this type can be very painful indeed. To restore the tooth, the canals are cleaned and filled using a special material before a crown is usually added to complete it. We are aware of the reputation that this treatment has but can assure our patients that it should cause no more discomfort than most invasive treatments. Indeed we are always happy to discuss any concerns that you have about this or any other treatment.

Dental implants – In most dentist’s opinions, this is now the ‘gold standard’ of teeth replacement methods. Unlike dentures and bridges, it also replaces the root section of the tooth and not just the crown. It is this factor which gives it the excellent levels of strength and stability that other options might lack.

Cosmetic dentistry

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Is Your Mouth Health Getting Worse?

If you feel that your teeth are starting to deteriorate, act now before it’s too late.

Ipswich dentist Dr NandiniAlthough education surrounding good oral health is now more widely available than it used to be, there are still plenty of people who still neglect theirs. Some of these people will also perhaps have avoided seeing a dentist for many years as well.

Eventually though, there  comes a point where the patient has a toothache or is worried enough to face their fears, but still dreads what the dentist will say about the state of their teeth.

At the Foxhall Dental Practice, our dentists are very experienced and have encountered this situation before. If you come to us, we assure you that you will not be given a ‘lecture’ or judged, but we will do our best to help you restore your mouth health. This can be done gradually, over a period of time depending on what treatments need to be carried out.

Initial check up

The most important step in reversing declining oral health is to have your mouth examined by one of our Ipswich dentists. We will carry out a thorough inspection, including the soft tissues as well. In rare cases, we may suggest that you see a GP if we have concerns about the condition of your tongue and other soft tissues and this is purely a precautionary measure to eliminate oral cancer. For most people though, it will be the teeth and gums that are the main concern.

Cavities

Unless you are extremely lucky, it is very likely that you will have some tooth decay if you haven’t been to the dentist for a number of years. Providing that the decay is not too extensive, it is usually possible to restore the tooth to a functional state. Most cavities can be filled using our discreet white dental fillings. These offer a strong solution and are almost invisible as they can be made to match the colour of your natural tooth. If the cavity is large and on a tooth that comes under a lot of pressure, such as at the back of the mouth, it may be prudent to use an inlay or onlay instead to give it the strength required.

Where a tooth is damaged in such a way that a filling is not suitable, the tooth may need to be prepared and a dental crown attached. This both strengthens the tooth and helps to restore its appearance; especially important where it is a visible  tooth.

Gum health

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‘Deep Clean’ Vs A Scale And Polish

A look at the difference between two types of teeth and gum cleaning methods.

Gum disease checkMany of our Ipswich dental patients will be familiar with the scale and polish procedure. This is something that we would encourage all patients of the Foxhall Dental Practice to have as a matter of routine.

A deep clean, also called ‘root planing’ is a different matter altogether and we hope that our patients avoid the need for this particular procedure.

In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at each of these procedures in turn; at what they involve and the reasons for carrying them out.

Scale and polish

This is a routine but thorough cleaning of the teeth and gums that is carried out by a dental hygienist. It is largely a preventative measure but can also be used to reverse or manage gum disease when already present. We recommend that all patients have this procedure every six months, or more frequently if you are in a higher risk group, such as if you are a diabetic or a smoker. The procedure itself is non invasive and usually requires no local anaesthetic. The hygienist first of all scrapes away hardened bacteria and minerals that have formed on and around the teeth and gum line. The bulk of what is left is then shattered and removed using a special sonic dental tool. Finally, the teeth and gums will be thoroughly cleaned using a powerful high speed brush.

By removing the hardened deposits, it makes it more difficult for bacteria to attach itself to the teeth and gums. In addition to this, a rough surface will also become stained more easily and whilst it is not the most important aspect of this procedure, our Ipswich dental patients are often pleased to find that their teeth also appear whiter after having them cleaned in this way.

Deep Clean/Root Planing

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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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