Welcome to your guide on enamel regeneration. As we all know, maintaining good oral care is an essential part of our health routine. This guide has been created specifically to explore the tooth enamel and it will be covering the following topics:
-What is tooth enamel?
-What causes enamel erosion?
-Can enamel be restored or repaired?
-What products do we recommend for enamel regeneration?
What is tooth enamel?
So, what exactly is tooth enamel? Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, the visible outermost covering of the teeth. It is made up of around 90% mineral, making it stronger than bone. Still, this enamel can become vulnerable and break down when exposed to a high level of sugary or acidic foods and drinks. This process is referred to as acid erosion. Acid erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by an acid attack. This is one of the causes of enamel erosion, more causes will be explored in further detail below.
What causes enamel erosion?
As briefly covered, enamel erosion occurs when acids in the mouth wear away the outer layer of the teeth. The saliva naturally works to neutralise any harmful acids in the mouth, but dry mouth or specific diets, oral hygiene habits and medical conditions can make it difficult for saliva to function as effectively as it should. Some of the most common causes of enamel erosion are:
-A diet high in sugary foods (such as sweets or fruit juice), Starchy foods (such as bread or potatoes) and acidic foods (such as fizzy drinks or citrus fruits).
-Acid reflux disease or heartburn can also bring up stomach acid into the mouth, created a more acidic environment.
-Dry mouth or low saliva flow can also potentially lead to loss of enamel as there is not enough saliva flow to help wash away bacteria and control acidic levels in the mouth.
-Genetics, inherited disease, and some medication
A new year brings with it new hope, optimism, and motivation to improve; after 2021 we could all use some of that. Many people choose to focus on their health at this time of year, aiming to exercise or partake in a specific diet, but if you are not focusing on your oral health too, you could be missing out on an important part of your wellbeing. Fortunately, there are many dental health tips that can help enhance your oral care routine in the new year, a few of these will be explored below.
•Refresh your technique
Most people are well aware that brushing should be done twice daily, but what they fail to do is to pay attention to their brushing technique. Like any activity carried out daily, brushing has probably become automatic, making it possible for our standards to slip. By implementing the wrong amount of pressure or angle, the whole cleaning procedure loses its effectiveness and potentially can cause more harm than good. The more attention you pay when brushing your teeth, the more of the teeth surface you will cover and the more effectively you can remove food and plaque from the teeth. To improve your technique, it is important to remember the following:
-Brush your teeth for two full minutes, twice a day
-Use a gentle circular motion at a 45-degree angle
-Don’t forget to brush gently along the gum line
It is now becoming more widely known that brushing alone is not enough to remove all the plaque and food debris from in between the teeth, failing to reach around 40% of the teeth’s surface area. When left untreated, this plaque can build up and turn into hardened tartar, potentially leading to gum disease, tooth erosion or decay.
Despite this, many people still do not typically floss, often neglecting this habit as they simply cannot see any food or plaque in between their teeth. However, it is important to note that although the teeth may look cl
Keeping your mouth clean is important for everyone, but if you’re wearing braces, it’s essential. Braces can trap food and cause more plaque to build up than usual since they make it harder for your toothbrush to access the teeth. Taking proper care of your teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment is vital to avoid problems like tooth decay and gum disease. Here’s how to do it properly.
- As soon as braces are fitted, purchase the relevant specialist orthodontic products, such as an orthodontic toothbrush, anti-septic mouthwash, orthodontic toothpaste and dental wax, which protects gums against rubbing caused by braces. For removal braces, aligners and retainers cleaning tablets are also a must.
- Make sure that teeth are brushed four times daily using a soft, rounded-bristle manual or electric toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste, especially after every meal.
Take extra care to clean your gums, too.
- Fixed braces require extra care. Brackets, bands and archwires create highly effective hiding places for plaque that are very tricky to reach, so cleaning can take much longer. A single tufted interspace brush is especially useful for targeted cleaning around the brackets and along the gum line.
- If you don’t maintain a high level of oral hygiene you may find that your orthodontist decides to remove your brace altogether!
- Don’t forget to floss! Floss should be positioned under the main wire before it’s placed between the teeth. Every day, floss around brackets and at the gum line. Proxysoft Bridge & Implant floss has a toughened end making it ideal for threading between the gum and wire, alternatively it may be worth considering a water flosser.
- Be kind to your teeth and help prevent a build-up of plaque. Avoid sweets and fizzy drinks and stick to more tooth-friendly drinks
What is dry mouth?
Dry mouth or xerostomia, a condition that affects approximately 20% of the population, arises when the salivary glands malfunction and fail to produce sufficient saliva. Saliva is a key facilitator of most oral functions, most notably speech, chewing and swallowing and as such dry mouth can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life.
What are the causes of Dry Mouth?
The causes of dry mouth are many and ranging from such factors as stress and depression to smoking and old age. Dry mouth is also a common side effect of numerous prescription medicines, particularly; anti-depressants, anti-histamines, anti-hypertensives, analgesics and appetite suppressants. Those with diseases such as Sjogrens, dementia and diabetes as individuals needing oxygen or simply mouth breathers will likely suffer dry mouth.
What is the impact of Dry Mouth on Oral health?
Saliva provides an important natural defence against bacteria. Poor or reduced saliva flow will result in increased levels of bacterial plaque, leading to rapid tooth decay. Early prevention and protection is therefore essential to maintain healthy teeth.
Is Dry Mouth reversible?
This depends on the cause. If the dryness is a side effect to a particular medicine or the result of stress it may be possible to treat or regulate, leading to resumption in normal saliva levels. Where the malfunction of the saliva glands is due to aging, radiotherapy or Sjogren syndrome, then this is irreversible. Whether temporary or permanent there are a range of saliva substitute and stimulant products that are highly effective in alleviating the condition, allowing sufferers to significantly improve their oral function.
What is the difference between a saliva substitute and a stimulant?
In short a saliva substitute is an artificial substance that mimics the
Nutritional Advisor Elit Rowland unveils how five seemingly healthy diet choices can be contributing to enamel erosion and tooth decay.
Sugar-free alternatives to soft drinks, sweets and gum may be tempting, but can damage teeth and lead to other health problems, according to a report published by The Guardian last year, which states: “Sugar-free gum, sweets and soft drinks, marketed as healthy alternatives to sugary products, can damage teeth, cause gastric problems and are unlikely to promote weight loss.”
It’s important to get to know the different kinds of sweeteners. Many have been shown to reduce the risk of tooth decay including xylitol, which has been approved as a tooth-friendly component of chewing gum by the European Union, according to the NHS website. The most commonly used sweeteners used by soft-drink giant Coca‑Cola are aspartame, acesulfame-K and saccharin, which have also been proven safe by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). If in doubt, read food and drink labels to make sure that your sweeteners are safe. Carbonated drinks - whether sugar-free or not – should be consumed in moderation due to their high acidity, which can erode tooth enamel.
- Stick to chewing gum that is approved as tooth-kind
- Read the label on sugar-free products
- Limit carbonated soft drinks
Juices and smoothies
Apples may keep the doctor away, but they don’t do the same for the dentist. No matter how fresh they are, many fruits juices and smoothies can be acidic and anything with a PH lower that 5.5 may cause tooth decay. This includes orange juice (pH 3.8), grapefruit (pH 3.3), pineapple juice (pH 3.4), cranberry juice (pH 2.6) and even the lemon or vinegar on your salad (both pH 2.0). Stick to alkaline foods which have a high pH level and neutralise the acid effects of sugar. Good alkaline options include
Cleaning your dentures efficiently is very important, as the resin that part of your dentures is made from contains tiny microscopic holes that can collect food debris and bacteria.
This leads to plaque growth and contamination of your dentures. According to a study carried out by Dr Glass et al, on the 'Comparison of the Effectiveness of Several Denture Sanitizing Systems', if this contamination is not addressed, and continuous reinfection occurs, it can lead to microbial diseases that can cause systemic diseases. As dentures are made from porous materials, even after cleaning food debris and bacteria can still remain, so it is vital that a thorough cleansing is undertaken on a regular basis.
- Stand over a sink or basin as dentures are very fragile and if dropped can easily break.
- It is recommended that you use a specifically made denture brush to remove stains and debris from the denture.
- After brushing away visible debris immerse your denture in a container containing warm water and an anti-bacteria denture cleaning tablet.
- While your denture is out take the opportunity to clean your gums with a soft textured toothbrush, this will help to remove dead skin cells and improve blood circulation in the gum.
- Clean dentures at least once a day.
- Leave to soak in an anti-bacterial solution.
- Do not use ordinary toothpaste or harsh products as they may scratch the surface of the denture.
- Do not use bleaches or whiteners and products like bleach as they will turn the parts of your denture that are pink - white.
- Avoid using boiling water, dishwasher or the microwave to clean or soak your dentures because it will warp them.
- Some denture cleaners like Sterident contain bleach and as such it is not advised to leave soaking overnight.
For a highly effective bleach-free denture
Should I go with a professional teeth whitening solution or use a home teeth whitening kit?
Surveys suggest that up to 65% of the adult population are not satisfied by the appearance of their teeth, with the No. 1 issue being tooth colour. It is therefore not surprising that when questioned a majority of adults report to having considered teeth whitening at some point, though only a fraction have undergone teeth whitening treatment. The common reasons cited are the cost of professional treatment and concerns about the safety of such teeth whitening products.
Before considering the various tooth whitening options it is important to draw a distinction between the 2 types of discolouration;
- Extrinsic – this refers to stains present on the outer surface of the tooth. Commonly caused by tea, coffee and red wine, these stains tend to be brownish in colour.
- Intrinsic – these stains are present inside the tooth and often result from exposure to too much fluoride in childhood, certain medications (e.g. tetracycline), as well as the natural ageing process. These types of stains tend to be grey or yellowish brown in colour.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening treatments offered by cosmetic dentists use concentrated peroxide based gel to literally bleach the teeth white. This can be carried out as a single in-surgery treatment lasting about an hour, home treatment using trays and gel provided by the dentist or a combination of the two. These treatments will deliver dramatic and immediate results against both extrinsic and intrinsic stains, though due to the intense nature of the treatment patients can experience short term sensitivity as a result. Typical costs range between £250-£500 a treatment.
Home Teeth Whitening
For those seeking a more subtle and gradual improvement in colour there are a number of over-the-counter products
Oral irrigators or water jets work by using pressured water or mouthwash to dislodge biofilm (plaque) from gaps between the teeth, around the gum margin and into periodontal pockets. An oral irrigator can also be used on orthodontic appliances and people who have crowns and bridges. Oral irrigators were first invented as an alternative to dental flossing as many people found it difficult to use floss as they could not reach areas in the back of the mouth. This led to people flossing infrequently and subsequently plaque biofilm would build up on their teeth. It is the build up of biofilm from remaining food particles in the mouth that contributes to dental cavities, bad breath and gum disease.
There are two main benefits of using an oral irrigator. Firstly, the device is an easy and effective way of cleaning your teeth as the water streams can reach far back into the mouth and in-between the teeth themselves. This is because the handles on irrigators are ergonomically designed and they have angled nozzles which allow you to access all areas of the mouth. And, you do not need to use irrigators for a long period of time before they are effective. Just a 60 second blast is enough to clean teeth in all areas of the mouth. Secondly, studies have shown that by using an irrigator along with your daily brushing twice a day, you can remove 99% more plaque than if you only used a manual toothbrush. And further research suggests that using an irrigator improves gum health by up to 93%, compared to brushing alone. It also helps to significantly reduce gingivitis and calculus after only 2 – 4 weeks of use.
It is thought that it is the pulsating action of an irrigator that is key to what helps clear dental debris and food particles. Although the streams of water are gentle and un-invasive, the powerful and targeted action of the water jets does work well to disrupt the most difficult to reach areas of the mouth. By using a powerful miniature pump to send pulsating
Forget ‘metal mouth’ – things have moved on...
Remember those scary-looking ‘train track’ fixed braces that children used to wear? Who can forget those poor souls who were nicknamed 'Metal Mickey' (ask your Mum) and ‘Metal Mouth’ at school? Or those annoying bits of food that used to collect between the wires? They weren’t much fun, the braces of yesteryear.
Happily, the orthodontic hardware of today is smaller, lighter and much tougher. Forget Jaws from the Bond films - braces have got a lot more appealing, for adults as well as children. Even the Hollywood set has jumped on the bandwagon, including the likes of Cameron Diaz and Gwen Stefani. And it’s a trend that’s taking off over here, too. According to the British Orthodontic Society, adults account for around a half of the patients in some British orthodontist practices, and many of them are opting for fixed braces.
Fixed brace options
Generally, there are three main types of fixed brace available today:
Made either of stainless steel, or clear or tooth-coloured ceramic or plastic, brackets are bonded to the front of each tooth. You can even get brightly coloured elastics to hold the wire in position if you want to spice up your look. There’s no need to look like Ugly Betty, unless you really want to.
- ‘Invisible’ lingual brackets
These attach to the back of the teeth, cleverly hiding them from view. It’s still a fixed brace, though, and so it allows for full control of tooth movement. They’re especially popular with actors.
- Self-ligating braces
Self-ligating braces can hold the wire in place without elastic, so right from the start it lets the teeth move
It is estimated that roughly half of all denture wearers will use an adhesive to keep their dentures in place and improve comfort. For some, this is just for the first few months while their gums settle down and their mouth gets used to the prosthesis, for others an adhesive will be required for the life of their denture.
In terms of retention and stability, lower dentures are the most problematic due to the much smaller surface area with which to adhere and the disruptive action of the tongue. With an estimated 12 million denture wearers who use an adhesive in the UK alone, it is thought that 35% of these will have problems, even once their dentures have settled down. This is because most denture adhesives work by thickening the saliva to create suction between gum and denture.
A fundamental problem with most denture adhesives is that they are water-soluble and are diluted and swallowed when users eat or drink, as well as by natural saliva production. There is one range of adhesives that we have found that is not water soluble and appears to provide considerably better retention than other leading brands. In trials conducted by University of Michigan, Secure® Denture Adhesive scored 80% user satisfaction on both upper and lower dentures, with 72% of participants considering it to be superior to Fixodent, Super Poligrip, Effergrip and Orafix. Many adhesives on the market also actually require saliva to be present in order for the product to have a 'suction' effect between the gums and the dentures. For people who suffer from a dry mouth condition, these products can be ineffective. Secure® Denture Adhesive adheres to the gum and the denture without the need for saliva and as such does not require a suction effect to hold the dentures in place.
Secure® Denture Adhesives come in two different forms; a Bonding Cream and Adhesive Strips (suitable for lower dentures only) so there is a choice between