Monthly Archives: August 2020
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
We all want whiter teeth but how do you get that celebrity look without damaging your teeth?
- Brush and floss twice a day. Foods and drinks such as coffee, tea, fizzy drinks, soy sauce and curry all stain your teeth. Brushing and flossing removes much of the food and drink remnants that stain your teeth.
- Eat lots of crunchy fruit and vegetables. Dr. Arthur Glosman, a cosmetic dentist in Beverly Hills, describes them as “nature’s toothbrushes (a).” Crunchy foods such as apples and carrots help to remove stains from your teeth.
- Visit your dentist regularly. This is a good idea regardless, but a dentist can give your teeth a good polish, brilliant for a quick fix if you are trying to impress. Alternatively you can see a cosmetic dentist who uses a specialised gel to bleach your teeth. This is more effective but can be very expensive.
- Did you know that most of the products you use everyday come in whitening versions. Be it toothbrushes, toothpaste, or mouthwash.
- Use home whitening kits for a cheaper alternative than going to a cosmetic dentist. These involve mouth guards that are similar to the ones you might have used during contact sport. You mould the guard to your mouth, then apply a whitening gel to the guard and place the guard in your mouth. To read more about home whitening kits, have a look at this article (Teeth Whitening Home Kits Explained).
- Avoid food and drinks that can stain your teeth, see above for examples. Also avoid acidic foods such as citrus fruits, wine and chocolate. Using a straw can limit your teeth’s exposure to staining drinks.
- Be careful when whitening teeth that have had work on them. Materials used in filings cannot be whitened and using a whitening product on these teeth may result in uneven whitening. Teeth whitening should only be used on live teeth and so is not appropriate
Day-to-day maintenance of oral hygiene is a basic need for everybody. Overlooking it can lead to health problems, discomfort and lower quality of life. For people with special needs, it is often their carers who hold responsibility for ensuring that their teeth and gums are kept as healthy as possible.
If you’re a carer, you’ll know that this is no easy task. Many people in your position have never received guidance on how to look after the teeth of the person in your care, but we’re here to help with some suggestions.
If the person you care for has a physical disability that prevents them from cleaning their own teeth, but has no aversion to you doing it for them, then it’s really just technique you need to focus on. It may be easiest to stand like a dentist whilst the person sits in a chair with their head tilted back. Always hold the brush at a 45 degree angle to the point at which the teeth meet the gums. Don’t use too much water and make a system to ensure that no areas are missed.
If the person you care for has a behavioural or psychiatric issue, such as advanced dementia, that makes it difficult for you to clean their teeth, then you will need to find a mutually beneficial solution.
Before you start, find some way of explaining what it is you are going to do and make them comfortable. If the sensations of brushing cause problems (common in children with autism) try different flavoured or unflavoured toothpastes, or use a more discreet fingertip brush. Routine may be important, so try to always brush in the same manner and order, and at the same time of day. If clamping occurs, try using a mouth rest, dental shield or a second toothbrush to keep the teeth apart.
Don’t worry too much if the person can’t rinse out all of the toothpaste. Neither should bleeding gums be a huge concern – although it’s a sign of unhealthy gums, this should improve
In general the interdental brushing technique involves the following:
- Place the tip of your interdental brush at the point where you wish to insert it between your teeth and probe it gently to find the best angle to begin to insert without needing to force it. You will find some angles work better than others.
- Before you insert the brush tip too far first rotate it to a more horizontal angle, this will allow for better cleaning and more control.
- Slowly and gently push the brush into the interproximal area between your teeth until the other side is reached. If you feel resistance or pain it is best to stop and carefully try again. Use a back and forth brushing motion to clean your teeth and gums, usually once will be enough to dislodge any matter that may have accumulated. Be sure to rinse the brush thoroughly afterwards, and replace the cap if it came with one.
If you find inserting the brush between your teeth is impossible, you may need to select a smaller size interdental brush. Interproximal spaces can vary greatly between people, and even between teeth in the same mouth, so tapered brushes or variety packs might be a better option if you are having difficulties. The most important thing to remember is that when inserting the brush between your teeth you do not force it into the space but insert it gently to avoid damaging your gums. Although some bleeding may occur initially, this will reduce over time as your gums become healthier. If you're unsure or if you continue to have difficulty then your dentist, dental hygienist or dental therapist can offer you more advice and instruct you on how to use interdental brushes in your specific case.
The use of dental floss is appropriate to clean the interdental gums that completely fill the spaces between the teeth. It doesn't cause damage to the gum if introduced from 2 - 3 up to 5mm beyond the top of the papilla.
- Cut approximately 40 or 50 cm of floss and coil most of it around the middle finger of one of your hands. Coil the rest in the opposite hand, this finger can be gathering the dental floss as it is used.
- Hold firmly the tape or dental floss with the thumb and the index, allowing a distance of 2 or 3 cm between the fingers of each hand and with a soft saw-like movement insert it between the teeth against the tooth surface to clean it.
- When the tape or dental floss reaches the edge of the gums, bend it in as a C against one of the teeth and slide it softly into the space between the gum and the tooth until you notice resistance.
- Repeat this procedure with the rest of the teeth without leaving any space to clean.
- For an easy use of the tape or dental floss you can use an applicator.