5 Good Reasons To Stop Smoking In The New Year

Our Streatham dental team discuss the damage that cigarettes can do to your health.

Dr Payal Patel of Confidental Clinic Streatham2020 is now here and many of us will already have forgotten about Christmas. With work and daily life back into a routine, some of us may also have already fallen back into habits that we pledged to break as New Year’s resolutions. Amongst these will be people who have started smoking again just a few days after determining to stop.

There is a good reason for this. Nicotine is a highly addictive substance and this can make smoking a very difficult habit to break. Indeed, those who attempt to do so are very likely to experience a number of withdrawal symptoms. It is no surprise then, that so many people fail to quit this habit, but, as dental health professionals, we know that there are a number of good reasons why it is worth battling through the withdrawals and eventually becoming a non smoker.

Below, the Confidental Clinic team look at some of the main benefits in kicking this harmful habit.

Finances

With cigarettes now costing over £10 for a packet of twenty, even at this relatively conservative estimate, if you smoked 20 a day for a year, you would have spent £3650 during the year. We all have different tastes but we are sure that everyone can think of something they could spend that sort of money on. For example, a quick look at our dental prices page shows that you could have your teeth whitened and straightened and much more with the money saved by giving up smoking.

Personal hygiene improvement

We probably didn’t notice it as much when a lot more people smoked, but with smokers now being in the minority, it can be very noticeable when you stand near a smoker or sometimes even not that near. The smell of stale cigarette smoke that hangs around on clothing can be very powerful and definitely not very pleasant. Smokers often have bad breath too, both from the smoke and from oral health issues which we will come to shortly.

Stained teeth

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Confidental Clinic – Tips For Oral Health Improvement In The New Year

With 2019 coming to a close, how can you improve your mouth health in 2020?

2 people with lovely smilesChristmas is now just a week away, followed by a short break until the New Year celebrations begin. Despite our focus being on these events, is never too early to start to plan for the new year. This applies as much to your dental care as it does to any New Year resolutions that you might make.

We suspect that some of our patients may neglect their teeth a little over Christmas, but despite all of the distractions, we do advise keeping an eye on this.

Some simple guidance such as avoiding too many sweets and chocolates, not smoking and drinking to excess, along with making sure that you brush and floss well, should help to avoid any serious oral health problems over the holiday period.

At the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, we believe that patients should expect more than just basic oral health levels and below, we offer some advice for you to consider in the year ahead.

How old is your toothbrush?

It may come as a surprise to some patients that toothbrushes are not made to last forever. Despite the fact that some of us may keep the same brush for a year or more, they should be replaced every 3 months, or the same length of time before you replace the head of an electric toothbrush. The reason for this is that as the bristles soften and become worn, they become less effective at removing food and bacteria from the teeth and gum line. When this happens, the increase in bacteria is likely to lead to decay and gum disease.

If you currently use a manual toothbrush, you may wish to think about upgrading to an electric one as these are generally considered to be more effective. Perhaps ask Santa to put one in your stocking!

Do you use dental floss?

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Your Christmas And New Year Dental Quiz

A fun reminder of some important oral health points

A dentist explainsDuring 2019, our team have posted many blogs, focussing on different aspects of your oral health, from basic family dental tips to in depth analysis of treatments such as dental implant placement. We write these blogs so that patients of the Confidental Clinic can be better armed with information about oral care and seek ways to improve their own.

As it’s nearly Christmas, the staff at our Streatham dental clinic thought that this would be a good time to see what you have remembered from our Confidental Clinic blogs. Without further ado, let’s see how well you fare (answers are at the bottom of the page).

  1. Name the orthodontic treatment which allows patients to remove their teeth aligners when they are eating, and whilst cleaning their teeth
  2. Why should a dry mouth be avoided, and name a few ways to help with this
  3. Why are our first teeth so important when they fall out anyway?
  4. What is Pericoronitis?
  5. What is a ‘dry socket’?
  6. Name the main components of both amalgam fillings and tooth coloured fillings
  7. What role does fluoride play in protecting our teeth?
  8. Why is cheese good for our teeth?
  9. Should you brush your teeth as soon as you have finished eating?
  10. What is a ‘diastema’?

Now, check the answers below and see how well you have been reading our blogs – good luck!

Answers

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Do Cosmetic Treatments Produce ‘Fake’ Looking Results?

Why cosmetically beneficial procedures can look very natural….

Lady with straight white teethAnybody who uses the internet or takes a daily paper will have, at some time, seen a story about someone whose cosmetic treatment has resulted in an exaggerated, and often unnatural looking result.

While we might find the story funny or scary, depending on the outcome, it may also have the effect of deterring us from having some of these procedures.

At the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, we believe that cosmetic dental procedures can really benefit patients, not only in providing a much improved smile but also as a confidence builder in many cases as well.

Media portrayals

Although most ‘sensationalist’ media stories have probably revolved around facial aesthetic treatments such as Botox, cosmetic dentistry has also had its fair share of stories too. In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at three of the treatments that we provide at our Streatham practice and look at the realities of these treatments, rather than some of the sensationalised media you may have seen.

Teeth whitening

Let us start with our most popular cosmetic dental treatment, the teeth whitening procedure. This is a fast acting and affordable procedure that can whiten teeth by several shades. Anyone who has paid little attention to this treatment may well only be aware of it because of media stories around reality TV, for example some of the contestants on Love Island, whose teeth are very white indeed. This angle isn’t new however, and Australian spin bowler, Shane Warne, also came in for some ‘stick’ when he had a makeover that not only included a fake tan but also some very white teeth indeed!

Both Shane and the Love Island contestants may have done much to bring teeth whitening into the public eye, and some people may be drawn to having teeth this white. It is likely though that an equal, or greater, number of people may have been put off this procedure because of the overly bright results that it produced.

Using our home teeth whitening kit which is specifically designed for you means that you can have whiter teeth to the degree that you want. If you want brilliantly white teeth, providing that it is possible with your teeth (for example, smoker’s teeth will probably not whiten to that extent anyway) you can do so. Most of our patients though, opt for a much more subtle improvement so that the results appear natural. We can adjust your treatment to achieve this aim and if you do find that your teeth are becoming whiter than anticipated, you can simply stop the treatment early.

Dental veneers

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Teeth Whitening For Older Patients

Beautiful white teeth need not be just for the younger generation….

great smiles for older peopleIf you are a regular watcher of TV, you can’t help but have noticed the number of younger people who have really white teeth.

Whilst teeth are often whiter when we are younger, there is little doubt that many of them will have also had their teeth professionally whitened, adding to the natural whiteness of youthful teeth.

With the rise of social media and sites such as Instagram, the teeth whitening procedure has become really popular amongst younger people. Streatham dentist Payal Patel now looks at whether this treatment is as relevant for older patients of the Confidental Clinic.

Why have whiter teeth at all?

Some might say that the answer to this question is ‘vanity’. This is a little harsh though and although most people do want it for aesthetic reasons, many find that it also makes them feel more confident in themselves. This obviously applies at any age and is not exclusive to younger people. It is also a fact that people now still often have a very active social life well into their forties and fifties, and even sixty and well beyond. For this reason, people will want to look their best when they go out and older people are equally as eligible for this as younger people.

It isn’t just age either. Whereas once upon a time, cosmetic dentistry would be most popular with women, it is now increasingly popular with men of all ages as well.

Who needs it most?

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The Benefits Of Using An Electric Toothbrush?

Streatham dentist, Dr Rohit Kumar, asks if an electric toothbrush should be standard equipment in every bathroom.

Good smile and teethWhen the electric toothbrush first came out, they were seen by some as a passing gimmick, and a rather ‘space age’ looking one at that. They are now more widely accepted though and this type of toothbrush is now widely used, although manual toothbrushes have by no means disappeared altogether.

With Christmas not too far away, it is quite likely that an electric toothbrush will be on a lot of shopping lists.

For patients of the Confidental Clinic in Streatham who don’t currently use one and haven’t got one on their Christmas list yet, we look at why you should consider doing so.

The basics

First of all, we probably shouldn’t have to say it but brushing is the single most important thing that you need to do to keep your teeth healthy. Despite this, not only do too many people just give their teeth a quick brush, but also often use old and worn out brushes. This method might leave your breath smelling OK (at least until gum disease takes hold), but it won’t clean the teeth of all the sugars, acids and bacteria that are so damaging to your tooth enamel.

Whilst a good quality and relatively new manual brush used for at least 2 minutes twice a day will do a reasonably good job, most dentists and hygienists now agree that an electric toothbrush is more efficient at removing unwanted bacteria and food debris from the tooth surface and gum line.

Although some people don’t brush their teeth well enough, others are so keen to keep their teeth healthy and looking good that they apply too much pressure when brushing them. Over time, this can lead to gum recession and  enamel wear which is likely to increase tooth sensitivity and heighten the risk of tooth decay. This may mean that the affected teeth will need to be restored, sometimes using porcelain dental veneers to replace the damaged surface of the teeth. Using an electric toothbrush removes the need to apply pressure of this kind as the fast rotating bristles do a lot of the physical work, removing residues efficiently without the use of excessive force.

While everyone can benefit from using an electric toothbrush because of the above, there are certain groups for who they might be especially useful.

Older patients and those with physical limitations

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Why Are We So Reluctant To Use Dental Floss?

We all brush our teeth daily, so why don’t many of us perform this important task as well?

Teeth flossingFor most of us, cleaning our teeth is a habit ingrained from when we were young. Most of us will have heard the cry to ‘brush your teeth before you get into bed’ and most of us will continue to do this both morning and night for the rest of our lives.

How many of us though, can remember being told to floss between their teeth? Probably not very many. Despite it being an important aspect of home oral health care, far too few of us, thought to be around one in five, actually do this on a daily basis.

Why the reluctance?

To do almost anything well requires a little effort. Even cleaning our teeth correctly needs an element of focus if we are to avoid just being brushing superficially on the surface. Care needs to be taken to angle the brush so that the gum line is cleaned as well. The back of the rear teeth sometimes gets neglected by those who only give their teeth a cursory brushing, often leading to tooth decay in this area.

Perhaps then, this is the key to the problem? If some of us struggle to brush our teeth diligently, then flossing may just seem like too much hassle. But of course this would be a mistake.

Is flossing ‘fiddly’?

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Veganism And Your Oral Health

Becoming vegan might help your health and the planet, but beware of the risks to your teeth!

It is thought that there are now somewhere in the region of half a million people in the UK who follow a vegan diet, with many more also gradually changing to plant based foods. There are many reasons for this including health, morals and ecological and much evidence points to this number increasing in the years to come.

Any type of diet that is restrictive though will almost inevitably have its downsides and veganism is no exception. Even if you overcome the various challenges such as eating out and potentially difficult social occasions, following a vegan diet can pose a number of risks to your teeth if you don’t take sufficient care.

Your local Streatham dentists take a look below at some of the most significant factors that can lead to poor oral health in some vegans.

Calcium

One of the most obvious issues is that, by its nature, a vegan diet omits all dairy products. This means that foods such as cheese and milk are absent. As these are an important source of calcium for most of us, it can mean that this is deficient in vegans unless good care is taken. Calcium and vitamin D which is also high in dairy products, are essential building blocks for strong and healthy tooth enamel. If this is weakened, the risk of tooth decay and cavities becomes much higher.

Vegans can obtain these vitamins and minerals from other sources, including both fortified ‘meat substitute’ foods and natural foods such as leafy green vegetables and sesame products. However, consideration should also be given to how well these are absorbed as combining the right foods may be the only way to attain sufficient for a healthy diet.

Sugar

Vegans do sugar. It is totally plant based, and from a vegan perspective, there is no reason why it can’t be eaten. This means that foods that are high in sugar, whether they be cakes, convenience foods or even naturally high sugar foods such as fruit will still come into contact with their teeth. Unless you opt for a sugar free diet as well, you are as much at risk as a meat eater of suffering from cavities.

Snacking

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Playing Sport – Implications For Teeth & Gums

Streatham dentist, Tushar Patel, explains why playing sports and keeping fit can affect your oral health.

Especially when we are younger, many of us take part in sporting activities, whether this be at a high level, or simply an informal game of tennis or squash with our friends. On the whole, this is a positive thing and activities like this are generally good for our overall health and, sometimes, for our social lives too.

It is probably unlikely that we think about how this might affect our teeth and gums very much, if at all, but a recent study read by the team at the Confidental Clinic has highlighted the fact that many top UK athletes have poor oral health despite the fact that they brush and floss more regularly than the general public at large.

What are the problems?

There are three main areas of concern expressed in the report,  and we will take a look at each of those now. We will also discuss how this can affect you even if you compete at a much lower level than the athletes who took part in the study.

The main concerns are:

  1. Injuries to the mouth area when playing sports
  2. Dietary regimes that are sometimes followed by athletes
  3. Airflow leading to a dry mouth and the problems it can cause

Injury

The likelihood of any injury that might affect the teeth will largely depend on what type of sport you participate in. If you go out for a gentle jog in the evening, your risk is very low. Of course, it is always possible that you might trip and fall whilst doing so, but the low risk factor means that there is no real need for any special precautions. If you take part in a contact sport such as football or rugby on the other hand, it makes sense to ensure that your teeth are protected by a mouthguard. You may have played your chosen sport for a number of years with no problems, but all it takes is one stray elbow and you may find yourself losing several teeth that will need to be replaced.

Diet

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The Rise Of Adult & Teen Teeth Straightening

Why the numbers of teens and older people seeking orthodontic treatment is increasing.

Wearing dental braces once used to be the preserve of teenagers and the sight of kids in the playground with metal ‘train track’ style braces was quite common.

Even now, teenagers are still one of the largest groups to need orthodontic treatment, although the braces used are more refined and usually less visible, or alternatively, are very visible but in a ‘cool and stylish’ way in a range of colours. They certainly aren’t the stigma that they once were!

Over the last few years, we have noticed a significant increase in the number of adults that come to the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, seeking to have straighter and even teeth. Whereas once, this would have been seen as quite unusual, adult orthodontic treatment is rising quite rapidly.

The ‘Cool’ factor

One reason that we believe more adults are now happy to have this treatment is the prevalence of celebrities on TV programmes such as Love Island who have perfectly even and white teeth. Not only are some patients perhaps looking at this and thinking that they would like to have teeth like theirs, but the fact that TV celebrities are having this type of treatment makes it more acceptable or even ‘cool’.

As more adults, perhaps largely in their twenties and thirties, have been influenced by the celebrity culture and have had their teeth straightened, they have also added photos of their new even teeth on platforms such as Instagram and other social media. This has probably also encouraged many others to seek out the treatment, having seen the success of their friends.

Confidence

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