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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Two Minute Oral Health Care Tips From Confidental Streatham

Having a healthy mouth doesn’t have to be time consuming.

Fillings, extractions; these are words that patients at our dental clinic don’t like to hear. Sometimes these problems can be caused by circumstances outside of our control, such as a blow to the teeth. Often though, these treatments are necessary because the patient has taken insufficient care of their teeth in the time since their last appointment at the Confidental Clinic in Streatham.

It can be all too easy to forget about our teeth and the need for proper attention to keep them in good health. When a toothache strikes though, we will probably wish that we had looked after them better. Dental care is an ongoing thing, and whilst it is possible to spend hours reading up on this subject, the reality is that much of the way that we can look after our teeth takes only around 2 minutes or so.

Your 2 minute healthy teeth and gums tips

Let us start with the most obvious of these. We are sure that you have heard that you should brush your teeth for 2 minutes both in the morning and evening. This is good advice and we also recommend that you use a timer to make sure that you are doing so. Make sure to brush both the back and front surface of your teeth and pay special attention to the area at the back of the rear teeth. This is a little more tricky to reach and is probably why so much decay occurs in this area. If you are supervising children while they clean their teeth, you may need to add a little extra time to allow for the non brushing elements of that two minutes.

The next most obvious thing is to floss your teeth. We have covered before in our blogs why this is so important to prevent gum disease and decay from occurring. Does it take just two minutes though? The fact is that once you have become adept at this, it probably does only take a couple of minutes or at worst perhaps a minute or so more. Some people find it difficult at first, but we recommend that you persevere. Our Streatham dental hygiene team are always happy to demonstrate how to floss correctly.

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Make A Move Towards Mercury Free Dentistry

White dental fillings offer an excellent substitute in Streatham.

Over the years there have been many stories about the ‘risks’ of using mercury in the production of amalgam fillings.

It is true that this is a potentially toxic substance and it may seem a strange thing to use when making a filling that is to be put into the mouth.

However, studies have shown mercury compounds to be safe when used in this way and the General Dental Council has deemed that it is safe to use for this purpose, at least for the majority of people.

The reality is that we all breathe in mercury from the environment and it is present in the air, the soil and in the water too. These are in such small quantities as to cause no harm to human health and we shouldn’t be concerned about it. Although initially thought not to, it has been shown that mercury does slowly escape from amalgam fillings over time. As with that from nature though, this is at levels that should be of no concern.

Why ditch amalgam fillings then?

At your Confidental dentist in Streatham we do come across a number of patients who either refuse to believe that amalgam is safe, or would simply prefer to be on the safe side and use an alternative instead. These patients opt instead for our natural looking, white cosmetic fillings. The use of mercury is not the only reason that people switch to this method. Although amalgam offers an excellent level of strength, there is no getting away from the fact that it is a very visible dark filling material, and even in the back teeth can be seen when you laugh or yawn. It is understandable then that patients definitely do not want them in their front teeth.

Finally, although amalgam fillings are safe, there is a move to gradually phase out the use of amalgam fillings. This is not from direct safety issues but from concerns about the increased levels of mercury in the environment. It is believed that at least some of this rise can be attributed to the use of mercury based dental fillings.

Alternative fillings

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Tooth Replacement Options For Nervous Patients

Dentures are still a popular choice

It is quite likely that you will have read about the wonders of dental implants and they are becoming increasingly popular with patients for a number of reasons.

They are also a favourite of celebrities who have lost some of their teeth and want to look at their very best; albeit the technology is now much more affordable even if you don’t have a celebrity income!

They aren’t for everyone though, and a quick read about the procedure is likely to put off some patients who are nervous or anxious about receiving even relatively minor treatment. This doesn’t mean that they are not a good option, but, for this group, and probably some others, the procedure deters them.

Alternative tooth replacement options

At the Confidental Clinic in Streatham, we offer  our patients a couple of other options for replacing their missing teeth, namely bridges and dentures. Of these, dentures might be preferable to those of a nervous disposition, as even bridges typically need some invasive dentistry to take place.

In order for the bridge which carries the replacement tooth to be held securely in place, crowns are often fitted to the natural teeth either side of the gap. Unfortunately, crowns can’t just be fitted to the teeth as they are and it is first necessary to shape them. This procedure requires a local anaesthetic in addition to the additional preparatory work on the teeth. For this reason, it may not be the most popular choice for anxious patients.

Dentures

The only non invasive method of teeth replacement available is the use of dentures. These have had somewhat of a bad press for some time, often being the butt of jokes. Long gone though are the days when people would buy second hand dentures which inevitably were ill fitting and often became loose. These days, modern aesthetic dentures are the first choice for a lot of patients.

Dentures can be used either to replace an individual tooth, a series of teeth, or even a full arch of teeth where necessary. Changes in design and materials mean that modern dentures look natural and are also more comfortable than they are likely to have been in the past.

Whilst dentures may lack the excellent stability of dental implants, they are still relatively secure, and denture adhesives make them even more so. They are also more affordable than implants which is another reason why people opt for them as a first choice.

The denture procedure

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Children And Their (Sometimes) Smelly Breath

It isn’t just grown ups who can have bad breath advises Streatham dentist, Dr Manisha Patel.

As we have mentioned in a number of previous blogs including this one, bad breath is often linked to a number of different factors.

One of the most significant of these is when the gums become infected due to periodontitis, or even the earlier stage of gum disease known as gingivitis.

Some lifestyle choices can also lead to this antisocial problem, including the regular drinking of  alcohol and also smoking. It isn’t just our adult Confidental Clinic patients that can suffer from halitosis though, it can also occur in children. As we can (hopefully anyway) rule out alcohol and cigarettes as being the cause of this, what is it that is going on in the child’s mouth that is causing this problem?

Morning breath

Although it might surprise some people who don’t have kids, most parents will be only too aware of the fact that their kids breath can sometimes be really stinky, even after they have brushed their teeth. Whilst this is relatively common, there are certain things that can, perhaps, be done to eliminate, or at least reduce their smelly breath.

Lodged objects

To start off with, one that you may perhaps not even consider, but especially if your child is very small, they may have been curious what would happen if they pushed a pea, jelly bean or even a small toy up their nose. If this happens, bacteria can form around it and cause their breath to smell. It is best to keep calm if you do discover this and call your doctor for further advice rather than panic the child, possibly causing them to sniff it further up their nose.

Dehydration and a dry mouth

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Is There Any Link Between HPV And Oral Cancer?

Dental education for patients

Our clinical team were recently discussing the link between HPV and oral cancer, and we thought that it would be useful to write a blog post on this to provide advice for our valued patients.

There has been much written in dental magazines and health journals about HPV and oral cancer, and here at the Confidental Clinic Streatham we appreciate that it can be confusing and worrying for patients trying to establish the facts.

As you would expect, we advise any patient who is concerned about any dental health issues to get in touch with us and book in for a full examination with one of our team.

What is HPV?

The NHS defines HPV (Human papillomavirus) as the name for a common group of over 100 skin-based viruses that do not cause problems in most people, but some types can cause cancer for a small percentage of people. The virus is easy to catch and most types affect mouth, throat and genital areas. It is a common sexually-transmitted virus and infection, with more than 200 strains currently known, but most of these are harmless and do not cause cancer.

Only nine of the strains have been linked to causing cancer, and there is only one main strain called HPV Number 16 which has been associated with speeding up oral cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms of HPV?

According to the NHS, the majority of HPV types have no symptoms so most people do not know if they have it. It is common, and many people will get some type of the virus in their life without any significant or adverse effects.

One of the best ways to maintain optimum oral health is to ensure that you regularly have full dental examinations with one of our  dentists.

How can our dentists help to detect the signs of HPV?

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Taking Patient Information – Your First Appointment

Practice Principal Dentist Dr Tushar Patel, explains why we need this information.

If you have just moved to the Streatham area and are looking for a dental practice to register with, we are always happy to see new patients at the Confidental Clinic. Wherever you go though, the initial appointment will, by and large, be very similar.

This first meeting allows us to introduce ourselves to the patient and help them to feel confidence in the dentist who will be treating them. It is also an important opportunity to learn some useful, and often essential, information about the patient themselves.

We are not here to learn the intricate details of your personal life, but there are many contributory factors that can have an effect on your teeth and gums, and oral health  in general. The more information we can obtain, the better service we can provide. Some of the questions that we ask, such as about any illnesses or medication, are also essential for the patient’s safety.

What questions will we ask?

Although it may seem tedious, we do have to take certain information for our records, including the inevitable name, address and contact details. Without these, we wouldn’t be able to contact you if an appointment needed to be cancelled, or to fit you in for one if you required an emergency appointment. These are routine questions though which very few patients query.

Some patients are a little more concerned when we ask about their medical history. We do understand that some people think that there are no links between that and what a dentist does, but they are mistaken. Some illnesses can have a significant effect upon your oral health and one of the best known of these is probably diabetes. This illness makes the patient more prone to oral infections and especially gum disease. The advice and treatment offered to a diabetic, will usually be different to that given to patients with a clean bill of health.

Diabetes is not the only illness though that can affect oral health. Cancers, kidney disease and heart disease can also affect both your oral health and the treatment that we provide.

Medications

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