Teeth Extraction In Children Rises 18% In The Last Five Years

Dentist Tushar Patel

Minimising the risk of tooth decay in your child.

A report published the other day (1), notes that there has been an increase of 18% in the number of young children needing to have teeth extracted over the last five years.

With all the additional nutritional and health advice that is now available online, this is perhaps a little surprising. In today’s blog,  your nearby Streatham dentist, Dr. Tushar Patel, takes a look at some possible reasons for the rise, and also, how you can minimise the risks for your own children.

Our daily lives

Although it isn’t uncommon to hear people claim that kids have an unhealthy diet because everything is all too easily accessible and nobody makes food from scratch these days, that is to ignore the changes that have happened in society over the past twenty or thirty years. Some of these changes have been revolutionary and have been very beneficial for the majority of people. Few people now have outside toilets and have an almost constant access to hot water, for example. Others changes though, have included the widespread availability of convenience foods and high sugar drinks which have contributed to our increased sugar intake to the point where some are now claiming that sugar is as harmful as smoking.

Our working lives have changed too, and many families now have both parents at work. It isn’t surprising then, that at the end of the day when the parents are tired from working, often long hours, and their children are hyperactive, that we sometimes give in to their pleas for sweets and other sugary things, simply for a quieter life.

All things in moderation

Some people think that dentists are unrealistic when we tell them about how bad sugar is for their children’s teeth. The fact is that we do understand how hard it can be to avoid it, and, instead, we recommend that you allow them to eat a moderate amount of sweets.  A small, sweet treat a day will do little harm providing that it is given at the right time, and that your children are also encouraged to keep their teeth clean. All families will vary in their lifestyles, but, as a rough guide, here are some suggestions for their daily food intake which may help.

Breakfast

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Genetic Factors That Can Affect Your Teeth And Gums

Good smile and teeth

A look at some inherited family traits that can affect our overall oral health.

Let’s presume that everyday, you brush your teeth diligently, floss them every night and also eat a tooth friendly diet and keep all of your dental appointments. Do this mean that you can almost guarantee that you will have healthy teeth and gums? Sadly, almost certainly not.

Whilst carrying out the above is by far the best way to keep your mouth healthy, there can be external factors that can have an impact on your teeth and gums. Some, such as accidents, are well understood, others though may come as more of a surprise to patients of our Streatham dental surgery.

Genetic sugar cravings

Believe it or not, the choice that we make to eat sweeter foods may not just be down to our willpower. Scientists in the USA have claimed that some of us may have a genetic predisposition to sweet tasting foods. Obviously, those that have this will eat more sugary foods over their lives and this alone will greatly increase the likelihood of tooth decay.

Enamel structure

Having strong tooth enamel is key to preventing tooth decay. Once it becomes weakened or damaged, tooth decay and root canal infections may well be only a short time away unless treated. Unfortunately, we are not all born with the same strong enamel, and those of us who are born with weaker enamel are prone to more damage, infections and tooth decay.

‘Quality’ of saliva

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Bathroom Essentials For Healthy Teeth

Teeth flossing

Our guide to what you should have in your everyday oral healthcare kit.

Taking care of your teeth and gums is a long term project. The dentists and hygienists at the Confidental Clinic are here to support our Streatham dental patients in achieving this by providing ongoing examinations, hygienist cleanings and dental restorations when needed. The majority of routine oral care though, takes place in your own home, on a daily basis.

Although other factors, such as diet and lifestyle habits, such as smoking, play a significant part in how healthy your teeth and gums are; even with a tooth friendly diet and lifestyle, your teeth, and gums, will need to be cleaned every day. To help you do this in the most effective way possible, below we offer advice about some of the products that you should have in your bathroom cabinet.

Toothbrush

Presumably, everybody has a toothbrush, or we certainly hope that you do. It is now possible to spend hundreds of pounds on a toothbrush, or just a few pounds on the most basic type. Does this make a difference though? In our opinion, it is probably best to avoid the really cheap type of brush as the quality of the bristles may be far from great. If the bristles are too hard, and especially if you tend to ‘scrub’ your teeth, you may wear the protective enamel from your teeth quite quickly. If you stick to reliable brands, you shouldn’t go too far wrong.

Although manual toothbrushes can be effective, it is probably better to use an electric brush if possible. This is especially the case for younger patients and those with mobility issues such as arthritis. The rotating heads on these brushes make it relatively easy to clean your teeth without too much effort.

There are three golden rules to brushing your teeth:

  • Brush both morning and night
  • Use the correct method (ask our hygienist to show you how)
  • Replace your toothbrush, or brush head, every three months

Remember too, not to rinse after brushing and, instead, leave the toothpaste in your mouth to help fluoride absorption.

Toothpaste

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Getting The Maximum Benefit From Your Dental Check-ups

Dr Payal Patel of Confidental Clinic Streatham

Dr Payal Patel advises what to discuss with your dentist during a checkup at our Streatham practice

Hopefully, most of our patients are in  the habit of having a dental examination every six months or so.

This is one of the key requirements for having a healthy mouth. Although these may seem routine, they are essential in monitoring your oral health and taking corrective action where necessary. Because of this, it makes sense to get the most from these appointments and this is best done through two way communication with your dentist.

Whilst we can see most problems upon close inspection, it is still very important that you let us know of anything that may be concerning you about your teeth, gums or oral cavity in general.

Below, we take a look at some of the things that you may wish to discuss with your dentist during your checkup at the Confidental Clinic.

Pain or discomfort

If you have been experiencing any discomfort, you should let us know, even if it has since subsided. Not all causes of pain are obvious, and root canal infections, for example, can often only be detected through the use of an x-ray. Although we do x-ray your mouth from time to time, this will not be done on every occasion as a matter of routine. Therefore, if you have been experiencing discomfort and we suspect that a root canal infection may be the cause, we will take an x-ray to determine if this is the case. If so, an appointment to have root canal treatment will need to be made.

Have your gums been bleeding?

Patients may have noticed a little blood in their saliva when they spit after brushing. This can sometimes be dismissed as just ‘one of those things’. The reality though is that if this has happened more than once, it is likely that you are suffering from gingivitis, an early stage of gum disease. This can usually be reversed through a better cleaning regimen and we may also recommend that you have a scale and polish which can be performed at our Streatham practice by the hygienist. We will also investigate further to check for any signs of more advanced problems.

Are you unhappy with your smile?

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Bad Breath, Gum Disease, Smelly Clothes, Oral Cancers From Smoking

Just a few of the things you can avoid more easily with a successful Stoptober.

You may have noticed that this month heralds the start of Public Health England’s ‘Stoptober’ campaign. The aim of this is to focus people’s attention on stopping smoking, with regular information and support being offered for those who try to do so. As a lot of people use this month to stop smoking, you may find it easier to find others to support you and be supported during the times that you are struggling in your own ‘stop smoking’ campaign.

The harm that smoking causes is well known, and thankfully, a growing number of people have now quit, with many more aiming to do so as soon as they feel able. The benefits of stopping smoking are huge for all areas of your health. It is probably fair to say that there are no health benefits at all to be had by continuing smoking. From serious heart and lung problems, to socially unpleasant effects, such as halitosis, stopping smoking can only be a good thing.

How to stop smoking

How you stop will probably depend on you as an individual. For some people nicotine patches or gum offer a successful approach. Many people have found that switching to vaping works well for them. This should though, perhaps, be seen as a relatively short term solution as little is known of the long term effects of this smoking alternative. For other patients, good old fashioned will power is enough. There is a wealth of information on the Public Health England website to help you along the way.

A few tips to help you

Whatever method you choose to help you stop smoking, you will, almost inevitably, meet a number of challenges along the way. Sometimes, you might ‘weaken’ and have a cigarette. This is not the end of the world, and you simply need to refocus on stopping again. To help you along the way, our local dental team have suggested a few tips that they, or their friends found to be helpful when they kicked the habit.

Change your habits

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When Do Wisdom Teeth Need To Be Extracted?

Practice Principal, Dr Tushar Patel, offers his thoughts on this common general dental procedure.

Wisdom teeth removal is often associated with teenagers and young adults, and indeed, they were originally named because they appear at an age when we have apparently already accumulated some ‘wisdom’! It is  true that wisdom tooth problems are more likely in teenagers and young adults, but they are by no means unheard of in older patients as well.

An introduction to wisdom teeth

Most of us will have three molars at the rear of our mouths, both on upper and lower jaw. The ones at the back of these teeth are what we commonly know as our wisdom teeth. If you find that you only have 2 on one or more of these sets, there is no immediate cause for alarm. It is not uncommon for people to be missing one or two of these. Of course, if you are concerned, for any reason, our Streatham dentists will be happy to examine your teeth to determine if there is a problem or not.

Providing that your wisdom teeth come through correctly and are healthy, there is no need to remove them and they can remain as they are. Sometimes though, our wisdom teeth can prove to be problematic and may need to be extracted. Dr Tushar Patel explains more below:

Why we sometimes extract wisdom teeth

Although problems with your wisdom teeth will be picked up during your routine dental examinations at the Confidental Clinic, you should always call us for additional appointments if you start to feel any pain or discomfort in that area. An infected wisdom tooth can cause severe pain, and abscesses may also form.

Problems with wisdom teeth usually relate to them causing crowding in the mouth or because they are impacted. This means that they have failed to erupt correctly or are not growing properly. Instead of erupting through the gum as other teeth generally do, wisdom teeth are more prone to develop more horizontally beneath the gum due to the lack of space above. Where this happens, it is a prime area for bacteria to develop, causing infections and, potentially, cavities. This can be a very painful experience for patients.

In addition to the wisdom tooth itself, if it grows through incorrectly, it can also affect the roots of an adjacent tooth, or wear down the enamel if it comes through rubbing up against another tooth. Whilst using an antibacterial mouthwash can help to keep infections down, this may not be a long term solution, and a thorough examination at the Confidental Clinic may suggest that an extraction is necessary. Generally, it is best to remove a wisdom tooth whilst the patient is relatively young, perhaps between around 15 to 20 years of age. This is because the root of the tooth is not fully formed at this age and is therefore usually more straightforward to remove.

Wisdom teeth removal in older patients

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Treating Your Teeth And Gums To First Class Care

Dr Payal Patel of Confidental Clinic Streatham

Are you avoiding giving your mouth the attention it deserves asks Dr Payal Patel?

When we have a chest pain or similar, we don’t think twice about seeing a doctor to get to the bottom of the problem.

When we have a mild toothache, or our gums are sore though; unless we are in significant pain, many of us probably just wait and hope that it will go away. Naturally, chest pains should be investigated promptly, but so should any dental problems that arise.

With an improved education strategy and an increasing amount of research linking oral health problems with issues such as heart disease and even Alzheimer’s (1), we will hopefully see more and more people starting to take more responsibility for looking after their oral health.

When should you see a dentist?

There are two types of dental appointments that you should make. Your general appointment, which should be approximately every six months or so, or more frequently where necessary, such as if you have diabetes. This is essential to monitor your teeth and gums and provide any necessary treatment before the problem becomes more advanced.

The other type is an emergency dental appointment. These should be made whenever you feel that something is not right and where professional help should be sought.

What constitutes an emergency appointment?

Many people associate emergency dental care with acute pain. Perhaps it is the famous ‘British reserve’ that means that many people only contact their dentist when they are in great pain. In fact, an emergency appointment should be made for anything that needs prompt attention. If you break a tooth, but it doesn’t hurt, it still needs treating quickly to prevent other problems arising. Likewise, if you have some minor discomfort of a tooth or your gums, there is no sense in waiting until it becomes more painful, and you should seek prompt treatment.

We try to see patients who seek emergency treatment at our Streatham clinic on the same day wherever possible. We will though, always try to prioritise those patients who are in genuine pain or distress, before those who may be able to delay for a short while.

Avoiding the dentist

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Caring For Oral Health During Pregnancy

Dr Manisha Patel dentist

Tips for mums-to-be from Confidental Clinic in Streatham.

During pregnancy your dental needs change, and your Streatham dentist is here to support you with your oral health through this important time in your life. Dental health isn’t usually the first thought when you’re growing a brand new family member.

Of course things like preparing the nursery, monitoring the health of the baby, and getting prepared for your new arrival will all be at the forefront of your mind. However, oral health should be something you remain on top of during pregnancy, as you have higher risks of some conditions which can then affect the health of your baby.

This advice from Dr Manisha Patel will help you to take care of your oral health during pregnancy:

Nutrition

Good nutrition is an important part of pregnancy so that both mother and baby get the right amount of nutrients and vitamins like calcium and protein. Consuming a balanced diet during pregnancy will also help to aid oral health, as calcium and vitamins A, C and D are all essential for good smile health. Unfortunately, if there are issues with consuming enough of the right vitamins and minerals, the bone health of both mother and baby can be affected.

Risks

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Dental Hygienist Visits

Teeth flossing

Helping You To Avoid Or Manage Gum Disease.

Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss in the UK. Healthy gums should not bleed and if you are struggling with brushing and flossing everyday, and/or have noticed that there is a tartar buildup, it is possible that you could do with a little help from your Streatham hygienist to help you with new maintenance techniques to help keep gum disease away.

Many people do not realise that dental hygienists really are incredibly knowledgeable when it comes to gum disease and preventing it. Patients who struggle with daily dental hygiene, with current gum disease or possible risk factors, should definitely consider booking an appointment with their local hygienist for some extra help. Dr Payal Patel of Confidental Clinic Streatham explains more.

Are You At A High Risk Of Gum Disease?

It may be that you are at a higher risk of gum disease but you didn’t realise. Smokers, diabetics, heavy drinkers, those suffering from high levels of stress, anybody neglecting their oral health, pregnant women, and those on certain medications, are all at a higher risk of gum disease. There may also be individual factors we need to pay attention to. A higher risk means that you need a more vigorous and attentive maintenance plan to help prevent the disease.

The Risks Of Gum Disease

As well as gum disease causing things like tooth loss and bone loss, it can also affect the rest of your body. Lots of different studies report that gum disease can also present additional risks of heart disease and strokes, amongst other illnesses.  Pregnant women with gum disease are also more likely to have pregnancy complications such as premature birth.

How Your Streatham Hygienist Can Help

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Shining A Spotlight On Smoking

Is It Time To Think About ‘Stoptober’ Now?

Although some people can decide to quit smoking, then quit the next day and remain successful long-term, that really is not the reality for many people. Some people need several attempts to quit, and some people need a lot of time to mentally prepare.

It is common for panic to set in at the thought of quitting next week or, within the month, which is why now could be a good time to start thinking about Stoptober.

Give Yourself Time To Understand The Issues

If you want more reasons to quit, then facing up to the facts could be a really good thing to do. Facing them well in advance is even better, because it gives you time to absorb the issues and think about how they could affect you if you don’t quit in the future. In relation to your general health, some shocking facts about smoking are:

  • Tobacco is the single biggest cause of cancer
  • Smoking causes 7 in 10 lung cancer cases in the UK
  • Even light smokers who smoke up to 4 times a day are 50% more likely to die from premature death than non smokers
  • The chemicals in smoke are dangerous for anybody to inhale
  • Smoking stains your teeth and leads to bad breath

You can find these facts and more like them at the Cancer Research Website. They might be hard to read if you are smoking still, but you can change your risk level in the future dramatically, by quitting smoking.

Give Yourself Time To Understand Why You Want To Quit

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