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.


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.


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What Is Post Extraction Dry Socket?

And How Can Our Streatham Dental Clinic Help You With It?

The team at the Confidential Clinic in Streatham have occasionally treated patients in the past who have suffered post extraction dry socket.

This is something which crops up from time to time at any dental practice, and so we thought we would address this relatively common issue in today’s blog in order to educate and inform our readers. Please read on for more information.

What is post extraction dry socket?

This is a sometimes painful condition that can follow a tooth extraction and occurs when the blood clot that forms as a part of the natural healing process is removed or is lost due to various factors. When it is, it produces a dry socket. This can expose nerve endings in the area where the tooth has been extracted and can cause significant levels of discomfort and pain. Post extraction dry socket can be effectively treated by one of our Streatham dentists, who will clean the wound and place a special dressing in the affected area to speed up the healing process.

What are the signs and symptoms?

There are a few common signs and symptoms to watch out for after a tooth extraction has taken place that may indicate a case of dry socket.

If you notice a lot of pain in the days following your tooth extraction, either in that localised area, or from around that area to the eye, ear or forehead, it is likely that a dry socket is present. You may also see visible bone in the socket, or notice a bad taste in your mouth. If you are in any doubt at all, please contact us for further advice.

How many days after a tooth extraction does dry socket occur?

This problem can occur at any time until the treatment area is fully healed. It usually occurs when the blood clot located there is removed. This can happen in a number of ways such as ‘prodding’ it with your finger, or even spitting violently after brushing. We will offer full advice on aftercare following an extraction.

How can you prevent it?

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Skipping Brushing Your Teeth At Bedtime? Big Mistake….

Late night tiredness can result in neglecting our teeth overnight, with potentially disastrous consequences.

Some people argue that you should brush your teeth before breakfast, in the morning, whilst others argue that you should do so afterwards.

Whatever the case though, the reality is that nearly all of us will brush our teeth at some point during the morning, if only to freshen up our breath before heading to work.

The same is not always true of our nighttime routine though, and, especially when we have had a long day and are feeling very tired, or perhaps even under the influence of alcohol. In these situations we may simple decide to give it a miss, with the intention of ‘catching up’ in the morning, Unfortunately, good oral health is not achievable if you take this approach, and quality night time brushing and flossing is essential if you want to avoid tooth decay and other issues.

Our mouths at night

The most obvious reason for cleaning your teeth at night is to remove any sugars and food particles that have become attached to the teeth and gums during the day. Everything that we eat, but especially sticky sugary food and drinks, will probably lead to cavities if not removed.

It isn’t just food though. Out mouths contain a large number of bacteria, some of which are very helpful and start the digestive process by breaking down foods. Unfortunately, not all are as benign, and some bacteria will contribute to common oral health issues like decay and gum disease, if not kept under control.

As our saliva production slows down at night, reducing its capacity to flush away these bacteria, it is important to remove as much as possible before we go to sleep. This can only be done by following good bedtime oral health routines.

The ‘golden rules’ of bedtime cleaning

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Possible Signs Of A Tooth Abscess

A dental abscess can be extremely painful. Our Streatham dental team offers advice on what signs to look for.

Anyone who has ever suffered from dental pain will know how all consuming it can be.

Although even common problems such as tooth decay can be painful, one of the worst types of pain is that which is caused by a tooth abscess. These often occur quite widely, for example in children who don’t clean their teeth as well as they should do.

It isn’t just children though that can suffer from this infection of course. Adults can find themselves in this situation, particularly if they don’t clean their teeth well enough, and have also avoided seeing one of the dentists at our Confidental Clinic practice on a regular basis, for their six monthly dental examination.

What is a tooth abscess?

A tooth abscess forms in the pulp area of the tooth. This usually shouldn’t happen if you have healthy teeth, as strong tooth enamel helps to prevent bacteria from entering the layer beneath it. However, cracks, chips and decay can all compromise a tooth and allow the bacteria to start on its journey towards the pulp area in the inner part of the tooth.

Before reaching its final destination, bacteria will travel through the dentin layer. This is a porous area of the tooth, and no amount of home cleaning can prevent the bacteria from travelling further when it reaches this stage, which is better known as tooth decay. This can only be treated by having a dentist remove the decayed material and filling the cavity, or perhaps using a crown in more extensive cases. Patients should always remember that tooth decay will not improve of its own accord and will simply become worse if you fail to have it treated.

Finally, the bacteria will arrive at the pulp area of the tooth. This is where the nerves and blood vessels are located, and, as an abscess starts to form, the patient is likely to experience an increasing amount of discomfort, and often severe pain.

Interestingly, an abscess is actually a good thing for our general well being despite the significant pain it can cause, forming in order to prevent the bacteria from reaching other organs of the body. As these bacteria can potentially be dangerous if left to advance, to prevent further infection, it is important to have your abscess treated by one of your local Streatham dentists as soon as you can.

Signs to look for

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Pericoronitis And Pyorrhea – Two ‘Ps’ You May Not Have Heard Of

Your local Streatham dentist discusses these two dental terms.

We are sure that some of our patients sometimes feel a little confused when we take notes during their check up. As we are not speaking to you directly at that time, we tend to use medical terminology so that we can ensure that accurate notes are taken for the clinical records.

Where we need to discuss a treatment with you, we will, wherever possible, try to explain the treatment in the most simple terms possible so that you can understand what it entails.

Over time, patients often become accustomed to some of the more common terms such as malocclusion (an incorrect or misaligned bite) and periodontal disease (gum disease). There are also a few terms that that patients may hear less often, and we discuss a couple of these in today’s Confidental Clinic blog.


Pericoronitis occurs when the gum tissue surrounding the wisdom teeth becomes inflamed, or overlaps the tooth itself. This sometimes happens when the tooth first erupts, but can also happen later on. As it overlaps the tooth, it provides an area where bacteria can easily collect, and therefore, inflammation and infections may well occur.

Food particles can also become trapped in this area, and, whether bacteria or food, inflammation and swelling can occur which can even spread to the cheeks and neck and can be very painful indeed.

Management and treatment

Providing that you attend our Streatham dental surgery on a regular basis for check ups, we will be able to monitor the progress of this condition, taking x-rays to make sure that your teeth are erupting correctly. Where there is discomfort, we will be able to determine the root cause and treat it accordingly.

Where pericoronitis is diagnosed, there are a number of options available, and treatment will depend on the exact circumstances. If we feel that the problem is occurring temporarily, as the tooth erupts, this may be treated with a thorough clean and perhaps either antibiotics or an antibacterial mouthwash. Where the problem is significant and where the tooth is poorly positioned as it erupts, we may need to remove the tooth altogether.


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