If your daily habits are harming your teeth, it is never too late to change!
Looking after our teeth and gums is an ongoing process. Whilst the hygienist at Blue Sky Dental can give your teeth and gum line a thorough clean, this will be less beneficial if you don’t take care of them in between visits.
Whilst some things that we do can cause immediate damage, such as opening bottles with our teeth, most habits have a gradual effect on the health of our teeth and gums. With the help of our local dental team, and a reversal of some of these habits, you will not be far away from having a much healthier mouth.
Below, we look at some simple and cumulative ways that you can start to turn the tide towards having healthy teeth and gums.
Smoking – Simply, stop. This is a dangerous habit, and you probably already know that. Help is now widely available and stopping smoking greatly reduces the risk of periodontitis and oral cancers.
Alcohol – Try to reduce your alcohol consumption and remember, if you have been drinking, to drink plenty of water before going to bed so that you stay hydrated.
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With the tournament due to start, our Chelmsford dental team look at how your teeth could be at risk.
Aside from the obvious jokes about grinding your teeth whilst watching England play, events such as the World Cup can lead us into habits that we don’t usually follow. Although the tournament only lasts for a few weeks, it is sufficient time for the health of your teeth and gums to start to deteriorate if you are not careful.
At Blue Sky Dental, we believe that our patients should always be aware of the consequences of their actions when it comes to whole mouth care. Even a relatively short period of time of neglect could have a significant impact on your teeth.
Perhaps one of the biggest threats to teeth and gums during events such as these is alcohol. Especially where groups get together to watch a game, there is probably a good chance that a fair amount of alcohol could be consumed. This not only increases the risk of accidents, such as a miss-aimed punch in the air when a team scores, but also has longer term implications, especially for gum disease. Regular alcohol consumption and the subsequent dry mouth, provides for a growth in the number of potentially gum harming bacteria. If the teeth are not cleaned well and you do not drink enough water to stay hydrated; by the end of the World Cup, gingivitis could well be starting.
Cleaning your teeth
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The choice of toothpastes seems more confusing by the day – let’s help….
Those of a certain age may well remember when the choice of toothpastes came down to around 3 different brands. It is perhaps a positive sign that people are now paying more attention to their teeth judging by the various types of toothpastes that are now available, but the choice of which to buy can be incredibly confusing.
There are now whitening toothpastes, gum disease, sensitivity, herbal and even charcoal toothpastes. The array can be very bewildering and your local Chelmsford dental team take a look at these below to help you along with your choice.
Teeth whitening toothpastes
These are probably the most popular of these ‘specialist’ toothpastes, but do they work? The reality is that whilst these do contain whitening ingredients, these are a form of bleach and it is therefore understandable that the quantity allowed is very restricted. Our verdict? Not very effective due to the small amount of active ingredient permitted. It may be useful to help, following a professional teeth whitening procedure but, on its own, will make little or no difference to the whiteness of your teeth.
Teeth sometimes become sensitive when the enamel has been damaged; however some are naturally sensitive too. Any good toothpaste will help to protect the enamel if you brush correctly but these particular toothpastes may help to block some of the sensitivity too.
Gum disease toothpastes
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More than just a word, gingivitis should always be taken seriously.
The good news is that people are slowly becoming more aware of the implications of gum disease. Toothpastes which are advertised to help with this are just one of the reasons why people are now better informed. Despite this, one still fairly common response to gum disease is along the lines of “so what’s the problem if my gums bleed a little bit, it doesn’t hurt”.
Unfortunately, whether there is any discomfort or not is largely irrelevant, the damage may be being done beneath the gum line where you cannot see.
No pain no problem?
Whilst it is true that both gingivitis and periodontitis can cause reddened and sore gums, this is not always the case. Nor are bleeding gums. Gum disease can be a relatively silent dental problem that needs regular monitoring to keep under control. At Blue Sky Dental in Chelmsford, not only do we recommend regular check ups with one of our dentists, but also to see our hygienist too for a regular scale and polish.
For those who don’t have a scale and polish, and especially if you don’t used dental floss or other inter-dental cleaning tool, there is a possibility that you will have some gum problems, even if you can’t feel or see it.
Gingivitis or periodontitis?
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Reports indicate an increase in overdoses because of dental pain
It is human nature to want to mask the pain of a toothache. There is nothing wrong with this, and taking paracetamol or other pain killing medication is a sensible temporary approach when it is suitable to do so. Not only will this help to reduce any pain you may be feeling from toothache or dental trauma, but it may also help to reduce any swelling in the area.
This becomes a problem when people use this approach as a longer term solution. This is probably more likely where the pain is at a lower level, rather than a severe toothache. The fact is though, that if you have a dental problem, no matter how small, that is causing pain, it is only likely going to get worse.
Before we look at what you should do in this situation, it is worth mentioning why you should not take this approach. Apart from any additional damage to your teeth, taking too much paracetamol is potentially dangerous, with liver damage being a possible outcome. This can clearly have a long term effect on your general health and well being.
In addition to this, one Nottingham hospital had 150 admissions in one month for paracetamol overdoses. Not only is this a problem for the person involved, but also takes up important bed space that could easily have been avoided.
Seek professional dental care
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Why transparent aligners are an increasingly popular way to straighten teeth.
If you have ever considered having your teeth straightened, there is every chance that you may have decided against it due to the high visibility and inconvenience of traditional orthodontic methods. Whilst this method has worked well for many years, it is not without its problems.
The good news for our Chelmsford dental patients is that we are now able to provide ‘non wire’ braces at Blue Sky Dental, to give you an arguably better teeth straightening experience.
What’s wrong with wires?
As we have said, this traditional method has been successful at straightening thousands of people’s teeth in the UK over the years. Indeed, many cosmetic braces continue to use this method, albeit using more refined and discreet materials.
Some patients do find the wiring to be uncomfortable though. Some of this is necessary as the teeth do have to have a certain level of pressure applied in order to reposition them. The constant feel of wires and brackets in your mouth can be a little unpleasant though and some minor speech defects may also occur.
From a dental perspective, there is a bigger problem with this method. It is very hard to keep your teeth properly clean when you are wearing this type of dental brace. Add to that, the fact that food can easily become trapped in the wires or brackets and it is not difficult to see why keeping tooth decay at bay requires a greater effort that when you aren’t wearing braces.
Then, of course, there is the fact that wired braces are usually quite visible, a key factor in deterring some patients from having this procedure at all, and choosing to live with crooked teeth instead.
Non wired braces
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We all need water. Here are some ways that you can use it to benefit your teeth and gums.
Water, water, everywhere so the saying goes. Water is essential to life in almost every form, and, as humans, we are no exception. In the relatively wealthy West, we are fortunate to have easy access to clean fresh water, whether from our taps, or the increasingly problematic plastic bottles.
Drinking enough water is also very important in order to keep our mouths healthy. In today’s blog, we take a look at how we might improve our oral health with its use.
Free trapped food
Drinking water is very useful for freeing up residual foods which get trapped in our teeth and mouth after eating. Taking a drink and swilling around our mouths after a meal can help reduce this and helps until we can next clean our teeth.
Reducing gum disease and ‘dry mouth’
Gum disease usually occurs when the ‘bad’ bacteria in our mouth become out of control. This can often happen when we don’t keep ourselves well hydrated. Dehydration often leads to a dry mouth and the subsequent rise in the number of bacteria which often leads to gingivitis. Whilst early stage gum disease can usually be treated effectively at our Chelmsford practice, it is naturally preferable to avoid the problem in the first instance.
Substitute for high sugar drinks
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Why some oral health issues are more common in older age.
If you have been seeing your dentist on a regular basis since your younger years, and have also looked after your teeth well, there is no real reason, barring accidents, that you shouldn’t have healthy teeth and gums throughout your life. Some problems though, are more likely to occur as we become older, if for no other reason than through general wear and tear.
In today’s Blue Sky Dental blog, we look at some of the more common issues which are likely to arise as we enter our later years.
Tooth and root decay
It isn’t just children who suffer from cavities. Although our tastes change and we probably eat less sugar than we did as a child, sugar is still present in many foods that we eat. An additional factor in later years is that our gums can recede, exposing the less well protected root part of the tooth. It is especially important, as we get older, to continue to brush, floss and see the hygienist to help keep our mouths really clean.
Older people tend to produce less saliva. This can lead to a dry mouth, which, as readers of our blogs will know, will lead to an increase in the number of gum harming bacteria in our mouth. Gum disease can be kept in check through good cleaning, including the use of dental floss, and maintaining regular appointments with our Chelmsford hygienist.
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Why some of our Chelmsford patients opt for an implant retained bridge, rather than dentures.
When a patient comes to us with several adjoining teeth missing, there are a number of ways in which we can replace these. Dentures are an obvious example, but others, including a bridge or dental implants offer alternative choices.
Whilst a bridge does offer a reasonably strong and secure option, it also require the teeth either side of the gap to be prepared; something which some patients are reluctant to do. If the missing teeth are all at the rear, or if a full arch of teeth are missing, then this treatment is not possible, due to a lack of teeth to attach the crown to.
This leaves the option of dentures or an implant retained bridge. Whilst patients always have the right to choose, here at Blue Sky Dental in Chelmsford, we are keen to discuss the advantages of an implant retained bridge for those who are suitable.
In an ideal world, any replacement teeth would feel as natural as possible. Whilst dentures have improved greatly over the years, some patients still find that they become unstable after a while, moving around in the mouth when they eat, or when speaking to others. Implant retained bridges, often known as ‘all on 4 implants’ where all teeth have been lost, offer an excellent level of stability and will not move around at all.
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What to expect when you arrange an appointment with our Chelmsford dentist after time away
Ideally, patients should see a dentist at Blue Sky Dental every six months or so, sometimes more frequently if needed; as may be the case with diabetics for example.
Most people do manage to do this but sometimes we can drop out of this routine. Perhaps an appointment has to be cancelled for a legitimate reason and is not re-arranged. If we are happy with our teeth and are not having any problems, this can lead to some patients simply not rebooking their appointment, often meaning a number of years without professional monitoring of our teeth and gums.
Whilst missing appointments isn’t recommended, if you are fortunate not to need to make an emergency appointment for a painful tooth or other similar problem, some time may pass before you are prompted to see a dentist again. What then, should you expect when you return?
What we find when we examine your mouth after a time away will, of course, depend on your lifestyle. If you brush and floss your teeth regularly, don’t smoke and keep your sugar consumption low, we are likely to find less problems than if you do the opposite. Any return appointment will start with a thorough examination, often including x-rays, to determine the health of your teeth and gums and what action should be taken next.
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