Preparing For Oral Cancer Month

It makes sense to start early in taking action that can help to prevent cancer.

November in the UK is Mouth Cancer Action month. It is organised by the Mouth Cancer Foundation and promotes good oral health, putting special focus on promotional material and education around the country.

Far too few people are fully aware of the dangers of this particular type of cancer and may not be taking the preventative action that they need.

Although Blue Sky Dental is fully behind this, and similar campaigns, it is also true that there is no time like the present, and there is no need for our Chelmsford patients to wait until November to start to take the necessary actions.

Oral (mouth) cancer

Although this is not one of the best known types of cancers, it can and does kill a number of people each year. Survivors may also suffer some facial disfigurement and have ongoing problems such as with speech or even with swallowing. It is certainly not an issue that should be ignored.

The good news is that, like many forms of cancer, there is much that we can do ourselves to minimise its risks. This isn’t a guarantee, of course, but it does greatly reduce the chances of it occurring.

Your dental check ups

Before we move on to preventative care, it is important to emphasise the need for you to have a regular dental check up. Yes, this is necessary anyway to detect and treat any early stage tooth decay, but it also enables us to examine the soft tissues of your mouth too.

Although we are not doctors, we are in a good position to monitor your mouth at regular intervals. We may not be able to tell if sore or inflamed patches, lumps in the mouth etc are cancerous, but we can encourage you to see your doctor as soon as possible to have them checked out and perhaps investigated further. If we do recommend that you see your doctor, please don’t panic. It may well be something entirely innocent, but it is important that you do so. If you delay having a problem professionally checked and it does prove to be cancer, you may need to receive more extensive treatment than if you had gone earlier.

Kick out bad habits

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The Growth In Adult Orthodontic Treatment

Mature patients increasingly seeking a straighter and even smile.

In recent years, many dental practices in the UK have seen a growth in the number of patients coming to them for private orthodontic treatment.

Of these, approximately 80% of them are between the ages of 26 to 55. Although most of us probably think of teenagers as being the most likely group to wear dental braces, it seems as though this is no longer the case.

There may be a number of reasons for this increase, and we will look at this shortly. It is probably no coincidence though that having to wear braces no longer means a highly visible metal brace, and the wider range of discrete orthodontic treatments available at Blue Sky Dental means that our local Chelmsford patients can now have an even smile without the embarrassment of a highly visible appliance.

Social media and reality TV

There can be little doubt that some TV programmes such as Love Island, and its related social media content will have had an effect on some in the younger range of adults. The sight of a cast with almost perfect teeth may lead some people to investigate the possibilities of achieving this themselves too. Those that do this and are happy with the results, may also post their new smile of social media, reaching an even wider audience.

The fact that it is not only the females on this particular programme who have great smiles, but the men too, may explain some of the increase in males who ask for this treatment. There was a time, not so long ago, that a man asking to have their teeth straightened for cosmetic purposes would have met some significant derision from their male friends. It seems that this is no longer the case, at least in certain circles, and men are generally more likely to take pride in their appearance as can be seen by the increase in expenditure on male grooming products.

Self confidence

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Why You Should Never Share A Toothbrush

And what to do when you have forgotten yours….

There have been some recent surveys carried out about people’s toothbrush sharing habits. The results showed that around one in four of us would happily share our toothbrush with members of our own family and perhaps close friends too. The highest group for this was younger males under the age of 20.

Under normal circumstances, few of us would share a toothbrush and each family member would have their own brush. There may be times though, when we simply forget to pack ours when we go away for a weekend or to visit relatives. The most obvious thing to do then is to buy a new one to replace it, even if it is just a cheap temporary ‘stop gap’ one.

Where this is not possible, the temptation may be to share a toothbrush with other family members. There are many good reasons why you should not do this as our Chelmsford family dentist explains.

Cross infection

The biggest risk of sharing a toothbrush with anyone is the risk of cross infection. Although saliva contains bacteria, lots of it, both good and bad, it is where blood infections are passed on that it can be particularly serious.

We may know, or at least think we know, the habits of our nearest and dearest which eliminate the most serious of these risks, but anyone can, and most people do at some point, have some degree of periodontal disease. The risk of passing this on is much greater if you share a toothbrush with someone.

Although someone with bleeding gums caused by gingivitis or periodontitis is more likely to pass on this infection, the gums don’t have to be bleeding for this to be a risk. A toothbrush will collect bacteria from within the gum pockets which can then easily be passed to anyone you share your brush with.

It isn’t just bacterial infections either. Viral infections such as colds, flu and even cold sores can be passed on in this way.

Hepatitis and HIV

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Additional Challenges For Your Teeth During The Summer Months

Continuing our blogs on maintaining healthy teeth through the warmer weather.

In our previous blog we looked at what you should do if a dental problem flares up whilst you are on holiday and the bulk of it focussed on what to do when abroad.

With the relatively warm UK temperature in July, and as many hope, into August and beyond, not all of us will take a holiday abroad and possibly stay in the UK instead. Whether you holiday in the UK or not though, you will almost certainly encounter many of the temptations of summer during your daily life.

In today’s blog, we take a look at some summer oral health tips that will help you to avoid the most common problems that can occur during an extended warm weather spell.

Keep brushing and flossing

Whether we attend barbecues late into the evening or just feel exhausted at the end of a hot working day, you should always take time to brush and floss your teeth as well, if not better, than you normally do. It can be tempting to simply give it a miss when we are tired, but especially in warmer weather, this is likely to lead to bacterial infections and tooth decay. A good way to make sure that you are cleaning your teeth and gums as best as you can is to see the hygienist in the Blue Sky Dental clinical team for an update on your cleaning methods.

Hot weather temptations

It is completely understandable that on a hot day, you may be tempted by ice creams and ice cold fizzy drinks, possibly including alcohol. Make sure that you do so in moderation though. Ice creams and the like are very high in sugar and we don’t need to explain how destructive that can be to your teeth. Fizzy drinks are not only full of sugar, but also often highly acidic as well. These factors are likely to lead to enamel erosion.

Hydration

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What To Do When A Dental Problem Flares Up On Holiday

Dr Bhavin Bhuva of Blue Sky Dental offers some advice for patients in this situation.

As the summer is finally here, many of our Chelmsford patients will be flying off to warmer countries for their family holiday. Most will go through their holiday with no dental problems, of course, but they can strike, and when they do can really spoil your holiday.

With your own Chelmsford dentist so far away, what should you do if this happens to you?

There are many permutations of dental issues that could potentially strike, but in today’s blog, we take a look at some of the more common scenarios.

UK holidays

Whatever the dental issue is, if you are on holiday in the UK, you should be able to find a local dentist that will examine you and recommend the best course of action to take. For minor instances of tooth decay, a small filling may be given for example. For more complex issues, they may offer a temporary treatment to relieve your discomfort and recommend that you see your own dentist. In fact, depending on where you are holidaying, it might be worth considering returning to see your own dentist. If you call our receptionist, we will do our best to see you as quickly as we can so that you can return to your holiday afterwards.

Holidays abroad

It can be worrying when you have a toothache or damage a tooth when you are abroad, especially in the more remote parts of the world. In a European country, you should be able to find a dentist to treat you, perhaps with a little help from local people. Where the treatment required is not too significant, this should be relatively straightforward and not a major concern. Where the problem is more complex, or when you are in a less developed country and are reluctant to trust their health system, this does pose problems. A bad toothache or a broken tooth can really spoil a holiday and you may spend the rest of it wishing your time away so that you can be treated.

Whilst prompt professional treatment is usually the best choice, for those who are unable, or unwilling, to access this, there are a few options available to help you get through the rest of your holiday.

Be prepared

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Receding Gums

How to help avoid this common dental problem.

Gum recession is quite a common problem, especially amongst older Chelmsford patients.

It is one of the side effects of growing older, although it can also happen to younger people too if they don’t look after their oral health correctly. Unlike say, our knees, where skin will grow back if we fall and cut or graze them, once our gums have receded, they will not grow back.

There are two key issues with this. Firstly, an aesthetic one. As the gums recede, they expose more of the teeth and can make your teeth look longer than they are. This can have a ‘horses teeth’ effect and is probably where the saying ‘long in the tooth’ comes from, where it applies to older patients.

The second issue can have more serious consequences. As the gums recede, the root of the tooth that is exposed, is less well protected than the enamelled part of the tooth which shows above the gum line. As the root is not protected by enamel, the risk of tooth decay and sensitivity is much higher.

What causes receding gums?

This is a problem that we see at Blue Sky Dental from time-to-time. It has a number of potential causes, some of which can be avoided, whilst others less so. The following are some of the main reasons why people suffer from receding gums.

Ageing

First of all, let us start with three reasons that we have no real control over. Getting older means that things start to change with our bodies. We may pay little attention to our gums amongst the aches and pains and wrinkles that are commonly more pronounced as we get older, but recede they do. All that we can really do at this stage is to take care of our teeth well so that the risk of tooth decay is minimised.

Family genes

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What Causes Rough Tooth Enamel?

Chelmsford hygienist, Samantha Henly, discusses this relatively common problem.

What happens if you run your tongue along the surface of your teeth? Do you feel a smooth and even surface or one that feels a little rough and ‘grainy’?

If it is the former, then hopefully all is well and the enamel surfaces of your teeth are in good health (although that is not an excuse not to see the dentist!) If you notice that the surface feels rougher though, it is advisable to have this checked out by one of the Blue Sky Dental team.

You might think that it doesn’t really matter if your tooth surface isn’t smooth, but this seemingly trivial thing could be both a warning sign that things are not as they should be and also that you may have already suffered from enamel erosion.

Tartar

One of the reasons for a rough enamel surface is that you may have tartar building up on it. Tartar is a hardened form of plaque which includes some of the potentially damaging bacteria that live in your mouth. The problem with this is not that it doesn’t feel nice to run your tongue over a rough surface, but that this roughness also helps further bacteria and deposits to attach.

As bacteria collect on your teeth, your risk of gum disease and caries grows as the enamel becomes damaged by the acids that they produce. Once the enamel is compromised, the bacteria and acids can enter the inner part of the tooth where the nerves are located. This may well result in toothache and the need for a filling or eventually a root canal procedure.

On another note, this rough surface also makes it much easier for staining to occur than it would on a smooth surface.

Solution to tartar build up

Hopefully, any build up will have been minimised through a good home cleaning regime bu if tartar has formed, it can only be removed by a scale and polish carried out by a dental hygienist. This is a non invasive procedure that will not only give you a smoother tooth surface but will also greatly reduce the likelihood of decay and gum infections caused by the bacteria.

Worn enamel surface

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Playing Sports – Dental Implants And The Alternatives

Dentist Dr Hiten Pabari, offers advice on tooth replacement options for those who play sports.

Despite the rise in popularity of games and apps on our phones, many people still take part in sporting activities on a regular basis. By and large, this is good for our health and even if we are not particularly good at our chosen sport, it does give us some exercise and often acts as a social function as well.

From playing football in our younger years, to more leisurely pursuits such as golf or bowls as we get older, participation in sport still seems to be rising.

Dental threats

Each sport not only has its individual skills that are needed, along with different levels of fitness, but also pose different levels of risk. Some, such as fast car racing are obvious, but even less potentially dangerous sports can cause injuries such as broken bones, and, from our perspective, broken and knocked out teeth.

Even though there are different levels of risks, ultimately, it is the participant’s decision whether to protect their teeth or not. Some sports, such as boxing, make it pretty much essential that a mouth guard is worn. Others, such as cricket, have a relatively low risk of damage to the teeth, although it can happen. Football, perhaps the most widely played sport, comes somewhere in between. Whilst most of us may play for many years with no damage to the mouth area, there is always a risk of a ball or a stray elbow coming into contact with our teeth, causing serious damage.

Our Chelmsford dental team are always pleased to offer advice on mouth guards to anyone wishing to have more information about protecting their teeth during sporting activities.

When it come to replacing missing teeth….

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Half Price Orthodontic Assessment

Save £60 at Blue Sky Dental and discover the best way to straighten your teeth.

If you take a look at our special offers page, you will find a number of money saving ways to help have healthier and more attractive teeth. These offers change from time to time and it is well worth popping back to see if we have anything that appeals to you.

In today’s blog, we are going to take a look at one that will appeal to many of our Chelmsford patients who are unhappy with their smile because of crooked teeth. Many patients will know that dental braces are the way to correct this problem, but most will probably only be familiar with the traditional type of dental brace, and be put off having them because they are so visible.

Different types of orthodontics

It is no longer the case that the only orthodontics available are the metallic wire and brackets design. Modern cosmetic dentistry now enables patients to have an even and attractive smile, using orthodontics that are much less visible.

It can be confusing though, as there are a wide range of orthodontics available, and not all are designed to treat the same specific problems. For this reason, it is not possible to pick them ‘off the shelf’, so to speak, and, in order to have the right dental braces for you, an assessment will be necessary.

When you have your assessment at Blue Sky Dental, you will be seen by a specialist in this field. Because of this, you can be sure that the most suitable orthodontics will be used for your teeth straightening treatment.

There are a number of orthodontic systems that we supply at our Chelmsford dental practice. Two of the most popular are Invisalign and the Six Month Smiles. Generally speaking, Invisalign are used where a large number of teeth need straightening, whilst the Six Month Smiles, focuses on the teeth that are visible when you smile and can largely be said to be cosmetic orthodontics. However, there is some cross-over between the approaches.

Your assessment

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Ready For The Summer Season?

Getting your smile in shape for the sunny months ahead!

Perhaps we are being a little optimistic as a few days of sunshine at Easter does not a summer make. However, given the heat of last year, let’s hope that we will see pleasant weather against this summer. In preparation for this, our Blue Sky Dental patients might wish to use this time to get their smile into shape in order to look their best for the warmer summer months.

We recommend two stages to achieve this, starting with making sure that your teeth and gum are healthy. There is little point in having cosmetic dental treatment if your mouth is in poor health. Once any problems have been treated and any damaged teeth restored, we can then move on to looking at the best way to improve your smile.

Healthy teeth and gums

Hopefully, all of our Chelmsford patients are in the habit of seeing the dentist on a regular basis. If so, then you should be able to move relatively quickly to cosmetic treatment. Not everyone will be this diligent though, and, if you haven’t seen your dentist for a while, now would be a good time to do so. If you need to have any fillings and are aiming to have a nicer smile too, then do mention this to the dentist who will be able to discuss using white fillings instead of the dull coloured amalgam ones that are widely used.

Your general treatment should not end there though, and to make sure that your teeth are as healthy as possible, do make an appointment to see the hygienist. They will provide a thorough clean that is excellent for removing surface staining, along with  hardened bacteria (tartar) that can cause problems such as gum disease.

Stage two – cosmetic dentistry

Having ensured that  your teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be, we can now start to consider how to improve their appearance. There are a wide range of procedures that are available to replace missing teeth (bridges, dental implants and dentures), as well as a number of different orthodontic treatments (Invisalign and Six Month Smiles) for those with crooked smiles. For the purpose of this blog though, we will take a look at some of the ways that we can improve the appearance of your teeth in a shorter space of time and certainly in time for summer around the corner.

Whiter teeth

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