With an increasing number of people avoiding dairy products, will this harm our teeth?
One of the wisdoms passed down through generations is that drinking milk is essential for healthy teeth and bones. With veganism becoming increasingly popular in the UK, and some reports indicating that vegans are more prone to dental problems, is milk actually essential if we want our teeth to remain in a good condition?
Milk is very high in calcium, and calcium is essential not only to build healthy teeth, but also strong bones too. Indeed, people lacking in calcium may be more prone to broken and fractured bones than someone who has healthy bones. The same applies to our teeth, and anyone lacking in this important nutrient may well find themselves needing more dental care than others.
Although milk is high in calcium, it is also worth remembering that much of this advice came from an era where rationing was common. During this time, people ate less meat, and, although more natural food was eaten, and therefore less sugars etc, the diet could be monotonous and was likely to be lacking in some nutrients. The advice therefore, to drink milk for strong teeth and bones, was possibly born from these shortages.
At the Confidental Clinic in Purley, one of the most common procedures that we carry out on a daily basis is the filling of decayed teeth. A high sugar diet and poor cleaning of the teeth are two of the main reasons for this. A diet with dairy products can help in the fight against tooth decay not only because of the calcium in milk and cheeses, but also a type of protein called caseins. Caseins, when combined with the calcium and phosphorus in dairy products, form a protective film on the enamel. This film then helps to protect against some of the potentially teeth damaging bacteria that live in our mouths.
Going dairy free
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Neglect and bruxism can lead to a significant amount of damage to your teeth.
Stress is a reality of daily life for most of us. This can come from many different angles including family matters and work.
It is widely acknowledged that stress can have a negative impact on our general health, but it also affects our teeth and gums too.
Whilst overcoming, or at least reducing stress may be difficult, it is worth taking the time to make changes to your life for the sake of your teeth, and your overall health.
When we are stressed, we often turn to instant ‘solutions’ to our problems. One of the main choices is often alcohol as it is freely available, and many people do find that it helps them to relax. Unfortunately, ‘too much of a good thing’ can have consequences, and, whilst it may relax us, too much alcohol consumption can lead not only to heart problems and other issues, but also to oral health problems such as mouth cancers and periodontitis.
Our diet too may suffer when we are stressed, and we may find ourselves turning to ‘comfort’ foods; many of which contain very high levels of sugar which is harmful to our teeth.
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Make sure not to let your oral health care slip.
Christmas can be an exciting time, but also very busy. Whether attending social events, family parties or simply keeping an eye on the kids, it is probably not surprising that many of our regular routines go out of the window at this time of the year.
Some of these, such as our diets, can cause some temporary issues such as weight gain. Usually, once we return to ‘normality’ though, things will return to the way that they were.
The same cannot be said about dental care. Any damage caused to your teeth over the festive period, will not simply repair itself. Professional treatment would likely be needed by one of our Purley dentists to restore your teeth, and we are sure that you would prefer to avoid the need for this, where possible.
Below, the Confidental Clinic team have put together a quick list of how you can help to avoid the need for either emergency treatment, or restorative dental treatments once the holidays are over.
Keep cleaning your teeth – It might be easier to get straight into bed without cleaning your teeth, after a long day. It only takes a few minutes to clean your teeth though, and the effort is well worth it.
Keep flossing – There will almost certainly be a lot of toffee, chocolate and other teeth damaging foods that get trapped between your teeth at Christmas. Try to remember to floss, in order to remove it, if you possibly can.
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High sugar drinks are very bad for your teeth, and your general health too!
We probably expect athletes and sportsmen to use energy drinks to give their performance a short term boost. What has been surprising though, is the number of people walking down a street, doing their everyday thing, but also drinking a high energy drink.
We are unsure of why this is the case, although marketing and role models obviously help, but we can’t help wondering if people are aware of the potential harm they are doing to their teeth.
There are two types of energy drinks that are very popular; those with high sugar levels (including natural sugars) and those that mix sugars with caffeine. Both can seriously damage your teeth.
An increasingly common problem that we see at our Purley dental practice is that of worn and damaged enamel. Whilst there can be other reasons, including bruxism and excess brushing, the damage done by high consumption levels of these high energy drinks is undoubtedly playing a major part.
In addition to the large quantities of sugars that these drinks contain; rather than being drunk quickly over a short period of time, they are often sipped over a long time. This means that the teeth will be almost continuously in contact with the sugars in the drink, allowing insufficient time for saliva flow to effectively wash the sugars away.
If you decide to use a sports drink on occasions, such as for a marathon, this need not be a problem so long as you generally take good care of your teeth. Regular consumption over a long time will almost certainly lead to worn enamel and tooth decay.
What to do
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Want 2018 to be much brighter? Ask us about a smile makeover.
Although we have not yet reached the climax of 2017, those festive days of Christmas; many of us will already be turning our thoughts to what we would like to achieve in the New Year. Inevitably, the usual ‘get fit’ and ‘lose weight’ will be on there, but perhaps you might also like to consider doing something to improve your smile?
If you are not entirely happy about the way that your teeth look, why not let our helpful Purley dentists take a look at your teeth and discuss the various options that we have available, to improve their appearance.
The most simple way to improve the way that your teeth look is to have them whitened. A brighter smile is usually a nicer smile and our custom home whitening kit is a straightforward and perfectly safe way to whiten your teeth by up to eight shades. This is a non-invasive procedure and is very popular with our Purley patients.
Although used for other purposes too, porcelain veneers are most often used to create whiter teeth when the natural ones are too heavily stained or discoloured for a whitening procedure to be sufficiently effective. This is a more invasive treatment but should cause no significant discomfort and will provide you with great looking teeth for around ten years or more.
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Is it necessary to replace a lost tooth, or is it OK to just leave a gap?
The questions of whether to simply leave a gap in the teeth, following an extraction, is one that we hear quite often at the Confidental Clinic in Purley.
Whilst few patients are likely to consider this as a realistic option if it is a front tooth that has been lost, the more hidden side and rear teeth are not so visible and therefore leaving a gap could be considered. But is this really a good idea?
Although you may not see a gap where a side or rear teeth has been lost, this does not mean that there aren’t some very real risks should you elect to leave it.
One thing that a lot of people do not realise, is that when a tooth has been taken out, that is not the end of the story. Our bodies are amazing things and use their resources as efficiently as possible. So when a tooth has been lost, the bone that once held that tooth in place is allowed to thin and degrade, as it no longer has a purpose.
This may not seem to be a major issue, but this small change can mean that other teeth then start to encroach into the area vacated by the absent tooth. The face may also gradually change shape, especially if there is more than one missing tooth.
Affected speech and eating
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How our Purley patients can benefit from regular check ups in a way they might not expect.
Many of you will have spotted in the media, news of various medical conditions and their potential links to oral health issues. Whilst our more pessimistic patients might expect our dentists to find problems such as tooth decay or a cracked tooth, the fact is that we are also ideally placed to spot potential signs of other conditions too.
It should be said that we are not doctors. We cannot fully diagnose health conditions, and so if we ask you to see your GP about something we have noticed, this is purely precautionary. That said, you should always follow up on any advice given to you by a dentist at the Confidental Clinic.
The following are some of the potential general health issues that we may discuss during your six monthly check up.
Increasingly, it is being acknowledged that there are links between poor oral health and heart disease. Gum disease especially, has been linked to this. The theory is that the ‘bad’ bacteria that contributes to gingivitis and periodontitis may enter the bloodstream and cause a buildup of plaque in the arteries. Gum disease does not make this inevitable, but especially if your gum disease is aggressive, a check up with your GP may be in order.
Stress and anxiety
Stress is now one of the biggest killers in the modern world. There is little doubt that whilst progress has brought with it many benefits, it can also produce higher levels of stress. The inability to ‘switch off’ caused by always being online and therefore contactable 24 hours a day, can, amongst other things, lead to you becoming more stressed. A common sign that this may be happening is when we see teeth that have been worn down from regular grinding. Patients are often unaware that they do this as it usually occurs during sleep.
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Here are four very good reasons why you should.
We see a relatively large number of patients at our Purley dental practice whose teeth have been stained by cigarette smoke. For many patients, this is the only harm that they think that smoking does to their teeth, even if they do acknowledge other health risks.
With the New Year coming up, when many people will be making new resolutions, we thought that it might be a good idea to remind you of the very real harm that smoking can do to your teeth and gums.
As mentioned above, if you smoke, it is almost guaranteed that your teeth will become stained from the tar that sticks to them, often causing them to become yellow. Whilst light smokers might get away with a straightforward teeth whitening procedure, some heavier smokers have to resort to dental veneers to restore the whiteness of their teeth.
The smell of stale cigarette smoke on the breath, and on the clothes for that matter, is deeply unpleasant. Both of these though are nothing in comparison to the halitosis that is caused through smoking where it leads to gum disease (see next item). If you smoke and find that friends are avoiding standing close to you when you talk, you need to see your local Purley dentist as soon as possible.
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Don’t be anxious about this tooth replacement treatment.
The dental implant procedure is, by necessity, an invasive one involving minor surgery. In order to place implants, the dentist has to create a small hole in the bone of the jaw into which the implant is to be placed.
This can sounds quite scary, especially if you are already an anxious patient, but the reality though, is nothing like as uncomfortable as you might expect.
At the Confidental Clinic in Purley, you can be sure that all of our implant dentists are highly skilled and experienced and will take very good care of you. In today’s blog, we look at four reasons why patients from across Surrey should not be concerned when it comes to having dental implants placed at our Purley practice.
Planning and preparation
A dental implant placement requires precision and accuracy, both to ensure that the implant is placed correctly, and to avoid any nerves that may be present in that area. Prior to the procedure, we will take x rays and 3D CT scans to make sure that your implant is placed safely and accurately.
There is no need for a general anaesthetic to have this procedure, and you would need to attend hospital if indeed this was the case. Modern local anaesthetics are excellent and you should feel no major discomfort during the procedure, in fact many patients find that the level of discomfort is no more than with other types of treatment.
Minimal discomfort afterwards
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Maximising the benefits of these popular orthodontics.
It is probably fair to say that orthodontic systems, such as Invisalign, are preferable to traditional braces in many ways. Few people relish the thought of having dental braces that consist of wires and brackets which are used to re-position the teeth. Even with the use of modern materials, these can cause some minor irritation and are still visible, albeit not to the same extent as traditional metal braces of course.
So, given the advantages of Invisalign orthodontics, it is perhaps only natural that these are the first choice for many patients. In today’s blog, our Purley dentists discuss how you can get the very best from this revolutionary teeth straightening method.
It should probably go without saying, that to gain the full benefits of these highly discreet trays that fit directly over the teeth, you need to wear them for the time recommended by the dentist at the Confidental Clinic. This is usually around 20 to 22 hours each day. Due to their comfort factor, this is not a major issue for most people once they have initially become accustomed to them.
One of the many benefits of this type of invisible brace is that they are easily removed by the patient when eating meals or when cleaning their teeth. This is highly beneficial as it allows patients to eat normally, and to clean their teeth efficiently without food becoming trapped in the braces. However, this can also create problems for some people who may be tempted to remove them more often. Whilst removal for short periods of time for an important situation, such as a job interview is acceptable, it can be tempting for some people to leave them out for longer periods of time. The more a patient does this, the longer the treatment time will take to complete. We highly recommend that you do your best to stick to wearing them as your Purley dentist suggests.
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