It isn’t just food that can affect our teeth. Drinks can have a significant impact too.
When we think about tooth decay, we probably think about all the sugary foods that we eat, especially sweets which are kept in the mouth and sucked or chewed for some time.
It is certainly true that what we eat can cause tooth decay and other problems, but drinks are also increasingly seen as a major factor in the rise of tooth decay, especially in children.
In today’s blog, our Tunbridge Wells dentists take a look at some of the more popular drinks that can have a negative impact on our teeth, both from the point of enamel erosion and decay, but also aesthetically.
Fizzy sugary drinks
This is probably the number one enemy of healthy teeth right now. The high sugar content in these drinks, often combined with high acidity levels, can be devastating for our teeth. Not only will the sugar fuel the bacteria that cause damage, but the acids also erode the enamel of our teeth, making decay and other problems more likely.
Most alcoholic drinks contain sugar. Even where this is low, alcohol consumption can be problematic for a healthy mouth. Whilst the odd drink should be relatively harmless providing that you clean your teeth well, regular alcohol consumption increases the risk of infections, gum disease and even oral cancers. So please keep your alcohol consumption to a sensible level.
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Getting the basics right improves your chances of having healthy teeth.
You may have seen a recent newspaper article which debated whether you should clean your teeth before or after breakfast?
We thought that our Tunbridge Wells patients might like to read the thoughts of the dentists at the Calverley Dental Practice on this most basic means of helping to keep our teeth strong and healthy.
Although it is a basic function, brushing your teeth is important; not just regularly but correctly too.
When to brush
You should brush your teeth twice a day is the golden rule, both morning and night. This is a fairly general explanation though and deserves looking at more closely.
For the morning, it really doesn’t matter whether you brush your teeth before or after your breakfast. Some people prefer to freshen up their mouth upon waking, whilst others feel that this makes their breakfast taste strange. If you do choose to brush your teeth after breakfast, it is advisable to leave an hour or so after eating before brushing your teeth. The reason for this is that some breakfast foods, especially fruit or juices, will cause the enamel to soften marginally for a while and brushing teeth straight away will contribute to wearing down the enamel.
Night time brushing is much more straightforward. You should brush your teeth last thing at night before getting into bed. Special care should be taken not to eat anything after brushing your teeth, before bedtime. Even the smallest snack will mean that sugars remain on your teeth and gums throughout the night if you do this.
How to brush
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Put those winter blues behind you and look forward to the spring.
Although it may not seem much like it, given the recent Siberian style weather, Spring is apparently just around the corner!
At this time of the year, many of us will start to consider a spring clean and whilst this mainly happens within our homes, you might also wish to consider a spring clean for your smile. As we come out of the colder weather and spend more time outdoors, it is only natural that we will want to look our best, and here at The Calverley Dental Practice in Tunbridge Wells, we can certainly help you to achieve this.
Before we progress to any cosmetic dental improvements, it is always worth remembering that good oral health comes first. There is little point, for example, in having a teeth whitening procedure if you are not going to clean your teeth properly. Before we start any cosmetic treatments to help you have a great looking smile, our dental team will make sure that your mouth is in good health and treat any issues that we might find, before starting any cosmetic work.
Once your teeth and gums have been given a clean bill of health, we can then start to take a look at the smile makeover options on offer at our Tunbridge Wells dental clinic.
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A quick overview of this well known treatment in use at our Tunbridge Wells practice.
Whilst some lucky people will manage to go through their life without the need for a filling, this is fairly unusual, and most of us will have at least one. Some people also receive a ceramic crown in certain situations and depending on the scope of the restoration work needed.
Our experienced team here at the Calverley Dental Practice will, following an inspection, advise you of the most suitable way to restore damaged or decaying teeth in order to provide the best combination of strength and longevity.
Ceramic dental crowns have been around for some time now, and we thought that we would take a quick look at their many uses within our own practice.
Damaged or decayed teeth
Generally, where a patient has tooth decay or has broken a piece from a tooth, we will look first at restoring this using a filling. These are more than adequate for a lot of situations and can now also be provided in a natural looking tooth colour as well.
Where decay or damage is more extensive, it is likely that a filling would either not offer the tooth sufficient strength, or would be likely to break away in the not too distant future. Where this is the case, we may well suggest that we use a crown instead. To do this, the affected tooth is prepared into an appropriate shape and then an impression will be taken. This impression is sent to a dental laboratory, where the crown is produced. On its return to our Tunbridge Wells dentists, it will be attached to the natural tooth using a strong dental adhesive.
Root canal treatment
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Caring for all ages at Calverley Dental Practice in Tunbridge Wells
To be clear; dental problems can start at any age once your first teeth have started to come through. There are particular problems associated with children and high sugar diets, with an increase in incidences of tooth decay being reported widely.
One of the age groups to suffer from a particular set of oral health issues though, is the older generation. Whilst they may be less conscious about their aesthetic appearance, although this is not always the case, having a healthy mouth can make a real difference to their quality of life.
As you might expect, the longer you live, the more chance of losing teeth and other problems are likely to occur. This is not always the case of course, and a lot will depend on how well you have cared for your teeth. There are though, a number of reasons why older people may suffer from dental problems.
‘Old fashioned’ habits
Many older people will clean their teeth in the way that their parents told them to do. This often involves a relatively quick brush, often done with too much force. This can cause enamel damage which increases the risk of problems such as tooth decay and root canal infections. Given that some of the older generation are perhaps more thrifty than young people, it is not unusual to learn that many use a toothbrush which is much older than the recommended three months, before being replaced.
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White fillings and cosmetic bonding – helping to keep teeth looking great!
Very few people will go through life without the need for at least one filling. Even with the best care in the world, bacteria and acids that can lead to tooth decay will probably find a way through at one point or another.
A filling procedure is relatively minor, but the use of amalgam fillings certainly leaves its mark. Even a small cavity, when filled with this widely used material, will be noticeable when you smile, especially if used on a front tooth.
At The Calverley Dental Practice in Tunbridge Wells, we offer patients an alternative to amalgam fillings in the shape of tooth coloured composites. These are used in the same way as amalgam, but offer a more aesthetically pleasing outcome. They also contain no mercury compounds, unlike amalgam. This can be a concern for some patients, despite being advised as safe when used as a component of amalgam.
Benefits of ‘white fillings’
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Teeth grinding can be very destructive habit!
A lot of people will probably claim that they do not grind their teeth. However, an inspection by our Tunbridge Wells dentist may well reveal that they do!
The fact is that only at times of extreme stress are we likely to grind our teeth whilst we are awake and mostly it is our subconscious which causes us to do this whilst we sleep.
Because most teeth grinding happens when we sleep, this can be a very difficult habit to break. Mouth-guards may provide a degree of protection for our teeth, but, as stress is well known to be harmful to our general health too, it is best to address the root cause wherever possible.
Although it may take time to achieve, many people find relief from stress through activities such as yoga, relaxation exercises and even meditation. There may be an element of trial and error before you find the approach most suitable for you and you may also wish to consult your GP for guidance.
Whilst we will, of course, treat any damage that causes immediate problems, such as a broken tooth, it is generally best to have your teeth restored once you have managed to stop grinding your teeth. Restorations prior to this; for example dental implants or veneers, may not withstand the grinding which may cause them to fail.
Before we carry out any treatment, we will examine your mouth to assess the level of damage done and the best way to restore your damaged teeth. There are a number of options available at The Calverley Dental Practice, and this will depend on the type of damage that has been caused.
Worn enamel, chips and cracks
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Don’t let colds and flu be an excuse to neglect your teeth and gums.
Like elsewhere in the country, some residents of Tunbridge Wells are feeling the effects of the aggressive flu strain that seems to be sweeping the UK.
Whilst symptoms associated with flu are at the severe end of the scale, even a heavy cold can wear us down and cause us to neglect ourselves for a period of time.
In today’s Calverley Dental Practice blog, we offer some advice for any of our patients who may be feeling the effects of these illnesses and may be neglecting their teeth and gums because of it.
The last thing you might feel like doing when you are under the weather, is to make the effort to clean your teeth. Depending on whether you have a cold or the flu, you may not even feel like making the effort to eat, let alone stand up and clean your teeth for a few minutes before, exhausted, you fall into bed.
Although we appreciate it may be difficult, and we would probably also feel the same way if it were ourselves, it is important that you don’t neglect this aspect of your daily oral care regimen. Especially when we are ill, the potentially harmful bacteria in our mouths can multiply rapidly, increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. However bad you feel, always try to brush your teeth twice a day.
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Some simple changes to your lifestyle could minimise the need for dental treatment.
At The Calverley Dental Practice, we are firm believers in preventative dental care for the whole family. Whilst the dentists at our Tunbridge Wells clinic are usually able to restore teeth, following damage or infection, we would much prefer patients not to need these treatments, as, we are sure, so would our patients!
Although we can never completely guard against accidents that may damage a tooth, the fact is that the majority of procedures carried out by dentists across the UK, is for the treatment of dental cavities. Especially in younger children, this is a common problem, but one that can be greatly reduced with just a few small changes to your lifestyle.
Cut down on sugar
Few people are not aware of the damage that sugar does to your teeth, yet we still have a diet that is much too high in this tooth rotting foodstuff. Whilst it might be next to impossible to cut sugar out entirely, there is no reason why we shouldn’t be able to reduce it significantly. Especially try to cut out sweets that are sucked for long periods of time, and also fizzy, high sugar drinks.
Clean your teeth
We can almost hear patients saying “but I do”, and it is true that most people probably do clean their teeth in a fashion. The key though is to do so correctly. Too many people use old toothbrushes (you should never use one older than three months) that are inefficient, and probably only give teeth a relatively cursory brush. Electric toothbrushes are now considered to be more efficient than a manual toothbrush and are well worth the small investment. We also recommend that you talk to our dental hygienist for information about how to brush correctly.
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When gum disease is present, there are often symptoms you shouldn’t ignore.
How often do you look at your gums when you clean your teeth? Many of us will take a quick look at our teeth to make sure that they look clean, but probably very few of us will also check to see how our gums look.
Whilst some symptoms of gum disease can be invisible and others more noticeable by the way that they feel, it is still worth a quick home check every now and then.
These home checks should not replace a full examination by your local Tunbridge Wells dentist or the hygienist, but could alert you to problems in between your regular visits to the Calverley Dental Practice.
Possible visible symptoms
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