Some family friendly tooth care tips from The Lodge Dental Suite, Cheshunt
All parents know just how disobedient children can sometimes be. From the defiant tantrums of a toddler to the more subtle ‘avoidance tactics’ of older children, it can sometimes seem that we are constantly ‘at war’ with our own kids. Whilst some subjects are just irritating, such as untidy bedrooms, others, including making sure that they clean their teeth are much more important and can have long term implications for their oral health.
In today’s blog, our Cheshunt dental team offer our thoughts on how to make sure that the younger members of your family grow up with strong and healthy teeth.
Start them young
If you have a young baby, our first suggestion is that you book an appointment at our local dentist at around one year old. If your child has passed this age, don’t worry, just book it as soon as possible. Visiting a dental practice at a young age helps your child to see visiting the dentist as a normal and positive thing to do.
Don’t just tell your child that sugar is bad for their teeth, but explain to them, in child friendly terms, why this is the case. There are lots of videos now available on the internet which will make this education more fun for them.
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Our Cheshunt dentist answers a commonly searched question.
Have you ever woken up in the morning and found that there appears to be an unpleasant ‘gunk’ that has built up around your teeth and on the soft tissues of your mouth?
It can feel pretty disgusting; but what is it?
This ‘gunk’ is largely plaque that has built up overnight, usually when the mouth is fairly dry. The stickiness is caused by the substances secreted by the plaque bacteria. One of the chemical compounds of this secretion is an adhesive which helps the bacteria to live on the surface of the tooth and is one of the reasons that you need to brush your teeth regularly.
Is it dangerous?
Whilst unpleasant in texture, the plaque should have no long term consequences providing that you don’t allow this to happen, due to a dry mouth, too often. Regular cleaning of the teeth and ensuring that you are well hydrated at bed time, especially if you have been drinking alcohol, should make this only an occasional occurrence.
Even without the ‘yuk’ factor though, it is still important to remember that this ‘goo’ is still present in your mouth, living on the surface of your teeth in small quantities, so, whilst you may not experience the unpleasantness, it doesn’t mean that it is not there. It is not really dangerous as such, but should be cleaned away regularly and efficiently to prevent problems in the mouth.
Consequences of bacterial buildup
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Clear Aligners for a more comfortable teeth straightening experience in Cheshunt
You may have considered having your teeth straightened in the past, but have been put off the idea by the thought of having to wear dental braces.
Perhaps a friend or relative has worn them and told you of discomfort and perhaps even embarrassment? Perhaps enough to put most people off, but is that really the case?
This can leave a dilemma; suffer unsightly braces, or put up with crooked teeth for life? Fortunately, with modern orthodontics, this is no longer a decision that has to be made, simply because the latest braces are so much more comfortable and discreet than traditional versions.
At The Lodge Dental Suite in Cheshunt, we are pleased to offer our patients the opportunity to have straight teeth without the inconvenience of traditional ‘train track’ braces. A revolutionary new system known as the Clear Aligner can now be used instead. It has a number of benefits which we feel our patients will be interested to hear.
Clear Aligners are, as their name suggests, transparent. They are made from a medical grade plastic and fit directly over the teeth. These are made for each individual patient from scans that are taken of the teeth. A number of trays are then produced which are worn for a period of time, with each one working to reposition the teeth just a little towards their correct position before being replaced with the next in the series. The near invisibility of these trays means that only a close inspection will reveal that you are wearing them.
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Why root canal treatment is used to preserve an infected tooth.
Root canal treatment is used when the inner parts of a tooth become infected. Without this type of treatment, the tooth would very likely need to be extracted, which is certainly something to avoid if possible.
Unsurprisingly, many people visibly flinch when we mention this particular treatment and given its historical reputation, this is hardly surprising. The good news for patients is that this is a myth that has largely multiplied without justification. Yes, the treatment is not as straightforward as a regular filling, but, with a local anaesthetic, it should be no more uncomfortable than most other invasive procedures.
Getting to the root of it
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Loving your mouth is straightforward – here’s a reminder how!
With Valentine’s day rapidly approaching, we thought that this would be a good time to revisit the way that you look after your oral health. Whilst complex dental procedures are available that can restore your teeth in many situations, a good proportion of these probably need not have been necessary in the first place, with just a little preventative care. Hopefully, our Cheshunt patients already do these, but if not, we hope that you find our tips useful in improving your oral health care.
Without further ado then, here are our top tips of The Lodge Dental Suite team for looking after your teeth and gums:
Brush your teeth
Although obvious, many of us could improve the way that we do this. Make sure to use a toothbrush that is no more than three months old. Use a toothpaste that contains fluoride and brush gently in a circular motion for two minutes, paying special attention to the gum-line, where bacteria can collect.
Buy some floss
Flossing between your teeth is an excellent way to remove food and bacteria that has become trapped. Do not ‘saw’ between your teeth as this may damage the gums; so we recommend that you see our dental hygienist for advice on the correct, effective way to do this.
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Why dentures become loose and how we can help in Cheshunt.
When patients first have dentures fitted, it can seem like all the tales that you may have heard about loose fitting dentures were just myths.
Good quality dentures, combined with the skills of a dentist who makes sure that they fit correctly, will help you to have replacement teeth that are stable and don’t move around in the mouth, at least at first.
Most patients are likely to find their dentures fit well initially, but as they wear them for a while, they may find that they do start to move around a little. This can get worse as time progresses. The easiest solution is to blame the dentures, or even the dentist who fitted them. More often than not though, the problem lies beneath the surface of the gum, where the body is happily reabsorbing the bone that is no longer necessary to hold a tooth root in place.
Facial shape changes
As we lose teeth, the bone in the jaw is reabsorbed. The body is very good at adjusting and, as the bone in that area no longer has a purpose to fulfil, the minerals that make up the bone are absorbed and utilised by the body elsewhere. Whilst this might be beneficial to our health, it certainly isn’t for our appearance and also creates a problem for denture wearers who may find that their dentures now no longer fit as securely as they once did.
Facial shape changes caused by receding and shrinking bone can lead not only to ill fitting dentures, but also to a general ageing appearance. Avoiding this though, is entirely possible.
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Tooth Itch – uncommon but may indicate a potential problem.
Some symptoms of dental problems are fairly obvious. A toothache will certainly mean that you need to see a dentist right away, and gums that bleed are regularly a sign that you have gum disease that should be treated promptly at our Cheshunt practice.
Other symptoms can feel relatively minor, and you may decide do not warrant a trip to see one of the dentists at The Lodge Dental Street. One of these symptoms is when our teeth start to itch. But what does it mean and what action should you take?
The tooth itch
Unlike an itch on most other parts of our body, a tooth that feels itchy is particularly frustrating as we are unable to give it a satisfying scratch as we could elsewhere. The itch itself seems to come from the inner part of the tooth, a factor which could indicate that all is not well.
Root canal infection
One possible cause of an itchy tooth that would need investigating further, is a root canal infection. If you are feeling irritation inside the tooth, this could indicate that the nerves in the canals have become infected. The use of x-rays will be able to detect if there are any problems in that area, and, if diagnosed, you may need to undergo root canal treatment to preserve the tooth.
Sensitivity following a dental procedure
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What causes gum recession and how to slow it down.
Having receding gums is not uncommon and it is thought that nearly three quarters of the adult population of the UK have this to some degree.
It not only affects the appearance of your smile but can also lead to additional dental problems as the roots of the teeth become exposed.
Whilst some groups, such as older people, are more likely to see their gums recede (hence the saying ‘long in the tooth’), for most of us, taking action to minimise the risk of it happening in the first place, and, if it already has, slowing it down, are the best approaches to take.
What causes gum recession?
Receding gums can be caused by a number of factors. Genetics may play a part, but much if it comes down to the way that we look after our teeth.
Gum disease is a leading cause of this common problem, and it is important to make sure that you gently brush your gums, as well as cleaning your teeth. Angling your toothbrush will help to clean beneath the gum line, a common place for bacteria to build up. Whilst many symptoms of gum disease are quite noticeable, such as bleeding or sore gums, this is not always the case, and we strongly recommend that you see the dental hygienist at our Cheshunt practice at least twice a year to make sure that your gums are checked and helped to remain in good health.
Having said that keeping the gums clean is important, another common cause of receding gums is brushing too hard. The hygienist will be able to show you how to brush correctly, and we also recommend that you use an electric toothbrush which has a pressure sensor that cuts out if you press too hard.
Preventing further recession
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Porcelain veneers can improve the appearance of your teeth in a number of ways.
Many of you may not be aware that dental veneers first came about in the 1930’s to address a problem that Hollywood filmmakers had. Almost every actor and actress at the time smoked, and probably quite heavily as health concerns had not been discovered at that point. The filmmaker’s biggest problem was when it came to the close up shot. There is little doubt that a close up romantic scene would lose its appeal as soon as heavily discoloured and, probably chipped, teeth came into view.
To overcome this problem, veneers were made to fit over the actor’s teeth. This addressed the problem of aesthetics, although these early versions tended to be temporary and did not bond well to the natural teeth.
Fast forward to 2018
Times have changed and modern porcelain veneers, whilst offering similar benefits, are of a much higher quality and bond extremely well to the prepared tooth. Each individual patient will have impressions and scans taken so that the veneers, when produced, look entirely natural and appropriate for that specific patient.
Veneers are straightforward to look after, and, with care, should last the patient for ten years and possibly more.
At The Lodge Dental Suite, our Cheshunt and Broxbourne patients can benefit from having veneers fitted as a solution to a number of problems. These include:
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‘Crazes’ come and go but you can’t beat sensible dental care!
There is rarely a day goes by without some new ‘wonder’ food or ‘miracle’ cure appearing, often endorsed by a celebrity.
Unfortunately, although some of these may be broadcast on social media with the best of intentions, it is often false information that is being shared. Sometimes it is relatively harmless, but unfortunately some of this information may be positively harmful. This applies also to those posts which offer ‘alternative’ or ‘healthy’ ways to look after your teeth.
It is worth remembering that however good an actress, film star or musician they may be; unlike the team at The Lodge Dental Suite, virtually none of them will have ever received any medical or dental training and should probably stick to what they do best!
Below we take a look at a few things that have been promoted recently but which can actually be harmful to your teeth.
Hot water and lemon drinks
Some who prefer not to have a caffeinated drink such as tea or coffee in the morning, may choose something such as hot water and lemon. This has been promoted as giving the body a vitamin C boost and helping to give you a healthy start to the day.
Whilst vitamin C is certainly a good thing in appropriate quantities, the lemon juice is also extremely acidic, and drinking this consistently each morning could well start to erode the enamel of your teeth. As it does this, you can expect additional sensitivity, and also, quite likely, less white teeth as the thinner enamel starts to reveal the darker coloured layer below.
We recommend that patients don’t do this, and instead opt for moderation with any food or drink you consume.
Charcoal and fluoride-free toothpastes
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