Everyday actions can damage our teeth without us realising.
Many modern dental practices, including our own Clock Tower Dental Clinic, now have very advanced ways of restoring or replacing a damaged or missing tooth. Although these offer an excellent option should the need arise, it is obviously far better to avoid the need for such treatments in the first place.
Whilst some treatment may be needed for wear and tear or damage caused by an accident, many dental problems arise through our own bad habits; many of which we probably don’t even recognise that we are doing. For the purposes of this post, we have assumed that you are already aware of the dangers of sugar and smoking with regards to your oral health, and in today’s blog our Epsom family dentist looks at some of the other things that you might be doing that could damage your teeth.
Many patients are gradually becoming aware of the risk of eating or drinking too many acidic foods and drinks. There has been quite a lot of information in the press regarding the link between this and enamel erosion. Because fruit has always been considered to be healthy though, some people are eating citric fruits in the belief that they are good for them. It is true that they do contain high levels of vitamin C but care should be taken not to eat them in excess and to look after your teeth well if you do eat them.
This is a habit that can be difficult to control as most people who do this, do so in their sleep. It is thought that this action may be linked to stress, so if your dentist tells you that your teeth are wearing down due to bruxism (teeth grinding), it may be time to consider a change in lifestyle to try to reduce personal levels of stress. Your GP will also be able to offer advice here.
Brushing too hard
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Keeping up regular dental appointments when expecting a child
Although some people seem to sail through pregnancy, for others it can be a struggle and functioning on a daily basis is about as ambitious as it is possible to be.
During this time, some things are likely to slip as you focus on your pregnancy and paying a visit to the dentist at this time may well be one thing that you might consider postponing until after the birth.
However, there are many good reasons why you should see the dentist, especially during pregnancy, when hormones change and gum disease is an increased threat to your oral health.
Is it safe to see the dentist?
One concern of many parents to be is the safety of the unborn child, especially if x-rays need to be taken. Over the years, x-rays have become more refined and a much lower dose of radiation is necessary than used to be the case. If the x-ray is just a part of your regular check up at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic, it can be postponed until after the birth if you wish. However, for necessary procedures such as root canal treatment, x-rays are essential and still safe.
The same can be said for local anaesthetics and if you need to have an invasive procedure, we will very likely need to numb the area. To date, there is no evidence of any negative effects for the child from routine dental aesthesia. It is also important to remember that poor oral health may also affect your general health, potentially creating additional challenges for the baby.
If you are thinking of starting a family
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What to do if you have an unexpected dental problem on holiday.
If we suffer from an accident such as a broken tooth, or if we wake up with toothache whilst we are at home, a quick call to The Clock Tower Dental Clinic to arrange an emergency appointment means that any discomfort should only be temporary.
This is not so easy when we are away from home though, and especially if we are in another country, whether on holiday or business. Today’s blog looks at what you should do if you do suffer a dental issue whilst you are abroad.
Have a check-up before you go!
Unless you have had your regular check up quite soon before you go, it is a good idea to have your teeth checked at our Epsom practice before your holiday, especially if you are going for a longer period of time or to a less developed part of the world. Even the treating of a small cavity before you go can save a lot of discomfort. Cavities in the teeth can expand with pressure changes in an aeroplane and can cause a lot of discomfort when flying. Particularly if you are on a long haul flight, this is not a good start to your holiday!
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Some everyday foods and drinks that will help to maintain your teeth and gums in tip top shape.
As great believers in holistic dental care in Epsom, we naturally want our patients to take responsibility for the health of their teeth, supported of course, by professional monitoring by one of our friendly dentists.
As a part of this care, we thought it would be useful to take a look at some food and drinks which are actually beneficial for your teeth and gums.
As you would expect, a healthy diet, low in sugars and full of useful nutrition is good, not only for supplying essential minerals such as calcium, but for your overall health too. Whilst avoiding the more esoteric foods sometimes favoured by some, today’s list looks at foods that are widely available and could be useful for your teeth and gums.
Yes, we all drink water, but most of us do not drink enough of it. Staying well hydrated helps to keep the bacteria in our mouths under control. Drinking water will also help to wash away food particles that become stuck between the teeth. Doing this with a high sugar drink simply replaces the food with sticky sugar leaving things no better, and potentially worse, than before – so reserve those for treats or preferably not at all.
Whilst perhaps not high on a lots of people’s favourite foods, leafy greens are very high in vitamins and minerals. They are also high in calcium which is important to help preserve healthy protective enamel and help protect against decay.
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Food does not have to be boring whilst your implant heals!
If you have recently had dental implant surgery at The Clock Tower Clinic in Epsom, you will have been told that you must eat soft foods for a period of time to avoid damaging the implant whilst it integrates with the bone.
There is also the matter of looking after the area of surgery which may be a little sore and tender for a short while. It therefore makes sense to be careful what you eat during the healing period.
On the surface of it, a diet of soft foods, even for a short time, may seem a little boring, but it doesn’t have to be this way. In today’s blog, we look at some aspects of eating and food selection in the period following your implant placement.
What NOT to eat
Before we take a look at some of the foods that you can eat following your surgery, it may be useful to take a look at some foods that you should definitely avoid.
Spicy foods – especially in the immediate period, the heat in spicy foods may well irritate and inflame vulnerable soft tissue.
Seeds and nuts – anything that is small and hard may become trapped in the area of the surgery and cause infections.
Hard foods – avoid anything that requires pressure being put on the new implant.
Crumbly foods – avoid crisps, popcorn etc, for the same reason as seeds and nuts (see above)
What you CAN eat (with care)
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A look at why more and more people are turning to this procedure to replace their missing teeth.
It is never a good idea to leave a gap in your teeth. Although this may be an obvious statement where the gap is visible; even leaving a gap where it is hidden can have unwanted results, including the movement of nearby teeth which may eventually cause your teeth to become crooked.
Traditionally, dentures or a bridge would have been used to replace the lost tooth, but the use of dental implants is now becoming more and more common at The Clock Tower Dental Practice in Epsom, Surrey.
The implant procedure
One reason why some patients are deterred from having dental implants is the procedure itself. It is true that the use of dentures often requires no invasive treatment, unlike implants. However, although the implant procedure is more complex, it should prove to be no more uncomfortable than many other procedures and is not to be feared at all.
Our state of the art equipment means that the procedure can be carried out both accurately and efficiently, and the local anaesthetic will minimise any discomfort that you might feel. There is also the option to have sedation for this treatment if you prefer. This may be especially beneficial for nervous patients and is also known to make lengthy procedures seem to pass by more quickly for anyone who has it.
Why dental implants?
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Patient safety is top priority at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic.
X-rays are routinely used by dentists to detect problems that can’t be seen with a straightforward visual check. They can be used to gauge the extent of a cavity or to see if there is an infection of the tooth root that may require root canal treatment. Patients will have noticed that, when an x-ray is taken, members of staff move to an area where they are protected from the rays. This can lead some patients to question the safety of this aspect of dental care.
What are x-rays?
X-rays involve the use of a low dosage of radiation to produce the images that we are all familiar with. Radiation is perhaps best known for sickness caused by leaks from nuclear power plants and other similar situations, but the quantity of radiation used in a dental x-ray however is very minimal, and, under normal circumstances, should be perfectly safe for most patients.
There may be certain medical conditions which mean that x-rays should only be used when absolutely essential. These are far and few between, but it is still important that you inform us of any changes in your general health and also any medications that you may be taking.
Children and x-rays
Naturally, parents always want to protect their children and some may question the safety of x-rays for younger patients. The fact is that although children are more susceptible to radiation, the levels used in our Epsom dental practice are still low enough to be perfectly safe for all members of your family.
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A simple explanation of this often misunderstood treatment.
Visitors to The Clock Tower Dental Clinic often tell us that the procedure that concerns them the most is the root canal procedure. This probably comes as no surprise to our readers who may have heard horror stories about this particular treatment which likely arise from a time before modern equipment and anaesthetics became available.
Unfortunately, the root canal procedure is one of the most misunderstood treatments and is certainly nothing to be feared. In today’s blog, we explain to our Epsom patients, in layman’s terms, what actually happens during this procedure, in easy steps.
Check up and x-rays
The first step is, of course, to diagnose the problem. This is done using x-rays so that we can see the inner canals of the tooth where any infection may be present. This is also an important stage as we check for the presence of any abscesses. If any are found, they will be treated before the procedure can go ahead.
As with any invasive procedure, a local anaesthetic is given to minimise any potential discomfort. We can administer this using ‘The Wand’, a much more comfortable way of delivering anaesthetic than traditional methods. We will check to make sure that it has taken effect fully before we start the procedure.
Accessing the root canals
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A vegan diet may be ‘healthy’, but can pose challenges for your oral health.
Barely a day goes by without veganism appearing in the news. It is, without a doubt, a growing trend, especially amongst younger people. There are many reasons that people choose this diet, and some would say, lifestyle; from concerns about animal welfare, to improving food supplies across the world.
These are all admirable concerns, and our Epsom patients are, of course, free to choose the lifestyle that they wish to live. From the perspective of the dental profession, there are a few issues which would-be vegans may wish to consider before embarking on this diet.
It is a well established fact that sugar is responsible for most tooth decay. Whilst most vegans would probably claim that their diet is healthy, it should be remembered that it doesn’t have to be this way. It is unlikely but entirely possible to be a vegan and eat nothing but cakes and sweets for example. Whether you are a vegan or meat eater, you still need to watch your sugar consumption, even those of natural origin, such as honey or fruit sugars.
Most of us eat fruit, but vegan diets may contain more fruit than most. This is great from a health angle as fruit is generally high in vitamins and low in fat. Caution should be exercised though as some fruits, especially citric ones such as oranges and lemons, are highly acidic. Eating large quantities of citric fruits means that your tooth enamel can become eroded, increasing the risk of toothache and decay.
Don’t you need milk?
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Are enamel protecting toothpastes enough to prevent this increasing problem?
You have probably noticed a growing trend for toothpastes that focus on one particular aspect of oral health care.
These may include gum disease, teeth whitening and now enamel erosion. Often, these seem to offer a quick solution for common dental problems, but do the claims always stand up?
Most of us probably know toothpaste as just toothpaste. Providing that it is a reliable brand and contains fluoride, it will probably do a fairly good job of keeping your teeth clean and in reasonable health. Cleaning our teeth is just a part of the solution though, and although some enamel erosion toothpastes may offer some additional protection for our Epsom patients, the reality is that tooth erosion can be caused by a combination of factors and is not so easy to protect against simply through brushing alone.
The fact is that our western diet is becoming increasingly acidic. High sugar consumption plays a significant role in this, though it is hoped that the newly introduced sugar tax will help to reduce this over time. Whether sugar consumption ever falls to an acceptable level, only time will tell, but any reduction has to be a good thing.
What then, can patients of The Clock Tower Dental Clinic do to help prevent enamel erosion?
Reduce sugar consumption
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