Essential Nutrients For Healthy Teeth

Dietary advice for good oral health, compiled by your Epsom dental team.

When it comes to discussing good oral health, many things come into play. Avoiding, or at least reducing, sugar in our diet is one of them.

We also need to make sure that we look after our teeth well at home, and see a dentist every six months for a regular check up.

Our family genes also play a role and even the best diet in the world may not help you to avoid treatment if your ‘dental genes’ are not as good as they could be.

There are other things that you can do though, and diet again plays a role in this. Our bodies need a good level of nutrition to function at their best, and our teeth are no different. In today’s Clock Tower Dental Clinic blog, we take a look at some types of food that are important to help maintain strong and healthy teeth.

Cheese

Whilst we are not saying that you should eat a large amount of cheese, something which may not be good for your heart; a moderate amount of cheese is very helpful for healthy teeth. Not only does it contain calcium and proteins, both of which are essential for strong enamel, but also neutralises some acids that can damage our teeth. So eating a small quantity of cheese at the end of a meal can actually help to protect your teeth!

Yoghurts

Again, yoghurt, as with most dairy products, contains calcium and proteins. If you buy a good quality yoghurt though, and one that is not full of sugar, they also often contain live bacteria that are helpful for your mouth and gut and will help to minimise the damage that harmful bacteria can cause.

Apples

Although apples, like all fruits, do contain natural sugars, they also offer benefits too. The sweetness of an apple, along with the high water content, has a tendency to make us salivate as we eat them. This increase in saliva helps to wash away the bacteria and food particles that may have become trapped between our teeth. Of course this is not a substitute for brushing our teeth, but is certainly a helpful addition.

Crunchy vegetables

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Why You Should Consider Private Dental Care

dental check

NHS dental care has provided for many patients over the years, but increasingly, it is unable to offer what many patients want.

The Clock Tower Dental Practice is privately run. Like NHS practices, all of our dentists have to adhere to guidelines and regulations laid down by bodies such as the General Dental Council.

By offering private dental care though, we are able to offer our Epsom patients a much wider range of treatments than can be found in NHS only practices.

Over the years, funding for NHS dentistry has arguably not kept up with some people’s expectations and covers, more or less, only the basic essentials. Indeed, in the government’s announcement of £20bn for NHS funding yesterday, there was no mention of any being allocated to dental care (reference). If this comes to pass, this can only put an additional squeeze on NHS dental care, perhaps restricting options even more.

The benefits of private dental care

Although NHS dental care does offer patients ease of access to essential services, it also denies access to many newer treatments that may have superseded older ones. A classic case in point would be the use of dental implants to replace missing teeth, rather than using dentures. The difference in experiences of both of these restorative methods indicates that NHS patients are missing out on an opportunity to have what many consider to be the best tooth replacement system possible.

Private dental care also means that there is more money available to spend on the practice facilities too. Whilst we have no doubt that NHS practices have their patient’s best interests at heart and provide a safe service, funding constraints often mean that things like the waiting room are somewhat basic. Whilst this isn’t the most important thing when choosing a dentist; at the Clock Tower Dental Practice, we like to offer our patients the best overall experience possible. Whilst we try to keep waiting times to a minimum, we also like to provide a pleasant and relaxing environment whilst waiting for an appointment. This has particular relevance for nervous dental patients, with a relaxing environment hopefully helping to take their mind off their appointment a little.

Treatments – some differences

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A Brighter Smile For The New Year Ahead

Zoom teeth whitening

Christmas will be over before we know it. Plan now for your New Year smile!

With all of the preparations necessary for a successful Christmas, you have probably barely had time to think much beyond the next week or so.

Before we know it though, Christmas will be over and the New Year will be upon us, with all the usual resolutions that are made.

Although many of these do fail, for one reason or another, there is no doubt that the new year can be a good time to ‘reinvent’ yourself, perhaps treating yourself to some new clothes, for example.

There is also another way that you can make a big change to your appearance, without the stress of fighting through the new year sales. At The Clock Tower Dental Clinic, we offer a very fast acting treatment that whitens your teeth on average, by eight shades. Start 2019 with a confident, whiter smile!

Zoom2 Teeth Whitening

Whilst many dental practices offer teeth whitening treatments that use a custom made home whitening kit, which can take a couple of weeks to be effective, patients at our Epsom practice can take advantage of the Zoom2 system that whitens your teeth in as little as one hour. You can come to our practice with dull looking teeth, and then leave an hour later with a dazzling new smile!

Like the home whitening kits, Zoom2 is a non invasive treatment that causes little inconvenience. Patients are welcome to bring music or other practical entertainment to help pass the time whilst the treatment takes effect.

A prior check

Before we discuss the treatment itself, it is important to point out that this treatment should only be carried out on a healthy set of teeth, with gums also being in good health. To this end, you will need to see one of the team at our Epsom dental clinic for a thorough check up to make sure that there are no signs of decay or gum disease that need treating beforehand. Once your oral health has been given the all clear, your tooth whitening treatment can commence.

What happens in the one hour?

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Why Might You Need A ‘Deep’ Teeth And Gum Clean?

When gum disease progresses, this procedure offers the chance of saving your teeth.

Gum disease is a very common oral health issue and relatively few of us will go through life without having it to some degree. In many cases, we will probably be completely unaware and the problem may actually be short lived.

This can happen, for example,  when we are ill and perhaps temporarily neglect our teeth cleaning regime a little. For most of us though, we will probably need to have treatment to manage or try to reverse the problem, particularly where it has progressed.

Hygienist cleaning

Before we look at a ‘deep clean’, let us take a look at why we recommend that our Epsom patients see a dental hygienist at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic on a regular basis.

Over time, mineral deposits build up on the surface of our teeth. Whilst these are relatively harmless in themselves, they create a rough surface which not only makes staining more likely, but also allows bacteria to collect more easily. As bacterial deposits build up on the tooth surface, and especially just below the gum line, these become harder to remove and gingivitis is likely. At this stage, the problem can often be treated in a straightforward manner using a scale and polish procedure together with improved care at home. This involves the removal of the majority of  bacteria and tartar using a manual tool, before shattering the rest with a sonic dental implement. A final clean using a high speed brush, means that your mouth can hopefully remain free of gum disease with a short, comfortable and straightforward maintenance procedure.

Advanced gum disease

Although the above procedure can be carried out with little or no discomfort, too many people avoid this stage of oral health care and may, consequently, suffer from a more advanced form of gum disease, known as periodontitis. This type of gum disease may not only lead to the same problems as gingivitis, including sore or bleeding gums and halitosis, but can actually threaten the survival of your teeth.

Periodontitis attacks not only the soft tissue of the gum, but also the underlying bone. As this weakens, the tooth may start to become loose, and, if not treated, eventually fall out. If too advanced, a clean by the hygienist is unlikely to offer sufficient benefit and a ‘deep’ clean may be necessary.

What is a ‘deep’ clean?

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Dentin Hypersensitivity

tooth pain

The extremes of sensitive teeth.

Common sense says that if you bury your teeth into an ice cream and leave them there for some time, you might expect to experience some level of discomfort caused by sensitivity. The level of this will depend, to a certain extent, on the health and thickness of the enamel on your teeth, amongst other things.

Most patients of the Clocktower Dental Clinic, of course, will rarely do such extreme things and tooth sensitivity will not be an issue in their day-to-day lives.

Unfortunately for some, this is not always the case as dentin hypersensitivity is far from uncommon, causing discomfort and distress to those who suffer from it.

What is dentin hypersensitivity?

Better known to most patients as ‘tooth sensitivity’, it is a condition which causes discomfort when the teeth are exposed to either hot or cold temperatures, as well as exposure to acidic food and drinks. Breathing in very cold air will also often have the same effect.

The discomfort caused by sensitive teeth can be quite severe and cause the patient to wince with pain when it happens. It can be very unpleasant and may also restrict choice when it comes to certain food and drinks.

What causes it?

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Oral Cancers Are On The Rise. Should You Be Concerned?

Dentist Dr Ravdeep Dhami

Epsom dentist, Ravdeep Dhami, looks at the facts behind this recent rise.

We have discussed oral cancers before on our blogs, and explained that  this is something that we check for during your six monthly examinations. Our role here, because we routinely closely examine the oral cavity, is to observe if there are any unusual signs that should be further examined by a doctor.

These symptoms can vary but include red or sore patches, unexplained bumps or lesions and tongue pain, amongst others. In effect, your six monthly dental check at the Clock Tower Dental Clinic in Epsom means not only that your teeth and gums are more likely to remain healthy, but that any potential signs of oral cancers will be spotted early on, helping you to receive any necessary treatment as soon as possible, should it be needed.

On the rise

As with many illnesses, there can be a tendency to dismiss them as things that happen to other people. Unfortunately, sometimes we are those ‘other people’, and, with a new report out recently that indicates that oral cancers are on the rise, we shouldn’t be too blase about this serious issue.

In fact, the report not only says that oral cancers are on the rise but that there has been a sharp increase, which is especially worrying. There are now 8,300 people each year diagnosed with mouth cancer, nearly a 50% increase from ten years ago (and 135% from 20 years ago). With just over 2,700 people dying from this disease last year, and many more suffering life changing problems because of it, it is time that patients take this seriously.

Lack of awareness

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Renew Your Smile

new smiles with cosmetic dentistry

Tooth neglect? We’re here to help!

At the Clocktower Dental Clinic in Epsom, Surrey, we firmly believe that everybody deserves a second chance.

Some of us have probably been guilty of neglecting our health, to some extent,  when we were younger; perhaps through poor diet, smoking or drinking too much alcohol.

Whilst it appears that as far as drinking and smoking go, the younger generation are generally living healthier lifestyles, it is fair to say that, for those in their middle ages and beyond, cigarettes and alcohol probably played an important role in their social life when they were younger.

Times change, and our understanding of what certain practices can do to our health evolves. As it does so, we may gradually change our diet and habits, though the legacy of these lifestyles can linger for many years. This is especially the case when it comes to the health and appearance of our teeth.

Too young to understand

As children, our teeth are just our teeth. We probably think very little about them apart from how much we really don’t want to clean them. It possibly isn’t until our first bad toothache that we start to understand a little more about why we should look after them. Even though our knowledge may have expanded by our teens, our lives are developing at such a rapid pace at this time of life that we often simply don’t worry about our teeth much at all.

As things settle down and we become a little older, and some may also say a little wiser, we may sit down and take stock of the harm that we have done to our health. It is often at this stage that we take up jogging, join a gym or eat a healthier diet. Whilst these things are all potentially good for our health, you can’t really take the same approach with your teeth.

Maintenance

When we arrive at the point that we think we should take better care of our teeth, this is certainly a good thing. However, starting to brush your teeth more diligently at this stage, will only really help to delay the decline but issues such as tooth decay can still progress.

The reality is that if you have neglected your teeth and gums up until this point, professional intervention will likely be necessary to restore them. In addition to any improvements in their health and appearance that this brings, many studies also now link common problems, such as gum disease, with other serious conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease. By taking the initial step to see one of our Epsom dentists, you may improve your chances of avoiding other health problems, as well as dental ones.

How we can help

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Common Misconceptions About Dental Veneers

A cosmetically enhanced smile

Despite their popularity, common misunderstandings about teeth veneers still exist.

Porcelain dental veneers are widely used in cosmetic dentistry. They can be used where teeth are chipped or cracked, as well as being an alternative to a teeth whitening procedure where the teeth are very badly stained. They have long been used by ex smokers to restore the colour of their teeth, once they have managed to stop smoking.

They are also useful for people whose enamel has eroded, perhaps through excess brushing, and can be used not only to restore the appearance of their teeth, but also to help protect against sensitivity.

Despite their wide use, there are still some common misunderstandings about veneers. In today’s Clock Tower Dental Clinic blog, the team takes a look at some of these and tries to dispel the myths.

Veneers become easily detached

There is a small element of truth in this, although it is wrong to say that they become ‘easily’ detached. In fact, this is a relatively rare occurrence and is nearly always due to the patient’s lifestyle. The most common way of a veneer becoming detached is through actions such as nail biting, or using the veneer covered teeth to tear open packets etc; which clearly should be avoided.

Veneers should last for approximately ten years but as time progresses, the adhesive used to attach your veneer to the natural tooth may weaken and need to be replaced. Do make sure to have this done by one of our dentists, and please don’t attempt to do so yourself.

Good oral health care is also essential as tooth decay may also weaken the bond between your tooth and the veneer.

The procedure is painful

Having veneers placed is an invasive procedure as it involves the removal of a small layer of enamel from the front of your teeth. As with all procedures of this nature, you will be given a local anaesthetic to prevent any significant discomfort. You should not find the procedure itself at all painful, although some residual sensitivity might be present for a short while afterwards, but should soon subside.

They look artificial

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Questions To Ask When Looking For A New Dentist

Dr Andrew Murphy

Dr. Andrew Murphy advises what to look for when registering with a new dental practice.

From time to time, some of us will need to find a new dental practice. This may be because you have moved into the Epsom area for the first time, or you may simply feel that you wish to change to a practice offering a wider range of treatments. There are other potential reasons too, but these are two of the most common.

Especially if you are new to the area and don’t really know anyone to recommend a dentist to you, you will probably rely on online reviews as a starting point. This isn’t a bad place to start, although it is always worth remembering that there may be ‘fake reviews’ amongst the genuine ones. In the end, a lot will come down to how you feel when you visit the practice to register. When you do so, there are a few questions that are always worth asking before you commit to registering.

Ask about the dentists working there

You will, quite naturally, want to feel comfortable with your new dentist. After all, they will be coming into very close contact with you during your examinations and any treatment you receive. Do check out the ‘team’ page on their website, where you should find a lot of information. Don’t be afraid though, to ask more questions about the dentist you are registering with, if you need more information about them.

How well established is the practice?

Although a brand new dental practice may have all of the latest equipment and brand new facilities, it will likely not have built up a reputation yet. Although the dentists there should be fully qualified and registered with the General Dental Council, there may be less efficient organisation with appointment booking systems, for example. If you are unsure, you may wish to consider joining a long established practice such as our own Clock Tower Dental Clinic which has been owned and run by the same team for the past 20 years and has well established and trusted systems in place.

Ask for evidence

Understandably, all practices will encourage you to register with them and will promote their own services, but you should always ask them for evidence to back this up. There are reliable external checks on all practices by external bodies.

Range of treatments

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What Effect Will The Restrictions On Sales Of Sports Drinks Have?

Dr Deepi Murphy dentist at Clocktower Dental in Epsom

Dr Deepi Murphy, looks at what a ban on sales to children will mean for their teeth.

According to news reports out today, the government is considering banning the sales of ‘sports drinks’ to children. There is some debate as to whether this will apply to just under 16s or include under 18s as well. Whilst here at Clocktower Dental we believe that the latter would be the better option, even a ban to the under 16s could bring useful improvements for oral health.

We have mentioned before that energy and sports drinks have been linked to a rising number of cases of tooth decay, and, with some of these drinks containing up to the equivalent of 20 sugar cubes per can, this is not really surprising.

Caffeine and sugar

Although perhaps not creating many problems from a dental point of view, a lot of these drinks contain a large quantity of caffeine, approximately the equivalent of two espresso coffees. Most parents wouldn’t, for a second, think about fueling their children with coffee, although  they may also be unaware that their children are consuming these high caffeine drinks bought outside of the home. It seems likely that some children are choosing to skip breakfast, opting instead for a high energy drink on their way to school. Whilst this may provide a boost in the morning, some teachers have reported attention problems later in the day as the drinks wear off.

As a dentist, it is the sugar in these drinks that is a major problem for our Epsom patients. Whilst we are focusing on children regarding the ban, many adults also use these drinks to give them an instant ‘lift’, and even though sales may not be banned to them, we strongly advise taking note of the reasons for it, and reducing consumption accordingly.

Tooth decay

Any soft drink that contains sugar is harmful to your teeth. With some of these sports drinks containing more than double the quantity of sugar of regular soft drinks, the risk of decay and other dental problems are greatly increased. Sugar acts as a fuel for some of the harmful bacteria that live in our mouth and as the bacteria digest the sugars, they produce acids which damage the enamel on our teeth. Once damaged, this allows bacteria to enter the inner parts of our teeth, with decay and toothache most likely and just a matter of time.

Whilst we can restore most teeth damaged in this way, for example using a tooth coloured filling or a Cerec produced crown, it is far better to prevent this problem from arising in the first place. Good home care, reduced sugar consumption and regular dental visits are prerequisites for this.

Obesity

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