Posts tagged “dental health”

You Are What You Eat: What to Eat to Keep a Perfect Smile

Your diet plays a very important role when it comes to maintaining a perfect smile. Some foods are really good for your teeth, but others can spell disaster. Here are some tooth-friendly diet tips to help you keep your smile in shape for many years to come.

What to Eat

Your teeth are very strong, but they aren’t invincible. Try and ensure you get enough calcium every day to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Calcium is also good for your nails and bones. Foods that are good sources of calcium include milk, yoghurts, leafy green vegetables, nuts and cheese. Fruit and vegetables are important for your general health, but they also offer benefits for your teeth and gums. Fruits that are rich in vitamin C are excellent for helping you ward off infections, and strawberries also have a rough skin, which acts as a natural stain remover. Chewing on raw carrots, celery and apples helps to stimulate saliva production, which neutralises harmful acids in your mouth.

What Not to Eat

Unfortunately, many of our favourite treats are harmful for our oral health. Cakes, biscuits, sweets, chocolate, fizzy drinks and popcorn all have high sugar content, which increases the risk of tooth decay. Shop-bought smoothies and juices may look like a healthy option, but always check the sugar content. Often, they contain as much sugar as fizzy pop, and they are also acidic, which exposes the enamel to a risk of erosion. Try and avoid very hard foods, such as boiled sweets, as they can crack the teeth. Starchy foods, like crisps, can also be harmful, as they get stuck in the teeth, and the starch is broken down into sugars.

As well as thinking about what you eat, it’s also important to think about when you eat. This is because when you eat, the bacteria in your mouth release acids, which temporarily weaken the enamel, and it takes time for it recover. Try and stick to main meals rather than grazing throughout the day, and if you do fancy a snack, choose something sugar-free.

If you need advice about healthy eating, our dental team will be happy to help.

Four Healthy Foods For Healthier Teeth

We all know that treats like sweets and biscuits are bad news for our teeth, but what about foods that are good for our dental health? If you’re keen to make some tooth-friendly changes to your diet, here are four fabulous foods to add to your diet:

  1. Cheese: cheese is not just a great source of protein. It’s also rich in calcium, which is essential for healthy teeth and bones, and it has a high pH value. This means that when you eat cheese, it can help to neutralise acids in your mouth and reduce the risk of enamel wear. It’s particularly beneficial to eat cheese with acidic foods or drinks, such as wine. Other dairy products, including milk and yoghurt, are also really good for your teeth.
  2. Strawberries: strawberries are packed with vitamins and antioxidants, which are good for your gums, but they also have a rough skin, which acts as a natural whitener. The bobbled surfaces remove surface stains, so you should find that your teeth look whiter and brighter.
  3. Almonds: almonds are an excellent option if you fancy a snack that is low in sugar and high in protein and calcium. If you are grazing on nuts, avoid salted or sugar-covered options.
  4. Celery: celery has very high water content, and the action of chewing acts as a natural tooth cleaner. After you’ve eaten celery, you should find that your teeth look and feel really clean. This is also a great low-fat snack option.

If you’re after more healthy eating tips, our dental team at Advance Dental Clinic will be more happy to help.

Break the Habit: How Smoking Can Damage Your Teeth

It’s the start of a brand new year, and many of us are trying our hardest to stick to New Year’s resolutions. If you’ve made a vow to try and quit smoking, we are here to help and support you along the way. Smoking is not just a major contributor to heart disease and lung cancer. It can also be incredibly harmful for your teeth. Here are just some of the ways smoking can damage your teeth.

Staining and discolouration

Smoking is one of the most common causes of tooth staining and discolouration. If you smoke, you’re much more likely to have yellow or brown teeth than a non-smoker, even if you have the same oral hygiene regime. This is because cigarettes contain chemicals, including tar, which stain the teeth.

Bad breath

Smoking is a common cause of bad breath. If you’re a smoker, you’re probably aware that there’s an odour that lingers after you’ve had a cigarette.

Increased risk of gum disease

Smoking increases your risk of gum disease because it reduces blood flow to the gums. It also slows the healing process following dental treatment. If you can give up smoking, you should find that you have a much lower risk of gum disease.

Increased oral cancer risk

The number of people in the UK affected by oral cancer has increased significantly in the last decade. Oral cancer is a form of cancer, which affects the soft tissue in the mouth and throat. Smoking is the most significant risk factor, and it is particularly dangerous when combined with drinking alcohol. Symptoms of oral cancer include slow-healing mouth ulcers, oral pain, a persistent sore throat and red or white patches in the mouth.

If you have any questions about quitting smoking or you’d like some advice or tips, we will be happy to help. Simply give us a call or come and visit us.

5 Easy Swaps to Avoid “Breakfast Sugar”

Have you noticed that you feel hungry an hour after you’ve had breakfast or you suffer from a lack of energy in the middle of the morning? If so, it could be because you’re starting your day with the wrong foods. If you have a sugar-laden breakfast, this can cause your energy levels to spike and then plummet. You’re also likely to feel hungry shortly after eating. If you’re looking for healthier alternatives to sugary breakfasts, here are some ideas:

Porridge

Porridge is a great source of fibre, and it releases energy slowly, which means that you’ll survive until lunchtime without getting hungry. If you have a sweet tooth, avoid covering your porridge with sugar. Instead, add some chopped berries or a spoonful of honey. Honey contains natural sugars, which are better for you than refined sugar.

Wholegrain toast

Many of us enjoy a slice of toast in the mornings. If you’re a fan of toast, go for wholemeal bread or granary, as these are rich in fibre, and they contain less sugar.

Eggs

Eggs are an excellent breakfast choice. You can poach, boil or scramble them, or make an omelette. Add spinach or smoked salmon for added fibre and protein or a slice of wholemeal toast to add complex carbohydrates.

Wholegrain cereals

If you usually start your day with a bowl of chocolate covered flakes or puffs, try and swap sugary cereals for whole grain versions. Wheat biscuits and whole grain flakes are much better for you. There’s very little added sugar, more fibre, more vitamins, and you’ll feel fuller for longer.

If you have any questions about nutrition, or you’d like some tooth-friendly tips, don’t hesitate to ask your Essex dentist.

Toothpaste: The Oral Health Superhero

Before you can understand how toothpaste works, it’s a good idea to take a look inside your mouth. Toothpaste is designed to combat problems caused by bacteria. The mouth is full of bacteria at all times, but the amount of bacteria in the mouth increases when you eat. If you eat starchy or sugary foods the bacteria start to produce plaque acids, which are harmful for the teeth as they attack the enamel surfaces and increase the risk of erosion and decay. Volatile sulphur molecules are responsible for bad breath, also known as halitosis, and one of the major roles of toothpaste is to prevent this.

Toothpaste does a lot more than simply giving our pearly whites a shiny glow. It also:

  • Removes plaque
  • Strengthens the teeth
  • Prevents plaque growth

The ingredients in toothpaste have the following functions:
Detergents are responsible for the foaming action when you brush your teeth. They remove food debris and plaque from the mouth and also give the mouth a fresh, clean feeling.
Abrasives are responsible for polishing the teeth and removing stains and plaque from the surfaces of the teeth. It is important that abrasives are strong enough to remove plaque but not so powerful that they damage the enamel covering of the teeth. Examples of abrasives include silica and calcium carbonate.
Preservatives are designed to prevent bacteria and plaque growth.
Flavourings and colourings are used to give toothpaste flavour and colour to make it more appealing. The most popular flavour is mint, but there are many others available, especially for young children.
Humectants are important for keeping toothpaste moist.
Organic ingredients are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people try to live a greener lifestyle. Natural ingredients such as peppermint, clover oil, aloe vera and fennel are often used.

Visit your  dentist today to learn more about what oral healthcare products are best suited to your individual requirements.

How Smoking Harms Your Oral Health

Many people are aware that smoking increases the risk of cancer and heart disease, but did you know that smoking also puts your oral health at risk?

Smoking and oral health

Smoking is harmful for oral and general health and it also has aesthetic implications for your smile. Smoking contributes to staining and discolouration, which makes the teeth look old and unhealthy and it increases the risk of gum disease, the major cause of tooth loss in adults in the UK. Gum disease is caused by harmful bacteria in the mouth. Bacteria combine with food debris to form plaque, a sticky white film that clings to the tooth enamel and the gum line. When you eat, the bacteria in the plaque feed, which causes harmful plaque acids to be released. These acids erode the protective enamel and irritate the gums.

Smoking also slows the body’s healing process, which means that smokers take longer to recover after dental treatment and when they have ulcers or sores in the mouth. Smoking is also a common cause of bad breath.

How can dental hygienists help with smoking?

Our expert team of dental hygienists are always available to give advice and information about giving up smoking and they can also discuss the effects and implications of smoking with patients. Giving up is not easy, but it is possible and quitting has so many benefits, not just for oral health, but also for general health.

Our hygienists can recommend ways to help patients give up and provide them with information about stop smoking services, which may be beneficial.

Smokers can also benefit from seeing a dental hygienist every six months as a preventative measure to reduce the risk of gum disease. Intensive cleaning can also help to reduce the visibility of staining and keep bad breath at bay. For more information about smoking and oral health please contact the team at Advance Dental Clinic in the heart of Chelmsford.

The 5 Don’ts of Oral Health

When compared to general health, the average knowledge people have of oral health is surprisingly low. While some ‘dental don’ts’ may be obvious, others may surprise you and there are a number of general rules and sets of advice that it would be wise to take note of.

1. Don’t ‘overdo’ dental whitening

While it may seem obvious, many people complain of pain or over-sensitivity in their teeth due to the overuse of dental whitening. A dentist will advise against frequent teeth whitening visits, but due to the easy availability of home whitening kits many people may still be able to overuse such treatments, leading to problems with pain and sensitivity.

2. Don’t neglect your dentist

Primarily your dentist is there to check your oral health and do what he or she can if they find something amiss. However, they can’t help you in this way if you don’t go for check-ups! Even if you don’t believe you have any dental problems it is highly recommended that you visit your dentist for a check up at least once every six months.

3. Stay away from tobacco

When people think of the damage caused by tobacco, their thoughts may immediately spring to lung and throat cancer. However, tobacco –both smoking and chewing- can not only lead to lung cancer, but also gum disease and oral cancer, which can be fatal if left untreated.

4. Don’t forget the tongue!

The tongue is often forgotten when brushing our teeth, however it is essential to our oral health. The surface of the tongue is a perfect breeding ground for bacteria, making it potentially dangerous to your overall health. Plaque and bacteria that has been removed from the teeth and gums by brushing can be easily replaced by any that remain on the tongue. Brushing to the back of the tongue can make many people gag, however there are specific devices on the market primarily for the purpose of cleaning tongues that eliminate this problem.

5. Don’t rush when you brush

When brushing (especially for children) it can be tempting to rush. Whether this is because you’re eager for bed after a long day or are running late in the morning, it can be tempting to give your teeth only a quick once over before finishing. Don’t! You may have an extremely busy schedule for the day, but everyone should be able to spare an extra two minutes in the mornings and evenings to make sure you have a healthy mouth. However, brushing too vigorously can also be damaging, so a balance between not brushing enough and brushing too much does need to be established.

Dental check ups at Epping can help detect oral cancer

The two fundamental principles of good dental health are effective oral hygiene and regular dental check ups. The two are complimentary and go hand in hand to keep your teeth and mouth in the best shape possible. One without the other will lead to problems in the short and long-term that may involve pain, tooth loss and possibly great expense.

Effective dental hygiene involves thorough teeth cleaning by brushing and flossing at home. Epping dentists can give you more information on effective teeth cleaning which will help to reduce the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Some basic principles include brushing your teeth with a soft bristled brush for three minutes twice a day, making sure to also gently clean the gums. This will remove the majority of bacteria and plaque that coats the teeth after eating. Also, floss once a day to remove bacteria from the hard to reach places like the gaps between the teeth and areas around their bases.

However, even the most effective oral hygiene routine can succumb to the dangers of dental disease. One of the problems we have is that no matter how well we clean our teeth it is always the areas that we cannot clean effectively that are affected by dental problems. This is why it is so important to see a dentist every six months for a check up appointment. This will ensure that all the areas of your mouth are cleaned and checked for the signs of decay and disease. Early detection of dental disease will limit the damage it causes and allows the dentist to take measures to protect the teeth and gums from further damage.

Dentists are also able to check for the signs and symptoms of other oral conditions such as oral cancer as a routine part of a check up appointment. Call 01245 268 494 for a free consultation at Advance Dental Clinic in Chelmsford.