If you read the news on a regular basis, you may have come across articles linking excessive sugar consumption to rising rates of decay in children. If you have children, and you’re eager to protect their smiles, here are 5 top tips to cut sugar intake.

  1. Swap sugary cereals for whole grain versions: breakfast cereals are often marketed as healthy products, but sometimes, they can contain a lot of sugar. It’s best to swap sugar-coated puffs, balls and flakes for whole grain cereals. These have a much lower sugar and higher fibre content, and they release energy slowly, so your kids shouldn’t get hungry between breakfast and lunch.
  2. Swap fizzy drinks for water or sugar-free cordial: fizzy drinks and energy drinks are among the worst offenders when it comes to sugar consumption among children. A standard can of cola, for example, may contain up to 9 teaspoons of sugar. Swap fizzy pop for water or sugar-free cordial.
  3. Make smoothies at home: smoothies can be really good for you, but if you buy them from cafes and shops, they may have a lot of added sugar. If you make your own smoothies, you’ll save money, and you can control the amount of sugar that is added.
  4. Swap sugar for honey: if your child has a sweet tooth and they like to sprinkle sugar on porridge or yoghurt, swap sugar for honey. Honey is sweet, but it is rich in natural sugars rather than refined sugars.
  5. Limit your child’s intake of treats: treats are supposed to be something you have from time to time, rather than every day. If your child has chocolate bars or bags of sweets on a regular basis, swap these foods for healthier options, and keep them as treats for the weekend.

Most of us are aware of the importance of brushing our teeth twice a day, but did you know that it’s also hugely beneficial to floss? Flossing doesn’t take long, but it can make a big difference to your oral health. Here are 4 good reasons to floss:

  1. Flossing cleans the cracks between the teeth: when you brush, you can’t clean the spaces between the teeth properly, as it’s impossible to fit a brush head into a tiny gap. This is where flossing comes in handy. Adding flossing to your daily dental care regime will reduce the risk of decay.
  2. Flossing reduces the risk of gum disease: gum disease is caused by plaque, which forms when saliva, food debris and bacteria combine. If you floss, you can remove bits of food and bacteria from your mouth before plaque can form, drastically reducing your risk of gum disease.
  3. Flossing prevents bad breath: flossing helps to remove bacteria and food debris, which may be left in the mouth after brushing. When bacteria multiply and feed, they release odorous gases, which is why you end up with bad breath.
  4. Flossing can enhance the beauty of your smile: we all want bright and beautiful smiles, and flossing can help you achieve a whiter, healthier looking smile. Flossing gives you a deeper clean, ensuring that your teeth look great and that you’re safe from dental diseases.

If you have any questions about flossing, don’t hesitate to ask your dentist or your dental hygienist. They will be happy to give you tips, and show you how to get the most out of flossing.

Professional advice on the facts of tooth loss

Losing a tooth as a child may not seem daunting, as you knew it was going to grow back – and you got a present under your pillow courtesy of the tooth fairy! But tooth loss in adulthood sadly has no fairytale ending.

Looking after your oral health is more than just brushing your teeth and flossing; it’s about regular check-ups with your dentist to ensure your mouth is in good working condition. Rotting teeth, gum disease – these ailments can be prevented as long as you visit the dentist at least every six months. The secret is not to simply clean, but to keep clean. Getting into a daily routine and maintaining tip top teeth doesn’t just mean you’re looking after your teeth, but your teeth are looking after you.

However, at the first sign of poor oral health, such as painful teeth, make an appointment to see your dentist immediately. Whilst you may have dental products at home that could alleviate your symptoms, your dentist is the expert and will have tools (such as X-rays) to help determine the problem. Not only will you receive professional treatment, but you can talk to your dentist about changing or improving your dental knowledge.

But remember, when it comes to tooth loss, it’s not an overnight problem. This sort of matter is an ongoing problem, which is why it is imperative that excellent oral hygiene is practiced daily and efficiently.

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.

Gum disease and tooth decay strike fear in even the healthiest smiles, but the good news is they can be prevented. There are some super easy steps you can take to keep those gnashers healthy and make sure they still sparkle:

1. Brush twice a day

Even if you’re against the clock in the morning or desperate for an early night after a busy day, you need to find time to brush your choppers. Just two minutes every morning and evening is all you need to reduce your chances of gum disease and tooth decay.

2. Brush along to a song

If your toothbrush doesn’t have a timer it can be hard to work out exactly how long you’ve been brushing for, but a great way around this is to brush along to your favourite tune. Most songs are between two and four minutes long, so it’s a fab way to make brushing more fun!

3. Floss

It’s important to floss because it picks up where your toothbrush left off. When you brush normally, you won’t get to those cheeky gaps in between the teeth, but flossing can do that job. It gets rid of icky food debris and bacteria to stop plaque from forming.

4. Don’t forget your dentist!

Regular check-ups can cut down your risk of mouth problems and help keep your teeth all sparkly and clean.

5. Use fluoride toothpaste

This will help to protect that tough enamel layer on the outside of your teeth, to keep harm away from the sensitive dentine underneath.

6. Watch out for red flags

Keep an eye out for signs like toothache, extra sensitivity, bleeding or swollen gums and call your dentsit if any of these show up. It’s always best to get symptoms treated early, before they get out of hand and become something worse!

7. Avoid sugary snacks

When we eat, our enamel goes a bit softer for a while, so it can only fight against a small number of acid attacks a day. Try not to snack too much and stick to your main meals. If you do get peckish in between, keep away from sugary or acidic delights as these are the worst offenders for tooth decay.

8. Wait before you brush

If you brush straight after eating, it can actually damage your enamel, so it’s better to wait at least 45 minutes before picking up your toothbrush, giving your enamel chance to harden again.

9. Try to stop smoking

Not only does smoking stain your teeth, it also makes gum disease and loads of other health problems a lot more likely. Your dentist might be able to give you some good advice about how to quit if you are struggling.

10. Watch what you eat

Eating a lot of sugar spells bad news for our oral health, so keep an eye on your diet and look out for pesky ’hidden sugars’ in the foods you eat. These are often lurking in ready meals and hot drinks from chain coffee shops.

Commenting on how experience warps perception, the Germanic literary giant and all round genius that is Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe suggested that “One must ask children and birds how cherries and strawberries taste.” What he forgot to mention is that these children also ought to brush their teeth afterwards.

Why is a child’s oral health important?

Prevention is better than cure, and establishing core dental habits in a child can prevent a myriad of dental problems that could occur in their adult life. Milk teeth are not a trial run either, damaged milk teeth not only alter how permanent teeth are aligned, but can also affect the growth and formation of a child’s face!

Cleaning a baby’s teeth

A baby starts developing its teeth in the womb and it is crucial you take care of them the moment they emerge. A small blob of children’s toothpaste on a child’s toothbrush (which have smaller heads and gentler brushes than standard toothbrushes) is what will be required to clean a baby’s teeth. A simple method for cleaning is to sit the child on your knee, have their head resting against your chest, and then to brush their teeth in tiny circles. Make sure you have a dentist examine your child’s teeth once they appear.

Cleaning children’s teeth

Chances are you’ll still be brushing a child’s teeth until they are seven.  Brushing at least twice a day for two minutes is really the cornerstone of oral healthcare, and turning this into a regular habit can be helpful. Try brushing them once after breakfast and again before bed. This should make things easier for when they transition into brushing for themselves!

Set a good example

If you take care of your teeth, it tells your child that oral health is something to be valued. Carl Jung notes that “children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk,” so bear that in mind and hold yourself to the same standards you want your child to uphold.

We only get one set of teeth, so it’s important for us all to do the best we can to keep our oral health at its best. Good oral care can not only save you money at the dentist, but it can also ensure that you enjoy the confidence that comes from having a pristine set of pearly whites.

The basics of good oral health

Routine dental visits are only part of keeping your mouth and teeth as healthy as possible. In between your check-ups and treatments there are three practices that are key to maintaining oral hygiene and health, and these are:

  • Brushing
  • Flossing
  • Mouthwash

While most of us may be familiar with these, many of us are guilty of shirking at least one of these three important oral care techniques. If you rigorously brush, floss and use mouthwash, then you probably have fantastically healthy teeth and gums! If you don’t however, it may be worth looking at where you can improve your oral care regime to keep your mouth hale and healthy for as long as possible.

Brushing as part of a good oral health routine

Healthy brushing is more than just dragging a brush across your teeth. A healthy routine will involve using a brush the right size for your mouth with a fluoride toothpaste. Each brushing session should be at least two minutes long and you should be careful to brush all of your teeth, including the harder to reach ones at the back.

You will need to replace your toothbrush every three months and you should always be careful not to press too hard or brush for too long, as this can damage your gums and teeth.

Flossing as part of a good oral health routine

You can effectively floss with inter-dental brushes or dental floss. Both of these will effectively and successfully clean between your teeth, and this is one of the best ways to prevent unwanted infection and plaque. Flossing is not the most pleasant practice for most people, but the benefits for your oral hygiene are remarkable.

Mouthwash as part of a good oral health routine

Routine mouth washing with an anti-bacterial mouthwash is one of the best ways to get rid of leftover bacteria and food debris from the nooks and crannies of your mouth. A lot of these can also very successfully protect your mouth for hours afterwards, and are therefore key to good oral health.

Following these three simple and straightforward oral hygiene practices will keep you and your dentist happy in the long term. For more information on visiting one of our hygienists, please contact the team at Advance Dental Clinic in Chelmsford.

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.

Everyone who has had their wisdom teeth come through knows the excruciating pain they can cause, often lasting days. During this episode an individual will suffer from excruciating pain in the jaws and cheeks, pain and swelling in the gums, sleeplessness due to pain and difficulty eating. The pain is also not just limited to the tooth that is erupting and can also be extended to the adjacent teeth, as they adjust to create space for the new teeth.

If your wisdom tooth pain is affecting your life, there are a few steps you can take to relieve your severe dental pain.

  • Ice treatment is perhaps one of the most common techniques used by many for wisdom tooth pain relief and can also be used to relieve other types of toothache. You can put the ice pack on the affected side for up to 15 minutes at a stretch and if the pain is very severe you can repeat it all the way through the day.
  • Rinsing your mouth with salt water can also provide some relief from pain, with the ideal mix being two teaspoons of salt to a glass of warm water, which you then rinse your mouth out with. However, make sure the water is not really hot or it will further aggravate the gums.
  • Cloves and their oil are regularly used for dental care and can be used when you are suffering from wisdom tooth pain. You can either massage the aggravated area with clove oil or you can chew on some cloves to gradually reduce the pain.

If your wisdom tooth becomes infected or is erupting at a slant, then you will need to have the tooth extracted. For this you will need to consult a dentist or a dental surgeon who can surgically remove the impacted or infected tooth.

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.