Frequently asked questions about gum disease

Frequently asked questions about gum disease

Most people suffer from gum disease at some point in their lives. It’s a very common problem in the UK.

This disease can cause unwanted symptoms such as bleeding gums and bad breath.

We get lots of questions about gum disease from our patients, so in this post, we’re going to be answering these questions.

What causes gum disease?

Most times, gum disease is caused by plaque on your teeth. Plaque contains bacteria that irritate your gums and makes them red, sore, and swollen.

What are the stages of gum disease?

There are four stages of gum disease.

  1. Gingivitis: This is the early stage of gum disease. You might notice that your gums bleed when you brush your teeth. You may also have bad breath.
  2. Periodontitis: If gingivitis is untreated, then periodontitis can occur. This affects the tissues that support the teeth and hold them in place.
  3. Bone damage: If periodontitis is untreated, it can damage your jawbone and create small spaces between the gum and teeth.
  4. Tooth loss: Eventually your teeth can become loose and may fall out.

How do I know if I have gum disease?

Look out for these symptoms:

  • bleeding after brushing
  • red, sore or swollen gums
  • bad breath

When you notice any of these symptoms, you should see your dentist immediately. If left untreated, your gum disease might result in a severe condition known as periodontitis; a condition that damages your bone and tissue and makes your teeth start falling out.

What should I do if I have signs of gum disease?

If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should visit your dentist. The dentist will check and confirm if you have gum disease.

If you do have gum disease, then your dentist will tell you how to treat it.

How do I treat gum disease?

Gum disease can be treated either by you or your dentist, depending on how severe the condition is.

For mild gum disease, you can either remove the plaque yourself by brushing and flossing the affected area.

For severe gum disease, you should visit your dentist for treatment. You cannot treat it yourself.

It is crucial to see your dentist regularly for check-ups. The dentist can spot gum disease early on and get rid of it before it causes more harm.

How can I prevent gum disease?

Prevention is always better than cure, and that’s definitely true for gum disease: it’s easier to prevent gum disease than to treat it.

In fact, preventing gum disease is very easy: all you have to do to is to clean your teeth and gums often. Ideally, you should brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day.

As mentioned earlier, you should also visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist can spot gum disease early and treat it before it becomes severe.

Usually, one or two check-ups a year should be enough. But if you’re prone to getting gum disease, then you should see your dentist every three to six months.

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Can children use electric toothbrushes?

Can children use electric toothbrushes?

Getting children to brush their teeth isn’t easy. You can try explaining about cavities and tooth decay all you want but it’s likely to fall on deaf ears for young children. The fact of the matter is that many children don’t like brushing their teeth.

But one possible solution is an electric toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are usually designed for adults, but in practice, children can use them too. If it makes them want to brush their teeth more often, then it can only be a good thing.

In this post, we’ll look at electric toothbrushes for children and how these toothbrushes can help them brush their teeth.

Advantages of electric toothbrushes for children

Electric toothbrushes actually have several advantages over normal toothbrushes. Here are the main ones.

  • More effective. Studies show that electric toothbrushes are better cleaning at your teeth than manual brushes. This is good for children who can’t brush their well with a manual toothbrush yet.
  • Easier to use. Children often don’t have the fine motor skills needed to brush their teeth properly. An electric toothbrush can make brushing easier because all you have to do is hold the toothbrush against your teeth and the toothbrush takes care of the rest.
  • Comes with a timer. Electric toothbrushes often come with a timer that tells you how long you’ve been brushing. This can help ensure that your child brushes her teeth for the recommended two minutes.
  • Makes them feel like a grown-up. Children like to copy their parents, so if their parents are using an electric toothbrush, it makes sense that they will want to use one too. This can be the difference between your child wanting to brush her teeth or not.

Choosing the right electric toothbrush for a child

You might think that your child can use the same electric toothbrush that you use to brush your own teeth. However, children actually need a child-size electric toothbrush.

Child size electric toothbrushes are smaller than the adult versions, making them easier for children to hold. The heads are also smaller, ensuring the toothbrush will fit comfortably in your child’s mouth.

Child size electric toothbrushes are not hard to find. They’re available from many pharmacies, supermarkets, and of course, Amazon. Search for “child-size electric toothbrush” if you’re looking online.

It’s a good idea to let your child choose the electric toothbrush he wants. For example, your child could choose a brush that has pictures of characters from his favourite TV show. This can make brushing more fun.


Letting your child use an electric toothbrush might seem a bit strange at first, especially if your child has only been using a manual toothbrush until now.

But it’s actually a really good idea for children to use electric toothbrushes. These toothbrushes are more effective and easier to use than normal toothbrushes. What’s more, they usually come with a timer that helps your child brush for the correct amount of time.

If you’d like to talk to one of about dentists about electric toothbrushes, or indeed any other dental topic, then just make an appointment by speaking to our reception.

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Four ways to protect your smile this Christmas

Four ways to protect your smile this Christmas

Food at Christmas tends to be high in sugar. Think of sweets, chocolates, Christmas pudding, candy canes, gingerbread men, yule logs, the chocolate in Advent calendars… the list goes on and on.

And all this sugar can be bad for our teeth. Sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn can cause plaque and cavities.

Don’t worry though, because, in this blog post, we’ll give you a few tips on how to keep your teeth healthy during the Christmas holidays.

1. Brush your teeth twice a day

The most important thing you can do to keep your teeth clean and healthy is to brush them twice a day. That’s once in the morning and once before going to bed. Regular brushing helps to keep plaque under control and it stops cavities from forming.

Children should brush their teeth twice a day too, and this includes during Christmas. We know that it’s easy for children to forget this at Christmas, especially on Christmas Day, what with all the excitement and new toys to play with. But please do spare a few minutes for your children to brush their teeth. It’s the best way to prevent tooth decay and cavities.

2. Limit the sugary food you eat

Food is an important part of Christmas, but one of the best things we can do for our teeth is to reduce the sugary foods we eat.

This could mean buying sugar-free mince pies instead of normal mince pies. It could also mean getting your child an Advent calendar with a toy or a picture behind each window instead of chocolate.

When you start to think about it, there are lots of ways to reduce the sugar you eat at Christmas.

3. Put out carrots instead of mince pies

It’s tradition to put out a mince pie and a glass of milk on Christmas Eve. It’s supposed to keep Santa fed on his long journey from the North Pole.

But why not replace the mince pie with some carrots instead? You can tell your children that the carrots are for the reindeer, who will be hungry after flying so far. By using carrots (which are good for your teeth) instead of mince pies (which are bad for your teeth), you’re setting a good example of healthy food choices.

4. Make sure you see a dentist if you have any dental problems

If you get tooth pain at Christmas or any other dental problem, it’s best to see a dentist as soon as possible. You might be tempted to put off seeing a dentist until after Christmas, but by then, the problem could be worse. So see a dentist ASAP!


At this time of year, it’s more important than ever to look after your teeth. There’s a lot you can do though to keep your teeth healthy – this includes brushing twice a day and watching the amount of sugar that you eat.

That’s it from us for this year. We hope that you and your families have a great Christmas and that you find a spare moment to think about your children’s teeth. From all of us here, have a merry Christmas and we’ll see you next year!

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How to look after your teeth and gums during pregnancy

How to look after your teeth and gums during pregnancy

Pregnancy causes all kinds of changes in the body. This can include changes to your teeth and gums. For example, you could be at a higher risk of gum inflammation or tooth decay.

In this post, we’ll discuss the problems that can occur to your dental health during pregnancy and what you can do about them.

Common dental problems during pregnancy


Gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) is a particular problem to watch out for during pregnancy.

Gingivitis is a common problem during pregnancy. This is because pregnancy hormones such as progesterone increase your blood flow throughout your body, including to your gums.

The main sign of gingivitis is gums that are red and swollen and bleed after brushing. If you experience these symptoms, make an appointment with your dentist.


Another oral health problem to watch out for during pregnancy is periodontitis.

Periodontitis is a serious infection where bacteria attack and destroy the bone that supports your teeth.

If left untreated, periodontitis can cause tooth loss and even cause problems for your fetus.

Periodontitis is linked to gum inflammation, so do see your dentist if you have inflamed gums.

Tooth decay

Another health problem that’s more common during pregnancy is tooth decay.

Tooth decay is where bacteria erode the outer layer of the teeth, which is called the enamel.

Tooth decay is more common during pregnancy because saliva becomes more acidic during pregnancy, making the teeth more prone to decay.

Dental appointments during pregnancy

Going to the dentist during pregnancy is an excellent idea because it can prevent problems to both you and your baby. The dentist can catch early signs of gum disease or tooth decay, and help to treat it.

Some people think that it’s dangerous to go to the dentist when you’re pregnant but the truth is that it’s not only safe to go to the dentist when you’re pregnant, it’s also highly recommended.

However, do make sure you tell the dentist that you’re pregnant. This is because certain interventions and treatments are usually not given to pregnant women.

For example, fillings are usually postponed until after the pregnancy. Also, dental X-rays aren’t typically performed on pregnant women, even though most dental X-rays don’t affect the abdomen area.

For this reason, it’s a good idea to see a dentist before you get pregnant so you can get any fillings or x-rays you need.


Pregnancy is the time to avoid alcohol, stop smoking, and take vitamins if you need them. But it’s also a time to pay extra attention to your dental health too.

Pregnancy increases the risk of various dental problems, like tooth decay and gum disease.

Don’t be too concerned, however, as a visit to the dentist can sort most problems out.

If you’re pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, and you’re looking for a dentist, then book an appointment with us. We’ll advise you on how to take care of yourself and your foetus during pregnancy.

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6 medical problems that can change your tongue’s colour

6 medical problems that can change your tongue’s colour

Did you know that your tongue can change colour? It’s true. Some medical conditions can turn your tongue turn red, white, or even black. To find out what they are, keep reading because, in this blog post, we will go over six health problems that can make your tongue change colour.

1. Oral thrush

If you have white patches on your tongue, it’s probably oral thrush.

Oral thrush is a yeast infection that occurs on the tongue and the inside of the mouth.

Oral thrush can happen to anyone, but it’s most common in children, the elderly, diabetics and people with weakened immune systems. Also. people often get oral thrush after taking antibiotics, because antibiotics kill all bacteria in the mouth indiscriminately, good and bad. This creates an opportunity for thrush to grow.

If you think you have oral thrush, it’s best to go to see a doctor. The treatment is usually anti-thrush drugs.

2. Geographic tongue

Geographic tongue is a condition where red spots appear on the tongue. It’s usually harmless and goes away on its own after a few days. A dentist or doctor can prescribe a topical cream if the spots are sore.

3. Kawasaki syndrome

Kawasaki syndrome is a rare condition where the blood vessels of the body become inflamed, turning the tongue red. It usually only affects small children.

4. Leukoplakia

Leukoplakia is a condition where white patches form in your mouth and on your tongue.

It’s different from other causes of white patches, such as thrush, because it doesn’t go away easily and it can eventually develop into oral cancer.

Smoking is the most common cause of leukoplakia. The patches usually go away on their own when the patient stops smoking.

5. Lingua villosa nigra

“Lingua villosa nigra” sounds like a spell from the Harry Potter books but it’s actually a real medical condition that turns the tongue black.

The words “lingua villosa nigra” are Latin for “black hairy tongue”. As the name suggests, the condition not only turns your tongue black, but it also makes it look hairy! This is because the papillae on the tongue become longer and hair-like.

The condition is not as serious as it sounds. The cause is simply bacteria that are overgrowing on the tongue. The solution is just better oral hygiene, especially by brushing or scraping your tongue.

6. Vitamin deficiencies

Finally, certain deficiencies in vitamins or minerals can also make your tongue change colour. For example, deficiencies in vitamin B3 (niacin), B9 (folic acid) and B12 (cobalamin) can all make your tongue red.

Don’t worry though, because deficiencies like these are rare. They can be avoided simply by eating a varied diet high in fruits and vegetables.


In this blog post, we’ve gone over six health conditions that can make your tongue change colour. So the next time you think your tongue looks big funny, you’ll be better prepared.

If you would like to speak to a dentist about your tongue or any other mouth problem, book an appointment with us today.

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Five reasons milk and cheese are good for your teeth

Five reasons milk and cheese are good for your teeth

Humans have been eating cheese and drinking milk for millennia – ever since ancient cows, called aurochs, were domesticated 8,000 ago, in fact.

The reason is not just because milk tastes good, but also because it is highly nutritious. This means that cheese and milk are good for your overall health as well as the health of your teeth.

In this blog post, we’re going to discuss cheese, milk and other dairy products, and how they help our teeth stay healthy and strong.

So if you’re still on the fence about whether dairy is good for you, then read on.

Five reasons dairy foods are good for your teeth

  1. They’re high in calcium. Calcium is found in lots of different foods, but dairy products are particularly high in it. This mineral is very important for our teeth, as it keeps them strong and healthy.
  2. They contain phosphorus. Phosphorus is another mineral found in dairy products. It’s important for your teeth because it maximizes the enamel-strengthening properties of calcium. In other words, phosphorus helps the calcium make your teeth stronger.
  3. They contain vitamin D. Vitamin D helps your enamel absorb calcium, thereby keeping your teeth strong and making them less susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. You get most of the vitamin D you need from the Sun, but you can also get it from milk and cheese.
  4. They contain casein. Casein is a protein found in milk and other dairy products. It can form a film over your teeth, thereby protecting your teeth from sugar and acidity.
  5. They have an almost neutral pH. Some foods, such as lemons, are bad for your teeth because they’re so acidic. Cheese, on the other hand, is almost pH neutral, which means it’s much better for your teeth. In fact, some research shows that cheese can even decrease acidity in your mouth.

What if I can’t drink milk?

Not everyone drinks milk. Some people are allergic to dairy, others are lactose intolerant and there are also people who avoid dairy out of choice.

If you are one of these people, then don’t worry. You can you still get the calcium and phosphorus that your body needs. It’s just that you will have to get them from a different source.

One idea is to drink almond milk or soy milk. Often these types of milk are fortified with extra vitamin D and other minerals to give them the same health benefits as cow milk.

Another option is to eat more brown rice, oranges, cabbage, beans, broccoli, salmon and peas, as all these foods are naturally high in calcium.


Dairy products like cheese and milk are definitely good for your teeth. By drinking milk and eating cheese every day, you can go a long way in keeping your teeth healthy.

If you would like more information about how to keep your teeth strong and healthy, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with one of our dentists. We will be more than happy to talk to you.

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Four bad habits that harm your teeth

Four bad habits that harm your teeth

Most of us are guilty of a least one bad habit, whether it’s smoking, procrastination or just biting your fingernails.

But did you know that some bad habits can damage your teeth? It’s true. There are some habits, like biting your fingernails, that can chip your teeth or even crack them.

In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the bad habits that can damage your pearly whites.

1. Chewing on pens and pencils

Many people like to chew on their pen or pencil while they work. Often it’s a way to get rid of stress but sometimes people do it out of boredom too.

The problem with chewing on pens and pencils is that it could potentially chip or crack your teeth. Also, if you chew on pens often, you could prematurely wear down your enamel. Not to mention the risk that the pen could break in your mouth, spilling ink all over your tongue and teeth!

So it’s best to keep pens and pencils out of your mouth. If you need to chew on something, chew on sugar-free gum instead.

2. Biting your fingernails

Another common bad habit is biting your fingernails. Lots of people do it, usually as a way to relieve stress.

But biting your fingernails is definitely not good for your teeth. For one thing, regularly biting your fingernails can shift your teeth out of place, a problem that can require braces later on. For another thing, nail-biting can even damage the enamel on your teeth.

Also, every time you put your fingers in your mouth, you risk spreading bacteria from your fingers to your mouth. The bacteria could potentially infect your gums.

So, nail-biting is definitely a habit to break – before it breaks your teeth.

3. Smoking

Smoking is definitely near the top of the list of the worst bad habits. It not only affects your general health but your dental health too.

For one thing, smoking can stain your teeth yellow, and for another thing, smoking increases your risk of gum disease and even mouth cancer.

So, if you’re a smoker, it’s definitely best to try to kick the habit, for the sake of your oral health as well as your general health.

4. Frequent snacking

Another bad habit that many of us are guilty of is snacking throughout the day. This usually means going to the fridge or the cupboard every half an hour to get a biscuit or chocolate.

The problem with snacking frequently is that it’s bad for your teeth. This is because the snacks create a constant assault on your teeth in the form of acid and sugar. This can cause cavities and other problems.

So, instead of snacking all the time, it’s best to stick to your three meals instead. And if you do feel peckish between meals, make it a healthy snack, such as carrots, nuts or celery.


In this blog post, we’ve discussed four bad habits can damage your teeth. If you’re guilty of any of these habits, then do try to stop doing them and your teeth will thank you!

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How smoking affects your oral health

How smoking affects your oral health

We know that it isn’t easy to stop smoking. A recent poll shows that three-fifths of people who resolve to quit smoking start again before a month has passed.

If you’ve decided to quit cigarettes and you need a bit more motivation to keep going, then read this blog post. This month, we’ll be discussing the effect of smoking on your dental health. Specifically, we’ll look at the various oral health problems that smoking can cause: stains, dry mouth, bad breath, gum disease, oral cancer and diminished taste.


Cigarettes can stain your teeth, causing them to become an unsightly yellow or brown colour. While it’s possible to remove these stains if they’re only on the surface, it’s much harder to get rid of stains that have penetrated inside the tooth. Prevention is always better than cure – so stop smoking before the stains build up!

Reduced blood flow to your gums

Smoking not only causes stains; it also reduces the blood flow to your gums. This alone can have several effects on your oral health.

Firstly, reduced blood flow means that your gums won’t be able to fight off infection and plaque as well as they should. This means you’ll have a higher risk of gum disease. Secondly, it means that your gums will heal slower than normal. And thirdly, reduced blood flow means that you might not even notice you have gum disease. This is because reduced blood flow masks one of the most obvious signs of gum disease: bleeding gums.

Bad breath

Smoking causes bad breath, also known as “smoker’s breath”. It’s often particularly bad in the morning.

Oral cancer

Oral cancer is another possible effect of smoking. In fact, most cases of oral cancer in the UK are caused by smoking. This is why it’s important to visit the dentist regularly for oral cancer checks if you’re a smoker.

Dry mouth

Another problem that smoking can cause is dry mouth. This is a condition where your mouth doesn’t make enough saliva. It can lead to tooth decay and gum disease because your mouth needs saliva to fight off bacteria.

A diminished sense of taste

As if you didn’t need any more reasons to quit cigarettes, you should know that smoking also diminishes your sense of taste and makes food less palatable.


Smoking can have lots of bad effects on your oral health. There’s stains, bad breath, dry mouth, and even an increased risk of oral cancer. These reasons alone should be enough to make you want to quit smoking.

We know it’s not easy to quit smoking. But we think it’s well worth the effort when you keep in mind the positive effects on your dental health. Your teeth will be healthier and you’ll ever have a nicer smile to boot.

If you’d like to speak to a professional about the effect of smoking on your oral health, please make an appointment with a dentist.

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Bad breath: Causes and treaments

Bad breath: Causes and treaments

Whether you have it or you’re on the receiving end of it, no-one likes bad breath. Unfortunately, though, bad breath happens to many of us at some point in our lives.

If you’re a victim of bad breath then don’t despair. Read this month’s blog post to find out what causes bad breath and what you can do to treat it

Causes of bad breath

  • Gum disease. One of the most common causes of bad breath is gum disease. Gum disease can happen if you don’t clean your teeth well enough and bacteria gain a foothold on your gums. When bacteria build-up, they produce the smelly odours that can cause bad breath.
  • Bacterial infection. If the bad breath also comes with pain, then it might be a bacterial infection.
  • Bits of food in your mouth. This might sound gross but any leftover bits of food in your mouth can cause bad breath too. When the bacteria in your mouth digest the food, it releases bad odours.
  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth is a condition where your mouth doesn’t have as much saliva as it should. This makes your mouth dry and sticky. It also produces bad breath, because there is not enough saliva to fight bacteria.
  • Smoking. Smoking is an obvious cause of bad breath. There’s a condition even known as “smoker’s breath” which is bad breath caused by smoking.
  • Crash dieting. Crash diets – which are diets where you lose weight fast – can cause temporary bad breath.
  • Medications. A few medications can cause bad breath. If you’re taking medications, read the instructions to see if bad breath is listed as a potential side effect.
  • Medical conditions. There are also medical conditions that can cause bad breath. These include diabetes, tonsillitis and acid reflux.

How to cure bad breath

If you have bad breath and want to get rid of it, then follow the tips below.

  • Improve your oral hygiene routine. Make sure you’re cleaning your teeth and gums to a proper standard. This means brushing your teeth and gums for two minutes a day, twice a day. You should also floss once a day to remove bits of food that may be stuck between your teeth.
  • Clean your tongue. Sometimes bacteria on the tongue can lead to bad breath. The solution is to brush your tongue as well whenever you brush your teeth. And if you really want to clean your tongue effectively, try a tongue scraper.
  • Use mouthwash. The regular use of an antibacterial mouthwash can help to fight bacteria and eradicate bad breath. However, don’t use mouthwash immediately after brushing because it will wash the toothpaste out of your mouth. You want some toothpaste to stay in your mouth so it keeps your teeth protected as you sleep.
  • Visit your dentist. If all else fails, your dentist should be your next point of call. A dentist can have a proper look at your mouth and find out what’s causing your bad breath. Note that if you’re in any pain right now, see a dentist as soon as possible. There could be an infection causing your bad breath, which needs to be treated as soon as possible.

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Six ways to take care of your teeth during quarantine

Six ways to take care of your teeth during quarantine

The coronavirus pandemic has affected businesses all across the UK, and dental clinics are no exception. The British Dental Association has advised dentists to close their doors for all but emergency cases. This means people cannot receive dental check-ups, braces appointments or cosmetic treatments such as teeth whitening. Only people with dental emergencies are able to get dentist appointments.

We don’t know how much longer the quarantine will go on for, but until it’s over, it’s more important than ever to look after your teeth. Any cavities you get now won’t be seen until your next dental appointment, and who knows when that will be?

So it’s important to take all the steps you can to reduce the risk of cavities. In this blog post, we will share some tips on how to look after your teeth during the quarantine.

1. Brush your teeth twice a day

Brushing your teeth twice a day is one of the most fundamental things you can do to keep them healthy. You should brush your teeth once in the morning and again just before going to bed. This will remove plaque and stop bacteria from creating cavities.

2. Floss

Floss is also part of the foundation of a good oral hygiene routine. Try to floss your teeth at least once a day. It will help to keep your teeth and gums healthy during the quarantine.

3. Drink water

Make sure to drink plenty of water during the quarantine. Not only is it good for your body, but it also neutralises acids in your mouth too, thereby protecting your teeth from acidity.

4. Avoid sugar

Sugar is a major cause of cavities. It’s what the bacteria in your mouth like to feed on. Therefore we recommend limiting the amount of sugar in your diet, especially during the quarantine.

We know it can be difficult to ward off sugar cravings, especially if you’re stuck at home, as most people are now. The contents of the biscuit tin can seem pretty tempting when you’re working from home and feeling peckish.

Try to make sure to have plenty of healthy snacks available instead, like carrot sticks, celery, hummus, fruit, crackers and bread. All these are better for your teeth than biscuits and chocolate.

5. Use an electric toothbrush

It’s been shown that electric toothbrushes are better at removing plaque than their ordinary counterparts. So we recommend getting an electric toothbrush if you don’t already have one.

6. Use mouthwash

Mouthwash is a good way to kill bacteria and remove plaque. We recommend using mouthwash once or twice a day, preferably one with fluoride in it.

However, make sure not to use mouthwash straight after brushing your teeth, because it will wash away the fluoride from the toothpaste.


The quarantine has affected everything, including dental clinics. We don’t know when dental clinics will open again, but until they do, make sure to pay special care to your teeth. Now’s not a good time to get a cavity!

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