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Soft drinks and acid erosion

Soft drinks and acid erosion

We all know that soft drinks aren’t good for your health. Some soft drinks are high in sugar, and even the sugar-free versions contain acid that can erode your enamel. In this post, we’ll examine this topic further by answering some of your questions about soft drinks.

 

Why are soft drinks bad for my teeth?

Soft drinks are bad for your teeth because they are high in sugar and/or acids. Sugar is harmful because it encourages bacteria and plaque, which in turns causes cavities. Acid is harmful as it erodes the enamel (the outer layer of your teeth).

 

Is diet cola better for my teeth than regular cola?

Diet drinks, such as Diet Coke and Coke Zero, are indeed better for your teeth than regular cola. A can of cola contains a whopping 33 g of sugar, while diet cola is sugar-free. So, yes, the sugar-free version is better for your teeth than regular cola.

 

So diet cola is okay for my teeth?

No. Although diet drinks are sugar-free, it doesn’t mean they’re good for your teeth. This is because all fizzy drinks contain acids that erode the enamel on your teeth. Even sugar-free drinks contain these acids. Therefore, it’s best to limit your consumption of all fizzy drinks.

 

Which other drinks are high in acid?

The following drinks are high in acid: carbonated drinks such as fizzy pop, white wine, cider, alcopops, some sports drinks, fruit teas, juices made from citrus fruits (e.g. orange juice and grapefruit juice).

In addition, some foods are acidic. These include citrus fruits, such as lemons, oranges, blackcurrants, and grapefruits. However, the benefit of these healthy citrus fruits for your overall health, outweighs the negative effect of tooth erosion.

 

So what’s the best thing to drink?

The safest drink for your teeth is still water, whether it’s from the tap or from a bottle. Still water is pH neutral which means it reduces acidity in your mouth.

Though of course it would be a boring life if water was all we drank. Alternatives to water are sugar-free squash, diluted fruit juice, tea (without sugar) and coffee (also without sugar). Although these drinks don’t benefit your teeth, they don’t do much harm either.

Try to avoid drinking large amounts of fruit juice. Even though fruit juice has a reputation as healthy drink, it’s actually quite bad for your teeth as it’s high in acids. A good idea therefore is to dilute your fruit juice with water.

 

How can I prevent tooth erosion from getting worse?

If you already have enamel erosion, then the bad news is that it isn’t reversible – you can’t get your enamel back. However, you can stop it from getting worse and your dentists may be able to protect your teeth with a protective filling or crown. Here are some tips on how to prevent erosion from progressing further:

  • Limit your intake of acidic drinks and foods
  • Don’t brush your teeth too soon after eating acidic foods. Acid weakens enamel, and if you brush them when your enamel is weakened, you could damage your teeth.
  • Don’t drink acidic drinks before you go to bed. The acid will linger on your teeth during the night and weaken your enamel.
  • Talk to your dentist or doctor for help or treatment.

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Six tips to help you look after your teeth this Christmas

Six tips to help you look after your teeth this Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner and people are once again getting gearing up for the festivities. But amidst all the mince pies, pudding and turkey, we ask that you spare a thought this Christmas… to your teeth.

We don’t want to put a downer on things, but your teeth are assaulted with sugar over Christmas, whether it’s sugar from pudding, sweets, chocolate or Bucks Fizz. All that sugar can cause cavities. So, give yourself a present by following our six tips for a tooth-friendly Christmas.

  1. Practice moderation. Moderation is definitely the best thing you can do for your teeth at Christmas. So don’t be afraid to say no to the sweet tin as it comes around the table, or to decline the offer of a mince pie. Saying that, you don’t need to be a Scrooge – after all, Christmas is the one time of year when you should be able to eat and drink as you like. We’re just saying to keep in mind the amount of sugar you eat, and to try to keep it reasonable.
  2. Don’t break your dental routine. Our routines tend to get a bit wobbly during Christmas due to all the stress, excitement and festivities. But Christmas is also the time when your dental hygiene routine is more important than ever. Make sure your dental hygiene routine is one you don’t break. That means brushing your teeth when you wake up and brushing again before you go to bed. The same goes for children. Christmas morning is very exciting for children, but they can spare a couple of minutes to brush their teeth.
  3. Put out carrots for Father Christmas. It’s a Christmas Eve tradition in some homes to put out a mince pie and a glass of milk for Father Christmas. But why not substitute the mince pie for some carrots instead? You can tell your little ones that the carrots are for Father Christmas’s reindeer for their long journey. By incorporating carrots into a Christmas tradition, you’re subtly teaching children the importance of vegetables, which will help serve their teeth well for the rest of their lives.
  4. Don’t open bottles with your teeth. You’ll probably open a bottle or two at Christmas, whether it’s wine, beer or champagne. But please don’t use your teeth to open bottles. This is because your tooth can chip or even break off entirely! Stay on Santa’s nice list and use a bottle opener instead.
  5. Don’t forget the dentist. If you have a dental appointment near to Christmas, then don’t forget to go. We know that Christmas can be a busy time but that doesn’t mean you should skip dental appointments.
  6. Consider switching to sugar-free foods. If you really want to score bonus points with Father Christmas this year, then consider buying sugar-free versions of popular Christmas foods. The big supermarkets usually sell lots of sugar-free options, including mince pies, chocolate and cake. These foods are usually intended for diabetics but they’re good for your teeth too.

From the team at Scott Arms Dental Practice, we wish you a merry Christmas! And one final tip: if you’re playing reindeer games with Rudolph this Christmas, then don’t forget to wear a mouth guard!

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Everything you need to know about dental check-ups

ScottArms_SMM_20171101_patient-and-dentistsDental check-ups are something that many people see as inconvenient and unnecessary. Why bother going to the dentist if your teeth are perfectly healthy? The truth of the matter is that we all need to see the dentist every now and then. Dentists can catch any problems in their early stages and treat them before they get worse. A check-up is also an opportunity for you to discuss your oral health and hygiene habits with your dentist. In this post, we’ll answer some of the most common questions our patients ask about dental check-ups.

 

How often should I have a check-up?

The typical advice is to see a dentist every six months. This allows your dentist to spot tooth decay before it becomes serious. However, six months isn’t necessarily the best option for everyone: the ideal frequency of your check-ups depends on you. Some people need to visit a dentist every three months, whereas luckier patients only need to see a dentist every couple of years. It all depends on the health of your teeth and your risk of developing problems.

 

What’s the purpose of dental check-ups?

Dental check-ups are important because they allow dentists to catch problems such as cavities or plaque. And if do you have problems then the dentist can take care of them there and then instead of letting them get worse. After all, the longer you leave a dental problem, the more difficult it becomes to treat. That’s why it’s best to catch problems early and to see a dentist frequently.

 

What typically happens at a dental check-up?

At a check-up, your dentist will typically:

  • Examine your teeth
  • Ask you if you’ve had any problems with your teeth since your last visit.
  • Ask you about your teeth-cleaning habits and advise you if you can make improvements
  • Tell you when you need to come back for your next visit

 

What about appointments for other things?

Along with general check-ups, you might also need to visit the dentist for other reasons. For example, if you have braces, then you’ll need to visit the dentist every few weeks to have the braces adjusted.
And if you experience problems with your teeth between check-ups, then you should contact your dentist and make an appointment as soon as possible. If you wait until your check-up appointment then the problem may be worse by that point.

 

What about dental check-ups for children?

Children need regular dental check-ups too. NHS dental care for children is free, so there’s really no excuse! A child’s first appointment should be when her first milk teeth appear. After that, your dentist will advise you how often your child needs check-ups. Typically this will be around every six months.

 

Conclusion

We hope that you now feel more comfortable about dental check-ups. If you have any more questions, then feel free to contact us at 0121 357 5000 or visit in person at our clinic in Great Barr. If we don’t see you, then we’ll be sure to see you at your next check-up!

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What’s the deal with fluoride in the water supply?

sadp-water

 

Since the 1960s, the government has added fluoride to the drinking water in some parts of the UK with the aim of preventing tooth decay. The first large scheme began in Birmingham in 1964. Today, 10% of England’s population receives fluoridated tap water, which is 5.8 million people. The places where fluoridated water is most common are Birmingham, Staffordshire and Dudley.

Fluoridation is a controversial topic. On one side of the argument, people claim that water fluoridation poses health risks and is therefore too dangerous to add to tap water. Meanwhile, supporters of water fluoridation point out that that there is no evidence of side-effects at normal doses.

 

The evidence

In the early 20th century, scientists noticed that people living in areas with naturally high levels of fluoride also had low levels of tooth decay. This led to an experiment in an American city called Grand Rapids, where the city’s officials started adding fluoride to the water supply. Over the next few years, scientists found that the people in Grand Rapids enjoyed lower rates of tooth decay. In light of these findings, other towns and cities around the world quickly adopted artificial water fluoridation.

In 2015, an independent organisation of researchers known as the Cochrane Collaboration analysed studies into water fluoridation. They found many flaws in these studies. For example, they found that studies from before 1975 are no longer relevant because there was a widespread adoption of fluoride-containing toothpaste after 1975. The findings of the Cochrane Collaboration shed doubt on the usefulness of mass water fluoridation.

 

What are the benefits of fluoridated water?

We know for certain that fluoride helps to prevent cavities. This is shown in cities across the UK and the world. For example The Telegraph claims that in Manchester, where there is no fluoridated tap water, the rate of tooth decay is twice that than in Birmingham, where fluoridated tap water is commonplace.

 

What are the dangers of fluoride?

One known danger of fluoride is a condition known as fluorosis. The condition is where bones and teeth lose their minerals and become porous. However, fluorosis only occurs at very high levels of fluoride. The amounts added to tap water are too small to cause fluorosis.

Some preliminary research suggests that high doses of fluoride might be toxic to the brain and nerve cells. Furthermore, other studies have found that fluoride might cause learning and memory problems at high doses. However, the fluoride level used in these studies is higher than the levels found in water supplies.

 

The bottom line

We know for certain that fluoride helps prevent cavities. But since we already add fluoride to toothpaste, so do we really need to add it to our drinking water as well?

To answer this question, more research is needed. Governments need to know exactly how much fluoride they should be adding to the water supply. Given that too much fluoride poses health risks, we shouldn’t add use any more fluoride than necessary. Scientists also need to perform more research on the adverse health effects of fluoride on the brain.

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When do you need a sports mouth guard?

sadp-mouth-guardDo you play contact sports such as football, rugby, boxing or basketball? These sports are intensely physical and unfortunately injuries are quite common, especially injuries to the teeth. Luckily, there’s something you can wear to protect your gnashers: a mouth guard.

How do mouth guards protect my teeth?

While mouth guards may not be seen as cool, they do help protect your teeth in a variety ways:

  • Mouth guards protect you from direct blows from your opponents. If you’re a boxer and your opponent punches you in the teeth, then a mouth guard will (hopefully) absorb the blow.
  • Mouth guards prevent your upper and lower teeth from clashing together. Your teeth are the strongest part of your body, so when they collide it can be like two rocks hitting one another. You don’t want that. A mouth guard will keep your upper and lower teeth separate during the game.
  • Mouth guards prevent you from biting your tongue during a game. A bitten tongue doesn’t sound too serious, but people sometimes need stitches after biting their tongue too hard. Mouth guards also prevent you from accidentally biting your lip too.

 

When should I wear a sports mouth guard?

You should wear a mouth guard for any sport involving a risk of injury to the mouth. This is basically any sport that involves speed, falls, body contact or flying objects like hockey pucks and rugby balls. You’d be surprised at the number of sports that are potentially hazardous to your teeth. We’re not just talking about football, rugby and boxing, but also sports like skateboarding, mountain biking, and gymnastics. If there’s a risk of injury to your mouth, then you should be wearing a mouth guard.

By the way, you’ll typically only need a mouth guard for your upper teeth. However, some dentists recommend mouth guards for lower teeth if you have braces or bridges.

 

Different types of mouth guards

There are three broad types of mouth guards:

  1. Off-the-shelf mouth guards. These are the cheapest type of mouth guard. No moulding is required, which means they are ready to wear straight out of the packet. Although these mouth guards are cheap and convenient, they are also often bulky and uncomfortable.
  2. Boil and bite mouth guards. These mouth guards become soft when you place them in boiling water. You can then mould it to the shape of your teeth by biting down into it. After the mouth guard cools down, it retains its new shape. This makes the boil and bite mouth guard superior to its off-the-shelf cousin, as you can mould the mouth guard to the shape of your teeth.
  3. Dentist-made mouth guards. These mouth guards are made by dental professionals in a laboratory. The lab technicians will make the mouth guard to fit your mouth exactly. Therefore, dentist-made mouth guards offer the best fit and protection. However, they are also the most expensive option.

No matter what type of mouth guard you get, make sure it fits well and feels comfortable. Also ensure it’s strong and tear-resistant – it’s going to be protecting your teeth, after all.

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Could tooth loss cause dementia?

Could tooth loss cause dementia?

There are almost a million people in the UK with dementia, which is a disease that makes it hard to think and remember. The most common type of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, which comprises over half of dementia cases.

There’s no cure for dementia and no real treatments either. Therefore, it’s no wonder that people are anxious to know what causes it. Sometimes this can lead to people getting a little too excited about new discoveries, like what happened last March.

What happened last March?

In March, The Express newspaper ran a story with the headline “Dementia breakthrough: Brushing your teeth can ‘help ward off devastating condition’”. Meanwhile, The Mirror covered the same story with the headline “Keeping more of your own teeth lessen [sic] the risk of getting dementia”.

Both stories were about a Japanese study published that same month. This study found that tooth loss is linked to an increased risk of dementia. Essentially, the participants with few teeth were more likely to develop dementia over the five years of the study. Specifically, people with 10-19 teeth had a 62% higher risk of dementia than people with 20 or more teeth, and people with only 1-9 teeth had an 81% higher risk of dementia. These figures certainly sound convincing.

How could tooth loss cause dementia?

The researchers offered several explanations for how tooth loss could cause brain disease. Perhaps people with a full set of teeth have healthier diets, and in turn their good diets help protect them from dementia. Or perhaps even the act of chewing stimulates blood flow to the brain.

The study’s flaw

Before you start brushing your teeth vigorously in an attempt to stop dementia, you should know about the study’s flaw: the researchers found no cause and effect between tooth loss and dementia. In other words, does tooth loss really cause dementia, or is there something else going on? Perhaps tooth loss and dementia were both just signs of poor overall health in the participants.

So what does cause dementia?

Instead of just one cause like tooth loss, dementia probably has many interlinked causes. Scientists think that factors like smoking, alcohol, a poor diet and lack of exercise can all contribute to the onset of brain disease. So, if you want to protect your brain, then certainly look after your body as well as your teeth.

So as long as I exercise and eat well, I won’t get dementia?

Unfortunately, nothing is certain with dementia. Some people seem to be have a genetic predisposition to it, which means that a healthy lifestyle isn’t guaranteed to protect them.

Furthermore, dementia risk greatly increases with age. Only 3% of people in the 65-74 age bracket have dementia, yet this figure jumps to nearly 50% for those aged over 85. Basically, if you’re lucky enough to live until your nineties, you’ll more than likely have dementia.

Take-home message

Don’t believe everything you read in the newspaper. And keep brushing those teeth – good oral health is important for many reasons, even if we don’t know if dementia is one of them.

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Standing up to oral cancer

Unlike some types of cancers which are fortunately declining, mouth cancer is rising in the UK. Around 7500 people are diagnosed with mouth cancer each year and sadly it takes more lives than road traffic accidents. The earlier it is identified, the more likely it is to be successfully treated.

When you visit the dentist

When visiting the dentist for a check-up, most people think about their teeth and gums. The dentist however, will routinely look far beyond these and do a full mouth cancer screening. This quick check has the potential to save a life. If anything seriously concerning is noted, you can be reassured that your dentist is able to arrange a hospital appointment within two weeks.

Who is affected?

Mouth cancer can affect anybody. Individuals using tobacco in any form, are known to have a higher risk of mouth cancer. High alcohol consumption may also further increase the susceptibility. Recently, there has been a rise in the number of affected individuals who are non-smoking, non-drinking, young and healthy. These cases are often associated with HPV. This is the family of viruses causing cervical cancer and if exposed to the mouth, can cause cancer in a similar way.

What can I do?

Attending your check-ups at the suggested interval will ensure your mouth is examined regularly. It is also useful to keep a look-out yourself for anything concerning. If you have any lumps, unusual patches or non-healing ulcers, speak to your dentist, even if you’re not yet due for a check-up. The poster explains how important it is look everywhere in the mouth – lips, tongue, gums and cheek.

Together we can fight mouth cancer.

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We’re Recruiting Dental Nurses

We’re Recruiting Dental Nurses

We’re currently recruiting 3 Dental Nurses at Scott Arms Dental Practice due to expansion.

Now is your time to join an award-winning dental team.

Full time and part time positions are available. Competitive salary, flexible hours, overtime and bonuses paid.
Immediate starts available.

To apply, simply email your CV to info@scottarmsdentalpractice.com.

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Taking Care of Your Dental Health During Pregnancy

Pregnant woman during pregnancy, enjoying the time

Pregnancy is a very exciting time. But between all the doctor’s visits, prenatal classes, and morning sickness, you might find that your dental health might end up on the side-lines. However, it’s still important to look after your dental health throughout the pregnancy. This is because some oral health problems, such as gum disease, become more common when there’s a bun in the oven. Read on to find out the special precautions to take during pregnancy.

Gum disease

Gum disease is more common in pregnancy. This is because hormonal changes during pregnancy affect gums and make them more susceptible to plaque. Signs of the disease are gums that are sore, swollen, inflamed or bleeding. See a dentist if you suspect you have these symptoms.

How to prevent gum disease during pregnancy

Prevention is better than cure, as they say. So be proactive and take these steps to prevent gum disease when you’re pregnant.

    • The best way to prevent gum disease at any time, whether you’re pregnant or not, is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine. This should consist of brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day with a toothpaste that contains fluoride. Also, floss once a day to dislodge food and plaque from between your teeth.
    • Don’t eat sugary foods and drinks too often. These include non-diet cola, sweets, cake, and even spoons of sugar in your tea. These foods are bad for your teeth as well as your baby. Try to replace sugary snacks with healthier ones, such as carrots, oat cakes, and celery. Cheese and yogurt in particular are good snacks because a growing foetus needs a lot of calcium.
    • If you smoke, then stop immediately. Smoking harms your unborn baby and can also make gum disease worse. Avoid second-hand smoke too wherever possible.
    • If you vomit during pregnancy (i.e. morning sickness), then don’t brush your teeth straight away. Vomit is acidic which means it can soften teeth; brushing your teeth after vomiting might therefore damage your teeth. So, wait at least an hour after vomiting before brushing. What you can do straight away is rinse out your mouth with water. This will stop the acidic vomit from eroding your teeth.
    • Keep seeing a dentist for your routine check-up.

Dental treatments during pregnancy

Dental treatments are often postponed for pregnant women due to risk of harm to the foetus. This is why dentists tell patients to postpone elective treatments (such as braces and removal of amalgam restorations) until after they’ve given birth.

If you really need treatment, then try to wait until after the first trimester. This is because the first trimester is a critical time for the development of the foetus and all dental treatments should be postponed if possible. After the first trimester, routine dental procedures (such as cleaning and fillings) become safe up until the final few weeks of pregnancy. At that point, it’s best to avoid all dental treatments again until after birth. However, emergency treatment is still recommended at any point during pregnancy to ensure the comfort and safety of the mother.

Finally, after the baby is born, make an appointment with a dentist to make sure there are no problems with the baby’s oral health. We wish you have a happy and healthy pregnancy.

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