The Impact Of Obesity On Oral Health

Controlling your weight can help lead to a healthier mouth

eating an apple with good teethThere are a number of reasons why people might become obese. For the unfortunate few, it can be caused by a medical condition and for some it may be at least partially hereditary. For most of us though, obesity stems from eating too much and exercising too little. Most of us will be aware by now that this can contribute to a number of medical conditions, but it may well be less known that being overweight can also make a difference to your oral health as well.

As part of our preventative strategy, helping our Bedford dental patients to have as healthy a mouth as possible, The Dental Centre Bedford team takes a look at how obesity impacts oral health and what you can do to help control it.

Sugar

The most obvious issue surrounding obesity and poor tooth health is the likelihood that sugars play a significant role in the diet of someone who is overweight. Whilst other factors such as a high fat intake can also contribute, cakes, biscuits and other sweet things are often found in the shopping basket of someone with this health condition. As we know, sugar is a major contributing factor to tooth decay, feeding, as it does, the potentially harmful bacteria in our mouths which then produce the acids that eat away at the enamel of our teeth. Once the enamel has become sufficiently compromised, the bacteria can then enter the softer part of the tooth leading to tooth decay (and often toothache) as well as further complications such as root canal infections.

Diabetes

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Will Bedford Dentists Have To Close Again?

With new Covid restrictions coming into place, patients ask if further closures are likely

The Dental Centre BedfordAs many people have predicted, it appears that a 2nd wave of the Covid-19 virus is on its way or already here.

This has widely been thought likely to happen for some time and the government has acknowledged this with it’s latest set of restrictions to help contain the spread of the virus. Some scientists are arguing, however, that these are not significant enough, triggering the possibility of a further lockdown of some sort.

Understandably, some patients of The Dental Centre Bedford have expressed their concern that we may have to close our practice again. Whilst we can’t predict the future, we thought that we would use today’s blog to look at this possibility and what our patients can do to maintain a healthy mouth ‘just in case’.

Will our practice close again?

As we have said, we can’t 100% predict what might happen in the future but, at the moment, there appear to be no indications that this is part of the plan. The aim of the government seems to be to try to keep the economy going as much as possible. In addition to any direct financial implications from closing dental practices, it could also have a knock on effect on people’s health and morale, not something that any government would want at a time when we need to pull together.

Given the health and safety and cross infection controls that have been put into place or improved since the first lockdown, dental practices are actually safe environments and with this new additional protection, this lessens the likelihood that dentists would be a priority for closure. Indeed, as knowledge of the virus expands, it appears that it spreads most easily in poorly ventilated areas where a lot of people are present; for example, pubs. This is unlike the controlled environment of a dental clinic and as such, we believe that it is unlikely at this stage, that further closures will happen.

Precautionary action

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Give your smile a boost with professional teeth whitening!

Did lockdown habits take their toll on the colour of your teeth?

Whiter teeth exampleAs the peak of the pandemic has passed, at least for now, most of us are coming out of our ‘lockdown mentality’, even if very cautiously. Whilst some of us may have been raring to get going again, others will have been more cautious and perhaps even fearful in some cases.

As time goes by though, people will start to socialise again with friends and family and, to some degree, try to get back some sense of normality.

Naturally, there will be changes in the way we do things but some patients of our Bedford dental clinic may have noticed another change too; that of the colour of their teeth.

Changed habits and discoloured teeth

Over the last few months, many of us will have been spending a lot more time at home, possibly even working from there. This may also have driven a change in our eating habits in many cases. Although it may have provided an opportunity to do more home cooking for some, others will probably have spent a lot more time snacking, especially as a way of coping with the stress and boredom that some will have felt.

As we lie on the sofa catching up with our favourite soaps or box set, it is far more likely that we will have reached for sweets than healthy alternatives. This may have led to a degree of enamel erosion which causes a rough tooth surface, making it easier for staining to occur.

Add to this the likely increase in cups of tea and coffee drunk throughout the day and it isn’t hard to see why we expect to treat many patients with discoloured teeth over the coming weeks and months.

How can we help?

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Dental Implants – Is This The Right Time For You To Choose?

Why dental implants may be your best choice for replacing lost teeth

single dental implantThere is no getting away from it; lockdown has been tough for some people and this is especially true financially. Small business owners that have had to close their premises for a few months will almost certainly have taken a large financial hit.

Even when businesses reopen, it is likely to be some time before the economy recovers enough to be called ‘normal’ again. This has affected many people, dentists included.

This is not true for everyone though, and those who have managed to keep regular employment during this time may have even found themselves financially better off than before. With the same salary coming in and a lack of opportunities to spend it at restaurants and shops etc, some of those more fortunate may have managed to save a reasonable amount of money. The same may also be true of those who had put money aside for a holiday abroad this year but have decided to postpone it due to the current situation.

Your teeth

Those of you who live in the Bedford area and find themselves in a position where they have managed to save, may like to take a look at the cosmetic dentistry treatments that we offer at The Dental Centre Bedford.  There are many treatments to choose from, including the ever popular teeth whitening procedure. The one that we want to focus on today though is dental implant placement, a treatment which, whilst excellent, does require an investment of a reasonable amount of money. This is simply due to the cost of the material used and the experience and training required to do it.

If you have saved money during these last few months, this could offer an excellent opportunity to have implants placed to replace any missing teeth that you have. If you currently wear dentures, you will also probably be all too aware of their limitations and occasional inconveniences. By swapping dentures for implants, you can have very strong, secure and functional replacement teeth that are straightforward to look after, often for 20 years or more.

Individual and multiple placement

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Restoring Damaged Teeth

Time away from the dentist can mean more cases of decay and damage

dentist and hygienist for childrenIt probably feels like a long time since you last saw the welcoming faces of the team at The Dental Centre Bedford? The good news is that we are now open again and are able to help you get your oral health back on course.

This is likely to be a gradual process as we catch up on lost time, but we are aware that some of you will be in more urgent need of an appointment than others. So we plan to do all that we can to accommodate those who have teeth that are causing them pain or other problems first, before progressing to more routine appointments.

Some of you may have had to put up with issues such as decay or a chipped or broken tooth that was not serious enough to be referred to an urgent dental centre. It is important that we treat these cases first and we politely ask for your patience whilst we do so.

Due to the Covid-19 crisis, there will be some changes to the way that we operate and your appointments with us will be slightly different. Please read this latest information before making an appointment.

In today’s blog, we will take a quick look at some of the treatments we use to help restore any damaged or decaying teeth and return your mouth to good health.

Fillings

One of the most common treatments is the tooth filling. Hopefully, most of these will be relatively minor but this might depend on when the problem started and how well you managed to take care of it in the meantime. Traditionally, amalgam is used to fill dental cavities but increasingly this is being replaced by white fillings that can be produced to match the colour of the natural part of your teeth.

This is not the only advantage of white teeth fillings. They are not only strong but have excellent bonding qualities which means that the preparation of the remaining healthy tooth is often less than when amalgam is used.

Crowns

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Encouraging Nervous Patients To Return When Dentists Reopen

The challenge of lockdown may have increased anxiety levels for some, but our team is on hand to help….

Dr NackashaIt is probably fair to say that all of us, in some way, have been affected by the current situation surrounding the Covid-19 virus. Even if we, or those around us, have not been directly affected by the virus itself, the lockdown will almost certainly have taken a toll in one way or another.

For the luckier ones, it may be little more than missing going to the pub with friends, but for some people, it is almost certain that anxiety levels have increased.

This may have had an immediate impact on our oral health care, perhaps with neglected brushing, exacerbated by consumption of ‘comfort’ foods; but could also have caused longer term implications too.

Dental anxiety

Dental fears and anxiety is common amongst patients, including some who visit us here at The Dental Centre Bedford. For many people this amounts to little more than feeling a little nervous on the day of their visit. The vast majority of these folk will be able to control their anxiety and attend their appointment and wonder what all the fuss was about afterwards.

There are others though, for whom an upcoming dental visit may mean a significant rise in anxiety for days, and even possibly weeks, before their appointment is due. Whilst some of these will still attend, a significant number may not. Even in normal times, this can be a real challenge, but with the additional stress of lockdown, there is a real possibility that the number of people failing to rearrange their appointment and therefore not seeing a dentist after we are open again, is likely to increase.

Avoiding the dentist

For those patients who choose not to reschedule an appointment when our Bedford practice is open again, there are likely to be significant problems ahead. As any regular reader of our blog will know, our cinical team firmly believes that good oral health depends not only on good care at home, but also ongoing professional supervision and monitoring.

Even patients who are careful about what they eat and who have an excellent brushing and flossing routine can still suffer from problems. All it takes is a tiny crack to appear in the tooth enamel and this can allow bacteria and acids to enter into the less well protected dentin layer of the tooth. Once this has happened, it will almost inevitably result in tooth decay, possibly including a painful toothache. In some circumstances, the bacteria could enter the root canals of the tooth, leaving the patient requiring root canal surgery to save the tooth. Although we do understand that some patients would rather not see a dentist, problems like this are an almost inevitable consequence if you don’t.

How we can help

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Gum Health – An Ongoing Priority

Take this time to renew your focus on good gum health

Dentist in a surgeryBecause dental practices across the UK are closed for all but urgent emergency advice, a lot of focus is being placed on keeping teeth healthy with the intention of avoiding the need for treatment. This is important of course, but we should not forget to take similar care of our gums as well.

Whilst a problem with a tooth can come on quite suddenly, especially in the case of a breakage, gum problems tend to happen more gradually and so can be managed or even reversed if caught early enough.

In an ideal world, your gums would be monitored during your six monthly examinations at The Dental Centre Bedford, but as we are currently closed, it is more important than ever that preventing gum disease is high on your list of priorities.

What is gum disease?

There are two predominant types of gum disease;  gingivitis and periodontitis. The former is the milder stage and is more easily treated whereas the latter is more serious and may require invasive treatment such as root planing. At this stage, the bacteria will have accumulated below the gum line, quite possibly on the roots of the teeth and even the surrounding jaw bone. At this latter stage, tooth loss is a real possibility so preventative care is extremely important to help avoid it.

It is also worth noting that there seems to be an increasing number of scientific studies that are concluding that poor gum health may be a factor in serious health issues such as heart disease and strokes. So taking care of your gums may be of greater benefit than you think!

How to look after your gums

Many of the same rules for looking after your teeth also apply to your gums. The most obvious ‘basics’ are brushing and flossing. There are ways that these can be improved though to help keep your gums clean and healthy.

Brushing

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Looking After Your Dental Health During Prolonged ‘Lock Down’

Maintaining a good oral health regime during stay-at-home restrictions

Caring for teethAlthough it has not yet been officially announced, it is looking increasingly certain that the current lockdown due to the Covid-19 virus will be extended, perhaps for a few more weeks yet. This won’t be good news for many of us who might be struggling at this time, but we do encourage all patients of The Dental Centre Bedford to follow government advice in order to eventually defeat this very dangerous virus.

As you will know, all dental practices in the UK, including ourselves, are now closed and only urgent emergency advice can be offered. So we are not able to undertake even relatively minor dental procedures such as a minor toothache or a lost filling. It makes sense therefore, to do all that you can to keep your teeth and gums healthy at this time.

In today’s blog, we reiterate some of the essentials that you should do to help look after your teeth. Hopefully this will allow you to avoid problems that could make the lockdown period feel even longer than it is.

Brush and floss your teeth

This is something that you should be doing as a matter of course. Now though, offers a good opportunity to make sure that you are doing it as effectively as you can. The first thing to check is your toothbrush. If the bristles are looking worn down or if you know that it’s more than 3 months old, it needs to be replaced. Worn bristles will not remove bacteria and food as efficiently as firmer ones. If you are unable to change it now, or change the head of an electric one, please make sure to do so as soon as you reasonably can.

Secondly, please make sure that you are still brushing your teeth morning and night, despite inevitable changes to your routine. You may need to find a new regular ‘slot’ to brush your teeth, especially in the morning, but doing so will help to make sure that you don’t skip it by accident.

Thirdly, check how you are brushing. Some people still brush too quickly with the bristles flat to the surface of the tooth and then spit and rinse. This is not the correct way to do it unfortunately.

Firstly, you should brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes, making sure to angle the brush bristles towards the gums so that bacteria is cleaned from beneath the gum line. There is no need to do this hard, in fact doing so can wear down the enamel. A gentle brushing should be sufficient. Finally, you should spit and then avoid rinsing your mouth with water afterwards. This enables the fluoride to strengthen your teeth more effectively than if you swill it away immediately.

Fourthly, use dental floss. If you don’t already do this, perhaps practice by using educational videos to learn how to do it correctly. Far too few people do this but it is beneficial for removing food and bacteria that have become trapped between the teeth and in the gums.

Be mindful of what you eat

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Encouraging Children To Take Care Of Their Teeth

With an extended break from school now likely, why not use some of that time to help your child with dental education?

dentist and hygienist for childrenSchools in the UK are breaking up early on Friday for an unknown length of time, and many parents around the UK will be wondering how to keep their children entertained and educated whilst also maintaining their own essential daily routines.

Although much is currently unknown as things are moving so fast, it does seem likely that schools may remain open for key worker’s children. But for most parents, they will be responsible for their children during holidays that are likely to be significantly longer than usual.

There will be many articles written on this topic and it is expected that schools will also provide some educational support remotely. Although this is not a pleasant time, it does present opportunities for things may not usually happen due to time pressure. At The Dental Centre Bedford, we would encourage parents to use some of this time to talk to your children about their oral health care and how they can have healthy teeth as they grow up.

The essentials

Although they should be obvious, it is worth repeating the basics of good oral care. This includes diet and how they clean their teeth.

One of the problems of this extended break is likely to be boredom. When kids are bored, they will often eat more sweets if allowed to do so. Try to discourage this, perhaps allowing them only as treats. It might be difficult, but try to use this time imaginatively to find other things that your children will eat that are more tooth friendly than sugary products.

Brushing their teeth is very important and you will have more time to supervise them as they do this, depending on their age.  You could get them to draw a chart where you can tick off whether they have brushed their teeth in the morning and at night, with a full sheet at the end of the week earning a small reward.

Take a look at a few videos on how to clean your teeth and get your children to copy them. Do make sure to get these from a reliable source though. Children don’t always respond to ‘nagging’ from parents, but will happily copy someone that they don’t know from a video. If you can also encourage them to floss as well, that would be beneficial, although this may depend on their age.

You are also likely to find suitable videos about oral health care in general which are child friendly and will hold their attention more than a ‘lecture’ by mum or dad.

Mum … I’m bored ….

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Cross Infection Control – Helping To Keep Patients Safe

A look at the small, but important role that our Bedford dental practice plays in preventing the spread of infections.

Specialist dentist using a microscopeViruses are big news at the moment. It is difficult to ascertain how serious the current situation might end up being but it does serve to highlight the importance of limiting the spread of viruses in general.

When it comes to cross infection control, there are a number of areas where we can take certain steps locally to help prevent infection both for our patients and our dental team.

Our dental practice

The Dental Centre Bedford is based in a modern building in the Meiklejohn Centre. The very nature of this type of building makes it easier to keep clean than older facilities, but doing this in a medical practice of any sort, including dental, involves much more than simply ‘sweeping up’. It is very important that the environment is kept as hygienic as possible for the safety of our patients and to that end, both our general and surgical areas are subjected to regular deep cleaning.

The same goes for all of our equipment such as probes and drills. These are thoroughly sterilised after each use to make sure that the risk of cross infection is kept to an absolute minimum.

Our dentists

You will notice, whether you have a check up or an invasive treatment such as root canal therapy, that all of our dentists wear both masks and surgical gloves in order to prevent cross infection either from dentist to patient or patient to dentist. This relates both to airborne infections but also blood born ones that could potentially occur where procedures such as an extraction are carried out. Both masks and gloves are single use and will be hygienically disposed of after use.

Whilst wearing gloves is an obvious precaution, you can also be assured that our dentists wash their hands in between each patient appointment as well.

Although we don’t like to do so; where a patient arrives for an appointment who is obviously ill with a virus such as the flu, our dental team reserve the right to refuse treatment until such a time that they have recovered and are no longer at a risk of infecting others.

How our patients can help

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A CARING FAMILY DENTIST YOU CAN TRUST