Category Archives: Oral Health

11 Common Dental Myths and Misconceptions

Knowing how best to maintain your teeth and gums can prevent a number of issues in the long-term. It’s safe to say that knowledge is power, and while we have heard some crazy dental myths and misconceptions over the years, understanding what is true and what isn’t can help keep your teeth in tip-top shape in-between visits to the dentist. 

New developments in dentistry and recent findings have now made it clear of how you can look after your teeth at home. Interested in some of the common dental myths we hear from our patients? Here are our top 11…

1. Only Sugar Causes Tooth Decay

While eating too much sugar can increase your risk of tooth decay, there are other factors that can also contribute too. This means that even if you don’t have a lot of sugar in your diet, you can still very much be at risk of cavities.

Tooth decay can also be caused by food and drink high in carbohydrates, including starchy foods. We recommend cutting down on starchy foods or foods containing high amounts of sugar and to look after your teeth and gums.

It’s also important to know the signs in order to visit your dentist at the right time. Some of these symptoms include a toothache (or occasional sharp pain), bad breath, an unpleasant taste in the mouth, grey, brown or black spots appearing on your teeth and tooth sensitivity.

2. White Teeth Are Healthy Teeth

We understand that we all desire to have a beautiful white smile, however, a white smile doesn’t necessarily mean your teeth are healthy. This also means that just because your teeth are white, it doesn’t mean that there is no need for you to visit the dentist. 

You can still have white teeth and be suffering from cavities, infections or other conditions, so it’s crucial to understand that the colour of your teeth can vary and visiting your dentist should still be your routine.

It’s impossible for natural teeth to remain completely white and eventually begin to yellow due to lifestyle factors and the foods/drinks we consume. Of course, there are teeth whitening treatments available if you wish to brighten the shades of your teeth. 

3. It’s Safe to Have Teeth Whitened at a Beauty Salon

Whitening teeth may leave the underlying cause of discolouration unaddressed, which is why it’s always best to visit your dentist for teeth whitening rather than visiting beauty clinics or salons.

Teeth whitening is a form of dentistry and should therefore only be carried out by a regulated dental professional. Over recent years, we have seen a countless number of beauty salons becoming prosecuted for illegal teeth whitening.

4. You’re Too Old for Braces

Many patients visit the Perfect Smile Spa clinic as they are embarrassed about their uneven smile, but at the same time are against the idea of orthodontics due to their age. Although it’s more common for children and young adults to have orthodontic treatment, we are seeing more and more adults (of all ages) opt for orthodontics, particularly as there are discreet orthodontics available, such as invisible braces and Invisalign

Advances in these orthodontics to offer more discreet options mean that adults who weren’t able to address their orthodontic issues when they were younger are now able to address them now.

5. Baby Teeth Do Not Need to Be Brushed

Despite baby teeth only being temporary, it’s crucial to have good brushing habits in order to also have healthy gums. By using the correct brushing technique and brushing twice a day, the build-up of plaque can be prevented and therefore the risks of tooth decay and gum disease reduced.

As tooth decay is a rising problem among children, it’s important to understand the importance of starting good oral hygiene habits early in order to keep the gums, teeth and mouth as healthy as possible. Tooth decay is also the leading reason for the hospital admission of children.

Reducing the amount and frequency of sugar intake and practising good oral hygiene can be a great place to start, but it’s vital to maintain good oral hygiene at any age.

6. Flossing Isn’t Important

Maintaining oral hygiene isn’t just about brushing your teeth and using mouthwash. An important step missed out by many patients is dental flossing, which is crucial for removing bacteria and cleaning between the teeth. As particles of food can also become stuck between the teeth, flossing is one of the most important steps in keeping your teeth and gums healthy and can even remove up to 80% of plaque.

While brushing can clean the surfaces of the teeth, flossing can clean around a third of the tooth surface, which a normal toothbrush would be unable to do. Brush, rinse and floss!

7. Bad Teeth and Gums Are Inherited

Even though this would be an interesting fact, it isn’t actually true. However, the spacing, size and alignment of your teeth are inherited.

With that being said, it’s impossible to inherit bad teeth or poor gums as these will only occur due to lifestyle factors and how well you take care of your teeth.

8.Brushing After Eating

One myth that shocks a lot of our patients is that it’s better to brush your teeth after eating breakfast in the morning. While many of us believe that brushing after breakfast will mean we can start our day with clean and fresh teeth free of food, it has been scientifically proven that brushing your teeth before breakfast can have a better effect on your teeth and gums.

You should never brush your teeth immediately after eating as your teeth will be weaker due to the pH level in your mouth. While we know it makes more sense to brush after having breakfast, this can be harmful to your protective enamel.

Brushing your teeth before breakfast can rid the mouth of plaque build-up overnight. This is why we recommend waiting at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after having a meal.

9. Bleeding Gums Are Normal

Even though 90% of the adult population experience some form of bleeding gums, it doesn’t mean that this is normal and should be left to take care of itself.

Gums that bleed during brushing or flossing is due to the inflammation of the gums. In many cases, this can be due to gum disease or gingivitis, as well as excessive plaque buildup. If you have noticed your gums are bleeding when you brush, you must visit a dentist as soon as you can.

10. It’s Okay to Drink Soft Drinks If They Are ‘Diet’

Yes, soft drinks do contain high amounts of sugar, and while we all admit to having a soft drink every once in a while, it’s important to have limits and drink water as much as possible. 

The acidity in soft drinks can be damaging to the teeth, meaning that even ‘diet’ drinks can be damaging to the teeth. Over time, soft drinks can wear down the enamel, leaving you at a higher risk of cavities, sensitivity or even tooth loss. Even the natural sugars in some fruit juices can be just as damaging.

11. Root Canal Treatment Is Extremely Painful

Is root canal treatment painful? We’ve all heard that root canal treatment is extremely painful, which is why when patients visit us for endodontics, they are usually very concerned about the level of pain.

However, dentistry has come a long way. The procedure itself provides very little pain, but it’s usually the tooth infection that causes any excruciating pain. Ironically, root canal treatment can take this pain away, so there’s really nothing to worry about. 

Contrary to popular belief, root canal treatments aren’t as painful as they seem. As a dentist in Essex, we offer painless dentistry and aim to make dental treatments as pain-free as possible. 

With painless dental treatments held as one of our core values, we take our time to make sure every care is taken to make you feel comfortable and provide a positive dental experience that will help you defeat your dental anxiety and any fears relating to having a root canal treatment.

How Can We Help?

Our cosmetic dentists have numerous dentistry awards as they use the most advanced equipment and aim to offer painless dentistry for nervous patients, including the option for sedation for optimum comfort.

At Perfect Smile Spa, we recognise how important a smile is to our patients and we pride ourselves by giving our patients the most pleasant dental experience to enable them to overcome any fears and maintain their teeth for the rest of their lives.

Our dental practice is located in Essex and is easily accessible from most areas around the UK. For more information on our cosmetic dental treatments, please get in touch with us or call us on 01708 442 114.

Mouth Cancer Action Month: What Causes Mouth Cancer?

Mouth cancer affects around 8,300 people in the UK each year, making it the 6th most common cancer in the world. With this number continuously rising each year, mouth cancer takes more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined. 

Like all mouth cancers, detection is vital. It’s crucial to know the signs, symptoms and understand what best to reduce your chances of contracting the life-threatening disease. The more we know about mouth cancer, the better chance we have of beating it. 

Dentists are natural leaders in leading the fight against mouth cancer, so when you visit your dentist for a check-up, they will carry out a mouth cancer screening to check for the signs, before you may even notice them.

Supported by the Mouth Cancer Foundation and the British Dental Health Foundation, Mouth Cancer Action Month takes place every November and highlights the importance of early detection, by raising awareness of the risks, signs and symptoms of mouth cancer.

What is Mouth Cancer?

Mouth cancer is a tumour that develops in part of the mouth, either on the inside of the cheeks, the roof of the mouth, the lips or gums, or on the surface of your tongue.

For reasons unknown, mouth cancer is more common in men than in women, with that being said, we are seeing an increased number of women diagnosed with the disease. As a large majority of mouth cancer cases are first spotted by dental health professionals during check-up appointments, it’s strongly advised to routinely visit your dentist and avoid any delays.

Mouth cancer is also more common in patients over the age of 40, however, more and more young people are now affected than before.

What Are the Symptoms of Mouth Cancer?

Common symptoms of mouth cancer include unexplained lumps in the mouth or neck that do not go away, unexplained persistent numbness, an odd feeling on the lip or tongue, unexplained loose teeth that do not heal after extractions, white or red patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue, changes in speech or, most commonly, painful mouth ulcers that do not heal.

What Causes Mouth Cancer?

Unfortunately, it’s unknown what exactly causes mouth cancer, however, we do know that up to 90% of all mouth cancers are linked to lifestyle factors. Of course, if any of the lifestyle factors apply to you, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are certain to develop mouth cancer, but that you are likely to have a higher risk of developing it instead. 

Here are some of the lifestyle factors that are linked to mouth cancer:

Smoking

Smoking is proven to increase your risk of developing mouth cancer by up to 10 times, whether it be pipes, cigars or cigarettes. Some evidence suggests that second-hand smoke in the workplace or at home can also increase the risk of mouth cancer. With more than 60% of mouth cancers linked to smoking, this is the number one contributing factor to mouth cancer.

Alcohol

With alcohol linked to 30% of all mouth cancers, it’s crucial to stick to the recommended UK guidelines of alcohol intake per week for both men and women, which currently stands at 14 units per week.

Diet

Not only is diet important for your oral health, but it can also be another contributing factor of mouth cancer, with a third of mouth cancers thought to be linked to an unhealthy diet. Our best advice is to eat a healthy and balanced diet, with lots of fruit and vegetables, as well as consuming foods high in Omega 3 and fibre.

HPV

Research also suggests that HPV (also known as the human papillomavirus) is another top contributing factor. In order to reduce the risk of contracting HPV, it’s important to practice safe sex and limit the number of partners you have.

Genetics & Cancer History

Unfortunately, if you have a family history of cancer or if you have had mouth cancer before, then you may be slightly more at risk of developing mouth cancer than those without a cancer history. If you are in this higher-risk bracket, it’s critical to visit your dentist more frequently.

How Common Is Mouth Cancer?

While mouth cancer isn’t as common as other forms of cancer, it is still the 6th most common cancer in the world. With that being said, the cases are slightly lower in the UK in comparison to other countries.

More than 65% of mouth cancer cases develop in adults over the age of 55, with only 12.5% of cases occurring in those younger than 50. Risks are higher for men which is thought to be due to men drinking more alcohol than women, but this is yet to be scientifically proven. HPV is thought to be one of the most common factors of mouth cancer in younger people.

How Do You Know If You Have Mouth Cancer?

The best way of determining whether or not you have mouth cancer is to regularly visit your dentist for dental check-ups. During every check-up, your dentist will carry out a mouth cancer screening to examine your mouth and look out for any signs, before they get the chance to turn into symptoms.

Of course, you should also be aware of the symptoms (mentioned above) and immediately visit your dentist and doctor if you feel you may be experiencing these symptoms. Only a dentist or doctor will be able to diagnose mouth cancer.

How to Treat Mouth Cancer

If mouth cancer is diagnosed early, it can be very easily treated using surgery alone. However, if the cancer is larger, then surgery should be followed by radiotherapy or through different methods. It’s worth understanding that advances in surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy have led to much-improved cure rates.

The outcome of mouth cancer can vary depending on which part of your mouth is affected and whether or not cancer has spread. Treatment can generally include surgery, radiation therapy (also known as radiotherapy), chemotherapy and targeted drug therapy.

Take Action this Mouth Cancer Action Month

Prevention is better than the cure, which is why it’s critical to regularly visit your dentist for dental check-ups to have mouth cancer screenings and to check the overall health of your mouth. If you are a smoker, drink alcohol very frequently or if you have been diagnosed with HPV, it’s even more important that you regularly visit your Essex dentist for a check-up.

Other than regularly visiting your dentist, you can also limit your alcohol consumption, avoid tobacco, have a healthy and balanced diet and maintain good oral hygiene.

Our dental practice is located in Essex and is easily accessible from most areas around the UK. For more information on our treatments, please get in touch with us or call us on 01708 442 114.

Optimise Your Oral Health With These Steps

Whilst your dentist is able to make sure your gums and teeth are healthy and help you achieve your perfect smile with a variety of treatments, including cosmetic dentistry, orthodontics and dental hygiene, your dentist can only do so much. 

When you leave the dental clinic, you will have your own responsibility to make sure your teeth are clean and your oral health is the best it can be, using simple measures to effectively optimise your oral health. With your mouth being the entry point to a range of different bacteria, you have an important part to play in maintaining your oral health.

In this useful guide, we explain how to take care of your teeth in between dental visits and how to maintain your oral health with just a few simple steps.

Brush Twice a Day

We recommend brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, for two minutes each time. We have seen many debates over the years of whether you should brush your teeth before or after eating breakfast, however, many are surprised to hear that you should brush your teeth before having breakfast. This is to wash the bacteria out of your mouth and to rid the teeth of plaque while coating your enamel with a protective barrier against acid in your food.

For those of us who prefer to brush after eating, you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth to prevent any damage to your enamel. The acid in your food can be very damaging to your enamel and gums, so it’s best to wait after eating breakfast.

Floss Once a Day

Unfortunately, not many people remember to floss between their teeth on a regular basis, when it should be just as important as brushing. Flossing can help remove food build-up between the teeth, remove plaque, reduce the risk of gum disease and gingivitis and also support in the prevention of tooth decay.

Flossing removed food debris from between the teeth, which is unlikely to be removed with normal brushing. It removes the plaque that forms along the gum line, which is why it’s best to floss before brushing your teeth to prevent brushing this plaque around your mouth.

Avoid Sugary Foods

Whether it’s sweets, chocolate, alcohol, fruit juice, ice cream or even dried fruit, you would be surprised how many supermarket products contain dangerous levels of sugar. Sugar is the common cause of many dental problems, including tooth decay, cavities and toothache.

When shopping for food, it can really help to read your food labels. Some products are unlikely to have the term ‘sugar’ listed in the ingredients, but still contain very high levels of sugar. Hidden sugars typically end in ‘ose’, for example, glucose, maltose, sucrose, dextrose, lactose, etc. If these hidden sugars are listed at the beginning of the ingredients list, then it’s very likely the food product contains very high amounts of sugar.

Avoid Tobacco

Cigarettes are not only dangerous to your overall health but they are also dangerous to your oral health too. Smoking can cause bad breath, can infect your gums, stain your teeth and in some cases, even cause missing teeth. In more extreme cases, smoking can also cause cancer of the lip, tongue or mouth, with heart disease showing relations to tobacco consumption.

Depending on the severity of your stained teeth, you may require professional teeth whitening in Essex to remove nicotine stains. Even if you have smoked for many years, quitting smoking can significantly improve your oral health, reducing the likelihood of developing gum disease and tooth loss.

Know The Oral Health Signs

While doing everything you can to optimise your oral health is important, you should also be aware of the signs that may indicate something is wrong. With around 90% of patients developing gum disease at some point in their lives, it’s important to regularly maintain awareness or the symptoms.

Some of the common symptoms of bad oral health can include red gums, sensitive gums, bleeding when you brush or floss, loose teeth, sensitive teeth or a change in the appearance of your gums or teeth.

Visit Your Dentist

The best way to take care of your oral health is to regularly visit your Essex dentist. Every time you visit your dentist, you’ll be able to have a checkup, cleaning with a dental hygienist, as well as receive a thorough check for any signs of oral diseases.

Having your teeth and gums regularly checked will mean that any signs of oral diseases can be checked before they become a bigger problem. From there, your dentist will be able to provide appropriate treatment, advise you on what to do next and provide you with a treatment plan. 

Optimise Your Oral Health

At Perfect Smile Spa, we recognise how important a smile is to our patients. This is why our highly-skilled and experienced dentists in Essex are there for you every step of the way in achieving your perfect smile and support you in maintaining your oral health.

We pride ourselves by giving our patients the most pleasant dental experience to enable them to overcome any fears and maintain their teeth for the rest of their lives.

Our dental practice is located in Essex and is easily accessible from most areas around the UK. For more information on our cosmetic dental treatments, please get in touch with us or call us on 01708 442 114.

Are You Afraid Of The Dentist?

Being afraid of the dentist means different things to different people. For some people, it’s the thought that treatment will hurt, or that the sounds and smells bring back bad memories as a child.

Sadly, the fear of going to the dentist is not uncommon, and in the most severe cases can result in people avoiding dental treatment altogether. One in three of us suffer from moderate dental anxiety and roughly one in eight suffer from dental anxiety, known as dental phobia. Continue reading Are You Afraid Of The Dentist?

Why a Dental Check Up Could Save Your Life!

Dental ChekupDid you know that more than half the population don’t attend the dentist regularly? A lot of people avoid the dentist at all costs and some just go when they are desperate!

Your check-up appointment with the dentist is far more important and beneficial than people may think. Not only does it give your dentist a chance to check for cavities it can also help the dentist detect any abnormal or suspicious changes in your mouth. The dentist will carry an oral cancer inspection at every check-up appointment which in effect could save your life. Continue reading Why a Dental Check Up Could Save Your Life!

Seeing your DENTIST regularly could save your life!

https://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photography-dental-care-image11098952Oral cancer is a tumour that appears on the surface of tongue, mouth, lips, cheeks, throat, and gums. These tumours also occur in the salivary glands, tonsils and pharynx. Annually about 7,000 cases of mouth cancers are diagnosed in the UK, up by 33% since 2000. Overall five year survival is 50% which hasn’t been improved in the past 40 years. Continue reading Seeing your DENTIST regularly could save your life!

Ways Smoking Impacts your Oral Health

In 2013 it was estimated that in Great Britain there was 10 million adults who smoked, whether that be cigarettes, cigars or a pipe. 22% of those were adult men and 19% adult women. Even though it is illegal to sell cigarettes to those under 18 years of age, approximately 200,000 of children aged between 11-15 started smoking. Continue reading Ways Smoking Impacts your Oral Health