What are you giving up for STOPTOBER?

Stoptober is a 28 day long event run each October during which participants are encouraged to stop smoking. Public Health England (PHE) created the annual campaign in 2012. The idea is that participants pledge themselves to not smoke during the 28 day period, with a mind to giving up altogether.

Stoptober has driven over 1 million quit attempts to date and is the biggest mass quit attempt in the country. It is based on research that shows that if you can stop smoking for 28-days, you are five times more likely to stay ‘smokefree’ for good.

PHE offers a range of free support to help people on their quitting journey including an app, daily emails, Facebook Messenger and lots of encouragement from the Stoptober online community on Facebook. In addition, people can get expert face-to-face advice from local stop smoking services. Those who use stop smoking aids and who get face-to-face support from their local stop smoking service are up to four times more likely to quit successfully.

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/be-healthier/quit-smoking/stoptober

Whilst Stoptober is a campaign in its own right, it is now part of the wider One You programme. One You is the PHE programme that helps adults across the country make small changes to their lifestyles that can have a big impact on their future health.

In addition to encouraging people to stop smoking, One You also tackles other everyday habits and behaviours such as eating too much unhealthy food, drinking more than is recommended and not being active enough.

So it’s not just about quitting smoking. This October is a great opportunity to join together with other people, with the common goal of a healthier lifestyle and give up something detrimental to your health and well being.

The biggest lifestyle risks are

  • Smoking
  • Alcohol
  • Obesity

and each one can have a huge impact on your quality of life and life expectancy.

The One You website supported by Public Health England, claims that these poor lifestyle choices are responsible for around 40% of all deaths in England and cost the NHS more than £11 billion a year.

The good news is, it’s never too late to improve your health.

Making small positive lifestyle changes such as eating well, drinking less alcohol, quitting smoking or being more active can double your chances of being healthy at 70 and beyond.

As dental professionals dealing with diagnosing mouth cancers and dental decay on a daily basis, we obviously wholeheartedly support healthy lifestyle choices. It doesn’t always mean quitting, but even something like reducing your sugar intake is a great step forwards.

There is a downloadable Eatwell Guide open to all from the NHS or GOV.UK websites:

https://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Documents/The-Eatwell-Guide-2016.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/the-eatwell-guide

If you need a little bit more of a push to change, join an organised campaign or increase the incentive by raising money for charity.

One such good cause is the ‘Go Sober for October’ campaign raising vital funds for Macmillan Cancer Support.

https://www.gosober.org.uk/

And there are many organisations out there to help with your fitness levels:

At St Paul’s Dental Practice, we are totally committed to helping you make the right lifestyle choices and can offer useful, knowledgeable advice.

Wisdom Teeth – Everything you need to know.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Your Wisdom Teeth are your third molar teeth, right at the back of your mouth.

The eighth tooth, counting backwards, on each side, top and bottom. So tooth number 29, 30, 31 and 32.

That is assuming that you have all four Wisdom Teeth present because some people have none, some or all four.

They are left over from a time when we ate a diet of roots, raw meats and tough vegetation requiring tearing and crushing. Early humans had larger jaws and therefore more room to accommodate more teeth to deal with this type of diet.

Why are they called Wisdom Teeth?

Because of when they appear. They usually erupt in your late teens, generally between 17-21 years of age, our college years. They are the last teeth to come through if they do at all.

Why are Wisdom Teeth problematic?

  • Often there just isn’t room for them. People now tend to have jaws that are too small for all 32 teeth to fit – 28 is often the most we have room for. So if all the other teeth are present and healthy there may not be enough space for the Wisdom Teeth to come through properly.
  • They are difficult to clean because of where they are and therefore are prone to decay.
  • It is common, because of a lack of space, for them to come through at the wrong angle. Then they get stuck against the tooth in front or the jaw behind. This makes it almost impossible for them to erupt correctly, this is referred to as an Impacted Wisdom Tooth.

  • They will cause overcrowding and upset the alignment, straightness of other teeth. If they are impacted, this will put undue pressure on surrounding teeth, causing them to twist and rotate.

Twisted or rotated teeth are also more difficult to clean and therefore more prone to decay.

  • If the Wisdom Tooth is only partially erupted, there is a risk of getting an infection under the gum. As they push up through the gum, the gum can get sore, swollen and inflamed. Bacteria and bits of food can collect under the gum edge, and as it is difficult to clean the area, infections can occur.

What are the symptoms of problem Wisdom Teeth?

  Pain or jaw stiffness near an impacted tooth.
•   Pain or irritation from a tooth coming in at an awkward angle and rubbing against your cheek, tongue, or top or bottom of your mouth.
•   An infected swelling in the flap of gum tissue that has formed on top of an impacted tooth that has broken partway through the gum.
•   Crowding of other teeth.
•   Tooth decay or gum disease, if there isn’t enough room to properly clean your Wisdom Tooth and nearby teeth.

What to do if your Wisdom Teeth are causing you trouble.

If you have pain from your Wisdom Teeth then you will need to take some time to visit your Dentist.

However here are a few tips to reduce and alleviate pain if you are at home.

•   Ice can help to numb the area if it is applied carefully where you have pain.
•   Painkillers can also help.
•   Salt water mouth rinses can also be effective. Dissolve 2 teaspoons of salt into 230ml of warm water and rinse around your mouth. This can help to dislodge pieces of food that are trapped in and around your teeth and gums. This should be repeated several times a day.
•   Ensure that you clean your teeth properly as trapped food can exacerbate the pain from the Wisdom Tooth and also increase your chance of developing an infection.

How can your Dentist help?

  • Taking an X ray will determine the position of your Wisdom Teeth.
  • Your Dentist and Hygienist can help you take care of your erupting Wisdom Teeth, clean around them and adjacent teeth and show you how to manage effective cleaning at home.
  • They can recommend specific mouth washes, special dental cleaning tools and prescribe antibiotics if required.
  • They can remove the problem by extracting the tooth/teeth.

Wisdom Tooth extraction.

People having Wisdom Teeth removed is one of the most common oral surgery procedures performed in the UK. If your Dentist has knowledge and experience of taking out Wisdom Teeth then extraction at your own Practice can be done under local anaesthetic and is preferable to long waiting times, a hospital admission and general anaesthetic.

An X ray will determine how complex the extraction will be and your Dentist will assess the risks and if necessary refer you on to a specialist Oral Surgeon to perform the surgery.

Occasionally there is a possibility of some numbness of the lip after the removal of a lower tooth.

How are Wisdom Teeth removed?

It will depend on their position and the shape of their roots. If your Wisdom Tooth has come through fully then extraction can be as simple as any other tooth. Upper Wisdom Teeth are often easier to remove than lower ones, which are more likely to be impacted.
If the tooth is hidden underneath the gum and is not fully erupted then it may need to be extracted through a surgical excision. Often Wisdom Teeth are extracted in sections, rather than trying to remove it in one go. This dissection of the tooth in your mouth ensures complete extraction and the cleanest technique.

Extractions can also be performed while patients are under sedation but this  option requires a Dentist with specific training to administer the sedation drugs.

Should Wisdom Teeth be removed routinely?

No, if there is enough room they can come through into a useful position and cause no more problems than any other tooth.

https://www.dentalhealth.org/wisdom-teeth

What should I expect after a Wisdom Tooth is taken out?

You may experience some swelling for a few days and mild discomfort.

The amount of discomfort will depend on how easy it was to remove the tooth and if you have more than one tooth removed at the time.

It is important to follow any advice you are given which will help with the healing process.

Normal painkillers such as paracetamol or ibuprofen will usually deal with any pain. There may be some stitches to help the gum heal over. Your Dentist will probably want to see you again about a week later to check how your mouth is healing, and to remove any stitches.

Our post dental surgery instruction leaflet can be found via the following link but if you need more information just ask any one of our team.

http://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/downloads.html

Why do my gums bleed?

Healthy gums should be flesh pink in colour and should not look inflamed (fiery red and swollen) or bleed when you brush your teeth or floss.

Bleeding gums are generally a sign of gum disease. Gum disease is a very common condition affecting most adults in the UK, at least some time in their life. The earliest, mildest stage of gum disease is referred to as ‘gingivitis’.

Gum disease is caused by inadequate removal of plaque. Plaque is a sticky substance containing bacteria which attacks the healthy tissue around the teeth, causing inflammation and irritation. Plaque builds up along the gum line and if not removed in a timely manner, it hardens into tartar, a calcified material that plaque adheres to and continues to irritate the gums and can progress into more advanced forms of gum disease ‘periodontitis’.

Certain factors that increase your chance of developing gum disease are

  • smoking
  • drinking alcohol
  • a high sugar/unhealthy diet
  • infrequent visits to the Dentist/Hygienist
  • an inadequate oral hygiene routine, such as brushing your teeth less than twice a day.

There are other, less frequent causes of bleeding gums, generally related to other health considerations such as during pregnancy; as a result of vitamin deficiencies or as a side effect of some medications.

Here’s what you can do if you do notice some bleeding.

  1. Step up your oral care game – The best way to reduce plaque build-up and your risk for bleeding gums is to amp up your oral care routine.
    Remember to brush twice a day, using a fluoride toothpaste. Floss at least once a day as well.
  2. Take a Look at Your Tools – hard bristled toothbrushes may be too harsh on your gums. We recommend using an electric toothbrush.
  3. Check your technique – even with the right tools, it may be your brushing technique is too abrasive or flossing too aggressive.
  4. Make an appointment to see your dentist for an examination and professional advice. You may need to visit your dentist more frequently if you’ve had problems with gum disease in the past.
  5. Visit the Hygienist who will be able to give your teeth a thorough clean and remove any hardened plaque (tartar). They’ll also be able to show you how to clean your teeth effectively to help prevent plaque building up in the future.
  6. Attend regular dental check-ups so any problems with your teeth and gums can be detected and treated early.

For more information:

http://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/healthy-gums-devon.htm

https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/gum-problem-basics-sore-swollen-and-bleeding-gums#1

Visit NHS Choices https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/gum-disease/

 

 

Fluoride what are the benefits?

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in water.

What are its benefits?

Your body needs fluoride to keep your bones strong and to help prevent tooth decay. The appropriate amount of daily fluoride intake varies with age and body weight. On average, men should have approximately 4 milligrams of the mineral each day, while women need approximately 3 milligrams.

As with other nutrients, fluoride is safe and effective when used and consumed properly.

For dental health:

“Fluoride makes the entire tooth structure more resistant to decay and promotes remineralization, which aids in repairing early decay before damage is even visible,” explains Academy of General Dentistry spokesperson, Charles H. Perle, DMD, FAGD. “Studies have confirmed [that] the most effective source of fluoride is water fluoridation.”

https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/sundry/fluoride

Do they add fluoride to the water in the UK?

Fluoride concentration in our water supply varies, depending on where in the UK you live. The addition of fluoride to drinking water is a public health measure intended to prevent tooth decay.

Parts of the country with fluoridation schemes include Cumbria, Cheshire, Tyneside and Northumbria. Just over 6.1 million people in the UK receive water with a fluoride content, whether naturally occurring or added. Fluoride is added in about 10% of water supplies in England, which means that about 10% of the total population is supplied with optimally fluoridated water.

South West Water website FAQs response states:
Q: Is fluoride added to drinking water?
A: No, we don’t add fluoride to drinking water in our area. All of our water supplies have a naturally occurring low level of fluoride which is typically below 0.1 milligrams per litre.
We don’t have any plans to add fluoride to drinking water but if the Strategic Health Authority for our area decides that we should add fluoride, we would have a legal requirement to do so.
Your dentist can recommend ways for you to get more fluoride and there’s also more information on NHS Choices

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Fluoride/

When considering water fluoridation, an individual must consume one litre of water fluoridated at 1 part per million (1 ppm) to receive 1 milligram (1 mg) of fluoride.

Where else can we get Fluoride?

If the Fluoride concentration is insufficient in our water supply, we need to source it elsewhere.
Most people easily meet their daily fluoride requirement by drinking fluoridated water, consuming foods and beverages that have been prepared with fluoridated water and using dental products like toothpaste or mouthwash that contain added fluoride, though some foods also naturally contain small concentrations.
Fluoride is generally added to most brands of toothpaste, but check the labelling.
Foods rich in Fluoride include tea; seafood, especially canned seafood such as sardines which contain bones and meat cooked on the bone.
However, most bottled waters contain less fluoride than recommended for good oral health (it will be listed as an ingredient on the label if it is an additive).

Fluoride dental treatments and our role in preventing tooth decay.

At St. Paul’s Dental Practice preventing tooth decay is of paramount importance and a big part of our ongoing commitment to ‘Delivering better oral health’.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/605266/Delivering_better_oral_health.pdf

We individually assess every person attending and score them against the risk of developing dental decay. Where necessary we undertake the following additional dental treatments.

Fluoride mouth rinses.

Fluoride mouth rinses can be prescribed for adults and children aged eight and above who have tooth decay. They should be used every day, in addition to brushing twice daily with toothpaste containing at least 1350ppm fluoride.
Rinses should be used at different times to brushing to avoid washing the toothpaste off your teeth, as this reduces the beneficial effects of the fluoride in the toothpaste.

High Fluoride concentration toothpaste can also be prescribed.

Fluoride varnish application.

Fluoride varnish can be applied to both baby teeth and adult teeth by a Dentist, Dental Therapist or trained Dental Care Professional. The process involves painting a varnish containing high levels of fluoride onto the surface of at risk teeth every six months to prevent decay. It works by strengthening tooth enamel, making it more resistant to decay.
From the age of three, children should be offered fluoride varnish treatment at least twice a year and Fluoride varnish should be offered two or more times a year for children of all ages with tooth decay or those at high risk of developing it.

 

Tackling Mouth Cancer

November is Mouth Cancer Awareness Month and this is a topic we take very seriously.

Did you know that every time you visit the Dentist for your routine check up, this includes screening for the signs of Mouth Cancer?

In the UK 38,000 people are living with a diagnosis of head and neck cancer.

Around 60,000 people in the UK will be diagnosed with Mouth Cancer over the next decade.

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/mouth-cancer

http://www.mouthcancerfoundation.org/get-info/learn-about

We can’t ignore the facts, the statistics are scary but be assured, we are looking out for you.

So what can you expect in your dental examination?

Outside:

  1. Observation of the face and neck, looking for swellings, skin abnormalities, moles or anything unusual or asymmetrical.
  2. Looking for changes in the colour or texture of the border of the lips and mouth.
  3. Feel of the lymph nodes in the neck, checking for enlargements or abnormalities.

Inside:

  1. Examine the inner surface of the lips.
  2. Look at the inside of the cheeks.
  3. Check the margin of the cheeks, where they meet the gums.
  4. Survey the tongue at rest.
  5. Survey the tongue protruded, asking you to stick your tongue out to check the colour, texture, symmetry and mobility.
  6. Inspecting the lateral borders of the tongue.
  7. Asking you to lift the tongue to the roof of the mouth, so the floor of the mouth can be clearly seen.
  8. Looking at the soft and hard palate.
  9. Depressing the tongue and asking you to say ‘Ahhh’ so the throat can be clearly observed.

https://youtu.be/7mv073MJzlg           It’s not so different across the pond.

It’s up to you too! Find out the facts, know the risks, be aware of your lifestyle choices and keep vigilant to anything suspicious in your mouth.

Signs and symptoms.

  • sore mouth ulcers that don’t heal within several weeks
  • unexplained, persistent lumps in the mouth that don’t go away
  • unexplained, persistent lumps in the lymph glands in the neck that don’t go away

Other symptoms may include:

  • pain or difficulty when swallowing (dysphagia)
  • changes in your voice or speech problems
  • unexplained weight loss
  • bleeding or numbness in the mouth
  • a tooth, or teeth, that becomes loose for no obvious reason, or a tooth socket that doesn’t heal
  • difficulty moving your jaw
  • red or white patches on the lining of your mouth – these are common and are very rarely cancerous, but they can sometimes turn into cancer, so it’s worth seeing a specialist if you have them.                                                                                                                                                                                      For more information visit: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/mouth-cancer/

Increase your awareness.

  • Mouth Cancer can affect anyone but is strongly associated with age and gender.
  • Twice as many men as women are diagnosed.
  • The over 40s are those who are statistically more at risk.
  • More than 9 in every 10 cases are linked to lifestyle risk factors such as
    • Tobacco – which transforms saliva into a deadly cocktail that damages cells in the mouth and turns them cancerous
    • HPV (the Human Papilloma Virus) – the virus that causes genital warts, the world’s most commonly sexually transmitted virus, acquired through oral sex.
    • Alcohol – where excessive use is linked to more than 1/3rd of Mouth Cancer cases in men and 1/5th in women. While heavy drinkers and smokers are up to 35x more at risk!
    • Diet – a good healthy diet with daily fruit and veg actually reduces the risk of developing Mouth Cancer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      SPOT A CASE = SAVE A LIFE

 

 

 

‘State of Care’ Report.

In a recent press release, the British Dental Association (BDA) welcomed the latest Care Quality Commission (CQC) ‘State of Care Report’, which gave dental services in England a big thumbs up.

Within the report

  • 100% of dental practices inspected by the CQC in 2016/17 met their standards for caring and responsiveness to their patients’ needs.
  • 99% were found to be ‘effective’ in achieving good health outcomes.
  • 96% were found to be ‘safe’.
  • 89% were considered to be ‘well-led’.

This is really good news to us and should be good news for you too, knowing you are receiving a good service from your dental practice.

But what do you think defines a good service?

CQC inspections put us under intense scrutiny, a process we dread yet at the same time relish as an opportunity to showcase the high standard of care we deliver here.

It truly matters to us that peoples’ experience of our service is great.

We want to but we don’t always get it right!

We encourage and monitor patient feedback and proactively review our service delivery. We always learn more from the mistakes, when things haven’t quite gone to plan and it’s these moments that create positive changes for future improvements.

Dental professionals are also regulated by the General Dental Council (GDC), who have set out clearly defined standards of conduct, performance and ethics, to which we adhere closely.

The GDC also sets out what patients can expect from a dental professional, visit the ‘Information for patients’ section of their website.

https://www.gdc-uk.org/patients/what-is-dentistry

Standards are important but aren’t they just a baseline above which we should be setting our goals for achieving a ‘five star’ service?

If you had to complete a ‘State of Care’ report for St Paul’s Dental Practice, how would you rate us?

Dental Implants from a Hygienists’ Perspective.

You’re never too old to care about your appearance or quality of life. With the population living longer, more people of an older age are choosing dental implants as a preferred option to having dentures.

Choosing Dental Implants

http://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/dental-implants-devon.html

Your dentist will help decide whether the implant option is suitable in your individual circumstances, based on your general medical health, your oral health and your ability to maintain a good oral environment to protect your dental implants in the future. Any factors that may impede the success of implants, such as smoking, certain medication or a history of gum disease, will be taken into consideration.

It is extremely useful for you also to see a hygienist before your implants are placed. They will

  • help create a healthy environment in your mouth
  • establish a good oral hygiene routine with you for you to continue at home
  • assess and advise on the impact any other health problems such as a dry mouth, might have on the health of your mouth
  • assess and advise on any limitations, such as restricted movement in your hands, that may impact on your ability to keep up with a good oral hygiene routine
  • advise you on the most appropriate oral hygiene appliances to maintain a clean mouth and maintain implant health
  • determine who will be responsible for your maintenance programme. If this will be a carer, advise and teach them the skills they need to assist you

Why is hygiene maintenance so important?

http://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/dental-hygiene-devon.html

The main purpose of cleaning your mouth, around your teeth and any implants, is to disturb and remove plaque and biofilm.

Plaque is a soft, sticky film (biofilm) that builds up on your teeth and contains millions of bacteria. The bacteria in plaque cause tooth decay and gum disease.

Failure to keep your implants clean and healthy can lead to their failure to integrate in to your jaw bone and subsequent loss.

Ongoing hygiene appointments will help monitor your implants, the effectiveness of your maintenance programme and keep on top of any periodontal or peri-implant disease.

Dental care products

Our hygienists recommend the following dental care products for your armoury

  • a toothbrush, preferably an electric toothbrush. These provide more effective brushing and prevent over-brushing.
  • a single tufted toothbrush. For specific focused areas.
  • dental floss. For cleaning between tight spaces.
  • interdental brushes. For hard to reach places.
  • a tongue cleaner
  • mouth wash. Effective against the bacteria in your mouth.

For anyone having difficulties managing their oral hygiene maintenance programme, we would recommend more frequent visits to see the hygienist. Three monthly reviews may be appropriate in some circumstances.

For practical problems like poor dexterity, adapted dental appliances will help. You can speak to our dental nurse with special care training if you need advice.

Should you get into any trouble keeping your implants thoroughly clean, our hygienists have the right instruments and expertise to undertake deep cleaning treatment below the gum level to the peri-implant tissues. Ensuring the best possible longevity of the implants.

 

 

Protecting our pregnant patients.

Are you worried that dental treatment during your pregnancy might not be safe?

Let us put your mind at rest. Make sure you inform your dentist and they will consider all the options available to safely provide an appropriate dental care plan throughout your pregnancy.

However, while it may be far from your mind right now, this is a very important time to think about the health of your teeth and mouth. In fact, your mouth may need extra attention during your pregnancy, as the changes in hormone levels may increase your risk of dental problems.

What are the increased risks to oral health that pregnant women can experience?

  • Enamel erosion – morning sickness can be damaging to the surface of the teeth, due to the contact from stomach acid. Our advice is to rinse with water or a non-alcohol based mouth wash after being sick and do not brush your teeth straight away as they will be softened by the acid from your stomach. Wait about an hour before doing so.

  • Cavities –  if your cravings are for sweet things, the increased acidity in your mouth will put you at higher risk of tooth decay. Snacking leads to a sticky film of bacteria forming on your teeth, also known as plaque. The bacteria convert sugar and starch that remain in the mouth after eating to acid that attacks tooth enamel. The longer the sugars remain in your mouth, the longer the acids attack. Repeated acid attacks result in tooth decay.

    This is why brushing twice a day, with a fluoride toothpaste is essential to remove soft plaque.

  • Gum disease – Inflammation shown as redness or bleeding of the gingiva (gums) during pregnancy can lead to gum disease. Gingivitis during pregnancy may be due to high levels of the hormone oestrogen.

    If gingivitis leads to periodontitis, this can set off a chain of reactions interfering with normal body workings and result in a preterm or low birth weight baby.

    Research has shown that women who are successfully treated for their periodontal disease have significantly lower incidence of these outcomes.

    Studies have also shown that pregnant women with periodontal disease are more likely to develop gestational diabetes mellitus than those with healthy gingiva.

    Gestational diabetes itself can lead to pre-term delivery and put mothers at greater risk of developing type-two diabetes in later life.

    Research has also found a link between periodontitis and pre-eclampsia, a condition that can put both mother and baby at considerable health risk, even with fatal consequences.

    More tips available here http://www.colgate.com/en/us/oc/oral-health/life-stages/oral-care-during-pregnancy/article/pregnancy-prenatal-care-and-oral-health

If you require X-rays during your pregnancy, rest assured your dental professional will assess the risk against the need. However our modern digital technology significantly reduces the radiation exposure, so safe for you and safe for baby.

http://www.nhs.uk/chq/Pages/2294.aspx?CategoryID=69&SubCategoryID=697

The key take home message is don’t shy away from visiting your dentist because you are pregnant. Dental care and your oral health are especially essential at this time.

A good dental care routine will control plaque and reduce the risk of gingivitis, keeping you and your baby healthy.

Visit your Dentist/Hygienist regularly and follow their advice about how to properly care for your teeth.

They will be able to offer you the best advice at this time and discuss any concerns you may have. 

‘Chewing the fat’.

Chewing is probably not something we think about much, more likely something we take for granted most of our lives unlike eating, which holds a huge significance.

Our attention is constantly consumed (forgive the pun) with matters relating to food.

  • How much we eat, in terms of how we look. Do we eat too much or too little?
  • Where we eat and who with, as a meal can be such a social event, whether entertaining friends at home or eating out.
  • Are we getting the whole ‘foody’ experience?
  • With more than ever TV shows inspiring us and turning meal preparation into a major pastime.

However chewing does start to matter when there’s a problem such as pain, lost or broken teeth or missing teeth. Good job you’ve got prompt access to our dental service to put things right.

But there are a few more things about chewing we’d like to share.

Chewing can protect you against infection?

Did you know, according to a recent study, the act of chewing can stimulate the release of cells in the mouth, called Th17 cells.

These cells form part of the adaptive immune system and use specific antigens to defend against potentially harmful pathogens. They are produced through the presence of friendly bacteria.

The mechanical force involved in mastication (chewing) causes abrasion to the lining of the mouth, stimulating the release of Th17 cells. The degree of chewing required, determines how much abrasion occurs. Hence hard food material would have a greater effect and cell release than soft foods.

The down side is too many Th17 cells can increase the risk of gum disease (periodontitis).

And then there’s chewing gum, (sugar-free of course).

According to the World Health Organisation, oral disease costs the world economy billions every year and yet tooth decay is one of the most preventable oral diseases!

A new study, undertaken by Wrigley’s and the Peninsula Dental School, Plymouth determined that chewing just one additional piece of sugar-free gum each day could save billions world wide as a preventive measure for tooth decay.

How chewing sugar-free gum helps.

It increases the production of saliva, which helps to wash away food particles and restore optimum pH levels in the mouth, reducing the risks from acid attacking our teeth and causing enamel erosion.

https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/caring-for-teeth/sugar-free-chewing-gum

Everything in moderation!

A word of warning from one of our resident Dentists, to follow the Oral Health foundations’ advise on frequency of chewing gum.

Our teeth are only designed to last one lifetime and we are all living longer and longer, excessive chewing could exacerbate the mechanical wearing down of the biting surface of teeth, from tooth to tooth contact.

Excessive chewing could also cause jaw muscle imbalance, particularly if you have a preference to chewing on one side more than the other and could lead to temporo-mandibular joint disorders.

http://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/jaw-problems-devon.html

So chewing is essential, for preparing food as it enters our digestive tract, for stimulating saliva to help keep our mouths healthy and for boosting our immune system. The important thing, like any mechanical system, is that it remains well maintained for optimum, trouble free function.

Regular visits to see your Dental team will keep your teeth chewing at their best.

Call us if you need advice.

Focus on Dental Hygiene

Our Hygienists.

There is a full time Hygiene service available at St. Paul’s Dental Practice. This is because we are totally on board when it comes to the vital role the Hygienist has in supporting you to take care of your teeth.

https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/caring-for-teeth/visiting-the-hygienist

Regular visits to the Hygienist are key to maintaining your Oral Health and preventing disease. They are also the best placed professional, within the dental team, to treat gum disease through their specialised training.

When you visit the Practice, your Dentist and Hygienist will decide with you when your next appointment should be, according to your individual dental needs.

This decision is based on clinical reasoning and health grounds. It may even be that on clinical need only, your Dentist doesn’t feel they need to refer you because your oral health is very good.

Something to smile about.

But there are additional benefits to visiting the Hygienist, such as that great feeling of clean teeth, fresh breath and a bright sparkling smile after a scale and polish, when all those everyday stains are removed.

Our oral health is vital to our overall health but likewise the smile we wear is key to our wellbeing. The power of a confident smile should not be underestimated and can make all the difference, be it to secure a new job or a successful date.

Direct Access.

This is why we believe you should be able to make an appointment when you feel you want one. There may be an important event coming up in your life like a wedding or an interview and so we offer open access to our Hygienists.

If you haven’t seen the Hygienist here before, your initial appointment would be an extended time (40 mins), to allow for a full assessment of your needs and these self referred, ‘Direct Access’ appointments would incur a private fee but are great value and competitively priced. (See our website for prices).

For more information about Direct Access as well as other useful downloadable leaflets visit our website http://www.stpaulsdentalpractice.co.uk/downloads.html

(Picture courtesy of Alan Levine via Flickr)