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Oral Cancer: Extending your regular dental exam to once every two years could put your oral health and live at higher risk

Tuesday, 27 November 2018
Oral Cancer

Dentists check oral tissue as well

A survey done by the British Dental Association BDA highlights the concerns dentists have about the possibility of having longer periods between dental check-ups as this could lead to a major risk of not detecting oral cancer cases in their patients.

As oral cancer can affect people in otherwise good health, the proposed 2 year check-up could put patients’ lives at risk as dentists are often the first health professionals to detect oral cancer during routine check-ups.

Early detection of oral cancer could be the difference between life and death for many patients.

Deaths caused by oral cancer have risen by 37% in Scotland in the last decade, making it among the highest in Europe.

David Cross, Vice Chair of the BDA’s Scottish Council said:

“Dentists are on the front line of a battle against some of the fastest rising cancers in Scotland. Early detection is key, but now risks becoming a casualty of a cost-cutting exercise. “

Dental Check-up by one

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Dentist are being encouraged to remind parents that dental check-ups for children are free in England. The recommendation is to get all children to visit a dentist before their first birthday.

The Chief Dental Officer for England has endorsed the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry’s campaign #DCby1 (Dental Check by One), to encourage all babies to have their first dental check-up before their first birthday.

Figures released by the end of 2017 show that tooth decay is the most common reason for children between the ages of five and nine being admitted to hospital.

How Can Smoking Affect my Oral Health

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Nowadays, people are more aware of the effects of smoking and its impact on their health but are not well aware of the detrimental consequences of smoking on oral cavity. Smoking has a negative effect on the gum and is one of the factors that contributes to Opens internal link in current windowgum disease. It also stains teeth and has been linked to oral cancer.

 Why are my teeth stained?

Staining off the teeth is due to tobacco, which contains tar and nicotine, which cause your teeth to appear yellow.

How will smoking affect my gums and teeth?

We have an infection fighter in our body, which is known as the immune system. Smoking makes the immune system weaker. This can be noticed in smokers with gum disease. When the biofilm (plaque) starts building up around the teeth and starts irritating the gums (causing gingivitis) the body starts to send its fighting cells (the immune system cells, white cells) to fight the plaque that contains bacteria and microbes.  This is evident on gums that have not been cleaned from the plaque. As the body sends more blood to the gum the gum swells up and bleeds easily. That is why people with gum inflammation notice blood in the sink when they brush their teeth. When the gums bleed people get alarmed and they decide to see a dentist as they worry about their gums.  Smoking causes the small blood vessels in the gums to close up. This prevents the blood to come to the areas where plaque is building up. So the response to the attack of the bacteria on the gum is more muted. No apparent blood can be seen in smokers with gum disease. So smokers can live with gum disease that leads to bone recession and tooth mobility without alarming signs from the gums


If you are a smoker:

-You run 3-7 times the risk of gum disease in contrast to a non-smoker.

-Treatment of gum disease might not work as well on heavy smokers compared to non-smokers.

 Do Pipe and Cigar Smoking Cause Dental Problems?

Yes, cigars and pipes do cause dental problems like cigarettes. According to a study in Journal of American Dental Association, people who smoke cigarettes tend to have tooth and jaw bone loss at the same rate as in cigar smokers. People who smoke pipe also experience similar risks. Moreover, they also have a risk of oral and throat  (pharyngeal) cancers. Other effects include stained teeth, Opens internal link in current windowbad breath and gum disease.

Are Smokeless Tobacco Products Safer?

No. Smokeless tobacco products consist of around 28 chemicals. This increases the risk of oral, throat and esophagus cancer.


Are there special dental products I can use as a smoker?

There are different toothpastes that are used for people who smoke. These should be used carefully as such toothpastes are abrasive (coarse) compared to the normal toothpastes. Your dentist will advise you about which toothpastes is best to use. Also, there are whitening toothpastes available, which help in removing staining and improve your aesthetics.

Having your teeth cleaned professionally by a dentist or a hygienist will improve the state of your gums considerably. Also you will be instructed how to maintain your oral health by your dentist or hygienist.

 What about mouthwashes?

Smokers usually tend to have bad breath. To overcome this they try different types of mouthwashes to get better breath. Mouthwashes are only temporary solution. They usually work for a short time and disguise the real problem that lies in the gums.

To get help with your bad breath and possible gum disease you should seek professional help from a dentist or a hygienist.


How often should I visit my dentist?
It is essential that you visit your dentist regularly. Most patients will see a dentist once a year but patients with higher risk of getting decay and gum inflammations are advised to see their dentist at least every six months or more often than that.

It is also important for smokers to see their dentist regularly to detect early signs or oral cancer that is linked to smoking.  


Wine Tastings, Is It Destroying Your Teeth?

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Australian Dental Journal published new evidence that suggests that wine tasters and people that expose their teeth to wine several times a day might be at risk of dental erosion and increased tooth sensitivity.

It was researchers at the University of Adelaide’s School of Dentistry that experimented with specimens of enamel and wine. They submerged the enamel repeatedly for one minute at a time in white wine to simulate wine tasting.

They found that after only 10 short submersions the enamel started to soften and started to become vulnerable to mechanical wear.

Study co-author Dr Saribin Ranjitkar said “With professional wine tasters and winemakers tasting anywhere from 20 to 150 wines per day, and wine judges tasting up to 200 wines per day during wine shows, this represents a significant risk to their oral health,"


"Our results reinforce the need for people working in the profession to take early, preventative measures, in consultation with their dentists, to minimise the risks to their teeth."

So if you are planning to swish some wine around your mouth, make sure you protect your teeth by rinsing with fluoridated mouthwash.

So, if you are a wine taster, what can you do to prevent damaging your teeth?

“Remineralising and refraining from vigorous brushing” is the best protection against enamel wear, Sue Bastian, who is an Associate Professor at the University of Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, told Opens external link in new windowHealth Canal.

"Typically, the night before a wine tasting session it is best to apply remineralising agents in the form of calcium, phosphate and fluoride to coat and protect the teeth. The morning of a wine tasting, we advise not brushing the teeth or, if that's too unpalatable, chewing gum to stimulate saliva, which is naturally protective.

After a wine tasting, the teeth are likely to be much softer, so we recommend rinsing with water, and when it comes time to clean the teeth, just putting some toothpaste on your finger and cleaning with that. Cleaning with a brush when teeth are soft runs the risk of damaging the enamel."

Demineralisation of the tooth surface occurs when minerals like calcium are dissolved away from the tooth’s hard surface. Remineralisation is the process that reverses demineralisation with help of, for example the fluoride in drinking water, toothpaste or mouthwashes.


This article was published in January 4, 2016 Opens external link in new window(Pilcrow Magazine)

Record number of Brits seeking braces

Friday, 7 June 2013

A record number of people are seeking out braces to achieve a celebrity smile the au natural way.

According to the British Orthodontic Society1, more than one million people are looking to braces to bring a beautiful smile back to their faces, rather than undergoing alternative invasive treatments.

New research by oral health charity the British Dental Health Foundation2 also shows that one in five people now spend more money per month on oral care products, compared with hair products, skincare, fragrances and cosmetics.

Clinically recognised, virtually invisible orthodontic treatment, Invisalign, has reported a 25 per cent increase in demand over the last five years, with the average age of people seeking braces shifting to persons 25 and over – evidence of crooked teeth no longer being an issue solely tackled in your teens. Be it parents, students or businessmen, a set of pearly whites is the new coveted trend.

Braces are a way of straightening or moving teeth to improve their appearance and the way they work. They can also help to look after the long-term health of the teeth and gums.

With the treatment on the rise, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, discusses why braces are no longer considered a stigma.

Dr Carter says: “The significant advances in technology mean you can now wear braces without them being blindingly obvious. Celebrities are often seen as role models in society, and the visible standard of their oral hygiene is no exception. With many stars often improving their own smile through cosmetic dentistry, it’s no wonder we are now seeing a growing trend within the British public.

“A direct reflection of this can be seen in the success of certain dental brands, for example interest in Invisalign, the virtually invisible way to straighten teeth, has grown by 25 per cent in the last five years alone.

Jamie Morley, UK & Ireland General Manager at Invisalign, comments: “Working with over 2 million people worldwide to transform their smiles, Invisalign is dedicated to improving oral health and leading innovation in orthodontic technology. As such, we are proud to be sponsors of National Smile Month 2013 and help towards driving awareness of dental hygiene across the UK.”

It is important not forget the basics of good oral hygiene, and National Smile Month is a great chance to brush up on those basics. The campaign, which runs from 20 May to 20 June, reminds us all about the importance of brushing for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on how often you eat and drink sugary foods and drinks and visiting your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

Mums Can Influence Children's Oral Health, Study Suggests

Saturday, 3 November 2012

The British Dental Health Foundation believes a new study showing how a mother’s knowledge is key to their child’s oral health is a timely reminder of how important their early years are.

The study concluded that mothers who were more able to handle stresses in their environment had children with better oral health. According to the research, mothers with higher maternal factors when their child was three years old resulted in a better oral hygiene for their child, more visits to the dentist and more preventive treatments.

The research speculated that mothers with better maternal instincts are more attentive to the oral hygiene and dental needs of their children, leading to a reduced risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

The early years of children’s lives are a time of rapid development, none more so than their teeth. Even prior to entering pre-school, a child’s learning and understanding is largely based on experiences from within their family and home environment. That is why Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes the study reinforces the importance of ensuring good oral health for your child as early as possible.

Dr Carter said: “The study builds on previous work that suggests mothers have a key role to play when it comes to the development of their child’s oral hygiene. What mums should remember is that looking after your baby’s oral health starts during pregnancy.

“Good nutrition for the mother during those nine months is crucial for your baby’s teeth to develop correctly. It is also worth knowing that due to hormonal changes your gums may bleed more easily, so the Foundation advises more regular visits to the dentist and a higher level of oral health.

“It is not just a child’s mum who can help their oral health. The responsibility to improve oral health lies with each and every one of us. Poor dental health is constantly being linked with a variety of diseases, while too many people do not visit their dentist as often as recommended.

“If we can reach out to the non-attenders and encourage them to follow the Foundation's three key messages, of brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, cutting down how often you have sugary foods and drinks and visiting the dentist regularly there is no reason the oral health of the nation and future generations cannot improve even more.”

The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research, analysed data from a long-term study involving the dental records of 224 teenagers and questionnaires from their mothers.