How smoking affects oral health: 4 reasons to quit

It’s no secret that smoking is bad for your health. Your doctor will tell you that it increases your risk of lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke, among many other deadly diseases. But did you know that your dentist has issues with your smoking habit too? Here are 4 ways it can negatively affect your oral health.

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1.       Gum disease

Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque around the gumline, which causes swelling and irritation. Smoking weakens the body’s immune system, making it more difficult to fight off an infection. Once gums are damaged, the lack of oxygen in your bloodstream (caused by nicotine) means that they will take much longer to heal. Smokers often find that their gums do not bleed, which is actually a bad sign – it masks the early signs of gum disease and by the time it is discovered it can be much harder to treat.

2.       Tooth loss

Advanced gum disease is a primary cause of tooth loss, and since smokers frequently miss the early warning signs they are prone to periodontitis – the irreversible later stage of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. As gums recede and plaque collects at the gumline, the bone and tissues that support teeth are damaged, loosening teeth and eventually causing them to fall out.

3.       Oral cancer

Here’s the bad news: as a smoker you are six times more likely to get oral cancer than a non-smoker. Approximately 90% of people with mouth cancer are tobacco users. On the plus side, even heavy smokers can drastically reduce their chances of getting oral cancer by kicking their tobacco habit. After 20 years of being smoke-free, your chances of getting mouth cancer are exactly the same as someone who has never smoked.

4.       Halitosis

Bad breath may seem trivial compared to tooth loss or mouth cancer, but it can have a major lifestyle impact, ruining romantic relationships and hindering job prospects. Several factors contribute to smoker’s breath, including dry mouth (xerostomia), which enables bacteria to thrive and increases the likelihood of gum disease.

Your dental team at Blyton Dental can advise you on the best ways to maintain your oral health and support you on your journey to becoming smoke-free. Regular hygienist appointments are the best way to treat early stage gum disease and prevent tooth loss. To make an appointment with our experienced hygienists, Clare and Emily, contact us today. We look forward to your visit.

5 foods packed with hidden sugars

Everyone knows that to keep your teeth in top condition you should steer clear of sugary soft drinks, chocolate, and other sweet treats. But are you aware of all the hidden sugars lurking in foods that seem relatively healthy? Some of the top culprits may surprise you…

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1.       Bread

Toast may seem like a healthy option for an afternoon snack, and it certainly beats a slice of cake. But if you’re choosing processed supermarket brands, make sure you check the label – even bread that is marketed as ‘multigrain’ or ‘wheat’ may contain added sugar. Look for caramel colouring among the ingredients – this is an indication that a wheat loaf is actually just white bread with food colouring added. The healthiest options have ‘whole wheat’ or ‘whole grain’ listed as the primary ingredient.

2.       Salad dressing

Nothing is healthier than a big bowl of leafy greens – until you smother them in full fat dressing! Some salad dressings (including French dressings and vinaigrette) have as much as 7 grams of sugar per serving, which is nearly a third of the recommended daily intake for women and nearly a fifth of the recommended daily intake for men. Watch out for sugar variations on the label such as maltose, honey, glucose, and dextrose.

3.       Baked beans

Baked beans have a reputation for being healthy because they are full of fibre, however many tinned supermarket brands also have a high sugar content. Check the label and opt for a brand that has reduced salt and sugar. Tomato products (including pasta sauces and ketchups) are naturally acidic and can contribute to tooth erosion. You can minimise the damage by rinsing your mouth with water after you eat.

4.       Smoothies

They’re commonly marketed as being both healthy and delicious – but are smoothies a dentist’s worst nightmare? Fruit is naturally acidic, which can erode the enamel of your teeth. When blended into a smoothie, the combination of acid and sugar (in the form of fructose) can have a damaging effect, especially when you choose brands that use concentrated fruit juice. Making your own instead of buying bottled versions is the best way to avoid additional hidden sugars.

5.       Crackers

Unbelievably, some savoury crackers contain almost as much sugar as a biscuit. Don’t believe it? Take a look at the ingredients on the back of a packet next time you’re in the supermarket – if the second or third ingredient is sugar you may as well be eating a cookie. Rice crackers or oat cakes are a healthier alternative for your teeth.

Avoiding sugar completely is almost impossible, so it’s important to maintain your oral hygiene routine. Brush and floss twice a day and make regular appointments with your dental hygienist. To schedule an appointment with our experienced hygienists, Clare and Emily, contact Blyton Dental today. We look forward to your visit.

Why do I have a bad taste in my mouth?

Getting an unpleasant taste in your mouth once in a while is nothing to worry about – it could be caused by anything from eating strongly flavoured foods to using tobacco products. However, if the taste remains in your mouth all the time and you are unable to get rid of it by brushing and rinsing, a trip to the dentist may be required.

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Causes of unpleasant taste in the mouth

Poor oral hygiene

Dental health issues such as cavities and gum disease may be the underlying cause of the taste you are experiencing. Not brushing and flossing regularly can cause gingivitis, which is often associated with an unpleasant taste in the mouth. Other types of dental problems, including infections and abscesses, can also cause a bad taste. Brushing and flossing and rinsing daily with an antibacterial mouthwash will help to prevent these issues, as will regular dental check ups with your hygienist. If you are experiencing oral health problems already you should make an appointment with your dentist to establish the cause of the issue. Symptoms to look out for include:

·         Tooth sensitivity

·         Red or swollen areas in your mouth

·         Bleeding gums

·         Bad breath

Dry mouth (xerostomia)

When your salivary glands don’t produce enough saliva you can get a sticky feeling in your mouth that is often accompanied by a lingering unpleasant taste and bad breath. Saliva is important for good oral health because it washes away bacteria and food particles that collect in the mouth. Some of the causes of dry mouth include:

·         Tobacco usage

·         Stress

·         Aging

·         Some medications

·         Cancer therapy

·         Autoimmune disorders

You can help to manage the condition by sipping water throughout the day, chewing on sugar-free gum, and using an alcohol-free mouthwash to help prevent tooth decay.

Medical Issues

Some medical conditions can cause an unpleasant taste in the mouth, including:

·         Acid reflux

·         Oral thrush

·         Respiratory infections

·         Neurological conditions

·         Hepatitis B

·         Hormonal changes (such as pregnancy or the menopause)

If you suspect that your issue is related to a medical ailment, seek advice from your doctor as soon as possible.

Treatment for unpleasant taste in the mouth

There are a number of effective remedies you can try to alleviate a recurring bad taste in your mouth:

·         Brush and floss twice a day, and use an antiseptic mouthwash.

·         Sip water regularly throughout the day.

·         Avoid tobacco products.

·         Chew sugar-free gum to encourage saliva production.

·         Make regular appointments with your dental hygienist.

At Blyton Dental, we take pride in offering the best possible care to our patients, treating them in a friendly, caring manner and delivering the best quality dentistry at affordable prices. If you would like to schedule an appointment, contact one of our helpful team members today. We look forward to your visit.

Two-implant overdentures: Affordable and pain-free teeth replacements

Do you suffer from loose-fitting or uncomfortable dentures? Are you worried about the cost of dental implants? Read on to find out about how Blyton Dental can offer an affordable and pain-free alternative for patients with missing teeth.

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What are two-implant overdentures?

Overdentures are replacement teeth that are held in place with dental implants. Unlike traditional dentures, which can move around in the mouth and cause discomfort when eating or speaking, overdentures are retained by dental implants – small titanium anchors that are permanently fixed to the upper or lower jawbone. Advances in 3-D printing and the use of dental CT scans mean that the implant placement procedure is relatively quick – there is often no need for any gum flap to be raised or for stitches after the implant has been placed.

What are the benefits of overdentures?

Overdentures offer several advantages over traditional dentures, including:

·         Better digestion – Dentures are held in place using adhesives, which can cause them to slip in the mouth and cause difficulty chewing. Since overdentures are held in place with dental implants they are more stable, allowing you to chew food more thoroughly and absorb more nutrients. Foods that can be difficult to eat with conventional dentures (such as apples or carrots) are easier to chew with implant retained overdentures, resulting in fewer lifestyle restrictions.

·         Improved self-confidence – When teeth are missing, the jawbone loses the stimulation it naturally receives from chewing, resulting in a shrinking process called resorption. Over time, this can give the face a sunken, aged appearance. Because implants continue to stimulate the jawbone, overdentures can help to retain your facial features and prevent resorption from occurring. In addition, patients with overdentures need not worry about loose dentures causing embarrassment in social situations, giving them more confidence in their day-to-day lives.

·         Higher comfort levels – Overdentures that are fitted with implants are more secure than dentures held in using adhesives. By reducing additional movement during the process of chewing or talking, overdentures can help to prevent mouth sores and irritation of gum tissue, improve the aesthetics of your smile, and have a positive impact on both physical and psychological welfare.

Am I a candidate for two-implant overdentures?  

Only a qualified dentist will be able to advise you on the best treatment to replace your missing teeth. Advancements in dental implant technology mean that generally if you are healthy enough to undergo a tooth extraction you are also a candidate for the two-implant overdenture treatment. In most cases, if your existing dentures are not too old they can be stabilised with implants without the need to remake them.

To find out more about overdentures or to make an appointment with one of our dedicated dental professionals, contact us today. We look forward to your visit.

What is the best option for replacing missing teeth?

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Missing one or more teeth not only affects our physical health and wellbeing – it can also cause a huge drop in self-confidence. Fortunately, teeth replacements have come a long way in recent years and there are several treatment options available. With the right solution you’ll be able to eat more comfortably, speak more clearly, and smile with confidence again.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a permanent, long-term solution for one or more missing teeth. An implant is a post (usually made from titanium) that is surgically implanted into your upper or lower jawbone. The implant fuses with your jawbone and is capped with one or more natural-looking replacement teeth. Not everyone is a candidate for dental implants because they involve a surgical procedure that requires healthy gums. Your dentist at Blyton Dental will be able to tell you whether you meet the criteria for implant surgery.

Advantages of dental implants

  • Natural appearance – Dental implants look and feel just like regular teeth.
  • Durable – Implants will last for many years, or even decades if they are properly looked after.
  • Preventative – Implants can help to prevent shrinkage of the jawbone from tooth loss.
  • Bite strength – Implants will give you the same bite strength as your natural teeth.

Bridges

A dental bridge is a prosthesis that, as the name suggests, bridges the gap between two teeth. A typical fixed bridge is made up of one or more pontics (artificial teeth) that are attached to two surrounding anchor teeth using hollow crowns. The anchor teeth need to be filed down for the bridge to be fitted, and your dentist permanently secures the bridge in place using strong dental cement.

Advantages of bridges

  • Permanent – Dental bridges are a fixed solution so you do not need to remove them for cleaning.
  • Natural-looking – When made from porcelain or other comparable materials, dental bridges look just like natural teeth.
  • Cost-effective – Dental bridges are cheaper than implants.
  • Comfortable – Dental bridges pass chewing forces to the anchor teeth, rather than the gums underneath, which can make eating more comfortable than chewing with dentures.

Dentures

Dentures are removable false teeth that can either replace a complete set of upper or lower teeth (full dentures) or one or more missing teeth (partial dentures). They require careful maintenance and must be taken out at night and soaked in a denture cleaning solution. With proper care, dentures can last for several years but due to everyday wear and tear and the shrinking of our gums as we age, most dentists recommend replacing them every five to eight years.

Advantages of dentures

  • Cost-effective – Dentures are much cheaper than dental implants.
  • Non-surgical – Dentures do not require any invasive surgery.

Wondering which treatment option is right for you? To book your free assessment, contact Blyton Dental today.

Top 5 tips for beautifully white teeth

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Feeling self-conscious about your smile? Your teeth are one of the first things that people notice, and a bright, healthy smile can be a huge confidence booster. As we age, the enamel on our teeth becomes thinner and more transparent, exposing the darker layer of dentin beneath it. Fortunately, there are several strategies you can use to keep your teeth sparkling white.

1.       Change your eating and drinking habits

Drinking tea, coffee, red wine, and soda stains your teeth, so limiting your consumption of these types of beverages can help to prevent yellowing. If you can’t kick the habit completely, try to brush your teeth soon after you finish your drink to minimise the effects on the colour of your teeth. Smoking and chewing tobacco also have a discolouring effect, so giving up these habits is beneficial to both your smile and your overall health. Try to avoid processed foods and drinks that are high in simple sugars and may thin tooth enamel.

2.       Maintain a healthy brushing routine

Brushing and flossing soon after you eat or drink is the best way to prevent plaque build-up on your teeth, which can cause them to look yellow. Replace your toothbrush or change the head of your electric toothbrush at least every two to three months (sooner if the bristles are frayed) and use a tongue scraper once a day to remove any build-up of bacteria on your tongue. 

3.       Eat nature’s tooth whitening treats

Some types of foods have been proven to naturally whiten teeth. Strawberries and apples not only taste delicious, they also contain high concentrations of malic acid that acts as a natural astringent to remove surface discolouration. Cheese contains minerals such as calcium and phosphorus that help keep teeth strong, and the lactic acid it contains can also protect against tooth decay. Hard cheeses are best for whitening because they help to remove food particles from your teeth. Other tasty tooth whitening treats include raw broccoli, pineapple, celery, and oranges.

4.       Brush with baking soda

Baking soda has natural whitening properties and is a popular ingredient in a lot of commercial toothpaste. Many people mix it with water and use the paste a few times a week to help scrub away surface stains. However, baking soda is abrasive and overuse can damage tooth enamel and cause tooth sensitivity. If you have concerns about using baking soda on your teeth, talk to your dentist before adding it to your whitening routine.

5.       Book a professional whitening treatment

Tooth whitening treatment from a dentist is a simple and safe cosmetic procedure that can give you effective, long-lasting results. Blyton Dental provides teeth whitening treatment at a cost equivalent to a Band 3 NHS charge. Book your free consultation today.

 

For more information about tooth whitening or other cosmetic procedures at Blyton Dental, contact one of our helpful team members today.

What is a 3D iTero scanner?

If you’ve been putting off visiting the dentist for a while because you can’t face biting into the sticky material that’s used to take impressions of your teeth and jaws, we have great news for you – 3D scanners have replaced traditional alginate impressions at Blyton Dental. Read on to find out all the ways the iTero scanner can improve your next dental appointment.

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How does the iTero scanner work?

With the use of a small, handheld scanner (called a ‘wand’), your dentist will take thousands of pictures of the inside of your mouth. By gradually rotating the wand around your mouth to capture every possible angle, he or she will be able to get a complete scan in a matter of minutes. The images are sent to the computer and rendered to create a 3D model of your teeth. Your dentist can use this model to assess your dental needs and determine what treatment options are available to you to give you the best possible outcome.

What are the benefits of the iTero scanner?

More comfortable – Traditional alginate impressions use gloopy, clay-like material that can be messy and uncomfortable for patients. The iTero scanner eliminates the need to bite into a tray of impression material, making the process far less stressful for patients.

More accurate – With a 3D digital model to work from, dental devices can be created with a flawless fit, improving the performance of crowns, aligners, or veneers. Traditional impressions often need to be retaken from scratch, which can be costly and inconvenient. In contrast, if any data is missing from a digital scan, your dentist will notice immediately and be able to rescan the area during the same appointment.

Predictable results – One of the most satisfying aspects of using the iTero scanner is that you will be able to see the effects of a treatment before you have it. By viewing a simulated model showing what your teeth will look like after you complete your treatment, you can be reassured that the time, money, and effort you are putting into your dental treatment is worth it.

What treatments is the iTero scanner used for?

The iTero scanner can be used to create impressions for the following treatments:

·         Invisalign/Inman/Six Month Smiles aligners

·         Crowns

·         Bridges

·         Dental implant crowns

·         Veneers

If you would like more information about the services we provide here at Blyton Dental, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our friendly team members today.

5 reasons to choose Invisalign

Many adults would love to straighten their teeth but are put off by the idea of traditional braces, which can leave wearers feeling uncomfortable and self-conscious. Fortunately, there are cutting-edge options that will give you the perfect smile you want without the negative aspects of conventional brace technology. Read on to find out why millions of adults are opting for Invisalign.

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1.       Removable

Unlike traditional braces, which consist of metal brackets that are fixed to your teeth and tied together with wires, Invisalign uses removable aligner trays. Worn for 22 hours a day, the clear plastic trays fit over your teeth to subtly and gently move them into the desired position. Patients can take them out for eating and cleaning, which makes dental care throughout the treatment process much easier. Whereas traditional brace hardware can cause food particles to stick between the teeth, Invisalign trays are easy to pop out and clean, meaning there are no dietary restrictions during treatment.

2.       Comfortable

Made of smooth, BPA-free clear plastic, Invisalign is as comfortable as wearing a customised bleaching tray. In contrast, traditional braces have brackets with sharp edges that can sometimes irritate the inside of the mouth. Invisalign also doesn’t require tightening by your orthodontist – instead you are given multiple sets of aligners that you change every two weeks as your teeth begin to move into their new position.

3.       Time efficient

Since Invisalign doesn’t require tightening, trips to the dentist are less frequent during your treatment period than with traditional braces. Brushing and flossing also requires less time and effort with removable trays, as you do not need to navigate around brace hardware. Depending on the complexity of your case, treatment typically takes between 6-12 months, but you will begin to notice a difference within a matter of weeks.

4.       Virtually invisible

Invisalign’s clear aligner trays are so discreet that they are hardly noticeable when you smile. Since they are removable, patients who are self-conscious about their appearance can take them out for special occasions such as a wedding, meeting, or important presentation.

5.       Predictable results

Thanks to Blyton Dental’s iTero digital scanner, you can see what your teeth will look like once they’ve been straightened before you even begin treatment. The scanner takes a 3D image of your teeth and shows how their position will change throughout your treatment. This means that you can confidently invest in your orthodontic treatment knowing that the results will be worth the cost and effort.

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For more information about Invisalign treatment at Blyton Dental, contact one of our friendly team members today.