Millennial trends in oral care
You’ll have heard of the baby-boomers and probably generation Z, but what about the latest generation labelling… millennials. We are surrounded by millennials, they are the generation who were born between 1980 and the late 1990s, and according to popular culture, are a tech-savvy generation, who value getting a suitable balance between home and work and are not purely driven by career progression.
Millenials have ‘dual lives’ with many having an online presence on a number of social media platforms in addition to making friendships and connections via the more traditional routes, and absorb information in a different way compared with previous generations. Short, punchy information is more likely to cut through, rather than things that are too lengthy or dry and can’t compete successfully for millennials’ attention.
A recent poll of over 2,000 millennials found some interesting insights regarding their approach to oral hygiene and the priorities they place on their dental routine. Here at CK Dental in Bristol we found some of the findings slightly concerning:
- Three in ten claims to only brush their teeth once a day
- Some go two or three days at a time without brushing their teeth at all
- Just over half suggest they are concerned about losing their teeth as they get older… despite some worrying habits that they are demonstrating now
This is hopefully an isolated set of results and not typical of a whole generation, but even if there are just small number of people who are not taking their oral care seriously enough, it is suggesting that people are lacking awareness of the repercussions of neglecting your teeth and gums.
Brush, brush and brush again
It is recommended that you brush at least twice a day for at least two minutes per brush. This is typically in the morning after you’ve had breakfast (leaving you with minty fresh breath to start the day and a clean set of teeth and gums following your coffee and cereal or whatever breakfast treats have taken your fancy) and once in the evening before bed. B
Brushing your teeth after breakfast is ideal because many breakfasts contain sugars – whether that be natural sugars in fruits or sugars that have been added to cereals or breakfast bars, if you give your teeth a thorough clean once you’ve finished your breakfast it will set you up well for the day. If you’re really diligent and have an opportunity to do some, brushing your teeth after lunch is also a great idea.
Adopting good dental habits
Flossing is also important as it enables you to remove tiny pieces of food that have found their way into gaps between your teeth that brushing alone wouldn’t struggle to remove. These are regular, important habits to adopt at home, but it is also important to have regular check-ups with your dentist, so that they can check the overall health of your teeth and gums and can also check areas in your mouth that you would struggle to see yourself. Not only that, most people won’t know what to look out for in terms of warning signs.
Implications of missing teeth
If you have lost a tooth then, depending on where that tooth was located in your mouth, you may regard it to be a big problem, or you may feel it’s something you can live with.
Here at CK Dental our philosophy is that losing a tooth is not something that you should view lightly – even if you don’t think it is a big problem because it’s not immediately visible to others, you should know what the implications are of not replacing a lost tooth so that you can make an informed decision.
The first thing to consider is where in your mouth the missing tooth was located. If it was at the front and was more visible, then its loss is probably affecting your smile. If that is the case, it is probably affecting your confidence too.
You may notice that since losing your tooth your speech has become affected – this is very common. Your tongue and teeth are integral to how your words are formed, and when something is unexpectedly changed in your mouth, you can expect that it will affect how your words sound when you try and pronounce certain things.
You’ll have to make a concerted effort to find different areas of your mouth to tackle more challenging foods, ones that require more effort to bite, chew or break up.
If you leave a gap unfilled you may find that other teeth begin to move around once they notice a space has been vacated. This can lead to issues with how your teeth look and feel – you may find that your ‘bite’ feels different as even small changes to where your teeth rest when you close your jaw feel significant.
With this in mind, it is no wonder that most patients choose to fill the gap of a missing tooth with a man-made equivalent. Implants and veneers can be fitted and will be designed to fit with your natural teeth as closely as possible. Not only will solutions such as this restore confidence and make you happier with your smile and how you’re able to annunciate, but they will help ensure that you don’t suffer further oral complications as a result of a missing tooth.
Illness and dental health
When we’re not feeling 100% it can be a pretty miserable time, and we naturally tend to tackle the visible symptoms of whatever ails us. Many people don’t realise that when you’re fighting a nasty bug, there can be hidden implications that can put your teeth in harm’s way. Here at CK Dental in Bristol we’ve prepared a quick rundown of what to look out for when you’re not feeling very well.
Sickness bugs and dental health
If you’ve succumbed to the winter vomiting bug (norovirus) or have picked up a nasty bout of food poisoning, your teeth won’t be your main concern… but they are right in the firing line.
Each time you are sick, potent stomach acid passes through your mouth and can damage tooth enamel. If tooth enamel becomes damaged it can cause teeth to become sensitive, become discoloured or become more likely to become damaged.
The first thing you’ll want to do once you’ve been sick is to brush your teeth, but this is not recommended straight away. Washing and swilling your mouth with fresh water first is the best course of action, then you can brush as normal after 30 mins or so. However, if this is not practical, if the sickness strikes in the middle of the night (for example) then brushing your teeth is a better option than not.
Chesty coughs, tickles and sore throats and tooth decay
If you’re feeling pained by a persistent cough or have a sore throat, there are a plethora of cough syrups available that you’ll no doubt work your way through until you find something to ease the discomfort. While they might ease one problem, the sugar content in a lot of cough medicines is eye-wateringly high and can put your teeth at risk of developing cavities or decay. There are often sugar-free alternatives available, and although they may not taste quite so good, they’re a lot better for your oral health.
Dehydration and dental bacteria
If you’re feeling really groggy, the chances are you’ll not be eating and drinking enough. If you’re suffering with sickness and/or diarrhoea, then there is a good chance that you’re probably getting dehydrated. This can be serious for many different reasons, including the repercussions it can have on your teeth.
If you’re dehydrated then your mouth won’t be able to produce enough saliva, which helps keep the pH balance in your mouth at the correct levels. Salvia is also your mouth’s natural way of keeping bacteria at bay. Even if you don’t really feel up to drinking, keep sipping water as it will do your body no end of good.
Adult train track braces
Many of us underwent orthodontic dental treatment while at school to straighten adult teeth as they came through. Whether this was in the form of a removable brace or the fixed ‘train track’ braces, this will have been done under the watchful eye of parents, who will have ensured that our teeth were being cleaned sufficiently our braces were kept in good nick.
Teeth actually continue to move throughout our adult lives, so more and more adults are opting for orthodontic treatment later in life. If, like many others, you have chosen fixed braces as an adult, CK Dental has put together a handy hints and tips list of what you need to know about ensuing a good dental routine while the braces are in place.
Our Adult Braces Advice: 1. Take your time
It is naturally more challenging to clean your teeth with fixed braces in place, so be prepared to take a bit more time and effort with the process.
Our Adult Braces Advice: 2. Use the right tools for the job
It is recommended that you use special toothbrushes that are designed for cleaning around the fixed brace attachments. Your normal toothbrush (whether this is manual or electric) is not designed for squeezing between the fixings. It and may cause damage to the brace, or more likely, gaps where you have not been able to clean sufficiently. Most larger dentists and chemists will sell these special toothbrushes, which come with a smaller head and softer bristles, so they do not damage the glue that adheres the brace to the teeth.
Our Adult Braces Advice: 3. Brush more frequently
It is advised that you brush your teeth after every meal, as fixed braces attract small pieces of food that should be removed as quickly as possible. Although the recommended guidelines for ‘normal’ teeth suggest brushing twice per day is enough, once you have got into the habit of brushing after every meal, keeping this habit going after your braces have been removed is not a bad idea at all.
Our Adult Braces Advice: 4. Use mouthwash (if you’re not already doing so)
Using a mouthwash at least once a day is a sensible addition to your daily routine, as this will ensure that nasty bacteria that forms around your teeth, gums and fixed brace are kept at bay. Mouthwash is also great at helping to prevent plaque, which can be more of an issue for those of us with a fixed brace.
Mouthwash – a good call or not?
Mouthwash is a tale of two perspectives, with some people singing its praises and others believing it does more harm than good. So, what really is the truth when it comes to using mouthwash? Is it helping or hindering our oral hygiene? CK Dental shares its point of view on the pros and cons.
Can mouthwash help keep plaque at bay?
Absolutely. That is one of the main benefits of regularly using a mouthwash as it fights bacteria that can cause plaque to develop. Killing these harmful bacteria also helps reduce the risk of gum disease and cavities that are also caused when too much bacteria takes hold in your mouth.
Mouthwash won’t remove plaque though. Once it has developed you need to have it removed by a dentist. The mouthwash routine is then importance for maintaining the look and feel of your teeth once the plaque has been removed.
Fresh breath – an added bonus
There’s no denying that another clear benefit of using mouthwash each day is that it makes your breath minty fresh. It also cools your mouth and leaves it feeling fresh and tingly.
Mouthwash kills bacterial – but should they all be removed?
Most people who err on the side of caution with regards to mouthwash are concerned about just how effective it is at killing bacteria. Some of the bacteria that live inside our mouths are good for us and can help maintain a healthy digestive system. The trouble is, mouthwash can’t discriminate between the good and bad bacteria. If you’re worried that your mouthwash may be too overzealous in its bacteria-killing credentials, then you could consider using a gentle mouthwash that is purely designed to freshen breath, rather than kill bacteria.
Cosmetic mouthwashes will help with fresh, minty breath, while therapeutic mouthwashes will help kill germs. For more information about what to look for when choosing a suitable mouthwash, check out our blog which is designed to help the decision-making process.
Can mouthwash damage your teeth?
Some mouthwash contains alcohol which can have a negative impact on the delicate layer of enamel that coats your teeth. If you are worried at all about this, look for 0% alcohol on the label of your mouthwash. Plenty of these exist so they are not difficult to get hold of.
Dental health and the elderly
There is clear evidence that gum disease is a risk factor in systemic diseases such as osteoporosis, cancer and respiratory disease, so the importance of good oral health in the elderly goes beyond the cosmetic. Now, a new review has brought together first-hand accounts of older patients, revealing what concerns might be stopping them from attending regular dental appointments.
Common barriers cited were dental anxiety, poor general health that made visits difficult, the cost of treatment and physical limitations on travel.
Barriers to dental visits
- Forgetfulness was mentioned often
- Cost was a common concern
- Not caring about dental health in the same way as they did when they were younger
- Access was mentioned as a problem, as older patients often require help getting to the surgery
- Illness was frequently mentioned – one patient said: “I’ve been so ill that I haven’t got around to it”
- Others that were interviewed admitted that dental anxiety only worsens as you get older
Drilling down into possible barriers to seeking regular dental care is even more important in the light of a new UK study that has found that poor oral health increases the risk of frailty in older men. Published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers observed over 1,000 men over a three-year period and found a link between poor oral health and problems such as weight loss, exhaustion, reduction in walking speed and a reduction in physical activity.
One in five men had no teeth, over half had gum disease, nearly a third had dry mouth and one in ten had trouble eating.
Common dental problems in the older patient
Root decay: as we age gum tissue recedes and the roots do not have the same enamel protection as the tooth, making them susceptible to decay.
Risks of other diseases: oral infections can make blood sugar levels spike which can potentially lead to the development of diabetes.
Dry mouth: many of the medications that older patients require to treat degenerative diseases can cause dry mouth. The mouth requires saliva to protect the teeth from decay and, if left untreated, dry mouth can lead to the development of tooth cavities and gum disease.
With the link between poor oral health and overall health, it is essential that urgent and preventative intervention is required.
Introducing interdental brushes
By the time we reach adult life, many of us have adopted a tooth brushing regime that we are fairly comfortable with. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement. As dental technologies evolve and improve, new products become available that can help push your oral hygiene even further, and help maintain healthy teeth and gums.
There are new ways of brushing teeth that many people are not aware of – the dental industry has a responsibility to ensure that people know what is out there and what is best for their teeth. The staff here at CK Dental think it’s important that patients are kept up to date and are made aware of interesting new dental innovations.
One such new innovation is the interdental brush, which offers a modern alternative to flossing.
A new, tiny type of brush is available that can be used in conjunction with a traditional (manual or electric) toothbrush. These tiny brushes are called ‘interdental brushes’, they are conical shaped and specially designed to get into the small spaces between your teeth.
Interdental brushes are effective in removing plaque and bacteria by interproximal brushing (in laymen’s terms, getting in between the tiny gaps between teeth). It is not possible to remove all plaque and bacteria by conventional brushing alone, hence why flossing has always been recommended. Interdental brushes can offer a different approach that can be less fiddly compared to trying to squeeze a length of floss in-between your teeth.
Interdental brushes can be used every day as part of your regular brushing routine, and they come in lots of different shapes and sizes. Some people will opt for a series of interdental brushes, as they require different sizes to get into the different sized gaps between teeth. Once you’ve started to weave this into your oral hygiene routine, it soon becomes second nature, and your teeth and gums should feel cleaner as a result.
Many people find that using interdental brushes is a lot more user-friendly compared with floss, so they are less likely to become discarded and ignored at the back of the bathroom cupboard. When you first start using an Interdental brush, you may experience some slight bleeding from gums as they get used to the intrusion. This should be temporary and is usually the case when you first begin flossing too. This should clear up fast and as long as you’re not forcing the brushes into gaps that are too small for the size of the brush, you should not feel any discomfort.
Interdental brushes: what’s best, Vision or Tepe?
Having discussed the merits of interdental brushes, the next question is how to choose what type of interdental brush to use. There are a variety of offerings, but the two main types are Vision brushes and TePe brushes. Here at CK Dental, we look at the differences between the two, so you can make an informed choice which is best for you and your oral needs.
- Vision interdental Perio brushes claim to be an “easy, effective and great value for money solution” to keeping your teeth and gums healthy
- They are available in a variety of different sizes, which means you can squeeze them into the different sized gaps between your teeth. Your dentist will be able to help advise which size(s) are going to be most suitable for you
- The brush has a curve to it (similar to the shape of an elongated hockey stick), which allows easier access into the hard-to-reach areas of the mouth
- The USP of the vision brush is that it “compresses gum tissues for a deeper clean than other brushes or dental floss.”
- TePe interdental brushes are “designed to clean between teeth, around bridges, fixed appliances and implant abutments. They help to maintain a high standard of oral hygiene .”
- There are also available in a variety of sizes
- These brushes are conical in design, with a soft, ergonomic handle and a plastic coated central wire to ensure that teeth and gums are cleaned safely and gently
- TePe brushes can be straight or on a curved handle, depending on whether you’re tacking the teeth at the front of your mouth of the trickier ones at the back.
Thumbs up for interdental brushes
Both styles of brushes have their merits and it will largely be down to personal preference with once you feel most comfortable using. Regardless of which you’re leaning towards, the concept of interdental brushes has the experts convinced. A review of nine dental studies recently concluded “interdental brushes used as an adjunct to [normal] toothbrushing removes more plaque than just toothbrushing and that dental floss and woodsticks are surpassed by interdental brushes in plaque removal.”
What should you do if you suffer from extreme dental anxiety?
There are many things in life that can make us feel unsettled or generally ill at ease, and for some people, a trip to the dentist is one of those things. If visiting the dentist is something that makes you feel extremely anxious, here at CK Dental we want to do everything we can to reassure you that it really isn’t that bad.
The first thing to let you know is that you’re not alone. In fact, far from it. A fear of going to the dentist actually has its own medical terminology – those who are nervous about booking a dentist appointment are believed to suffer from a condition called ondontophobia. This literally translates to fear of the dentist. The very severest of cases are where people will refuse all together to ever see the dentist and people who suffer with this condition are known as dentally phobic.
We’re not that scary! Honestly
All jokes aside, it’s a serious matter. Without regular check-ups at the dentist your teeth and gums are at risk of developing abnormalities such as plaque, tooth decay, cavities, gum disease or maybe something even more serious such as mouth cancer.
If you are suffering from ondontophobia or dental phobia, some of these symptoms may sound familiar:
- Feelings of stress of anxiety in the days leading up to your appointment
- Insomnia the night before you’re due to see the dentist
- Feelings of sickness and unease in the waiting room
- Gagging or a feeling that you might physically struggle to breathe properly if a dental tool is inserted into your mouth
The underlying cause of this worry may come from one (or several) reasons. Some people worry about pain caused by dental inspections or treatments, while others may worry about the pain caused by administering anaesthetic with a needle. Some people feel an oral inspection is too close to their personal space and feel uncomfortable by the process, and others really don’t like the feeling that they don’t have control over what is happening in their mouths.
How to make the dental experience more positive
While all these fears may be rational, here at CK Dental we do everything we can to put you at ease, respect your worries and fears and to make you have a pleasant experience with us. One option for those suffering from extreme dental phobia is having your dental treatment performed under general anaesthetic. We are one of the few private dental clinics in the UK that can offer this option and all procedures are performed in one of Bristol’s leading private hospitals.
If you find visiting the dentist is making you feel stressed, nervous or nauseous, let us know that you’re feeling that way and we will do everything we can to make you feel more comfortable.
Many people will remember train-track braces from when they were younger, as they are the standard NHS orthodontic fix for jumbled or protruding teeth. However, many people don’t realise that teeth don’t stop always moving. Quite often, if teeth were straightened when you were young, they may move again with age, hormonal changes or when wisdom teeth come through. Other people may not have opted for teeth straightening when they were younger, yet decide to go down that route when they are older.
The idea of train-track braces as an adult may not be the most appealing idea and so here at CK Dental in Bristol we offer a newer, more visually appealing, modern alternative.
What can be done if I want straighter teeth but don’t want a visible brace?
Invisalign does what the name suggests – it straightens your teeth while being hardly noticeable. Instead of a wire which is cemented to the front of your teeth and tweaked to adjust their alignment, treatment with Invisalign braces is done with a series of plastic ‘trays’ or ‘aligners’, that fit over your teeth and are adjusted every few weeks.
How does Invisalign work?
Imprints are taken of your teeth and gums, and then aligners are custom-made to fit your mouth perfectly. The aligners slot in and out of your mouth easily, which means you can take them out when you want to eat or drink, brush your teeth and so on. Ideally you’ll keep them in for the majority of the time and this will ensure the process works as quickly as possible. They are very discrete too, at first glance you would not know that they are being worn, as they are transparent and do not protrude.
Does Invisalign hurt?
Although your teeth will ache when a new aligner is fitted, as there is no wire or attachments, these won’t cause discomfort inside the mouth in the same way that a train-track brace might do.
How long has Invisalign been available? I don’t want to be a guinea pig
Rest assured that even though Invisalign is relatively new to the UK market, it has been established since 1997 and has helped millions of people around the world achieve a smile that they are happier with.
How long will I need to wear my Invisalign braces for?
The process typically ranges from 9-18 months, depending on how much your teeth require adjusting and how complex the treatment is. Your dentist will be able to give you a good indicator of this at the initial consultation.
So, if you’ve decided that for 2018 you’re going to invest in a beautiful smile then now is the time to find out more about Invisalign.
New plans for helping A&E departments tackle dental emergencies
If you’re involved in an accident resulting in any type of serious injury, calling 999 or taking a trip to your local A&E department is the first thing that many people think of. While in many cases, this is the correct course of action, if you have suffered an injury to your teeth you may find that A&E is not the best place for you.
At CK Dental Practice we know that the issue with patients seeking emergency departments at hospitals is that they are unlikely to have doctors who are qualified in dentistry, so are therefore not necessarily the best practitioners to be dealing with the issue.
Dr Chet Trivedy who is the chair of a newly formed group set up to tackle this issue, comments “thousands of people go to A&E each year with a dental problem, however, the issue is that many doctors aren’t trained in dentistry and are likely to have limited experience and resources to help these patients.”
The group has a more memorable acronym than many, “D.R.E.A.M.S” – the Dental Review of Emergency Attendances Multi Stakeholder group. Its aim is to identify and find solutions for the way that dental problems are dealt with in A&E departments.
The new committee comprises representatives of a number of high profile medical groups, including the Faculty of Dental Surgery, the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry, the Royal College of Nursing, the British Association of Dental Nurses and NHS Islington Clinical Commissioning Group.
Seeking dental treatments at A&E can be costly
The other problem for struggling hospital budgets is that if people use A&E departments for issues where they should be seeing their dentist, the cost to the system is significant. It is estimated that each year, patients seeking dental treatments at A&E costs the health service £18million.
Many dental practices are not in a position to offer out of hours services that are able to step in and help when a dental emergency occurs, leaving patients with no choice other than to attend A&E.
One of the aims of the D.R.E.A.M.S group is to help ensure that A&E doctors are sufficiently trained in dealing with some of the most common dental concerns, including a lost tooth, broken tooth or excess bleeding following a tooth extraction.
The group recognises that it will face the age-old problems of time and money, but is hoping to work collaboratively with all dental stakeholders to try and find a suitable resolution to help patients, the health services and dental practitioners.
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You’ll have heard of the baby-boomers and probably generation Z, but what about the latest generation labelling… millennials. We are surrounded by millennials, they are the generation who were born between 1980 and the late 1990s, and according to popular culture, are a tech-savvy generation, who value getting a suitable ... Read more