Is your child ready for an electric toothbrush?They used to be perceived as luxury items, but time and technology has reduced the price of electric toothbrushes.

Nowadays, an estimated 40% of all toothbrushes sold are of the electric variety – be they rechargeable or battery-powered – and a lot of them are aimed at kids. But are they the right choice for your child?

Here at CK Dental in Bristol, we get a lot of enquiries from concerned parents on the subject, so here are our thoughts on the subject…

Electric v manual

First things first: yes, in a like-for-like comparison, electric toothbrushes beat the traditional version hands-down. Multiple studies have confirmed that, when used properly, electric toothbrushes remove more plaque than their manual counterparts.

All the original fears about electric toothbrushes – that they contribute more to gum recession, tooth abrasion and gingivitis – have been dispelled.

Are electric toothbrushes safe for kids?

In almost every case, yes. The Oral Health Foundation approved them for one simple reason – that they make a regular chore more fun for children. As long as they meet the basic requirements of an adequate child’s toothbrush – small head, soft nylon bristles, and a handle suitable for the age of the child – there’s nothing to worry about.

However, there are provisos. Firstly, just because the brush is up to the job, it doesn’t necessarily mean the brusher is too.

Dentists recommend that you supervise your child’s brushing regime until the age of 7, but some parents assume that the electric toothbrush will do the job. Obviously, it won’t, if it’s not being used on every tooth for an adequate amount of time.

Secondly, there is a chance that an electric toothbrush will aggravate loose baby teeth. Most children will start to lose theirs between five and seven, but it can happen earlier – and when that happens, it’s wise to switch to a manual one for a while.

Bristol dentist explains which Christmas treats are best for your teethWe’re not far from the opening of the first window of the advent calendar now, so it’s as good a time as any to talk about what you’ll be putting into your mouth a bit more than usual at this time of year.

We all let our diets fall by the wayside over Christmas – whether we want them to or not – but here at CK Dental in Bristol we’re also aware of which particular treats are less kind to our teeth than others…

Nuts

They always seem to make a revival every Christmas, and the good news is that they’re probably the best (or the least harmful) Christmas treat available as they’re loaded with calcium, which is essential for strengthening bones.

Coincidentally enough, the ones with the most calcium are almonds and brazil nuts – which are always abundant on the Christmas buffet spread.

Chocolates

We all know about the effect chocolate has on teeth, but when you compare chocolates to other treats on offer, they come out reasonably OK. That’s because they usually dissolve quickly in the mouth.

Obviously, brushing away the residue sooner rather than later would be helpful.

Hard candies

Yes, you’re theoretically eating less of them compared to chocolate, but due to their nature they take longer to break down and stay in the mouth much longer. There’s also the risk of damaging dental work and chipping your teeth.

Toffees and caramels

The real baddies of the selection tin are the chewy toffees and caramels. Caramels have a habit of lodging in the teeth, causing decay. Toffees are even worse, and can cause a filling to dislodge at a time when the dental clinics are closed.

Pound coins

It’s nice to find one in a Christmas pudding. Not so nice to find it after you’ve bit into it (and yes, it happens)

sensitive toothpastesThere’s a bewildering selection of toothpastes on offer nowadays, and the waters have been muddied somewhat by the rise of ‘sensitive’ toothpastes. Not necessarily by their claims to take the edge off pain, though: here at CK Dental in Bristol, we find them to be very effective.

However, not everyone knows if they actually need them or not.

Why do people suffer from sensitive teeth?

Tooth sensitivity is a very real symptom, especially when it comes to cold food and drink. The most common cause for this is gum recession, which exposes part of the root of the tooth. There are many reasons for gum recession: simple gum disease, aging, and – in certain instances – overbrushing. Or a combination of all three.

What ingredients are in sensitive toothpastes?

Almost all of the sensitive toothpastes on the market can be split into two categories.

The cheaper brands contain two strains of potassium – potassium nitrate and potassium citrate. These work by seeping into the nerve of teeth and preventing it from transmitting pain signals to the brain. The downside to these toothpastes is that they take a while to get to work, so expect to have to used them on a twice-daily basis for two weeks before they start to work.

The more expensive brands, on the other hand, contain ingredients such as strontium, argintine and calcium sodium phosphosilicate. These are a lot faster in taking the edge off, as they block the dentine tubules – the pores located
in the roots of teeth. There are other active ingredients, but they haven’t been clinically proven as yet.

And more often than you’d expect, they don’t contain fluoride, which is absolutely essential in fighting tooth decay.

Our advice: if you’re suffering from tooth sensitivity, come and talk to the team here at our Bristol dental practice as soon as possible, especially if the problem has recently flared up for the first time. We’ll be able to check the condition of your gums, see what’s causing the pain, and advise accordingly.

is fear of the dentist genetic?We may be far removed from the experiences of yesteryear, but there’s still a lingering terror amongst certain people of the dentists.

Here at CK Dental practice in Bristol, we were alarmed to read this recent news story, which claims that up to thirty patients per day are ducking out of vital appointments at the Birmingham Dental Hospital, mainly due to odontophobia.

Seeing as the majority of patients have been referred there because they require work that is too complex for the average dental clinic, this is a huge problem – both for the people involved (as they’ll be struck off the waiting list and left to sort the problem out themselves) and the NHS (which isn’t in a position to throw money away).

DNA = Did Not Attend

While there are many reasons why people are not attending, from not being able to book a time convenient to their lifestyles to simply forgetting, it’s clear that some of the biggest myths about the pain of dental care are yet to be completely expelled.

But does fear of dentists run deeper than we first thought? According to a recent study conducted by West Virginia University, maybe it does.

The study – conducted by two members of the University’s Department of Psychology – concluded that some of the genes we inherit that harbour a fear of pain can also influence and prey upon dental fears. We’ve always believed that odontophobia was caused by learned behaviour in childhood – now it appears it may run even deeper than that.

What can you do to fight the fear?

Our advice, as always, is to be honest with yourself first and foremost. Being afraid of drills and needles is a natural response – but resisting steps to relieve and prevent years of future dental discomfort goes against all our natural inclinations to protect ourselves.

And if you’re worried about passing your fear onto your children, this guide we prepared earlier can help.


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Email: info@ckdental.co.uk

Telephone: 0117 9059 866

CK Dental | Nuffield Health Bristol Hospital – The Chesterfield, 3 Clifton Hill, Clifton, Bristol, BS8 1BN