oral care lichen planus

If you haven’t heard of lichen planus before, you’re not alone. This condition is something that affects the mouths of some older people and it can often be symptomatic of underlying health conditions, so it is useful to know what to look out for. Here at CK Dental, we have put together a handy facts page so that you know what to look out for and what it means for your oral health.

What exactly is lichen planus?

It is a long-standing condition which affects the mouth and can spread to other areas of the body. Although symptoms are often mild, they are usually the tell-tale warnings that your body is struggling with its immune system, so symptoms of lichen planus should not be ignored.

What are the symptoms?

The most overt sign that you have developed this condition is the presence of white patches on your gums, the inside of your cheeks and on your tongue. This should not be mistaken for tonsillitis though, which is a painful condition that will leave you feeling very poorly and would need to be treated by a doctor. Tonsillitis also leaves white patches in the mouth although these are on the tonsils, rather than spread more widely around the mouth.

Who is likely to be affected by lichen planus?

Typically, women are at higher risk of developing lichen planus compared with men, although men can get it too. It is often more prevalent on older people – those in late middle age are the most at risk category.

If you think you may have developed lichen planus then it is important to speak to your dentist or GP as it will need to be officially diagnosed, which requires a biopsy (this is where a small piece of affected tissue is removed from the mouth and sent to the lab for testing).

The condition is usually indicative of a weakness in the immune system and can also be exacerbated by a number of other medications. The drug penicillamine, some pain killers, medicine for diabetes and also beta blockers have all been found to make lichen planus worse for some patients. Eating hot or spicy food can also make the patches in your mouth feel uncomfortable.

Treatment for this oral health condition

Unfortunately, although the symptoms of lichen planus can be treated to make it less uncomfortable, the condition is currently untreatable in terms of removing it from the body altogether. If it is indicative of issues with the immune system then this in itself can be treated, and if it is being worsened by taking different medications then alternatives or a change in dosage can be explored.

regular dental check-ups

As we celebrate National Smile Month in the UK, we’re taking a moment to highlight the importance of preventative dental care.

There are very few walks of life where the saying ‘prevention is better than cure’ doesn’t ring true, and dentistry is no exception to this. Although there is a wide range of dental procedures that can be done to help mend damaged teeth or poorly gums, keeping them in good health and trying to keep issues such as decay, plaque and poor oral health at bay is definitely the best approach.

Ensure you book regular dental check-ups 

One of the key messages from the Oral Health Foundation in aid of National Smile Month is to visit your dentist regularly. If you are a healthy adult with no major dental issues, then it is recommended that you visit the dentist at least twice a year so that you can have regular checks on your teeth and gums. Many of us wouldn’t think twice about booking our car in for a regular service or MOT, and the same is true for our mouths… it is just more important not to let these dental check-ups slip.

If your regular dental check-ups yield anything to be concerned about or anything that regular brushing and flossing is not keeping at bay, you should consider visiting the hygienist too. These visits are typically twice or up to four times per year, depending on the nature of the work that needs doing.

Having regular appointments with the team here at CK Dental can help spot the warning signs of some oral conditions that can be quite serious if left untreated. Conditions such as gingivitis and periodontitis can cause long-standing issues for the teeth and gums, but with quick diagnosis they can be nipped in the bud before they cause too much damage.

What can happen if your mouth is neglected

Gingivitus is another name for gum disease, whereby gums become red, swollen, inflamed and sore. This can also result in bad breath and can lead to bleeding gums. If left untreated, gum disease can damage the teeth and may eventually lead to tooth loss.

Periodontitis is another condition you would want to avoid, as this if where the gums recede away from the tooth, leaving the lower parts and the root exposed. If allowed to progress, this can affect the bone too and can also lead to tooth loss. This is a common condition, with over three-quarters of adults in the UK thought to have experienced it. It can be treated, but if ignored can lead to some or all of your teeth having to be removed.

Following the ‘prevention is better than cure’ adage has got to be sensible when the cure for letting conditions such as these take hold is a set of dentures in place of your neglected teeth. Call 0117 905 9866 to book a check-up at our Bristol dentist clinic.

Denplan Free Electric Toothbrush

Each patient that joins a Denplan payment plan in June 2019 will receive a Philips Sonicare EasyClean electric toothbrush.

Worth £45 and with many features including unique sonic technology that removes two times’ more plaque than a manual toothbrush, Denplan patients of CK Dental in Bristol can be safe in the knowledge they are ensuring optimal oral health in the comfort of their own homes.

To qualify, new or reinstating patients’ application* (submitted in practice, by post, phone or online) must be received by us between 1st and 30th June 2019 and with a care start date of June, July or August 2019.

Click here to read our full Terms and Conditions – https://www.denplan.co.uk/sonicaretcs. Patients under the age of eight at the time of their Denplan for Children registration aren’t eligible due to the recommendations of the toothbrush’s manufacturer.

For more information on our Denplan dental payment plans, call 0117 905 9866.

family dentistry in Bristol

Parents have a tough job trying to ensure that their children get the right amount of each of the food groups. It can be tricky enough managing your own shopping basket, especially if shopping with children in tow. It can also be hard knowing what snacks are being handed out while your children are in the care of others, such as friends, family or professional childcare providers.

According to a recent BBC report, ‘parents are at risk of being misled by “manipulative marketing campaigns” and “crafty messaging” on children’s snacks’. We all know the importance of ensuring we weave in sufficient fruit and vegetables into our diet, and some children’s snacks that claim to contain a portion of fruit or vegetables, do not contain the amount they say they do.

The report’s authors assessed a wide collection of children’s ‘healthy’ snacks, and found a number of issues which means that these snacks could be much worse than parent were expecting for children’s waistline and also for their teeth:

  • Many contained less fruit and vegetables compared with what their labels promised
  • Unsweetened fruit juice was often misleading – even though sugar had not necessarily been added to these drinks, the process of extracting juice releases natural sugars which can cause tooth decay and gum disease
  • Children’s yoghurts could sometimes be misleading – these may not contain pure sugar, but were often sweetened with fruit purees, which contain a lot of natural sugars.
  • Snacks labelled as ‘100% fruit’ were often heavily processed, which also releases a lot of the natural sugars. These snacks tend to be sticky as well, which means they can stick to teeth in hard to reach areas in the mouth and can cause prolonged exposure to sugars which can damage teeth and gums.

Report such as this reiterates how challenging it is for parents to ensure they are giving their children snacks that aren’t going to cause problems for their mouths. The report went on to explain: ‘Some people will see processed fruits as a healthy alternative snack but the sugars in highly processed fruit and fruit juice are already broken down and so can be absorbed by the body more quickly. This means children may become hungrier more quickly and these free sugars also contribute to tooth damage and tooth decay.’

Here at CK Dental, in our family dentistry work we recognise these challenges, and believe parents can help mitigate by encouraging children to brush their teeth regularly, at least twice daily, and also by choosing drinks such as water, over fruit juices and other flavoured drinks which contain a much higher sugar content. If possible, encouraging children to eat three meals per day at set meal times, rather than grazing and snacking, is helpful. Snacking increases exposure to harmful sugars.

Committing to regular dental check-ups is also an essential part of maintaining good oral health for a lifetime. Call 0117 905 9866 to find out more about our family dentistry options.

sensitive teeth

Sensitive teeth – whether a mild twinge or severe pain – is one of the most common complaints we see at our Bristol dentist practice. If you’re actually dreading the approach of Summer and hot weather treats such as ice creams, cold drinks and ice lollies, then it’s time to seek treatment.

Teeth sensitivity is painful. It arrives swiftly causing a lot of discomfort but also ebbs away quickly once the catalyst has been removed. It is estimated that one in eight people in the UK suffers from sensitive teeth, so if this is a problem for you then you are not alone. Here at CK Dental, we look at what causes teeth to be sensitive and how the condition can be managed.

So why do some people suffer from sensitive teeth?

One of the reasons that teeth can become sensitive is if the enamel (the white protective coating on the outside of your teeth) becomes damaged or worn away. It can also be caused if the root becomes exposed, as the root contains more nerve endings. Sometimes this is unavoidable and some people are just unlucky.

Others can exacerbate the risk of developing sensitive teeth by brushing too hard (too often or with a very hard brush). For those of us who grind our teeth (either subconsciously in our sleep or when we are stressed), this can also put us at risk of developing sensitive teeth as this can wear away the protective enamel.

How to reduce teeth sensitivity?

You can but softer toothbrushes which are gentler on damaged tooth enamel. You can also buy special toothpaste which is designed to help reduce the level of sensitivity in the teeth. Dentists can also put you on a high fluoride treatment plan which can help. This can be in the form of toothpaste or mouthwash, but also fluoride gels or varnish which are applied directly to the teeth.

A specially designed dental mouth guard can help prevent teeth grinding. If tooth decay is causing tooth sensitivity, seek treatment as soon as possible.

If you are suffering from sensitive teeth and want to speak to a dentist about it, call 0117 905 9866 to make an appointment at CK Dental so that your teeth can be assessed, and your options can be discussed.

dental phobic patients

Many people are nervous about visiting the dentist. Often this is not based on a negative experience but is a worry or concern that stems from what they believe may or may not happen to them when they are there. Dental anxiety usually relates to feelings of loss of control or not knowing what to expect from the process or procedure.

Nowadays many of us are connected to a multitude of social media platforms we use these platforms to source information gain advice and share opinions. For those of us who are nervous about visiting the dentist, social media platforms can offer the opportunity to reach out to others for honest opinions and what they may encounter on a trip to the dentist.

The following are from a parent-based community, where parents who were nervous about visiting the dentist reached out to other mums for reassurance help and advice.

“Hello mums, I am going to the dentist in the morning to have a wisdom tooth removed and am [scared], I’ve never had a tooth out before. I have stocked up on paracetamol and ibuprofen but what else should I be getting? Also, do you think it would be ok if I took some headphones so I can listen to music and not hear the sound of drills or whatever else they use?”

It is interesting to see that many of the responses were supportive, helpful and very positive. Many cited positive experiences of visiting the dentist and shared their thoughts on how best to approach the appointment.

“It’s really quick and I promise it doesn’t hurt. The numbing injection is worse than the procedure!”

“I had mine out in January and was [scared] too. I took headphones and had Spotify ready but honestly didn’t need it, you don’t hear anything… I wouldn’t dread it again that’s for sure.”

For some people, receiving help or advice anonymously from a group of non-dental professionals may offer them the most reassurance, as this is perceived to be completely neutral. The only issue with using a public forum to answer questions such as these, you are not getting expert advice, just simply the opinions of your peers. While these can be helpful and experiential, they will not always know exactly what to expect from different practices.

Options available for dental phobic patients

Although asking for help via forums such as this can be helpful for some, for others, simply talking openly to the dentist about fears or concerns is a good way to alleviate these concerns. At CK Dental, your dentist can put your mind at rest by explaining the procedure and helping you understand exactly what to expect and how you can expect to feel. Here we pride ourselves in helping patients feel at ease and always try to understand their fears if they are concerned about any procedure they require.

For those patients suffering from extreme dental anxiety, we can also perform treatments under sedation and because our clinic is based in a leading private hospital, we are able to offer dental phobic patients the option of general anaesthetic dentistry. Call 0117 905 9866 or email us at info@ckdental.co.uk for more information.

Bristol family dentists

As a nation, we are becoming increasingly aware of our impact on the environment and many of us are looking for ways in which to live more sustainably. From the 5p plastic bag charge in supermarkets to those of us who try to go ‘plastic free’ when purchasing packaged goods, it is something that many of us are taking very seriously nowadays.

Toothbrushes are traditionally a throwaway commodity, made almost entirely of plastic and used for a relatively short amount of time before they are disposed of. It is estimated that more than 2 billion plastic toothbrushes ending up in landfill sites every year. They are not something that is typically recyclable, so this has left some consumers feeling concerned about the ongoing environmental impact of cleaning their teeth. Here at Bristol family dentists CK Dental, we wanted to share some information about how to be more environmentally aware when making choices about your toothbrushes.

Eco-friendly toothbrushes

There are in fact eco-friendly toothbrushes and dental care products that are designed specifically with environmental impact in mind. These toothbrushes are made using recycled plastic and/or more sustainable products such as bamboo.

Avoiding plastic nasties

Amongst their environmental credentials, the eco-friendly toothbrushes are often BPA free, which means they don’t contain certain chemicals which are believed to be harmful to humans. BPA is found in many plastic products, ranging from plastic bottles to toothbrushes, and with increased awareness of what BPA is and what it does, have come an increasing amount of people who are keen to avoid it where possible. “Some research has shown that BPA can seep into food or beverages from containers that are made with BPA. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects of BPA on the brain, behaviour and prostate gland of foetuses, infants and children. Additional research suggests a possible link between BPA and increased blood pressure.”

Not just the toothbrush

There are more sustainable toothpastes and floss on the market too, all of which can be sourced from specialist stores and online. Some are even making their way into mainstream shops now too. For those of us who are more ethically aware, these promise to contain more sustainable ingredients that are sourced and supplied in a more humane way. These toothpaste products contain more naturally derived products and ingredients from ethically managed supply chains.

This just goes to show that more ethical and sustainable products are available across so many aspects of our lives; we just need to know where to look for them. If throwing away plastic toothbrushes doesn’t sit comfortably with you, there are many more environmentally sustainable options out there to explore.

Bristol dentist

Some people consider a packet of chewing gum an essential component of the handbag or pocket, while others find the sight of others chewing gum somewhat annoying. But what’s the science behind gum? Is it good for your teeth or are there hidden issues we should be aware of? Here at Bristol dentist CK Dental, we have set to work myth-busting the humble gum.

Important to check the ingredients

All gum is flavoured, whether this is minty and fresh or the more exotic flavours typically associated with bubble gum, but it is the nature of these flavourings that we need to keep an eye on.

If the flavouring contains sugars then you need to be careful as this will put your mouth at risk. Not only will you be exposing your teeth to sugars, acids and other harmful substances at meal times, if you chew sugared gum between meals then this is prolonging your teeth to sugar exposure throughout the day. The sugar in gum essentially feeds bacteria that live within the mouth, enabling it to thrive. This will in time cause damage to your teeth and gums.

And gum without the sugar?

Sugar-free gum is different though, in fact, the Oral Health Foundation suggests if it is not possible to brush your teeth between meals then chewing sugar-free gum once you have eaten can be beneficial for your teeth and gums. “Your teeth are more at risk of acid attack after you have eaten. The acid is produced by plaque bacteria, and the sugars in our food and drink, and it slowly dissolves away the enamel and dentine of the tooth, to produce a hole or ‘cavity’.

The actual process of chewing gum actually causes the mouth to produce more saliva which helps it wash away the harmful bacteria that can grow within the mouth. Not only that, some artificial sweeteners have been found to prevent tooth decay, so far from causing damage to your teeth, they are actually helping it: “Studies have found that chewing gums sweetened with the sugar alcohol xylitol are more effective than other sugar-free gums at preventing tooth decay. This is because xylitol prevents the growth of the bacteria that cause tooth decay and bad breath.”

So, there you have it. Sugar-free gum can bring real benefits to your mouth if chewed in moderation between meals. Gum that contains sugars should be avoided, as this can lead to tooth decay or gum disease.

cosmetic dentistry and social media

It is no secret that we are living in the era of the selfie. A quick glance through social media and you’ll see endless self-portraits of individuals, pouting into their camera phone, having applied the necessary filters to portray themselves as the ‘best’ version of themselves. So just what are they tweaking? Interesting, many are using filters to enhance the look of their teeth and may be fueling the demand for cosmetic dentistry procedures.

Cosmetic dentistry: try before you buy

In a report published recently by the BBC, young people spoke of how the apps they used to upload pictures of themselves to social media gave them easy access to tweak and modify their appearance. The resulting images sowed the seeds for them of what they could actually look like if these tweaks were made in real life. The apps essentially give them a chance to view the results before making a decision about which cosmetic dentistry procedures to opt for.

One user says her constant use of a selfie editor app has made her consider certain cosmetic procedures: “I use it every time I take a photo. I hate my chin so sometimes make that smaller, smooth out my face and whiten my teeth… Before I was ‘meh’ about my teeth but now I want them professionally whitened after seeing how they look post-edit. Ideally, I’d have my chin, lips, teeth [altered cosmetically] and liposuction. But whitening is my main goal as it’s least invasive and least costly. I want to look like an edited version of myself, essentially.”

What results can you expect

There are many things that can be done to help people whose teeth are affecting their self-confidence. For those who are concerned about the colour of their teeth, these can be professionally cleaned or whitened to help remove a build up of plaque or stains caused by things we consume, such as red wine, tea or coffee.

Some fixes are more long term than others. Teeth whitening, for example, is a relatively short-term fix, but also one of the least expensive treatments you can choose to improve the appearance of your teeth. More expensive and more invasive steps include procedures such as dental veneers or crowns, where teeth are permanently altered to improve how they look.

If you wish to change the look of your teeth above and beyond the use of filters and photographic tweaks, get in touch with the team here at CK Dental who can talk you through the best options based on what you are looking to achieve. Call us on 0117 905 9866 to arrange a consultation.

fruit and tooth decay

It has long since been recommended to consume five portions of fruit and vegetables per day to ensure that you’re giving your body enough vitamins and minerals found within these foods. Although dentists have warned about the acidity of some fruits (citrus fruits in particular) causing harm to teeth enamel, new links have been found between some fruits and a reduction in harmful bacteria inside the mouth.

Scientists have found that blueberries and cranberries contain polyphenols, which is a naturally occurring component that fights harmful bacteria that can live in the mouth. Essentially, the polyphenols make the environment unsuitable for this bacteria to cling effectively to the teeth, meaning it is unable to stick around and cause too much harm.

HARVESTING POLYPHENOLS

Although fruits contain natural sugars, the good news for polyphenols is that these are actually sugar-free. So, if used in isolation, do not cause any of the unwanted side effects that sugar can cause the mouth.

The other exciting revelation is that these polyphenols can be extracted and added to water or oral care products, therefore it is not only possible to ingest them by consuming the fruit. Dr Nigel Carter who is the Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation explains that polyphenols “can be added to oral care products in several ways … They can dissolve in water so can be used to create healthy drinks… and mouthwash could benefit from this ingredient, as could toothpastes”.

Development of these polyphenols is still in its infancy at the moment so more research will need to be done into the practicalities of this, but it certainly looks very positive.

BE MINDFUL OF NATURAL SUGAR CONTENT

Experts here at CK Dental are keen to remind patients that although this is very good news that these fruits can help kill harmful bacteria, it is important not to forget that all fruits contain natural sugars, so do need to be consumed in moderation. Anyone who has eaten a cranberry before will know that these are not particularly sweet so therefore do not contain as much natural sugar as many fruits. Blueberries, by comparison, tend to be much sweeter and their sugar content is unsurprisingly much higher. According to the Oral Health Foundation, “one portion of cranberries contains up to four grams of natural sugar (equivalent to one teaspoon) while a serving of blueberries is nearly ten grams.”

If you like the sound of these benefits and wish to weave cranberries and blueberries into your diet, it is advised to eat them at meal times rather than as a snack, as this minimises the amount of time that your teeth are exposed to other components contained within them, such as the naturally occurring sugar content and acidity.