Bristol Dentist

As we look forward to the new year – and with it our new year’s resolutions – the Oral Health Foundation is keen to encourage us to donate to the Save a Smile appeal, a charity which aims to help educate and inspire people to take better care of their oral hygiene.

As with all charities, the resources they need, the material they use, the ways in which they can share their messages and advice; all tale time and money to facilitate effectively. And that’s where you come in. Many people haven’t heard of the Save and Smile appeal, so here at Bristol dentist CK Dental we wanted to do our bit to help raise awareness of this worthy cause.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation Dr Nigel Carter explains that each donation “can help fund some of the programmes, campaigns and resources that provide everyone with the tools they need to properly take care of their oral health.” Dr Carter goes on to explain: “In 2020, we will focus on giving these issues the urgent attention they require to help improve the quality of life for millions. But we cannot do that without you.”

What can your donation help achieve?

Just a modest donation can help the Save a Smile charity produce leaflets and information that can be shared with community groups, educating about how to achieve and maintain a healthy smile. A larger donation enables community outreach care such as home visits to patients suffering from serious oral illness such as mouth cancer or can help produce materials that can be used to educate young people in our schools and colleges. A substantial donation can help the charity provide larger level education for patients in the greatest need, such as the elderly or those who have complicated medical needs and as such, need a different approach to help get these important messages across.

Whatever you feel willing and able to donate, your help will be welcome. And as many of us look to the new year as a way of giving something back after the inevitable excesses of Christmas, we wanted to help spread the word of the good work this charity is doing.

Bristol family dentistry

According to new research published recently, youngsters should only be drinking water or milk up until they are five years of age, due to the damage that regularly consuming other drinks can do to their teeth. According to the Healthy Drinks, Healthy Kids research, drinking things other than milk and water doesn’t only affect children’s teeth, but can negatively affect other areas of their health and overall well-being as well.

There are a number of concerns with other drinks, even those that are marketed especially as being for children, but the sugar content is the concern that keeps rearing its head. In fact, “a panel of scientists have issued the new nutritional guidelines which suggest children should not be given any drink with sugar or other sweeteners in it.”

Here at CK Dental in Bristol, we concur with the report’s conclusion that the nutritional benefits that a combination of milk and water can bring, means there is no need to consume other drinks at all.

Benefits of milk

Milk is what children begin drinking when they are first born and there is a very good reason that parents are encouraged to keep milk in their children’s diet for as long as possible. Full fat milk is packed with good calories, calcium which helps bones and teeth and also important proteins. There are a variety of other vitamins and minerals found within milk that help their bodies and minds develop.

Benefits of water

Water is one of the few drinks which does not contain acidity, therefore it is not damaging tooth enamel. As well as the hydration credentials of water, there are no calories and no sugar in water, so it really can do children no harm at all.

Some parents hold the misconception that as long as they are brushing their children’s teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste then it doesn’t matter too much if they are drinking sugary drinks. Although following a thorough oral hygiene routine is definitely recommended, it cannot guarantee to fix all problems associated with the consumption of sugary drinks.

Some of the damage will start to take place between meals, so brushing at the start of the day and before bed will only be able to help so much.

For more advice on good oral health for children, call 0117 905 9866 to book an appointment at our Bristol family dentistry clinic.

mouth cancer

Last month was Mouth Cancer Action Month, an awareness-raising initiative which aims to educate people more about mouth cancer and also help prevent and treat the disease.

According to the Oral Health Foundation, as many as 8,300 people in the UK each year are diagnosed with mouth cancer. This number is increasing year on year and is responsible for more deaths than testicular cancer and cervical cancer combined. The difference, however, is that both cervical cancer and testicular cancer have benefitted from some very effective awareness-building activity, which has really helped educate individuals about what to look out for in terms of symptoms. Mouth Cancer Action Month hopes to raise awareness of mouth cancer in a similar way.

In terms of awareness building, as with many nasty illnesses, the sooner you detect that something isn’t quite right, the sooner you can get it checked out – and if necessary, begin treatment. Tackling mouth cancer early gives people the best chance of survival.

The objectives of Mouth Cancer Awareness Month include:

  • Helping people know and recognise the symptoms of mouth cancer
  • Encouraging them to take greater awareness and responsibility for their oral
  • Encouraging people to regularly check for unusual changes inside their mouths
  • Being proactive if you believe you have found something unusual and get this checked out by a dentist quickly

The kind of unusual changes in your mouth that you should be looking out for includes red or white patches in the cheeks, mouth or throat, mouth ulcers that you just can’t seem to shift, or lumps/swollen areas in the mouth, head or neck area. If you notice any of these then don’t wait for your usual dental check-up, book in as quickly as possible. Best case scenario
is that it will be nothing to worry about but put your mind at rest by getting it checked by an expert.

It is widely recognised that smoking is one of the biggest contributing factors to mouth, throat, neck and many other cancers, so if you are smoker it is sensible to be even more vigilant.

For more advice or if you have any concerns, call 0117 905 9866 to book an appointment at our Bristol dental clinic.

gum disease

Gum disease is a thoroughly unpleasant condition which causes gums to become inflamed, painful and sometimes infected. As nasty as it is in isolation, it is also believed to be linked with many other more serious conditions, and a recent study has revealed that it is also linked with early-onset labour.

According to a report published recently in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, women who went into early labour were much more likely to have gum disease than not. Almost half of the women in the study (45%) who went into premature labour had gum disease, compared with 29% of the sample who did not. Periodontology is the study of the specialised system of hard and soft tissues that supports your teeth and maintains their position in the jaw.

This study supports many others which indicate that oral health has a big impact on our overall health and wellbeing.

Dr Nigel Carter, the Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, reflected on these findings and says “the health of our mouth can have a direct influence on many parts of our general health. This includes the chances of having a safer birth. Many women find it more difficult to maintain good oral health during pregnancy.  This is because hormonal changes during this time can leave gums more vulnerable to plaque and more likely to be sore and swollen. They may even bleed.”

As many pregnant women find it more difficult to keep their teeth and gums healthy during pregnancy, ensuring that women know how best to prevent gum disease and how to recognise the signs will help them take necessary steps to try and keep their oral hygiene as good as possible during pregnancy and afterwards.

The advice for everyone, not just pregnant women, for looking after their teeth and gums effectively includes:

  • Brushing teeth at least twice a day
  • Using fluoride toothpaste
  • Flossing or using an interdental brush to get in between the gaps in your teeth
  • Not smoking
  • Consuming alcohol in moderation

Taking preventative measures to remain healthy

Here at CK Dental in Bristol, we always advise our patients that prevention is better than cure. Looking after your oral health and doing everything you can to prevent gum disease is always going to be a better option than trying to fix it once it has occurred, especially if it has brought with it more serious medical complications.

If you do, however, feel you are experiencing symptoms of gum disease then please do get in touch to discuss the most suitable treatment options. Call us on 0117 905 9866 to book a consultation.

dental check-up

Trends indicate that fewer people are booking themselves in to get their teeth checked regularly by a dentist these days, and here at CK Dental we feel this pattern is a cause for concern. Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is extremely important, not just because we only get one set of adult teeth so really should do our best to look after them, but because it is known that poor oral health can have a detrimental effect on many other areas of people’s health.

Oral health research

The Oral Health Foundation has recently commissioned a piece of research to explore why fewer people are visiting the dentist these days for a routine dental check-up, and their findings are interesting. Survey data indicates that cost is the biggest barrier, with over one-third of Britons (36%) admitting that they are choosing not to visit the dentist to save themselves money.

This a big increase versus the previous time this data was collected, with just 17% citing financial concerns in the previous year. There are other factors to consider as well as cost; 22% cite feeling anxious about visiting the dentist as a barrier, 18% fear getting bad news and 8% indicate that work commitments get in the way of their dental visits.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, the Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, believes cost is a factor that the government must not underestimate when looking at why the number of people visiting the dentist may be in decline. He is keen to stress that it is his belief that the government should not progress with its plan to raise dental charges by 5%, which is the current proposal. He says “the cost of visiting an NHS dentist is increasing far beyond that of inflation and pushing many of the population to breaking point. The decision to yet again raise the cost of a dental check-up will hit the poorest areas of society even harder and force even more people to avoid dental visits.”

Young people worst affected

The survey suggests that the worst affected demographic are younger people, who are really feeling the financial strain. It has been well documented that there have been some marked changes to the amount of disposable income young people have these days. Challenges such as significant increases in university tuition fees, increasing rental costs and overall increases in the cost of living are meaning that some young people are now prioritising other things over their oral health.

At CK Dental, we understand that price is often an issue for patients, so we offer dental treatment plans that help spread the cost of routine oral healthcare. Call us on 0117 905 9866 to find out more.

dental implants relaxation tips

Dental implants are where a prosthetic replacement for a broken took is inserted into the mouth, fixed to the jaw bone or the skull. They are used commonly in the UK as a very effective way of addressing severely broken or missing teeth. Crowns, dentures or bridges can then be fixed to the implant, depending on the nature of the issue.

Here at CK Dental, we know that many patients feel anxious or nervous ahead of procedures such as this, so here are some handy tips to help you feel more relaxed while you’re having the work done.

Dental implant relaxation tips

  • It can feel like quite a long procedure for the patient, as you will be in the chair for quite a while. As such, bring along your favourite music or audiobooks to pass the time and also to block out the sounds of what is happening in the room and/or your mouth. You will be fully sedated, so won’t be able to feel pain, but something to distract from the sensation of someone working in your mouth helps divert your attention.
  • With regards to sedation, the majority of work like this is done under a local anaesthetic, whereby you will still be awake when the work is done, but you won’t be able to feel it. If you are suffering from dental anxiety, however, speak to us about the possibilities of general anaesthetic, and we will be able to have a talk you about the pros and cons associated with this approach.
  • Stock up on painkillers and comforting soft foods at home. When you get home, you will be in a bit of discomfort, so having some paracetamol or ibuprofen and some comforting soft foods such as soup will be helpful. Getting these stocked up in advance is sensible as it is one less thing to think about when you’re on the way home.
  • If you’re worried that you will feel a bit discombobulated after the procedure, arrange for a friend or family member to come with you so they can drive you home. If this isn’t possible, a taxi instead. This will help remove any external worries about the logistics of getting home to relax afterwards.
  • And that’s the last bit of advice – make sure you clear your diary and give yourself a good few hours afterwards to relax. You’ll feel a bit sore so take the time to curl up and look after yourself while the anaesthetic wears off.

Our practitioners are skilled in making patients feel more at ease during their dental experiences. If you are worried or feeling anxious, the best thing you can do is talk to us. We can help reassure you and make you feel more relaxed about the whole thing. Call CK Dental on 0117 905 9866 and arrange a consultation with our lead dentist Cornelius Krause.

dental phobia treatment options

Dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias we share and almost half of all British people say they fear going to the dentist, triggered by the thought of needles, drills or even just the general dental setting and a routine check-up. Worryingly, this results in almost 12% experiencing such acute anxiety that they will avoid visiting a dentist for as long as possible – often until it becomes an emergency.

Dental anxiety typically results in poor oral health, whether through missed dental appointments and not taking care of your teeth properly at home. Combined with smoking or high sugar consumption, this can result in gum disease and cavities that can have a profound impact on a person’s life. Self-confidence in social settings can be affected and simple actions such as eating and chewing can become challenging.

The profound impact of dental phobia

Dental phobia is no joke as it can have serious consequences. There is a growing body of evidence linking gum disease to other health concerns that affect the body as a whole. Gum disease can increase your risk of developing serious health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and dementia as well as causing problems in pregnancy.

In terms of dental treatment, skipping regular check-ups and putting off going to the dentist in the short term, often results in the patient requiring the complex and often lengthy procedures, such as tooth extraction, root canal or crowns, that was their main fear all along.

Your dental phobia treatment options

The good news is that there are steps you can take to tackle your dental phobia. Here are some of the dental phobia treatment options you could explore:

  • Therapy to address dental anxiety: one option to overcoming this or any phobia is cognitive behavioural therapy, known as CBT. One recent study carried out by researchers at King’s College London found that four-fifths of dental-phobic patients who attended the CBT service at King’s Dental Institute were able to have dental treatment without sedation
  • Dental treatment under sedation: also known as conscious sedation, this entails using gas and air or sedative drugs to relax the patients while they undergo treatment
  • General anaesthetic dentistry: for very severe cases of dental anxiety, performing the procedure under general anaesthetic might be the most appropriate option, particularly if the planned procedure is very lengthy and likely to be uncomfortable for the patient. This is offered by very few dental practices because it has to be performed in a hospital setting, but our dental practice in Bristol is situated in the local Nuffield hospital and we are able to offer this option to our patients.

At CK Dental, our caring and compassionate team of dental practitioners aim to make the whole experience as calm and relaxed as possible, as well as offering a range of options for tackling dental phobia. For more information on how you can overcome dental anxiety and remain smiling, call CK Dental on 0117 905 9866 and arrange a consultation with our lead dentist Cornelius Krause.

risk of tooth decay

According to a new study which looked at the oral health of the UK’s top athletes and risk of tooth decay, despite the fact that this group claim to meticulously brush their teeth well each day, they are exhibiting greater incidence of gum and tooth disease compared with others.

The research was undertaken by University College London (UCL) Eastman Dental Institute and was published in the British Dental Journal. It involved members from 11 of the UK GB teams and covered 352 individuals who either competed at Olympic level or some other professional class. The theme of the study was dental habits coupled with an assessment of dental records.

Respondents claim to have good oral health routines, with “almost 100 per cent reported brushing their teeth the recommended twice a day, compared to only 75 per cent of the general population.” The incidence of flossing was also high in this group; with over double the rate of the general population (44% of the athletes reportedly floss each day, compared with 21% of the general population). As you might expect, other factors such as the amount of exercise undertaken each week and the diets these athletes consumed were also more favourable.

Why are athletes struggling with their oral health?

Report authors suggest the reason for these issues is the energy drinks consumed to aid performance when practising and playing. One UCL researcher commented, “they use sports drinks, energy gels and bars frequently during training and competition… the sugar in these products increases the risk of tooth decay and the acidity of them increases the risk of erosion.”

So, despite working hard to cleanse their teeth and gums at the start and end of each day, the amount of sugar contained within the bars, gels and drinks was having such a detrimental effect that regular brushing wasn’t able to fully mitigate the damage caused between brushes.

What can be done to help?

According to the report, “researchers said athletes need to take more steps to look after their teeth, such as high fluoride toothpaste”, which is something that here at CK Dental in Bristol we recommend to all our patients. This, coupled with a reduced reliance upon heavily sugared products, would be a good step towards helping their oral health. It is likely though that for anyone who relies upon the energy boost provided by these products, they are not going to be very keen to cut these out altogether. If that is the case, making time for interim brushing, after lunch or soon after consuming one of these bars/drinks/gels would be a sensible idea.

For more oral health advice, call 0117 905 9866 to arrange a check-up appointment at CK Dental.

gum disease treatment

We all know it is important to look after our teeth and gums and make regular appointments to see the dentist. This is very important to ensure our oral health is up to scratch but looking after our mouths effectively could also have a knock-on effect on our overall health and well-being as well.

There are a number of serious health issues which appear to share links with oral health, including:

  • Strokes
  • Diabetes
  • Hearth conditions
  • Arthritis

And here is what is known about these links.

Oral health and ill health

For patients who are suffering from diabetes, it is not uncommon for doctors to see that they have poor oral health as well. It has been recognised that diabetes can have a negative effect on your oral health but it is now also believed that it can work in reverse too, with poor oral health contributing to diabetes.

According to a recently published report, “there is evidence that suggests that if you have severe gum disease that isn’t being treated, this can increase your levels of HbA1c.” HbA1c is the amount of sugar you have in your bloodstream and doctors believe that patients who have untreated gum disease are much more likely to have higher glucose content in their blood.

According to the British Heart Foundation, there are also links between gum disease and heart attacks. Although more research is needed to test these links, it is believed that bacteria from the mouths of those with gum disease can contribute to heart conditions. It is not known exactly whether this bacteria causes conditions to arise, or worsens existing conditions, however, there is a suspected link and researchers are working to understand more about this.

Oral bacteria is also something that Arthritis UK are investigating, due to the suspected link between the development of rheumatoid arthritis and a build-up of nasty oral bacteria. “Arthritis Research UK is currently funding research to determine whether mouth and gut bacteria can ‘trick’ the immune system to attack the body’s own tissues, causing rheumatoid arthritis.” There are suspicions that the bacteria act as a catalyst for the development of the condition.

What does this mean for patients?

Here at CK Dental, we find the results of this study interesting, as it opens the cause and effect debate again. Assessment of these different conditions for this particular study was undertaken by Duke University’s School of Nursing in the USA, who evaluated past studies to establish whether or not a person’s oral health affects the rate of cognitive decline.

Certainly, although available data is currently limited, it does look as if poor oral hygiene probably contributes to the worsening of some serious conditions and seeking gum disease treatment as early as possible is essential.

Call 0117 905 9866 if you would like advice, diagnosis or gum disease treatment.

dental hygienist check-up

For most of us, visiting the dentist is fairly commonplace; it is something we have done since childhood and generally speaking we know what to expect from a routine appointment. In recent years there has been a much greater uptake in patients booking to see a dental hygienist as well, so for anyone who hasn’t been to a hygienist appointment before, here at CK Dental we want to give you a clearer idea of what to expect.

When we were young, dental hygienists didn’t exist – your dentist would have been responsible for cleaning and polishing your teeth as part of the appointment. In recent years, more of more dental hygienists have joined the profession and they are able to help support patients and dentists with their expertise.

Julie Rosse, president-elect of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, explains; “the dental hygienist is a vital member of the dental team, an expert in periodontal care (care of the gums) who can help prevent problems arising.”

Their support enables dentists to focus on the bigger picture and the more specialist areas that require their knowledge and expertise.

Your dental hygienist check-up covers

In a nutshell, what is a dental hygienist responsible for? There are in fact many things…

  • Generally making sure your teeth and gums are clean and are being looked after properly
  • Keeping an eye on your gums to check for warning signs of more serious conditions such as gingivitis
  • Talking you through how to get the best from products such as floss
  • Monitoring plaque levels and helping to remove any build up
  • Answering any questions you may have about your oral health and how best to look after your teeth and gums
  • Advising on lifestyle choices which may be causing damage to your teeth and gums, for example, smoking or eating/drinking a lot of sugary things
  • Small scale procedures, such as tooth whitening, x-rays, tooth scaling

Your dentist will keep a close eye on your oral health during routine appointments and will advise whether or not they believe you should also book to see a hygienist. If you’re interested in booking a check-up with our dental hygienist, call 0117 905 9866.