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.

Evidence from research undertaken by two independent medical studies has indicated links between gum disease and two serious health complaints.

Gum disease is well known for its immediate issues; it causes swollen, bleeding gums, bad breath and long-term problems for your teeth. It is surprisingly common, with around 90% of people in the UK suffering with some form of gum disease on one or more occasion in their lives, and around 45% of the population experiencing gum disease at any one time. Worryingly, the recent findings suggest that bacteria associated with gum disease is linked both to Alzheimer’s disease and, for some women, the onset of early labour.

Links between gum disease and Alzheimer’s

Scientists have discovered that bacteria present in the mouth of gum disease suffers can actually travel through the body and enter the brain. The study, which examined the brain cells of 53 adult Alzheimer’s patients, found that a massive 96% of them had this type of bacteria present in the brain.

Encouragingly, there is evidence to suggest that there is a drug which can block the migration of the dangerous bacteria to the brain. Although preliminary testing has been done on mice, not humans, results have been extremely positive, and it is hoped that similar results for humans will follow.

Nevertheless, it is always better to prevent rather than cure and keep gum disease at bay.

Links between gum disease and premature labour

The other recent study which has discovered a link with gum disease was one which evaluated pregnant women whose waters broke early. Almost half of women who went into labour before the 37th week of pregnancy (which is when they are considered ‘full term’) were found to have gum disease.

Gum disease creates plaque, which generates bacteria. It was discovered that this type of bacteria could travel through the bloodstream and enter the placenta, causing inflammation. The implication of the inflammation was that it caused the amniotic sac that contains the unborn baby to break too soon, hence causing labour to begin before the body is naturally ready for the baby to be born.

How to avoid gum disease

The good news is that maintaining a good standard of oral hygiene is one of the most effective ways of avoiding gum disease. Brushing your teeth twice a day for around two minutes per brush and flossing regularly are recommended as part of this routine, as are avoiding food and drink that can cause a build-up of plaque and damage to tooth enamel.

Better standards of oral hygiene are easy to achieve and if this has the added benefit of reducing the risk of developing serious medical conditions, then it is a small price to pay for the peace of mind that you are doing your best to minimise risk.

If you want to know more about preventing gum disease or are concerned that you may have symptoms already, get in touch with the team here at CK Dental who will be happy to talk to you and assess whether or not you need treatment.

dental terms

Recently, the Dental Defence Union (DDU) advised dental professionals to use plain English rather than dental ‘jargon’ that could confuse patients. As the UK’s leading professional indemnity organisation, the DDU’s aim was to avoid potential misunderstandings that could result in a complaint or claim made against the dental professional.

However, as experts in dealing with patients suffering from dental anxiety, at CK Dental we believe that good communication is one of the hallmarks of calming nerves and ensuring a positive dental experience.

Leo Briggs, the deputy head of the DDU, commented in the article in the latest edition of the DDU journal that: “Jargon, acronyms and technical language are commonly used in dentistry. Because we are using the words day in day out, it can be difficult to distinguish what is and isn’t jargon.”

DENTAL TERMS THAT COULD BE CONFUSING TO PATIENTS

The DDU provided a list of dental terms that we dental professionals use commonly, but which might be confusing to patients:

Amalgam – dental amalgam is a material used to fill cavities in the teeth and which has been used in dentistry for over 150 years. It is often called ‘silver amalgam’ and is silver-coloured but actually consists of a combination of metals.

Composite – a composite tooth filling is an alternative filling material to amalgam. It has a number of advantages over amalgam but is mainly preferred because it is tooth coloured, making it much less visible.

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) – the temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects the upper and lower jaw to the temporal bones of the skull and TMD is a condition where the joint isn’t working correctly, often resulting in a number of problems. These include pain in the face or jaw, headaches, tenderness and swelling of the lower face, clicking or popping of the joint or a sensation where the jaw locks or becomes ‘stuck’.

Endodontic treatment – this refers to root canal treatment. This may be necessary to repair or even save a tooth that has become decayed. The root canal of the tooth refers to the nerve and pulp within the tooth which can become infected, leading to abscesses. During treatment, the nerve and pulp are removed and the tooth sealed, after which patients should experience no more pain or further problems from the affected tooth.

THE IMPORTANCE OF GOOD DENTAL COMMUNICATION

Leo Briggs went onto say in the article that by communicating clearly, patients gain “a greater sense of involvement in their own care” and that is at the heart of what we do at CK Dental in Bristol. Dental anxiety can be managed in a number of ways, but the first step is always to ensure that patients have a clear understanding of any treatment we recommend and what it entails.

Many of us have embarked on our New Year’s Resolutions to get into shape or lose weight this January, but if you’re a parent then ensure your new healthy eating habits extend to the whole family. At CK Dental in Bristol, we welcome the new initiative from Public Health England to combat the high sugar intake of the UK’s children.

According to the PHE, children as young as ten will have already consumed 18 years’ worth of sugar, resulting in a steep growth in childhood tooth extractions. This is why they launched their Change4Life campaign.

Oral health campaigners are welcoming the launch of the new Change4Life campaign, which aims to combat the high sugar intake of children across the UK. Often this can seem an overwhelming problem for parents to tackle, which is why the initiative advises simple, everyday swaps that will effectively reduce the amount of sugar your children are consuming. As well as oral health problems, we know that childhood sugar intake results in early onset obesity and the development of conditions such as diabetes in later life.

To help parents make smart but simple sugar swaps, the campaign identified four key ‘sugar occasions’ throughout the day and how best to tackle them:

  1. The Breakfast Swap: children get 8% of their daily sugar intake from sugary cereals so swap to a wholewheat biscuit cereal instead
  2. The Drink Swap: a staggering 17% of a kid’s sugar intake comes from the soft drinks they consume through the day, so try and buy sugar-free or no-added-sugar drinks, as well as swapping out some of those soft drinks for plain water if you can.
  3. The After School Swap: after a tiring day at school, many children come to rely on the sugar boost they get from the after school snack, whether it be a biscuit, cake or piece of confectionary. Fresh fruit and veg are best but you could also try dried fruit or nuts or low sugar packaged snacks.
  4. The Pudding Swap: offer fresh fruit or a low-fat, low-sugar yoghurt rather than ice cream or cake.

But remember, regular dental check-ups are also essential for preventing tooth decay as we monitor and care for your teeth as well as providing advice and help if you’re struggling to know how best to implement a good oral hygiene routine for you or your children.

tooth decay in children

We’ve just had Black Friday, the Bristol Christmas markets have opened, and festive adverts are everywhere… that can only mean one thing, Christmas is coming. Here at CK Dental, we love getting into the festive spirit, but take our duty as dental professionals very seriously. Each year, we try to ensure that our patients strike the right balance between enjoying festive indulgence and looking after their teeth effectively. It doesn’t have to mean you can’t enjoy the things you love, it is more a case of recognising the worst offenders and ensuring you keep your teeth and gums as healthy and clean as possible.

KNOW YOUR ENEMIES

It is a common misconception that some of the festive favourites aren’t as bad as we might think because they contain fruit. For the likes of Christmas cake, mince pies and Christmas pudding, this is far from the truth. These puddings all contain a lot of dried fruit, which is packed with sugar. They are also notoriously sticky, which means the sugar is likely to remain on your teeth for longer.

EVERYTHING IN MODERATION

Part of the fun of this time of year is passing around the chocolate box, having another slice of cake, unwrapping another chocolate orange or indulging in more sweet drinks, but it is easy to eat and drink for the sake of it. If you’re full, feeling lethargic or just conscious of how many calories you’re consuming, take a break from it. Say no thank you to the treats. Your teeth (and no doubt your waistline) will thank you for your restraint.

DON’T FORGET GOOD DENTAL HABITS

They say that a routine is hard to establish and easy to break, and that can certainly be the case for adults and children alike when the family is off school and work over Christmas, and our usual routines are disrupted. Making sure that children are still brushing their teeth first thing in the morning and last thing before bed is crucial. Sometimes more often than that if you’re aware that you have eaten a great deal of sugary food/drink. We may be up at strange times and going to bed later than usual but making time to keep caring for our teeth is really important.

 

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas from us all at CK Dental.

Children, like adults, should be brushing their teeth twice a day right from when the very first milk teeth make an appearance. Although they will need help to begin with, establishing a good brushing routine is setting young children up with a good dental hygiene routine from a young age, and will help ensure their teeth and gums remain healthy.

According to recent research undertaken by StemProtect.co.uk, this isn’t happening, with findings suggesting that less than one-third of children are in fact brushing their teeth regularly enough. Dentists are worried that this pattern means a generation of young people could be exposing themselves to a heightened risk of dental problems later in life.

The research study involved 600 families in the UK, and indicates that there are big gaps in the regularity that young children are brushing their teeth:

  • Proportion of 2 to 4-year olds who brush their teeth once per day – 60%
  • Proportion of 4 to 8-year olds who brush their teeth once per day – 70%

This is exacerbated by an alarming number of parents who claimed not to know how long their children were brushing their teeth for – with around eight in ten parents unaware how long their children were spending brushing their teeth. Here at CD Dental, we advocate using a timer for this, and ensuring that children use this as part of the fun of brushing their teeth. The timer could be set to music, or there are a number of apps that can be downloaded for free that give children an indication of how long to brush for.

According to the study, only 3% of parents were using a timer, and this is one of the easiest ways to ensure you have confidence in the duration children are brushing for. Depending on what resonates with your children, there are other creative techniques available too, such as reward charts and a bit of gentle bribery… although using treats like stories as the rewards, not sweets or chocolate.

A spokesperson for StemProtect, Anne Edwards, summarised the concern that this report has raised: “Younger children tend to be more resistant to tooth brushing, but caring for your teeth is a lifelong job. Not brushing regularly can lead to gum disease, which has been proven to have a number of serious health risks associated, including cardiovascular disease. Parents may think their children will look after their own oral hygiene once they’re old enough to brush, but it’s not worth leaving to chance.”

cosmetic dentistry

Recently published findings from an online survey conducted by Harris Poll, have identified that a massive 40% of us in the UK are considering some form of cosmetic treatment over the next year or so. Survey results have been divided into those wishing to have a cosmetic surgery procedure, and those wishing to have non-surgical enhancement work. Interestingly, cosmetic dentistry tops the non-surgical poll.

The poll, which was undertaken amongst a large sample of 1,030 UK adults aged 18 and above, was carried out during the summer of 2018 and looked at future interest in surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

Topping the aesthetic enhancement poll were the following treatments:

  1. Cosmetic dentistry (such as straightening, veneers, whitening)
  2. Laser hair removal
  3. Facial treatments (such as microneedling and dermaplaning)

With the main reasons for wanting to make these cosmetic tweaks being an increase in self-confidence and self-esteem, it’s no wonder cosmetic dentistry features so high up the list. Here at CK Dental, we know how important it is to our patients to have a smile that they are proud of and confident of. It is one of the first things that people notice upon meeting and interacting with others and can make a huge difference in terms of how people feel about themselves.

So, which cosmetic dentistry procedures are driving this trend?

According to the Consumer Guide to Dentistry, teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure. It is easy and quick to perform, and results are instantly noticeable. Although DIY kits are available for people who wish to try this at home, the best results are achieved by visiting an expert and having your teeth whitened by a qualified dental professional.

Porcelain veneers are also growing in popularity, especially for those whose teeth are damaged beyond the capabilities of teeth whitening to fix aesthetic problems like serious discolouration. This procedure involves a porcelain cap being fitted over the existing tooth, which adjusts the colour or shape of the original tooth.

For those of us who are not blessed with naturally straight teeth, many are opting for invisible braces. Most of us think of the unsightly metal train-track braces that were offered in our youth, but thankfully as an adult, there are many more discrete options available nowadays.

It is no wonder that cosmetic dentistry is now desired by so many. In fact, the Consumer Guide to Dentistry cites research undertaken across the pond by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, which reports that “a staggering 99.7 per cent of adults view a smile as an important social asset, with 74 per cent believing that an unattractive smile has the potential to inhibit career success.”

 

mouth cancer action month

Last month, BBC Radio DJ Mark Radcliffe announced on-air that he was taking a break to deal with a diagnosis of oral cancer. He reassured his fans that “It’s all been caught very early and so everything should be fine. All being well I’ll be back in action in the New Year – or sooner if I feel well enough – but I will be back, you can depend on it.”

Early diagnosis is essential for beating mouth cancer. If caught early, the chance of surviving mouth cancer is nine out of ten, which is why November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month is such an important initiative.

Mouth cancer can affect the lips, tongue, gums and cheeks, and here are some of the symptoms to watch out for:

  • Mouth ulcers which fail to heal after a few weeks
  • Sores in the mouth that bleed
  • Red or white patches inside the mouth
  • Lumps or swellings in the mouth or the head and neck area
  • Loose teeth
  • Tongue pain
  • Jaw stiffness or pain
  • Difficulty or painful chewing or swallowing
  • Sore throat that doesn’t resolve

How to check for mouth cancer

Check if both sides of your head and neck look the same and search for any lumps or swellings that appear on only one side of the face. Press along the sides and front of your neck to check for any tenderness or discomfort.

Pull down your lower lip to check for any sores or changes in colour. Run your finger along the inside to feel for any lumps, swellings or changes in texture. Repeat this process on the upper lip and then check the roof and floor of your mouth.

Then, pull out your cheek and look for darker red or white patches. Place your index fingers inside your cheek, with your thumb on the outside and gently check for any lumps or swellings and any tenderness.

Finally, examine your tongue for any changes to colour and texture, making sure you also check the sides and then the underside by placing the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth.

During a routine dental appointment at CK Dental in Bristol we will always check for any signs of mouth cancer but if you spot any changes out of the ordinary then make an appointment immediately.

baby teeth care

Toddlers and young children are always getting into scrapes, with bumps, knocks and tumbles commonplace as they explore their surroundings. It is not uncommon for a youngster to knock their milk teeth, and sometimes this can cause problems.

Milk teeth have an important role so need to be looked after more carefully than some may think. They are placeholders for the adult teeth that emerge later, so if the milk teeth become damaged then this can affect the spacing and alignment of adult teeth as they come through later. At CK Dental, we work with parents to ensure that milk teeth are looked after properly and that any concerns are addressed quickly.

Colour change following an impact

If a milk tooth receives a hard knock, then it may discolour and start to turn grey, yellow or black in colour. This often happens two to three weeks after the initial accident. This means that the tooth’s blood supply has been affected and it is struggling to get the necessary amount of blood. Inside the tough enamel coating of each tooth is a soft centre, which is fed by a nerve. If the nerve has become damaged, then it can cause the soft centre to die.

This isn’t always cause for concern, depending on the severity of the knock sometimes the tooth will lighten again of its own accord, although this can take a long time. The tooth will need to be inspected by a dentist though as it may have been seriously damaged and could need removing if the nerve has been too badly affected. Your dentist will make a judgement of whether or not it is best to remove the tooth. Sometimes it will be appropriate to leave the tooth where it is, but sometimes the affected soft centre of the dead/dying tooth can create a breeding ground for bacteria which can lead to infections.

Other things to watch out for

It is important to keep a close eye on the gums around a damaged milk tooth, and if you see any lumps, bumps, redness or swelling then make an appointment to see your dentist quickly as this could be an infection or abscess.

If you recognise these symptoms in your child, then it is important to arrange to see your family dentist for a professional examination to ensure that your child receives the best treatment for any damaged teeth.