New year, new you

Here we go again. It hardly seems like we’ve had time to blink and it’s already the end of 2018 and time to think of resolutions that we will faithfully see through. OK, so the gym resolution didn’t exactly go according to plan, but now you can have another shot at it. But there is another way to get healthier and that’s by looking at your diet and oral health.

Oral Health in LoughtonJust how good are you at brushing your teeth? Did you know that to have great oral health, you need to brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes, using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. You also need to floss once a day to get rid of trapped food. Interdental brushes also do a good job.

Twice a year, you also need to get yourself along to the hygienist at Forest Dental in Loughton to get any remaining plaque and tartar removed. This won’t just make your teeth last longer by protecting them against gum disease, but it will also help protect you from other systemic diseases, as will having a healthy diet.

It’s important to remember that everything in your body is connected to everything else.

For example, did you know that:

Diabetes

If you have got diabetes, you are more liable to get a serious oral infection than a non-diabetic person. This could be from gum disease, tooth decay, or dry mouth.

Gum disease links

Gum disease starts off with inflammation of the gums. Inflammation is directly linked to many diseases, and chances are that if your gums are inflamed, there is inflammation going on elsewhere in the body. So, there are direct links between oral health and heart disease, stroke, as well as premature births and low birth weight.

Oral bacteria

Oral bacteria are also linked to other health issues, such as lung disease, kidney disease and even brain health. This is because, if you have a lot of bacteria in your mouth, you can breathe them down into your lungs where they can pass through the lung wall and into your bloodstream.

Make 2019 the year you improve your oral hygiene routine and you could see knock-on health effects all over your body.

Make your oral health a priority

It’s tempting to think of each body part as somehow separate from all the others, but the truth is that they are all connected and problems in one part of the body can lead to problems in other parts.

The mouth is no exception. We breathe through it, so it is directly connected to the lungs and through them to the bloodstream and therefore to every other part of the body. We also use our mouths for eating and so there is a direct connection to the digestive system and from there to a lot of organs as well as, once again, to the bloodstream.

Oral Health in LoughtonNo wonder then that various diseases are directly linked to our oral health. Having a healthy mouth can make so much difference to our overall health.

Oral health problems

The main culprit when it comes to oral health issues is bacterial plaque. This is that sticky layer of white stuff that builds up on the surfaces of the teeth and soft tissue throughout the day.

Plaque doesn’t look so good but that’s not the main problem with it. The main problem is that the bacteria that make it up give off acids when they feed. These acids eat away at our tooth enamel to cause decay. They also irritate and inflame our gums, before getting under them to attack our tooth roots and jawbones.

Both problems can result in tooth loss, but they also have direct links to diabetes, heart disease and osteoporosis, with these diseases affecting oral health and vice versa. Researchers are also investigating links with rheumatoid arthritis, lung diseases and obesity.

Keeping your mouth healthy

The basics are your responsibility. You need to brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. You also need to floss or use interdental brushes to remove plaque and trapped food from between the teeth. Getting to a dental check-up with us at Forest Dental is also a vital part of your oral health in Loughton. We can spot problems long before you are aware of them, and our hygienists can remove plaque that has hardened into calculus.

What’s your plan for a new you

You know what happens after New Year’s Eve is over and you’ve been up all night celebrating with Prosecco and night clubs (depending on your age; it could be in bed at 12.30pm after Auld Lang Syne and a large whiskey or two)? New Year’s Day and then all of January, that’s what.

We love our seasonal behaviours, we humans, and January is the time for a makeover. People join the gym, they give up drinking (mostly because there’s none left anyway after all those festivities), they go on a diet. But how many of them think about a dental overhaul as part of their programme of New Year, New You in Loughton? At Forest Dental, we’d like to suggest that, if you want to get really well, sorting out your oral health should be at the top of your list of projects.

Oral Health in LoughtonThe gateway to your body

If you think about it, your mouth is the gateway to your body. It leads down into your lungs and also to your stomach and intestines. If something gets into either and it’s small enough, it can pass through your gut wall, or the lining of your lungs, and into your bloodstream. So, if you have bad things going on in your mouth, such as decay, gum disease and infection, it can lead to systemic disease.

In fact, gum disease has been shown to be closely linked to systemic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. At first it was thought that it was the bacteria causing it, but it’s actually the inflammation. Gum disease is also linked to osteoporosis, both are diseases involving bone loss.

If you breathe in bacteria from gum disease, it can lead to pneumonia. And men with gum disease are much more likely to develop kidney or pancreatic cancer.

So, if you really want to be healthy on the inside, come and get a check-up, a scale and polish and make sure you have dealt with these disease-causing conditions. Then keep coming back twice a year. In between, you need to brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, and don’t forget to floss as well.

The gateway to your insides

Your mouth is one of the gateways to your insides. From inside your mouth, things can travel down into your gut and into your internal organs. Things can also travel down another route into your lungs and from there into your bloodstream, and from there to all over your body, even into your brain. And, actually, you don’t even have to swallow or inhale for particles to get into your bloodstream. If you hold a liquid under your tongue, the dissolved ingredients within in can pass through the membranes of your mouth straight into your bloodstream.

Oral Health in LoughtonSo, imagine what havoc infectious germs can wreak across your entire body if you don’t pay careful daily attention to keeping your mouth clean and healthy. Here at Forest Dental, we believe that in Loughton, oral health can make a huge difference to people’s general health, and vice versa.

The relationship between your teeth and your body

If you don’t take care of your mouth, germs could get into your bloodstream and infect the inner lining of your heart, attaching themselves to damaged areas. There is also evidence linking the clogging of arteries and stroke to the inflammation and infections that oral bacteria can cause.

Conversely, if you are diabetic, this lowers your resistance to infection and will show up in your mouth as inflamed gums that bleed when you brush your teeth. Other diseases that can affect your oral health include osteoporosis, which can damage bones and teeth; rheumatoid arthritis, head and neck cancers, and Sjorgen’s syndrome, an immune disorder which causes a dry mouth.

Knowing all this, can you now see why we are so keen at Forest Dental for you to come to us every 6 months for a check-up? Check-ups are where we can see if you have good oral health. Dodgy oral health can show up as infections caused by tooth decay or the build up of plaque. It might be early mouth cancer tumours, odd stuff going on with your tongue that is indicative of something more serious. A lot of the symptoms of poor oral health, if spotted early on, can be easily treated, but if left to develop can lead to serious problems. Come and see us, and keep your gateway healthy.

Forest Dental

From the moment you walk through our doors, you can rest assured you are in safe, caring and experienced hands. Is it time for a new year, new you in Loughton? If it is then Forest Dental is the dentist for you. We offer general, preventative, restorative and cosmetic dentistry.

oral-surgery-in-loughtonWe pride ourselves on our welcoming and caring environment and guarantee every member of our team will listen to all your dental needs and treat you with the respect and dignity you deserve.

To help you get that new year, new you in Loughton, we will explain in detail any makeover treatment you want, as well as give you all the treatment options, and clearly explain the associated costs.

We promise our patients that we will perform our very best standard of dental work for you always, as well as keep our patients informed of all the latest techniques and materials available for your treatments.

Forest Dental also guarantee our dental work for at least 12 months, so you can be assured you are in safe hands at Forest Dental, for that new year, new you, in Loughton.

How we can help you recognise systemic disease

A systemic disease is one that affects several organs and tissues, or affects the body as a whole. Forest Dental can detect the early oral signs of some systemic diseases. Every member of our dental team is highly trained to spot the early signs of numerous life-threatening diseases, such as oral cancers.

Forest Dental can offer our patients mouth cancer screenings.Recent studies show that mouth cancer is increasing and that early detection greatly improves the chances of recovery. Late detection of mouth cancers has resulted in a higher rate of deaths per number of cases than breast cancer or cervical cancer.

At Forest Dental, we will provide a detailed analysis of your oral health history to determine any risk factors that you might have and give you a thorough examination of your mouth, head and neck. We will then do an internal oral examination, including the insides of your cheeks and around your tongue.We will report back to you in detail and refer you to a specialist if needed.

Back to school: remember to pack your sports gum shield

New uniform; pencil case; notebooks; PE kit – as your children head back to school, there’s a long list of things to remember. As dentists, we have one more item we believe it is vital to add to that list – a sports gum shield.

sports-gum-shieldMany cases of accidental tooth loss are caused by sports injuries, and the majority of these could have been avoided by wearing a sports gum shield. Losing a tooth is a traumatic experience and, while dentists can sometimes replace the tooth in the socket if you get to the dental practice quickly enough, it is often necessary to replace a lost tooth with a bridge or other artificial restoration.

Sports accidents are also often the cause of broken or chipped teeth, which again may need extensive restoration through crowns, veneers or composite bonding. Wearing a gum shield can prevent the unnecessary pain and discomfort of a sports injury to the teeth, as well as the cost of restorations, and can even help to prevent broken and dislocated jaws.

When should you wear a sports mouth guard?

Sports mouth guards should be worn during all contact sports, such as boxing, martial arts, rugby and American football, and for all sports involving fast-moving objects – hockey, cricket and football, for example.

Why you should get a mouth guard from your dentist

Unlike mouth guards that can be bought online, a mouth guard made by your dentist will fit your teeth and gums exactly. This improves the level of protection provided, and can help to prevent injury to the jaw, the neck and even to the brain – helping to prevent concussion.

Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth and will send these off to the laboratory for your mouth guard to be made. When it’s ready you’ll be called back to the practice to check that it fits properly. You should bring your mouth guard with your to your dental check-ups to ensure it remains in prime condition.

The need for the dentist even if you have no teeth

One of the questions we are often asked at Forest Dental is, do patients who have lost all of their natural teeth still need to visit the dentist? Our answer is always the same: yes, you do. Whether you have replaced your teeth with standard dentures or dental implants, the importance of keeping up regular dental appointments even when you have lost your natural teeth cannot be overstressed.

Dentures

denturesDentures are the most common option for patients who have lost all of their teeth. It is important to visit the dentist regularly to ensure that your dentures remain comfortable, fit snuggly and remain in the best possible condition. It’s also important to keep an eye on the health of your gums.

Many patients who wear dentures discover that they become loose over time, as their gums and bone recede, meaning that dentures that once fitted snuggly over the gums become loose and unwieldy. This can cause problems with eating and speaking, and can also cause dentures to fall out at inopportune moments. Regular visits to your dentist will ensure these problems are rectified early, and your dentures adjusted as necessary.

Dental implants

Dental implants and the crowns, bridges or dentures attached to them look and act like natural teeth – and, like natural teeth, require regular dentist and hygienist appointments to keep them healthy.

Mouth cancer screening

Everybody should have regular screening for mouth cancer, which is notorious for being difficult to diagnose in the early stages. Approximately 2,700 people per year die from mouth cancer in the UK, and it has a high proportion of deaths to number of cases. Late diagnosis is a major factor in this. As with all types of cancer, early diagnosis vastly increases your chances of making a full recovery. Your dentist is expertly placed to spot the early signs, and will refer you to a hospital consultant if anything suspicious is found.

Halitosis: causes and how to deal with it

Bad breath – also known as halitosis – is a common problem, but one that people don’t like to talk about. Everyone is likely to suffer from halitosis at some point in their life, but for some people it can become a chronic problem that friends and family are too embarrassed to tell them about. Here, we look at the common causes of bad breath, and how to get rid of it for good.

gum diseaseIt’s easy to know if someone else has bad breath, although not always easy to tell them. However, it can be tricky to know if you are suffering from halitosis yourself: lick the inside of your wrist and sniff. If it smells bad, your breath is likely to smell bad too.

If this is the case, don’t panic; book an appointment to see your dentist. At Forest Dental Practice we have helped many patients to cure their halitosis, boosting their self-esteem to boot.

Common causes of bad breath

There are many causes of bad breath. These include:

1 Strong-tasting foods and drinks.

Certain foods and drinks, including onions and garlic, some cheeses and coffee, can cause bad breath. This will be temporary, for a few hours after eating or drinking. Brushing your teeth after every meal can help to combat this type of bad breath.

2 Medications.

Certain medications can also cause temporary bad breath. This can be particularly true for medicines that leave you with a dry mouth. Chewing sugar-free chewing gum and regular tooth brushing can help, and the problem should resolve itself after your course of medication is complete.

3 Poor dental hygiene.

Poor dental hygiene is the biggest cause of long-term bad breath. Particles of food that get trapped on or between the teeth start to decay and release unpleasant-smelling gasses, which leads to bad breath. A build-up of plaque bacteria on the teeth can also cause halitosis. It is often one of the first noticeable symptoms of gum disease.

You can prevent this by regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, and by visiting your dentist and hygienist at least every six months. They will be able to diagnose and treat the early signs of gum disease, can remove any plaque from your teeth, and can recommend the best brushing and flossing techniques for you to use at home.

New Year’s resolutions for your teeth – and how they can help boost your overall health and wellbeing

Happy New Year! Have you made any New Year’s resolutions for 2016? Many people take the opportunity of a fresh start to improve their health, joining the gym or resolving to eat more healthily. These are all great ways to boost your health, but as dentists we encourage you to remember your dental health too.

gum diseaseGood oral healthcare is obviously important for your teeth and gums, but did you know it’s also vital for your general health?

One of the most common dental health problems in the UK is gum disease, also known as gingivitis. Research has shown that as well as causing gum problems, bad breath and tooth loss, gum disease may also increase your risk of a wide range of other health problems, including diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Gum disease has also been linked to problems in pregnancy and to dementia.

Looking after your teeth and gums is vital to your overall health. So, what can you do to improve your oral care regime?

Good oral health requires teamwork between you, your dentist and your hygienist. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes a time, as well as regularly using floss or interdental brushes.

By visiting your hygienist regularly (at least every three months) you can ensure you are using the best brushing techniques and products for your individual dental health needs. Your hygienist can also advise you on how your diet affects your dental health – cutting down not just on sugary foods but also on acidic food and drinks can decrease your chances of tooth erosion and plaque build-up.

Your dentist and hygienist can:

  • Professionally clean your teeth to remove all plaque and tartar, including hard to reach areas
  • Advise you on the best type of toothbrush and brushing techniques to use
  • Explain how sugary and acidic foods and drinks can damage your teeth and gums
  • Provide advice on special equipment, such as interdental brushes or mouthwashes
  • Identify and treat early signs of gum disease or tooth decay.

Keep your teeth healthy this Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner, and for many that means festive parties and family gatherings involving lots of indulgent treats and rich food. Everyone deserves to treat themselves now and again, and tasty snacks are fine if enjoyed in moderation. But while many people worry about putting on weight over the Christmas period, we urge you to remember your teeth, too – excess sugar consumption can increase your risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease. Here are some things you can do to look after your oral health this Christmas. . .

1 Everything in moderation

oral healthChristmas is a time of tasty treats and indulgent food. For your general and dental health, remember to enjoy everything in moderation. Be aware of the sugar content in not just foods, but drinks as well. Many popular alcoholic drinks have a high sugar content, which can increase the risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Too much alcohol also increases your risk of mouth cancer.

Fruit juice and fizzy drinks such as cola or lemonade also have a high sugar content, and should only be drunk at mealtimes. Drinking a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks will not only be better for your teeth, but will help prevent a hangover.

2 Include healthy snacks and treats in your buffet

If you are organising a buffet-style meal for a Christmas party, be sure to include some healthy options, including home-made dips, fresh vegetables, low-fat cheese, nuts and seeds.

3 Brush your teeth after every meal

The longer sugar remains on your teeth, the more damage it will cause. Keep a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste in your desk at work so you can brush your teeth after every meal – you should always brush them for at least two minutes, twice a day.

4 Visit your dentist or hygienist regularly

Your dentist or hygienist can remove any plaque that has built up on your teeth, particularly in hard to reach areas. If you feel like treating yourself this Christmas, why not talk to us about teeth whitening treatment, which can remove stains built up by tea, coffee, wine and smoking? It’s the perfect way to boost your smile in time for the festive party season.