Keep Smiling Dental Practice

Click here to edit subtitle


view:  full / summary

UK children score relatively low on the DMF index

Posted by info on January 27, 2017 at 9:05 AM Comments comments (270)

LONDON, UK: Compared with other countries in Europe, UK children score relatively low on the DMF index. Despite significant improvements in the state of oral health since the early 1990s, however, a large gap exists between children of different economic backgrounds, a new national health report has indicated. The 42-page paper published this week by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) in London on the state of health in children in all four countries found that 5-year-olds living in the most deprived areas of England, Northern Ireland and Wales are three times more likely to suffer severe tooth decay than those residing in the most affluent areas. Regarding the number of 5-year-olds with no obvious signs of tooth decay, England and Scotland had the largest proportion (70 in 100 children), while Northern Ireland and Wales lagged behind, with 60 and 59 in 100 children, respectively. Nevertheless, children in Northern Ireland showed the most noticeable oral health improvement since 2003, together with Scotland, the report stated. Caries remains the single most common reason that children aged 5–9 require admission to hospital, in many cases needing general anaesthetic for tooth exaction, it also said. The figures for the report were derived from the Children’s Dental Health Survey for England, Northern Ireland and Wales and the National Dental Inspection Programme for Scotland. Despite the noticeable improvement in the oral health of children, it recommended the implementation and evaluation of national oral health programmes for children and young people across the country, building on existing initiatives, including Childsmile and Designed to Smile. It also called for improving access to dental check-ups as soon as the first tooth erupts and for water fluoridation in areas where there is high tooth decay. Another key factor for the eradication of tooth decay, according to the report, is the prevention of children consuming high-sugar food, particularly drinks, through education and national initiatives to reduce sugar in children’s food. “We support all the recommendations contained in the report, the most important from the point of view of our patients is for universal early years public health services to be prioritised with targeted help for children and families experiencing poverty,” commented media spokesperson of the British Society of Paediatric Dentistry and paediatric dentistry consultant Dr Claire Stevens, in Westminster yesterday. “I trust that, as intended, the report will be a springboard for more campaigning and more change, especially in relation to early intervention and prevention in children’s oral health.” Looking at a comprehensive list of 18 indicators, the RCPCH report identified some of the major issues concerning the health of UK children and recommended key actions for each government to improve the situation.

What does root canal treatment entail

Posted by info on January 24, 2017 at 9:35 AM Comments comments (11)

Learn more about this quick, comfortable procedure that can relieve your pain and save your natural tooth.

Has your dentist or endodontist told you that you need root canal treatment? If so, you're not alone. Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canal, or endodontic, treatment. Remember, root can treatment doesn't cause pain, it relieves it. Watch our videos below to learn more!


Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, and helps to grow the root of your tooth during development. In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.


Contrary to jokes about the matter, modern endodontic treatment is very similar to having a routine filling and usually can be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. You can expect a comfortable experience during and after your appointment.


Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

Efficient chewing

Normal biting force and sensation

Natural appearance

Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain


How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?


Healed Tooth Following Root Canal TreatmentRoot canal or endodontic treatment—treatment done to the inside of the tooth—is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.


During root canal or endodontic treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.


Endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last a lifetime


Why should I use dental floss?

Posted by info on December 5, 2016 at 11:05 AM Comments comments (3)

Dental floss helps to prevent gum disease by getting rid of pieces of food and plaque from between your teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance made of bacteria. If it builds up, the bacteria can irritate the gums and cause inflammation.

If your dentist advises you to clean between your teeth (interdental cleaning), they may recommend using dental floss.

How to use dental floss


Dental floss is a thin, soft thread made of nylon or plastic that removes food and plaque from between your teeth. Many people find dental tape, which is thicker than floss, easier to use.

If you use dental floss incorrectly, it can damage your gums. You should therefore follow your dentist's advice about using dental floss, including how often you should use it. The tips below may also help.

Cut off a section of floss about 45cm (18 inches) long. Wind it around the middle fingers of each hand.

Grip the floss with your thumb and forefinger of each hand so that the floss between your hands is about 2.5-5cm (1-2 inches) long. Pull it tight so you can insert the floss in a gap between two teeth.

Gently guide the floss up and down against the sides of the teeth and under the gumline. When the floss reaches the gumline, curve it into a C-shape against the tooth until you feel resistance.

Hold the floss against the tooth and gently scrape the side over it, away from the gum. This will help you to floss under the gumline without causing any damage.

Repeat this process for the next gap, along the side of the next tooth.

Make sure you floss between every single tooth. Working to a pattern round the whole of your mouth makes it less likely that you'll miss out any teeth.

Remember to floss the side of the teeth at the back of your mouth.

What if my gums bleed?


When you first start flossing, your gums may be tender and bleed a little as you start to get rid of any plaque build-up. Carry on flossing your teeth and the bleeding should stop, as your gums become healthier.

If you're still getting regular bleeding after a few days, see your dentist. They can check if you're flossing correctly.

What if I find flossing difficult?


If you find holding the floss difficult, you could try using a floss holder (sometimes called a flosser) or an interdental brush. These hold the floss for you and some people find them helpful. Some people find interdental brushes easier to use than floss. You can buy flossers and interdental brushes from pharmacists (chemists) and supermarkets.

If you find flossing difficult, your dentist can give you advice about other ways of cleaning between your teeth.

What is Bad Breath or Halitosis?

Posted by info on November 19, 2016 at 7:30 AM Comments comments (2)

Bad breath, or halitosis, affects 1 in 4 people in Britain. In most cases, people with bad breath aren't even aware of the problem. Halitosis has a significant impact, both personally and socially, on those who suffer from it. If you think that you suffer from bad breath, your dentist can help determine the source of the odor. If your dentist believes that the problem is caused by a systemic (internal) source, such as an infection, he or she may refer you to your family physician or a specialist to help treat the cause of the problem.


Typically, bad breath originates in your gums and tongue. It is caused by waste from bacteria in the mouth (typically called periodontal disease), decayed food particles, other debris in your mouth, and bad oral hygiene. The decay and debris produce a chemical compound that causes the unpleasant odor. Bad breath may occur in people who have a medical infection, diabetes, kidney failure, or a liver malfunction. Even stress, dieting, snoring, age, and hormonal changes can have an effect on your breath. Xerostomia (dry mouth) and tobacco also contribute to the problem.


Saliva is the key ingredient in your mouth that helps keep odor under control because it helps was away odor-causing food particles and bacteria. When you sleep, however, salivary glands slow the production of saliva, allowing bacteria to grow inside the mouth, which causes the bad odor, or "morning breath." To alleviate morning breath, brush your teeth and eat a morning meal. Morning breath also is associated with hunger or fasting. If you skip your breakfast, the odor may reoccur-even if you've brushed your teeth.


Very spicy foods, such as onions and garlic, and drinks like coffee may be detected on a person's breath for up to 72 hours after digestion. In addition, certain diets, especially ones that eliminate carbohydrates, increase the chances of halitosis.


Visit your dentist regularly because checkups will help detect any systemic causes. Checkups also help to get rid of the plague and bacteria that build up on your teeth.


It is important to practice good oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day to remove bacteria, plague, and food particles. To alleviate odors, clean your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper (a plastic tool that scrapes away bacteria that builds on the tongue).


In addition, be sure to drink plenty of water. Try chewing sugar-free gum that contains xylitol-it also may help control odor. If you have dentures or a removable appliance, such as a retainer or mouth guard, clean the appliance thoroughly before placing it back in your mouth. Before you use mouth rinses or deodorizing sprays or tablets, talk with your dentist, because some of these products do little to eliminate bad breath. Instead, your dentist can recommend products that have proven successful.


Excerpted from Academy of General Dentistry

How to Choose the Right Toothbrush

Posted by info on September 20, 2016 at 10:25 AM Comments comments (1)

"Nowadays, you can purchase everything from a frills-free manual toothbrush to a top-of-the-line, electric version. With all the options it can be tricky to decide which is better: the new tech or your old standby? To help, here are all of the factors to consider before buying your next toothbrush.


Check the label. Toothbrushes that have been examined for safety and efficacy will have an American Dental Association (ADA) seal. To earn the certification, the brushes must be safe for mouths and feature bristles that aren’t jagged or susceptible to shedding.

Bristles are key. You don’t want to irritate gums or damage enamel with a bristle that is too stiff. Err on the side of a softer bristle — they come in soft, medium and hard — to ensure you do not harm gums or tooth enamel. Also, select a brush head that fits your mouth. Your dentist can make specific recommendations based on your oral health history.

Choose a brush you can keep clean. Toothbrushes can be breeding grounds for bacteria. Avoid this by purchasing a toothbrush that you feel comfortable replacing every three to four months (the suggested period of time to own them). Do the same with powered toothbrushes by ensuring you have back-up toothbrush heads for when it’s time to retire old ones. Some new subscription services allow users to purchase a powered toothbrush refill plan in advance. Otherwise, be sure to store toothbrushes separately, upright and away from tight, moist places to reduce bacteria growth.

Weigh the benefits of manual versus powered. Powered toothbrushes are not only great for a deep, fresh-from-the dentist clean, but they’re also particularly helpful for people who have arthritis. Little ones may also prefer powered toothbrushes. One study, for example, showed that using a powered toothbrush significantly improved oral health by reducing plaque and gingivitis. The goal should always be to brush two times a day, and if one tool is more comfortable than the other, it might be best to opt for the one that lends itself to consistent brushing. Manual toothbrushes can still be effective when used properly.

Assess the extras. Dental hygiene has come a long way and now you can buy all sorts of toothbrushes: charcoal-based, eco-friendly or a variety equipped with “stain erasing cups.” The sheer variety of extras is staggering. Luckily, you can zero in on the most important features (like a built-in tongue cleaner) and make your decision accordingly.

Tip: As important as it is to brush twice daily, nothing beats a visit to a dentist for a thorough cleaning."

How is Oral cancer diagnosed?

Posted by info on November 23, 2015 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (1)


As part of your routine dental check-up, your dentist will conduct an oral cancer screening examination. More specifically, your dentist will feel for any lumps or irregular tissue changes in your neck, head, face and oral cavity. When examining your mouth, your dentist will look for any sores or discoloured tissue as well as check for any signs and symptoms mentioned above.


Your dentist may perform an oral brush biopsy if he or she sees tissue in your mouth that looks suspicious. This test is painless and involves taking a small sample of the tissue and analysing it for abnormal cells. Alternatively, if the tissue looks more suspicious, your dentist may recommend a scalpel biopsy. This procedure usually requires local anaesthesia and may be performed by your dentist or a specialist. These tests are necessary to detect oral cancer early, before it has had a chance to progress and spread.

What are the symptoms of oral cancer?


The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:


Swellings/thickenings, lumps or bumps, rough spots/crusts/eroded areas on the lips, gums or other areas inside the mouth.

The development of velvety white, red or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth.

Unexplained bleeding in the mouth.

Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth or neck.

Persistent sores on the face, neck or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within two weeks.

A lump in the neck due to an enlarged lymph node

A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat.

Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue.

Hoarseness, chronic sore throat or change in voice.

Ear pain.

A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together.

Dramatic weight loss.

If you notice any of these changes, contact your dentist or GP immediately.





Why are regular dental visits important?

Posted by info on November 3, 2015 at 7:10 AM Comments comments (2)



One of the keys to keeping teeth for a lifetime is to visit a dentist regularly. But many older people don't.

Many older people grew up during a time when preventive dental care was not emphasized. Some may not realize how important it is. They may believe that toothaches, bleeding gums, loose teeth or mouth pain are just part of getting older. In fact, these can be signs of gum disease, or other problems.


Regular dental checkups and professional cleanings are important. During an exam, your dentist checks for tooth decay, gum disease and oral cancer.


A lack of dental visits can result in untreated tooth decay and gum disease. Both of these can lead to lost teeth. Missing teeth, toothache or mouth pain also can change how and what you eat. This means you may not get the nutrients you need to stay healthy.


Visiting the dentist is especially important for older people because they may have other medical conditions. These conditions can create dental problems. Hundreds of medicines can cause side effects in your mouth. Some of these, such as dry mouth, can increase the risk of tooth decay or other oral health problems.


Saliva is a natural cavity-fighter. It neutralizes acids produced by bacteria that can cause tooth decay. Saliva helps wash away food and bacteria. It also contains minerals that strengthen teeth. Dry mouth reduces saliva. This makes you more vulnerable to cavities. Dentists can treat dry mouth. They also can prescribe fluoride rinses or gels to help keep teeth strong.


Older people are more likely to get cavities for other reasons, too. Receding gums can allow acids to get to the roots of teeth and cause cavities. Older fillings can break down. This leaves teeth susceptible to decay.

What is in toothpaste?

Posted by info on April 7, 2015 at 11:35 AM Comments comments (95)

What is in Toothpaste?

- Abrasives

- Detergent (1-2%)

- Binding agents (1%)

- Humectants (10-30%)

- Flavouring, sweetening and colouring agents (1-5%)

- Preservatives (0.05-0.50%)

- Fluoride and other therapeutic agents

- Water


Toothpaste ingredients are usually shown on packs w/w' - that is weight for weight, or grams per 100 grams. Under newToothpastes are the most widely used oral health care product and there is considerable choice available to the consumer. Toothpaste types range from general decay, plaque and tartar control types to specific formulations for sensitive teeth, for smokers, special children's formulations and the tooth whitening pastes. Toothpaste ingredients are usually shown on packs as grams per 100 grams. Under new European cosmetics legislation, toothpastes are required to list all ingredients. In addition to water, toothpaste will normally

contain the following basic ingredients:




Abrasives are the cleaning and polishing agents in a toothpaste and account for about a third of the toothpaste by weight. Most abrasives are chalk or silica based. Examples are dicalcium phosphate, sodium metaphosphate, calcium carbonate, silica, zirconium silicate or calcium pyrophosphate. Abrasives differ in strength. An international standard defines a test paste against which toothpaste abrasivity can be assessed, but there is no system for ensuring that all toothpastes sold in the Republic of Ireland are at or below this abrasivity level. The unit of measurement is known as the Relative Dentine Abrasivity (RDA) or the Relative Enamel Abrasivity (REA).



Detergent (1-2%)

Detergents foam and loosen plaque and other debris from the tooth surface. Principal examples are sodium lauryl sulphate and sodium N-lauroyl sarcosinate.



Binding agents (1%)

These agents prevent separation of solid and liquid ingredients during storage. They are usually derived from cellulose, sodium carboxy-methyl cellulose being the most commonly used. Carrageenans (seaweed derived), xantham gums and alginates are also used.



Humectants (10-30%)

Humectants act to retain moisture and prevent the toothpaste from hardening on exposure to air. Glycerol, sorbitol and propylene glycol are commonly used. Glycerol and sorbitol also sweeten the toothpaste, though this is not their main function.



Flavouring, sweetening and colouring agents (1-5%)

Peppermint, spearmint, cinnamon, wintergreen and menthol are among the many different flavourings used. While rare, mucosal irritations from toothpaste (i.e., ulceration, gingivitis, angular cheilitis, perioral dermatitis) are usually linked to flavourings or preservatives they contain.



Preservatives (0.05-0.5%)

Alcohols, benzoates, formaldehyde and dichlorinated phenols are added to prevent bacterial growth on the organic binders and humectants.


Fluoride and other therapeutic agents

The majority of toothpastes combine the caries protection of fluoride with other therapeutic agents to control plaque, tartar and gum disease. The inclusion of antibacterial agents can help individuals improve their plaque control. Many toothpastes include triclosan, which has been shown to offer a clinically useful improvement in gum health. Other pastes specifically target "tartar" (hardened plaque) and use phyrosphosphate to inhibit the mineralisation of dental plaque and hence the buildup of tartar (calculus).


Toothpastes with desensitising agents are also available for sensitive teeth.

How do acidic foods and drinks affect my teeth?

Posted by info on March 3, 2015 at 6:45 AM Comments comments (122)


Some foods and drinks are more acidic than others, and some are acidic enough to attack your teeth directly. The acidity of a product is measured by its ‘pH value'.


The pH values of some food and drinks are listed below. The lower the pH number; the more acidic the product. Anything with a pH value lower than 5.5 may cause tooth erosion. ‘Alkalines' have a high pH number and cancel out the acid effects. A pH value of 7 is the middle figure between acid and alkali.


vinegar pH 2.0

red wine pH 2.5

cola pH 2.5

pickles pH 3.2

grapefruit pH 3.3

orange juice pH 3.8

lager pH 4.4

cheddar cheese pH 5.9

celery pH 6.5

milk pH 6.9

breadstick pH 7.0

mineral water (still) pH 7.6

walnut pH 8.0

carrots pH 9.5

Tips to ease dental fear

Posted by info on February 4, 2015 at 10:40 AM Comments comments (0)

If you’re anxious about seeing the dentist, here are tips to ease the fear:

Once you've found someone you think may be suitable, visit the surgery to have a look around, meet the receptionist and dentist and see the environment. Tell the dentist that you're anxious so they know beforehand.

Pick an appointment time early in the morning so you have less time to dwell on it.

The first appointment will simply be a check-up so don’t worry that you’ll be launched into having a filling, the drill or a needle. See this first visit as your chance to get to know the dentist.

Take a friend with you to your appointment. The dentist won’t mind if they accompany you throughout the check-up or treatment.

Agree a sign with the dentist to signal that you need a break and want them to stop. It can be as simple as pointing your finger, and will help you feel more in control.

If you think it will help, start gradually with a clean and polish then work up to more extensive treatment once you’ve built up trust and rapport with your dentist.

Take a personal stereo with you to listen to music during your visit. It will help you relax.