Category Archives: Blog

Children’s Teeth Worsen As NHS Appointments Become Scarce

The difficulty in being able to find a place at a NHS dentist has meant that the state of children’s teeth in the UK are getting worse all the time. 

Recently, the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities (OHID) reported that nearly 50,000 children up to the age of 19 years old had a tooth taken out in hospital between 2022 and 2023. 

This amounts to 119 extractions every day that year, with two-thirds of the procedures being carried out due to tooth decay. 

BBC’s Panorama show also revealed the scale of the problem, with one dentist saying they once had to remove 18 teeth from a three-year-old due to extreme decay. This left the toddler with just two healthy teeth.

“That’s an extreme example but it’s not an exceptional case. We see that from time to time,” they stated.

The impact of poor dental care on children is huge, and can lead to not attending school due to toothache, not being able to eat, feeling self-conscious about their teeth and not socialising with their peers, having sleepless nights because of discomfort and then not being able to focus on their studies at school. 

Therefore, it affects their health, education, and social life, just at a point when all three are developing. 

As well as regularly booking a dentist appointment for check-ups, there are other things that can prevent tooth decay in children. This includes brushing teeth twice everyday with fluoride toothpaste, with kids under the age of seven having their teeth brushed by an adult.It is also important to cut down on foods and drinks that have sugar in them. A can of cola, for instance, has nine cubes of sugar when the recommended maximum amount of added sugar for a four to six-year-old is five cubes.

Should You Brush Your Teeth Before Breakfast, Not After It?

Most people’s morning routine sees them have their breakfast and then brush their teeth before leaving the house. However, they could be doing it the wrong way round, as it is better for teeth to eat breakfast after brushing them. 

The reason behind this is if anything acidic is consumed, such as orange juice, then this weakens the tooth enamel. If you then brush, this can damage the enamel layer, making them more prone to sensitivity and tooth decay. 

If you normally have something acidic, it is, therefore, a good idea to wait an hour before brushing teeth. Otherwise, you should give them a clean straight after waking up, before you have had any food and drink. 

What’s more, the mouth produces a lot of bacteria overnight, which is important to get rid of first thing in the morning before it produces plaque. That is why people wake up with bad breath and feel as though their mouth is a little ‘furry’, as the bacteria has built up during sleep. 

Brushing your teeth will remove this, and finishing with a glass of water will mean any remaining acids will get washed away. Your mouth also produces saliva after brushing, which can add a protective barrier to the teeth, helping to prevent damage being done when enjoying breakfast.

It also helps to break down food and fights against bacteria in the mouth. 

However, most people do not want to eat their breakfast if they have a minty taste in their mouth. In this case, they could either choose a toothpaste that does not have a strong flavour, or they can wait at least half an hour before brushing. As long as it is a good quality dental product containing fluoride, it does not matter what the flavour is. 

Additionally, they could avoid having acidic foods, such as citrus, bread, coffee, and pastries, and instead choose cereal, oats, yoghurt or eggs.

Schools To Brush Kids’ Teeth Due To Poor Dental Hygiene

As well as teaching maths and English, developing students’ social skills, and encouraging a love for learning, primary school teachers may also now be tasked with the job of brushing children’s teeth every day. 

There has been a big dental health problem among youngsters for several years now, with more than 31,165 teeth being removed among the under-19s in England between 2022 and 2023 as a result of tooth decay. 

This equates to 119 operations taking place every day to extract rotten teeth in children and teenagers. 

Data from the Liberal Democrat Party also revealed that over 100,000 children have had to go to hospital because of rotting teeth since 2018.

Lack of dental hygiene is being blamed on difficulties to access affordable dentistry, while the Local Government Association (LGA) also believes councils and schools need to introduce supervised brushing schemes to educate children and their parents about good dental products and hygiene. 

Sarah Walter, director of the NHS Confederation’s ICS Network, blamed a lack of investment in dental care as well as a drop in NHS dentists over the last ten years for this increase in tooth decay among youngsters.

This is why shadow health secretary Wes Streeting recently spoke up about introducing supervised tooth brushing for three to five-year-olds at school. 

He told viewers of Good Morning Britain: “In too many cases, it’s not happening at home and tooth decay is now the number one reason for hospital admissions amongst children aged between six and ten.”

Mr Streeting stated that this scheme could improve children’s education, as they will not be distracted by toothache, which can cause disruptive behaviour for the rest of the class.

How An Anti-Snoring Device Can Solve Those Sleepless Nights

Do you suffer from loud and excessive snoring? Then chances are it could be disrupting not only your own life but that of your partner.

Snoring is often viewed as a benign phenomenon, but while it’s not always indicative of underlying health issues, in some cases it can be. Moreover, snoring loudly can put strain on your relationships and result in others not wanting to sleep around you.

Thankfully, there’s an answer as there are various anti-snoring devices you can use to help you get a proper night’s rest. Here, we’ll be going over the most common to see how an anti-snoring device can help.

Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs)

MADs are oral appliances that you wear in the mouth while you’re asleep. They work by holding the lower jaw forward slightly, which helps keep the airway open and reduces snoring.

An MAD will gently advance the lower jaw during sleep. Interestingly, this forward positioning helps to prevent the collapse of the soft tissues at the back of the throat, which is one of the most common causes of snoring. 

So by keeping the airway open and unobstructed, MADs improve airflow and reduce the vibrations that produce those loud and often infuriating snoring sounds. 

MADs are often recommended for those with mild to moderate sleep apnea or snoring, offering a comfortable alternative to more invasive treatments. With proper fitting and adjustment, these devices can prove to be a godsend by significantly reducing snoring frequency and intensity.

Tongue Stabilising Devices (TSDs)

TSDs are another type of oral appliance, only these are slightly different as they work by holding the tongue in place to prevent it from blocking the airway and causing snoring.

TSDs typically consist of a suction bulb that holds the tongue in a forward position, preventing it from falling backwards and obstructing the airway, creating the sound of snoring. 

By keeping the tongue in place, TSDs help to maintain an open airway, reducing the likelihood of any snoring that’s being caused by tongue obstruction. 

Nasal Strips

Nasal strips are adhesive strips that are applied to the outside of the nose and are said to alleviate snoring and improve breathing during sleep. 

They work by gently lifting and opening the nasal passages slightly, which helps to reduce nasal congestion and improves airflow, both of which have a range of benefits. 

For those who snore due to nasal congestion or obstruction, nasal strips can provide temporary relief and promote quieter breathing. Additionally, nasal strips are non-invasive and take a matter of seconds to apply, so they’re easy to use and widely available over the counter without a prescription. 

While they may not address the underlying causes of snoring, such as obstructive sleep apnea, they still offer a convenient and non-invasive option for managing snoring and improving nasal airflow, which can help you and your bedmate get a better night’s sleep.

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) Machines

CRAP machines might sound like something you’d get from a joke shop, but they’re extremely effective medical devices used to treat obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and alleviate snoring. 

These devices work by delivering a continuous flow of air through a mask worn over the nose or both the nose and mouth during sleep. This constant airflow helps to keep the airway open, preventing it from collapsing and reducing the episodes of apnea and snoring. 

CRAP machines can certainly take some getting used to, and if you’re a light sleeper yourself then it can be difficult to adjust. However, with some persistence, over time you should be able to acclimatise, and once you’re sleeping properly, you’ll notice a massive difference.

For those with severe OSA, CPAP therapy can significantly improve sleep quality, reduce daytime fatigue and lower the risk of associated health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke. 

Lifestyle

In addition to the above anti-snoring devices, there are also some lifestyle changes you can make that will help reduce your snoring.

Maintaining a healthy weight through regular exercise and a balanced diet can decrease the likelihood of excess throat tissue that will no doubt contribute to snoring. 

Likewise, avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bedtime can also help relax the muscles in the throat and reduce the risk of airway obstruction, while a consistent sleep schedule and sleeping on your side rather than your back can further decrease snoring intensity. 

4 Telltale Signs You’re Grinding Your Teeth In Your Sleep

Most of us have had that recurring dream where it feels like our teeth are about to break! Well, turns out this is usually down to us grinding them in our sleep.

Known as bruxism, this can occur due to various factors, including stress, anxiety, misaligned teeth, sleep disorders and lifestyle habits. The good news is for most, teeth grinding is usually temporary, although for some it can become a long-term issue that needs addressing.

While it can be hard to keep tabs on what you’re doing while you’re asleep, there are usually some telltale signs that will indicate there’s some teeth-grinding going on. Here are a few of them…

Pain/Tension In Jaw

Whether asleep or not, when you grind your teeth, you’ll be repeatedly moving your jaw in unnatural positions, which puts strain on the muscles and joints in the jaw.

One sign that someone is grinding their teeth is waking up with jaw pain or stiffness. This occurs because the repetitive grinding motion puts strain on the muscles and joints of the jaw, leading to discomfort upon waking. 

Headaches

The repetitive clenching and grinding of the jaw muscles during sleep can also cause headaches.

The continuous muscle activity of the muscles, while you’re in the land of nod, can lead to tension and strain in the muscles of the head, face and neck, resulting in headaches. So if you’ve been waking up with tension in these areas and you’re unsure why, this may be your answer.

Damaged Teeth

Many of us experience chipped or fractured teeth, but we can usually pinpoint when it occurred. If you’ve noticed damage to your teeth, but you’re unsure how it happened then this may indicate bruxism.

Constant grinding places extreme force on the teeth, causing wear and tear on the enamel over time. Eventually, this can result in visible changes to the teeth, including chips or cracks, as well as the flattening of the part of the tooth you bite with.

Tooth Sensitivity

An early sign of bruxism is sensitive teeth. With repeated grinding, this can gradually erode the protective enamel layer of the teeth, exposing sensitive inner layers and causing increased sensitivity to hot or cold foods.

If your teeth are sensitive but there’s no sign of any cracks or chips, you may have time to intervene before you cause any noticeable damage to your teeth. 

How To Prevent Bruxism

There are various factors that can cause bruxism, so first you’ll need to pinpoint the cause. Sleep disorders, stress and abnormal sleep patterns can all contribute to bruxism, as can alcohol consumption and smoking

Try eliminating some of these from your lifestyle and see if there are any improvements. If you are grinding your teeth in your sleep, you can purchase a mouth guard for teeth grinding which should keep them protected until you’ve managed to address the issue fully.

Who Was The First Professional Athlete To Use A Mouthguard?

In the vast majority of contact sports, the use of a mouthguard is strongly recommended, and most sports where there is a chance of collision will outright require that all athletes wear suitable dental protection.

There are a lot of reasons for this; besides not wanting to lose teeth or have them broken, which as happened to boxer Mike McTigue can cause not only health concerns but competitive disadvantages, but there are also suggestions that it can help reduce the risk of concussions and head injuries.

However, the first known use of a mouthguard, like so many safety developments, caused a controversy that seems bewildering looking back.

The Gum Shield And The Kid

Born Gershon Mendeloff, Ted “Kid” Lewis was one of the first British boxers to be successful in the United States, one of the youngest boxing world champions ever and having competed in nearly 300 fights.

Beyond being exceptionally skilled and prolific in the ring, he was also a pioneer, being believed to be the first professional athlete to ever wear a mouthpiece, although with record keeping being poor from that era, it is impossible to confirm this.

Mr Lewis was a friend of Phillip Krause, who had carried on his father Woolf’s work in creating a reusable mouthpiece that provided some rudimentary protection for teeth. 

The elder Mr Krause used gutta-percha resin, most commonly used now in root canal procedures, and would lay strips of it over the top and bottom of the teeth. 

The younger Mr Krause, himself an amateur boxer, managed to turn that into a mouthpiece that could be used more than once using rubber as the main material.

As well as inventing it, this would mean that Phillip Krause was also the first person to use a custom-built mouthguard rather than one that has been somewhat haphazardly put together using other materials.

Where it became controversial was on 7th February 1921 in a fight at Madison Square Garden in New York City between “Kid” and his most famous rival, the local “Boxing Marvel” Jack Britton.

The two boxers had an exceedingly long history, with over 20 fights over six years and a total of 224 rounds of fighting. It has been claimed whenever one man heard the other’s name, they physically winced recalling the memories of their battles.

This fight, which would ultimately be their last together, saw “Kid” Lewis wear a mouthguard against the reigning Welterweight Champion of the World, protecting himself slightly for what would inevitably be a very long fight.

However, chaos ensued after just two rounds, as Mr Britton took Mr Lewis back to his corner and both the former and his manager complained that the gum shield was giving him an advantage.

The referee agreed and told him to take it out. Ultimately, Mr Britton would win the fight by unanimous decision, but that was not the end of the ramifications.

Four days later, the New York State Athletic Commission banned mouthguards as a violation of the Walker Law which governed boxing at the time.

This turned out to have gruesome consequences for Mike McTigue, and by 1930 it was legal and expected for boxers to wear mouthguards, with other contact sports following suit.

How Long Do You Need To Wear Retainers For Best Results?

If you want to achieve the perfect smile, this often involves more than just wearing braces or aligners. Indeed, once the braces are removed, you need to go through another crucial stage – retainers.

These devices play a significant role in maintaining the results achieved by your procedure, but many people wonder how long they need to ensure best results.

Here we’ll answer this question and more, taking an in-depth look at retainers, what they are, how they work and how long they need to be worn to achieve that sparkling smile.

What Are Retainers?

Retainers are dental appliances that are custom-made to fit an individual’s mouth and hold their teeth in their corrected positions achieved by their braces or aligners. 

Retainers are typically made of plastic or metal wires and are designed to prevent the teeth from shifting back into their original misaligned positions. 

After the completion of orthodontic treatment, retainers work by stabilising the teeth while the surrounding gums and bone adjust to their new alignment to preserve the results achieved by your orthodontic treatment.

Duration Of Wear

When it’s time to move onto retainers, most orthodontic patients wonder how long and how often they’ll need to wear them.

The answer depends on various factors, including the individual’s orthodontic history and the recommendation of their orthodontist. However, as a general guideline, orthodontists typically advise patients to wear their retainers every night for about a year after the braces or aligners are removed.

After the initial year of nightly wear, many orthodontists recommend wearing retainers every other night for the next five to ten years, depending on individual circumstances. 

This intensive wear schedule helps ensure that the teeth remain stable during the critical early phase of adjustment, while wearing them every other night thereafter should help hold the teeth in place in the long term.

Again, we must stress this is just a rough guideline. In some cases, your orthodontist may recommend a different regimen completely. In the end, it all depends on your personal goals and treatment plan.

Benefits Of Regular Retainer Wear:

By consistently wearing your retainers you can benefit in numerous ways that extend beyond just maintaining straight teeth. These include:

Prevent Relapse: 

Regular retainer wear minimises the risk of orthodontic relapse, ensuring that your teeth remain in their corrected positions. This means you won’t need to go through the often painful and painstaking process of dental treatment and braces again.

Preserve Oral Health: 

Retainers help maintain proper tooth alignment, reducing the likelihood of oral health issues such as crowding, spacing or bite problems.

Protect Your Investment: 

Orthodontic treatment is never cheap, but if you look at it like an investment in your smile then it’s always worth it. 

Wearing retainers as recommended by your orthodontist protects this investment by preserving the results of your treatment for the long term.

So that’s how long you need to wear your retainers. In truth, much depends on your individual treatment plan, but in most cases, you’ll need to wear them for at least five-ten years.

Can Certain Foods Help To Whiten Teeth And What Are They?

It is common knowledge that certain products can cause stains to appear on teeth, but did you know that some foods can help give you a pearly white smile?

Apples

Apples, for instance, are good at whitening teeth, as they contain malic acid. This acts as a bleaching agent and helps to remove stains from the enamel. 

Other foods that contain malic acid include strawberries, so do not be afraid to tuck into these fruits if you want a bright smile. 

Eating apples also increases the salvia in the mouth, which helps fight against bacteria. It contains antimicrobial properties that keep the teeth and gums safe, while at the same time it stops bacteria forming plaque on the teeth, which can discolour them. 

Raisins

Similarly, raisins work in the same way, stimulating saliva production in the mouth. This prevents plaque from forming and helps prevent staining on the teeth. 

The dried fruit also neutralises acid in the mouth, which helps to prevent cavities. So, do not be afraid of eating raisins if you’re worried about your teeth, as it could be doing them some good.

Celery

Celery is a healthier choice if you want to brighten your smile, as it has a high water content, which also makes you salivate more. 

At the same time, it contains natural cellulose, which is a fibrous material. This acts as an abrasive against teeth, scrubbing away stains. 

Green tea

Another good choice is green tea, as this has catechins. This stops the growth of dental plaque, keeping teeth whiter. 

Broccoli

It is also a good idea to fill your plate with broccoli, as this vegetable is great for teeth. Firstly, it is high in fibre, which acts as an abrasive to remove stains, and it also contains iron, which is known to protect enamel from acids. Although these foods can help prevent staining, some people could benefit from using teeth whitening trays to really remove deeply embedded stains.

Can A Mouthguard Prevent Concussions?

One of the biggest issues in the world of contact sports is the effect high-impact play can have on the body and the brain, with organisers and players alike looking for any means to protect themselves and preserve their careers without reducing their performance.

The most popular and yet most debated method of reducing concussions on the pitch, in the ring or in the octagon is the use of mouthguards.

A custom-fit dental retainer is a vital piece of equipment in contact sports for many reasons, including avoiding broken teeth, cuts, lacerations and significant injuries to the face and the jawbone, but a big appeal to players is avoiding concussions and subsequent post-concussion syndrome.

Certain mouthguards are even sold on their ability to prevent concussions, but to what extent is that actually the case?

The rationale is that when worn correctly, a mouthguard pulls the jawbone forward, spreading the forces of an impact away from the skull and therefore reducing the risk of concussions.

The data is both limited and inconsistent in this regard; whilst one case-control study found a negative correlation between concussions and the wearing of mouthguards, but others have found no link between mouthguards and concussion incidence.

A consensus statement in 2012 suggested that there wasn’t a link, and other reports have been somewhat conflicted on the subject.

Part of the issue is that until 2005, the concept of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) had not been seriously and consistently explored, and the complexities of studying the effects of repeated concussions in an athlete who is still alive are still being navigated nearly two decades after Dr Bennet Omalu’s study.

Because of this, the mechanics of how concussions affect the brain and the long-term damage they can cause are still being examined in the same way the effects of mouthguards are.

Mouthguards are still a vital piece of sports equipment and given their relative inexpense and protection from other facial injuries should still be used.

One way in which mouthguards could prevent repeated concussions is the rise of smart mouthguards, which have sensors that can detect sudden violent impacts in real-time, allowing for far quicker assessments by a doctor rather than waiting for self-reported symptoms.

Teeth Alignment Is More Than Just Aesthetic Improvement

People should consider having teeth alignment procedures for other reasons than just because they want to improve their appearance, as straightening teeth comes with many benefits. 

Anyone with crooked or misaligned teeth can develop poor dental health, such as overbites, underbites, cross bites, open bites or deep bites. 

Therefore, by having a teeth retainer or getting some teeth removed to straighten a crooked smile, patients will find they are able to chew their food better. This can improve their digestion, which is especially good for those who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, heartburn or any other digestive issue. 

Having wonky teeth also makes it difficult to clean them thoroughly. Therefore, patients are more likely to suffer from tooth decay if they are unable to remove the bacteria and plaque properly. 

They may also develop gum disease due to the build-up of plaque. If this is left untreated, it can lead to receding gums and teeth becoming loose and falling out. 

It can also result in having a permanent bad taste in the mouth, while eating foods such as apples can make gums bleed.

Not being able to brush properly, as well as gum disease, can also lead to bad breath. This can really affect someone’s self-esteem, and can make them feel self-conscious when speaking to people. 

In addition to this, having teeth that are fully aligned helps to lift the mouth upwards. This can take years off patients, making their skin look tighter and younger. 

Those who are considering straightening their teeth can do so at any time once all the permanent teeth have formed. Although the best age is between ten and 14 years as the mouth is still growing, this does not mean adults cannot benefit from fixing their crooked teeth.