With eating disorders remaining a problem for many, we look at the impact that this illness can have on your teeth.
There is some debate as to whether social media is at least partially responsible for eating disorders, with teenagers especially, likely to compare the way they look with others.
There may also be groups online who actively promote problems like bulimia as a ‘healthy way of life’. Sadly, this is a battle that is likely to run for some time, but any family who has someone suffering from this will know how tragic the illness can be.
With Eating Disorders Awareness Week being from 25th February to the 3rd of March, we thought that now would be a good time to take a look at the potential oral health risks that this illness can cause.
What is bulimia?
It is worth reminding readers that bulimia is an illness that affects many people, although younger girls are one of the most severely affected groups. Often seeing themselves as overweight, even where they are quite the opposite, causes them to ‘binge eat’ before deliberately vomiting. As this often happens soon after eating, the body is unable to obtain the nutrition needed for good health. Long term bulimia can lead to serious general health issues and can even be fatal if not treated.
How does it affect your teeth?
Whilst the most important thing for any bulimia sufferer is to get help to overcome the illness, this can be a long road, and some of the problems that it creates happens over a period of time. This is also the case when it comes to the teeth of a bulimia sufferer.
There are two key ways in which this illness can affect the health of a patient’s teeth and gums.
Lack of nutrition
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Even the smallest chip in a tooth should be examined by your dentist.
One of the most common types of damage caused to a tooth, other than tooth decay, is a chipped tooth.
This can happen in a number of ways; from biting something harder than expected, grinding your teeth or even due to a fall or an accident. Sometimes, the chip may be quite large, but others may be quite small and seem almost irrelevant. Whatever the size though, you should always make an appointment to allow one of our Surbiton dental team to take a look at it.
Even a small chip in a tooth can have an effect on the health of your tooth, and mouth. Here are some possible solutions to correct it.
Leave the chip?
Sometimes, it may be better to do nothing when the chip is very tiny indeed. This is not a decision that the patient should take though, without consulting a dentist first. Even the smallest chip can cause problems by cutting or grazing the cheeks and tongue. Not only can this be sore, but may also lead to infections too. If the chip is causing no other problems, but has a sharp edge that causes this, your dentist may simply smooth off the sharp edge for you.
If the chip in the enamel has not caused the underlying dentin layer to become exposed, an alternative to smoothing off any sharp edges, would be to use cosmetic bonding. This is a resin based material that can be shaped and used to restore the appearance of a chipped tooth, smoothing off any rough edges in the process. It is not as strong as enamel though and its use may be dependent on the strain that particular tooth edge may be subject to within the mouth.
White dental fillings
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Giving your youngsters a healthy start to life with a sensible oral care regimen.
Many of you will have seen in the media, reports that oral problems such as periodontitis are increasingly being linked to health issues such as strokes and heart diseases.
We may not be too concerned about this problems for our young children right now, but, like all parents, we want our kids to grow up happy and healthy, and starting out on the right foot is one of the best ways to help them to achieve this.
Local Surbiton parents who attend our practice will be aware that we firmly believe in preventative dental care from a young age. Ideally, we like to see a child around the time of their first birthday, but even if you have missed this date by a few years, it is better to start now than delay even further. Regular dental examinations at the Confidental Clinic are important for grown ups and children, but let’s not forget that good overall care begins at home.
As your child’s first teeth start to come through, this often seems to coincide with their increasing demands for sugary foods. It can be hard to deny them, especially if we have a sweet tooth ourselves. Sometimes too, we may be so tired that we simply give in for a bit of quiet and ‘me time’. However tempting it may be though, keeping their sugar consumption to a sensible level plays an important role in keeping their young teeth healthy.
Here are a few suggestions on how you might be able to achieve this:
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Surbiton dentist, Dr Minesh Patel explains how this increasingly common problem can impact your oral health.
Stress appears to be a symptom of living in the modern world. Whilst stress has probably always been around (where will the next meal come from? etc), there is little doubt that, with modern technologies and a busy life, it is perhaps not surprising that it is a problem that is on the increase.
Not all stress is bad. We can leverage on it to help achieve our aims and goals, but where it becomes overwhelming, we may no longer be able to control it and illness may follow. Stress has been associated with heart attacks and other serious condition, but it can also have a significant impact on the health of our teeth.
When we are highly stressed, few of us will reach for a carrot stick to help us over it. Most of us, if we are honest, will reach for something that we find most comforting. This can often be something that is very high in sugar. Chocolate is a popular choice and is also believed by some to offer mood lifting qualities. Whether it does this or not, the sticky and sugary chocolate that becomes stuck to your teeth is certainly not going to do them any good.
Some researchers have found that when we are stressed, our body’s ability to produce immune cells to fight against bacteria are reduced. This means that we are less capable of fighting against the bacteria in our mouth that can contribute to gum disease. This reduction in our immunity means that gum disease is more likely, especially if the stress is due to an ongoing situation, rather than a one off event.
Another ‘stress factor’ that may increase the risk of gum disease is that some of us may turn to either, or both, cigarettes and alcohol. Whilst this may potentially relieve some of the stress, it is likely to lead to a dry mouth which is a major contributor to gum disease. These habits may also lead to other more serious issues, such as mouth cancers, if they continue.
TMJ and Bruxism
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A New Year refresh with cosmetic dentistry in Surbiton.
As 2018 starts to come to a close and we prepare ourselves for Christmas meals and family togetherness, it can also be an opportunity not only to reflect on the past year, but also to think about the year ahead too.
Some of us will be looking to make radical changes in the new year, whilst others will be looking for small improvements in various areas of their life.
Sometimes it is the small things that can make a difference, so with this in mind, in our last blog of the year we take a look at some of the cosmetic procedures available at the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton, that can give your appearance a real lift.
For the small, but annoying tooth chips that we often get through wear and tear but which don’t really warrant a longer procedure, cosmetic bonding is an ideal solution. This can help to smooth out those small chips and can be applied and shaped without the need for any local anaesthetic. Bonding can also be used to reshape teeth and even close gaps in some cases.
Although this does require a small surgical procedure, this is a once only treatment that can permanently reshape your gums. This is ideal for those who have a ‘gummy smile’, where the gums grow further down the teeth than is normal. In most cases we are able to use a laser to perform this procedure which also helps to cauterise the wound as it removes excess gum tissue. A one off treatment that can dramatically improve a smile!
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A little fun for Confidental Clinic patients to see how good your memory is!
In June 2015, we published the very first dental blog on our website. Since then, hopefully, we have provided our local Surbiton patients with a wide range of information, helping them to become more aware of dental issues and how to prevent them.
In the spirit and tradition of the end of year quiz, we thought we would see if our patients could remember some key facts that have been mentioned several times whilst writing these blogs.
Questions follow, with answers towards the bottom of the page. How well will you do?
- Name 2 types of gum disease
- How often should you change your toothbrush?
- What is the leading cause of tooth loss in the UK?
- Are you actually asleep during dental sedation?
- Name the two available options if you have an infection in the root canals of your teeth
- How often should you see a dentist for a check up?
- Why do we examine your cheeks and tongue during your checkups?
- Can dentists diagnose mouth cancer?
- Should you brush your teeth immediately after eating?
- What are sometimes described as ‘false fingernails for the teeth’?
- What is ‘bruxism’?
- (Well, there are 12 days of Christmas!) Name the process where the bone and titanium implant fuse, following a dental implant placement?
We hope that you enjoyed our little quiz and that it acted as a refresher in your quest for the best oral health possible. We are always happy to cover any topic that you are interested in, within the dental realm, and you can contact us via our website if you have any questions you would like us to cover in our dental blog.
There will probably be one more blog before our Christmas break, but allow us to wish all of our patients a Merry Christmas from all the team at the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton.
(Please note that we will be closed during public holidays. If you do have a dental emergency during this time, please contact us in the usual way on 020 8399 1291 where further information about emergency dental care will be available).
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Keeping an eye on those habits that can be harmful to our teeth.
In a number of Confidental Clinic blogs, we have mentioned the oral health issues associated with habits such as smoking; habits which generally have potentially serious consequences. There are though, many other habits which may not cause the same degree of harm as smoking, but can still cause damage to our teeth, nonetheless.
The level of risk is variable but here is a quick summary so our local Surbiton patients have a degree of awareness of the damage they may be causing to their teeth and overall oral health.
We have written previously about the small risk to dental veneers when you bite your nails and other hard objects. This action can, on rare occasions, cause veneers to become detached. Even if you don’t wear veneers though, this action could still cause chips to appear in your teeth. It is not the nail itself which causes the damage, but when your teeth slip off the nail, coming into sharp contact with your other teeth. Although any damage is likely to be minor, even small chips in the teeth can become larger and potentially allow bacteria to enter the tooth, leading to decay.
Although a few adults may still do this, this habit is largely confined to younger children, often as a way to soothe themselves. Although this is entirely natural, care should be taken to minimise the amount of time that they do this. Sucking their thumb can cause the top front teeth to start to protrude and may need to be corrected with orthodontics as they grow older.
Opening bottles and even crisp packets
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Dentist, Jignesh Patel explains how unstable dentures can be a thing of the past.
Dentures have long been the ‘go to’ solution for replacing missing teeth. They have also long been the butt of many a joke of the type often seen on older style holiday postcards.
Whilst most denture wearers have hopefully avoided them shooting across the room when they sneeze, their stability certainly can be an issue.
As well as the potential embarrassment if they become loose at an inappropriate time, there are a number of other issues associated with loose fitting dentures. These include:
- Difficulty in eating certain foods, sometimes leading to the wearer eating a more limited diet.
- Digestive problems caused by the inability to chew our food well enough to start the digestive process correctly
- Sore and irritated gums, caused by the friction between dentures and gums
- Potentially affect speech, sometimes to the degree that it can have an effect on the wearer’s confidence
Of course, these may not apply to all dentures wearers, with many patients of our Surbiton dental practice being perfectly happy with theirs. Some though, may experience one or more of these problems, especially after they have been wearing their dentures for some time, with their facial shape changing due to the bone loss associated with missing teeth. No matter how well your dentures have been made and fitted, changes in their fit over time can lead to problems.
When a tooth has been lost, the bone that previously held it in position no longer has that role to fulfill. The body being an efficient user of available resources, will then reabsorb the bone material for use in another area of the body. Although there is no actual physical need for the bone to be retained in the jaw, losing it can have a negative aesthetic effect, especially if a number of teeth are missing. It can also cause subtle changes to the jawbone, meaning that your once well-fitting dentures may no longer be as secure. Denture adhesive may help with this, but it can be messy and is not really a long term solution.
Resolving the problem of unstable dentures
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Some tooth discolouration is preventable, but age still plays a part in the way that our teeth look.
One of the most common concerns we hear expressed by patients at the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton, is that their teeth no longer look white like they used to when they were younger.
It is probably no coincidence then, that the teeth whitening procedure is one of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments currently available. There are many different causes for darker coloured teeth, some of which are in the patient’s control, whilst others are not.
In today’s blog, we take a look at the colour of our teeth throughout our lives and also how we can keep them as white as possible, for as long as possible.
Babies and very young children
This is an age where first teeth come through, followed by secondary teeth. Whilst it is very important to keep young teeth healthy at this stage of life, the colour should be of little concern. Providing that parents help them to brush their teeth and make sure that they eat a reasonably healthy diet, most children will have white teeth at this age; albeit it should be noted that genetics do play a part.
During this period, hopefully no significant discolouration will occur; but that said, our teeth can very quickly come under attack from the foods we eat and our lifestyle choices. Lack of care when brushing, and a diet high in acids, perhaps including too many sugary drinks, can cause the enamel on our teeth to erode, leaving a rougher surface. The small pits and cracks created by this are likely to trap food staining materials, and discoloured teeth may be just around the corner.
Late teens/early adult
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Just 4 days in, we look at why you should keep going with your quit smoking campaign.
Stoptober is a yearly initiative by Public Health England, to encourage people to stop smoking, or at the very least, to significantly cut down the amount of cigarettes that they smoke.
During this month, you are likely to see more anti smoking promotions in the media, and an increased awareness of where to access help and information for those who want to quit.
Like many things that we are determined to do, we often start out with an unbridled enthusiasm, only to find that reality hits us as we get a few days into it. The addictive nature of nicotine means that many people who try to stop smoking, will find it difficult to stop after the initial enthusiasm has waned. Our advice is not to let your addiction beat you! Remember, millions of people have already succeeded in giving up, and there is no reason why you should not be successful in doing so too.
Why stop smoking?
We can probably keep this section short as most of the health issues associated with smoking are fairly well known. From a dentist’s view point though, some patients may still not be aware of the link between smoking and gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. These, in turn, have been linked with other medical issues such as heart disease and an increased risk of a stroke.
One of the most serious oral health issues that is strongly linked to smoking is mouth cancer. This can be very serious and can even prove to be fatal, especially if it remains undetected for too long. We check for signs of this during your regular check ups at our Surbiton practice, so please make sure that you have one at least every six months.
From a purely cosmetic viewpoint, smoking will also stain your teeth, often quite badly.
Anti smoking resources
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