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Care & Advice

Good Dental Health

Good dental health is a clean mouth, low in bacteria and plaque. You want to keep emergency visits to the dentist to a minimum throughout your life. It is the best way to avoid troublesome teeth is to stay on top of your dental care routine and maintain regular check-ups.

Your oral hygiene routine

To achieve good dental health you need a good oral hygiene routine.

  • Twice a day, brush your teeth thoroughly with a brush. Make sure to brush the surface of all your teeth, paying special attention to your back teeth as these are the ones often missed, and where hidden bacteria can become plaque. Do not rinse
  • In addition to brushing, flossing between every tooth is important for removing any trapped food and keeping your gum line clean
  • Finally, make a note in your diary of your next dental check-up and hygienist appointment. A deep, professional clean once or twice a year is essential to a first-class dental care routine
Let’s talk about fluoride

What is fluoride?
Naturally present in water (although in some areas it is added to your tap water due to its dental benefits), fluoride is a mineral that actively helps our bodies absorb calcium, and is essential for protecting your enamel and keeping teeth strong. Enamel is the most highly mineralised part of our body and, while hard, it is notoriously sensitive to changes in pH. Once eroded, it is impossible for it to regenerate. However, fluoride can help with re-mineralisation, meaning that it works to help keep your enamel stronger for longer.

It’s worth remembering that if you use mouthwash straight after brushing, this can rinse away some of the fluoride. Try to give it a few minutes between brushing and rinsing. At Lee Dental and Implant Practice we will be able to advise you on fluoride toothpastes and mouthwashes.

Lifestyle and diet
A good balanced diet means a healthy mouth, strong gums and bright teeth.
Dark leafy greens, such a kale and spinach, green tea, celery and apples are all gum-loving foods, keeping them healthy from the inside out. Dairy foods, such as cheese, milk and natural yogurt all harbour a helpful bacteria called casein, which is great for keeping the pH balance in your mouth neutral. Shiitake mushrooms are another lesser known, but equally delicious way of helping your gums stay bacteria-free. They contain an antibacterial compound called lentinan, which wards off harmful bacteria that can build up along the gum line.

Book an appointment to see the dentist or the hygienist who will be able to offer you practical advice on how you can retain a good dental health.

Get in touch on 020 3198 2026

Children’s teeth

Children’s teeth care
Tooth decay or dental caries is a bacterial infection in your tooth. It needs sugar, bacteria and time in order to progress. We all produce plaque, a sticky layer of bacteria. When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, this bacteria produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The first stage is a white spot on your tooth, which turns brown and then eventually a hole or cavity appears.

How do you know if you have tooth decay?
Sometimes you are not aware you have a cavity and your dentist spots at a check-up or using dental x-rays.
You may have noticed your tooth being more sensitive to temperature or sweet things. Occasionally you may feel a hole or food may get caught where it hasn’t before. Some people notice bad breath.

If the decay is extensive it can travel to your nerve and cause an abscess. Usually the pain is more sever and you often develop a swelling and the tooth is uncomfortable to bite on. If this has happened the only treatment is root canal therapy or the tooth needs removing.

How can you fix it?
Early decay, which has not yet become a cavity can reverse and heal itself. It needs a good diet, good cleaning and fluoride for this to happen. Once it has formed a cavity the most predictable treatment is to visit your dentist to have a filling placed. They will eliminate the bacterial, clean the cavity and usually place a tooth coloured filling.

How to prevent tooth decay?

  • Tooth decay is a common problem, but it is entirely preventable
  • Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste. Use floss and an interdental brush or floss
  • Good diet and limit snacking
  • Reduce your sugar intake, especially between meals
  • Seeing your dentist to prevent cavities. Your dentist will decide how often they need to see you based on the condition of your mouth, habits and your diet

We firmly believe that caring for children’s teeth and teaching them good oral health habits early on is absolutely vital. Even if your child still only has baby teeth, the way in which they are cared for can affect the health of their permanent teeth.

We are able to give advice and teach them how to care for their teeth, and carry out treatments such as fillings (on both adults and children) extract deciduous teeth under local infiltration analgesia and pulp therapy treatment of deciduous teeth.

Other ways of helping to keep your child’s teeth healthy are fissure sealants, which help prevent decay in vulnerable back teeth. We also have a range of protective sports mouthguards for youngsters involved in contact sports.

Tooth Wear/Bruxism

Tooth wear is cause by a combination of acid erosion and Grinding/Clenching which is called Attrition.

Acid erosion:
All around the tooth, mainly towards the front.

Acid erosion is a form of tooth wear caused by acid softening the surface of tooth enamel. Acidic foods and drinks like fizzy drinks, fruit juice, energy drinks and wine feature prominently in diets today. These demineralize and soften the tooth surface, making it more susceptible to physical damage, even by brushing.

To reduce the effects, you can do the following:

  • Have acidic food and drinks, and fizzy drinks, just at mealtimes. This will reduce the number of acid attacks on your teeth. Ideally, only have these drinks occasionally.
  • Drink quickly, without holding the drink in your mouth or ‘swishing’ it around your mouth. Or use a straw to help drinks go to the back of your mouth and avoid long contact with your teeth.
  • Finish a meal with cheese or milk as this will help cancel out the acid.
  • Chew sugar-free gum after eating. This will help produce more saliva to help cancel out the acids which form in your mouth after eating.
  • Wait for at least one hour after eating or drinking anything acidic before brushing your teeth. This gives your teeth time to build up their mineral content again.
  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and first think in the morning, with fluoride toothpaste. Use a small-headed brush with medium to soft bristles.

We would also recommend a high fluoride toothpaste along with fluoride varnish application every 6 months.

Attrition: Tooth wear on the top of the tooth.
Due to the pressures of modern life we are seeing an increase in teeth grinding related cases. Teeth grinding can happen during the day or at night while you are sleeping. Depending on the severity, problems can include worn teeth, headaches and TMJ pain.

Clicking jaw joints or (TMJ) is made worse if you clench or grind your jaw. Usually, the only time your joints get to relax is whilst you sleep so help protect them with a splint. If you have clicking joints and jaw pain you need to see a dentist.

Teeth grinding while you sleep
You can put over four times the biting pressure on your teeth while you sleep. Most people sleep better wearing a custom mouth guard. It will provide you with a smooth biting surface and help relax your jaw at night.

Protection with mouth guards
A bespoke mouth guard will protect your teeth from wear and reduce pain associated with grinding. An appliance can help relax your muscles and break the grinding habit. We offer a range of appliances to help with teeth grinding.

Dental phobia

Sometime patients feel anxious or nervous about visiting the dentist. Every member of our team is understanding and compassionate towards our patients, and will do our best to help you feel calm and relaxed during your visit. For patients who need an extra helping hand to get them through appointments, we offer sedation therapy. We also have minimal invasive treatment and a comprehensive preventative programme.

‘Tell Show Do’ technique
When it comes to fears and phobias, we understand the power of open communication. Your dentist will spend time discussing with you any anxieties or concerns ahead of your treatment, and will continue to make sure that you are well-informed and cared for. Our practitioners are sensitive and responsive to dental phobias and general anxieties. We offer a wealth of experience and tried-and-tested techniques to help you feel comfortable at every step, whether you are visiting for a routine check up or for further treatment.

A modern solution
If you have a severe dental phobia, talk to us about how sedation might help. There are a variety of ways to administer sedation to ensure you’re calm and relaxed before treatment begins.

Helpful techniques

There are a number of ways to alleviate your dental anxieties, some of which you can put into practice before you even arrive.

  • Book a morning appointment, so you’re not worried about it all day
  • Remember that your first appointment is only a consultation: you can talk everything through with us ahead of treatment
  • Bring a friend with you to your appointment to help give you support
  • Talk to family and friends about their positive experiences at the dentist
  • Start slowly: ask us for a simple clean and polish to help you get used to dental procedures

Fresh Breath

Bad breath is a delicate and complex topic. It’s something that has many causes but ultimately results in a knock to your self-confidence. It can also be daunting to raise the issue. However, it’s important that if you recognise bad breath as an issue, that you do speak to your dentist.
Our team will be sensitive to your concerns. Not only will they help you on the road to fresh breath, but their professional advice is invaluable for uncovering the cause.

What causes bad breath?

The causes of bad breath (or halitosis) can vary from simply lifestyle and the food in your diet to more serious underlying health problems, such as gum disease and gum inflammation (gingivitis). It can even be telling of issues in different parts of your body. Bad breath can be a sign of throat or lung infections; of liver or kidney disease.

Halitosis can be a result of:

  • Strong foods, such as garlic and onions
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Regular consumption of alcohol and cigarettes
  • Food caught between teeth
  • Dry mouth
  • Bacteria on the tongue
  • Gingivitis and periodontal disease (the two most common types of gum disease)
  • Health issues in another part of your body e.g. throat, liver, kidneys, lungs
  • Impacted wisdom teeth that are difficult to clean
How do I get rid of bad breath?

When was the last time you visited the dentist? It could be simply a build up bacteria from lifestyle habits, such as drinking coffee and smoking, eating strong-tasting foods or not brushing thoroughly enough. However, it could be an indication of a dental health concern. Bad breath is a symptom and, with many possible underlying reasons, it is best to get a professional opinion.

If you are concerned about bad breath, speak to your dentist. They will be able to perform a routine examination to discover the cause, and offer treatment and advice. Treatment will range from a hygienist appointment for a thorough clean and polish, to antibiotics for throat bacteria or a suitable plan to treat gum disease. By treating the cause of your bad breath, your dentist or hygienist can help you achieve fresh breath and restore your confidence. Fresher breath means a healthier mouth.

Stop bad breath before it happens

  • Regular check-ups:
    Regular visits to the dentist play an important role in oral hygiene. As well as regular check-ups to see if your gums and teeth are healthy, we advise you to book a professional tooth clean at least twice a year. This way bad breath can be dealt with professionally if you have any worries or questions.
  • Don’t forget about your tongue:
    When it comes to brushing your teeth, many people forget that there can be a coating of bacteria still present on your tongue. We advise brushing your tongue as well as your teeth to achieve optimum cleanliness. Brushing your tongue or investing in a tongue scraper will help reduce bad breath.
  • Stay hydrated!
    Keep that water bottle close! Staying hydrated is important if you want to reduce bad breath. Drinking water helps engage your saliva glands, which cleanses your tongue and teeth from any food particles left behind throughout the day.
  • Watch your food intake:
    Remember, there are plenty of foods out there can sour your breath. The most common foods include onions and garlic, which can stay in the mouth even after brushing. The chemicals that cause the smell travel through your blood stream and into your lungs, where you continue to breathe them out, even if you’ve brushed your teeth after your meal.
  • Clean between your teeth:
    As well as brushing twice daily, it is important to continue to floss or use interdental brushes/sticks regularly. Flossing on a daily basis will help prevent the build-up of plaque, which harbours more bacteria on the teeth. Keeping on top of this will prevent bad breath from forming faster.
  • Keep an eye on your drink habits:
    It’s always hard to turn down a strong black coffee in the morning, but keep in mind that some drinks can create strong smells when you breathe out. For example, coffee and alcohol contain a strong residue that can stick to existing plaque where bacteria can build up much quicker than usual.
  • Quit smoking and Tobacco products:
    For many this is easier said than done, however smoking impacts overall health and contributes highly to bad breath. Tobacco products also affect the levels of moisture in the mouth, which can lead to a stale and unpleasant odour.
  • Try a sugar-free mint:
    Sugar-free mints are a quick fix if you’re looking to cover bad breath. Sucking on a sugar-free mint will help freshen breath, and also increase saliva, helping to moisten the mouth and free any food residue. If you are going to use mouthwash after eating, please use an alcohol-free version.

Contact us on 020 3198 2026 today to book your next dental check-up or hygienist appointment.

Mouth Cancer

Mouth Cancer can be a devastating disease if it is not caught in the early stages, and with more than 7,000 people diagnosed in the UK last year, it is definitely something we all need to be more aware of.

Dentists are trained to spot the signs of mouth cancer, and at Lee Dental and Implant Practice, we carry out screening as part of our oral health check. This means that all patients will benefit from mouth cancer screening during their routine check-ups, which is one of the reasons why it is so important to attend your regular dental appointments!

Mouth cancer screening

Mouth cancer screening is nothing to worry about and the dentists will always be happy to explain everything they are doing, so don’t be afraid to ask. The dental check-up itself is not at all invasive, it simply involves us having a good look at all areas of the mouth and neck, as well as using an intra oral camera.

What to look out for

Awareness is always your best defense against any cancer, so be on the look out for any of these signs and symptoms in between appointments:

  • Ulcers that do not heal within three weeks
  • Red or white patches in the mouth
  • Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area
  • Anything else that looks different to normal.

If you notice anything that concerns you, don’t wait for your next appointment to get checked out. Please contact us on 020 3198 2026 and we will arrange to see you as soon as possible.

Sleep Apnoea/Snoring

Mandibular repositioning appliance for snoring and obstructive sleep apnoea.

Causes of snoring

Obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) is caused by partial or complete obstruction of the airway whilst sleeping. This can lead to a drop in oxygen levels in the blood circulating around the body. One of the most common results of this drop in oxygen levels is disturbed sleep, which can in turn result in excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).

Habitual snoring may indicate that you are developing OSA.

There are a number of factors that put you at risk of partial or complete obstruction of the airways.

  • Being overweight
  • Being male
  • Having a large neck
  • Certain anatomical features
  • Alcohol
  • Diabetes
  • Allergies
  • Taking medicines that have a sedative effect
What is a mandibular repositioning appliance?

A mandibular repositioning appliance is a dental appliance, similar to a gum shield, which is worn in your mouth while you sleep. It is also known as a mandibular advancement splint, mandibular advancement device, oral appliance or dental device. Wearing the device holds the airway open whilst you are sleeping, so that breathing becomes easier and oxygen levels in the blood are normalised. The appliance should also control your snoring.</p.

What are the risks?

There are a number of side effects associated with this form of treatment:

  • Dry mouth
  • Excessive salivation
  • Pain in the muscles of the face and jaw
  • Gum irritation
  • Gagging
  • Tenderness of teeth
  • Tenderness of jaw joint (TMJ)
  • Minor orthodontic movement of the teeth with change in the way teeth meet (bite). The majority of side effects diminish or resolve with time.

In order to minimise or avoid any of the side effects listed above, it is important that you take good care of your teeth and gums with regular visits to your dentist. It is essential that you have a complete dental assessment before being measured for this appliance.

How do I care for my device?

The device is worn for a number of hours while you are asleep. This makes it even more important that good oral hygiene is maintained in order to avoid any form of dental disease. You will be provided with full instructions on how to care for your appliance when it is fitted. The appliance must be cleaned thoroughly and regularly as per these instructions, and it should be clean when inserted in the mouth. You should also clean your mouth and brush your teeth before wearing the device. When you wake up, the device should be removed and cleaned with a little brush and soap/toothpaste. It should then be soaked in an appliance cleaner, such as Ritebrite©. Rinse thoroughly with clean water before you use it again.

Useful sources of information The British Society of Dental Sleep Medicine :