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  1. How do you get dental decay

    October 16, 2014

    One of the main causes of pain in our mouth is when our tooth is suffering from dental decay.  This would only happen if a good oral hygiene and balanced diet was not maintained. A combination of bad eating habits and oral hygiene neglect could eventually lead to destruction of the tooth’s structure. So how do you get dental decay?

    Each of our teeth contains nerves which then transmit signals to our brain; we call this part of the tooth the pulp. These nerves are enclosed in the pulp chamber which is surrounded by stronger structures called dentine and enamel.

    what-is-a-tooth

    One tooth’s surface is different from another, for example our molars present pits and fissures which are not present in our front teeth. This depends on the function of the tooth, for chewing these pits and fissures help to grind the food down to facilitate ingestion. Teeth with such features have a higher tendency to retain bits of food or plaque that could get stuck in the pits and fissures. If one does not brush their teeth correctly plaque will deposit on those surfaces where the bristles of brushes find it hard to reach or if one does not use dental floss in between teeth.

    It all starts when you introduce food containing carbohydrate or sugar in your mouth. The bacteria in your mouth will feast on these and in turn produce acid. The more sugary food you eat the more acid will be produced in your mouth which will attack the strongest layer of the tooth which is the enamel. The acid will erode layers of the enamel until it reaches the dentine.  Structurally, the dentine is softer than the enamel so the decay will spread quicker in this layer. At this stage because the dentine is closer to the pulp you may experience bouts of sharp pain when eating or drinking anything cold or eating sweets. Normally symptoms like this makes one think to go and see their dentist, and indeed this is the right thing to do to remove any dental decay and get the holes filled and stop the pain from progressing. If such symptoms are ignored then you are allowing the bacteria to continue its journey to the pulp chamber where the bacteria will come in contact with the nerves and become irritated. This situation will emit long lasting throbbing and sharp pain which hopefully this time will not deter you from seeing your dentist.

    toothache

    If you decide to save the decay stricken tooth, which is ideal because nothing is quite like your tooth, then the dentist can do a root canal treatment on it. This treatment will see the tooth’s canals sealed and pulp filled which will prolong the tooth’s life and live for years and years to come. Ideally the tooth needs to be capped with a crown because structurally it will become weaker than how it used to be and this will prevent future fractures happening.

    Knowing the correct technique to brush your teeth (see “how to brush your teeth correctly”) and maintaining the correct eating habit, especially consuming sugary food at the right time of the day (see “effects of sugar on teeth”) should enable you to maintain a healthy and dental decay free teeth.


  2. Effects of sugar on teeth

    September 26, 2014

    “A balanced diet is essential for good health” this is also applicable to your teeth. So when we see patients that have decayed teeth to the point of no return and we ask them how much sugary food and drink they take, it is obvious that they have given priority to sugar rather than other food groups. Let me go through the effects of sugar on teeth.

    Our clever body has a mechanism which allows it to protect itself from harm. Our mouth has this too. Once sugar enters our mouth the bacteria present in our mouth quickly starts to turn that into acid. This is when demineralization takes place, when acid starts demolishing the minerals present in our tooth’s enamel. As a coping mechanism our mouth will produce saliva which helps to neutralize the acidity level in our mouth starting the process of remineralization. Our mouth takes roughly about 30 minutes to complete this process so imagine if a patient eats a small sugary snack 30-40 minutes after main meals, their mouth will struggle to achieve the point of remineralization and will keep dropping back into high levels of acidity. By doing this they are allowing acid and bacteria to attack their teeth leading to plaque and sensitivity. The graph below shows how the pH level (acidity level) shoots down to critical level every time a person eats.

    Bad Stephan’s curve

    badstefan2

    So how could you avoid this from happening? You do not have to completely cut sugar out of your life, that would be just cruel. You could limit eating sugary food or drinks to meal time, at least this way your mouth will have time to recover after. The more sugary food you eat the longer the time your teeth are exposed to acid. Sipping sugary drinks such as tea and coffee are also very harmful to your teeth. Instead of sugary drinks you can snack on food with low content of sugar such as raw vegetables. Brush your teeth 30 minutes after eating to remove plaque from your tooth’s surface. A deposit of plaque builds up and releases more acid leading to dental caries.

    Dental decay

    Plaque

    In order to maintain healthy teeth limiting your sugary intake to meal times and avoid snacking on sugary food in between meals. By doing this you are allowing your mouth to bring the acidity level in your mouth down and allowing your saliva to start the remineralisation process of those teeth that had been attacked by acid. Below is a good example of eating pattern which will aim you to maintain a healthier pH level in your mouth avoiding causing damage to your teeth.

    Good Stephan’s curve

    goodstefan2


  3. How to brush your teeth correctly

    August 29, 2014

    A nice smile has now gained quite an importance in our daily lives. They say “A smile is a curve that sets everything straight”, well apart from having straight teeth, to achieve a nice smile it is most importantly fundamental to have healthy teeth. A good oral hygiene is only achieved by how efficient you brush your teeth correctly. At Oakwood dental clinic we think it is important to talk about ways on how you can take care of your teeth because you know “Once they are gone, they are gone…”

    Top 5 tips on tooth brushing:

    1. MANUAL TOOTHBRUSH:  medium bristled toothbrush, but use a soft bristled brush for receding and sensitive gums
    2. MANUAL vs ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH- Manual is fine if you have the correct technique. Electric brushes have some advantages like a built in timer and controlled forces.
    3. TIME:  brush your teeth for at least 2 minutes: Play your favourite song, use an egg timer or count to 10 for each surface in each quadrant (4 quadrants x 3 surfaces per quadrant=count to ten 12 times)
    4. TOOTHPASTE: use fluoride based toothpaste to strengthen your enamel
    5. VISIT YOUR DENTIST FOR ADVICE 

    Let us start with the basics, the toothbrush. We are lucky that in this day and age we have access to so many kinds of toothbrushes: manual or electric, soft or hard, small or big headed, quite frankly there is too much to choose from! For manual, a good start would be to choose a toothbrush with a head that would enable you to reach hard to access places such as your back teeth. It is generally agreed by dental professionals that a medium bristled tooth brush is recommended but if you find that your gum are receding due to too much force when brushing then a soft bristled brush would be more suitable as it is kinder to your gums depending on how much pressure you put on it when you brush your teeth. For electric toothbrush it is advisable to choose one with a brush that performs with a rotation-oscillation action.

    Another Question we are asked is whether to use manual or electric toothbrush. The use of electric toothbrush is highly advisable even more when you are brushing your teeth too hard resulting in causing your gums to recede but there is nothing wrong with using a manual toothbrush the important thing is to know the techniques of how to brush your teeth correctly.

    Brushing your teeth correctly normally requires two minutes of your time; you can set a timer up or put your favourite song to play which is normally 4 minutes long so you know that half way through it you can finish your brushing. Divide your mouth into 4 main sections (quadrant): Upper left, Upper right, Lower left and Lower right. Spend 30 seconds on each quadrant dedicating 10 seconds per surface: inner, outer and chewing surface. To brush your teeth properly tilt your toothbrush at a 45⁰ angle against the gumline then brush away from the gumline. Use short but gentle strokes back and forth on the surfaces of your teeth paying attention on the chewing surfaces and nooks and crannies. Use fluoride based toothpaste for when you brush your teeth to strengthen your enamel making it more resistant to bacteria that could cause dental caries.

    brush your teeth correctly

    how to brush you teeth correctly

    Visit your dentist and ask for advice on which toothbrush is best suitable for your needs as long as you make sure you are brushing your teeth correctly at least twice a day for 2 minutes each and using a fluoride based toothpaste you can achieve a great oral hygiene.


  4. Website Launch

    July 21, 2014

    After many months of reading and writing and then reading and writing all over again, the Oakwood Dental Clinic website is finally LIVE!!! Many thanks to everyone who contributed with ideas, advice and most of all their time.

    Special thanks to:

    • Dental Design
    • Mike Noad @ Duo Link
    • Felipe Caro for the brand design
    • Francesca for your attention to detail

    To mark this momentous occasion, we have decided to offer 50% off tooth whitening for all patients in July and August 2014. Please contact the practice on 020 8882 4145 to find out more. We look forward to meeting you…