Be mouthaware: The 45 second check that could save your life

Are you able to recognise the changes in your mouth? That’s the question posed by Smile Essential as they support a charity campaign to raise awareness of mouth cancer.

Smile Essential, based on Narborough Road, is urging Leicester residents to be more mouthaware and recognise the early warning signs of mouth cancer, ahead of November’s Mouth Cancer Action Month.

With awareness of the disease remaining alarmingly low, Smile Essential say that a simple 45-second check is often all that’s needed to identify anything unusual and be able to then seek professional guidance.

Dr. Niket Patel from Smile Essential says: “Early diagnosis transforms our chances of beating mouth cancer from 50 per cent to 90 percent so it is crucial that we know what to look out for and that we do not hesitate in seeking advice from a health professional.

“A mouth ulcer that does not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth and unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth or head and neck area, can all be potential signs of mouth cancer so it’s important to be aware of any changes occurring inside your mouth.

“Quite often it is easier to notice lumps and bumps on the outside of the body or to dismiss a mouth ulcer as benign. Most of us will spend at least a few minutes every day in front of a mirror brushing our teeth so while we’re there it makes sense to have a quick look inside the mouth.

“If you keep a lookout for these symptoms then a simple 45-second check really could save your life.

“If you notice anything out of the ordinary, please speak to your dentist or a doctor.”

Mouth Cancer Action Month takes place throughout November and is organised by the Oral Health Foundation.

Last year, 8,722 people in the UK were diagnosed with mouth cancer.  The number of new cases has doubled in the last 20 years, making it one of the UK’s fastest increasing cancers.

Survival rates of mouth cancer have barely improved in the last 20 years and the oral health charity is concerned that too many are mouth cancers are being diagnosed at a late stage, significantly reducing our chance to beat the disease.

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE added: “Mouth cancer can appear anywhere in the mouth including the lips, tongue, cheek, throat and gums.

“Mouth cancer can have a devastating effect on a person’s life, impacting on their breathing, eating and speech. Reconstructive surgery could also change their appearance while the experience often has an impact on confidence and self-esteem.

“By developing a greater understanding about the early warning signs and symptoms, the lifestyle factors which increase our risk, and recognising where to go if we notice anything unusual inside our mouth, we can detect mouth cancer early. This will not only improve our chances of beating it but will also reduce the amount of invasive surgery needed to treat it.

“During every dental check-up, your dentist will do a visual examination for mouth cancer and look for anything that might be a cause for concern. That’s why it’s so important to keep regular dental check-ups – it’s not just about the health of our teeth and gums – a trip to the dentist could really be a lifesaver.”

To find out more information about mouth cancer and Mouth Cancer Action Month, please visit www.mouthcancer.org

Here’s how your oral health affects your overall health…

The mouth is one the main gateway into your body people are often surprised to discover the connection between having a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Your mouth is full of bacteria in a healthy mouth most of them generally harmless. The body’s natural defences and good oral hygiene practices, such as twice-daily brushing and interdental cleaning help to keep these bacteria under control. But without good dental care, these bacteria can reach very high levels leading to problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.

Dentists and scientists are looking to see if good oral hygiene practices can also help to defend you against COVID-19. 

Having poor dental health has been associated with the following health conditions:

Diabetes

Gum disease causes inflammation. Inflammation impairs the body’s ability to utilise insulin. By improving your oral health and getting any gum disease treated can help you to bring diabetes under better control.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Gum disease bacteria has been linked to rheumatoid arthritis. Research is still ongoing but the NHS has published some information which makes for interesting reading if your suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. You can read it here…

Heart Disease

It’s clear that heart disease and gum disease often go hand in hand. Up to 91% of patients with heart disease also have periodontitis. It is suspected that periodontitis has a direct role which increases the risk of heart disease. The theory is that inflammation in the mouth causes inflammation in the blood vessels.

Obesity

Periodontal disease occurs in patients more susceptible to inflammation — who are also more susceptible to obesity. It is suspected that by treating one it can directly affect the other. More research is continuing in this area.

Pregnancy

Hormonal changes during pregnancy can increase a woman’s risk of gum related problems. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight. Researchers are looking into the connection but it is believed that gum infection and inflammation, in general, seem to interfere with a fetus’ development in the womb.

Lung Conditions

Gum disease/periodontitis can worsen chronic inflammation in lung diseases such as asthma and COPD. If your gums are inflamed or infected they can send out a “distress signal” that places the rest of the body on alert.

Having a healthy mouth is an absolute must for better overall health. The mouth and body are not separate and both need to be healthy for improved overall health. Taking good care of your mouth can help you live well for longer. 

Excellent care of your oral health is actually pretty straightforward. It’s a combination of good oral health care and daily practices.

• Brush your teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste

• Floss or use interdental brushes daily

• Eat a healthy balanced diet and limit snacks between meals

• Replace your toothbrush every three or sooner if needed

• Have regular dental health checks

• Avoid tobacco and excessive alcohol

If you’re concerned about your oral health please get in touch with us by calling us on 0116 2891317 or emailing us info@smileessential.co.uk

Do you know the 4 early signs that could mean you have tooth decay?

Very early tooth decay can often go unnoticed. Sometimes signs and symptoms of dental decay don’t present themselves immediately and often people will overlook any signs as the tooth decay progresses.

So here are our top 4 early indicators for you to look out for:

1) Discolouration- white, grey or black spots. These could all indicate that tooth decay may be present.

2) Sensitivity- sensitivity to hot, cold and/or sweet things could all be an indicator of tooth decay. If you notice that there is one particular tooth or area that is sensitive and you don’t generally suffer from sensitive teeth, then this could be an indicator of tooth decay.

3) Bad Breath. The bacteria present in tooth decay can cause bad breath. If there is a hole (cavity) in the tooth then the smell could also be coming from food that is being trapped and is rotting.

4) Toothache or tenderness. This is usually the point that someone calls to book an appoinmrnt. Often people will wait until they experience toothache before realising that they have dental decay.

By far the most simple and effective way of detecting early tooth decay is by visiting your dentist. The equipment used by our Leicester dentists will often detect tooth decay before any of the above signals appear and the tooth decay worsens.

If your concerned you may have tooth decay then give us a call or email for advice…

 

 

 

Dr Niket Patel Celebrates Being 5 Years Dental Phobia Certified…

Dr Niket Patel and the Smile Essential Dental team are delighted to have been awarded Dental Phobia certification for another year. This year celebrates Dr Niket Patel having been Dental Phobia Certified for five years.

Why should you choose a dental phobia certified dentist? Because it means that they have dedicated treatments and services especially to help nervous patients who fear coming to the dental practice. It also means that we have had to put forward written testimonials from our patients that we have helped overcome their dental phobia.

At Smile Essential Dental Practice in Leicester, we have helped hundreds of patients with varying levels of dental phobia. Every person who comes through our door is unique and so is their fear of visiting a dentist. That’s why our first step is always a friendly open and honest chat. We listen to your fears and any specific reasons that make you feel nervous about your dental appointment. We have heard so many different fears including – the dental chair, a bad experience in the past, the school dentist, fear of injections, feelings of helplessness, the sound of metal, the feel of cotton wool and even the fish on the TV.

We have also invested in The Wand which is a digital method of delivering anaesthetic which prevents the pain associated with traditional injections. It ensures anaesthesia is delivered in a pain-free manner.

Find out more about visiting our dental practice as a nervous patient…

7 Surprisingly High Sugar Sources…

Smoothies

Often fruit smoothies are seen as a healthy drink or snack. But these innocent looking drinks are actually loaded with free sugars. Once the fruit is blended the natural sugars are released from within the cell walls of the fruit and become ‘free sugars’. Any added sugar is also counted as free sugars. 

Tomato ketchup

The tabletop condiment of choice for many us and sadly one of the kiddies favourites. Tomato ketchup has a surprisingly high concentration of sugar. But a tablespoon of tomato sauce equals one teaspoon of sugar! So take it easy with the sauce and limit children’s consumption.

Yoghurt

The BBC reported on a Leeds University study of almost 900 yoghurts – with some containing more sugar per 100g than cola! Yoghurt desserts were top of containing the most sugar with an average of 16.4g per 100g. Surprisingly the second most sugary product was organic yoghurts with a typical 13.1g per 100g. Children’s yoghurts typically contained 10.8g per 100g, the equivalent of more than two sugar teaspoons of sugar, the study found.

Breakfast

Breakfast cereal has come a long way the past several years and actually doesn’t contain as much sugar as it used to. However, some processed cereals are still high in sugar so it’s always important to read the label. But what are other breakfast alternatives? Smoothies, pastries or maybe a cereal bar? All of these are high in sugar. better alternatives are oat-based breakfasts such as porridge or eggs on toast.

Takeaway food

Takeaway food can contain a high level of added sugar. Takeaway Chinese food can contain a shocking amount of sugar. With the popular sweet and sour chicken dish containing around 90 grams of sugar – that’s 10 teaspoons! Taking a closer look at takeaway Chinese food it’s clear to see that it’s the sauces that rack up the sugar content. So choose with caution! But it isn’t just Chinese takeaway that contains a lot of sugar. There are several Indian dishes that are high in sugar such as Chicken Korma and a McDonald’s classic beef burger and strawberry milkshake contains a whooping 67grams of sugars!

Energy bars 

Energy bars are often seen as a good grab and go snack when you need energy. However, the shop-bought version of energy bars often contains around 25 grams of sugar per 100 grams. Not so healthy. If you or you’re family can’t live without an energy bar then a healthier alternative is to make low sugar energy bars at home. 

Takeaway drinks

Do you know how much sugar your favourite takeaway drink contains? The regular Starbuck Cappucino contains 11.4 grams of sugar – nearly 3 teaspoons. This often surprises people as you might assume it contains 0 sugar and add a teaspoon or two, significantly increasing your consumption. If you were to treat yourself to a hot chocolate, then the Starbucks classic hot chocolate in regular size contains 22 grams of sugar – 5 and a half teaspoons. If you opt for something a bit more indulgent let’s say a large Signature caramel hot chocolate using semi-skimmed milk then you would be indulging in 89.1 grams of sugar! That’s 22 teaspoons of sugar! Keep your sugar low by choosing a drink in it’s simplest version e.g. americano, breakfast tea etc, never add syrup or sugar and if you do indulge then choose the smallest size possible.

Sugar guidelines

Adults should have no more than 30g of free sugars a day, (roughly equivalent to 7 sugar cubes). Children aged 7 to 10 should have no more than 24g of free sugars a day (6 sugar cubes). Children aged 4 to 6 should have no more than 19g of free sugars a day (5 sugar cubes).

Find out more about sugar…

5 Essential Tips For Keeping Your Children’s Teeth Healthy

1) Make brushing as fun as possible. Little things can mean a lot to little ones. Letting them choose their own toothbrush will help them engage more with cleaning their teeth. You could clean your teeth at the same time and show them how fun it can be making lots of foam.

2) Get digital! Again this is all about making toothbrushing more fun. There are many fun apps and songs you can enlist the help of. There are also electric toothbrushes which you can link to your phone! We wrote another great blog on how technology can help improve your kid’s toothbrushing. You can have a read here…

3) Inspect their cleaning. Get them involved with inspecting the results of cleaning. You should inspect their teeth every time after you brush. Look in a mirror with them and see if you can spot any plaque or food. You can ask older children to run their tongue over their teeth to see if they can feel any areas they might have missed. Disclosing tablets are also a fun way to check how clean their teeth are.

4) Diet. Kids naturally have a sweet tooth and it’s fine for them to indulge in the occasional treat – but the keyword is occasional. Sweets should not be given daily. The frequency of the teeth being subjected to sugar is generally more important than the quantity when it comes to dental care. This is why it’s also a good idea for children to drink water throughout the day rather than juice.

5) Remember the basics. Brushing twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. This advice is the most simple but it’s also the most important. Regular toothbrushing helps to remove plaque build-up and fluoride toothpaste can help to strengthen and repair daily damage. And lets of course not forget about those regular dental check-ups! 

Find out more about children’s dental care…

Coronavirus update

Dear Patients

We hope you and your family in good health. Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety. 

We are reopening in line with Government advice as from Monday 8th June.  

First steps 

Following national guidelines, the first few weeks of reopening we will be prioritising appointments for our patients that are in need of immediate care. We have a list of patients who urgently require our help. If you have spoken to us during lockdown you will be on this list and we will be contacting you to organise an appointment.  

Once we have addressed our patients urgent care needs we can then move to more routine treatments.  

If you have had an appointment cancelled by our reception team during the pandemic, then please feel reassured that our reception team will be in touch with you to reschedule your appointment. Please bear with us whilst we organise our diary ready for you. 

Your appointment 

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice. We have a dedicated decontamination assistant and central sterilisation room in order to offer the highest standards of cross-infection and sterilisation procedures. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable.  

In addition to our current procedures, we have added extra measures to ensure both your and our safety during this pandemic. 

  • Prior to appointments our reception team will communicate with you to ask some screening questions and explain how your visit will work. 
  • We are reducing the number of people allowed inside the practice. Please come alone to your appointment. If you require an escort they are free to come but must wait outside. 
  • Once you arrive outside the practice please call our reception team to let them know you are here, our reception team will ask you the same screening questions.   
  • They will unlock the front door and we will ask you to use the designated hand sanitiser. 
  • A team member will then guide you through into the practice. 
  • Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients.  

We look forward to seeing you again and are happy to answer any questions you may have about the steps we take to keep you, and every patient, safe in our practice.  

To contact us, please call our reception team on 0116 2891317, email us at info@smileessential.co.uk or visit our website at www.smileessential.co.uk 

Thank you for being our patient. We value your trust and loyalty and look forward to welcoming back our patients, neighbours and friends.   

Smile Essential Team 

Supporting National Smile Month and improving oral health in the UK…

National Smile Month is our chance to come together and promote the importance of good oral health and how to achieve it. By doing so, we can help people live healthier, happier and longer lives. Smile Month is the largest and longest-running campaign to promote good oral health and share positive messages and engage others to develop and maintain a healthy mouth and smile they can be proud of.

National Smile Month’s key messages are:

• Brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste.
• Cut down on how much sugary foods and drinks you have and how often you have them.
• Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommended.

This is usually our biggest event of the year. A month we get to help promote good oral health to patients and the community. This year’s event sadly looks very different but we’re still excited to bring our team and you together online and promote the importance of good oral health and of course, raise a smile along the way!

Our teeth have such an important role to play in our lives. They not only help us to smile but also enjoy food help, they help us to talk and speak clearly and they also give our face its shape. A smile also has other day-to-day benefits. It can give us greater confidence, as well as influence our social lives, careers and relationships.

National Smile Month is our chance for us to take a fresh look at our current oral health and make any necessary changes required. Over recent years, there is also growing evidence between oral health and your overall health. Evidence tends to suggest that poor oral health puts you at an increased risk of heart attacks, strokes, dementia and complications during pregnancy.

The best way to maintain great oral health is to:

• Brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste
• Clean in-between your teeth once daily with floss or interdental brushes
• Visit your dentist as often as they recommend
• Chew sugar-free gum after eating or drinking, especially sugary foods, to help protect your teeth and gums in between meals.
• Wait an hour after eating or drinking anything before brushing as then enamel will be softened and you could be brushing away tiny particles.
• Avoid snacking and try to only have sugary foods and drinks at mealtimes, reducing the time your teeth come under attack.

DIY Dentistry Disasters! Pulling out your own teeth…

We are putting together a series of articles looking at the most common DIY dental treatments from DIY tooth whitening to DIY extractions. We have already looked at the most common DIY treatment – teeth whitening, and this week we are taking a closer look at another DIY dental treatment that is sadly on the rise during this pandemic – DIY tooth extractions (pulling your own tooth out).

DIY Tooth Extractions

The phrase ‘like pulling teeth’ usually describes something that’s difficult to do, requires a lot of effort, is tedious, tiring or unpleasant. Taking one’s own teeth out is not only those things but could also cause you significant medical problems or make the pain worse.

When a tooth is causing you pain or discomfort people often jest ‘oh just take it out’. When we are suffering pain, we want immediate relief and don’t consider the longer-term implications. Losing teeth can create a domino effect of dental problems. Modern dentistry is now focused more on saving teeth with the goal of your teeth lasting a lifetime as it benefits your overall health.

There have been quite a few horror stories in the press over the past couple of months of people who have tried and suffered severely after trying to remove their tooth. Teeth are held in the jaw bone by fibrous ligaments; it’s akin to the tooth being glued into the bone. They are also surrounded by bone support. When a tooth is removed at a dental practice the dentist would take an x-ray prior to extraction so they can check in advance for any problems. They also have special tools and of course training and experience! Removing your own tooth can have severe consequences resulting in increased pain and heavy bleeding.

I know people who have taken their own teeth out with no problems?

You may have heard of someone taking their tooth out with relative ease. Almost always it will be because the person is sadly suffering from gum disease. Gum disease left untreated can weaken the tooth’s gum and bone support. In extreme cases where the patient hasn’t seen a dentist, the tooth can become very loose and either falls out or it can be removed easily.

Getting help and advice

If you’re in dental pain and are a patient of our Leicester dental practice – Smile Essential then you can call us for advice 0116 2891317 or email info@smileessential.co.uk 

How to place a temporary filling in your tooth…

 

Temporary Filling Placement At Home 

You will need:- 

A mirror
Good light source
Cotton wool pads, cotton handkerchief or flannel
Temporary filling material
A cotton bud 

 How to place a temporary filling in your tooth:-  

  1. Wash your hands with hot water and soap 
  2. Thoroughly brush your teeth with toothpaste, rinse your mouth with water and then use a mouth wash 
  3. Open the container with the temporary filling, select a rough size as per the area to temporary fill, roll the temporary filling into the size of a small ball, ensuring that this is big enough to cover all of the cavity 
  4. Swallow any excess saliva in your mouth (in order to help the temporary filling material stick we need to try to keep the cavity reasonably dry) 
  5. Using a clean cotton product like a cotton wool pad, cotton handkerchief or flannel dry the tooth in question 
  6. Carefully place the temporary filling into the cavity 
  7. Gently push down and remove any excess temporary filling with a cotton bud 
  8. Gently bite your teeth together 
  9. Avoid eating or drinking or brushing for the next hour 

The following aftercare is recommended:-  

  • Avoid eating on the side with the temporary filling
  • Avoid eating hard or sticky foods 
  • Avoid any sugary food or drinks between meals 
  • Place a pea-size amount of fluoride toothpaste all over the tooth twice a day at a separate time to brushing your teeth 
  • Keep the area clean with your toothbrush

If you have any concerns at all please contact us via telephone 0116 2891317 or email info@smileessential.co.uk