Sugar Action Week

This week is Sugar Awareness Week. A campaign designed to help raise awareness of the damaging effect of having too much sugar in our diet. Most people now know that sugar isn’t just bad for your teeth, but it could also be damaging to your health. 

Tooth decay

Too much sugar can cause tooth decay, and this can be a particular problem for children. NHS figures show that there were more than 45,000 hospital operations to remove rotten teeth from teenagers and children in 2017/18. The severity of the tooth decay is leading to the drastic measure of teeth being extracted under general anaesthetic in hospital.


There are many causes and contributing factors that can cause type 2 diabetes. However, a high-sugar diet has been linked with an increased incidence of type 2 diabetes. The link between sugar and obesity likely causes this.


In 2016 in England, 40% of men and 30% of women were overweight, and 26% of adults were classified as obese.

Excessive unhealthy food and sugary soft drink consumption have been linked to weight gain. It provides a significant and unnecessary source of calories with little or no nutritional value.

Is all sugar bad for me?

It’s important to understand there are two main types of sugars to be aware of – naturally occurring sugars and free sugars. Naturally occurring sugars are found in whole fruits, vegetables and milk-based products, and these are not considered harmful for health. Free sugars are anything we add in ourselves or are added in during the manufacturing process. This includes honey, glucose, fructose etc. Free sugars can come in many forms. They also include obvious things such as cakes, sweets and biscuits.

Why are fruit juices and smoothies classed as bad for me?

Whole fruits can be a good source of vitamins, minerals and fibre. When you buy a shop-bought smoothie, it contains a significant amount of sugar and is often highly processed. A small homemade smoothie is a healthier juice if a smoothie is a must for you. 

When you juice a fruit, the natural sugars are released from within the cell walls of the fruit and become ‘free sugars’. 

How much sugar can I have a day?

  • Children age four and under: There’s no guideline limit for children under four, it is recommended they avoid sugary drinks and food with sugar added to it. 
  • Children aged five to six: shouldn’t have any more than five teaspoons that is 19 grams of free sugar a day.
  • Children aged seven to eleven: should have no more than six teaspoons (24 grams) of a sugar per day. 
  • Adults and children over eleven should limit their sugar to no more than seven teaspoons (28 grams) of sugar per day.

How can I cut down on my sugar?

A good place to start is watching what you drink. Many of the free sugars we consume now are through soft drinks. 

5 Things Our Dentists Want You To Know About Your Teeth And Christmas!

Fizzy drinks

There are the obvious suspects such as soft drinks such as coke and lemonade, but it also includes fizzy beverages such as Champagne, Prosecco and Bucksfizz.

It isn’t just the sugar you have to worry about with these drinks but the acidity. Every time you sip on this drink, the PH level in your mouth alters for around 20 minutes.

If drinking these drinks is a must for you, then you can minimise damage by trying to drink them at mealtimes, snack on cheese, also sipping water and not drinking it too frequently. Of course, you need to ensure you are cleaning your teeth thoroughly twice a day too.

Tip: wait at least an hour after eating and drinking anything before cleaning your teeth. With the acidity level in your mouth, the teeth’s enamel is much weaker and toothbrushing at these times can cause damage.


Nuts are a healthy snack for you to consume. The danger comes when you have some heavily restored teeth or fillings that are in a more vulnerable position. Usually soft nuts such as cashews are fine, but harder nuts such as Brazil nuts can be too much for your teeth to handle!

Sticky sweets

Sticky sweets are the worse! It’s common for us to have patients over the festive period that have succumbed to toffee! Toffee is one of the toughest things to eat on your teeth. If you have any fillings or dental work, then this should be avoided altogether.

Sticky sweets also stick to your teeth Obvious we know but what this means is it gets into every nook and cranny and hangs around for a more extended period of time — wreaking damage on your teeth.

Using your teeth as a tool

We all know that we shouldn’t use our teeth to open bottles, but it’s one worth remembering because it still seems to happen an awful lot!

There are also things such as cracking nuts, undoing tags we hear all manner of ways that teeth are used as a tool. Make sure you have everything you need this Christmas and maybe some extra or spares left around.


Food is such a big part of Christmas and probably most us eat a considerable amount of food! But many people are unaware that it is the frequency of consuming sugary or acidic foods that causes the most damage. After you eat your PH level is altered from twenty minutes up to an hour. If you graze, this means that you are not leaving anytime for your mouth to recover.

You can minimise the damage by reducing how much of the day you spend eating and drinking and also choosing better snacks for your teeth. Snacking on cheese, vegetables and sipping water is a great way to keep your mouth in better shape.

Whatever you’re eating this Christmas remember to keep on top of your oral health routine especially before bed.

Cosmetic Dentistry Leicester…

Long gone are the days of us Brits having bad teeth. Cosmetic dentistry has been a must for many people for the last decade or so.

What exactly is cosmetic dentistry? Cosmetic dentistry can sound pretty fancy but it is just the term used for improving the appearance of your teeth.

The typical old-style cosmetic dentistry or ‘smile makeovers’ always used to involve brilliant white veneers that were perfectly formed. However, not everyone wants this look. There is also the long term commitment and personal budget to consider. 

Cosmetic dentistry can be as simple as whitening the teeth. In fact, when we see our Leicester patients who have some minor issues improving the teeth whiteness can often make them feel happy enough to not progress into more complex dental work.

If there are some small chips or uneven edges to your teeth then the dentist may be able to perform some composite contouring and tooth reshaping to improve the look of the teeth.

One of the most popular options for improving the appearance of the teeth at our Leicester dental clinic is Cosmetic Braces. This of course also provides a more natural result and one that is bespoke to you!

Almost half of all brace treatments are now performed on adults wanting a straighter and healthier smile. The Cosmetic Brace systems we offer at Smile Essential work to adjust the teeth visible when you smile. This is called anterior alignment orthodontics.

There are many benefits of cosmetic brace treatments over more invasive treatments such as veneers. hen your teeth are crowded there are usually some very difficult to clean areas. This can make the gums prone to gingivitis. With teeth that are aligned properly, they are easier to look after as there aren’t these tricky gaps. Helping you to keep your mouth healthy and your teeth for life.

Once treatment is complete the teeth retain their position with the use of a fixed or removable retainer. Other than this there are no ongoing commitments required outside of your normal oral health routine.

With veneers, you have to commit to having them replaced as they don’t last forever and be ready for the additional financial investment. There are also dietary restrictions such as biting into things.

With all of this said though it’s important to understand that a great smile doesn’t have to be perfect. Also, everyone’s perfect is different! The most important thing when it comes to your smile is that is a healthy smile!

If you would like to discuss having Cosmetic Dentistry then please arrange a consultation with our Leicester dental team.

How Mouth Aware Are You? 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.

The dental practice, 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 says 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 Dental Practice says: “Early diagnosis transforms our chances of beating mouth cancer from 50 per cent to 90 per cent 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.

With around 8,300 Brits diagnosed with mouth cancer last year, the disease is one of the UK’s fastest increasing cancers, with cases rising by a third in the last decade alone.

Survival rates of mouth cancer have not 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


Alternatives to veneers UK…

Dental veneers are often touted as the perfect celeb smile. However, many people often wish they could have veneers, but they are unaware of what they entail and the commitment. Veneers aren’t magic they require commitment.

We often get asked about veneers at our Leicester dental practice. We decided it would be beneficial if people had a brief guide on ‘Alternatives to veneers UK…’ that they could read at their leisure. Of course, dental treatment varies from person to person, and this guide shouldn’t be used in place of professional dental advice given to you following a full consultation.

In this guide, we will first discuss what you need to know about dental veneers. We will then also look at alternative options that may be suitable for you. 

What are dental veneers?

Dental veneers are a covering that goes over the top of your teeth. They are usually made from porcelain. Veneers can be used to change the size, shape and colour of your teeth. 

Veneers are mostly used to fix:

• Teeth that are discoloured
• Teeth that have been worn down
• Chipped or broken teeth
• To improve the shape of the tooth
• To close a space between teeth

The treatment process for porcelain veneers

Having dental veneers happens over several appointments. 

Firstly a consultation to check that you are suitable and understand the commitment required for veneers.

Having veneers requires you to have excellent oral health. Your mouth has to be healthy with no tooth decay or gum disease. This can affect have a negative impact on the veneer treatment. So before you proceed with veneer treatment, there may be some other dental and hygiene work required. 

Once your mouth is healthy, veneers can be completed in 3-4 appointments. This involves planning, preparation and fitting and of course, a review appointment to check that you are managing to look after them at home.

Committing to veneers

Having veneers is a big commitment. Firstly due to the extensive work and laboratory involvement (to make the veneers), the cost of veneers can be very high. Veneers do not last forever and will have to be replaced. So you need to consider your financial position not just now but in the future. 

Most veneer treatments involve filing away some tooth. This is important to understand, as it means that the procedure, in most cases, cannot be undone.

As we mentioned, veneers require you to have excellent oral health. This requires a daily commitment to interdental cleaning – flossing and toothbrushing. Failure to do this could result in poor appearance or further treatment being needed. Gum disease can cause the gums to shrink away from the veneer, and tooth decay could start around the surfaces of the tooth and veneer. Good oral hygiene is imperative for dental veneers!

Adjustment to diet. Veneers are durable, but they can chip or break when the aftercare instructions aren’t followed. Your dentist is likely to advise you that you should no longer bite into hard foods such as apples or carrots. This puts a massive force onto the veneers and could cause them to chip or break. You can still eat those foods, but you will be required to cut them with a knife and then place into your mouth to chew.

These are just a few of the commitments and considerations you should think about if deciding whether you want veneers. Your dental professional will be able to discuss your factors during a cosmetic consultation.

Alternative options to veneers

There are alternative options to having veneers. These options have now also become popular with celebs and people in the public eye. These alternatives are considered to be more conservative – it doesn’t harm the teeth significantly.

Adult cosmetic braces. Also known as invisible braces.

Braces for adults are now more popular than ever. With around half of all brace cases now being adults, not kids! People often want veneers to improve the position of the teeth. Adult braces offer you a solution to permanently fix the teeth. There are a couple of advantages braces have over veneers. Firstly, once the treatment is complete, it requires minimal commitment compared to veneers. There are no changes to your eating habits and having teeth that are aligned correctly has a positive impact on your dental health. This is because food and plaque don’t trap as easily, and they are also easier to clean, which makes your home care routine much more effective.

Cosmetic contouring/reshaping

Sometimes dentists can reshape your teeth using some composite filling material. This can be done in one appointment, and subtle changes can have a dramatic effect on your smile. Because it doesn’t involve lab work or several appointments, it can be a considerably cheaper alternative to dental veneers.

The drawbacks are that it’s not always a suitable treatment. There are limitations as to what can be done, and they can break easily and cause damage to the natural tooth.

If you would like to discuss your options for improving your smile then take advantage of our free no-obligation consultation. Get in touch here.

Need to change dentists?

After several years with my previous dentist – and dreading every visit – I decided I needed to change. I can’t believe the difference, not only in the quality of care but also the dentistry which is far more advanced than I have experienced before. I have just had root canal treatment and can honestly say that on each of my visits I haven’t felt the slightest bit nervous – the team have looked after me fantastically and I am very happy with the results.

J.B, Leicester.

Find out why you should choose us for your dental care needs…

Terrifying Treats That Won’t Rot Your Teeth!

Teeth Bites!

These are our absolute favourite Halloween treats! They are truly terrifying treats from Fork and Beans.

Mummy Pizza

Who’s the mummy this Halloween! These pizza treats will go down a storm with the kiddies.Check out Inhabited Kitchen for a full buffet line up of Halloween treats.

Ghosts and Pumpkins!

Who knew that ghosts could be one of your 5 a day! These fruity spooks Weelicous.

Cheese and Pretzel Broomstick

You’ll be riding high this Halloween with these low sugar magic treats from One Little Project.

Watermelon Brain

Check out this watermelon brain from The Rawtarian. Spooktacular!

Spooky Teeth

Our second tooth entry for Halloween! Visit Active Kids for more details.

Devils Eggs!

These will look pretty impressive on your Halloween table! Check them out on Good To Know.


Friendly Leicester Dental Practice…

I have been a patient at Smile Essential for a number of years. I used to be a very nervous patient and really hated going to the dentist after having several bad experiences at other dentists in Leicester. The staff are very friendly and very helpful too. From the moment you walk into the time you leave you are put at ease and any treatment you receive is explained to you.

I have recently moved to the Isle of Wight but I will be coming back to Leicester so I can have my treatment at Smile Essential.

Find out more about joining our Leicester practice…

How gum disease can affect your overall health…

The mouth is often overlooked when we are considering the health of our body. However, there is growing evidence that an unhealthy mouth, especially if you have gum disease, may increase your risk of serious health problems.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, explains: “The link between oral health and overall body health is well documented and backed by robust scientific evidence. Despite this, only 1 in 6 people realise that people with gum disease may have an increased risk of stroke or diabetes. And only 1 in 3 is aware of the heart disease link.”

With that in mind, we take a closer look at some of the most documented connections. 

Alzheimer’s Disease and Gum Disease Link UK

A study published earlier this year linked gum disease to Alzheimer’s disease. The bacteria most commonly responsible for gum disease produces an enzyme that was present in higher levels in brain tissue of patients who suffered Alzheimer’s compared to normal brains of the same age. A second study showed that the bacteria can increase the production of amyloid beta, a major component of the amyloid plaques in Alzheimer’s. These studies don’t prove any direct causation and more still needs to be done.

Premature Labour and Gum Disease Link UK

Gum disease can have implications during pregnancy. Maternal periodontal disease increases the chances of giving birth prematurely (less than 37 weeks) or to a lower weight baby. A study of 400 women discovered that the women who received periodontal treatment had less premature labours.

Diabetes and Gum Disease Link UK

There is an increasing number of links between gum disease and diabetes. Around half of the UK, population suffers from gum disease and about 10% of them have it severely enough that it leads to tooth loss. 

The increase in blood sugar level, which occurs in diabetes, can cause damage to nerves, blood vessels, the heart, the kidneys, the eyes and the feet. In the same way, the gums can also be affected.

Evidence also shows that severe periodontal disease can increase blood sugar levels in people with diabetes and also in those who do not have diabetes. In other words, periodontal disease and diabetes are linked in both affect one another.

Heart Disease and Gum Disease Link UK

There have been established links between gum disease and heart health. The Brtish Heart Foundation is doing lots of research into the links between heart disease and gum disease. They have put together this fantastic easy to understand video explaining why gum disease can affect your heart.

Now it’s important to remember that gum disease is treatable. If treated early then there are often no harmful effects. If left untreated it can cause damage but is still treatable and can prevent further problems from occurring.

If you are worried about your gum health then please get in touch with us for advice…