Mouth Cancer Action Month

In the UK around ,300 people will be given a mouth cancer diagnosis, completely turning their live around. Mouth cancer diagnosis have increased by over a third in the last decade and it is one of the few cancers that is predicted to see an increase in diagnosis in the coming years.

  • Causes of mouth cancer

Mouth cancer can affect anyone. However, around 90% of mouth cancers can be linked to preventable lifestyle factors which can increase your risk of developing the disease. These include:

1. Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking tobacco and consuming large quantities of alcohol are the two main risk factors for mouth cancer. To reduce your risk be sure to keep your alcohol consumption within the weekly guidelines and consider quitting smoking. Your dentist will be able to direct you to other services which can help you quit.

2. Human papillomavirus (HPV)

HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body. HPV can be spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Practicing safe sex and limiting the number of partners you have may help reduce your chances of contracting HPV. There is also now an HPV vaccine for both boys and girls.

3. Diet

A poor diet can increase your risk of developing mouth cancer. This can be due to a lack of vitamins and minerals. A diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables seems to reduce the risk of developing mouth cancer. Foods high in antioxidant vitamins, omega 3 and fibre help to prevent damage to body cells.

4. Sunlight and Sunbeds

Skin cancers are relatively common on the face and neck as these are areas most often exposed to ultraviolet light. Both the sun and tanning beds give off ultraviolet rays. These rays can cause skin cancers in unprotected skin. To reduce your risk be sure to use a high factor sun cream on your face and neck to help reduce expose to ultraviolet rays. If you still want that sun kissed look there are many self-tanning products available which pose no risk to your health.

  • Signs of mouth cancer

There are a number of signs which you should look out for and these include:

  • Mouth ulcers which do not heal within three weeks
  • Persistent pain or discomfort in your mouth
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Unusual lumps or swellings in your mouth or around your jaw area

 

It is important that if you notice any of these things that you get them checked out by a dentist. Each time you attend for your routine dental check up your dentist will perform a mouth cancer assessment. Another great reason to ensure you attend for routine appointments as often as the dentist recommends.

If you are worried about any changes you have noticed or would like to discuss how you can best reduce your risk factors for mouth cancer, call The Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682029 and book an appointment.

Get your smile festive ready

I know not something that many of us like to think about, but it is now only 7 weeks until Christmas. With the shops starting to fill up with everything you need for the festive season, here at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre we have all you need to help ensure that your smile is ready for whatever the festive season may bring.

  • Hygienist Appointments

Why not book in for a hygienist appointment to help ensure that your teeth are looking their best? The hygienist will be able to scale and polish your teeth, removing any staining, plaque or calculus that may have built up. They are also able to advise you on the best oral hygiene routine to follow at home to keep your mouth sparkling and your breath minty fresh. A clean and healthy mouth will ensure that you are the first one under the mistletoe this year.

Benefits

  • Removes staining caused by a variety of lifestyle factors
  • Reduces the risk of developing gum disease and bad breath
  • Gives your smile a sparkly, radiant glow

  • Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is currently the most popular form of cosmetic dentistry in the UK. It is a safe and long-lasting treatment, that can provide outstanding results for a relatively small outlay. At Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre we offer both at home and in surgery teeth whitening, so are able to provide the best solution to fit your lifestyle and with results visible in as little as two weeks, we can guarantee to have you looking your best for the busiest time of the year.

Benefits

  • Dramatically improves appearance
  • Boosts confidence and self-esteem
  • Causes no damage to the natural teeth and gums

  • Facial Aesthetics

Facial aesthetic procedures can help to give you a more youthful appearance quickly and painlessly. Increasing your confidence by reducing wrinkles, plumping skin and improving your overall appearance.

Benefits

  • Treatment is pain free
  • Can be completed in as little as 30 minutes
  • Reveals a younger looking you

 

If you would like to find out how Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre can help get your smile festive ready, call the surgery on 01622 682029 to book an appointment today.

Why does the dentist need your medical history?

When you first attend Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre and at least every year from then on the receptionist will ask that you complete or amend your medical history. This is to ensure that the dentist has all the necessary information regarding your health to ensure that they can provide safe and effective treatment.

All this information is completely confidential and is held under the 1998 Data Protection Act. It may be necessary at times for your dentist to contact your GP, but we will always ask your permission prior to doing this and will only do this to ensure that any treatment will not be adversely affected by your current medication or health conditions.

  • Medication


It is important that the dental team have an up to date list of any medication you are on to ensure that the treatment they propose is safe. For example, if you take warfarin this thins the blood and means that prior to extractions or invasive dental procedures you will need a blood test to check your INR level and ensure that you will be able to clot and stop the bleeding following the procedure.

There are also medications that can mean you will need to be referred to a specialist oral surgeon for certain procedures. This ensures that there is adequate provision in place to manage your conditions that may not be available within general dental practice.

  • Antibiotic cover

Antibiotic cover is no longer considered necessary for patients with heart complaints or rheumatic fever. However, the dentist may well use a non-adrenaline anaesthetic if you suffer from these conditions.

  • Allergies

Please be sure to include any allergies on your medical history and this means that the dental team are able to ensure that they do not use materials or prescribe medication that may cause you to have an anaphylactic attack.

  • Diabetes

If you suffer with diabetes you are at higher risk of developing gum disease and so it is important the dentist is aware so can ensure you attend for more routine appointments. Diabetic patients may also take longer to heal following a procedure. We would advise that if you are diabetic you book your appointment early in the morning as this will reduce the risk of you needing to miss a meal.

  • Epilepsy


If you suffer with epilepsy it is important that the dentist knows so that they can have the appropriate drugs on hand should you have an episode during treatment. Epileptic patients find that they are more likely to suffer fits when they are stressed or anxious so it is important to make sure that you discuss any worries with the dental team.

  • Pregnancy

It is important to tell the dentist as soon as you find out that you are pregnant. The dentist will aim to leave any dental treatment until after the birth of your baby and will refrain from taking x-rays. During pregnancy some women find that their gums bleed and require closer attention. It may be worthwhile visiting the hygienist for regular cleaning and advice or oral care routines.

If you would like more information about how the dentist uses your medical history do not hesitate to ask at your next appointment. Call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682029 and book a consultation today!

Smoking and Oral health

Make this the year you quit for good!

Most people understand that smoking is bad for their health. However, many people do not realise the damage that smoking does to their mouth, teeth and gums. In the long term smoking can cause tooth staining, gum disease, tooth loss and in severe cases mouth cancer.

Teeth Staining

The nicotine and tar present in cigarettes can cause your teeth to turn yellow very quickly and if you have been smoking for a number of years, they can turn brown. This can have a dramatic effect on your appearance and confidence.

Gum Disease and Tooth Loss

If you smoke you will have higher levels of bacteria present in your plaque, which if not removed can lead to gum disease. If you do develop gum disease, the lack of oxygen present in your bloodstream will prevent the gums from healing. If you are a smoker it is likely that any gum disease will progress quicker than for a non-smoker. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the UK.

Mouth Cancer

Not only can smoking lead to lung and throat cancer, it is also one of the main causes of mouth cancer as well. Every year thousands of people die from mouth cancer brought on by smoking.
With all this in mind the team at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre have come up with their 5 top tips to help you quit

1. Set a date

Pick a date when you are going to stop and stick to it. Try to make sure that it is at a time when you are not trying to juggle too many other things. If it is a time of high stress you are much more likely to give in to temptation.

2. Think positive

This may not be the first time you have tried to quit smoking but that doesn’t mean it is not possible. Build on the experiences from when you have tried to quit before, what caused you to fall off the wagon and what can you put in place to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

3. Keep it simple

Do not attempt too much at once. A lot of people try to diet as well as quitting smoking, this is a recipe for disaster. Try to concentrate on one thing or the other, it may take a bit longer, but you are far more likely to succeed.

4. Get Moving


Exercise can help to cut cravings and may help your brain to produce positive hormones making it easier to stay strong. This can be a good thing to do if you are used to having a cigarette after meals, go for a walk instead and create a new habit to curb the cravings.

5. Remember Why

Before you stop make a list of all the reasons that you want to stop smoking. If you find that you are wavering or think you might have a relapse, get the list out and read it. This will help you to focus on the positives of not smoking until the craving has passed.

If you would like to find out more about how to make this year, the year you quit for good, do not hesitate to contact Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682029 and book an appointment for a consultation today.

 

For every toothbrush there is a season

From a young age we are all advised on the importance of good oral hygiene and how using a toothbrush regularly helps to remove plaque and bacteria which if left can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. However, over the past few years the number of toothbrushes available has increased dramatically and it is very easy to become overwhelmed by the vast array now available in the supermarkets and pharmacies. So which toothbrush is best?

In this month’s blog, we will look at some key characteristics you should consider when buying a toothbrush. 

  • Size

It is best to choose a toothbrush with a small head as this will enable you to reach all areas of your mouth and clean hard to reach areas such as the sides and backs of your molars. The toothbrush should have a long enough handle so you can comfortably hold it in your hand. 

  • Bristle Variety

A toothbrush with soft to medium bristles will provide the most comfortable clean. If you pick a brush with hard bristles it is very easy to cause damage to your teeth and gums by over brushing. In the long term, this could lead to toothbrush abrasion, where the enamel on the teeth is worn away and once the enamel is worn away it cannot be replaced. 

  • Effectiveness

There have been numerous studies which have looked at the effectiveness of electric Vs manual toothbrushes and none have found that either is significantly better. Whether you use an electric or manual toothbrush does not matter the key is tha you brush your teeth at least twice a day using an effective brushing technique to remove plaque. 

  • Usability

The most important factor when choosing a toothbrush is whether you are going to use it and use it well. Some people prefer the clean from a manual toothbrush, others feel that an electric toothbrush cleans better. If you are comfortable and enjoy using your toothbrush you are more likely to use it for the recommended length of time

No matter what type of toothbrush you choose you should ensure that you change it every three months or sooner if the bristles become worn or splayed to ensure that you are cleaning effectively. 

Remember for every brush there is a season

If you are still unsure do not hesitate to ask the dentist or hygienist when you next attend for an appointment and they will be able to advise you on the best toothbrush to meet your needs. Call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682029 to book an appointment today.

Top tips for good oral hygiene in children

Dental habits are formed at a very young age. In this article we look at Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre’s top tips to ensure that your children grow up with good dental habits.

1.Lead by example
Ideally your child should see you brush your teeth in the morning and evening. If you normally do this while they are in bed, try to alter your routine and make brushing a family occasion. This may mean you brush your teeth more than twice a day, but this can only help to further improve your oral hygiene. You can even let your children help you brush your teeth, just like you help them! All children up to the age of three should have toothpaste with a fluoride level of at least 1000ppm. Older children should have toothpaste with a fluoride level between 1350ppm and 1500ppm.


2.Make it fun
You could play one of the many toothbrushing songs available online or one their favourite songs to ensure that they brush for two minutes. This will ensure that from a young age your children understand how long they need to brush their teeth for to ensure that they remove all the plaque. 

3.Incorporate technology
An electric toothbrush can be a great way to motivate children to brush their teeth. Many now include their favourite cartoon characters and also incorporate a timer to ensure they brush for two minutes. The newest technology will also link their toothbrush to specially designed apps which track how often they brush their teeth, for how long and how effectively they brush. 

Even if you do not have an electric toothbrush there are a number of apps that can be used to track how often you brush your teeth. 


4.Show what’s being missed
Using disclosing tablets once a month can provide a great visual aid, to show those areas that are being missed. By joining in you can show that everyone misses spots sometimes, but with good brushing technique all areas can be cleaned. 

5.Attend for regular dental appointments
Studies have shown that a child’s fear of the dentist is directly linked to their parents’ behaviour towards dental visits. By making sure that you bring your child in for appointments from a young age they can learn that there is nothing to fear from the dental chair. To begin with the dentist will simply get them to sit in the dental chair, first with a parent or guardian and then on their own. They may also ask if the child will open their mouth. This helps to build confidence and reduces any fear associated with the dentist. Baby teeth will begin to emerge at around 6 months and a child will have a full set of teeth buy the time they are two and a half.

If you would like more help and advice with regard to tooth brushing for children do not hesitate to ask the dentist when you next visit. Call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682029 and book an appointment today.

Top tips to beat dental anxiety

1.Top tips to beat dental anxiety

Dental anxiety is one of the most common phobias, with around a third of adults disliking visiting the dentist and for 1 in 10 the aversion is so strong that they actually avoid making visits at all.

There are a number of different steps you can take to help make your visit to the dentist as stress free as possible.

2.Recognise your fears

It can help to write down your fears so that you are better able to articulate them. Listing your fears will not just help you to recognise them, but will also aid your dentist in explaining what’s causing your anxiety of phobia and helping you deal with it. 

3.Find the right dentist

It is important to go to a dentist that has been highly recommended and focus your search on a dentist that specialises in treating anxious or fearful patients. On your visit, take note of the practice’s atmosphere and surroundings. If it’s clean and you feel relaxed, then that’s a good sign it’s a practice that can address not just your oral problems but also your anxiety.

While it’s comforting to hear phrases like, “There’s nothing you should worry about,” or “It’s going to be different with us,” keep in mind that a good dentist will not say those things. Instead, the right dentist will offer assurance through an understanding of your fears without making you feel judged.

4.Talk to your dentist

Ensure that you talk to your dentist and explain your fears and anxieties, this will help them to be able to make your appointment as relaxed as possible. 

5.Use relaxation techniques

There are a number of techniques you can try, including breathing techniques, bringing music into your appointment or asking the nurse to keep you distracted discussing other topics. Different relaxation and distraction techniques work best for different people so try several to find what is right for you. 

6.Dental Sedation

If you suffer from severe dental anxiety, dental sedation may prove to be the best solution. Sedation can be provided either by inhalation sedation, this means breathing in a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, which quickly leads to a more pleasant and relaxed feeling or intravenous sedation, which is given via injection normally in the arm or the back of your hand, this will make you become drowsy and unaware of treatment but you will still be able to co-operate with the dentist. In both cases you will remain conscious but feel a little drowsy. You will be able to receive treatment free from fear or anxiety. 

If you would like to find out how dental sedation can help you to have an anxiety free dental appointment, call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre, today on 01622 682029.

6 habits which can harm your teeth

1.Brushing too hard

Brushing too vigorously can cause more harm than good, as over time the outer surface of your teeth is brushed aware. This can lead to sensitivity and can in the long-term cause cavities.

Most dentists recommend that you use a soft bristled manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush to make sure that you do not cause damage to your teeth. You should aim to brush your teeth at least twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste and use interdental cleaning aids to clean between teeth daily. 

2.Acidic food and drinks

Do you always have a fizzy drink close at hand? Or do you have a love of all things citrus? The high acidity in these foods will wear away the tooth enamel over time. Dental erosion is the loss of enamel and dentine as a direct result of the acid contained within what we eat and drink. 

In order to help limit the damage to your teeth, try to limit acidic food and drink to mealtimes. When drinking fizzy drinks, try to drink them in one sitting rather than sipping them continuously throughout the day and use a straw to limit the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the sugar and acid in the drink. 

3.Tooth grinding

Some people may find that in times of stress they clench their jaw or grind their teeth. Clenching and grinding puts a great deal of pressure on your teeth and over time you will notice your teeth may begin to fracture and break. You may also notice that your teeth may start to wear down. 

If you suffer with jaw clenching or tooth grinding, speak to your dentist and they will be able to assess your teeth and determine the best treatment options.

4.Using teeth as tools 

Many people will admit to using their teeth to tear tape, open packages or to take the tags off clothing when they couldn’t find the scissors. However, your teeth are designed to chew food, help you speak and fill and define your facial features. They are not designed for other jobs. 

Using your teeth in this way can damage existing dental works and lead to your teeth becoming chipped or cracked. It is definitely worth spending a few more minutes searching for the scissors than have to undergo expensive dental restorations.

5.Nail biting

Biting your nails not only affects the appearance of your hands, but it can also damage your teeth. People who bit their nails will often have the habit for may years, with it exacerbated at times of stress. 

Regularly biting your mails can cause your teeth to shift and may overtime cause your teeth to break or splinter.

6.Smoking

Cigarettes and tobacco products can stain teeth, cause gum disease and periodontal disease and even lead to decayed and lost teeth.

The only way to improve this is to look to quit smoking. Your dentist will be able to advise you on services available in your area to help you quit for good. 

If you would like further help and advice on how your habits may be harming your teeth, call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682029 and book an appointment today. 

Why does the dentist use x-rays?

X-rays also known as radiographs, are an essential part of any dental care treatment plan. X-rays are used to diagnose early signs of tooth decay. Teeth and bones are very dense, so they absorb the x-rays while the x-rays pass more easily through gums and cheeks to give a clear view of the health of your teeth, jawbone and supporting tissues.

Use of X-rays

Early tooth decay does not show many physical signs. X-rays are able to detect decay under fillings or between teeth in areas that are not visible to the naked eye. They will also show abscesses and infections in the roots of teeth. They also enable the dentist to determine the level and health of bone present in your jaw. This is especially important prior to orthodontic or dental implant treatment as it can affect the success of any treatment.

In children x-rays can also help to show where their adult teeth will erupt or in adults where wisdom teeth are.

Types of X-rays

There are various types of x-ray. Some show one or two teeth and their roots, while others can take pictures of several teeth at once.

Some of the most common types of X-rays performed include:

  • Periapical – Provides a view of the entire tooth, from the crown to the bone that helps to support the tooth.
  • Bite-Wing – Offers a visual of both the lower and upper teeth. This type of X-ray shows the dentist how these teeth touch one another and helps to determine if decay is present between back teeth.
  • Panoramic – Shows a view of the teeth, jaws, nasal area, sinuses and the joints of the jaw, and is usually taken when a patient may need orthodontic treatment or implant placement.
  • Occlusal – Offers a clear view of the floor of the mouth to show the bite of the upper or lower jaw. This kind of X-ray highlights children’s tooth development to show the baby and adult teeth.

Not all dentists have the facilities to take all types of X-rays. If you require a specialist x-ray prior to treatment you may need to be referred to an alternative surgery. This will ensure that you receive the highest possible quality of care.

Dangers of X-rays

The radiation received from a dental x-ray is incredibly small and much less than is received from natural sources, including minerals in the soil and from our general environment. Constant advances in technology, including the shift to digital imaging plates, and the fact that the dentist will only take X-rays when they are clinically necessary mean that the risk from dental X-rays are kept as small as possible.

Frequency of X-rays

When you first attend a dental practice the dentist will recommend that you have X-rays taken, unless you have had X-rays taken very recently. X-rays help to form a fundamental part of your dental health record and the dentist will build on this every time you visit the practice. If you change dentist, your X-rays and records are not be needed by your new dentist. If they are important, our dental team will ask for your permission to have them set across or ask that you collect them from your old dentist.

After this X-rays are recommended every 9 to 24 months depending on various dental risk factors, including history of decay, age and condition of your mouth.

Pregnancy

You should inform the dentist is you know or believe that you may be pregnant prior to any treatment. They will not take x-rays until after the baby is born, unless they really have to.

REMEMBER Prevention is better than cure and that is why x-rays are used.

If you need more information or would like to discuss how dental x-rays are used during your dental treatment call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre today on 01622 682029 and book a consultation.

Top tips for fresh breath

In this month’s blog we look at some top fresh breath tips, to ensure that with a little diligence, your mouth can smell as pleasant as the smile it sits behind.

1.Brush your teeth twice a day

Brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste. This helps to remove plaque and food debris which if left can provide a breeding ground for bacteria. Don’t overdo things, though. If you brush too hard you can wear down your teeth, making them vulnerable to decay.

2.Change your toothbrush regularly

Brushing your teeth builds a foundation for good oral care, and promoting fresh breath is part of the process. But you need to make sure you’re using a good toothbrush. It is important that you replace your toothbrush every three months or sooner if the bristles become worn.

3.Use interdental cleaning aids

Using interdental cleaning aids such as floss or interdental brushes helps to remove food that may become trapped in areas that brushing alone misses.

4.Don’t forget your tongue

Although brushing and flossing are staples of oral care, the tongue however is often neglected. Use your toothbrush or ideally a tongue scraper to help clean your tongue and tame the bad breath it causes.

5.Rinse your mouth

Besides freshening your breath, a mouthwash adds extra protection by getting rid of bacteria. A fresh minty taste can make you feel good. But be sure the mouthwash you choose kills the germs that cause bad breath and doesn’t just cover up the smell. Rinse daily with a good mouthwash and stop bad breath at its source.

6.Chew sugar free chewing gum

Chewing sugar free chewing gum helps to stimulate saliva flow. The saliva helps to wash away any food debris and bacteria that can cause bad breath.

7.Stop smoking

Smoking contributes greatly to bad breath. Tobacco dries out the mouth and can leave an unpleasant smell that lingers even after brushing teeth.

8.Drink water

Be sure to drink a sufficient amount of water to avoid dry mouth. Drinking water will help to keep odour under control because it helps wash away food particles and bacteria

9.Visit the dentist for regularly appointments

Attend for regular dental appointments as the dentist will be able to identify any problems which may be exacerbating your bad breath such as infections or gum disease.

Bad breath is one of life’s annoying little quirks. As unpleasant as it is, following these fresh breath tips will help to make your mouth healthier avoiding any potentially embarrassing situations.

If you would like further help and advice to prevent bad breath, call Maidstone Dental & Implant Centre on 01622 682029 and book an appointment today.