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Preventative Care

Helping to prevent dental issues

Our Approach to Preventative Care

As a practice, all our clinicians carry out for all new patients and our existing patients a formal oral health assessment to evaluate the risks of all major dental disease (decay, gum disease, tooth wear and oral cancer). This risk assessment is the foundation stone for prevention. A key aspect of this approach involves persuading at risk people that they differ from the rest of the population and therefore have to work harder, both with their clinician and in their personal behaviours (lifestyle) and home care strategies, if they wish to lower their risk of that disease developing.

Best Advice for prevention of Tooth Decay

Here are our top tips for preventing tooth decay:

Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Most children will require supervision and assistance until they are 7 years old or until they can brush effectively.

Everyone should be encouraged to SPIT OUT EXCESS and not to rinse with water or mouth wash as they will wash away the fluoride, diluting the decay prevention effects.

Our clinicians will discuss best techniques to maximise effective plaque removal, emphasising the need to systematically clean all tooth surfaces.

There are now apps available to help children with brushing such as brushDJ, Chomper Chums, Toothsavers, Disney Magic Timer.

Our clinicians will advise you on the best concentration of fluoride in the toothpaste to suit each age and risk group.

These have a concentration of around 225ppm fluoride. They are recommended for patients aged 8 and above with active decay and should be used at a different time from brushing for example, after lunch or straight after school. They can only be used in children who can effectively spit the liquid out.

General advice for tooth decay prevention is that the frequency (number of times) and amount of food and drinks containing free sugars should be reduced or eliminated especially between main meals.

Ideally, only plain water should be taken between meals. Tea and coffees should be ideally taken with artificial sweeteners, when necessary, especially for patients with active decay problems.

Fruit juices, smoothies or milk could be taken between meals, ideally through a straw.

Safer snacks should be encouraged which include fresh fruits (in moderation as full of natural sugar and acidity), vegetables (carrot sticks), oatcakes and bread sticks.

Where appropriate, our clinicians will ask for a diet diary to help support patients with their prevention.

At the oral health assessment or examination, the clinicians will apply fluoride varnish to deliver high strength fluoride to the teeth.  
This will help prevent decay problems and slow down any early decay concerns.

Fissure sealants help to prevent decay mainly in the pit and fissures of teeth. These areas are the most prone to decay.

We as a practice, are trying to implement a scheme to try and see children by the age of one. The scheme enables the clinicians to deliver preventative advice such as oral hygiene instructions and diet advice, to parents from an early age of child.

Prevention of Gum Disease (Periodontitis)

Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gums and bone surrounding the teeth.

Periodontitis affects around half the adult population and severe periodontitis affects 10% of adults.

Gum disease is caused by bacteria which are always present in saliva. The bacteria attach to the tooth surfaces around the gum margins and form dental plaque. This is the sticky white substance which can be scraped away with a fingernail. If the plaque is not removed effectively every day, it can harden into tartar(calculus). The bacteria will cause irritation (inflammation)in the gums.

The early symptoms are bleeding during tooth cleaning or eating, redness and swelling of the gums, and bad breath. If these symptoms are not treated, the disease progresses to involve the deeper tissues and results in bone destruction. Recession of the gums occur, and the teeth appear longer. Also, gaps can appear between the teeth and the teeth may start to drift apart and, as the disease progresses, they may loosen and then finally lost.

Tooth loss reduces the chewing ability and causes aesthetic compromises. This can impact negatively upon self-confidence and quality of life.

Beyond the mouth gum disease is significantly associated with other diseases of aging such as Cardiovascular disease, Diabetes Mellitus, Rheumatoid Arthritis and Chronic kidney disease.

Yes, it can be prevented by having good plaque removal techniques, including tooth brushing and cleaning in between the teeth. Having a healthy lifestyle, including not smoking, eating a healthy balanced diet and taking regular exercise, can help to prevent periodontal disease.

People with diabetes can reduce the risk of getting periodontal disease by maintaining good blood sugar control.

Sometimes, symptoms of periodontal disease go unnoticed, particularly in people who smoke, and this is why it is very important to visit regularly for check-ups.

It can be successfully treated, especially if caught early. Management includes improving daily plaque removal techniques and by having an intensive course of treatment, in which the teeth are thoroughly cleaned by a dentist and/or hygienist. It is important to understand that the treatment of periodontal disease is a partnership between the patient and the clinicians who care for the patient. Achieving and maintaining good plaque removal and attending regular dental appointments are a lifelong commitment.

Treatment also involves stopping smoking and having a healthy lifestyle. People who smoke respond less well to treatment than non-smokers.

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