Your Oral Health Valentine

Men are from Mars and women are from Venus – that’s the saying we often utter to mark out the differences between the two sexes. For centuries, scientists and scholars have tried to offer some answers to this mystifying enigma and while many theories have been pondered, few certainties are actually known. The rules of attraction between men and women change on a daily basis, making the question “what is the opposite sex is attracted to” testing to say the least. Now it seems this preoccupation has gone dental.

Check out this lovely infographic about: “Which attribute do you find most attractive in a partner?”

Valentine Infographic about:

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Your guide to a dentally friendly Christmas stocking

For many people, particularly children, the perfect Christmas stocking is one consisting of chocolate, sweets and other magnificent sugary treats. But while it may be tempting to cram in the selection boxes, it’s a ploy that could give their teeth a nightmare before Christmas.

Sugar-filled mince pies, chocolate selection boxes and fizzy drinks that make up a traditional festive diet are all likely to pose a hazard to teeth during the holidays. Whether young or old, the message remains the same; don’t forget about your oral health.

Presents under Christmas treeChief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said: “It is important to be extra vigilant with your oral health over the Christmas period. It is not how much sugary food and drink we consume that is the problem. It is how often we have these. If you think about how much is consumed, and how often, particularly over Christmas and Boxing Day, your teeth don’t really get the chance to recover.

“Our stockings will inevitably be filled with to the brim with sweets and other sugar-based confectionary. If this is the case, try and eat them straight after mealtimes rather than grazing on them all day. Your teeth are under attack for up to one hour after eating or drinking, and if you think about how much is consumed, and how often, particularly over Christmas and Boxing Day, your teeth don’t really get the chance to recover. Any fruit juice they have should be diluted 10 parts water to one part juice as most are acidic and many contain added sugar.

“The word to remember is moderation. Enjoy the festive period, but for your teeth’s sake, try not to overdo it.”

Top stocking fillers that make it a jolly Christmas for teeth

  1. A two-minute timer. These are a fun way to get your child into one of the Foundation’s key messages of brushing for two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste.
  2. A character-branded toothbrush, some of which have been approved by the Foundation’s accreditation scheme, have the potential to make toothbrushing fun for children, which will make them more likely to brush without any fuss.
  3. Sugar-free sweets and chocolate are great for teeth. Small selection boxes are better than large ones, and remember to limit how often children eat the contents.
  4. Unsalted peanuts, walnuts and monkey nuts are really good for bone and therefore tooth development. They may not sound glamorous, but they’re a great alternative to crisps.
  5. Cheeseboards. Not only do they make a great gift idea, cheese helps return the mouth to its natural acid balance and help reduce the chances of tooth decay. Chewing on sugar-free gum for around 10 minutes can also have the same effect.

From everybody at the British Dental Health Foundation, Merry Christmas!

Oral cancer: My perspective

As a PhD student researching cancer, I have heard time and time again the latest cancer statistics and the latest idea of how to ‘beat’ cancer. However, it never crossed my mind that I, a healthy and happy 25 year old, would be diagnosed with oral cancer.

Cancer is never far from the headlines and every patient has their own story to tell, but I hope in writing this to share my personal experience from the rare position of a young patient and a scientist. That in the future, the causes of oral cancer in young people will be thoroughly researched to improve diagnosis and treatment, and that society will become more aware of the disease.

As a normal student in my twenties, I was busy living life to the full, juggling my time between family, friends, work and other interests. About the time I first felt pain in my mouth, my fiancé and I were busy planning our wedding. I found some ulcers under my tongue and tried various off-the-shelf products, which had little effect. It did not even cross my mind that it could be anything serious. I went to see a GP about it a couple of months later, and was prescribed another anti-inflammatory drug.

In the week leading up to our wedding we had a family tragedy, so I returned to see my GP only after our honeymoon. I felt exhausted, run down and had persistent ulcers and mouth pain. I was convinced that my stressful life was causing the symptoms. My GP looked at my mouth over this period, thought the ulcers were clearing up and agreed they were likely to be a sign of stress. Gradually my mouth became more painful, my speech slurred, eating difficult and sleep sparse. I struggled with normal life. My husband and friends were increasingly concerned and encouraged me to keep going back to the GP, who a few weeks later referred me to the dental hospital, but informed me that I would not be seen quickly as I was young, healthy and had never smoked.

READ THE FULL STORY: Oral cancer: My perspective

Women six times ‘more disgusted by dental treatment’

After looking at pictures of dental treatment scenes, researchers discovered that female patients scared of the dentist were six times more likely to be disgusted with what they saw, compared with non-dental phobic women.

In a battle of the sexes, dental phobic women struggled to hide their emotions. Although both men and woman faired equally when asked about their feelings towards the dentist, women afraid of the dentist were more repulsed than their men counterparts.

Survey data from the Adult Dental Health Survey showed almost half of adults were moderately to extremely afraid of the dentist. With almost 30 million people visiting the dentist, Karen Coates, Dental Advisor at the British Dental Health Foundation, uses the research to reassure anxious patients that they are not alone and that there are ways make visiting the dentist a manageable experience.

Karen said: “The good news is that more and more dentists now understand their patients’ fears, and with a combination of kindness and gentleness can do a great deal to make dental treatment an acceptable, normal part of life. Make sure that the practice knows you are nervous, so that they can help you. You are not alone and your fear will be much less if you share it with your dental team.

READ THE FULL STORY:  Women six times ‘more disgusted by dental treatment’ 

Summer foods vs good oral health – not always a breeze

Written by Dr Nigel Carter

As a nation, we might rejoice when the summer season comes around, yet millions of holiday-makers and picnic-goers could be putting their oral health at greater risk with their summer diet.

Consuming too many acidic foods, as well as eating more sugary foods and drinks, traditionally associated with summer-time and holidays, can potentially increase the risk of dental erosion and tooth decay.

Risks of dental erosion and tooth decay are also increased during the holiday season as eating-habits and patterns often change. It is more likely that normal meal-times are disrupted during the holidays and snacking and grazing increases, which can cause multiple-attacks on teeth throughout the day.

Dental erosion is the loss of tooth enamel caused by acid attacks from foods and drinks. Many holiday foods like vinaigrettes, olives, red wine and ciders are very acidic. Enamel is the hard, protective coating of the tooth, and if it is worn away, the dentine underneath becomes exposed and teeth can look discoloured and become sensitive.

READ THE FULL STORY: Summer foods vs good oral health – not always a breeze