Should Children Floss Their Teeth?

teeth and gum cleaning

Encouraging the next generation towards a healthier mouth.

The number of adults using dental floss on their own teeth is only around 20%. Unfortunately this is far too low and means that around 80% of us are exposing ourselves to a higher risk of dental issues, including periodontal diseases. It is never too late to start flossing though, and even though some damage may have already been done, it will help to reduce the future risk.

We have also been asked a few times about children, and whether they should use dental floss. The straightforward answer to this is ‘yes’ they should. That is a simple position perhaps, but food and bacteria that gets stuck will damage young teeth just as much as older ones. In addition to this, we believe that  our younger Wickford dental patients will benefit greatly from starting this early and will hopefully continue to do so throughout their adult life.

Be a good role model

The first thing that we would say to anyone who asks this question is to be a good role model for your child. The vast majority of us are aware of this in our daily lives, perhaps making sure to hold doors open, say ‘thank you’ and generally being pleasant to people, partially in the hope that these habits will be picked up by our children.

The same thing should apply when it comes to your own oral care. If, for example, your young child hears you say that you can’t be bothered to clean your teeth because you are too tired, there is every chance that they will use this excuse too. Similarly, they will often pick up on the way that you clean your teeth. If they never see you use dental floss, then they are unlikely to do so themselves.

Especially when children are very young, it is a good idea to brush your teeth at the same time as them. By doing so, they will be able to observe the correct way to do it. If you are not sure about this yourself, you might find it useful to have a chat with our friendly hygienist who can offer advice on the best way to do this.

But what about flossing?

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Getting Married? Here’s How We Can Help Make Your Special Day, Extra Special!

Invisalign braces

Wickford dentist, Dr Krupa Thakrar looks at how a smile makeover can help provide long lasting memories.

Getting married is a major event for most people. It can be incredibly stressful for those doing the planning and also an expensive event too, with even a relatively simple wedding costing several thousands of pounds.

In the middle of being very busy and probably quite anxious about getting things right, some things sometimes get put aside that could actually make a real difference to your wedding day.

We may sometimes spend a lot of time paying attention to small details such as the seating name labels, but often forget ourselves in the middle of all this.

Memories will be important

Although your wedding may seem to fly by on the day, you will almost certainly be looking at photographs of the big day for many years to come. You will probably have spent a small fortune on your dress, makeup and hairstyle etc, but will you have forgotten how important a fantastic smile is on your wedding photos, especially as they are likely to be widely shared on social media platforms?

If your smile has ‘flaws’ such as crookedness or discolouration, this will be immortalised forever when you look back at your photographs and wedding videos. It doesn’t have to be this way though, and the Cygnet Dental Practice can offer you a selection of cosmetic dental procedures that can really give you a wedding ready smile.

For the purposes of this blog, we will presume that all of your visible teeth, when you smile, are present. If they are not, please talk to us about replacement options including dentures and dental implants. Both of these will successfully cosmetically and functionally replace missing teeth, though dental implants do offer a more secure solution.

Unsightly Crooked teeth

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How You Can Minimise Your Risk Of Oral Cancer

Wickford Principal Dentist Dr Pabari

A Wickford Dentist looks at this serious and growing problem.

We occasionally get asked by patients to give guidance and advice on the subject of oral cancer. In particular, how to minimise the risk of being diagnosed with it.

Oral cancer is defined as including cancer of the lips, tongue, cheeks, bottom of the mouth, both soft and hard palates, sinuses, and throat – and it can be life-threatening if not identified and treated early.

According to Cancer Research, one in 55 males and one in 108 females in the UK will be diagnosed in their lifetime, although the charity also highlights that 46% of cases in the UK are preventable.

The leading dentists at our practice have put together hints and tips, to ensure that patients and blog readers are better informed about the main risks and how to minimise them in everyday life.

What are the main causes of oral cancer?

According to the NHS, the main causes in the UK are alcohol and tobacco. This is due to the carcinogenic impact of both substances, which means that they contain certain chemicals that damage the DNA in cells, increasing the risk.

How common is oral cancer in the UK?

NHS statistics indicate that around 6,800 people are diagnosed with some kind of oral cancer annually in the UK, which is roughly 2% of all the cancers officially diagnosed. Furthermore, most of these cases in the UK occur in older adults aged between 50-74, according to research and figures from the NHS.

What are the risk factors that can increase the chances?

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Helping Patients With Dental Anxiety

fear of the dentist

How our Wickford dental team encourages nervous dental patients.

When someone attends our practice with dental anxiety, they may well think that they are alone and that no one else feels as nervous as they do.

However, we can assure them that this is the case with most if not all practices across the country and that it is a very common issue.

For most people, the best thing that happens when they see a dentist is when they are given a clean bill of health and need no treatment. For these patients, they can breathe a sigh of relief and put their anxiety on hold for another six months. For those of a nervous disposition who do need treatment though, it can open the floodgates to a whole new level of anxiety.

The need for dental care

Whether you are a nervous patient or not, if you have tooth decay, to take one example, it does need to be treated. Failing to do so because of your anxiety will only result in further decay and you will probably eventually end up in a lot of pain, AND still need to have the treatment done. In most cases this will be in a more extensive manner than if you had acted when it was initially diagnosed.

So, what do we do to assist nervous dental patients?

The first, and most obvious thing that we do, at the Cygnet Dental Practice, is to make sure that all of our patients are treated well. Our staff are trained to be pleasant and friendly and to help patients relax as much as they possibly can. This applies to receptionists as well as dentists and dental nurses as we all have a role to play in supporting nervous patients. The decor and facilities at our practice are also designed to help engender a calm and relaxing environment.

This may seem very obvious, but any dentist will tell you that if the patient is not treated with respect and their anxiety levels are too high, they simply won’t return for future treatment, or even examinations. Over time, this patient will almost certainly suffer from some serious oral health issues, and a likely subsequent decline in their quality of life.

Strategies employed

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How Important Are Baby Teeth?

Dentist Harminder Sehmi

Just because we will lose our first teeth doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t look after them, says Wickford dentist Dr Harminder Sehmi.

Baby teeth, milk teeth or even first teeth, call them what you will, but we will all have them and we will all lose them.

Because our first set of teeth are temporary, some parents may not be too worried about their children not looking after them as well as they should do. This is bad news all round, and, whilst it is true that we will all lose our first teeth, some of them can last us well into our teens and even beyond.

Baby teeth also have a purpose and, like the teeth that will follow, should be looked after correctly for a number of different reasons.

Ability to eat

As children switch from soft foods to eating harder foods, it is obvious that they will need their first teeth for eating. If these teeth are not looked after well and cause discomfort when eating, a child may be reluctant to eat some foods and this could result in a somewhat restricted diet. This could potentially even affect their growth and development.

Tooth decay

Yes, children will lose their first teeth but surely no parent wants to see their children in severe pain because their teeth have extensive decay. In fact, the number one reason for children to have hospital treatment is to have teeth extracted because of this problem. Because you couldn’t expect a young child, say of toddler age, to sit still to have a tooth extracted using a local anaesthetic, they have to be anaesthetised for this procedure and this can only be done in hospital. Although small, there are also additional risks when any medical procedure is performed using general anaesthesia. Making sure that they have regular six monthly examinations at the Cygnet Dental Practice will help to minimise the risk of decay, alongside good care at home.

Speech development

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Versatile Dental Crowns

Dentist doing examination

This restorative treatment offers many benefits for our Wickford and Rayleigh patients.

After the use of a filling, a dental crown is one of the more common procedures used to restore a decaying or damaged tooth.

They offer an excellent means of providing strength to a tooth, where no other procedure can. They are also often used to complete both a root canal procedure and a dental implant placement.

Although our teeth are generally quite strong, providing that they are healthy, there are still many ways in which they can become damaged.

These include:

  • Excess force being used to bite on hard foods
  • Damage to a tooth weakened by cavities
  • Bruxism, or teeth grinding
  • General wear and tear caused by age
  • Teeth that have been weakened through chips and cracks

Whilst, at the Cygnet Dental Practice, we will always try to treat a patient using the least invasive procedure possible, this has to be balanced with the likely outcome. Although a filling may be a minor procedure, and is an excellent option in its own right, it is not always suitable for more significant damage to the teeth.

What is a dental crown?

A dental crown, also sometimes known as a ‘cap’, is a tooth shaped object which is used to replace the damaged or decaying part of a tooth where a filing would not provide sufficient strength. They are also usually used to strengthen the tooth following root canal treatment. To fit a crown, the tooth will need to be shaped so that the crown can be attached in a way that offers maximum security and strength. Both the shape and the colour of the rest of your natural teeth will be taken into consideration so that your new crown appears as natural looking as possible.

How are crowns produced and fitted?

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Recovery Following Root Canal Treatment

Dr Krupa Thakrar at Cygnet Dental

The period of time following treatment should be used to maximum effect, says Wickford dentist Dr Krupa Thakrar.

We have discussed before, the reasons why patients should not fear having a root canal procedure at the Cygnet Dental Practice. Although it is invasive, it is a long standing, and usually successful, method for restoring a tooth where the root canals have been infected.

This is done by removing the top of the tooth, extracting the infected material and cleaning out the hollow canals. Gutta percha is then used to fill the cavities, and, in most cases, a dental crown will then be attached to give the tooth both additional strength and a natural appearance.

In a nutshell, that is the procedure that is used to save the tooth. Equally important though is what happens after the procedure has been completed.

What should you expect?

Because many patients are in some pain when they need to have this treatment, there can be an expectation that, once the anaesthetic wears off, they will still feel some discomfort, even if not as bad as before. This simply shouldn’t happen though, as part of the procedure involves the removal of infected nerve tissue, meaning that the tooth is in effect, a ‘dead’ one that feels no sensation.

You may experience a little tenderness in the surrounding area but this should not be too significant and should soon go of its own accord. You may wish to take some suitable painkillers afterwards though, if you are especially sensitive to discomfort. If you are still in discomfort, a week or so following the treatment, please contact our Wickford practice to have it checked. In the highly unlikely event that you are in significant pain following the procedure, please call us as soon as possible.


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Is Your Coffee Habit Affecting Your Teeth?

Dentist Dr Nabiha Farooqi

The rise in coffee consumption in the UK could pose a challenge for the health of our teeth suggests Cygnet Dental Practitioner, Dr Nabiha Farooqi.

At the moment, it seems that we don’t hear much good news about the economy at all. One area though that seems to be ever expanding is the omnipresent coffee shop. Even the smallest town now appears to have least one, with Wickford being no exception. The British  simply can’t get enough of this product, but does this popular beverage pose any threat to our oral health at all?

One of the appeals of coffee, of course, is the quick energy burst that the caffeine provides. This is a naturally occurring substance that is present in a number of plants, including tea leaves. There are also other recognised benefits of caffeine such as its anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties. There are even some sources which claims that drinking coffee might lower the risk of some oral cancers (reference 1 below).

One of the problems with some of these findings though is that to have any significant effect, between 4 and 6 cups of coffee a day need to be drunk. This can lead to other side effects such as increased heart rate and ‘the jitters’. It could also have an effect on your teeth and gums too.

Caffeine and your teeth

Whilst caffeine might reduce the risk of gum disease, it could, potentially, cause damage to your teeth if you drink a lot of it. ‘Caffeine’ addicts may become agitated and jittery if they drink too much of it, and some have argued that this leads to an increase in bruxism (teeth grinding), or perhaps rather, the intensity of it. As we know, this is a habit that can be very harmful and destructive to our teeth and it is best if we moderate our caffeine intake to help to prevent it.

The other most visible effect that coffee has on our teeth of course, is staining. Especially when strong and intense coffee drinks, such as espressos, are drunk, the dark staining properties are soon very visible for all to see. A teeth whitening procedure can be used to reverse this, but for those who prefer to prevent it in the first place, coffee is probably not the beverage for them.

The sugar threat

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Practical Advice To Assist Successful Dental Implant Placement

dental implant next to natural tooth

If you are considering having implants to replace missing teeth, here is what you need to know.

A lost adult tooth means that it is gone forever. There is no natural replacement tooth waiting to come through as they do when you lose a ‘baby tooth’. Whilst you could, feasibly, just leave a gap, most people will want to replace it, especially if the gap would be visible.

There are arguments for dentures being suitable, particularly as they typically require no surgery to have them. Many wearers though, find them to be uncomfortable and, at times, unstable. They can also be quite difficult and inconvenient to keep clean and have to be removed from the mouth to do so.

None of the above issues apply to dental implants. Once fully integrated with the bone, most people find that implants not only look like, but also feel like, a natural tooth once they have become used to them. Because the titanium ‘root’ is now firmly bonded with the bone, implants will not move around. They can also be cleaned exactly as you would your natural teeth.

The above are likely reasons that dental implants are popular. The success rate is also very high, but there are a number of things that the patient can do to help the success of their treatment.

Choose your implant dentist wisely

We have likely mentioned this in a previous blog, but it is worth reiterating. Be very cautious about opting to have your treatment abroad, especially where the price may seem cheaper than in the UK. There are many reasons why this could be the case. A positive way of looking at it is that some countries are simply cheaper to live in. However, and especially where the prices differences are significant, the reasons may be less innocent.

It can be hard to determine the qualifications of dentists in some countries and it may well be that you are signing up to have your implants placed by someone with little experience. They may also use cheaper implants which can compromise the bonding process and may lead to the implants failing. On a human level, you should also think about potential language barriers which can make communication between dentist and patient more difficult. Whilst most European dental practices should have a good level of hygiene, this may not be the case if you decide to combine your implant treatment with a long haul holiday to further flung regions of the world.

If you are considering having implants, talk to the team at the Cygnet Dental Practice about them before making any rash decisions to go abroad.

Pre-treatment planning and preparation

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How To Look After Your Invisalign Trays

Invisalign invisible braces

A practical and healthy approach to caring for this teeth straightening system.

Invisalign orthodontics are growing in popularity. This is hardly surprising, given their near invisibility and the fact that they are made to be removed for eating and when cleaning your teeth.

This makes them a very practical and convenient teeth straightening solution and also offers a comfortable method as they are created from impressions that are taken of your own teeth.

In addition to the above, food is less likely to become trapped in the trays as they are removable, which not only allows you to clean your teeth effectively, but also means that the trays are easy to keep clean too. This is very important if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy whilst you receive your orthodontic treatment.

The basics of hygiene

We can’t state often enough, how important good basic oral hygiene is for our patients. This is no different when you are receiving treatment to have your teeth straightened. Invisalign trays make this much easier to do, and, as you can remove the trays, you can easily continue with your regular brushing and flossing regime.

As well as your teeth, you also need to make sure that you keep your trays clean. In today’s Cygnet Dental Practice blog, to assist our Wickford and Rayleigh patients, we take a look at how you can do this effectively.

Dining out

The golden rule, when wearing orthodontic trays, is not to trap food in them for any length of time. At home, this is less difficult, but if you are out for the day and have just eaten at lunchtime, it may be some time before you are able to clean your teeth and trays properly. Even so, you should attempt to clean them as best as you can, perhaps in the washroom of the restaurant.

Giving your mouth a good swilling around with clean water will at least remove some of the food pieces and bacteria from your mouth, and a good rinse of your trays will mean that they are reasonably clean when you return them to your mouth. If you do have the opportunity to clean your teeth and trays more fully, then please do take it. This method though, at least assures a reasonably good level of cleanliness.

Home cleaning

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