Fun Facts About Saliva!

  • You could potentially produce enough saliva to fill two bathtubs a year!
  • Food molecules must dissolve in saliva in order to be recognized by taste buds.
  • Saliva protects teeth and gums, lubricates the mouth, and helps regulate the acid balance of the mouth.
  • Saliva is essential to the breakdown of food.
  • Saliva can be analysed to monitor alcohol intake, smoking, and drug use. It may also be useful in diagnosing disease.
  • Saliva contains enzymes that start the digestive process by helping to break down starches and fats.
  • Saliva helps wounds in the mouth heal faster than wounds elsewhere on the body.
  • When you are nervous or frightened, saliva production is reduced.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum increases saliva production and is good for your teeth.

Why we love Saliva

Saliva is the mouths primary defence against tooth decay. Decay result from bacteria in plaque that generate acids, which attack tooth minerals. The buffering systems of saliva help counteract this acid formation. Saliva flow helps wash away the sugars and food particles that, when broken down, also produce tooth-damaging acids.

For instance, when you eat high-starch foods such as bread, the carbohydrates they contain block natural saliva flow and aren’t easily dissolved. To ensure its free flow throughout the mouth, saliva contains amylase, an enzyme that breaks down starch into sugars that clear the mouth and facilitate salivary flow.

Mineral salts in saliva — calcium and phosphate ions — slow demineralization of tooth structure and encourage ongoing re-mineralization of tooth enamel, thus reversing the decay process! It really is wonderful stuff!

Running the risk of Dental Decay

It might be obvious to your dentist that you’re a runner from the moment you slide into the chair. Those trainers and the Garmin are dead giveaways.

But if it’s not at first glance, the dentist might be able to tell as soon as you open your mouth.

“Running can be a really tough sport for your oral health,” says Elizabeth Turner, D.M.D., a dentist in Minneapolis who trains with the Twin Cities Track Club. In fact, a small study of triathletes published in The Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports found higher rates of erosion and cavities with heavier endurance training.

Here’s what dentists might be seeing on runners’ teeth—and what those professionals wish runners would do to take care of them.


1. Overdoing it on sugar in the name of fuelling. 

The gels, chews, and sports drinks that fuel your workout also feed bacteria that occur naturally in your mouth, says Jeremy Hoffman, D.D.S., a dentist and runner who works at two practices in Wisconsin (one in Weston and one, appropriately enough, in Marathon City). As these bugs dine, they produce an acid that eats away at the protective enamel covering your teeth.

To your dentist, this decay looks like white, chalky lines, he says. If you constantly swill sports drinks, it might appear at the base of your teeth where they meet the gums. Or, it might show up where liquid splashes over your front teeth, otherwise an uncommon area for cavities, says Bridget Lyons, D.M.D., an Atlanta-based dentist who competed in the 2016 U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. Turner had an ultrarunner patient who put energy blocks in her cheek and let them dissolve during training and races; she arrived for her appointment with multiple small cavities between her teeth.

The fix: Regardless of your sugar delivery method, you can protect your teeth by swishing your mouth out with water immediately after you ingest it, says Julia Burchett, D.D.S., a dentist and marathoner in Eldersburg, Maryland. A healthy diet and plenty of non-sugary beverages during the rest of your day can also give your mouth a respite, reducing your cavity risk, Hoffman says.

If you’re cavity-prone, consider using gels with a thinner consistency that don’t stick to your teeth, he says. And seek out flavours without citric or tartaric acid—these compounds, which give sour or tart foods their flavour, can further erode your enamel with frequent or extended use. 

2. Forgetting what it means that you’re a mouth breather. 

Less spit means more cavities, Hoffman says, because saliva washes away debris and also neutralizes acids from food and bacteria.

During high-intensity training, the composition and consistency of your saliva changes. “Instead of being more fluid and lubricating for your mouth, it’s more sticky and mucous-like,” Turner says. In this state, it can trap decay-causing sugars and acids instead of rinsing them away.

The fix: Again, drinking water—or just rinsing with it—can rehydrate your whole body and restore your balance. Chewing sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol, a naturally occurring sugar alcohol, can also help, Turner says. While she chews it on the run, you don’t have to; four to five pieces anytime throughout the day can prevent plaque from building up on your teeth, she says.

3. Breaking the work you’ve already had done.  

Sticky chews and dense protein bars can damage crowns and fillings. After all, the cement that holds these structures in place is weaker than your natural tooth and bone, Hoffman says. That means it’s far easier for gooey or hard foods to compromise them.

The fix: If you have had extensive dental work, exercise extra caution when chewing on sticky or crunchy foods, Lyons recommends. Or experiment with real foods to fuel your workouts, such as bananas or peanut butter energy bites

4. Using your teeth to open up packets. 

This one is self-explanatory, and yes, Lyons has seen patients chip their teeth in this way.

The fix: Just don’t tempt fate, regardless of your dental history. You’re asking for trouble.

5. Grinding at night and during workouts. 

Type-A runners often clench their jaws or grind their teeth, especially at night or during tough speed sessions. While some companies sell athletic mouth guards, Burchett says she’s never seen anyone wear one to the track.

The fix: “One thing that is helpful is to concentrate on relaxing your face, relaxing your shoulders, relaxing your arms so you’re not so tense,” Lyons says. “If you can get back to that relaxed place in the workout, then I think that helps your teeth and also helps you run faster.”

If you do grind at night—symptoms include pain and stiffness when you wake up and flattened, loose teeth—talk to your dentist. Wearing a night guard can help you sleep better, always an advantage for runners. You’ll wake up refreshed and with less wear and tear on your molars and canines, Turner says.

Absolute Dental Training – Our Student Nurses

The Absolute Dental Training branch of Absolute Dental offers a training course to student dental nurses that has a 100% success rate in the National Diploma in Dental Nursing examination.

As part of the final preparation towards their exam, the students have an OSCE (Objective Structured Clinical Examination) session, that sees them facing scenarios that they are likely to face in their genuine OSCEs in a few weeks time.

The OSCE stations range from instrument selection, mixing dental materials, medical emergencies, actor based “communication” scenarios and dental charting….and much, much more!

Our session, held with students who we have already successfully tutored to pass the written section of their exam, offers and authentic experience for the students with engaging and interactive stations that we believe truly prepares them for the actual examination, like nothing else can.

I tutor the course, and also act as an examiner for the exam board, so have first hand experience of the OSCEs, and I consider it my duty to prepare my students for this daunting event, to the best of my ability.

A silent room, with approximately 20 OSCE stations, each with an examiner scrutinising you, and often an actor primed to ask you leading questions, can be simply terrifying, if you don’t know what to expect.

Our preparation sessions often see the students make silly mistakes due to the pressure of this unusual situation – but we much prefer them to make their mistakes with us, than in the actual exam! The whole Absolute team get involved with the session, from dentists to hygienists and the nurses too – because to our students, these are all unfamiliar faces, just like they will face on exam day.

Once we analyse their individual performances, station by station, the students have a much better idea of what to expect on the day, and what is expected of them.

We hope that our students benefit from this, certainly the evidence would suggest they do!

Good luck to ours and all other students taking their OSCEs in June.





How much toothpaste should my child be using?

Childrens toothpaste – how much should you be using? A question we often get asked, so we thought we would put the answer into print for you!

How much toothpaste should I be using?

Children aged up to age 3

– Use only a smear of toothpaste containing no less than 1,000 ppm fluoride

Children aged 3-6

– Use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste containing 1,350–1,500 ppm fluoride

Aged 6 and above

– Use a pea sized amount of toothpaste containing 1,350-1,500ppm fluoride

Great! But how do I know how much fluoride is in toothpaste?

This information is usually displayed in the ingredients list:

Fluoride can come under different names e.g sodium fluoride or stannous fluoride.

Brush twice daily, last thing at night & on one other occasion.

Clean teeth = happy healthy smiles @smilemonth #nationalsmilemonth

It’s National Smile Month

National Smile Month is the UK’s largest and longest-running campaign to promote good oral health.
Together, with thousands of individuals and organisations, National Smile Month highlights three key messages, all of which go a long way in helping us develop and maintain a healthy mouth. They are:
• Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
• Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
• Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
The aim of National Smile Month is to ultimately improve the UK’s oral health. Organised by oral health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, the campaign hopes to raise awareness of important health issues, and make a positive difference to the oral health of millions.
Some of these FUN FACTS may make you SMILE !

About National Smile Month

In a nutshell, National Smile Month is the UK’s largest and longest-running campaign to promote good oral health.

Together, with thousands of individuals and organisations, National Smile Month highlights three key messages, all of which go a long way in helping us develop and maintain a healthy mouth. They are:

  • Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion with a fluoride toothpaste.
  • Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
  • Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.

The aim of National Smile Month is to ultimately improve the UK’s oral health. Organised by oral health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, the campaign hopes to raise awareness of important health issues, and make a positive difference to the oral health of millions.

With the help and enthusiasm of those who are passionate about health and wellbeing, National Smile Month 2017 hopes to see thousands of events and activities up and down the UK educate and engage local communities about the importance of a healthy mouth.

In 2017, the campaign will take place between 15 May and 15 June, and will encourage all dental and health professionals, schools, pharmacies, community groups, colleges and workplaces – in fact anyone with an interest in good oral healthcare, to join in and help us educate, motivate and communicate positive oral health messages and improves the quality of smiles all around the UK.

Top 10 Tips for a Healthy Smile (plus one for luck!)

With evidence that oral health is linked to general health it has never been more important to look after your mouth, here are some helpful tips to help you along your way:

Be a before breakfast brusher:
Due to breakfast foods containing sugars cleaning your teeth before eating your breakfast will help reduce acid erosion. However, if this is not in your nature, leaving an hour between breakfast and brushing will help too.

Be a savvy swisher:
As toothpaste typically contains more fluoride than mouth wash, using it at a different time to tooth brushing would be beneficial, for example after lunch or if you are a before breakfast brusher you can use mouthwash to freshen afterwards.

Get involved with interdental cleaning:
Using interdental aids is the only way to clean the surfaces of your teeth that you cannot see.

Be a fantastic flosser:
This will help remove plaque from below the gum line – place your floss between your teeth, slide under the gum curving the floss around the tooth and sweep upwards.

Be a top toothpaste picker:
Choose a toothpaste that contains fluoride a low abrasiveness will help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Be a fussy foodie:
Eating foods such as carrots can help remove plaque from your teeth just by chewing them.

Be a top timer:
Brushing your teeth for 2 minutes twice a day is the best way to remove plaque from your teeth.

Be bold with bleeding:
If your gums are bleeding during any cleaning this means that there is plaque/bacteria present and your gums need more help so don’t shy away, clean them more.

Resist rinsing:
Rinsing your mouth out with water after brushing removes the fluoride toothpaste from your teeth. The longer it stays there the better so try just spitting out excess toothpaste.
Be a brilliant brusher:
When brushing your teeth, hold your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your teeth splaying the bristles (being careful not to press too hard), this helps remove plaque under the gum.

Be an ace attender:
Remember to regularly visit you dentist and/or hygienist, this will help you keep your top notch oral health and if you have any questions or concerns get in touch sooner rather than later – prevention is better than cure.

Thank you all for reading, happy brushing.


Lessons in brushing to save childrens’ teeth.

It was interesting to read in the Sunday times at the weekend, the article about the new government initiative to set up “toothbrushing clubs” in schools and nurseries to counter the “epidemic” of dental decay among children as young as one.

25 schools in Devon, Yorkshire, London and Wales are where the scheme has been initiated, and children are given free toothbrushes and tooth paste and are taught, under supervision, how to brush, twice a day.

The need for the clubs was a result of alarming figures released earlier this year that showed 9,206 extractions under general anaesthetic were carried out on under 4’s in 2015-2016 – a 24% increase on 2006-2007. Of these, 47 were children under the age of one.

As always, there a critics to the scheme – saying that schools are stepping in to take over habits that should have been learnt at home, and that the government should be directing their funds into a campaign aimed at parents instead…..

My opinion, and it is only my opinion is that surely it doesn’t matter where they are being taught, as long as they are learning these vital lessons somewhere! I agree, the earlier these habits are learnt, the better, and often that would mean at home rather than waiting until nursery or school starts, however, often the homecare routine can flawed.

We are often asked “When should I start bringing my child to the dentist?” – the answer is: as soon as their teeth start coming through! Get them used to coming, get them into good habits young, limit sugar intake and enjoy a healthy diet (reading the food labels for “carbohydrates of which sugars” to get the sugar content, anything over 5g is considered high, per serving).

Remember, children under the age of 6 should be having a maximum daily amount of 19 grams of sugar each day (this is the equivalent of just under 5 teaspoons per day) and then 6-9 year olds should be having a maximum of 24 grams (approximately 6 teaspoons of sugar per day). Sugar consumed with a meal are less harmful to the teeth, so its good to be aware of exactly when the harmful sugars are being consumed.

We are more than happy to give you any more advice on this, please, just ask. Or download the Sugar Smart App and start zapping barcodes for yourself!



Thinking about Dental Implants?

In the last few years, I have been very privileged to work alongside Rhodri John but also to be treated by him.

I did not always know how to look after my teeth and unfortunately two of my molars were irreversibly damaged. Eventually I lost both of these teeth and the only real replacement option for me were dental implants, Rhodri consequently placed 2 implants for me and I have been nothing but delighted with them. They look great, feel like real teeth and have restored my ability to chew properly too.

There are many benefits to considering implants to replace missing teeth:

  • Unlike many restorative options, implants do not impact adjacent teeth. An implant does not require any other tooth supporting it or any adjustments to neighbouring teeth.
  • Implants can restore your ability to chew by replacing one or more teeth; giving you back teeth which can do their job!
  • Implants are incredibly stable: they replace tooth roots so they support a crown in the same way a natural tooth would. Implants are also often used to stabilise dentures, preventing them from moving around, being uncomfortable and unable to assist when eating.
  • They can help with self-confidence too! Many of our patients have suffered the loss of one or more front teeth. This can be extremely difficult to deal with and can really affect your well being as smiling or speaking to anyone can be embarrassing. Implants look and feel great and can be a huge boost and give you back some peace of mind!
  • Implants do not require any special treatment, they can be cleaned just like normal teeth. Our hygienists will be happy to help you look after them.
  • Implants provide the best cosmetic results and look just like natural teeth.
  • The treatment is easy and is completed in stages. No need to worry, we will always look after you and our fantastic nursing Team will always make sure that you are comfortable.

If you feel that an implant may be the option for you, do contact the practice and we can arrange a consultation appointment with Rhodri John. He has been successfully placing implants since 2008. This consultation will give you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have and assess your suitability for the treatment.

Our front desk Team will be very happy to help with arranging appointments for you and even discuss interest free finance for the treatment, if required.

Our website also has plenty of information about implants and other treatment we offer our patients.


Manual v Electric – Which is the better Toothbrush?

A good oral hygiene regime is essential in the prevention of dental disease. Ensuring thorough removal of plaque bacteria helps reduce the likelihood of gum disease and dental decay. Here at Absolute we recommend brushing twice daily for a minimum of two minutes and using an interdental cleaning aid such as floss or tepe’s as part of your daily routine. I am asked daily by my patients whether they should be using a manual or an electric toothbrush, so here are some of the points to consider when making your decision.


  • Electronic toothbrushes require less dexterity and technique than manual brushes, with many requiring the user to just hold the bristles on the tooth surface and let the toothbrush do the work. Many also have pressure sensors indicating to the user if they are brushing too hard and thus helping to prevent tooth surface loss and gum recession.
  • Most good electronic toothbrush models have two minute timers helping to ensure users spend the minimum required brushing time.
  • Todays electronic toothbrushes can range from more basic models to those with a variety of different features designed to encourage use and improve plaque control. These can include bluetooth connectivity linked to separate timer units or smart phone applications which provide information on your brushing technique.
  • Electronic toothbrushes, however, can be expensive to purchase in comparison with a manual toothbrush with some of the newer models requiring a substantial financial outlay. They also require regular charging and can be heavy to hold.

  • Manual toothbrushes are cheap, light to use and easy to transport. They are very effective at removing plaque bacteria, providing they are used correctly. Manual toothbrushes are very technique sensitive and the user must ensure they have the correct angulation and movement of bristles to achieve thorough plaque removal. Manual toothbrushes generally do not have timers forcing the user to estimate the length of time spent brushing and studies have shown that most people brush for less than a minute.

I would generally recommend using an electric toothbrush as studies have shown they do improve plaque control and subsequently reduce gingivitis. A Cochrane report published 2014 concluded that oscillating rotating type toothbrushes (Oral B type) reduce plaque bacteria by 11% in the first three months increasing to 21% after three months. It is however entirely a case of personal preference and there is no reason why excellent oral hygiene cannot be achieved when using a manual toothbrush if correct technique is used and time is taken.

For more advice on the type of toothbrush to use and effective toothbrushing techniques speak to one of our Hygienists who can discuss with you further and provide a demonstration.