HRT and Gum Disease

Replacement Therapy (HRT) has been credited with helping women manage a range of menopause-related issues, including hot flushes, heart health and bone density, and now new research suggests HRT could be used to reduce gum disease and prevent tooth loss.

The study of women between the ages of 50 and 87, discovered rates of gum disease were significantly lower in those receiving HRT, with many seeing a 44% improvement in gum health.

The menopause which occurs in the late 40s and early 50s, leaves women at higher risk of several health issues, including gum disease, due to a decrease in oestrogen levels.

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and evidence suggests that more than a quarter of post-menopausal women are likely to suffer from tooth loss within five years.

An estimated one million British women currently take HRT, however many more could be suffering from menopausal symptoms in silence.

Consequently the Oral Health Foundation , is encouraging woman to be more aware of their oral health during this time and are offering advice about, how to cope with such changes to the mouth.

Several significant changes occur in the body during the menopause and many have resulting symptoms which can have a substantial impact on a woman’s day-to-day life, so much so that oral health can at times feel like the least of their worries.
Falling oestrogen levels throughout menopause can cause numerous health issues, such as loss of bone density, leading to osteoporosis. At the same time, changes in oral health also are common . Teeth and gums become more susceptible to disease, resulting in heightened risk of inflammation and bleeding of gums possibly progressing to pain loosening and loss of teeth.

In addition to gum disease and tooth loss, women undergoing menopause can also be at heightened risk of other oral health conditions such as dry mouth, Burning Mouth Syndrome and weakness in the jawbone .

While HRT could offer women an opportunity to alleviate some painful symptoms, it is extremely important to continue maintaining a good oral health and hygiene routine during menopause.

“Brushing our teeth twice last thing at night and at one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste and reducing the amount of sugary foods and drinks we consume could make a significant difference in keeping any major problems at bay. Cleaning in between our teeth on a daily basis with interdental brushes or floss can also be of great benefit.

“Maintaining good oral hygiene throughout our lives is the best way to prevent the development of many oral health problems. It is important that we do not overlook the health of our mouth and remember, if you are in pain or discomfort please visit a dental professional. A visit to a dental hygienist or dental therapist could really help you and provide you with great advice too.”

Anybody wishing to find out more about their oral health may call us here at Absolute Dental. We are always happy to help!

What to do if a child accidentally loses a tooth

Everyone knows that children have accidents. However, when a child has an accident that affects their teeth, and their smile, you may feel panicked about what treatment may be available. Should your child be unfortunate to have an accident involving their teeth it is important that you take them to your dentist straight away so that their teeth can be examined and given the appropriate treatment. An x-ray may be needed.

  • Small chips to permanent or baby teeth can usually be smoothed down, or build back up with tooth coloured filling material if this is more appropriate.
  • A tooth knocked out of position repositioned by a dentist, or a parent with the dentists supervision.
  • A nerve exposed by injury needs immediate treatment. The nerve may need removal and the tooth restored appropriately.

Yet, immediately after a child has had an accident that involves one of their permanent teeth being knocked out, do not panic, but act quickly and can carry out the following steps as preventative measures:

  • Only hold the tooth by the crown – this is the visible part that is seen in the mouth. Do not hold the tooth by the root.
  • If the tooth is clean, hold by the crown, and with the tooth the right way around place into the socket. If this is done immediately after the accident, then it should be painless.
  • Should the tooth be dirty, rinse in milk or cool water and then place into the socket.
  • Ask the child to bite gently on a handkerchief to hold the tooth in place.
  • Go to the dentist immediately for further advice.
  • Never clean the tooth in a disinfectant or scrub.

However, should the tooth not go back in then:

  • Place the tooth in a cup of milk. Should milk not be readily available then the tooth can be placed in the mouth between the gums and cheek.
  • Do not let the tooth become dry.
  • Go to the dentist immediately or your local hospital casualty department to be seen by the dentist on duty

If your child has an accident involving the loss of a baby tooth then DO NOT attempt to place it back in the socket.

Once at the dentist, you will be advised of the best treatment available for your child to ensure that their smile is restored to its former glory!

Please feel free to print this and/or share this with your friends – or give to grandparents or carers.

Single People “driving illegal tooth whitening”

New research has suggested that not only are single British adults more likely to get their teeth whitened than those in relationships, but that a high number are doing so illegally – causing major concerns for health campaigners.

A nationwide poll found that 1 in 4 people without a partner (24%) have had their teeth whitened, more than twice as many as those in a relationship (11%). Of these, almost half of single adults have admitted to doing so “illegally” (45%), compared with just 1 in 10 (12%) of people in a relationship.

By “illegal tooth whitening” we mean that which is carried out by anyone who is not a registered dental professional (this became law in 2011).

A worrying number of beauticians and salons are still advertising the treatment, perpetuation the belief that this is still normal practice. This would particularly appeal to younger people, on lower incomes, as the treatment seems cheaper than if it were carried out by a dentist.

However, if not done correctly, tooth whitening can cause serious damage to tooth enamel and gum tissue, causing pain.

A dentist will only therefore prescribe you a whitening gel that meets the requirements of a European Council directive, once they have assessed a patient to make sure there are no risks or any other concerns about their dental health. A non dental professional supplying the same gel, is therefore breaking the law.

So, if you are single and ready to mingle, but would like a brighter, whiter smileplease talk to your dentist first!



Bite into your Headache

There are many reasons that you could have a headache, but have you ever considered that it could be something your dentist could help you with?

There are a few oral issues that could be contributing to the pain you are having, it could be as simple as clenching or grinding your teeth or something a bit more complex such as your occlusion (the way your teeth meet).

 Most people are not even aware that they are clenchers or grinders but the teeth don’t lie and your dentist will be able to see evidence of this on your teeth, for example wear on your teeth, broken teeth or restorations, sensitivity or waking with a stiff jaw. There are many reasons why people clench or grind it could be due to stress, anxiety or simply concentration. Either way your dentist will be able to advise and suggest possible treatment to help, for example a specially made mouth guard – don’t worry they are not like the ones rugby players wear, they are clear and discreet and could save you money in the future by protecting those teeth.

If you are getting worse symptoms such as continual headaches or migraine, especially first thing in the morning, pain behind your eyes, pain in your sinus/neck/shoulders, discomfort around your ears, side of your face or your jaw, you could be suffering from a TMJ (Temporo Mandibular Joint) problem. The TMJ is the joint connecting your lower jaw and your skull. The movement in this joint lets you open and close your mouth and chew from side to side.

If your jaw is in the wrong position, the muscles that move the jaw have to work a lot harder and can get tired. This leads to muscle spasm. The main symptoms can be clicking, grinding jaw pain, ringing in your ears and difficulty in opening or closing your mouth could all be due to your teeth not meeting each other properly.

As with any joint pain, it can help to put less stress on the joint, a soft diet can be helpful, as can corrective exercises. Again, your dentist will be able to advise you on the most appropriate treatment for you.

With regard to occlusion, teeth can be carefully adjusted to meet evenly thus relieving the pressure on your TMJ and stress on your teeth.

If you think any of this sounds like you, and you would like to discuss this more, please call us today on 01548 852165

Hope you found this information useful, thanks for reading, take care of those teeth.

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.