Fear tricks us into leading a boring life.

As we return from our Coasteering trip I reflect on the day and how the Absolute team managed the various challenges.

We are in a profession that sees more than its fair share of people who arrive feeling worried, scared, and anxious. It is our job to offer reassurance, time and a greater understanding to help them manage their thoughts which often are so overwhelming that they choose to live with dental pain or choose to not smile for fear they will offend someone.

We still see new patients who arrive to see us as a last resort having not had any dental care for many, many years due to their perception of what might happen or a bad experience many, many years ago. I am delighted to say that we nearly always manage to nurture them back to dental health and get a great amount of satisfaction when we hear they finally do not treat a visit to us with anxiety.

So at that moment when we are standing on a jagged cliff edge surrounded by water and the option of an undignified climb back down or a 30 foot jump in the sea and whatever lies below us, it is a good reminder of what fear can do to us. When you consider what life could be like if we conquered some of our fears would it be very different? We so often cannot actually articulate what we are fearful off and I am certain that all the team here return to Absolute with just a little more empathy with those patients we look after.

As a team we supported each other throughout the afternoon, much as we try to do for those we see on a clinical basis, but it was a good reminder that what one person can see as a huge challenge others can see as an adventure, and both feel they have achieved once they have completed. We were encouraged during our trip by Scott and Chris of Adventure South, who did a very good job of including humour, kindness and patience in their instructions to us.

There are, I now realise, two dates in the calendar Nothing to Fear Day May 27th and Face your Fears Day 8th October 2019 confirming that so many of us have fears of one sort or another.

“It’s okay to be afraid. Just don’t let it get the best of you. If you do, it will slowly creep inside you until you’re completely paralyzed. Fear has that effect, unless you bravely face it head-on. When you accept fear, it actually makes you stronger.”
― Kevin J. Donaldson

April 2019 Patient Feedback Survey Results

Every 6 months we ask our lovely patients to complete an anonymous patient survey to tell us how well they feel we are doing, or if there are any aspects of their care which we could improve. We are always pleased with our results, and this year was no exception! The survey measures how well Absolute Dental is performing in different areas by asking patients to rate various aspects of the service they receive.

In general, our patients feel between 90-100% “Very Confident” with most aspects of our service ranging from being dealt with quickly in an emergency (100%), the respect they feel as an individual (100%); feeling listened to by all members of the dental team (100%) and that our practice is designed for their comfort and safety (100%). 95% of patients surveyed felt “Quite Confident” that treatment options are explained carefully to them; that they understand what they must do to look after their dental health; that their confidentiality is preserved; that the practice is up to date on infection control measures and also that their dental team are clinically competent.

Great results, for a great team who work hard to make your visits to us as pleasant as possible.

When asked for further comments on what they liked/didn’t like about the practice, we received the following comments:

Locality; Very clean; Efficient; I feel in safe hands; Reassuring; the welcome I receive; the competence of the team; Friendly & efficient Staff; Approachable staff; Appointment reminders; Good advice; Helpful people; Attention to my gums; Kindness.

Thank you to all of you who took the time to participate this year.

Charcoal Toothpaste – Don’t Believe the Hype

Charcoal-based toothpastes, which claim to whiten teeth, are a “marketing gimmick” which could increase the risk of tooth decay and staining, says a review in the British Dental Journal.

The charcoal products, which are increasingly popular, often contain no fluoride to help protect the teeth. Fluoride has been proven to strengthen teeth and protect against tooth decay.

And there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims they make, the authors say.

In fact, excessive brushing with these toothpastes can do more harm than good, they add.

They advise people to go to their dentist for advice on tooth whitening and/or stain removal to ensure tooth health is maintained

And they say it is better to stick to using a regular fluoride-based toothpaste.

Dr Joseph Greenwall-Cohen, co-author of the study from the University of Manchester Dental School, said “more and more shops are selling charcoal-based toothpastes and powders”, including Superdrug, Boots and Tesco, after celebrities had started talking about using them.

But he said the claims they made had been found to be unproven by a 2017 US review of 50 products.

Some said they were “anti-bacterial” or “anti-fungal”, that they helped with “tooth whitening” and would “reduce tooth decay”.

The review said people were brushing regularly with the charcoal-based products in the hope that they would offer “a low cost, quick-fix, tooth-whitening option”.

But too much brushing could lead to tooth wear and more sensitive teeth and, with few of the products containing fluoride or making the ingredient inactive, any protection from tooth decay was limited, it said.

“When used too often in people with fillings, it can get into them and become difficult to get out,” Dr Greenwall-Cohen said.

“Charcoal particles can also get caught up in the gums and irritate them.”

He said charcoal toothpastes and powders were more abrasive than regular toothpastes, potentially posing a risk to the enamel and gums.

The charcoal contained in today’s toothpastes is usually a fine powder form of treated charcoal, the review says.

Charcoal can be made from materials including nutshells, coconut husks, bamboo and peat, and possibly wood and coal.

Prof Damien Walmsley, from the British Dental Association, said: “Charcoal-based toothpastes offer no silver bullets for anyone seeking a perfect smile, and come with real risks attached.

“So don’t believe the hype. Anyone concerned about staining or discoloured teeth that can’t be shifted by a change in diet, or improvements to their oral hygiene, should see their dentist.”

Energy Drinks – eating away at your body parts!

This photo of a teacher’s tongue highlights the damage energy drinks can do to your mouth.

Dan Royals shared the snap on social manager to warn others about sugary drinks.

The teacher said he used to down up to six energy drinks every day until his doctor told him his health was suffering.

The medic apparently pointed out some beverages contain up to 58 grams of sugar per can and the excessive chemicals, including amino acids, B vitamins and herbal substances, were eating away at his flesh.

In his worried post Dan wrote: “Who drinks energy drinks? Addicted to them? You may want to think again. If that’s what that stuff does to your tongue, imagine what’s it like on your internals?!”

Researchers recently stressed how sugar and acid, often found in drinks, can be extremely harmful to our tongue and teeth.

A study by world health organisation researchers states: “A study in the US showed that dental cavities can result from the acidic pH and high-sugar content of products such as energy drinks.

“Another study showed that consumption of energy drinks can cause erosion and smear layer removal in the teeth, leading to cervical dentin hypersensitivity.”

It comes after a student, from Margate, Kent, snapped four front teeth after downing six Monster Energy drinks each day for months.

Vinnie Pyner, 21, claims he became hooked to the popular beverage to help him stay awake for his college studies.

But when he bit into an apple recently, the teeth snapped.

He said: “It started as a way to relieve the stress and pressure from my college course because you have to be focused when it comes to computing and coding.

“But I never thought that it would get this bad, it’s affected my confidence dramatically.”

Breakfast Cereal – What’s in your bowl?

Often hailed as the ‘most important meal of the day’, a decent breakfast certainly has a range of health benefits.

As well as providing nutrients, if you have diabetes, a regular healthy breakfast can help to maintain control of blood sugar, can minimise unhealthy snacking later on, and fuels your body to help you function ahead of a busy day.

If you’re breakfasting-ing on sugary cereals, this could account for almost all of your daily sugar intake in one go – leading to health problems and dental decay.

The breakfast of champions

When it comes to breakfast time, cereal remains a popular, convenient, and speedy choice. With the choice on supermarket shelves growing over the years, it can be tricky to choose the healthiest option.

To make things easier, here are 10 well-known cereals which we have looked closely at the nutritional value to see how they perform in terms of sugar, fat, and fibre.

But first, let’s find out a little more about what we should be on the look out for…

What’s in a cereal?

Breakfast cereals tend to be based on grains – some are wholegrains (such as wheat, bran, oats), and others are refined grains (such as maize and rice). Many also have nuts, seeds and dried fruit added to them.

Wholegrain cereals can help to manage blood glucose levels, particularly if you have type 2 diabetes, as they release glucose more slowly as they are low GI.

Recent guidelines highlighted that, as a UK population, we are having too much sugar and not enough fibre. Fibre is important for gut health and some can help towards lowering cholesterol. Some cereals also contain vitamins and minerals such as iron, vitamin D, and B vitamins such as folic acid.

Folic acid is important for healthy red blood cells and also needs to be taken as a supplement both before, and during, pregnancy to reduce the risk of neural tube defects in unborn babies. Folic acid is especially important in pregnant women with diabetes as they need a higher than normal dose in order to prevent these birth defects.

However, beware – some cereals that may appear healthy are not always as good for you as they seem… they can contain high amounts of free sugars and are lower in fibre than is recommended. Remember, the guideline for daily sugar intake for an ADULT is 30g per day.

Here are the findings. Please note that the nutritional information provided does not include milk.

Jordan’s Crunchy Oat Granola – Fruit and Nut

Per 100g

Calories 427
Carbs 64.2
Sugar 28.5 
Fat 13.8 
Saturated fat 4.4
Salt 0.03
Fibre 6.7

Nestle Shredded Wheat

Per 100g

Calories 362
Carbs 68
Sugar 0.7
Fat 2.2
Saturated fat 0.5
Salt 0.05
Fibre 12

Kellogg’s All Bran

Per 100g

Calories 334
Carbs 48
Sugar 18
Fat 3.5 
Saturated fat 0.7
Salt 0.95
Fibre 27


Per 100g

Calories 362
Carbs 69
Sugar 4.4
Fat 2.0
Saturated fat 0.6
Salt 0.28
Fibre 10

Alpen – No Added Sugar

Per 100g

Calories 375
Carbs 65
Sugar 16 
Fat 6.2 
Saturated fat 0.9
Salt 0.29
Fibre 7.8

Jordan’s Country Crisp – Raspberries

Per 100g

Calories 446
Carbs 67.7
Sugar 18.7 
Fat 14.7 
Saturated fat 4.6
Salt 0.03
Fibre 5.5

Kellogg’s Fruit and Fibre

Per 100g

Calories 380
Carbs 69
Sugar 24 
Fat 6 
Saturated fat 3.5
Salt 1
Fibre 9

The findings:

Two of the breakfast cereals – Nestle Shredded Wheat and Weetabix – were both low in sugar, fat, saturated fat and salt.

Other cereals were found to have moderate to high amounts of sugar and fat. The cereals that score high in fat but low in saturated fat are ones in which the fat mainly comes from unsaturated sources.

Two of the cereals – Kellogg’s Fruit and Fibre and Jordan’s Crunchy Oat Granola – scored high for sugar. This sugar comes from sweetened dried fruit added to the cereal, along with added sugar.

Top tips when selecting cereal

Be aware of portion sizes – consider whether the portion size suggested on the box is the same as the portion size you’re consuming. Many people pour a larger bowl and therefore consume more calories and more carbohydrate. This is important if you’re counting calories to control weight.
Weigh your cereal a couple of times to get an idea of the amount you usually consume and then keep a note of this along with other foods you consume on a regular basis. Use this weight against the per 100g values to calculate your intake.

The best start, every day

If you don’t feel hungry first thing, try keeping a box of healthy cereal or porridge at work. Some people find this can be a better alternative to mid-morning snacking on chocolate biscuits once you start to feel peckish!

Tooth Decay may make Colon Cancer more Deadly

​Researchers reveal that a common oral bacteria, often implicated in tooth decay, may accelerate the growth of colon cancer.

The study carried out the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine have determined how F. nucleatum plays a role.

The findings could make it easier to identify and treat more aggressive colon cancers. It also helps explain why some cases advance far more quickly than others, thanks to the same bacteria found in dental plaque.

Researchers have long known that the disease is caused by genetic mutations that typically accumulate over the course of a decade.

Scientists have also demonstrated that about a third of colorectal cancers are associated with a common oral bacterium called F. nucleatum. Those cases are often the most aggressive, but nobody knew why. In a prior study, Han’s research team discovered that the bacterium makes a molecule called FadA adhesin, triggering a signalling pathway in colon cells that has been implicated in several cancers. They also found that FadA adhesin only stimulates the growth of cancerous cells, not healthy cells.

What the study found

In the current study, the researchers found in cell cultures that noncancerous colon cells lack a protein, called Annexin A1, which stimulates cancer growth. They then confirmed both in vitro and later in mice that disabling Annexin A1 prevented F. nucleatum from binding to the cancer cells, slowing their growth.

The researchers also discovered that F. nucleatum increases production of Annexin A1, attracting more of the bacteria. “We identified a positive feedback loop that worsens the cancer’s progression,” says. Han. “We propose a two-hit model, where genetic mutations are the first hit. F. nucleatum serves as the second hit, accelerating the cancer signaling pathway and speeding tumor growth.”

Clinical implications

The researchers then looked at an RNA-sequencing dataset, available through the National Center for Biotechnology Information of 466 patients with primary colon cancer. Patients with increased Annexin A1 expression had a worse prognosis, regardless of the cancer grade and stage, age, or sex.

Next steps

The researchers are currently looking for ways to develop Annexin A1 as a biomarker for more aggressive cancers and as a potential target for developing new treatments for colon and other types of cancer.

Author: Julie Bissett

The Dental Health of our Children – The Reality

Oral health is part of general health and wellbeing and contributes to the development of a healthy child and school readiness.

Tooth decay is the most common oral disease affecting children and young people in England, yet it is largely preventable.

Although oral health is improving in England almost a quarter (24.7%) of 5 year olds have tooth decay, so 1 in 4 children will have tooth decay when they start school. Each child with tooth decay will have on average 3 to 4 teeth affected.

The first survey of 3 year olds found that 12% had visible dental decay with on average 3 teeth affected. Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admission for children aged 5 to 9 years in 2012 to 2013. Over 63,000 children aged 0 to 19 years were admitted to hospital for tooth extractions in 2014 to 2015.

Poor oral health impacts on children and families wellbeing and is costly to treat. It suggests wider health and social care issues such as poor nutrition, obesity, the need for parenting support, and in some instances safeguarding and neglect. Children who have toothache or who need treatment may have to be absent from school. Parents may also have to take time off work to take their children to the dentist. Dental treatment is a significant cost, with the NHS in England spending £3.4 billion per year on all ages primary and secondary dental care (with an estimated additional £2.3 billion on private dental care).

Children who experience high levels of disease that are treated with fillings and other restorations will require complex maintenance as they age. Those children with a poor oral health regime and unrestricted dietary habits will fare the worst and have treatment which not only maintains their historic decay and poor oral health but also require treatment of new oral problems as they age.

Risk factors

Poor oral health can be caused by many factors including:

  • social inequalities where the imbalance in income, education, employment and neighbourhood circumstances affect the life chances of children’s development
  • poor nutrition and infant feeding with high and frequent consumption of free sugars
  • lack of access to fluoride including late commencing or infrequent tooth brushing with low or no fluoride toothpaste

Other risks are children:

  • who already have evidence of oral disease including previous decay experience or previous extractions under general anaesthesia
  • with medical conditions such as cardiac problems, cleft lip and palate and childhood cancers
  • Regularly consuming foods and drinks high in free sugars increases the risk of obesity and tooth decay. Ideally, no more than 5% of the energy we consume should come from free sugars. Currently, children and adults across the UK are consuming 2 to 3 times that amount. Sugary drinks have no place in a child’s daily diet but account for a surprisingly large proportion of the daily free sugar intake of both children and adults. Almost a third of the free sugars consumed by 11 to 18 year olds come from soft drinks.

Facts about oral health

  • Although largely preventable, tooth decay remains the most common oral disease affecting children and young people.
  • In 2015, 20% of 5 year olds had tooth decay in South East England compared to 34% in North West England with even greater inequalities within local authorities. Areas with higher levels of deprivation tend to have higher levels of tooth decay.
  • 5.6% of 5 year old children in England had tooth decay in their incisor (front) teeth in 2015. This measure is useful as it indicates where children have been affected by a particular type of tooth decay. This is an aggressive form of decay that affects upper incisors and can be rapid and extensive in attack. It is associated with long term bottle use with sugar-sweetened drinks, especially when these are given overnight or for long periods of the day.
  • A recent survey of 3 year olds in England found that 12% had tooth decay ranging from 34% to 2% across local authority areas.
  • During 2014 to 2015, there were 33,871 cases of children aged 10 and under needing the removal of one or more teeth: a rise of 3% on the previous year.
  • Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions in children aged 5 to 9 years old in 2013 to 14.
  • In 2014 to 2015, hospital trusts spent £35 million on the extraction of multiple teeth for under 18s.

Periodontitis – What is it?


What is periodontitis?

Periodontitis is advanced gum disease. Certain plaque bacteria trigger inflammation, leading to destruction of the bone supporting your teeth.
Over time bone loss can cause tooth mobility, then tooth loss.

Not everyone is susceptible to periodontitis; it depends on your body’s response to inflammation. Smoking & diabetes are known risk factors.

Once you have periodontitis you will always have it. The disease is classified as active, stable or in remission.
Periodontal disease has bursts of activity. You may have had treatment for periodontitis in the past & require re-treatment.

If you have been diagnosed with active periodontitis we can help you.

How do you treat periodontitis?

The treatment for periodontitis does not grow the bone back that has already been lost. Periodontal treatment aims to lower your risk of tooth loss in the future.
We hope to decrease the depth of the pockets so, going forwards, you can maintain the gum pocket at home. It is much easier for you to keep a 3mm pocket plaque free, than a 6mm!
If you can keep the pocket plaque free, you lower the risk of ongoing inflammation & reduce your risk of further bone loss.
Your home care is the most important part of the treatment.
Upon diagnosis, in the first instance you will be referred to our Dental Therapists; Christina & Rachael. Your periodontal treatment plan is based on clinical evidence & tailored to you:

1) Hygiene phase

We are passionate about working with you to achieve better gum health. Establishing a thorough plaque removal home care regime, above & below the gumline, to a standard that will increase the success of the treatment.
This must be kept up following the treatment for long-term benefit.
Pocket depths measurements are taken & accessible calculus (‘tartar’) is removed.

2) Non-surgical periodontal treatment phase

This phase of your treatment plan is required to remove plaque retentive calculus & biofilm from the base of the gum pockets. Importantly; it also induces acute inflammation to encourage wound healing.
To keep you comfortable we administer local anesthetic (deeper sites tend to be ulcerated at the base of the pocket due to the chronic inflammation). Using a piezo ultrasonic scaler and site specific handscalers your Dental Therapist will carefully debride the tooth surface, removing the harmful bacteria from the base of the gum pocket. This process takes time.

It is normal for your gums to be tender for a week after the procedure. It is very important to keep up your home care during this healing phase.

3) Supportive care phase

Christina or Rachael will see you in 6-8weeks to check you are healing as to be expected. You will then be seen 3 months later to re-measure the pocket depths so we can monitor the progression of your gum disease.

Remember, once you have periodontitis you will always have it, you will continue to require frequent supportive care appointments.

As the gums are healing they ‘tighten’ to the true bone level supporting your teeth. Gum recession can make your teeth appear longer in length & sensitivity can occur. We can help you manage the sensitivity symptoms.

These are positive signs that you are looking after your mouth well at home, the treatment is working; you are on the right journey to keeping your teeth for longer!

A handful of dark-coloured berries may lower the risk of tooth decay, a new study shows.

Scientists have found that nutrients in cranberries and blueberries can be highly effective in protecting the teeth against a strand of bacteria responsible for acceleratingtooth decay.

These natural compounds, known as polyphenols, help fend off harmful bacteria in the mouth.

The study supports previous research by suggesting these are good for oral health by preventing ‘bad bacteria’ from sticking to the teeth and gums.

This could help reduce tooth decay, plaque and gum disease

Chief Executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes polyphenols could eventually lead to new oral care products.

Dr Carter says: “The nutrients and fibre in fruit are vital for our health and wellbeing.  They help protect us against heart disease and cancer, as well as a range of other diseases.

“Cranberries seem especially good for our oral health, as their polyphenols stick around in our saliva and will continue to help our mouth, even after we’ve swallowed them.

“What is especially exciting is that these natural extracts are completely sugar-free. This means they can be added to oral care products in several ways.

“They can dissolve in water so can be used to create healthy drinks, as well as to reformulate unhealthy drinks packed full of sugar.

“They also have wider applications for tooth decay prevention and control.  Mouthwash could benefit from this ingredient, as could toothpastes. More testing must be done but it will be extremely interesting to see whether manufactures make more use of polyphenols in the future.”

Dark-coloured berries are among the best dietary source of antioxidants. They provide a good supply of water and fibre, as well as other nutrients.

However, along with other fruit, they may also contain high amounts of natural sugar.

The recommended daily allowance of sugar for an adult is 90 grams or 22.5 teaspoons per day. This includes 60 grams of natural sugar and 30 grams of added sugar.

One portion of cranberries contains up to four grams of natural sugar (equivalent to one teaspoon) while a serving of blueberries is nearly ten grams.

Dr Carter adds: “It is important to remember that whole fruit contains natural sugars. This means it can still cause a risk to teeth when consumed in high amounts and too often.

“It is best to eat fruit at mealtimes like breakfast, or straight after dinner. This will limit the number of times which our mouth is exposed to sugar and acid.”

Brushing teeth twice a day could prevent erectile dysfunction: Scientists find bad oral hygiene nearly TRIPLES the risk of impotence

Researchers reviewed five studies on more than 200,000 men’s health

  • It adds to growing evidence of link between gum disease and erection problems
  • Scientists think an inflammation-causing molecule in the liver could be to blame
  • Experts recommend people brush their teeth twice a day and floss daily 


Men who don’t brush their teeth twice a day are almost three times as likely to suffer from erectile dysfunction, a study has found.

Gum disease – caused by not brushing – is thought to boost the odds of damaging the blood vessels which supply the penis.

A review of studies involving more than 200,000 men has strengthened a direct link between the two conditions, experts claim.

The research adds to growing evidence poor oral hygiene can impact a man’s performance in the bedroom and potentially have other health consequences.

Scientists at Jinan University in China reviewed five studies on the link between periodontal disease (gum disease) and erectile dysfunction.

They found men with gum disease – triggered by bad oral hygiene – are 2.85 times more likely to struggle to get an erection.

Both conditions are common – almost all adults have some degree of gum damage, according to the NHS, but it can worsen and become a health concern if not treated.

Experts recommend people brush their teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and clean between their teeth daily with floss or inter-dental brushes.

And ‘most men’ over the age of 40 will have episodes of erectile dysfunction, known as impotence, although it can affect men at any age.

Scientists believe erectile dysfunction and gum disease are linked because they’re both caused by the same type of inflammation in the blood vessels.

This inflammation can be triggered by a molecule called CRP, which is found in higher-than-normal levels in both impotent men and those with gum disease.

CRP is also elevated in men with heart disease, suggesting it begins by damaging smaller blood vessels before affecting major organs.

A study published last year by the University of Granada in Spain found the same connection between oral health and sexual performance.

Researchers there did the first study of the connection in European men and found impotence risk was almost double in men who didn’t take care of their teeth.

Almost three quarters of men – 74% – who already had trouble in the bedroom also had gum disease.

However, only 58% of the men without erection trouble had the oral health problem.

CEO of dental charity the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter, said at the time: ‘This may turn out to be a wake-up call for men to start paying greater attention to their oral health, particularly their gums.

‘In recent years, gum disease has been linked with conditions like diabetes, stroke and heart disease.

‘But an increased risk of coming up short in the bedroom may be the final straw for men who might have been reluctant to spend a little extra time looking after their gums.’

The Jinan University study was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine.