How to navigate the Halloween sugar fest

As dentists, we’d rather you didn’t let your kids go trick or treating at all – but we also know our draconian opinion isn’t going to endear us to anyone. So when it comes to Halloween, we say bring it on – although not without first offering our best advice on dealing with the deluge of sweets come 31st October.

Put the focus on the frights
Halloween’s main appeal lies in the dressing up and the getting gory – so spend time with your children planning your costumes, taking photos and giving your front door a spooky makeover. Anything to take the focus off the sugar attack that’s coming!

Put out a less sugary snack
We know, we’re such killjoys! But you never know, putting out something healthier might make you a hero in the eyes of visiting parents – and may inspire them to follow your lead next year. Raisins, low-sugar muffins and mini bags of crackers, pretzels or popcorn could work; you could even decorate mini bottles of water to help wash all that sugar away from their teeth.

Get with the frequency
When it comes to the damage sugar does to your teeth, it’s actually frequency rather than quantity that matters most. The fewer times kids’ teeth are exposed to sugar, the better, especially if that exposure is timed alongside their meals, when protective saliva will be going into overdrive. Letting children binge on their trick-or-treat booty, for one evening only, is better than allowing them, say, one of those sweets every couple of hours during the next few days.

Make sure they brush – but later
If your children are sharing out the sweets after trick-or-treating, don’t make them brush their teeth straight away. Sugar temporarily softens the tooth enamel, so brushing straight after eating can have an abrasive ‘sandpaper’ effect that can actually damage teeth. Ideally, wait an hour before brushing, by which time the mouth’s natural pH level will have restored itself.

For personalised advice and help with keeping your children’s smiles cavity-free, make sure you book them in for a regular dental check-up and hygiene appointment at Rhiwbina Dental. We’ll offer lots of positive encouragement to help with everything from brushing technique to diet advice. Call us today!

Why you should know about World Mental Health Day this October

It’s no surprise the World Health Organisation’s World Mental Health Day is on our radar here at Rhiwbina Dental – after all, so much of what we do has an emotional and psychological impact on our patients. From boosting your self-esteem to improving your long-term health prospects, a healthy smile is as important as a healthy body when it comes to the benefits to your mental health.

Confidence
The impact a healthy smile can have on your confidence is not to be underestimated. When your teeth and gums are kept dentally fit, you won’t experience any pain or discomfort, and you won’t be at risk of problems that will lead to invasive treatment, or even tooth loss. Whether we treat a patient cosmetically – for whitening, say – or we take the time to help them establish a great oral hygiene routine, perhaps after years of neglect, we take enormous pride and pleasure in seeing the confidence boost our care can bring.

Wellness
Did you know that there is a proven link between oral hygiene and chronic health conditions? Gum disease, which sets in when oral health is neglected and ultimately leads to tooth loss, is believed to be a contributing factor to heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and some cancers. Maintaining a healthy smile isn’t just about how attractive it looks – it’s part and parcel of a long-term approach to wellness.

Quality of life
As implant dentists, we derive great satisfaction from treating patients whose quality of life has been compromised by failing teeth or badly fitting dentures. The impact of this can creep up on you slowly – you begin to smile only with your mouth closed; speak less for fear of a denture slippage; forego certain foods on a restaurant menu; and put up with daily discomfort or pain. Bad teeth can be detrimental to your quality of life.  

Of course, a healthy smile is just one element that contributes to your physical and mental wellbeing. Staying active, eating well, caring for others, talking about your feelings – it all plays a role in a healthy lifestyle that makes you feel grounded and happy. Check out the Mental Health Foundation’s top tips for living well, a great jumping-off point for discovering more about looking after your mental health. And of course, if the state of your smile is part of the problem, we can help with that; simply give us a call today.

Wondering How to Fill the Gap?

We’re willing to bet that anyone who’s ever lost a tooth, whether due to accident or decay, has as some point thought about having it permanently replaced. Missing back teeth can seriously affect your ability to chew your favourite foods and visible gaps in the front can have a negative impact on your self-confidence. So, if you’re trying to decide the best way to make your mouth whole again – dental implant or dental bridge – we thought perhaps a simple comparison would be helpful.

Dental bridge
A dental bridge is a replacement tooth that is fixed to two crowns – one either side of the gap. Bridges have been around for a long time, and are still a common choice for replacing teeth, especially when there’s only one tooth missing.

Pros

  • Bridges are a time-tested, functional and natural-looking solution.
  • They don’t require surgery and can be fitted just like a crown and even on the same day with CEREC.
  • Bridges may be recommended in the event of jaw bone loss or significant damage, where implants might not be possible or advisable.

Cons

  • The crowns and bridges will likely need to be replaced every 10 to 15 years.
  • The two teeth either side of the gap must be filed down and capped to anchor the bridge.
  • Bridges require special cleaning, so the potential for tooth decay and gum disease is higher.

Dental implant
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root, usually made of titanium, that is topped with a lifelike replacement tooth. Although a relative newcomer to the dental world, implants have had an excellent track record for over 30 years now, and are considered the gold standard in tooth replacement.

Pros

  • An implant is a (dare we say it) strong and stable solution that most naturally mimics your real tooth.
  • The treatment does not negatively impact your neighbouring teeth.
  • Same-day dental implants may be possible, providing there is sufficient gum and bone support.
  • Implants are easier to maintain than bridges in terms of daily hygiene.
  • Multiple missing teeth can be replaced with just one implant, depending on their location.
  • Implants transmit chewing forces to the jaw bone, keeping it healthy and maintaining your facial structure.

Cons

  • Placing the implant requires minor surgery.
  • Healing time may be required after the implant surgery but before the permanent tooth replacement is fitted.
  • An implant is initially more expensive than a bridge, but will be more economical long term, as it will last longer.

Here at Rhiwbina, we are known for our dental implant experience, but we do offer both options and are primarily concerned with making sure you get the treatment that will best serve you. We’d love to have the chance to discuss your teeth replacement options and answer any questions you may have. Get in touch and book your consultation with us today!

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