Keep up-to-date on all the latest dental news on this page. From new gadgets to top tips about oral care at home, read it here first! If there is anything you would like us to write about next, please feel free to send in your suggestions.
How often you should visit the dentist depends on individual needs, says Nice, the public body that gives national guidance and advice to improve health. They recommend children should see a dentist at least once a year because new permanent teeth can decay faster. While adults with a good standard of oral health, Nice says, might be able to have check-ups once every two years.
For many patients, the frequency of check-ups depends on their time of life. For example, someone in their 20s may need to see their dentist more often when their wisdom teeth come through.
A review in 2003 looked at the studies so far on the subject of dental check-ups. But the results were mixed. Some studies found people who saw the dentist regularly had fewer decayed teeth, fillings or missing teeth. But other studies found no difference between those who had regular check-ups and those who didn’t.
Even if the studies gave a clear answer to the question of how often you should visit the dentist, there are other factors at work. Our oral health isn’t just affected by access to dental treatment. How well we look after our teeth, the foods and drinks we consume and our overall health all affect our teeth and gums.
It's best to take your dentist’s advice on how often you should have a check-up. Your dentist will be able to spot and treat problems before you’re even aware of them in many instances. And even if you get the all clear, visiting the dentist regularly reminds you to look after our teeth.
What’s in store for your oral health in 2015? We predict the gadgets, techniques, and research that could revolutionise your tooth care routine in 2015 and beyond.
You’ll scan your teeth at home
You probably know that if you want to catch decay and other tooth and gum problems before they become dental emergencies (potentially painful and costly) regular dental check-ups are vital. But what if life gets in the way and you don’t make it to the dentist as often as you should?
Toothscan is a futuristic, smart device that promises to let you monitor and analyse the health of your teeth at home. The toothbrush-like gadget uses spectroscopy technology, projecting a light beam onto the surface of your teeth and receiving the light reflected back. Special software then measures and interprets the reflections, diagnosing areas that need attention.
The creators of Toothscan say the aim is “to increase collaboration and information sharing between you and your dentist” rather than replace your dentist altogether. And, like any new health device worth its salt, Toothscan will have an app with an electronic diary to track condition of your teeth and map your mouth hygiene on a daily basis.
Decayed teeth will “heal themselves”
2.3 billion people worldwide suffer from tooth decay each year. Currently, the only remedy to save a tooth with a cavity is a filling. But a new EAER device from Reminova could mean an end to drills, injections and fillings for good. The device rebuilds the tooth by boosting its ability to repair itself naturally by accelerating the process of calcium and phosphate minerals re-entering the tooth and “re-mineralising” it.
Professor Nigel Pitts from the Dental Institute at King’s College London said: “Not only is our device kinder to the patient, and better for their teeth, it’s expected to be at least as cost-effective as current dental treatments. Along with fighting tooth decay, our device can also be used to whiten teeth.”
EAER could be available in dentists within three years.
Dentists will print out replacement teeth
3D printing has gone from the realms of Star Trek to the everyday and is quickly becoming a practical manufacturing process. There are all sorts of things that can be 3D printed, from working cars to spectacle frames. But researchers in Iran are developing a technique that could mean you get your new crown in minutes instead of days or weeks.
The technique is called rapid prototyping and combines medical imaging with computer-aided design. Through it, your dentist will be able to build a perfect replica of your tooth out of biocompatible composite material. It will probably be a few years before you see the technology in action, so don’t wait if you need replacement teeth!
Missing teeth will grow back
New research promises to offer the ultimate dental treatment - the regrowth of human teeth. Scientists hope that by finding the right biological triggers, humans may one day be able to grow new teeth to replace rotten or worn out ones - just like sharks, rodents, and stingrays.
Teeth have already been grown in petri dishes, with students at the University of Texas managing to grow parts of teeth in their laboratories. The technique could help repair teeth, although it will be at least a decade away according to Mary MacDougall, dean of the dental school at the University of Texas Health Science Centre.
The prospect of making teeth regrow where an old one is missing relies on triggering cells still in the mouth to regrow teeth. First, scientists will have to find the genes and proteins that regulate the tooth growth process. Perhaps by 2040 you’ll be able to visit your dentist for regrowth treatment. Until then there’s always dental implants.
A Saga Health Insurance poll of over 10 thousand people has shown that it’s not phobias that make over 50s fear the dentist - it’s the bill.
Four in 10 people over 50 say they had to pay, on average, £228 for emergency dental treatment resulting from an infection or accident.
So what can you do to reduce unexpected dental costs? Here are our top five tips:
1. Join a dental plan
As well as spreading the costs of your essential dentist check-ups, practice membership schemes often have other benefits. For example, at The Parade Dental Practice near Epsom, our scheme covers you for emergency appointments.
Worldwide Dental Trauma Insurance to protect against the cost of accidental damage
Emergency Callout Insurance should you need a dentist in an emergency, anywhere in the world
You also get a discount on any treatment you might need:
20% discount on laboratory-based treatments i.e. crowns, bridges and dentures
20% discount on fillings
20% discount on many other treatments (extractions, etc.)
20% discount on additional hygiene care
2. See your dentist regularly
Your teeth may feel and look fine. But there could be trouble brewing inside your mouth that only your dentist can detect. Regular dental check-ups should reduce the chances of dental emergencies owing to infection.
If you’re a member of our dental plan, you’re entitled to a clinical examination every six months, which includes:
Check for signs of oral cancer
Scale and polish
Periodontal advice and preventive techniques to reduce decay and gum disease
3. Clean your teeth
The British Dental Health Foundation recommends brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day.
Replace your toothbrush every three months (or sooner if you’ve been ill). Use fluoride toothpaste and aim to floss every day or at least three times a week.
4. Cut down on sugar and junk food
You probably had it drummed into you as a kid that eating sweets will rot your teeth. Well, unfortunately, it’s true. So if you need a snack, try a lump of cheese, some plain yogurt or some raw veg crudités. These foods are not only better for your teeth; they’re better for your body.
We all like a few sweets, crisps and chocolates from time to time, but they do less damage to teeth when eaten at mealtimes.
5. Protect teeth from damage
Trauma to the mouth from accident or injury is another way you might need an emergency dentist appointment. Wearing a gum shield if you play contact sports, or a full-face helmet if you ride motorbikes, will help protect teeth from impact. Also avoid using your teeth to open things or hold keys.
We hope these suggestions help you maintain a healthy, happy smile – even when the unexpected happens. If you’d like to book a check-up, or for more information on becoming a patient, please get in touch now.
More than 6,700 people in the UK were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year. The disease has increased by a third in the last decade, and remains one of the few cancers predicted to rise in the future. Mouth cancer claims over 2,000 lives every year - more than cervical and testicular cancer combined.
There are factors that increase the chance of developing the disease, but mouth cancer can affect anybody - that’s why raising awareness of this silent killer is so important.
Mouth Cancer Action Month
Throughout November, the British Dental Health Foundation aims to get more mouth cancers diagnosed early. When caught in the early stages, there’s a 90% chance of surviving the disease. But late diagnosis slashes the survival rate to just 50%.
Take action on mouth cancer
Check your teeth and gums when you clean your teeth. If you notice anything unusual, see your dentist. Regular dental check-ups are essential. When examining your mouth, your dentist can see problems in their early stages that you can’t see yourself - including mouth cancer.
The key things to remember are:
Don’t leave a mouth ulcer unattended for more than three weeks
Don’t ignore an unusual lump, swelling or red and white patches in your mouth
If in doubt, get it checked out - early detection could save your life
What causes mouth cancer?
Understanding the risk factors that can lead to mouth cancer will help everyone make better choices that can help avoid the disease:
More than half of cases in the UK are linked to a poor diet. Eating plenty of fruit and vegetables, especially those rich in rich in vitamins A, C and E, keeps the body fit and healthy and reduces the risk all cancers, including mouth cancer.
Tobacco and alcohol
Tobacco and alcohol are behind most cases of mouth cancer. If tobacco and alcohol are consumed together the risk is even greater.
Tobacco in all its forms is harmful to health: cigarettes, cigars, pipes, and chewing tobacco with substances such as betel quid, gutka and paan. If you smoke or are addicted to tobacco products get help from your doctor to stop.
Drinking alcohol to excess is linked to around a third of all cases of mouth cancer. To protect yourself, cut down the amount you drink. Moderate drinking, such as a glass of wine here and there, is much safer than consuming a whole bottle in a single evening.
Over-exposure to sunlight increases the risk of cancer of the lips. Use a specialist lip screen alongside your sunscreen if you’re going to be out in the sun a lot and avoid sunbeds.
Human papillomavirus (HPV)
HPV is the major cause of cervical cancer and affects the skin that lines the moist areas of the body. HPV can spread through oral sex, and research now suggests that it could soon rival smoking and drinking as one of the main causes of mouth cancer. Practising safe sex and limiting the number of partners may reduce the chance of contracting HPV.
Get involved by following the hash tag- #bluelipselfie