In the first of a new series of articles on dental care, our hygienist Lydia gives information on flossing.
Flossing is essential in preventing gum disease.
Why should I floss?
Flossing removes plaque (a sticky film on teeth made up of bacteria, food and saliva) from areas that can be hard for your toothbrush to reach. Removing plaque is essential to maintain healthy teeth. The Department of Health recommend flossing once a day to protect against holes and gum disease.
How should I floss?
The first thing is to decide which type of floss to use. With 40% of people admitting to cleaning in between their teeth with folded paper and 61% using their fingernails (both of which are damaging and very unhygienic!!) it really is worth using the proper tool for the job.
So what should you use?
1. Traditional floss
Traditional floss is like a very thin nylon string designed to slide between the teeth and under the gum line to remove plaque, keeping teeth healthy and your breath fresh.
Like floss, it is used with the same technique but it is flatter so glides between the teeth easier
A piece of tape on what looks like a slingshot or a harp… this device makes it easier to get to the back without having your whole hand in your mouth!
Waxed or unwaxed?
The wax coats the teeth so if done before tooth brushing – prevents the toothpaste working in these areas.
Stick to unwaxed floss / tape and do before brushing.
With all the three options the technique is the same:
Wrap a piece of the floss (about the size of your forearm) around your third finger and use your thumb and index finger to manoeuvre the floss between the teeth or use a flossette.
Slide the floss gently between the teeth. Don’t stop at the gum line, gently slide under the gum down one side of the pink triangle between the teeth then down the other side of the pink triangle.
This may cause the gums to bleed. Don’t panic… This isn’t because you’ve been too aggressive.
When you first start flossing, you’re removing plaque.
When the plaque between the teeth has been sat there a while – the gums fill with blood to protect themselves.
So the bleeding means you are removing the plaque correctly and will stop after effective plaque removal everyday for about a week.
Repeat around every tooth to ensure a clean, healthy mouth.
Remember to brush your teeth for 2 minutes with a fluoride toothpaste after flossing to keep your teeth as healthy as possible.
Flossing once a day will keep your teeth healthy and make your hygienist happy.
…and welcome to the first annual Pumpkin Carving Competition at Clock Tower Dental Care. The staff had fun carving the pumpkins and patients are being asked to vote for their favourite one. If you would like to vote but can'[t make it into the practice today then email your vote to email@example.com by 5 o’clock tonight for it to count. There is a small prize for the winner so please vote if you can. We will be lighting up the pumpkins about 3 o’clock this afternoon and hopefully they will add a spooky glow to entertain our younger patients in particular. Remember if you are indulging in some trick or treat goodies, it’s best to do it at a meal time, not spread them through the day, and to wait 30 minutes after eating before brushing your teeth. Have a happy, and safe, Halloween.
Many thanks to staff and patients who made our Macmillan Coffee morning a great success. As you can see the staff did a great job on the baking while with patient support we raised a fantastic £125 for Macmillan. Particular congratulations go to Sam, who won the coveted “Best Baker” title for her delicious lemon drizzle cake, Nicola who recovered from a baking disaster and produced some beautiful plum jam and to Fiona for the best themed bake of of tooth shaped and iced cookies. Of course all goodies were handed over with the appropriate oral health care instructions. Thanks again to everyone for their support. Watch out for our next charity event, Christmas Jumper Day for Save the Children on Friday 15th December.
Congratulations to Allan on completing the Carcassonne to Barcelona bike ride in aid of Macmillan Cancer. A fantastic achievement which involved some very scary and intense hill climbs and impressive thunder and lightning storms with associated rain turning the roads to rivers! Many thanks to patients and staff who sponsored Allan on his trip raising £175.42 towards his total. We’ll let you know the final total when Allan has collected it in.
We have a double page spread in September’s Review Ripon to raise awareness of mouth cancer and to highlight dentist Allan Wood’s magnificent challenge of cycling from Carcassonne to Barcelona across the Alps in support of Macmillan Cancer.
While mouth cancer is more common in the over 40s it is on the increase in younger people too. Mouth cancer may not be as well known as breast or lung cancer but it can be just as serious, if not more so. Cancer can appear in the mouth, and can affect the lips, tongue, cheeks and throat.Mouth cancer can affect anyone whether they have their own teeth or not.
What are the signs of mouth cancer?
The most common symptom of mouth cancer is an ulcer or sore in the mouth or on the lip that doesn’t heal.
Other symptoms may include:
a white (leukoplakia) or red (erythroplakia) patch in the mouth that doesn’t go away
a lump or thickening in the mouth or on the lip
difficulty or pain with chewing, swallowing or speaking
bleeding or numbness in the mouth
bad breath (halitosis)
loose teeth or dentures that don’t fit well anymore
a lump in the neck
losing a lot of weight over a short time.
These symptoms can be caused by other conditions, but it’s important to have them checked by your doctor or dentist. Mouth cancer can be treated more successfully when it’s diagnosed early. Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dental team during a thorough mouth examination, hence another good reason to visit your dentist regularly.
Allan has been challenged to complete the arduous cycle ride by one of his patients who has been successfully treated for mouth cancer. The ride will take 4 days of cycling, in total around 500km, and Allan has been hitting the gym in the morning before seeing patients to get in peak condition. Allan has a “Just Giving” fundraising page at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/allanwood if you would like to support him in this endeavour. We will be following his progress closely and look forward to hearing all about it on his return.
If mouth cancer is diagnosed early, then the chances of successful treatment are improved. Many people with mouth cancer go to their dentist or doctor too late making successful treatment more difficult. If you have any concerns please raise them with your dentist as soon as possible.
August’s edition of Review Ripon focused on how to keep your smile healthy over the summer holidays. Here’s what Donald had to say:
Is your smile ready for summer?
With summer well under way nowand holidays fast approaching, Ripon’s award winning dentist Donald Sloss gives his advice on the best ways to keep your mouth healthy over the summer holidays and ensure plenty of smiles all round.
1. Remember to keep to your usual healthy dental routine of brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste and clean between the teeth with floss or interdental brushes.
If you’re not sure of the quality of tap water where you’re holidaying then use bottled water for your brushing routine.
2. If you haveconcerns about your teeth book an appointment well in advance of your holiday in case you require treatment. Some treatments require more than one visit and trying to fit in a dental appointment in the middle of those last minute holiday preparations will only add to your stress.
3. If you’re thinking about having your teeth whitened to show off your tan also book this in plenty of time to avoid a rush at the last minute. When you book your appointment , whether for whitening procedures or treatment, remember to let the staff know the date that you are going on holiday so that plenty of time is allowed to complete any treatment.
4. Stop smoking
Smoking can be a major factor in gum disease which can cause tooth loss resulting in dentures. On holiday, when you are relaxed and are enjoying yourself, can be an ideal time to stop smoking.
5. Remember wine and fizzy drinks can cause sensitivity in teeth.
If you notice increased sensitivity while you are on holiday reduce the amount of these drinks and use a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. If the sensitivity continues then book an appointment with your dentist when you return home.
6. If despite your best efforts you end up with toothache on holiday there are a few things you can do.
Some dental maintenance plans include insurance for just such an emergency.If you are concerned then you could phone your own dentist who would be able to advise whether you need to visit another dentist or whether the situation could wait until you get home.
Happy holidays from myself and the team
If you have any suggestions for items you would like to see covered in the magazine please send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org
Continuing our charity efforts this year dentist Allan Wood is cycling from Carcassone in France to Barcelona in Spain over the Pyrenees. Here Allan explains what prompted him to take up the challenge:
There are not many of us these days that haven’t been impacted by cancer either personally through our relationships with friends and family or in my case professionally. I’ve helped diagnose and support patients with signs and symptoms of both oral and head and neck skin cancers. I’m doing this challenge with one of my patients, Paul who in 2012 I referred with what I thought were the early signs of oral cancer. This was confirmed and successfully treated and I’m delighted that he is now fit enough to challenge me to this gruelling ride over the mountains.
We will be attempting a four day ride from Carcassonne in France over the Pyrenees via Andorra to Barcelona. This is an epic challenge with around 500km of riding and 36,000ft of climbing (that’s Everest with Ben Nevis on top)
I’m looking to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support. If you can support us with some sponsorship it would mean a lot to me. You can do so at reception or visit my justgiving page.
We are delighted once again to be supporting National Smile Month. This year the campaign is highlighting three main messages to improve oral health. They are:
Brush your teeth last thing at night and on at least one other occasion during the day with a fluoride toothpaste.
Cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks.
Visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend.
National Smile Month also aims to make the campaign fun and includes the “smileys” used in the photo above. We have been encouraging everyone to take photos with the smileys and look forward to sharing them with you.
The aim of National Smile Month is to ultimately improve the UK’s oral health which ties in with our practice aim of improving the oral health of all our patients. We are running a competition for all our young patients with an electric toothbrush as for the prize and also giving goody bags with advice cards, balloons and toothbrushes to all our young patients. Watch out for more Smile Month photos and for the winners announcement after the 15th June 2017.
We are delighted to announce that Melanie, our practice manager, won the overall weight loss challenge. Many congratulations go to her on her magnificent achievement. All those taking part lost some weight, if not all the weight they wanted to lose, and the challenge certainly led to some interesting discussions on the benefits or otherwise of various foods and diets in the staff room. Together we lost 95lbs, which was not quite the baby elephant we were hoping for but was the equivalent of a southern elephant seal so we were close. We all feel better for the weight loss and now the work begins to keep it off! Congratulations once again to Melanie.
When we heard that today was National Tea Day it seemed like to good an opportunity to miss. We decided to celebrate it with afternoon tea, but at lunch time. Yes we were sensible and had some sandwiches but we did also indulge in some sweet treats as you can see. We were following our own advice and having them at a meal time, although the jam tarts may have come under the heading of “sticky things”. It was a fun way to celebrate National Tea Day with lots of tea being drunk and having the tea in a teapot and china cups made a nice change from the usual mugs of tea we have every day. Discussion also turned to what other National or International Days there may be. Apparently there is an International Speak like a Pirate Day which Hamish is keen for the practice to take part in and Amy is hoping there is a National Cake Day. In the meantime we hope you have enjoyed your national Tea Day and we will definitely be celebrating it again next year.