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Women are six times more likely to be ‘disgusted’ by dental treatment


According to research carried out by the Adult Dental Health Survey, women who are afraid of the dentist are six times more likely to be ‘disgusted’ by images of dental treatment than their male counterparts and women who do not have a phobia of the dentist. The data also revealed that almost half of adults were moderately to extremely afraid of going to the dentist, and Karen Coates, Dental Advisor at the British Dental Health Foundation, was anxious to ensure that the research is used to help dental phobics overcome their fears.

Karen said ‘The good news is that more and more dentists now understand their patients’ fears, and with a combination of kindness and gentleness can do a great deal to make dental treatment an acceptable, normal part of life.’ She also added that many dentists are specially trained to treat nervous patients and the team should provide more time to make these individuals feel more comfortable. Karen advised anxious patients to ‘book appointments at a time of day when you feel at your best and when you do not have any other commitments to worry about. Allow plenty of time so that you can get to the practice in a relaxed frame of mind.’

Although women may feel more disgusted by the thought of dental treatment, it is important that any symptoms are caught as early on as possible, Ms Coates commented that patients who have dental phobia would probably have poorer oral health in most cases, and added that ‘Catching any problems whilst they are still small will mean that the treatment involved is much less and lighter on your pocket too. Truly a case that prevention is better than a cure.’

Don’t forget your toothbrush next time you go on holiday!


Experts in dental care are reminding the British public that maintaining good oral health when on holiday is essential; so remember to pack your toothbrush or you could be at risk of decay and gum disease – it’s easier than you might think to develop problems in just a couple of weeks, so regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash is a must during those summer getaways.

Karen Coates, of the British Dental Health Foundation, is advising people to brush properly when away from home and try to stick to a good daily routine to keep teeth and gums in good health. She also says that everyone should think about ‘brushing for two minutes twice a day using fluoride toothpaste, cutting down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks, chewing sugar-free gum for ten minutes after eating or drinking anything and also using a mouthwash.’

The Foundation also suggests that holidaymakers should consider booking a dental appointment before travelling overseas, to avoid complications or emergencies arising. Preparing for the worst can help too; dental coverage should be included with travel insurance, and don’t forget to take your European Health Insurance Card if you are travelling within the EU. Ms Coates finished on a positive note, saying ‘although dental emergencies can develop at any time, it can be upsetting if they occur but you should not let it ruin your holiday.’

Teeth whitening should be left to the professionals


According to experts at the British Dental Foundation, people wanting to emulate their favourite celebrities with a pearly white grin should leave the job to the professionals, rather than purchasing a DIY kit and having a go themselves. Dental adviser for the BDF, Karen Coates, has commented that take-home products are not very effective and the procedure should be carried out by a qualified individual.

Ms Coates said that kits purchased over the counter from cosmetic stores and pharmacies contained less that 0.1% hydrogen peroxide, a tiny amount that couldn’t possible hope to break down deep staining. They can also put the teeth at risk of heightened sensitivity or enamel erosion, with sustained use. Professional grade whitening solutions contain much more bleach, in some cases upwards of 20%, but it wouldn’t be safe to allow to public to try the procedure on themselves; with such a high peroxide content, the potential for disaster is greater.

Ms Coates went on to talk about the kinds of things that could stain the enamel – even after a whitening treatment, naming curry, tea, coffee and red wine as the main culprits. She also added that if people would still rather carry out teeth whitening at home, they should make sure the product they select has the BDF’s logo on the packaging, which indicates that there are no harmful acids or abrasives inside.

Certain drugs ‘could cause a need for emergency dentistry’


People who need to take medication should take action to avoid emergency dentistry.Britons have been warned that taking certain drugs regularly could result in a need for emergency dentistry further down the line.

Karen Coates from the British Dental Health Foundation told the Daily Mail that anti-inflammatory eye drops and certain other medications can cause decay by reducing the amount of saliva in the mouth.

There is then nothing to protect against decay and acid erosion.

Ms Coates explained that anti-depressants, ibuprofen and blood pressure medications can all halt saliva production, but added that an odd tablet here and there should not cause harm.

If you do need medicine regularly, the expert recommended taking action to help teeth.

"There are gums, lozenges and gels available over the counter specifically for dry mouth that help encourage the production of saliva," she said.

Regular sips of water are also recommended by dental experts in preventing emergency dentistry, as it can wash away acids from foods.


Brits ‘choosing teeth whitening’


Many Britons are choosing to whiten their teeth in an effort to keep their smile as dazzling as possible.

Karen Coates, dental advisor for the British Dental Health Foundation, said that staining is one of the main reasons that people choose to have their teeth whitened.

She commented: "Even curry has the potential, if it’s highly coloured, to be staining [the teeth]. Many people do have their teeth whitened and there are more instances of it certainly."

Ms Coates made her comments following the publication of research by Align Technology – the makers of Invisalign braces – showing almost half (46 per cent) of women between the ages of 25 and 54 feel embarrassed about their teeth.

The editors of Good Housekeeping recently published advice on making a person’s smile brighter on and noted that not all teeth will be suitable for teeth whitening, as people with fillings or grey – rather than yellow teeth – might not react well to the treatment.

Salons ‘not qualified for teeth whitening’


teeth whiteningBeauty salons are not qualified to carry out teeth whitening procedures and anyone looking to have this treatment should visit a qualified dentist, it has been argued.

Karen Coates, dental advisor for the British Dental Health Foundation, said it is important to remember that teeth whitening is a medical procedure and it should only be carried out by a qualified professional.

She commented: "They do not have the clinical knowledge to assess the patient before they carry out the treatment because not everybody is suitable for tooth whitening."

For instance, Ms Coates noted someone who has a lot of sensitivity or enamel erosion may not be suitable for the treatment.

According to a survey by Align Technology, makers of Invisalign braces, 46 per cent of people feel embarrassed about their teeth.

In addition, 60 per cent of people agree straight, even teeth make for a great smile, while 32 per cent are most likely to notice their smile first when meeting a potential partner.

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