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Expert claims braces could be harming children’s teeth


International expert, Professor Robin Seymour, has issued a warning that orthodontic treatment, in particular fixed braces, could be risky to children’s dental health. It is estimated that around two hundred thousand young people undergo teeth straightening in England and Wales every year.

Professor Seymour expressed his concerns that braces with fixed brackets and bands attached can make it very difficult for children to brush their teeth. This could then lead to a build-up of plaque and potentially gum disease. He was quoted in the Daily Mail, “While the demand for orthodontic treatments has increased, it needs to be recognised that there are risks associated with such treatments.” He also went on to say that in certain cases, the risks of having a brace could outweigh the benefits, if the patient has existing poor dental hygiene.

The professor also undertook research into effective cleaning methods for people undergoing orthodontic work. His research suggests that there were no extra benefits to using electric tooth brushes, and the interdental brushes, recommended by many dentists, showed no additional benefits in the prevention of plaque. He did however suggest that using alcohol free mouth wash, alongside regular brushing, showed significant removal of debris which could help to maintain good oral health.




A third of Americans don’t floss their teeth


A dentist might advise you to floss your teeth at least one a day to remove plaque and bacteria but a new study has revealed that people in America don’t take their dental health very seriously and a large number are neglecting this part of their oral hygiene routine.The research shows that around a third of Americans don’t floss their teeth and gums at all.

9000 people were questioned as part of a study carried out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and 32.4% admitted that they did not floss at all, with only a third saying they flossed daily. Just over 37% said that they flossed occasionally but nowhere near daily.
Data spanning from 2009 to 2012 examined the dental habits of Americans over the age of thirty and leader researcher Dr Duong Nguyen believes the results reflect a lack of education regarding flossing. He said that people ‘don’t know enough’ about flossing and how it can keep your teeth and gums healthy.
He added that health practices needed to be improved so that people understand the benefits of flossing as well as how it can prevent dental problems developing in the future.

Research suggests that chewing sugarfree gum could save the NHS millions


New research has revealed that children chewing sugarfree gum could possibly save the NHS as much as £14million. This comes after 35% of 12-year-olds said they have been embarrassed to laugh or smile because they teeth were not in great condition, according to government figures.

The study suggests that if all 12-year-olds chewed a single piece of sugar-free gum per day the NHS would be saving millions of pounds which currently go on treating decay and removing rotten teeth – even more money could be saved on two or three pieces of gum, one after each meal. The gum is thought to combat decay because it encourages the release of saliva in the mouth, which protects the teeth from plaque.

The research was carried out by Plymouth University’s Peninsula Dental School along with gum manufacturers The Wrigley Company and Professor Liz Kay describes the results as ‘hugely exciting’ as it is a very easy way to help children improve their oral health and avoid dental treatment. A spokesman for Plymouth University added that the gum is rarely mentioned, despite the fact that the new study suggests it has potential health benefits, saying that this treatment should be seriously considered to tackle levels of tooth decay.


Sleeping with your mouth open could lead to decay


According to new research, sleeping with your mouth open could be as bad for your teeth as fizzy drinks because it can cause decay. The study, which has been published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation, shows that people who sleep with their mouths open are at greater risk of decay than those who breathe through their noses due to dangerous levels of acid building up during the night.

The research stated that saliva can naturally prevent plaque and decay from building up on the teeth; if you are sleeping with your mouth open this will generally cause the saliva to dry up and this means that the teeth are not as well protected from plaque, which can lead to decay and gum disease. Plaque is known as a ‘biofilm’ that is invisible but coats the teeth and releases acid which can cause cavities and other dental problems if treatment is not provided

Furthermore, the study showed that sleeping with the mouth open raises the levels of acidity in the mouth to a 3.6 on the PH scale, which is the same as having a fizzy drink before bed time, as it leads to plaque building up on the teeth.


Dentist suggests that flossing is a waste of time


A leading dentist at Newcastle University has suggested that flossing teeth may be a complete waste of time if it is not being done correctly. Speaking to MailOnline, Robin Seymour, Emeritus Professor of Dental Sciences at the University said that flossing is a great way to get rid of plaque and food debris that could be harmful to the teeth and gums, but that most people cannot do it correctly.

Professor Seymour explained that it takes ‘a high level of dexterity’ to floss properly, especially with the back teeth, and the vast majority of people are unable to carry out the task in a way that would actually be beneficial to their dental health. He added that ‘Instead of removing plaque, too many people are simply pushing the plaque that is between their teeth down underneath the gums and leaving it there – which is the last thing you want to do.’

Many adults in the UK are doing a poor job of flossing, but that’s if they even bother with it at all; according to research, only around 17% of the population do it on a regular basis, with a high number doing it incorrectly anyway. Professor Seymour suggests that brushing thoroughly and for the right amount of time is the best way to keep your teeth clean without flossing; antiseptic mouthwashes could also be helpful to clean between the teeth but it is best to use something that does not contain alcohol.

Is being vegetarian bad for your teeth?


According to new evidence put forward by dental experts, diets that include meat and dairy products could be better for naturally healthy teeth – meaning that strict vegetarian or vegan diets could be damaging to dental health. A common amino acid that occurs in certain food products has been shown to break down plaque effectively, helping to fight against problems like decay and gum disease.

Researchers at the University of Michigan and Newcastle University found that L-arginine stops the formation of dental plaque and it is primarily found in meat, fish, and dairy products, and it has already been added to some dental products to help with sensitive teeth.

Alexander Rickard, Assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of Michigan called this discovery ‘important’ and explained that it could save billions of dollars in dental treatment every year in the US. Dr Nick Jakubovics, of Newcastle University, says that the amino acid is only effective in very high quantities; he explains that ‘there is no evidence yet that lower concentrations found in foods such as red meats would have benefits for removal of dental plaque.’

Their findings are reported in the current issue of PLOS ONE.

Dentist gives tips on how to clean your teeth properly


There are many old wives tails about how best to clean your teeth and it can sometimes be confusing when there are conflicting stories about toothbrushes and oral hygiene.

Michaela O’Neill, president of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, spoke to Mailonline about the best ways to avoid plaque and tooth decay, and maintain a healthy set of teeth for a long time. Michaela suggests flossing every day to kill bacteria and prevent gum disease; she advises use of floss or interdental brushes, not just to clear away food particles but also to remove bacteria from under the gum line. As well as flossing, Michaela suggests that you don’t rinse your mouth out after brushing your teeth; she says ‘The point of using fluoride toothpaste is to let the residue sit on the surface of the teeth. Fluoride strengthens the tooth’s surface, so it’s more resistant to acid from food.’

Claire O’Grady, from London Smiling Dental Group, also has some suggestions, including brushing your tongue as well as your teeth. Brushing the tongue without tooth paste should be done regularly to ‘dust the light film away’, which should help prevent bad breath and gum disease. Claire also recommends checking for plaque build-up on the teeth with a weekly plaque test – chewable tablets that show up the transparent film of bacteria on the enamel.

New Research shows that wine could protect against tooth decay


According to the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, grape seed extracts found in wine could help to prevent cavities and it has been suggested that this information could be used to develop natural products to fight dental diseases. The researchers at the Spanish National Research Council, led by Maria Victoria Moreno-Arribas, said that a large percentage of the world’s population will suffer with dental problems at some time, so this could be good news for people who enjoy a glass of wine now and again.

The researchers revealed that bacteria in the mouth will cause plaque to form, which will damage the teeth and brushing can help to get rid of the plaque but the effects of oral hygiene can be limited. Grape seed extract can slow the growth of bacteria and new studies used this information to establish whether it could help to prevent cavities. In a series of experiments involving red wine, red wine without alcohol, red wine with grape seed extract, and water with 12% ethanol, it was found that the red wine, with or without alcohol, and the wine with grape seed extract were the most effective when it comes to getting rid of the bacteria that causes decay.

Actresses support whitening treatment ‘oil pulling’


Hollywood actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley have shared their support of tooth whitening treatment known as ‘oil pulling’, which involves rinsing the mouth out with coconut oil to whiten the teeth and improve oral health.

Gwyneth Paltrow, who is known for her love of natural, healthy living, spoke to E! News about the practice, saying ‘I just started ‘oil pulling’, which is when you swish coconut oil around [in your mouth] for 20 minutes, and it’s supposed to be great for oral health and making your teeth white’

The technique is an ancient Ayurvedic treatment that is thought to strengthen the gums as well as improve the enamel shade. Shailene Woodley, star of the new young-adult film Divergent, described the practice as ‘amazing!’ in an interview with Gloss magazine. The 22-year-old added that ‘it really makes your teeth whiter, because the plaque on your teeth is not water-soluble, its fat soluble.’ The young actress went on to explain that lipids in the oil will dissolve the fat to improve dental health and get rid of the plaque. Most of the time, coconut oil is recommended but Shailene said that she prefers sesame oil.

New York based cosmetic dentist, Dr Marc Lowenberg, told Us Weekly that ‘there’s no downside’ to this treatment and that oil pulling is ‘probably the most harmless natural remedy.’ He added ‘mouthwash makes your breath better for around ten minutes; if [oil pulling] really takes the toxins out of your mouth your breath should stay fresher longer.’

Study shows that cheese combats tooth decay


If new research is to be believed, cheese could help prevent the development of cavities because it neutralises the plaque acid that causes decay. Researchers have discovered that the dairy product makes the mouth more alkaline, which is a less hospitable environment for plaque to form on the teeth – cheese also creates a protective film that prevents acid building up throughout the day.

The higher pH level on the surface of the teeth provides better protection against dental erosion, which leads to cavities and more extensive decay. The research, carried out by the Academy of General Dentistry in the US, divided 68 children aged between 12 and 15 into three groups; the first was asked to eat a portion of cheese every day, the second a sugar-free yoghurt, and the third to drink a glass of milk – before rinsing their mouths out. The pH levels were measured before and after the test and the results showed that there was no change in the groups that ate the yoghurt or drank the milk, but those that ate the cheese showed a large increase in the alkaline content around their teeth.

It is believed that this increase is caused by more saliva being produced, which helps to maintain a healthy pH level, and also due to the chemical compounds found in cheese that form a protective layer on the teeth to prevent acid attacks. A spokesperson for the research groups stated that this suggested ‘cheese has anti-cavity properties.’

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