Here’s how you can help your family stay ‘MouthHealthy’ on Halloween and year-round.

Time It Right

Eat Halloween sweets (and other sugary foods) with meals or shortly after mealtime. Saliva production increases during meals. This helps cancel out acids produced by bacteria in your mouth and rinse away food particles.

Stay Away from Sweet Snacks

Snacking can increase your risk of cavities, and it’s double the trouble if you keep grabbing sugary treats from the candy bowl. Snacking on candy throughout the day is not ideal for your dental health or diet,.

Choose Sweets Carefully

Make sure your sweets are sugar free.

Avoid hard sweets that stay in your mouth for a long time. Aside from how often you snack, the length of time sugary food is in your mouth plays a role in tooth decay. Unless it is a sugar-free product, candies that stay in the mouth for a long period of time subject teeth to an increased risk for tooth decay.

Avoid Sticky Situations

Sticky sweets cling to your teeth. The stickier candies, like toffee and gummy bears, take longer to get washed away by saliva, increasing the risk for tooth decay.

Have a Plan

It’s tempting to keep that candy around, but your teeth will thank you if you limit your stash. ‘Have your family pick their favourites and donate the rest.’

Drink More Water

Drink water, avoid a dry mouth this  can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, look for kinds that are sugar free. Even sugar free ‘diet’ fizzy drinks may be acidic which cause harm to your teeth

blue-bottle-close-up-327090 (1)

Maintain a Healthy Diet

Your body is like a complex machine.The foods you choose as fuel and how often you “fill up” affect your general health and that of your teeth and gums.

Stay Away from Sugary Beverages

This includes fizzy drinks, sports drinks and flavoured water.When teeth come in frequent contact with beverages that contain sugar, the risk of tooth decay is increased.

Chew sugar free chewing gum 

Chewing sugar free gum for 20 minutes after meals helps reduce tooth decay, because increased saliva flow helps wash out food and neutralise the acid produced by bacteria.

Brush Twice a Day

Brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride containing toothpaste. Change your tooth brush 8- 10 weeks , or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won’t do a good job of cleaning your teeth.


Clean Between Your Teeth

Floss your teeth once a day. Decay-causing bacteria get between teeth where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. Flossing helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.

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The regular advice and care  you will receive from your dentist and the whole team will help you to stay healthy.



Acknowledgements to the American Dental Association

Sparkling Water

Most people are aware of the dental perils of sugary soft drinks and fruit juices, but surely sparkling water is perfectly safe for your teeth, right? After all, dentists often recommend water as an alternative to sodas and sports drinks. It might surprise you to learn that it’s not quite so straightforward.

Soft drinks can be bad for your teeth because they tend to be loaded with sugar or non-sugar sweetener alternatives that feeds harmful oral bacteria, resulting in the creation of enamel-attacking acids. As the protective enamel layer is stripped away, it leaves the teeth exposed to infection and decay.

It is not just the sugar in soft drinks that threatens tooth health. It’s all the fizz.

Carbonated beverages get their fizz from carbon dioxide, which is converted to carbonic acid in the mouth. This acid has the potential to cause erosion of dental enamel and increase the risk of tooth decay.

One of the warning signs of enamel erosion in increased tooth sensitivity with exposure to hot or cold foods/drinks. Yellowing of the teeth may also signal enamel erosion as the white, shiny enamel gives way to the darker, yellower dentine underneath.


Keeping Things in Perspective

Now before you start panicking and give up Perrier and Pellegrino forever, it’s important to note that even though sparkling waters can alter the acidic balance in the mouth, it pales in comparison to the sort of acidic damage that occurs with the likes of sodas, fruit juices and other sugary or sweetened beverages. That said, if sparkling water is your drink of choice and you’re sipping it throughout the day, it could accelerate tooth wear. Especially if you like the flavoured sparkling waters, or enjoy a slice of lemon or lime. The addition of any such flavourings or fruit increases the acidity of the beverage.

four clear glass cups

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Generally speaking, unflavoured sparkling water is considered fine for your teeth – in moderation! .A study found that both types of water were more or less the same in their effects on enamel, noting that sparkling water is slightly more acidic. So, all things in moderation – if you don’t overdo it with sparkling water, your teeth should be fine

  • Be sure to mix in plenty of fluoridated plain water along with sparkling water to help naturally fight cavities and maintain the healthy pH balance in the mouth.
  • Be mindful of the fact that all sparkling waters are not created equal. For example, citrus-flavoured waters increases the acidity levels of the beverage, increasing the risk for enamel erosion.
  • Watch out for sparkling water which  have sugar in them. Flavoured waters with sugar can be as bad as other sugar-laden drinks, so if you enjoy sparkling water, make sure you’re enjoying the real deal.

The team at the Harrow Dental Centre will be happy help if you have any concerns.


Hidden tooth infections increase heart disease risk by almost three times

September  2016

Undetected tooth infections could increase the risk of heart disease by almost three times, according to new research.

The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research1, has found that people with untreated tooth infections are 2.7 times more likely to have cardiovascular problems, such as coronary artery disease, than patients who have had treatment of dental infections.

With cardiovascular diseases being a contributor in an estimated 30 per cent of all deaths globally, leading health charity, the Oral Health Foundation, wants to encourage more regular dental visits, especially if we are experiencing toothache, sensitivity or bleeding gums.

Speaking on the issue Dr Nigel Carter OBE, CEO of the Oral Health Foundation, said: “This research is very worrying as tooth infections are initially caused by tooth decay which is triggered by poor oral hygiene routines and a diet high in sugar.

“The major signs of root infection (usually known as a dental abscess) include pain, often when biting down on the tooth, and sometimes swelling. The tooth may also become discoloured. But sometimes infection does not immediately present with these symptoms and can go undetected for some time.

“Thankfully, maintaining good basic oral health and cutting your risk is very easy. By brushing our teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste; cut down on the amount of sugary foods and drinks and how often we have them and visiting our dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, we can help prevent disease, not only in the mouth but the whole body too.”

As well as looking after your oral health preventing gum disease can be boosted by a healthy diet, weight control, exercise and not smoking.

“Infections occur when decay reaches the centre of the tooth, the dental pulp, when the tooth dies a reservoir of bacteria spreads beyond the end of the root and can enter the bloodstream. Treatment for this would usually be a root canal treatment to remove all of the infected tissue and prevent bacteria spreading,” Dr Carter added.

“These new findings add to the existing links between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. It has previously been established that people with gum disease almost twice as likely to develop heart disease than people without it, this makes the need for good oral care even more important.

“Over recent years’ problems in the mouth have also been linked to other serious conditions such as diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease and problems with pregnancy, so it is vital that we see our oral health as a priority.”

The Oral Health Foundation welcomes more research into this matter as it may be a way to prevent many instances of cardiovascular disease around the world and ultimately save lives.

With thanks to the British dental Health Foundation 

Bubble tea puts consumers at risk of tooth damage

The impression is deceptive: Bubble tea is considered healthy but, as a matter of fact, it contains a high amount of sugar and calories

Jul 25, 2012 | EUROPE

by Dental Tribune International

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FRANKFURT/BERLIN, Germany: Bubble tea shops are becoming increasingly popular worldwide. However, as the Taiwanese trend spreads, criticism has grown. Dentists have now once again strongly cautioned that the consumption of sweetened drinks can lead to an increased risk of caries.

While the drink is called “tea” and has a tea base, it also contains milk, sugar syrup and artificial flavours. A cup of the beverage contains up to 500 calories and 20 to 30 cubes of sugar. Extremely sweet flavours with milk have an even higher sugar content than Coke.

Especially for children, the high number of calories and high amount of sugar is dangerous and can lead to tooth decay and obesity. “Because of the fresh fruits on the billboards and the label ‘tea’, many parents think the coloured sugar drinks are a harmless or even healthy way to get children to drink more. The caries risk and the many calories are simply overlooked. It has to be stated quite clearly that bubble tea is a heavily sweetened soft drink and not a sugar-free and therefore pro-dental health drink,” Dr Antje Köster-Schmidt, board member of the dental association of the state of Hessen,Germany, commented.

Other German institutions have also cautioned against uninformed consumption of bubble tea. The Alliance’90/The Greens political party recently submitted 35 questions regarding the drink to the federal government, requesting an investigation into health concerns mainly.

The German consumer protection authority, a large German insurance company and the Professional Association of Paediatricians have also raised the alarm. “The popular drink is dangerous for young children. Sucking the peanut-sized balls through a straw requires significant suction. If the balls enter the lungs via the trachea, this could lead to pneumonia or lung collapse,” the association’s president, Dr Wolfram Hartmann, told the German news website Spiegel Online. As reported by the magazine, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment does not officially consider the tea a health risk but warns that there is a risk of inhaling foreign objects into the lungs, particularly for children younger than four.

A test recently carried out by the German consumer organisation Stiftung Warentest found that the majority of the teas contain tartrazine (E102) and Allura Red AC (E129), which, according to the organisation, are thought to cause hyperactivity and attention deficits in children


For further information contact  the Harrow Dental Centre  via our web site http://www.harrow-dentist.com or call us on 020 84272543 

Should I visit my dentist during pregnancy?

Absolutely –yes!

 For some reason many women think that because they are pregnant they do not need to visit the dentist. It is quite the opposite. It is during this time that the most damage can be done to your teeth without you knowing it. It is very common for pregnant women to complain of bleeding gums during their pregnancy. This is the first sign that you must visit your dentist ASAP. Gingivitis is more prevalent while women are pregnant. The general oral hygiene of most women suffers during this time because they are concentrating on their developing baby and there is such a massive shift in their body that they tend to neglect their mouths. Bleeding gums is aggravated further by the change of hormones during pregnancy. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis. Some expecting mothers out of fear of bleeding avoid proper brushing or flossing. This further worsens the situation.

The unavoidable consequence of inadequate oral hygiene is an increase in dental plaque which leads to dental decay. It is far better to prevent this from happening. We recommend seeing your dentist at the beginning of your pregnancy and every 3 months thereafter for a scaling and polishing and a formal dental examination after 6 months (without x-rays) till you have had your baby. 8 weeks after your baby’s birth you should arrange a full routine dental checkup with x-rays as required .

Dental treatment is possible during pregnancy however. Most dental procedures can be completed while you are pregnant. It is not in your interest, nor your baby’s interests to leave underlying infection in the mouth. Especially if you are in any sort of pain, rather see your dentist early on so the problem can be diagnosed and treated. There is a large amount of research that supports the notion that bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and affect your unborn baby. Do not neglect your mouth during your pregnancy. Vist your dentist and take responsibility for the things you have complete control over during your pregnancy. Excellent oral hygiene is the first step. Be Proactive! 

If you have any comments, kindly post them below or contact us via our website  www.harrow-dentist.com or by telephone +44 208272543

Sports drinks cause alarm

 Due to the  level of acidity ,sports drinks are  increasingly responsible for irreversible damage to teeth, especially amongst adolescents and younger adults, their predominant target market.

The report is published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry,  confirms the findings:

“Young adults consume these drinks assuming that they will improve their sports performance and energy levels and that they are ‘better’ for them than soda … Most of these patients are shocked to learn that these drinks are essentially bathing their teeth with acid.”

The acidity levels are responsible for eroding tooth enamel, the hard, shiny, white outer surface of the teeth. Once this is compromised, the inner softer dentine can start to decay quite easily, with the tooth cavity making a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Researchers looked at acidity levels in 13 different sports drinks and found levels varied greatly between both brands and different flavors of the same brand.
Energy drinks cause double the damage of more balanced sports drinks. Some fifty percent of US teenagers are reported to consume energy drinks and as many as sixty two percent consume at least one sports drink per day. Parents and young adults should be made aware of the downside to the heavily marketed products, says the report.

It is suggested that people minimize their intake of sports and energy drinks and also consider chewing sugar free gum to promote saliva production, as well as washing the mouth with water, to assist the body in returning the mouth to its natural pH. a little quicker. Always wait at least an hour before brushing teeth to avoid rubbing the acids directly onto the tooth surface.

Natural fruit juices and especially coconut water which has excellent re-hydrating properties, might make a better alternative to smart drinks, which are often loaded with sugar, caffeine and artificial ingredients, and can be costly, not only in purchase price, but also in dentistry bills.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this post kindly post your comments below or email us via our website www.harrow-dentist.com or call 020 84272543

With acknowledgements to Rupert Shepherd and Medical News Today

Liquorice a ‘treatment’ for preventing tooth decay and gum disease?

Do not rush to the ‘corner shop’ just yet ……

Scientists are reporting identification of two substances in liquorice – used extensively in Chinese traditional medicine – that kill the major bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, the leading causes of tooth loss in children and adults. They say that these substances could have a role in treating and preventing tooth decay and gum disease.

Stefan Gafner and colleagues explain that the dried root of the liquorice plant is a common treatment in Chinese traditional medicine, especially as a way to enhance the activity of other herbal ingredients or as flavouring. Despite the popularity of liquorice candy in the U.K., liquorice root has been replaced in domestic candy with anise oil, which has a similar flavour. Traditional medical practitioners use dried liquorice root to treat various ailments, such as respiratory and digestive problems, but few modern scientific studies address whether liquorice really works. (Consumers should check with their doctor before taking liquorice root because it can have undesirable effects and interactions with prescription drugs.) To test whether the sweet root could combat the bacteria that cause gum disease and cavities, the researchers took a closer look at various substances in liquorice.

They found that two of the liquorice compounds, licoricidin and licorisoflavan A, were the most effective antibacterial substances. These substances killed two of the major bacteria responsible for dental cavities and two of the bacteria that promote gum disease. One of the compounds – licoricidin – also killed a third gum disease bacterium. The researchers say that these substances could treat or even prevent oral infections.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this post kindly post your comments below or email us via our website www.harrow-dentist.com or call 020 84272543

Smile, children, the dentists are putting away their drills

This is a paradigm shift in thoughts about dental care for children.It will be interesting to see if the ‘real world ‘ confirms the research .At the time of posting ,I am certain if this not the  only treatment option .Ira Miller

Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Editor Published: 4 March 2012

Dentists believe bad memories of having fillings puts some children off going

Dentists believe bad memories of having fillings puts some children off attending (and this pattern may continue in adult life)

CHILDREN may be spared the ordeal of fillings for decayed first teeth after a study found the dentist’s drill may be doing more harm than good.Research has found that a new pain-free technique of sealing off the decayed tooth with a crown until it falls out naturally is more effective and causes less damage to the teeth than giving children fillings.( The profession has been using preformed crowns for decades- perhaps not for ‘routine ‘ treatment .)

Some dentists are so concerned about the damage caused by conventional fillings that they will no longer treat tooth decay and instead ask children to reduce their consumption of sugary foods and brush regularly until the tooth falls out naturally.Many dentists also believe that bad memories of having fillings puts some children off going to the dentist.( Prevention better than cure! )

The trial of 132 children, who were monitored for five years, found that 2% of those whose decayed tooth had been sealed with a crown suffered subsequent problems. For those who had had conventional fillings, 17% had experienced such difficulties.The findings of the study, conducted by Dundee University and the James Cook University hospital, Middlesbrough, have led to a £3m government-funded trial to decide conclusively whether the practice of putting fillings in milk teeth should stop.

Jimmy Steele, a government adviser and lead on oral and dental health at the National Institute for Health Research, said: “This is challenging what has been the conventional wisdom for 150 years.”The trial, funded by the institute, will study 1,460 children at 50 UK dental practices.

Unlike a filling, the alternative Hall technique seals the decay into the tooth with a stainless steel crown. Dentists believe that sealing it off from food and oxygen stops the bacteria from thriving and causing further damage.Nicola Innes, a lecturer in paediatric dentistry at Dundee University and leader of both trials, said: “Sealing in decay is getting a lot of interest but we know that, although . . . there is a strong body of evidence supporting it, many dentists still view decay as a gangrenous type of disease that needs to be cut out surgically.”( By using a drill or air abrasion or laser )

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this post kindly post your comments below or email us via our website www.harrow-dentist.com or call 020 84272543

With acknowledgement to the Sunday Times .
Additional comment in italics by the author of this post not the author of the article.

Plaque-a silent assassin

Fight Back Against the Plaque Attack!

99012595You know that fuzzy feeling on your teeth at the end of the day? Well, it’s not fuzz ,it’s actually plaque .  What is plaque? It’s a sticky biofilm attached to your teeth containing hundreds of bacterial species. Before you run for the mouthwash, you should know those bacteria occur naturally. And it’s not just you, everyone has them!

What Causes Plaque?

Those little germs on your teeth use ingredients in saliva to flourish, namely sugar. As the bacteria metabolize tiny sweet particles, they produce acids that erode tooth enamel, cause cavities, and lead to gum disease and tooth loss. A diet full of candy, soft drinks, and carbohydrate-rich foods ups the ante.

Lose the Plaque, Not Your Teeth!

Though the formation of plaque happens to us all, there are things you can do to prevent it from building up on your teeth and hardening into tartar.

  • Brush thoroughly at least twice a day,for at least two minutes , but preferably after every meal.
  • Floss once a day to remove leftover food particles and plaque between teeth.
  • Chew sugarless gum in between brushing. When you chew, saliva is produced, which counteracts acid in the mouth.
  • Limit your intake of sugary, starchy foods. Sticky snacks, like raisins, are especially problematic.
  • Stop smoking! Do we really need to explain why? Besides the obvious reasons, smokers have more hardened plaque than non-smokers do.
  • Visit your dentist every six months for an examination  and professional  oral hygiene visit.
  • Ask about dental sealants, a thin plastic coating that protects the chewing surfaces of your teeth from cavities and decay.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this post kindly post your comments below or email us via our website www.harrow-dentist.com or call 020 84272543

With acknowlements to Best Dentist Advice

Liquorice fights tooth decay


Liquorice fights tooth decay

Compounds isolated from liquorice root may help prevent tooth decay, according to researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.

In test tube studies, the scientists showed that an extract from a plant root that is used to make liquorice sweets and other products contains at least two compounds that appear to be potent inhibitors of  a bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, a major cause of dental caries.

More studies are needed before it is proven that the compounds effectively fight  tooth decay  in humans, but if further studies show promise, the liquorice compounds could eventually be used as cavity-fighting components in mouthwash or toothpaste.

Liquorice has been an important herb in Chinese medicine for many years and is now being rediscovered by Western medicine as a rich source of potentially beneficial compounds.

 In addition to being used as flavouring and sweetening agents in sweets, tobaccos and beverages, compounds derived from liquorice root have been shown to help fight inflammation, viruses, ulcers and even cancer, according to the researchers.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding this post kindly post your comments below or email us via our website  www.harrow-dentist.com or call 020 84272543