Your dental health: Jul'13

Tags: Dental , Teeth

Maureen Chaseley our in house Senior Dental Advisor answered your questions about health and dental. The chat discussed why dental hygiene is so important for your health and how the two relate.

AXA PPP healthcare: Good afternoon and welcome our dental health live chat Our Senior Dental Advisor Maureen has joined us, to answer your questions :)

Shane asked: I heard recently that you shouldn't use mouthwash straight after brushing, in fact you should avoid for around 2-3 hours. Is this true, and if so, why?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Shane . It is best not to brush the teeth for approximately 1 1/2 hours after eating. this gives the saliva a chance to naturally cleanse the teeth and allow the PH balanace to be restored naturally . This is  is known as the Stephan Curve. the acid levels rise after eating and the saliva brings it naturally back into balance . Mouthwash is best used as directed by your dentist or as the label advises. Regards Maureen.


If you missed our live chat and have any further questions relating to dental health, then why not ask our  panel of experts  a question?


cat asked: I've been told I need to have a 'deep clean' done by a hygenist as I have an area of my gums that bleeds when I brush, usually in the morning. I'm reluctant to go due to the pain of the experience - and the cost - and wonder is there anything I can do to relieve the problem/cure myself?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Hi Cat, A deep clean is necessary when a pocket has formed. this is because an area cannot beeen cleaned properly despite all efforts from your self and the hygenist. the gum become sore and peels away from the tooth and creates a gap (pocket). this needs to be cleaned out thoroughly to reach the "deep" part of the pocket . The best thing you can do is follow all the advice given especially brushing technique flossing prevent it getting worse and tooth loss Regards Maureen

Anonymous137 asked: Would you recommend electric toothbrushes for improved cleaning. Especially for children 5+?
I ask this as my 6 year old seems to be prone to getting plaque especially on her adult teeth that are coming through, currently we use a normal toothbrush cleaning twice a day.

Maureen Chaseley answered: Electric toothbrushes are excellent and much more efficient . they also engage children in cleaning their teeth better due to the fun factor, Regards Maureen

caz asked: Hi I was 50 this year and a few months ago I started growing new teeth right at the back on top and lower gums and its been very painful. I can't remember my wisdom teeth ever coming through. Do you think they could be arriving very late ? thanks. Caz

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Caz , Wisdom teeth can come through at any age so it certainly could be yoru wisdom teeth coming through, If you have had any movement of adjacent teeth this sometimes allows a pathway for the   wisdom teeth to come through, I suggest hot salt water mouthwash 3 times a day - spit it out though- and then see you dentist to get it checked . regards Maureen,

Anonymous137 asked: Do you recommend fissure sealing for children once there adult teeth appear, are there any negative to this?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Hello . Fissure sealant is an excellent way of protecting the adult teeth and back teeth It coats the teeth in a varnish and stops food and debris collecting in the grooves (fissures ) of the teeth and so prevents them from possible decay, I am not aware of any negatives to fissure sealants . Regards Maureen

Ruth asked: How effective are whitening toothpastes? And can they be dangerous for your teeth?

Maureen Chaseley answered: It is now goverment legislation that tooth whitening should only be done by a dentist not by a beauty clinic. whitening toothpaste can be  more abrasive and remove staining caused by coffee red wine etc. so are effective in this way. They are not dangerous in themselves but do not replace regular dental check ups and professional cleaning, Regards Maureen 

Heather asked: I'm worried about a sensitive pain in one of my teeth at the back - I already have a silver filling in it however when  I brush over it, I feel like it rattles slightly and it can be quite sore. Do you think the filling is loose?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Heather, It might be loose or worn around the margins, If it is reacting to hot and cold as well as being "rattly" you need to see the dentist as it may need replacing, Regards Maureen

fiona asked: Hi Maureen, I floss regularly - but find my gums still bleed above the one tooth in particular. What could this be?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Bleeding gums are always a sign of inflammation. Flossing cleans out the bacteria between the teeth and under the gum if there is bleeding then the cause of  inflamation is ongong.  well done for flossing but there is obvioulsly something that needs investigating, Regards Maureen

Anonymous2 asked: What is the best treatment for mouth ulcers? I have used bonjela in the past however, do not find this effective.

Maureen Chaseley answered: Any ulcer that last for more than 3 weeks or does not repsond to gels should be checked by a dentist, Regards Maureen

Anonymous116 asked: My teeth have stained quite badly over the years, and I think this is mainly due to medication I've been taking which is a thick brown syrup - do you recommend chemical whitening to resolve this or should I continue to use whitening toothpaste?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear  A. Many medications are now available in a sugar free solution so it may be worth asking your GP to recommend an alternative. Regular cleaning with a hygenist will help more than whitening toothpastes, regards Maureen

Anonymous123 asked: I've had a brace twice to fix a squint tooth next to my top front teeth however every time it twisted back. I only had the brace for about 4 months at a time and then was given a metal bar behind my teeth and a retainer.... I'm still really unhappy with my smile. Is there any hope to straighten it?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear A . How frustrating for you. Are you wearing the retainer as directed ? Is the metal bar fixed to your teeth or  you can have the tooth splinted . If a tooth is put under pressure for short period of time it will sometimes bounce back unless held in place, It is important to discuss all treatment options with your dentist. sometimes a longer option is the better one in the long run. Regards Maureen .

Anonymous138 asked: I was recently at the hygienist and they used dental floss, but used a 'sawing' action which as a child was told was the wrong way to do it.Can this be damaging to your gums?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear A, so long as the floss is tight against the surface of tooth  it is reaching below the gum where it is needed to clean out the plaque and bacteria that has collected,  the sawing action  will get the floss below the gum line where it is needed, Regards Maureen

Anonymous138 commented: Perfect, thank you!

David G asked: What brand of toothpaste is actually the best for your general dental health?

Maureen Chaseley answered: A toothpaste that has flouride and tarter control is always the best for your mouth.They all work in similar ways and will not impact on your general health differerently Regards Maureen,

Rodrigo Bervasquez asked: When flossing, I have always believed the sawing motion is correct. But recently I was told this is not the case. What is the "correct" technique for flossing?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Rodrigo. Please see my previous answer regarding flossing in a sawing action. the important thing is to keep the floss close to the tooth surface and pushing it below the gum line to dislodge the plaque and bacteria, regards Maureen,

Anonymous139 asked: Hey I'm 15 and my teeth aren't as white as I would like, my dentist is against cosmetic dentistry and I am wondering what damage it does excluding making them more sensitive

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Anon When considereing any cosmetic procedure you should always think about the whole picture, If your teeth are whitened will they stand and not look natural againgst your skin tone.???? Please note it is illegal for anyone other than a dentist to carry out whitening of teeth, Regards Maureen,

ianto asked: Hi. I always brush my teeth first thing in the morning before breakfast, is this the right time to brush teeth for the first time during the day, or should I wait awhile and maybe brush them later on, after breakfast?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Ianto. The reason for brushing teeth in the morning is to remove plaque and bacteria. This is most effective after breakfast so there is no debris left around for hours at a time,  Regards Maureen,

Roddy asked: Are there any foodstuffs you could recommend that are actually 'good' for your teeth and help keep them strong?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Roddy, Foods that are high in calcium such as dairy help strengthen teeth and eating a good  diet  with a range of vitamins and minerals found in fruit vegetables etc will support a healthy smile and body. Regards Maureen.

Sam1 asked: I would like to get my teeth whitened but I'm concerned it might weaken the enamel - can you advise?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Sam1  It is now goverment legislation that tooth whitening should only be done by a dentist not by a beauty clinic. It is  not a problem if carried out by a dentist but can cause sensitivity sometimes. this does not replace  regular dental check ups and professional cleaning, Regards  Maureen

fiona asked: How effective are same day dental veneers, and are they safe?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Fiona, Same day veneers are safe but usually  will not last as long as conventional laboratory  made veneers. regards Maureen,

fiona commented: Thanks! Do you know of roughly how long they last and an approx price range for such a treatment?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Be aware this is removing  the tiny top layer of healthy tooth enamel. they do not  last  nearly as long as healthy teeth and will need to be replaced in time. this can work out more expensive than laboratory veneers in the long run. Prices vary from practice to practice, Regards Maureen,

AXA PPP healthcare: We've had a question come through from Jenny on Facebook:
"I used to suffer with my stomach until i had all my teeth removed ( my choice) not had trouble since. Related or not?"

Maureen Chaseley answered: There are many reasons for stomach problems and without knowing more it is not possible to comment on your individual case. You may find this link useful discussing links betweeen mouth problems and other medical issues, Regards  Maureen.

twarres asked: I am struggling to floss.  Is there anything else I can do instead? Eg other toothpaste etc

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Twarres. It may be worth trying Flossettes. these are little aids to help flossing. They have a handle atached to the floss which helps a lot of people who find winding the floss round their fingers a problems, Also little brushes that clean between the teeth - tepe brushes- which your dentist can advise on also work well, Regards Maureen

AXA PPP healthcare: Another question via Facebook, this time from Zakia:
"I suffer from bleeding gums. Not only when I brush my teeth. When I bite...(even a bread roll) Is this a reason for concern?"

Maureen Chaseley answered: Bleeding gums are caused by  plaque  being left around the necks of the teeth,this plaque leads to bacteria feeding off it and in turn  causes the gums to become inflammed and filled with blood and also attacks the tooth  enamel. As a result the gums bleed easily, Getting rid of the plaque with thorough cleaning will stop this. It is instinctive to stop brushing as the gums are bleeding but actually you need to brush more to dislodge that plaque, !!! After a few days of good brushing the bleeding will improve. You should also see your dentist and hygenist to discuss a good oral cleaning regime, Regards Maureen,

Anonymous140 asked: Why does flossing always make my gums bleed?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear A, speak to your dentist about correct flossing technique- the floss should be held close to the tooth surface and this should prevent bleeding from the gum itself. As the tissues improve with increased oral hygeine, the bleeding should reduce.  Regards, Maureen.


If you missed our live chat and have any further questions relating to dental health, then why not ask our  panel of experts  a question?


Ruth asked: Does whitening mouthwash actually have any effect or is it essentially just like normal mouthwash? eg. Colgate instant whitening

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Ruth, manufacturer's claim many things but most whitening is just removing surface staining such as red wine, coffee etc.  Always best to check with your dentist regarding specific hygeine regime for your personal needs.  Regards, Maureen.

Andy_M asked: I've been told by my family that I grind my jaw in my sleep and I worry about the effect it's having on my teeth. I've also noticed that my jaw clicks to the left when i open my mouth wide enough

Andy_M commented: grind my teeth i should say!

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Andy, tooth grinding is a common problem, and now it has been identified it would be advisable for you to consult your dentist.  A bite guard can be made to wear at night- this helps ease the pressure on the jaw/ muscles and will protect the teeth from being worn down when you are sleeping.  The jaw clicking is likely to be related and is best checked out asap.  Regards, Maureen.

India asked: Is chewing gum safe?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear India, chewing gum is ok as long as it is of the sugar free variety!  Chewing gum increases saliva flow, which in turn cleanses the teeth and oral cavity.  It keeps your breath fresh, so no problem. Regards, Maureen.

Heather asked: Can excessive brushing be bad for your teeth also?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Heather, Excessive brushing can be harmful to the teeth and gums.  It is recommended to brush for 2 minutes both morning and before bedtime with a medium bristle toothbrush/ electronic brush.  Sometimes over-brushing can cause abrasion which in turn can result in cavities at the gum line.  See your dentist if you are at all worried, regards Maureen.

India asked: I find that the edges of my teeth are a bit transparent. Does that mean I'm losing enamel?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear India, teeth have variable depths of opaqueness, and this should be checked by your dentist in the first instance.  As long as your diet does not include excessive sugar and fizzy drinks, and the teeth are not sensitive then it is unlikely the tooth enamel is affected.  Regards, Maureen.

Anonymous141 asked: Should we clean our tongues? I have seen tongue scrapers in the chemist

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear A, Tongue cleaners are available to purchase, and it is individual choice whether to use these as part of an oral hygeine regime.  Regular Dental checks will ensure all is healthy in terms of your teeth, gums and tongue  Regards, Maureen.

Janis asked: I’m 22 and just this minute i started utilizing this Colgate tooth whitener that say something resembling ‘beside cleaning micro-crystals’ on the covering. Does that suggest it in actual truely removes stains or do they  bleach my teeth white?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Janis, Whitening toothpastes are designed to remove surface staining from coffee, red wine etc- they contain abrasive components to acheive this.  Tooth whitening is different and must be carried out by a dentist. Regards, Maureen.

Anonymous142 asked: What effect does Coca Cola have on teeth

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear A, Coca Cola and all fizzy drinks are carbonised and will dissolve tooth enamel if left on the tooth surface over a period of time.  Far better to drink water or limited amounts of uncarbonated drinks to protect your teeth.  If you drink Coca Cola, best to drink it through a straw and definitely in one go, rather than sipping it over a long period of time, or constantly to avoid constant sugar attack on the teeth. Regards, Maureen.

RossJ asked: How can you whiten your teeth without spending a fortune?

Maureen Chaseley answered: Dear Ross, whitening teeth professionally is not the cheapest option as it must be done by a dentist.  Using whitening toothpaste will remove surface staining such as coffee and red wine which will improve appearance.  Regards, Maureen.

Ruth asked: I'm 25 and dont have any wisdom teeth. Is that normal?

Maureen Chaseley answered: not everyone has wisdom teeth . dont Worry regards Maureen

AXA PPP healthcare: Today's live chat is now closed. Thank you for all your great questions and thank you to Maureen for her brilliant answers. We hope they have helped you!

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