Author Archives: Brightside Dental

National Smile Month – are you up for the challenge?

If you haven’t heard, this is officially a month to celebrate!

While it may not be quite as fun as Christmas, and doesn’t involve so much chocolate as Easter, it’s a pretty important month when it comes to your teeth…

I’m talking about National Smile Month, and if you haven’t heard of it I promise you it’s a real thing!

From May 18th – June 18th, 2015 it’s your chance to take extra care of your teeth and try to implement some healthy habits to improve the health and look of your smile.

Have a look and see for yourself!

 Basically there are loads of pointers on their site that can really help keep your teeth healthy. Here are a few of my favourites…

  • Clean in between your teeth using interdental brushes or floss. This will help to clean a higher proportion of the tooth and prevent the build-up of plaque.
  • Always tell your dentist about changes to your health, as it may help to prevent gum disease from developing.
  • Introduce your child to the sights and sounds of the dental practice at an early age to allay any dental phobia that might develop. Take them with you when you go for your assessment.
  • It’s better for your teeth and general health if you eat 3 meals a day plus no more than two snacks, instead of having lots of snack attacks throughout the day.

 I hope you’ll be signing up with us this month!


Cleft Lip and Palate and Dental Health

Cleft lip is a birth defect in which the parts of the face that form the upper lip remain split, instead of sealing together before birth. Similar splits can occur in the roof of the mouth or palate. Cleft lip and cleft palate can each occur alone or together in the same person (cleft lip and palate). Cleft lip and palate happen early in foetal development. The defect may be genetic or the result of maternal environmental exposures during pregnancy.

Along with affecting the appearance of the face, cleft lip and cleft palate can present a variety of difficulties, including:

-difficulty eating

-speech difficulties

-ear infections

-dental problems


Dental health

A cleft lip and palate can cause changes to the structure of the mouth and lead to problems with the development of teeth, making children more vulnerable to tooth decay. It is therefore important for the child to have their teeth checked regularly.

Tooth decay

Children with clefts are more likely to develop tooth decay. This is partly due to crowding of the teeth, which makes it more difficult to keep them clean. The advice below may help reduce your child’s risk of developing tooth decay.

  • Your child should have a dental check-up at least once every six months.
  • Using a fluoride mouthwash once a day will help protect your child’s teeth against decay.
  • Limit the amount of sweet and sticky food and drink your child consumes, especially between meals, as these foods increase tooth decay.
  • Limit the amount of starchy foods such as crisps, white bread and biscuits that your child eats, especially between meals, to lower the risk of tooth decay.

How Do Eating Disorders Affect Your Mouth?

Eating disorders deprive the body of vital minerals, vitamins, proteins and other nutrients necessary for good health.  There are a wide array of physical symptoms and medical complications that can result from eating disorders, including heart failure, gastric or oesophagus ruptures, osteoporosis, heart arrhythmia, shrinking of the brain, yellowish and dry skin, swollen joints, reduced muscle mass, hair loss, and psychological illnesses such as depression.

Many people affected may not have told anyone about the problems they are having and often dentists may be first to notice signs by changes in the mouth as eating disorders often have a large impact on the health of the mouth.

The repeated vomiting and nutritional deficiencies caused by eating disorders have rigorous and harsh consequences on the health of the mouth.  A dentist can observe the damaging effects on the surfaces of the teeth of patients with eating disorders.


Possible signs and symptoms:

  •  Loss of tissue and erosive lesions on the surface of teeth due to the effects of acid.  These lesions can appear as early as 6 months from the start of the problem.
  • Changes in the colour, shape, and length of teeth.  Teeth can become brittle, translucent, and weak.
  • Increased sensitivity to temperature.  In extreme cases the pulp(nerve) can be exposed and cause infection, discoloration, or even pulp death.
  • Enlargement of the salivary glands, dry mouth, and reddened, dry, cracked lips.
  • Tooth decay, which can actually be aggravated by extensive tooth brushing or rinsing following vomiting.
  • Spontaneous pain within a particular tooth.


At Brightside Dental, we promise not to judge you or lecture you on your condition and can advise on the best ways to maintain your oral health.  The best results will be achieved if advise is also sought from your doctor or specialist in treating the eating disorder to try to prevent future problems and disease.


Tips and advice:

– Don’t brush your teeth for at least 20 minutes after vomiting as this may cause increased wear.  Instead rinse with plain water and chew sugar free gum or use a mouthwash to reduce acid levels.

– Limit the intake and frequency of acidic and sweet food and drinks to prevent further damage to the teeth.

– A battery powered toothbrush may be better than a manual brush to reduce the risk of further wear of the teeth.


It is important to maintain regular dental visits in order to protect your mouth and to receive advise on the best way to restore your mouth if damage has occurred.

What Are Fissure Sealants?

Our back teeth have natural grooves and pits known as fissures.  Food can get stuck in the fissures and they are harder areas to clean when brushing which can increase the risk of tooth decay.  In the past they were commonly placed in children’s teeth and now there is new evidence to show that they can be as beneficial for adults.

Before and after fissure sealant placement

Before and after fissure sealant placement


What are sealants?

Sealants are a safe and painless way of protecting your teeth from decay. A sealant is a protective plastic coating, which is applied to the biting surfaces of the back teeth. The sealant forms a hard shield that stops food and bacteria getting into the tiny grooves in the teeth and causing  tooth decay.


How do sealants work?

The sealant forms a smooth, protective barrier by covering all the little grooves and dips (pits and fissures) in the surface of the tooth. Dental decay easily starts in these grooves.


What are the benefits of sealants?

It is a simple and painless procedure which involves no drilling or injections.  Along with good maintenance of the mouth they can reduce the risk of needing a filling in the future by over 90%, which is kinder on your mouth and much more cost effective in the long term.


Which teeth should be sealed?

Sealants are only applied to the back teeth – the molars and premolars. These are the teeth that have pits and fissures on their biting surfaces. Some teeth naturally form with deep grooves which can be sealed, others form with shallow ones which may not need sealing.


When should this be done?

Sealants are often applied as soon as the adult teeth start to come through. This is usually between 6 and 7 years of age. The rest are usually sealed as soon as they appear, which can be any time between 11 and 14.  They can however be applied at any age as the condition of our mouth and dental needs can change over time.


What is involved and is it painful?

Sealing is usually quick and straightforward, taking only a few minutes for each tooth. The tooth is thoroughly cleaned, prepared with a special solution, and then dried. The liquid sealant is then put onto the tooth and then set by using a blue light.  The procedure is completely pain free, you may just find it feels a bit strange on biting at first and you mouth may taste a bit funny.


How long does the sealants last?

Sealants usually last for many years, but your dentist will want to check them regularly to make sure that the seal is still intact. They can wear over time, and sometimes the dentist needs to add or replace some sealant to make sure that no decay can start underneath.


Do I still have to clean my teeth?

Yes.  This is really important. The smooth, sealed surface is now much easier to keep clean and healthy with normal tooth brushing. It is important to clean your teeth well, maintain a balanced diet and visit your dentist regularly.  Pit and fissure sealing reduces tooth decay and the number of fillings you might need but cannot take the risk away if you don’t maintain your mouth


Where can I find out more about the treatment?

At Brightside Dental, all of our dentists and hygienists are experienced in the placement of fissure sealants.  We can give you more information about the treatment and whether it would be beneficial for you at your next visit.


If you don’t want to wait until then and would like advice please give us a call on 020 88884401.

Ketan To Join The Dental Mavericks In Morocco

mavericks-logo1Each quarter at Brightside Dental we decide on a charitable cause that could benefit from the donations we make as a promise to our clients who have patiently waited to be seen for more than 10 minutes past their booked appointment time. Each time we are running late we make a donation to our chosen charity on their behalf.

This quarter we are supporting Dental Mavericks. They are a charity set up to help end daily dental pain for the children of Morocco. Our Principal Ketan Shah has joined the Mavericks team this year with their 2014 project and travelling to Morocco at the end of September for 1 week.

Just imagine, living with your family in an isolated fishing village with no dentists , a high sugar diet , no toothbrushes and no fluoride tooth paste. You don’t need to be a dentist to imagine the consequences, but the dental neglect shocks even the most experienced of this group of national dentists and their team. Abscesses, pain and distress, parents of these children in Morocco are no different to any other around the world, they want their children helping.

Maybe a little pebble in a big pond but 4 years ago a group of dentists from around the UK came together to form the Dental Mavericks charity to provide dental care in remote areas of the world.

Ketan along with a group of dentists and team members will be travelling to the Rif mountains to a remote village called Merchekala. Brightside Dental has supported this charity previously however this year Ketan wants to help out more and join the team and directly help the kids. This project is  self funded by the dentists and along with fundraising and donations from dental suppliers and the public the charity can do its job.

The team plans to treat hundreds of children over the course of the week and mostly carry out extracting rotten teeth, along with fillings and providing education so that the children can look after their own teeth on a daily basis.

For Ketan this will be a chance to use the skills he has to give something back to people who have considerably less.

If you would like to know more or to support Ketan and the Mavericks team visit:

Is Chewing Gum Good For Teeth?

When it comes to chewing gum, it’s the type of gum you chew that determines whether it’s helpful or harmful to your teeth. While chewing gum containing sugar may actually increase your chances of developing a cavity, there is clinical evidence that demonstrates just the opposite for sugar-free gum. And there’s even better news when it comes to chewing sugar-free gum that contains  xylitol.  Xylitol is a natural sweetener and is found in some berries, fruit, vegetables and mushrooms. It has a sweetness equal to that of sugar. Xylitol is usually made from birch bark.  Sugar-free gum sweetened with xylitol has the added benefit of reducing the growth of Streptococcus mutans, one of the oral bacteria that cause cavities. In the presence of xylitol, the bacteria lose the ability to adhere to the tooth, stunting the cavity-causing process. With xylitol use over a period of time, the types of bacteria in the mouth change and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces.


Why is chewing sugar-free gum good for my teeth and gums?

Chewing sugar-free gum helps protect your teeth and gums in between meals when it may not be possible to brush with a toothbrush and toothpaste.

Your teeth are more at risk of acid attack after you have eaten. The acid is produced by plaque bacteria, and the sugars in our food and drink, and it slowly dissolves away the enamel and dentine of the tooth, to produce a hole or ‘cavity’. (Plaque is the thin, sticky film that keeps forming on your teeth. It contains many types of bacteria which can cause tooth decay and gum disease.)

You can reduce this acid attack by chewing sugar-free gum, as it helps the mouth to produce more saliva – the mouth’s natural defence against acid.

Chewing gum however is not a substitute for regularly brushing and flossing your teeth.

Can sugar-free gum help to protect against dental erosion?

Dental erosion is caused by the acids in the things we eat and drink, such as citrus fruit, fruit juices and fizzy drinks. These start to eat into the enamel covering the teeth, and remove some of the minerals making up the enamel. By helping us make more saliva, chewing sugar-free gum can also help to reduce this type of acid attack. It takes the saliva about an hour to replace the minerals that the enamel has lost. Chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after eating or drinking can increase the flow of saliva, and help replace the minerals more quickly.

Medical Emergencies Training At Brightside Dental

At Brightside Dental, the safety and welfare of our clients and team members is of the utmost importance.  One way we ensure is by undertaking annual training in medical emergencies and CPR(cardio-pulmonary resuscitation). IMG_2719 IMG_2728

We recently undertook our CPR training in the practice.  All the team members were present for an afternoon of refreshing our knowledge of an important skill to have – which can mean a matter of life or death.  Fortunately, none of us have been in the situation of having to deal with a serious medical emergency or provide CPR and this is a reason for us to have annual training in case we find ourselves in this situation and we are in the position of having emergency equipment and drugs in the practice, which you would not have at home.

We think it is important and useful for everyone to have some knowledge of CPR, as you never know when the need may arise.  Just yesterday, I heard of a distant relative who died from choking whilst having his dinner.  Would it have been possible to prevent this tragedy?

What is CPR?

– It stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

– Performed on people suffering cardiac arrest.

– Provides a continuous flow of oxygen to the lungs and brain until the person regains consciousness.

Why CPR is important?

The brain can only survive about five minutes without oxygen, after which time permanent damage is done.

You are upping a chance of a full recovery by performing CPR.

You are potentially saving a life!

For parents this is especially true. Children younger than 5 tend to put objects in their mouths, and this behaviour can lead to choking. Choking is a leading cause of death in this age group. Knowing what to do and how to perform CPR allows you to act quickly.

It is always better to have multiple people who are CPR certified in a crisis. One person performing CPR can tire quickly. Two people alternating can provide CPR longer than a person working alone.
There are many courses available and it may be something that your employer may provide.

Can Diabetes Affect The Mouth?

One in 20 people are being treated for diabetes according to Diabetes UK which also estimates 850,000 of us have the condition and don’t know it. The most common type, affecting 85%-95% of those with diabetes, is type 2 diabetes where cases have increased significantly in the UK. Experts attribute this rise to diet and obesity. Diabetes affects the body’s ability to use blood sugar for energy. The main types include type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes and gestational diabetes.

Diabetes is a chronic disease which affects your body’s ability to process sugar. The resulting high blood sugar can cause problems with your eyes, nerves, kidneys, heart and other parts of your body. Diabetes can lower your resistance to infection and can slow the healing process.

What Dental Problems Are People With Diabetes at Higher Risk For?

  • Dry mouth. Uncontrolled diabetes can decrease saliva flow, resulting in dry mouth. Dry mouth can further lead to a higher risk of tooth decay, soreness, ulcers and infection.
  • Gum disease (gingivitis and periodontitis). Besides impairing white blood cells, another complication of diabetes is that it causes blood vessels to thicken, which slows the flow of nutrients to and waste products from body tissues, including the mouth. When this combination of events happens, the body’s ability to fight infections is reduced. Since periodontal disease is a bacterial infection, diabetics with uncontrolled disease may experience more frequent and more severe gum disease.
  • Burning mouth and/or tongue. This condition is caused by the presence of thrush.
  • Poor healing of oral tissues. People with uncontrolled diabetes do not heal quickly after oral surgery or other dental procedures because blood flow to the treatment site can be impaired.
  • Thrush people with diabetes who frequently take antibiotics to fight various infections are especially prone to developing a fungal infection of the mouth and tongue. The fungus thrives on the high levels of sugar in the saliva of people with uncontrolled diabetes.

What can I do to keep my mouth healthy?

Ensure that your following your recommended daily oral hygiene regime for your mouth.  Dietary habits and exercise are also very important.  See your dentist and hygienist on a regular basis for them to be able to maintain your mouth in as healthy a condition as possible.

At Brightside Dental, all our clinicians are trained in the dental management of diabetes.  If you would like any advice, give us a call on 020 88884401

How Are Dental Instruments Cleaned?

The title for this post was prompted by a long standing client asking this very question.            Decontamination 1

Our dental nurses behind the scenes ensuring all our equipment is clean and in full working order

Our dental nurses behind the scenes ensuring all our equipment is clean and in full working order

It is very important to be confident that your dental practice is working to the highest standards of cleanliness to ensure that you receive the best possible standards of care with the lowest risk of injury or infection.  You will not know about many of the things that are carried out to make sure these standards are met.

This is an overview of what goes on at Brightside Dental “behind the scenes” by our highly trained nursing team.

Many of the equipment and materials we use are disposable and are only used once (single use). For the others, you may have noticed the dental nurse dashing off at the end of your appointment with a box in hand. This is taken to our dedicated decontamination room where the sterilization process begins.

The nurse first “dresses up” in what we call personal protective equipment (PPE) which includes an apron, gloves, a face mask and eye protection. The instruments are first scrubbed using a special dental disinfectant solution. They are then placed in an ultrasonic bath for 3 minutes. This is a special machine that vibrates and has a different solution to remove any remaining dirt or debris on the instruments. Once this is complete, the instruments are then checked under a magnification lamp to make sure they look fully clean.

The instruments then go into an autoclave which is like an industrial pressure cooker which reaches 134 degrees C to kill any remaining bugs and germs.  This takes about 20 minutes.

The instruments are then dried and placed into a sterilization pouch so that they are clean and ready for the next time needed.

Hopefully now you see that our appointment scheduling and planning of the day is very important to ensure we have everything we need to carry out the best possible treatment. That may be why we ask you to come at a certain time of day and also why it’s normally not possible to see someone who just needs the dentist to “have a quick look” as although you may not be with us for long, there’s a lot going on before and after we see you for your appointment.


Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

baby decayEven though they are temporary, your child’s baby teeth are important, and are still susceptible to cavities. Tooth decay in infants and toddlers is often referred to as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay, or Early Childhood Caries. Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food, speak and have a good-looking smile. Their first teeth also help make sure their adult teeth come in correctly. It’s important to start infants off with good oral care to help protect their teeth for decades to come.

What causes Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby Bottle Tooth Decay most often occurs in the upper front teeth, but other teeth may also be affected.

There are many factors which can cause tooth decay. One common cause is the frequent, prolonged exposure of the baby’s teeth to drinks that contain sugar. Tooth decay can occur when the baby is put to bed with a bottle, or when a bottle is used as a pacifier for a fussy baby.

Tooth decay is a disease that can begin with cavity-causing bacteria being passed from the mother (or primary caregiver) to the infant. These bacteria are passed through the saliva. When the mother puts the baby’s feeding spoon in her mouth, or cleans a dummy in her mouth, the bacteria can be passed to the baby.

If your infant or toddler does not receive an adequate amount of fluoride, they may also have an increased risk for tooth decay. The good news is that decay is preventable.

Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

  • Try not to share saliva with the baby through common use of feeding spoons or licking dummies. After each feeding, wipe your child’s gums with a clean, damp gauze pad or washcloth.
  • When your child’s teeth come in, brush them gently with a child-size toothbrush and a smear (or grain of rice sized amount) of fluoride toothpaste until the age of 3.
  • Brush the teeth with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste from the ages of 3 to 6.
  • Supervise brushing until your child can be counted on to spit and not swallow toothpaste—usually not before he or she is 6 or 7.
  • Place only formula, milk or breastmilk in bottles.  avoid liquids such as sugar water, juice or soft drinks.
  • Infants should finish their bedtime and naptime bottles before going to bed.
  • If your child uses a dummy, provide one that is clean—don’t dip it in sugar or honey.
  • Encourage your child to drink from a cup by his/her first birthday.
  • Encourage healthy eating habits.

For more advice or to arrange to have your child’s teeth checked, give us a call on 020 88884401.