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Kent Dentist Issues Warning Over the Damaging Effects of Energy Drinks

A dentist from Kent has issued a stark warning over the damaging effects of consuming energy drinks after a 21-year old man who had become addicted to Monster drinks shared his story in the national press.

Vinnie Pyner, from Margate, decided to tell his tale to warn others about the dangers of drinking energy drinks. Vinnie started buying cans of Monster when he was at college. At first, he had a can from time to time to keep him awake and give him energy to study, but before long, he was consuming 6 cans per day. Vinnie started to notice that his teeth had become discoloured and weak, and he began hiding away his smile and becoming increasingly withdrawn. When he bit into an apple, his front four teeth crumbled, and he was so distressed that he didn’t even want to tell his mum.

A trip to the dentist confirmed extensive damage, which will require intensive restorative treatment, including new dentures and multiple fillings. Vinnie said that he had become addicted to Monster without really even realising the damage it was doing to his teeth, and he wanted to warn others before they found themselves in a similar situation. Vinnie was so self-conscious that he dropped out of college, and became a recluse, not wanting to see friends or socialise.

In light of the story, Gillingham dentist Dr Alfred Koloszvari, spoke to journalists about the dangers of excessive consumption of sugary drinks like fizzy pop and energy drinks. Even
drinking one can per day can multiply the chances of developing decay by up to 10 times. The sugar content is a problem, but fizzy drinks are also acidic. This means that when you drink an energy drink, your enamel comes under attack. Once the enamel is worn or thin, the tooth is vulnerable, and holes, also known as cavities, are likely to form.

The advice from dentists is to avoid fizzy drinks and to have them as an occasional treat, rather than a staple item in your diet. Drinking through a straw can reduce exposure and lower the risk of acid erosion, and dentists also recommend drinking water afterwards and sticking to meal times. Drinking sugary drinks and snacking on sweet foods between meals can increase the risk of enamel damage further.

Dentists support Fizz Free February campaign

The British Dental Association has lent its support to a campaign, which was originally launched by Southwark Council in 2018. Fizz Free February is designed to encourage people to abstain from fizzy drinks throughout the month of February. The scheme is now part of NHS England’s Sugar Smart campaign.
Jane Avis, cabinet member for families, health and social care at Croydon Council, explained that giving up fizzy drinks was a simple way to reduce sugar intake and also cut spending. Giving up a daily bottle of soft drinks could save the average person more than £430 per year and dramatically decrease sugar intake. Many drinks contain more than the recommended daily intake in a single serving. Almost 80% of cans contain at least 6 teaspoons of sugar.
The British Dental Association is getting behind the campaign, which targets children and young adults, in a bid to stem rising rates of decay and encourage people to make positive lifestyle choices. Mick Armstrong, chair, said that prevention is key to reducing rates of decay. The effects of excessive sugar consumption are clear for dentists to see on a daily basis, and cutting out fizzy drinks could make a huge difference to standards of oral health moving forward. Fizzy drinks are laden with sugar, and they’re also acidic, meaning that they represent a double whammy in terms of enamel damage.
The Fizz Free February campaign has also been endorsed by health secretary, Matt Hancock, TV chef, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Labour MP, Tom Watson.
The idea behind the campaign is incredibly simple and it’s similar to Stoptober and Dry January. If people can cut out fizzy drinks for a period of time, there’s every chance that they will reduce their intake drastically in the future and, hopefully, make choices that are healthier and more nutritious.

Could drawn-out bottomless brunches be putting your smile in danger?

Brunch has become something of a weekend essential in recent years. As more and more people are sharing snapshots of bottomless brunches on their social media feeds, dentists are warning of the dangers of drawn-out, all-day, all-you-can-eat weekend meals.
There’s no doubt that going out for brunch with friends or family is a great way to unwind at the weekend, but dentists are encouraging people to take note of the potential implications of drinking acidic drinks and eating sugary foods over a prolonged period of time. The concept of bottomless brunches urges you to drink and eat as much you want while taking your time. Although this may sound ideal, the rising popularity of the languid brunch isn’t good news for your teeth.
Experts have warned that lengthy meals have a negative impact on your oral health. This is because drinks like prosecco and brunch-friendly cocktails are acidic and eating over a period of time prolongs the length of acid attacks. When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth feed, and this prompts them to release acids, which weaken your tooth enamel. It takes around an hour for the enamel to harden again. If you’re grazing during the day, there is no opportunity for remineralisation to take place and the teeth will become susceptible to decay and sensitivity. Dentists have also seen an increase in cases of reflux, which contributes to enamel erosion caused by stomach acids.
Acid erosion is a problem that cannot be reversed, but it can be prevented by taking good care of your teeth and gums and avoiding eating and drinking sugary and acidic drinks between meals.
Dentists aren’t saying that you can never go out for brunch, but they are advising people to view indulgent, drawn-out meals and alcoholic breakfasts and lunches as a treat to be enjoyed once in a while rather than every weekend.

Did you know that looking after your gums could reduce your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?

Most of us know that brushing and flossing can help to keep our smiles sparkling, but did you know that caring for your gums could also help to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease?
Previous studies have linked gum disease to an elevated risk of Alzheimer’s, but new research has shed light on the connection between oral health and the progressive neurological condition. Researchers have found traces of bacteria linked to advanced gum disease, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, in the brains of people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Tests conducted on mice revealed that it was possible for these strains of bacteria to travel around the body to the brain, and flagged toxic proteins secreted by this specific form of bacteria. This protein, known as gingipain, destroys neurons in the brain tissue. The presence of the bacteria also accelerated the production of amyloid beta, a form of plaque, which is connected to Alzheimer’s.
After discovering the bacteria, scientists analysed the impact of drugs used to inhibit the toxic proteins in mice, and found that they stopped neural degeneration.
The study authors suggested that the research highlighted the connection between specific strains of bacteria and gum disease and provided an insight into new treatment options. In light of the study findings, the team has developed a new drug, which they are hoping to test on humans as part of a clinical trial later in the year.
Prof Tara Spires-Jones, from the UK Dementia Research Institute, which is based at the University of Edinburgh, said that the drug trials involving mice provided positive news. She also added that it would be interesting to see the results of the human drug trials that are due to take place later this year.

Have you been brushing your teeth wrong all along?

You might assume that there are few things simpler than brushing your teeth, but what if your dentist told you that you’d be doing it wrong all this time? Brushing is the most effective means of reducing your risk of tooth decay and gum disease, so it’s vital to get it right. Here are some tips from the experts to keep your pearly whites in pristine condition.
When you brush your teeth, what exactly do you do? Brushing cleans the mouth, but you have to do it properly to reap the rewards. If you’re not putting enough effort in, you’re only covering some of the teeth, or you’re putting your brush back in the pot after 30 seconds, you might be putting your oral health at risk. Set a timer and aim to brush for at least 2 minutes every morning and evening. Cover each individual tooth, and angle the head of your brush so that you can clean every surface and remove food debris from the gum line. Electric toothbrushes are more powerful than manual brushes, and they are proven to target plaque more effectively.
It’s understandable to assume that the harder you brush, the deeper the clean, but this is not the case. If you brush too firmly, you can damage the enamel and end up increasing the risk of decay and sensitivity. Be gentle when you brush, and if you’re using an electric brush, let the brush do all the work. You don’t need to scrub your teeth, just hold the brush in position and move it from one tooth to the next.
Many people rinse after brushing, and it seems to be a staple part of an oral hygiene routine most of us have picked up from childhood. The truth is that rinsing is not only unnecessary, but it could also harm your teeth. This is because when you rinse your mouth, you remove fluoride from the tooth enamel. Fluoride is added to toothpaste, and it helps to protect your teeth by strengthening your enamel. Instead of rinsing, just brush your teeth, spit, and then get on with the rest of your day.
Another handy brushing tip is to wait around an hour to clean your teeth after eating. This gives the enamel a chance to remineralise and prevents acid erosion.

Dentists urge patients to break the habit of a lifetime, as research shows rinsing after brushing can increase the risk of decay

Many of grow up practising an oral hygiene routine, which involves putting toothpaste on the brush, adding a drop of water, cleaning, spitting and then rinsing. The trouble is that this pattern may not actually be the best regime for your teeth. As new research suggests that rinsing after brushing can elevate the risk of decay, is it time you broke the habit of a lifetime?
Rinsing is part and parcel of teeth cleaning for many people, mainly because this is what they learn to do during their childhood. When you’ve been doing something for so long, you may never even have thought to question whether your cleaning technique is effective. Now, with research studies hitting the headlines, it may be a good time to assess your oral hygiene regime and make suitable changes. You might think that rinsing is harmless, but new research suggests otherwise.
A study conducted by researchers at Dundee University claims that rinsing can increase the risk of tooth decay. Co-authored by professor of paediatric dentistry, Nicola Innes, and lecturer in paediatric dentistry, Clement Seeballuck, the study suggests that breaking the habit could reduce the risk of decay by up to 25 percent. This is because rinsing removes fluoride from the mouth. Fluoride is added to toothpaste and it helps to prevent decay by strengthening and protecting the tooth enamel. When you rinse straight after brushing, you wash away the fluoride without giving it chance to work its magic.
The paper also advised people to cut down on sugary snacks, and to try and avoid eating and drinking anything sugary or acidic between meals. When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth feed, and this causes them to produce acids that attack the enamel. The enamel softens temporarily before hardening again. If you eat throughout the day, your enamel doesn’t have a chance to recover, and the risk of decay and erosion is increased.

Could berries hold the key to healthy smiles?

New research has suggested that berries could hold the key to healthy smiles.
Scientists have discovered that dark berries, including blueberries and cranberries, contain nutrients, which could help to reduce the risk of dental decay. The research, which has been published in the European Journal of Oral Sciences, suggests that these berries contain nutrients that protect the teeth against specific strains of bacteria, which are proven to accelerate decay.
The study builds on previous research, which suggests that polyphenols, which are key nutrients found in berries, play a useful role in promoting good oral health by preventing harmful bacteria from clinging to the tooth surfaces. By preventing bacteria sticking to the teeth, polyphenols could subsequently help to prevent gum disease, decay and bad breath.
During the trial period, researchers used high-quality extracts of three different types of berries, strawberries, cranberries and blueberries and a mixture of all three (known as orophenol) to treat Streptococcus mutans biofilms. These biofilms were 24 hours old and they were assessed and analysed by the research team to evaluate “metabolic activity, acidogenicity, biovolumes, structural organisation and bacterial viability.”
Researchers found that the cranberry and orophenol extracts brought about the most significant reductions in metabolic activity and acid production. The blueberry extract also produced significant reductions when used at the highest concentration.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said that nutrients found in fruit and vegetables are essential for good oral health, as well as general health, and suggested that polyphenols could potentially have a role to play in the future of manufacturing oral hygiene products. In addition to protecting the teeth, cranberries and blueberries are delicious, they’re a sweet treat, and the best thing is that they contain only natural sugars.

Simple, purse-friendly ways to get a more attractive smile in 2019

As the dust settles on the festive period, many of us will be making resolutions for the year ahead. While most tend to try and up their intake of greens and hours in the gym, there’s a lot to be said for making an effort to keep your smile in check. As surveys reveal that the majority of us consider our smile out most important feature, here are some simple, affordable ways to achieve a more attractive smile in 2019.
The best way to brighten up your smile and keep dental disease at bay is to adopt and stick to a daily oral hygiene regime. This should feature two two-minute cleaning sessions and daily flossing. When brushing, take care to cover every individual tooth, and reach right into the corners of the mouth. Electric toothbrushes are proven to be more effective at removing plaque than manual brushes, and they are available from around £15. Flossing is often neglected, but it plays an important role in promoting good oral hygiene, as it targets areas that cannot be cleaned with a brush, including the gaps between the teeth.
Diet also plays a crucial part in oral health, and after the indulgence of the Christmas holiday, it’s good to get back into the swing of healthy eating and moderate your intake of sugary foods. Try and eat a varied diet, with plenty of fruit and vegetables, whole grains and foods rich in fibre and nutrients, and ensure sweets, cakes, biscuits and chocolate bars are treats, rather than a staple part of your diet. It’s also wise to keep an eye on what you drink. Flavoured coffees, smoothies, juices and fizzy drinks often contain a vast amount of sugar.
Another brilliant resolution to make for the New Year is to see your dentist more frequently. If you tend to reach for the phone only when you have toothache or swollen gums, make it your mission to attend 6-12 monthly check-ups. Regular appointments reduce the risk of dental decay and gum disease, and they can also keep your smile looking great and minimise the risk of problems like symptoms of oral cancer being spotted at an advanced stage.

New study links mental health conditions with elevated risk of oral disease

A new study has linked mental health disorders with an elevated risk of oral diseases.
A research project, which has been published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, suggests that experiencing symptoms of illnesses, including depression, can increase the risk of gum disease.
Researchers evaluated and monitored both the mental and oral health of a group of more than 500 people from birth to the age of 30. The findings show that people who have symptoms of depression have a 20% higher risk of developing periodontal disease, an advanced form of gum disease. The study links depression with difficulty in fighting inflammation, the most common sign of severe gum disease.
Chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, said that the findings of the study highlight the importance of mental health. Several studies have linked poor oral health and physical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, but less is known about the connection between the mind and the mouth. This research underlines the significance of a healthy mind and provides an insight into how other forms of health can impact oral health.
Dr Carter also added that the study provides an interesting and useful resource and point of reference for dental professionals. Depression is an increasingly common condition in the UK, and it’s crucial that health and dental workers are able to spot signs and symptoms to support and treat patients effectively. It is estimated that around 20% of people in the UK have symptoms of anxiety or depression, but the figure may be much higher, as many cases go undiagnosed.
Depression can be a barrier for seeking any kind of medical treatment, and Dr Carter suggests that dental patients may be anxious about seeing a dentist due to phobias, a fear of the unknown, or even shame or embarrassment linked to their oral health status.

Ministers rule out energy drink ban for children

Ministers have ruled against introducing a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children due to a lack of scientific evidence.
Campaigners had called for the drinks, which usually contain a lot of sugar and caffeine, to be prohibited for children, but MPs in the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee have concluded that there isn’t enough “quantitative evidence” to push a statutory ban through at the moment.
Although there will not be a universal ban on selling energy drinks to children, the committee welcomed individual measures and policies adopted by shops, retail chains and schools. In recent months, a number of high-profile stores announced that they would introduce restrictions on the sale of energy drinks, with some bringing in a ban for under 16’s. Qualitative data analysis suggests that these bans may help to reduce consumption, but could also prove beneficial as they reinforce the link between energy drinks and negative effects on health.
The government launched the consultation into a ban on energy drinks for children in the summer, with the Prime Minister supporting the measure as a means of tackling childhood obesity. Statistics show that children in the UK consume more energy drinks than their counterparts in other countries in Europe.
Norman Lamb, chair of the committee, said that the panel had listened to a diverse range of concerns, from hyperactivity and a lack of focus and concentration in the classroom to obesity and dental disease, but there was currently not enough scientific evidence to differentiate the consumption of energy drinks from other drinks, including coffee, tea and fizzy pop.

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