Category: Dental Health

Dental Health

Mouth Cancer Action Month – Regular Examinations are a must


Its back.  Winter is well and truly here and November is upon us, therefore it is time for Mouth cancer action month.

They have a new marketing campaign, that shouts “if in doubt get checked out” It may not be the most eloquent tag line but it does tell you exactly what you should do if you have any concerns within your mouth.

You may have heard about the ice bucket challenge that has swept across social media sites and the news, mouth cancer awareness are encouraging you to take blue mouth selfies and donate. You can do this here.

However the campaign also promotes awareness and patient education, and explains how to minimise the risks of getting mouth cancer. We all know prevention is much better than cure but early diagnosis is vital with mouth cancer. No one likes the possibility of unfortunate news but getting it checked if you do have concerns with a doctor or dentist is honestly the best thing you can do, if it is something sinister then unfortunately it won’t go away on its own without treatment. If it turns out to be nothing sinister then you have the peace of mind and relief rather than worrying and it weighing heavily on your mind. We all would like a stress free life.

Below I will use the campaign information to act as a simple basic guide.


Mouth  cancer can occur in a number of places including the lips, tongue, gums and cheeks.  The signs and symptoms are ulcers that do not heal within three weeks, red or white patches in the mouth or any other unusual lumps or swellings. If you are concerned or notice any of these then we urge you to contact your doctor or dentist immediately.


The listed causes of mouth cancer are.

  1. Smoking: 75% of all mouth cancers are caused by excess smoking.
  2. Alcohol Consumption: Excess alcohol consumption can increase mouth cancer by four times.
  3. Smoking and drinking: If you smoke and drink in excess you are 30 times more likely to develop mouth cancer.
  4. Diet: An unhealthy diet can lead to mouth cancer.
  5. Sunlight: Over exposure to sunlight can cause cancer of the lips.
  6. Human Papillomavirus (HPV): This is a sexually transmitted infection increasingly being linked to mouth cancer  in young people.



  • The disease effects lips tongue cheeks and throat.
  • There are approximately 6500 new cases every year.
  • Anyone can get mouth cancer, more common in people over 40, in particularly men.
  • However it is becoming more common in younger patients and women.
  • Mouth cancer cases have trebled in the last decade and experts expect this figure will rise in the future.


  1. Visit the dentist regularly:  6 monthly or as specified with the dentist. Make sure you talk to your dentist and ensure they are doing these checks.
  2.  Self examination: Look for any of the signs or symptoms above as well as any changes in the mouth.
  3. Sun Screen: Use sun screen as protection from the sun.
  4. Diet: A healthy diet rich in Vitamins A, C and E provides protection against mouth cancer.
  5. Cut Down: Reduce alcohol consumption and smoking. If possible quit altogether.

mouth cancer

Below is a link for peoples stories and how they have beat  mouth cancer, showing that it is treatable given early detection.


Any other concerns please contact us or your local GP for advice on 01233 639289.


First Impressions

We all make assumptions and judgements in the first few seconds on meeting someone based on stereotypes, a gut instinct and so on. It’s one of those aspects of life we aren’t necessarily proud of or eager to admit, but it has sparked a lot of psychological research.

Specifically how others perceive us based on our smile, whether it is in terms of attractiveness, intelligence, or potential employers during an interview.

Articles have been published based on the Oral B smile report on Heart radio online about what our smile and teeth say about us to other people.

The study took a group of 1000 men and women, they were shown an image of a woman with clean and healthy looking teeth. Another group of 1000 men and women were shown an image of the same woman with one difference. She had stained unhealthy teeth. Following this the groups were asked a series of questions relating to the womans personal life, age, career, attractiveness and intellect. The results of the subjects opinions were as follows.

  • Bad teeth can age you by 13 years
  • 68% believe good teeth indicate a university education
  • 70% believe those with stained, unhealthy looking teeth must have gone to a state school
  • 82% think you earn more if you have healthy looking teeth
  • Men rank a ‘gorgeous smile’ higher than a ‘great figure’
  • 40% of men think women with unhealthy teeth must be single

Another article in the news relating to this was featured in the Daily Mail

This stated that Holly Willoughby has the most sought after smile and that whiter teeth can make you look younger and more successful when applying for jobs. Below are some of the statistics they found.

  • 75% of Brits want whiter teeth, but 25% don’t clean teeth properly
  • White teeth can make you look 20% more attractive
  • Make people think you earn £10,000 more than if you have stained teeth
  • Having white teeth increases your employment potential by 10%
  • Men are more worried about having bad teeth than going bald
  • On dates bad breathe and yellow teeth are top turn offs

It is very interesting how such a subtle difference of whiter teeth can improve a persons perception of your wealth and increase your employment potential. It seems that in our mind we link attractiveness and looking healthy to current and future success.

The Mail further states that on average the general public want their teeth to be two shades whiter with dentists stating that yellow teeth is the most common problem when regarding the nations smiles. Everyone seems to be trying to get that celebrity smile in particulary Holly Willoughby.

The current trend of having a whiter smile seems to be more of a long term investment, whether you are looking for a new partner or increasing your career prospects.

Therefore for those 25% who apparently don’t clean their teeth properly perhaps it is wise to spend that extra 2 minutes in the morning or have a dental hygiene visit, it could lead potentially to future success.

Alternatively why not book in for a Whitening Consultation priced at £30.00 especially if you have a dream job interview to attend and want to impress with a bright smile.  At our practice we perform both In-Surgery Whitening (£180 per session)  or Home Whitening kits (£280).

You never know,you may even meet the man or woman of your dreams along the way.


Read more:

(Prices correct as of 17/09/2014)

Fresher Breath This Valentines day

As Friday the 14th February rapidly approaches we at Ashford Dental Care would like to offer some advice how to make you extra kissable to your partner.

Bad breath can be caused by diabetes, bronchitis and other medical conditions. However the main cause of bad breath is the micro-organisms within the mouth. Once we have eaten and have a full stomach we never really consider what remnants of dinner and lunch are left behind in between our teeth.

Regular brushing and flossing can tackle most of the problem as well as a regular scale and polish. Here is a video link for flosssing instruction.

However many of us forget to clean something very obvious within the mouth, The Tongue.

The tongue  is covered in many tiny bumps and pits, these provide the perfect habitat for all those nasty smelling micro-organisms to live in. One example is a fungus named Candida Albicans. This fungus species is also associated with Thrush so as you can imagine it is not something you want to be cultivating within your mouth.

These microorganisms produce sulphur compound gases such as  hydrogen sulfide, methyl mercaptan and dimethyl sulfide . Sulphur gases often smell like rotten eggs. If you can keep these pesky bugs to a minimum then this should improve your breathe.

Now to remove these bugs it might be worth investing in a tongue scraper. They are small and feature a plastic handle and a curved loop on the end. This curve allows the device to fit to the shape of your tongue, so that when you pull the scraper down the tongue it will scrape off the germs and bacteria. Alternatively you could use a wet toothbrush with no toothpaste however the shape of the brush and bristles are not designed for the texture and shape of the tongue, and you may only have a limited amount of success. Below is an image of a tongue scraper and how to use it. If your tongue is cut or sore, it is not wise to use the scraper until it is healed. There is no set amount of time for cleaning your tongue, just simply clean until you are satisfied.


valentines tongue scraper

However if this makes no difference to your breathe it could be related to gum disease, cavities or a health condition. Therefore is it important to discuss this with your Dentist and Doctor and to have regular check ups.


Good oral hygiene


.Ashford Dental Fruit health Pic3

What is Good Oral Hygiene? 

Good oral hygiene results in a mouth that looks and smells healthy. This means:

  • Your teeth are clean and free of debris
  • Gums are firmly held against teeth and do not hurt or bleed when you brush or floss
  • Bad breath is not a constant problem

If your gums do hurt or bleed while brushing or flossing, or you are experiencing persistent bad breath, see your dentist. Any of these conditions may indicate a problem.
Your dental professional can help you learn good oral hygiene techniques and can help point out areas of your mouth that may require extra attention during brushing and flossing.

How Is Good Oral Hygiene Practiced?

Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good oral health is important to your overall well-being.
Daily preventive care, including proper brushing and flossing, will help stop problems before they develop and is much less painful, expensive, and worrisome than treating conditions that have been allowed to progress.
In between regular visits to the dentist, there are simple steps that each of us can take to greatly decrease the risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other dental problems. These include:

  • Brushing thoroughly twice a day and flossing daily
  • Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks between meals
  • Using dental products that contain fluoride, including toothpaste
  • Rinsing with a fluoride mouthrinse if your dentist tells you to
  • Making sure that children under 12 drink fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if they live in a non-fluoridated area.

Proper Brushing Technique

  • Tilt the brush at a 45 degree angle against the gumline and sweep or roll the brush away from the gumline.
  • Gently brush the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth using short back-and-forth strokes.
  • Gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.

Proper Flossing Technique

  • Use about 18″ of floss, leaving an inch or two to work with.
  • Gently follow the curves of your teeth.
  • Be sure to clean beneath the gumline, but avoid snapping the floss on the gums.

You should always use fluoride toothpaste as fluoride makes teeth stronger and more resistant to acid attacks. This in turn helps to prevent tooth decay.

Why Brush? 
Brushing your teeth combats plaque, which builds up daily on the teeth. Removing plaque not only makes your teeth feel clean, but also helps to prevent bleeding gums, and makes your breath fresher too.

How Often?
Try to brush in the morning and last thing at night. In the morning, this will make your mouth feel clean and fresh. At night, brushing is especially important as it protects teeth against acid attack while you are asleep.

Which Toothbrush?

Choose a soft or medium (not hard) brush with a small head so that you can reach all those difficult corners. Replace your brush once it has become worn, as a worn brush will not clean your teeth properly.

How to Brush
Place the bristles of the toothbrush where the teeth and gums meet.
Then, move the toothbrush back and forth using small, gentle movements to remove plaque from the gum region where it collects
Hold the toothbrush like you would a pen, so that you don’t brush too hard. Use a finger grip, not a fist grip.
Don’t hurry. Make time to clean every tooth surface and make sure you don’t miss anywhere.
Always remove partial dentures and braces before you brush and clean them separately.

Check With the Experts.
Your dentist or hygienist can check that you are cleaning your teeth properly and can remove any tartar that may build up on your teeth and brushing can’t remove. They will be able to advise you whether you need dental floss or other special cleaning aids.

Every time you eat or drink anything sugary, your teeth are under acid attack for up to one hour. This is because the sugar will react with the bacteria in plaque (the sticky coating on your teeth) and produce the harmful acids. So it is important to keep sugary foods only to mealtimes, limiting the amount of time your mouth is at risk.

Acidic foods and drinks can be just as harmful to your teeth. The acid erodes the enamel, exposing the dentine underneath. This can make the teeth sensitive and unslightly.

A diet that is rich in vitamins, minerals and fresh produce can help to prevent gum disease. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and cause bad breath. The diagram below is a good example of what you should eat as part of a healthy and balanced diet.

It is better for your teeth and general health if you eat 3 meals a day instead of having 7 to 10 snack attacks. If you do need to snack between meals, choose foods that do not contain sugar. Fruit does contain acids, which can erode your teeth. However, this is only damaging to your teeth if you eat an unusually large amount.

If you do eat fruit as a snack, try to eat something alkaline such as cheese afterwards. Savoury snacks are better, such as:

Raw vegetables

The main point to remember is that it is not the amount of sugar you eat or drink, but how often you do it. Sweet foods are allowed, but it is important to keep them to mealtimes.

To help reduce tooth decay, cut down on how often you have sugary snacks and drinks and try to sugar-free varieties confectionery and chewing gum containing Xylitol may help to reduce tooth decay.

Sugary foods can also contribute to a range of health problems including heart disease and being overweight.

Still water and milk are good choices. It is better for your teeth if you drink fruit juices at meal times. If you are drinking them between meals, try diluting them with water.

Diluted sugar-free squashes are the safest alternative to water and milk. If you make squash or cordial, be sure that the drink is diluted 1 part cordial to 10 parts water. Some soft drinks contain sweeteners, which are not suitable for young children – ask your dentist or health visitor if you are not sure.

Fizzy drinks can increase the risk of dental problems. The sugar can cause decay and the acid in both normal and diet drinks can dissolve the enamel on the teeth. The risk is higher when you have these drinks between meals.
You can use a floss holder or an interdental cleaning aid. Interdental cleaning aids include woodsticks or small interdental brushes used to remove plaque from between the teeth. Your dentist or hygienist can explain how to use these properly

Mouth cancer awareness month

November isn’t  just about growing a moustache it is also Mouth Cancer Action Month


This public health announcement aims to increase awareness and the importance of self -screening.

If you notice anything suspicious we urge you to contact either your Doctor or Dentist.

Early detection means that we can act fast if any lumps or bumps turn out to be something more sinister.  Mouth cancer can appear in different forms in all parts of the mouth including the tongue and lips. You should check for changes in your mouth, any red or white patches, painless ulcers or any unusual lumps or swellings.

The majority of the time there is nothing to be concerned about but it is better to get peace of mind and get it checked out.

Your dental professional should also be looking for anything suspicious at every visit. This is why regular examinations are not only important to maintaining good Dental health but also important to your General health and is important for early detection.

Below are some facts about mouth cancer from the British Dental Health Foundation:

  • 18 People are diagnosed daily with Mouth Cancer.
  • A morning cigarette doubles the risk of developing mouth cancer.
  • 400,000 New Cases are diagnosed in the World every day
  • 1 in 3 Cases are a result of alcohol use.
  • 2 times as many men die  from mouth cancer as women
  • 1/3 of people are unsure if they are at risk.
  • Around 20,000 cases are related to the HPV (Human papillomavirus).
  • 46% of people didn’t know that they could ask a dentist.
  • 1/93 Men will develop Oral Cancer within their lifetime.
  • 1/186 Women will develop Oral Cancer within their lifetime.

Below is a diagram explaining signs and symptoms as well as the factors that increase the risk of developing Mouth Cancer. Full details can be found at

Signs and Risks of Mouth Cancer

Look after your teeth if you want a date.

The dating site, , ran a survey recently to find out exactly what attracts men and women.

A survey, as reported by USA Today, asked 5,500 unattached adults 21 and over, what qualities of the opposite sex they judge most important.

The findings are below:tumblr_mdibx5NstZ1rkux0wo1_1280

Ten things on which men judge women most:

  1. Teeth – 58%
  2. Grammar – 55%
  3. Hair – 51%
  4. Clothes – 45%
  5. Having/not having a tattoo – 40%
  6. Nails/hands – 37%
  7. Accent – 19%
  8. Shoes – 18%
  9. The car they drive – 13%
  10. Electronic devices they carry – 9%

Then things on which women judge men most:

  1. Teeth – 71%
  2. Grammar – 69%
  3. Clothes – 58%
  4. Hair – 53%
  5. Nails/hands – 52%
  6. Having/not having a tattoo – 34%
  7. Shoes – 29%
  8. The car they drive – 24%
  9. Accent – 22%
  10. Electronics devices they carry – 10%

Another study, in which people were asked what they remember most about people they meet, supports the study. Over 85% of those surveyed stared that they remember people with a beautiful smile.

So it seems if you want to attract that special someone and be remembered, a trip to the dentist may be more important than a trip to the Apple Store,

Look after your teeth.

Gingivitis and Bespoke oral health check

One of the most common oral health problems is gingivitis, not only can it occur unnoticed but it can lead to a myriad of further complications.

Given that this condition can be avoided relatively easily.

It is obviously common in patients who have poor oral hygiene but it is also common in patients who regularly clean. In these instances interdental cleaning and the accumulation of plaque in areas that have been missed needs to be picked up and hence the need to highlight a more bespoke/ comprehensive self care routine.

Contact the surgery for a bespoke oral health check. 01233639289