Category Archives: Dentistry

With all of the advances in today’s level of dental care it’s hard to believe that dental problems could actually be on the rise, but that’s exactly the case where children are concerned. Sarasota Dentistry is one of many offices all around the country who are seeing an increase of dental problems in children, and helping to get the message out there.

at the dentist

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What are the Common Dental Problems

In order to understand why dental problems are on the rise among children, it’s important to take a look at what these problems are. Dentists are seeing large amounts of cavities in children as well as tooth decay. Kids are even suffering from gum disease, something that is typically associated with adults. Parents are now walking out of dental offices surprised when they hear their child has the start of gingivitis or multiple cavities, where in fact this is becoming the norm.

We are all quick to point the finger at “junk food” and sugar, but there are actually a number of contributing factors that parents and kids need to be aware of.

A Look at the Causes

In order to help prevent dental problems from starting in the first place, parents need to be aware of the common causes that lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and cavities.

We all know that foods high in sugar will eat away at our teeth, but so do carbohydrates. Both of these are typically found in snack foods. Think about how many times a child snacks in a day, there’s a good chance they aren’t brushing their teeth after each snack! This is just asking too much so instead it is recommended you opt for healthy snacks for children whenever possible.

Some issues start to happen when children are still babies. Baby bottle tooth decay is now a very common problem. This happens when a baby is sucking on a bottle for a long period of time that contains something sugary. Their teeth are actually in contact with that sugar, which causes the rot to begin.

Some children seem to lose their baby teeth very early and this in itself can lead to issues down the road. If they have lost the tooth due to rot or decay, it can affect the permanent tooth.

Lip sucking, thumb sucking, and tongue thrusting are habits you can find in many children. All of these are habits result in putting pressure against the child’s front teeth. Over time these teeth can start to become loose and then fall out of alignment with each other. Because they are habits, they are often hard to break and take time and consistency on the parent’s part.  You may do better if you have the best baby gear.

Keeping them Healthy

While it’s impossible to prevent all issues from happening, there are certainly steps parents can take to help cut down on the amount of dental problems their child may have. Steps such as proper teeth brushing, flossing, and choosing foods that are low in sugar, as well as regular dental check-ups are recommended so problems can be spotted before they become serious.

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Brushing your teeth is one of the most important things you can do to keep your teeth and gums healthy. While manual brushes have been used to accomplish this task for many years, many dentists now recommend electric toothbrushes. If you were to ask them why, they would say that you can achieve a deeper clean with an electric brush. While this is certainly true, there’s actually more to it.

Manual Toothbrushes

The biggest question for most consumers is whether or not they can get the same job done with a manual toothbrush, since they’re a lot cheaper and offer more variety. There are various sizes of manual toothbrushes with both straight and angled heads, as well as bristles of various textures. Manual toothbrushes are also more flexible.

Benefits of Electric Toothbrushes

Electric toothbrushes have several advantages of their own that are hard to ignore.

  1. Faster brushing. The average person’s hand can’t compete with the speed of an electric toothbrush. When you consider how often you brush sloppily because you’re pressed for time, it’s easy to see why having an electric brush would be advantageous. It’s bristles swirl very rapidly, easily sweeping away more plaque and food particles in less time than a manual brush.
  1. Easier brushing. Electric toothbrushes take most of the effort out of brushing your teeth. All you have to do is apply the toothpaste, turn it on and move it across your teeth.
  1. Deeper cleaning. Because of their design, electric toothbrushes are better able to reach difficult areas than manual brushes. Areas near the gums and between teeth are known havens for bacteria. Electric brushes move fast and deep, reaching deep into these curves and crevices, scrubbing away layers of plaque that are often missed by manual brushes.
  1. Painless cleaning. One common issue with manual brushes is that people often put more pressure on them, thinking that this will result in cleaner teeth. This usually isn’t the case and it may actually result in sore teeth and gums. The bristles on an electric brush are stiff enough to do the job, but soft enough to avoid irritation. Because of their rapid action, you don’t have to apply much pressure for an effective cleaning.
  1. Easier to handle. Elderly persons and those with arthritis or other hand problems may find that it’s much easier to brush their teeth with an electric toothbrush.

Overbrushing and Your Gums

As important as it is to brush properly, you can overdo it much more easily with a manual toothbrush. Vigorous brushing wears down the enamel and can push the gums back, exposing the root area. Receding gums can lead to other problems like periodontal disease and painful, hidden cavities on the roots that may require extraction.

Electric toothbrushes are a great way to avoid developing these types of problems. Some models actually have built-in sensors that flash red lights, or even stop working, if you press too hard. Many of them also come with timers that can keep you from overbrushing.

The best type of brush for you depends largely on your needs and expectations. If you have problems with your gums, wear braces or have a tendency to be rough when brushing, you may find that an electric brush is better. Regardless of whether you use a manual or electric toothbrush, what’s important is that you’re brushing correctly and having regular checkups.

Joe Boyle is a dental assistant who writes about dental topics in his spare time. I guess you could say he’s really got his teeth into dentistry!! His articles appear on lifestyle as well as health sites.

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Children are natural imitators, so it is logical to assume good dental health could be instilled in kids simply by showing them how to brush their teeth a few times. On the contrary, new reports showing rising tooth decay rates in children indicate that the message of maintaining good oral health has been lost. It seems today that people in general know much more about teeth whitening and other cosmetic dental services than they do about the proper way to brush and floss their teeth. If you want your children to practice exemplary oral health, remember that you are their first and perhaps most important teacher.

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Use a Rewards Based System

Kids respond well to positive reinforcement, so give them kudos for a job well done when they take dental health seriously. Come up with a way to reward your children when they brush, rinse and floss on their own, but be sure not to encourage them to eat more sweets or sugar. Instead of bribing your children with candy, consider spending more quality time with them one-on-one, or even start a friendly competition if you’re a parent of more than one child. After a time, good dental health will become second nature to your children, and you won’t need to reward them every time they brush their teeth.

Explain How Mouths Stay Healthy

Think about how you can explain the differences between bad and good oral care, then give a description of what happens as a result of each chosen path. It isn’t necessary for you to give your children graphic examples in cases of bad oral hygiene, but it is imperative that you are brutally honest. Your children may be less prone to assume that their teeth will stay healthy on their own once you explain what happens to those who fail to properly care for their teeth. Let your kids see the causes and effects, and allow them to ask questions. This should help them to make informed decisions about their oral hygiene in the future.

Demonstrate Proper Oral Health

Since we already know that showing your kids how to brush a handful of times isn’t enough, consider how you can more effectively demonstrate the basics to them. Brushing your teeth together with your child may be more effective. Realize that your children are going to be watching you even when you’re not aware, so skipping brushing your teeth from time to time can be more serious than you first assumed. Be a great role model for good dental health by making a show of caring for your teeth at all times.

Keep Up With Dentist Appointments

Life with kids can get busy, and you may even need to reschedule dentist appointments from time to time. Ensure that your children know that professional dental care is as important as any other part of their health. Schedule your children to go to the dentist twice per year, and make sure that you don’t put off any important dental procedures for too long. If your kids believe that you think dental care is vital, they are more likely to grow up thinking the same way.

Caring for your child’s teeth is going to be an ordeal until he or she fully grows up. Help your child to get on the right foot by making good dental care a part of both of your daily routines. Simply asking your child if he or she has brushed daily may be enough to inspire proper dental health for life.

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Most people are eager to learn the secret behind keeping a beautiful smile. The answer is that there are different ways to enhance your smile, and all of them can be accomplished through the marvel of cosmetic dentistry. Whether you’re seeking out a cosmetic dentist in Irvine or you need to find a highly regarded dental professional while on vacation, achieving that perfect smile begins with knowing what procedures you want to have performed. Some cosmetic dental procedures can be performed in only a few hours, while other more complicated services require patients to schedule multiple visits. Here are the top five cosmetic dental procedures that will have your smile shining brighter than ever before.

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Tooth Whitening

You can buy a whitening toothpaste, cleanse your mouth after every meal, stay away from foods known to stain teeth and still end up with a discolored smile. Sometime prescription medications are to blame, while other times genetics can have a big impact on the appearance of your teeth. Thankfully, professional tooth whitening whitens teeth noticeably, and your cosmetic dentist can tweak your treatment so that you get optimal results.

Dental Crowns

Dental crowns perfectly imitate the appearance of natural teeth, and once in place, you won’t even notice that they are there. You can have crowns made of porcelain, metal or ceramic, but no matter what material you choose, your teeth will be stronger and better looking. Dental crowns are used in patients who have damaged teeth from grinding, disease or serious car accidents. If you want to keep your teeth but they are less than perfect, dental crowns may be ideal in your case.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are used in place of natural teeth, which can be lost as a result of tooth decay, drug use, or even electively. When a tooth becomes so damaged that it cannot be saved, dentists usually let their patients know that dental implants are a viable option. If you are interested in a total smile makeover, dental implants can be of great benefit.

Porcelain Veneers

When a patient has minor tooth imperfections, porcelain veneers can be applied quickly to improve confidence and self-esteem. Veneers are similar to crowns, except that they much thinner and are mainly used in a cosmetic capacity. You can opt to have veneers applied just to the front of your teeth to mask chips, stains and fillings. Veneers are a good option for patients who might want to get dental implants in the future, but remain undecided.

Dental Bridges

Like the name suggests, dental bridges fill the gaps left by missing and damaged teeth. They are adhered to the healthy teeth that surround problem areas, and can be taken out by your dentist easily for cleaning and repair. Dental bridges can be customized so that they match up with your existing teeth, and because they aren’t permanent, they are seen as one of the most cost effective forms of cosmetic dentistry by many patients.

Getting cosmetic dentistry doesn’t require you to go under general anesthesia, nor are missed days of work a requisite. You might be surprised at the number of people who have cosmetic dental procedures performed while on vacation, but you should never be shocked at their amazing results. If something about your smile has been nagging at you, speak to a respected cosmetic dentist about what can be done to encourage you to smile more.

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shiny teeth

Taking care of your teeth is something you are taught about from a very young age. You learn early on just how important your teeth are to you not just for eating but for helping you maintain a healthy and happy life. Even if you try your best to always make sure you practice good dental hygiene, there can be cases where something goes wrong with your teeth. Teeth can become broken, damaged, chipped or even fall out for a variety of reasons. When this happens you want to be able to do something about it, so you can keep a good look and have a healthy mouth. That is where dental implants, fitted by a cosmetic dentist in Watford can be a big help to you. The dentist can explain the great benefits of dental implants, such as:

  • Better Comfort – There is no doubt that having missing or damaged teeth can cause a great deal of discomfort in your mouth when you are trying to chew, drink or even talk. While many people in the past have turned to using basic dentures that have been in place for years, dentures are often uncomfortable to wear even for a short period of time. When you get dental implants that our Watford dental professionals can provide for you, the implants are more like actual teeth and are custom fitted to you so you can be sure they are comfortable.

  • Better Appearance – Dental implants are designed to look just like your other teeth. They are made to match your teeth in color, shape and size so that they fit naturally in your mouth and no one will be able to tell the difference between the implant and your natural teeth. This will give you a much better appearance when you talk and smile.

  • Greater Confidence – Think of all of the times that you may have shied away from conversation, smiling, having your picture taken or going out in social situations because you felt embarrassed by your broken or damaged teeth. Implants can help boost your confidence and self-esteem so you feel much better about the way you look. You can start to go out more and enjoy life again and feel better about yourself.

  • More Durable – Implants are a much more durable solution than standard dentures. Since they are just like your natural teeth and are actually anchored to your jawbone you will not have to worry about them wearing out or coming loose.

Dental implants have all of the benefits that you are looking for and can be the ideal option for you when you need to get teeth repaired or replaced. If you are interested in implants, take a look at the local Watford dentists in the area and then make an appointment to go to Novocare Dental for the care you need. Dr. Oke and his staff can provide you with all of the cosmetic dental services that you are looking for, including dental implants that can help you take the best care of your teeth and mouth.

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You have always done all that you can to try to take the best care of your teeth. Even those with the best of intentions can run into a situation where they have broken or cracked teeth or suffer an accident where they lose one or more teeth.  In situations like this, you may feel anxious about how best to proceed. There are options available to you when it comes to fixing missing teeth, and it is important that you explore these options so you can decide the best course of action. You want to take the time to weigh the benefits of both dental implants and dentures so you can determine what will be right for you.

The Benefits of Implants
Dental implants have become much more popular in recent years as an alternative to traditional dentures. With implants you get a much more reliable alternative than dentures since the implants are placed into your jaw bone where your natural teeth would be. Implants are secured in and created to look natural like your other teeth. You do not have to worry about them ever falling out while you are eating and they are cleaned and treated just as you would your regular teeth.
The Benefits of Dentures
Traditional dentures are also still available and work as a viable option for many people. Not everyone is suitable for dental implant treatment as the process depends heavily on the structure of your jaw bone, the suitable of the bone in your mouth and the health of the teeth around where the implants might be. Traditional dentures have changed considerably over the years and can be a lot more comfortable now than in the past, particularly when they are accurately made and correctly fitted. Dentures can also cost significantly less than implants, something that can play a major role in your decision.  Dentures do require a degree of regular maintenance so you need to take care of them and be more careful with what you eat than with implants, but most people quickly become accustomed to the routine each day.
When you are considering whether or not to get implants or dentures you want to be sure to discuss everything with your dental provider. A clinical dental technician in Manchester can provide you with a complete exam and evaluation and discuss all of the options with you so you can determine what the best course of action is for you to take. Whether you are considering implants or dentures, take the time to go to The Smile Centre so you can get the best treatment possible. The Smile Centre specialises in dentures and other dentistry, and has over twenty-five years of experience to help you make the right decision regarding your teeth.
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You brush, floss, and go about your day. What do you really need to know about teeth that isn’t on the tube of toothpaste you use every morning? Well, a lot actually. Here’s some surprising dental facts you don’t know.

You’re Brushing Too Hard

If your bristles are mashed in like a pug’s face, you’re brushing too hard. Way too hard. Easy up on things and let the brush do the work. You don’t need to strongarm your teeth. The plaque will come off with technique.

The vast majority of people actually brush too aggressively, and this is because there’s a tendency to let the mind wander when we brush. While brushing, you probably think about what’s happening at work today, the party this weekend, or a variety of other things.

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Bleeding Gums Always Indicate Problems

There’s never a time when bleeding gums don’t mean something bad. You need to take care of them immediately. This is a health lesson the government has really tried to emphasize over the years. But, many people still ignore it. It’s truly shocking how many people have bleeding gums. It’s one of the leading causes of tooth loss, and most people ignore it. This is the wrong attitude. If left untreated, they will not get better on their own.

Even if it’s not accompanied by pain, it may be symptomatic of chronic gingivitis, inflammation of gum tissue, or underlying (serious) health problems. In time, the skin in the mouth will grow tender and sore. It may become difficult to eat certain foods and the teeth will deteriorate.

If you’re experiencing pain with bleeding gums, the situation has become serious. Go to an emergency dentist in NYC right now.

Maybe You’re Allergic To Your Toothpaste

This strange little fact keeps people from having the kind of dental health they deserve. Although rarely talked about, most people are not aware toothpaste allergies and sensitivities exist. It doesn’t help the signs are hard to spot, being inside the mouth. Most obvious symptoms include sensitivity of the mucosal lining, including sloughing. In other words, you may get minor burns on the inside of your cheeks.

Usually, this presents as a slight peeling of the skin across the inside surface of the mouth, gums, and related areas. In some instances, you might notice a slight tingling sensation. You should stick to a natural brand of toothpaste if you experienced this.

Fluctuating Hormones Impact Gum Health

For women, the idea that hormones impact gum health isn’t new, but it’s still relatively unknown by many women. These “magical” chemicals alter everything from growth of hair to length of fingernails.

It shouldn’t be too surprising to learn hormonal fluctuations influence the health and gums of the oral tissue as well. At various different points in the menstrual cycle, hormones soar and the risk of bleeding increases.

Fruit Juices Are Not Good

People have taken to fruit juice as a healthy alternative to soda and other sugary drinks. We know, for example, that eating lots of fruit is good for the body. They provide us with lots of vitamins and minerals, and help the immune system. They also can wreak havoc with tooth enamel because the concentration of sugar in the juice is bad for our teeth. With whole fruits, sugar isn’t concentrated, and there’s an abundance of water and fiber that naturally limits consumption. Not so with juices.

Stay away from them, or brush your teeth immediately after consuming them.

Teeth Are A Window To Your Physical Health

If you’ve ever been told teeth are a window to the rest of your physical health, count yourself lucky you were given this wise advice. Most people don’t realize serious health problems develop when you ignore dental health. Problems like heart disease, diabetes, and stroke can result when you do not take care of your teeth.

This is because bacteria work their way into the gums, and then into the bloodstream. Pathogenic bacteria are responsible for a variety of diseases. And, often, they’re able to take hold when someone fails to maintain good oral health.

Conclusion

Even small changes are helpful and add up fast. So, don’t discount them or think that you cannot make progress unless you make substantial changes. Start with one thing. Then, make gradual improvements.

Mike Plambeck is a dental marketing professional who writes about the world of online dental marketing as well as educational dental health topics. He lives in Lincoln, NE and raises 2 kids, Noah and Dani, along with his wife Marissa. Follow Mike’s Tweets and dental care tips.

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Have you ever noticed what a common fear going to the dentist is? It’s not just kids, adults everywhere just quiver at their knees when you so much as mention a toothache. This isn’t a natural phobia like spiders or snakes, it’s not something you’re born with. So why do we hate dental experts? Well, there are many possible reasons, and many that seem to have played a role in most people’s lives. There are also plenty of reasons why you should just pluck up your courage and shut the fear out of your mind.

You had one bad experience

Chances are, you had a scary moment at the dentist once when you were a little kid. Maybe not at all even – maybe it was just the sound of a drill while you were only in the waiting room. Most, if not all, people can recall an incident or sight or sound that put them off going to a dental surgeon for the rest of their lives. But you have to make a conscious effort to shake off this feeling. Not every orthodontist is going to be scary and cold. If you ask a friend or family member for recommendations, chances are you’ll be able to find a dentist who will make you feel at ease and who will be gentle and nice.

It’s probably not the doc but his office

You may not have had a bad experience, it could just be the office that puts you off. It’s the same reason we hate hospitals. They both have weird smells, most of them are painted sickly colors and have the most unpleasant furniture and magazines. The sounds of the equipment and the sight of other patients in the waiting room, clearly in pain, all these things can be rather upsetting. Especially for kids, dentists and orthodontists’ offices can be terrifying. So it’s good to try and find more pleasant settings, the kind that are better decorated, and more equipped with children’ toys and funny magazines.

A regular checkup keeps the drill away

If it’s pain, needles, or extractions you fear, then what you should be doing is going to the dental hygienist more! By simply scheduling a checkup twice a year, you can make sure that any signs of trouble with your teeth can be addressed before they turn into bigger issues like cavities and oral diseases. If you’ve been getting checkups every six months, you’re not suddenly going to find your orthodontist saying you need a crown put in.

Take the whole day off – with a friend

When you know you have to go to the dentist (especially if you know something is going to get pulled), take the whole day off, grab a friend, and do something fun before the appointment. You’ll find yourself going in with a much better attitude and mood, and the company your friend will be offering while you’re in the chair will ease the burden too.

It doesn’t even hurt

When you go in with that excruciating pain, what the dental surgeon will do is give you something to take the edge off, not make it worse. Even the needle that’s going to flood your system with feel-good chemicals, you’ll only feel it for a split second before your whole jaw just goes numb. And extractions, fillings, and crowns, all these things really won’t hurt at all.

So as much as you might be shaking in your boots the next time you start to feel an ache under your gums, just remember that it’s all in your head. And if you just make a little bit of effort with those checkups, you really won’t have anything to fear in the long run.

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Cosmetic dentist

Your smile is one of the most important assets and expressions that you have. Unfortunately many people today feel very self-conscious about the way that their smile may look. Sometimes the problem is because you have broken, cracked or missing teeth. It may be that your teeth look yellow and stained. It could even be that you have some teeth that are crooked. Whatever the reasons may be, you should know that there is good help available to you for all of these problems so that you can get that great smile back in your life. A cosmetic dentist can help you with everything that you need to restore your smile. Here are just three of the ways this kind of dentist can help you:

  • Porcelain VeneersFor those that may have some missing or damaged teeth that show when you smile, porcelain veneers can be the perfect answer for you. Your dentist can fit these veneers right over your damaged tooth and have them look identical to the natural teeth that are around them so no one will be able to tell the difference. The veneers can help to hide any of the cracks, chips or damage that you may have on your teeth and veneers are chosen to reflect the size, shape and color of your other teeth so they look completely natural.
  • Whitening – Teeth whitening has gained in popularity over the recent years as more people seek ways to get brighter and whiter looking smiles. The process, tools and technology for whitening has changed and improved dramatically over the recent years so that you can get treatments done very quickly right in the dental office with no discomfort at all. The process will allow you to brighten teeth that may have become discolored over time from smoking, foods you eat and drink and just with the aging process so that your teeth a shiny and white again.
  • BracesWhether you have a child that may have crooked teeth or have issues of your own that you have put off for a long time, a cosmetic dentist can help you to get fitted with braces that can bring everything back into alignment. The use of Invisalign braces has become more prominent in recent years since they are braces that cannot be seen by others so you do not have to deal with the metal braces. The clear braces are also removable so that you are able to eat more comfortably.

You can get all of the help you are looking for with your smile when you see the proper dentist. If you are looking for a cosmetic dentist in Katy, you should be sure to contact the office of Darling Dental. Dr. Darlington can help you with a variety of cosmetic issues with your smile and provide you with the best options to help you get the look that you want the most so you never have to feel too embarrassed to smile again.

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You’re ready to jump on the bandwagon. Everyone else is doing it. Electric toothbrushes. They’re all the rage, but which one should you choose? There are the top contenders and a few things you should think about before making your choice or this guide.

Also, consider that, when you use an electric toothbrush, you may not need to visit the dentist as often. And, even if you don’t or can’t reduce your cleaning frequency, you can still visit Carefree Dental for information on how to lower your dentist bill.

Either way, these brushes will help you improve your oral health, and reduce your reliance on the dentist to clean plaque off your teeth.

Sonic Electric Toothbrush

Philips makes some amazing products, and one of those is its Sonic Care Toothbrush. Philips pioneered the Sonic technology. This brush reduces up to 2x more plaque than an ordinary manual toothbrush, and it’s rechargeable, which gives you about two weeks worth of brushing before you have to charge it again. It has an inbuilt dynamic fluid action that helps you clean the teeth along the gumline.

This is an excellent brush to use, and you’ll notice results after the first brushing. Your teeth will feel noticeably cleaner. You will remove plaque you never knew existed. It’s actually a little gross the first couple of times. But, it makes you wonder what you ever did without it.

The Oral B Pro 3000

This brush claims to remove up to 97% of plaque from your teeth, and it can reach into the gaps where it’s not possible to get with a manual toothbrush. It will effectively reverse gingivitis, and has an built-in pressure sensor that helps stop pulsations when you brush too hard. In that sense, it helps preserve your teeth. It offers three different modes with are “daily clean, “sensitive,” and “whitening.”

It’s one of the best brushes on the market right now.

Waterpik Complete Care Water Flosser And Sonic Toothbrush

This brush and pick promises to give you cleaner and healthier gums in just 2 weeks. It’s an all-in-one solution for flossing and brushing. Most people have to floss and brush separately, and they find it a bit annoying — so much so that many people do not floss at all.

It has a solid finish and also comes with a travel case. It’s compatible with a 120VAC/60Hz outlet and saves counter space as well as wall outlets.

iBrush SonicWave Electric Toothbrush with UV Sanitizer

What sets this brush apart is the fact that it was developed by a dentist. Dr. Patty Martin developed this brush to help improve the quality of products being offered to consumers. It’s considered one of the best brushes on the market. Offering three different operating modes, which include “normal,” “soft,” and “massage,” this brush helps you do more than just clean your teeth.

It helps keep teeth fit and blood flowing to the gums (thanks to the “massage” mode). The QuadSense technology has a two-minute timer and makes it possible to reach hard-to-get-to areas of the mouth. It’s got a dedicated UV sanitizer too. The sanitizer destroyed 99% of germs and harmful microbes on the brush head between brushings. It can be powered for up to 6 weeks due to its water-resistant ionic charge docking station.

This makes it one of the best brushes for traveling, due to the extended time between required charges.

The Panasonic EW-DE92 Sonic Vibration Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush

It’s kind of a hard name to remember, but this brush is pretty cool. Unlike other options on this list, this brush offers a pulsing option, which pulses every 30 seconds, and twice every 2 minutes. It’s equipped with 4 different brushing modes: “white mode,” “soft mode,” “sensitive mode,” and “gum care mode.”

It comes with two extra brush heads, too, which means that you’ll save money right off the bat by not having to buy additional brush heads just to use the device.

The Pursonic Sonic Toothbrush

This brush features what the company calls “Pursonic Technology.” It can produce up to 40,000 sonic strokes per minute, with a built-in 2 minute timer. It gives an alert every 30 seconds, too, which lets you focus on a different area of the mouth every 30 seconds. It also comes with a 1 year warranty and a guarantee with 12 additional brush heads — more than any other on this list.

If you’re looking for a single unit that could hypothetically cover the whole family, this is it. While it might be a pain to change out the brush head each time, it’s not impossible, and it would save on buying a bunch of extra units for each family member.

Cerys Morris works as a dental hygienist. She likes to write about her insights and experiences on the web. Her articles appear mainly on health and wellness sites.
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Should the Government Consider a U-turn?

The public health field is never short of controversies. On 22nd October 2015, Public Health England (PHE) published a report on Sugar Reduction: The Evidence for Action. The report recommends inter alia, an introduction of a sugar tax of between 10% and 20% on high sugar products such as soft drinks (PHE, 2015b). This has sparked endless debates within the academic and public domains. The vociferous debate sustains when subsequently, the government guarantees that there will be no tax imposition on sugary products, whilst insisting that there are other workable alternatives for tackling health issues, particularly obesity, as a result of overconsumption of products with a large amount of sugar.

Borrowing from the Nudging Theory, tax is seen as a ‘shove’, capable of prevailing the ‘upstream approach’ in public health (policy approach that can affect large populations, such as economic disincentives) through the preventative route (Local Government Association, 2013). This blog post seeks to explore whether the government should reconsider its initial decision not to impose a taxation on sugary products. It will take stock of the evidence that links sugar with obesity, and consider the success of a sugar tax in various countries in addressing the population’s health. It then goes on to explore the power of taxation in changing people’s behaviour and the potential benefit of such a measure on the NHS, before considering whether the tax on sugary products can address the failure of the Public Health Responsibility Dealbetween the government and the food industry.

Firstly, the evidence linking sugary products and obesity is nearly impossible to ignore. The PHE publication highlights that almost a quarter of all adults, one in ten children aged 4 to 5, and nearly two out of ten children aged 10 to 11 in England are obese, with significant numbers also being overweight. Sugar intakes of all population groups are also above the recommendations. Unsurprisingly, the most disadvantaged sections of society have a higher prevalence of tooth decay and obesity.

One may ask: Will taxation on sugary products ever work? Evidence from Mexico suggests that following a 10% tax, there was a 6% reduction in the sales of sugary drinks (Instituto Nacional de Salud Pública, 2015). Following such a success, our European Union counterparts including Denmark and Hungary were quick to follow suit (European Commission, 2014), with overwhelming support from Ireland (Irish Heart Foundation, 2014). It will therefore be difficult for the government to maintain its initial reluctance to imposing a fiscal restriction on the products with a high sugar content considering the magnitude of obesity in this country, and the initiative of European allies on the economic control of sugary products.

Secondly, the fiscal approach presents us with a powerful opportunity to change people’s behaviour towards their sugar consumption. Scholars talk about the obesogenic environment and its causes, which consists of a tangled web of dietary, lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors. However, rather than seeing its key role in persuading people to alter their sugar intake, the government reasoned that the tax would raise the cost of living, mediated by the aspiration to increase the productivity and economic growth in the food sector (Petitions – UK Government and Parliament, 2015).

On the surface, the government’s U-turn on the sugar tax is didactic – it should be left to individual choices to make the best decisions with regard to their health, in an attempt to avoid nanny-statism. Nevertheless, this assumption will only work in an ideal world. Some people need support to lead a healthy lifestyle, particularly those who are the most disadvantaged within the society. In this instance, a sugar tax would nudge (or in fact, shove) people into making healthier choices and thus preventing people from having complex health needs at a later stage, in line with the preventative agenda of the government in the health sector.

The annual cost of obesity is now greater than the cost of treating health problems arising from smoking (Scarborough et al., 2011). Perhaps tellingly, the estimated annual cost of obesity to the NHS is approximately £5bn, and is growing (Public Health England, 2015a). The introduction of a tax on sugary products will ensure that the pricing structure of the sugar-related products is more reflective of the external and wider costs of the substance to society and the health system as a whole. As such, it may also create a ripple effect on tackling other non-communicable diseases such as those caused by poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and alcohol dependency.

Thirdly, the tax on sugar will overturn the government’s failure on the Government Public Health Responsibility Deal with the food and drink industry (see Gornall, 2015). The core commitment of the Responsibility Deal is to ‘support and enable people to adopt a healthier diet’. However, the Responsibility Deal seems like a temple built on a faulty foundation; it relies upon the goodwill of the industry to keep their pledges and there are no penalties attached for failure to observe the pledges. Positioning the debate within the mainstream media, the celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver, challenged the Prime Minister to ‘act like a parent’ with food manufacturers, as ‘the industry has to be kept in line’ in tackling the rising obesity problem (House of Commons Select Committee, 2015). Here, there is a window of opportunity whereby the tax will empower the industry to take charge and materialise their promises in tackling the rising obesity epidemic in the UK.

Let us turn back to our initial question. Should the government consider a U-turn on its initial reluctance to impose tax on sugary products? This blog post has argued the affirmative. Clear correlations between sugar and obesity and success stories within and outside of the European Union should prompt the government to reconsider its initial stand. In addition, assistance from the state remains relevant particularly for those who are at a significant health disadvantage, in the name of the preventative agenda. Imposing a tax on sugary products will also reflect the wider costs of obesity on health and the wider environment. At the same time, it has been argued that the imposition of a tax will put the food industry in the driver’s seat to make genuine efforts in combating obesity in this country.

The taxation route is not a panacea, nor should it be viewed in isolation from other initiatives. Future theoretical and critical debates will benefit from further studies on the impact of a sugar tax on health in the short-term and long-term, and the acceptance of the population towards the tax imposition. This, then, will reinforce the value of taxation in addressing the obesity epidemic in this country.

First published on the Policy & Politics blog on 17th February 2016.

 

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Fizzy drink companies should put child-friendly labels on the front of their products spelling out the sugar content in teaspoons, in a bid to beat tooth decay and child obesity. The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents more than 370 councils – with responsibility for public health – says many youngsters and parents are unaware of the high level of sugar in fizzy drinks.

The call, which comes ahead of the Government’s forthcoming child obesity strategy, follows research that shows some energy and sports drinks have 20 teaspoons of sugar in a 500 ml can – more than three times the daily allowance for adults – while some popular juices and soft drinks contain between five and 15g of sugar per 100ml. A typical can of fizzy drink has around nine teaspoons of sugar.

As well as being a key driver behind obesity, sugar is also a major cause of tooth decay, with a recent survey finding that 12 per cent of three-year-olds in England suffered from poor dental hygiene.

Tooth decay was the most common reason for hospital admissions in children aged five to nine in 2012/13. Damning figures also reveal that in the same year, more than 60,000 children under 19 were admitted to hospital for removal of decayed teeth – half of which were aged nine or under.

Treating obesity and the effects of oral diseases costs the NHS a combined £8.4 billion a year in England.

With research showing it takes an average of just 15 seconds for shoppers to decide on an item, the LGA is calling for prominent and clearer labels on the front of fizzy drinks – spelling out the sugar content in teaspoons so that all shoppers can see it instantly.

Youngsters in the UK are the biggest soft drinkers in Europe – with 40 per cent of 11 to 15-year-olds drinking sugary drinks at least once a day. Poland is the second highest at 27 per cent, and Germany third with 18.5 per cent.

Under-10s get almost a fifth of their sugar intake from soft drinks and for 11 to 18-year-olds, that figure is nearly a third.

Better labelling of sugar quantities will raise awareness in children of sugar levels, and ensure people are as informed as possible to help them make healthier choices.

Unless radical action is taken now to tackle obesity, councils are warning that the next 20 years will see the number of obese adults in the country soar by a staggering 73 per cent to 26 million people.

Cllr Izzi Seccombe, LGA Community Wellbeing spokesperson said :

“While we acknowledge that many soft drinks manufacturers are heading in the right direction with sugar reduction, the industry as whole needs to go further, faster and show leadership on the issue.

In many cases, parents and children are unaware of exactly how much sugar these fizzy drinks contain, which is why we are calling on manufacturers to provide clearer, front-of-product labelling that shows how much sugar soft drinks have in teaspoons.

On average it takes just 15 seconds for shoppers to decide on an item, so we need to have a labelling system which provides an instant at-a-glance understanding of sugar content.

Raising awareness of sugar quantities and giving families a more informed choice is crucial if we are to make a breakthrough in the fight against tooth decay and obesity.”

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