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Eight bite-size facts about your teeth

  1. Your teeth might have evolved from taste buds

Looking back half a billion years, the ancestors of sharks and humans had no teeth in their mouths at all, or even jaws. How vertebrates developed teeth is undetermined but theory has it that either their tooth-like scales began to appear in their mouths as teeth, or some of their taste buds became harder.

  1. Your teeth develop in the womb

Our teeth begin to develop before we are even born, most children have a full set of 20 milk or baby teeth by the time they’re three years old. Then, on reaching five or six, these teeth start to fall out in order to make way for adult teeth.

  1. You have around fifty teeth in your lifetime

By the age of 12 to 14 we will have our adult teeth, of which there are 32 in total. Four of these are our wisdom teeth and these usually emerge between the ages of 17 and 21.

Only two thirds of each of your teeth are actually visible – the rest is hidden inside your gum.

Whereas the total number of teeth we have is around 50, with most of those having to last from childhood, great whites can produce around 100,000 teeth throughout their lifetime. Some species of sharks produce a new set of teeth every two weeks!

  1. Your teeth are genetically the same as a shark’s

We may not be able to make new teeth like a shark but the ones we do have are almost identical to those in the mouths of the aquatic predator and, in fact, almost all fish. Learning more about shark teeth and how they regenerate could eventually teach us how to grow new human teeth in later life. With our lives getting longer and our diets getting more acidic we could certainly do with more!

  1. You have four different types of teeth

Incisors: Our incisors are the four front teeth on the top and bottom jaw and these are used for cutting and chopping food and passing it through to the back of our mouths.

Canine: Our canine teeth are the sharp, pointy teeth on either side of our incisors that help to tear food.

Premolars: Our premolars are wider teeth used for crushing and grinding food.

Molars: Our molars are stronger yet – these mash our food until it’s ready to be swallowed safely.

Together these make us effective omnivores – we’re great at chewing plant matter as well as tearing up meat.

  1. A tooth has four different layers

Shiny enamel coats the tooth -This is the hardest substance in the body and protects the sensitive inner parts of the tooth. Underneath that there is a dentine block – This surrounds a core pulp cavity, which contains the nerves and the tooth’s blood supply. A fourth tissue is involved in the attachment of the tooth to the jawbone and that’s the cementum.

  1. Your teeth are as unique as your fingerprints

Just like your fingerprint, your teeth and how they are arranged in your mouth are unique to you.

This is why dental records are often used to identify human remains.

  1. The first toothbrush dates back to 3500 BC

Toothbrush-like tools, such as a stick with a frayed end, date back to 3500-3000 BC. The first known bristle brushes to resemble the toothbrush dates back to the Tang Dynasty and around 700 AD. These were comprised of a handle made from animal bone or bamboo and hog hair bristles.

(The Romans used sterile urine as mouthwash to rinse out the mouth!)


Bad breath can be an embarrassing problem. It is a sign that something is wrong with our mouth or your digestion. Bad breath is very often caused by having too many of the wrong sort of bacteria in your mouth, the sort that give off smelly gases, like hydrogen sulphide. If you have cavities in your teeth or loose gums around your teeth, then you have places where these bad bacteria can hide and multiply.

It is important to see a dentist to figure out what is causing bad breath. Once we know the cause, we can find a solution and get bad breath smelling fresh again. It may be that you need cavities in your mouth repaired. Or you may need the hard deposits of calculus, which are providing a ledge around your teeth for the bad bacteria to hide under, cleaned away with a dental hygiene treatment. Once this stuff sets hard on your teeth, no amount of ordinary tooth-brushing will shift it. You may need to have periodontal treatment to reduce the depth of the pockets of infected gum around your teeth. Or you may simply need some new ideas to help you clean your teeth, gums and tongue at home.

It is never easy talking about bad breath, although it is a very common problem. However, we at Gedling Dental pride ourselves on taking a caring approach and working with you so that you feel confident about smiling and speaking in public. Give us a call!

Which Toothpaste

Recently I was at our local supermarket and noticed the shelf upon shelf of toothpaste that were available. It made me think how confusing it must be for patients to know what to buy. I have listed below the important factors to look out for:

  • FLUORIDE:- It has been proven for over a hundred years that fluoride lead to a significant improvement in the dental health of the nation. It helps prevent cavities and should be present in concentrations of 1350ppm – 1450ppm (ppm = parts per million). However in children’s toothpaste the concentrations will be lower.


  • DESENSITISERS:- A number of toothpaste claim to be better for sensitive teeth. They generally work by blocking the tiny pores on the root that become exposed over time and lead to sensitivity. Ingredients such as potassium nitrate, stannous fluoride, arginine and calcium sodium phosphosilicate (NovaMin) all have been proven to reduce sensitivity.



  • GUM HEALTH:- Generally if you brush effectively twice a day and clean inbetween your teeth there is little need for further gum protection. However if you have been told that you are prone to gum disease then a toothpaste containing Triclosan will be of some benefit. Some toothpastes will also contain Chlorhexidine which has also been proven to help fight gum disease but it can also cause staining of teeth and patients often don’t like the taste of the toothpaste.


  • WHITENING:- A lot of toothpaste that claim to whiten teeth actually only remove superficial stains. A change in the colour of your teeth can only be brought about by Hydrogen Peroxide and this is what Dentists use to bleach teeth. Hydrated silica, mica, & sodium bicarbonate are all used to remove stains from teeth and make your teeth look cleaner but they WILL NOT make your teeth appear whiter. The same can be said for charcoal toothpastes where there is a lot of celebrity endorsements but little scientific evidence to support its claims.


  • SLS FREE TOOTHPASTE:- SLS or Sodium Lauryl Sulphate is a foaming agent used in toothpastes. In a small number of people it can be an irritant and cause mouth ulcers or exacerbate oral conditions such as Lichen Planus. Sensodyne Daily Care Original is one that doesn’t contain SLS but there maybe others on the shelves.

Mouth Cancer Checks

The importance of Mouth Cancer Checks

In the UK, more than 8.300 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year and globally there are in excess of 300,000 new cases every year.

The number of people being diagnosed with mouth cancer has grown by around a third in the last decade and remains one of very few cancers which are predicted to increase further in the coming years.

Although risk factors (such as smoking and alcohol) are responsible for many mouth cancers, it is a disease that can affect anyone.

That is why it is so important we all know what to look out for.

  • Don’t leave a mouth ulcer unattended for more than three weeks.
  • Don’t ignore any unusual lumps or swellings or red and white patches in your mouth.
  • Regularly check your own mouth, lips, cheeks, head and neck for anything out of the ordinary.

The staff at Gedling Dental are taking part in Novembers Mouth Cancer Action Month; please help us by promoting these messages. If you notice anything out of the ordinary on yourself or with your friends & family, don’t hesitate. Book an appointment with a dentist. Quick action is very often life-saving.

Brush, Swish, Spit

Brush, Swish, Spit

Are you supposed to rinse after tooth-brushing?” In almost every case, the answer is “No!” Leaving a coating of toothpaste on your teeth for as long as possible will make your teeth much stronger.

Rinsing with water after brushing is bad for your teeth – it washes away the protective fluoride from the toothpaste left behind after brushing. Fluoride toothpaste strengthens tooth enamel, making it more resistant to tooth decay and cavities. Fluoride also repairs weak spots. Spitting instead of rinsing ensures that the fluoride will be more effective, as the fluoride will remain on your teeth much longer than just for the two minutes that you are brushing.

You should brush your teeth with a pea-sized amount of toothpaste twice a day. The night brush just before bed is the most important. It allows your teeth to get the benefit of your fluoride toothpaste for many hours, if you don’t rinse, eat or drink after brushing.

Remember, have a drink BEFORE you brush your teeth, not after.

  • BRUSH for at least two minutes. Save the toothpaste foam in your mouth – don’t spit any out.
  • Close your mouth and SWISH the mixture of tooth paste and saliva around your mouth, forcing it all over and in between your teeth. Pump the toothpaste foam between your cheeks and lips for 20 times, or for about one minute. Swishing will increase your saliva flow. Saliva contains calcium which is also great for teeth.
  • Then SPIT out the excess toothpaste foam.

If you BRUSH, SWISH, SPIT, and don’t rinse, you will double your protection against tooth decay and cavities.


Grinding your teeth?

Grinding teeth, also known as “bruxism” can cause pain and discomfort in the jaw. It can wear the teeth down and cause severe headaches and even earache in some people.  I have often seen patients come in to the surgery with fractured fillings and broken teeth as a result of this habit.

Lots of people are not aware that they do this, as it happens predominantly in our sleep. Lifestyle it seems, according to research is a big factor. If you are anxious or constantly stressed, grinding your teeth in your sleep may happen subconsciously. By looking at your situation in life, it may be possible to stop grinding your teeth. High levels of stress at work have a real negative effect generally on our health.

Behavioural therapies and the use of mouth guards or mouth splints are recommended treatments for bruxism. Other treatments, such as muscle-relaxation exercises and sleep hygiene may also help manage your symptoms.

If you have an anxiety or stress-related problem, a course of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be recommended. CBT aims to manage your problems by changing how you think and act. It may be possible to break the habit of teeth grinding using habit-reversal techniques.

Making some simple lifestyle changes, such as giving up smoking (if you smoke), reducing your alcohol consumption and managing stress may also be very beneficial.

Why not make some changes if you recognise any of the above symptoms……

We would like to share some news with the local community…..Our lovely Nurse Kim is travelling to Kenya in June with the charity Dentaid, to help provide emergency treatment to areas with no dental facilities. We are selling second hand books, as well as making cakes regularly to raise funds to help her. Please feel free to pop in, even if you are not registered with us to have a browse.  All welcome.




Dental Anxiety

Dental Anxiety


Lots of us have heard about anxiety. Some of us may know colleagues or friends and family that suffer from this, or may have even suffered themselves. When we become anxious, our body responds in several ways.  We experience sweating, shortness of breath, dizziness, stomach cramps, irritability and much more. Anxiety may stem from a past issue, learnt behaviour, a phobia, or simply that we are frightened of a situation.  Sometimes it can be life’s pressures and expectations of scenarios rather than facts. We start to feel uneasy and concerned.  All of this takes a toll on our body. Dental anxiety is so common.  Here at Gedling Dental, we have lots of patients who have dental anxiety and so we decided a long time ago that we would like to make things easier for you.


What we offer to combat this

  • We listen and always give you the choice with treatment
  • The Practice is calm
  • We keep clinical smells to a minimum by using essential oils in diffusers
  • Our time slots are tailored to your requirements
  • Bring your earphones
  • The staff understand how to support you
  • We never judge
  • We offer relative analgesia (ask for details)


What you can do

  • Try and relax – be conscious of your breathing
  • Attend your appointment, routine helps
  • Don’t avoid facing your fear
  • Learn to trust us by taking that first step
  • Replace negatives with positives with help from us
  • Talk to us, this is important
  • “What if” is not helpful. By talking to us we can give you the facts rather than let your mind wander.


Come and see us – even if initially you would like a chat and a cuppa. We offer free WiFi and complementary drinks.

Sugar – the old enemy!

Hidden Sugars

Some experts are leaning more towards sugar being the enemy in our diets, rather than fats.

The instant ‘lift’ we get from sugar is one of the reasons we turn to it at times of celebration, tiredness, or when we crave comfort and reward. However, even those of us without a sweet tooth may be eating more than we realise because so many everyday processed foods, from cereals and bread to pasta sauce and soups contain sugar.

A high intake of sugar causes our blood sugar levels to shoot up, giving us that feel-good ‘high’ followed by a crashing slump which leaves us tired, irritable and craving more sugary foods. It’s a vicious cycle that may be contributing to our weight problems as well as health concerns like diabetes and heart disease.

  • Low-fat and diet foods often contain extra sugar to help improve their taste and add bulk and texture in the place of fat.
  • Even savoury foods like ready-made soups and sauces may contain added sugar.
  • 90g is the recommended amount for DAILY sugar intake (approx 7 teaspoons).  See below, if you have a fizzy drink – your allowance is used up and you haven’t had your dinner yet!

• Squash ­- Ready-made bottles may contain up to 9 spoons
• Full sugar fizzy drinks – have an average of 12 spoons
• Flavoured vitamin waters – can have up to 11 spoons
• Dairy sports drinks and flavoured milk – up to 14 spoons
• Energy drinks –  some contain as much as 13 spoons

Children and adults have plaque, a sticky film of bacteria forming on their gums and teeth. When bacteria mix with sugar or starch in your mouth, they create an acid that affects gums and teeth. Many acid attacks can wear down the tooth enamel, producing tooth decay. Higher glucose levels = higher plaque levels.  Regular cleaning is so important to try and keep the gums healthy, which in turn will help your teeth.

What can you do?

Brushing and flossing can help, along with interdental brushes and regular trips to your Dentist. Avoid high sugar foods and remember to look on labels for hidden sugars.  Be sensible.  Life is about balance.


So what if my gums bleed?

Gum bleeding is a very common symptom in the vast majority of my patients. Most of the time it’s ignored or put down to brushing too hard. However there are times when it could be a sign of more serious problems. Gum bleeding could be a sign of periodontal disease which is a more aggressive form of gum disease. In the past it was known as Pyorrhea and often lead to tooth loss. Unfortunately we now know that it can also lead to other problems a lot more serious than simply having a gappy smile.


It is thought that both conditions work hand in hand almost egging each other on. Current research shows that people with periodontal disease may find it more difficult to control their blood sugar levels. Conversely if you have Diabetes you’re more likely to develop periodontal disease.

Heart Disease:

Though further research need to be undertaken, it is thought that periodontal disease increases the risk of heart disease leading to heart attacks and other coronary problems. This is particularly true in men.

Respiratory Disease:

Researchers have found that the bugs & germs responsible for periodontal disease can be breathed in to the lungs causing pneumonia and other respiratory conditions.


Researchers found that men with gum disease were 49% more likely to develop kidney cancer, 54% more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.
So next time you spit blood after brushing why not give your dentist a ring – you could be doing your general health a big favour.



Smile with confidence

It is said that it takes 43 muscles to frown but only 17 to smile. However if you suffer from bad breath, smiling may be the last thing you want to do. Bad breath or halitosis affects a large number of people and not everyone affected realise they have a problem.

There are a number of reasons why people suffer from bad breath and not all are due to poor oral hygiene. Medical conditions such as diabetes and kidney disease, smoking and not drinking enough water can all lead to halitosis. Certain antidepressants can dry out the mouth which again makes you more prone to bad breath.

The causes of bad breath are stagnant bacteria producing unpleasant odours and gum disease. These bacteria are found around the necks of your teeth and in between them. If not removed then gum disease will develop and with it bad breath.

Have I got bad breath?

This is a question that is rarely asked and even more rarely answered honestly. The easiest way to check is to lick the back of your hand and let the saliva dry. If when you smell it you have to wrinkle your nose then it might be time to have a word with your dentist.

Top tips to combat bad breath

• Clean twice a day around the necks of your teeth

• Clean in between your teeth either with floss or TePe brushes

• Use disclosing tablets to check you have cleaned away all the germs.

• Clean your tongue using a scraper

• Drink plenty of water

• Book yourself an appointment with a Hygienist or Dentist to have your teeth cleaned professionally on a regular    basis.