New Year Dental Resolutions
I was out for dinner with girlfriends last week and just before the food arrived, there was a mass exodus to the bathroom. Curious, I thought…
Turns out, everyone was removing their retainers!
As I sat alone at the table, I mused that midlifers are like teenagers with many more of us sporting train tracks or clear Invisalign trays in later life than ever before. So what’s the story?
It would seem that the never-ending zoom calls and scrolling through social media has made us question our appearances even more than before.
There has been a rise in facial tweakments generally, as we seek to blur our perceived imperfections.
Teeth is a case in point: seeing our faces on the small screen whilst in meetings, has driven many of us to the orthodontist once out of lockdown.
The increased disposable income of the over 40’s and the rise of treatments such as Invisalign, would also go a long way in explaining why midlife orthodontics and menopause also comes with their fair share of dental symptoms.
According to Cosmetic Dentist, Dr Hanna Kinsella of Kiln Lane Dental, the hormone changes that occur during the menopause can be responsible for a whole host of teeth and gum issues.
Periodontal disease (inflammation of the gums and bones surrounding the teeth) can increase the risk of loose teeth, receding gums and bad breath but also dry mouth and discolouration of teeth.
Teeth whitening in midlife
On the subject of discolouration of teeth, Dr Hanna says “teeth whitening home kits have come a long way in the last few years. But it’s still important to exercise caution and make sure that you purchase a reputable kit from a reputable seller. At-home kits all vary slightly and some can cause more harm to teeth than good.
………..With some treatments, there’s a chance your gums will be sensitive to the chemicals used in teeth whitening, particularly if you already have sensitive teeth. In-clinic whitening or professional tooth whitening is always the number one way of whitening the teeth and that’s because we’re using professional grade products and because it’s in-clinic, you can legally use higher percentages of bleach.”
She recommends seeing your dentist regularly during menopause for check ups.
……….“A good dental routine in peri and menopause should include regular visits to the dentist, regular brushing of teeth and gums and cleaning in between the teeth with an interdental brush.”
What kind of brush to use in midlife? Manual, electric or sonic?
With a chance of more sensitive gums, I wanted to find out if we should be upgrading our toothbrushes and the way we brush our teeth. Dr Hanna says
“I would always advise patients to use an electric toothbrush rather than a manual one because studies have shown that more plaque is removed with an electric brush.
……….A small head is important and a built-in timer too. There are two main different types of electric toothbrushes – oscillating and sonic. The oscillating rotating brushes have a round head, the sonic ones tend to have a more oval shaped head and the bristles move side-to-side at high speeds. I would advise patients to pick a sonic toothbrush because studies have shown that these are better at cleaning teeth than oscillating ones.”
Should we be flossing?
(and I don’t mean the dance, for those of you who have teenagers)
Dr Hanna recommends flossing once a day as a lot of plaque and bacteria on the teeth is actually in between the teeth where the brush cannot reach. She advises using single tufted brushes that come in different colours depending on the thickness of the brush and can be used multiple times (see product recommendations below).
If those don’t appeal, you could try an ‘oral irrigator “or a “water flosser “as they are also known. I have just bought one in a bid to replace the dreaded dental floss – this clever device fires a fine jet of water out of a nozzle that you move around your mouth blasting out any food particles that might linger in between teeth and cause plaque.
So far I would say it takes a bit of getting used to and my bathroom ceiling has received the odd blast! Stay tuned for updates.
Bad breath – another symptom of menopause to worry about?
Eating a balanced healthy diet and having a good dental routine is the best way to keep teeth and gums healthy and to avoid bad breath. Another top tip is to avoid eating too much processed food or sugar.
If you are someone who has to have a mouthwash, then make sure it is alcohol free.
Dr Hanna says “mouth wash is really there to freshen breath rather than mechanically remove plaque. So it’s just a nice addition to your oral care routine.’
- For at home whitening strips another tooth whitening products try Dr Hanna’s brand Icy Beard Dental.
- Tepee flossers – https://www.tepe.com/uk/products/interdental-brushes/
- Sonic toothbrush – Daily Clean Electric Toothbrush
- Waken mouthwashes – I love these and their eco-friendly blueprint, which means the products are housed in recycled, sustainable and certified carbon neutral packaging. https://www.lookfantastic.com/waken-gift-2-beautiful-when-you-smile-peppermint-850g/13168395.html
- Water flosser – Hangsun Cordless Irrigator
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New Year Dental Resolutions
I was out for dinner with girlfriends last week and just before the food arrived, there was a mass exodus to the bathroom. Curious, I thought… Turns out, everyone was removing their retainers! As I sat alone at the table, I mused that...