Having dental problems can make your life a misery – here are some common questions we get asked and the best ways to avoid them.

A. Gum disease ( or gingivitis) shows itself when your gums become red or swollen and bleed easily. However this is reversible and can be detected and treated by your dentist or hygienist during regular check ups. As the disease progresses (periodontitis) the bone and soft tissues around the teeth are destroyed and eventually teeth can become loose, fall out or have to be removed. 70% of tooth loss over the age of 40 is due to gum disease. The good news is that these gum problems can be prevented by good daily oral hygiene and regular visits to the dental hygienist. In advanced cases treatment may still be possible to prolong the life of your teeth. Symptoms of gum disease:

  • Your gums bleed when you brush or floss.
  • Your teeth look longer due to gum recession.
  • You have bad breath.
  • Your gums are tender, red or swollen.
  • Your teeth are sensitive and loose.
  • Your health has declined.

Visit your dentist. He will be able to measure the extent of the problem and advise. In its earliest stages gum disease is easily treated and reversible. Visits to a hygienist for thorough cleaning and oral hygiene instruction will be required. In its more advanced stages, more extensive treatment will be needed such as deep scaling (under local anaesthetic), laser therapy, use of antibiotics and full mouth disinfection.

A. Bad breath is a very common complaint. There can be many different causes. Usually it is caused by smelly gases released by the bacteria in dental plaque that covers your teeth and gums. Smoking, certain foods such as garlic and onions, nasal and stomach conditions can all cause bad breath as well. Correct and regular brushing can be all that is needed to keep your breath sweet! Using a tongue scraper is also effective and regular flossing helps clean in those difficult to get areas between the teeth.

There are also other products to clean between the teeth such as interdental brushes e.g. TePe brushes, these can sometimes be easier to use than dental floss. There are also special toothpastes such as Retardent, and mouthwashes ( Corsodyl or Retardent). Most mouthwashes only disguise bad breath so ask your dentist or hygienist for advise as to the correct one to choose.

A. There are some toothpastes which claim to remove staining. They can contain bicarbonate of soda or even more abrasive ingredients, so should be used with care, especially ones aimed at smokers. Such toothpastes will only remove surface staining and not change the natural colour of the teeth. Regular scaling and polishing by a hygienist can keep staining to a minimum. The best way would be to stop smoking. Everyone’s teeth are a different natural colour, much the same as the way our skin or hair colour can vary.

Your teeth can also get darker as you get older. If you are still unhappy with the shade of your teeth, following routine dental care, then Professional Tooth Whitening may be the answer. This can be either in the form of Home Tray Whitening or Laser / Power Whitening, which you can find more information and prices on under our treatments page. 

Tobacco (cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco, and snuff) is the most common cause of oral cancer.  Combining tobacco use with heavy drinking can also foster the development of oral cancer.  Bad hygiene, prolonged irritation of the oral cavity, and extended exposure to strong sunlight on the lips are among other causes of the disease.  Many dentists believe vitamins A and E can help prevent the acquisition of oral cancer.