Why is Dentistry so Expensive in the UK

Why is dentistry so expensiveWhy is dentistry so expensive?

We often get asked this question by friends as well as patients and so we thought it would be a good idea  to write a blog post which highlights the costs involved in dentistry and why it may sometimes seem expensive.

The first thing that is important to point out is that dentistry is NOT expensive,  it is NEGLECT which it is expensive!

If you manage to look after your teeth from a young age, maintaining your dental health to a higher level you should find (assuming you have no congenital reason for any problems) that your teeth and gums remain healthy your entire life.

The advent of dental health and maintenance plans such as Denplan have made dentistry far more accessible with monthly payments as low as £14 per month (Less than the price of a cup of coffee per day), meaning that dental health checks and hygiene appointments  often cost less  than a mobile phone contract…  Something which many people are happy to pay.

Let’s look at some of the costs involved in dentistry.

1. Advanced training.

Did you know that all dentists must carry out at least 250 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) every five years, with other dental professionals obligated to carry out 150 hours of CPD?

The General Dental Council recommend a variety of topics:

Those topics are:

  • Medical Emergencies
  • Disinfection and Decontamination
  • Radiography and radiation protection
  • Legal and ethical issues
  • Complaints handling
  • Oral Cancer: Early detection
  • Safeguarding children and young people
  • Safeguarding vulnerable adults

Carrying out this continuing professional development  ensures you have the most highly qualified and trained dental team looking after your dental health. If you want to know which causes your dental team have undertaken please ask to see them, many practices may also displayed clearly on the walls in the patient waiting areas.

2. Holistic dentistry

Dentistry of old was simply focused at looking after your teeth, we now know that bacteria which are involved in dental disease such as gingivitis and periodontitis are also involved in other health conditions such as diabetes and problems with your heart.

It also used to be the case that the dentist would look after each individual tooth as a problem arose. If there was decay in the tooth it would be filled or if the tooth needed to be removed it would be extracted. Modern thinking, materials and training now allows a forward thinking dentist to take into account your entire dentition whenever a single tooth is treated.

Teeth should not be treated in isolation and the complete oral system should always be taken into account including teeth, gums, the bite and oral cancer screening.

3. Using the best materials

A quick and easy way to make dentistry cheaper would be to cut back on materials and used cheap imports. In the UK we are required to use CE marked products.  This guarantees their quality and ensures that everything is traceable and trackable in the event of any future problem.

4. Using the best dental laboratory

Dental laboratory

If you are required to undergo any form of restorative treatment such as dental veneers, crowns, dentures or dental implants it is more than likely that the dental laboratory will be involved. It is possible to purchase dental crowns from overseas laboratories for as low as £15, however this means there is little control over the quality of the restoration all the materials used.

More information about the dangers of using a cheap dental laboratory.

High-quality dental laboratories, understandably, charge a higher fee for producing these restorations which are not only look great  but will last for many years. Using quality craftsmen will always come at a higher cost which ultimately will be passed onto the patient.

5. Cross infection and sterilisation control

In the UK dentists are required by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) to run strict cross infection control measures. This very often includes a separate cross infection control area  from the main surgery in the dental practice.. Complying with these controls is absolutely the right thing to do  but having these separate areas and  advanced cross infection control equipment  clearly comes with additional cost.

How to Get Cheap Dentistry

The simplest answer to keep dentistry cheap is to look after your teeth. Brushing your teeth twice per day for 2 minutes each time, using an interdental brush or floss daily and mouthwash  in between brushing and after meals is the best way to keep your dental costs down.

If you enrolled on a dental maintenance plan (typically starting at around £14 per month) this will ensure you have regular dental health checkups and deep cleaning with your dentist/hygienist, coupling this with your excellent home oral health care routine will mean your dentistry costs are considerably lower.

Always remember…

Dentistry isn’t expensive, neglect is.


Solihull Dental Centre and Implant Clinic are a family dental practice situated in the heart of the Midlands helping the local people maintain bright and healthy smiles.

Images courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net

Sweet Drinks Causing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

“Using sweet drinks to comfort a baby can be extremely damaging to the babies teeth”,

says our Solihull Dentist, Dr Zubair Sacranie.

There are some toddlers as young as 18 months old that are now losing baby teeth due to decay which is caused by consuming too many sugary drinks.

Whenever we consume sugar it feeds the acid excreting bacteria in our mouth is, what parents often forget is that just because a manufacturer puts ‘no added sugar’ on the label of their product it doesn’t mean that the product contains no sugar. Sometimes fruit juices can contain as much sugar as Coca-Cola!

It’s also not the quantity of sugar that’s a problem with babies, it’s the amount of time that the sugar stays in contact with the teeth. One of the biggest reasons for this is that very young children often drink using a bottle, this keeps the sugary liquid in contact with the teeth far longer than would normally be expected, this then leads to painful tooth decay, often on teeth that are not yet fully erupted.

Allowing your baby or toddler to fall asleep also exacerbates this effect as saliva production, which is the natural neutraliser for the acid, slows down when we going to sleep. This means that acid in the drink stays more acidic and isn’t neutralised.

It can be extremely tempting to use sugary drinks to comfort a baby  or toddler but beware,  you may be causing irreparable harm to their teeth. The modern trend of going for organic, no added sugar or natural is causing many parents to mistakenly believe that it is therefore okay to feed babies these sugar containing drinks.

Here are a few tips to help:

  1. Don’t allow your baby or toddler to fall asleep with a bottle  containing milk formula, fruit juices  or any other drink containing sugar.
  2. Substitute sugary drinks for water from the outset, your toddler will then become used to drinking water and not expect the sugary drink.
  3. Introduce your toddler to a sipping by their first birthday to get rid of the bottle teat which keeps the sugar in contact with the teeth for so long.
  4. Give water as the drink at mealtimes. Your toddler will then become used to drinking water rather than expecting or learning to like the taste of the sugary drink.
  5. Your baby oral health routine should start as soon as the first teeth cut through. Use a soft brush and a rice sized amount of child toothpaste in the early stages and then use a pea sized amount child’s toothpaste as their diet becomes more varied and they naturally consume more sugar.
  6. Bring your child to the dentist when they are between 6 and 12 months old, this will get them used to being at the dentist and we can also offer you any advice about looking after your baby’s teeth.

Do everything you can to get into these habits early on, habits are far easier to form than to break so adopting good habits at the start is certainly the easiest parenting option.

If you would like any more advice about looking after your children’s teeth then please request an appointment at our hygienist and we will be happy to help.


Why Are Dental Implants so Expensive?

The cost of dental implants is something  about which we are very frequently asked at our dental practice in Solihull. Dental implants often run into the thousands of pounds but why is this? In this blog post we will look at how dental implants can be made more affordable and what the components are which make up the cost of dental implants.

What makes up the cost of dental implants?

If you had to replace a missing tooth a dental implant is often considered the most viable solution, but what makes up the cost of the entire dental implant?

The cost of dental implant is made up of the following:

  • The planning stages.
  • The dental implant surgery to place the implant itself.
  • The restoration of the crown (the part of the tooth which you see) on top of the dental implant.
  • The dental implant components themselves.
  • The time of the dentist, implant surgeon and dental technician.

Let’s look at each of these in turn

The planning stages.

Dental CT scanWhen you first coming to the dental practice with missing teeth you will have an initial consultation with the dentist who will discuss your options, (We offer a free dental implant consultation) typically your options would be to:

  1. Do nothing.
  2. Have a denture.
  3. Have a bridge.
  4. Replace the tooth with a dental implant.

At this initial consultation you should be provided with a full treatment plan including all of your options which also lays out the cost of dental implants.

For the purposes of this blog post, we are going to assume that the best clinical option for you is to have a tooth replaced with a dental implant. Once this decision has been made the dentist will begin the planning stages. This could include CT scans, x-rays and impressions of your jaw which can then be replicated in plaster.


Working with the scans and plaster models the dentist, surgeon and technician  can work out the best type of implant (length, width, style, brand) and plan the surgical stage.


Many different types of dental implants to choose from

As part of this planning they will also work out the best type/style of restoration to have on top of the dental implant. The planning stages can often take a few weeks to collate all of the information. Your dentist, technician and dental implant surgeon may then spend a few hours discussing your case and working out the best solution.

Once the planning stages have been undertaken you can progress with the surgery itself.

Free guide available for immediate download…

“What Everyone Should Know about Replacing Missing Teeth
BEFORE Starting Treatment”


Dr Sacranie Dental Implant ExpertA special report by Dr Zubair Sacranie revealing what everyone should know about replacing missing teeth.

  • Are you a candidate for dental implants?
  • What happens if you don’t replace missing teeth?
  • Will you really need to wear dentures?
  • How much will treatment cost?
  • How long will it take?
  • What are the downsides?
  • Will it hurt?

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The dental implant surgery to place the implant itself.


With all of the planning complete you can progress to having your dental implant procedure. Sometimes the dentist themselves will place a dental implant or they may refer to another dentist who is a specialist or has a special interest in dental implant placement.

The surgery is usually performed under local anaesthetic but if you are particularly anxious it is often possible to arrange some form of dental sedation so that you are less aware of the procedure. It’s worth bearing in mind, however that dental sedation will often add to the price, particularly if intravenous sedation is used as an anaesthetist will often be present.

After the implant has been placed you move onto a healing phase, during this time you will often be provided with a temporary restoration, this may be in the form of a removable bridge.

The restoration of the Crown (the part of the tooth which you see) on top of the dental implant.

Dental implant Compared to tooth rootOnce the healing phase is complete and the dental implant has fully integrated into your jaw then you can move on to having a dental crown fitted on top.  You may have a visit by the dental technician to take a detailed analysis of the colour of the surrounding teeth in order to match the new tooth in perfectly. If you are having multiple teeth replaced then you have a slightly freer rein  as to the colour that you would like your new teeth to be.

The dental technician will then proceed to manufacture  the dental crown, this may be out of a zirconia material (zirconium oxide) this is one of the most abundant minerals known to man but needs to be highly processed in order to make it suitable for use within the human body.

The dental implant components themselves.

a cross-section through a dental implant

a cross-section through a dental implant

When you have a dental implant placed there is the cost of the titanium implant which is placed into your jaw. This is a precision made piece of engineering which is manufactured  down to Micron accuracy (thousandths of a millimetre).

There will also be an abutment which joins the dental implant onto the crown on top. This abutment will probably have a precision made gold screw, the screws are usually made out of gold as they are a slightly softer metal. When the screw is tightened the softer gold screw has some give, this allows the screw to be tightened more tightly but also means that in the event of excessive force being applied the dental implant itself will not break.

The screw becomes a failsafe in the system, it is far better for the screw to break (a relatively low cost component) than it is for the dental implant to file  all the crown on top to break.

The time of the dentist, implant surgeon and dental technician.

Whilst it is extremely difficult to say exactly how long or how many hours each professional will spend on your case it is estimated to be in the many tens of hours.

By the time your dentist, technician and surgeon have been through the diagnostic, treatment, healing, restoration and post-treatment follow-up stages  they will have spent many hours working exclusively  on your case..

How much do dental implants cost?

In order to make this more understandable most dental practices do not quote for each individual stage, they simply place all of the stages and associated fees into one cost. At our dental practice in Solihull, dental implants start at £1995.

We also offer 15% discount to any patients on our Denplan practice scheme,  further details of the Denplan scheme can be found here.

If one considers the lifetime value of this then dental implants are often the most cost-effective option. Implants should last many years providing high-quality dentistry, allowing you to smile eat and chew again with confidence. Who can put a price on that?

Consequences of Lifestyle On Perceived Facial Age

It has long been known and understood that your lifestyle can have a dramatic impact on your risk of age-related diseases. However, there has been less information available looking at the link between lifestyle and facial ageing… Until now.

A recent study [Gunn, Dick & van Heemst 2015] that was published in the British Journal of Dermatologists looks at the links between various factors and perceived facial age, specifically, they looked at skin going red in the sun, sun bed use, wearing false teeth, not flossing between teeth, few remaining teeth, body mass index (BMI) and irregular skin moisturisation.
The research consisted of data from two cross-sectional studies of 318 Dutch men and 329 women aged between 45 and 75, they also studied 162 Englishwomen in the same age range.

Results for men

In Dutch men, smoking, having skin that went red in the sun, being outside in the sun most of the summer, sunbed use, wearing false teeth and not flossing were all significantly associated with a total of 9.3 years higher perceived facial age.

Results for women

In Dutch women, smoking, sunbathing, sunbed use, few remaining teeth and a low body mass index (BMI) were associated with a total of 10.9 years higher perceived facial age.
In English women, cleaning teeth only once a day, wearing false teeth, irregular skin moisturisation and having skin that went red in the sun were associated with a total 9.1 years higher perceived facial age.

Interestingly, smoking and sunbed use were associated more strongly with aging in women than in men.

Although associative in nature the results of this study support the notion that lifestyle factors can have long-term beneficial effects on your youthful looks.

Facial age

What can you do to lower your perceived facial age?

The first thing to consider is how you can prevent your face from prematurely ageing.


It would seem from the studies that regular skincare in both the forms of avoiding excessive sun and regularly using moisturiser is a good place to start.

The other thing that the study mentions this looking after your teeth. it certainly seems that for men, wearing false teeth and not flossing are significantly associated with higher perceived facial age.

With women, cleaning teeth only once a day and wearing false teeth increases perceived age, therefore looking after your teeth by cleaning them adequately is a pre-requisite for keeping them healthy for life.

perceived facial age


Unfortunately, things don’t always go to plan, here are a few ways you may be able to restore your perceived facial age.

  1. If you are missing tooth and want to replace them, consider dental bridges or dental implants.
  2. If you have false teeth then consider dental implants as a viable alternative.
  3. If you have excessive winkles and/or lines then consider anti-wrinkle injections or fillers.

Solihull Dental Centre and Implant Clinic  on the outskirts of Birmingham have experience in restoring the signs of facial ageing using a combination of dentistry and facial rejuvenation techniques.

Book your appointment today.

Gunn DA, Dick, van Heemst et al ‘Lifestyle and youthful looks’. D Br J Dermatol. 2015;172(5):1338-45. doi: 10.1111/bjd.13646. Epub 2015 Apr 15.

The Reasons People Want Straighter Teeth, Some of Them Might Surprise You.

We hear many reasons for people wanting straighter teeth here at our dental practice in Solihull, in the outskirts of Birmingham.  There is generally a desire in society to look as good as possible and research has shown that first impressions really do count, especially as a smile is seen as one of the most important aspects in those first impressions.

let’s look at some of the reasons and benefits of having straighter teeth.

 The benefits of straighter teeth

Improved Self-Esteem

553291_471240662887404_2144508923_nResearch by both Sonicare and the  American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry has shown that people tend to notice a great smile first when they meet you. This goes a long way to explaining why a straighter smile improves self-esteem.

Teeth Will Be Easier to Clean.

download (1)It is absolutely vital that you keep your  teeth clean. Each time you eat the bacteria in your mouth needs of of the sugar, as they do this they excrete acid which attacks your teeth.

Over time this acid attack can result in dental decay if not kept under control.

These bacteria have a tendency to hide in between your teeth so using interdental brushes or floss is one of the best ways to clean in these difficult to reach areas. The problem if your teeth crooked is that these areas can often be extremely tricky to get floss or brushes into.

For this reason straighter teeth can be healthier teeth!

Decreased Risk of Injury to Protruding Teeth.

2-div1If your teeth protrude then they are more likely to receive a direct blow in the event of an accident.

If you are unlucky enough to be hit in the face then a straighter smile will distribute the force of the contact across a wide area meaning you are less likely to sustain injury to any specific tooth.

Decreased headache and neck pain.

Source: training.seer.cancer.gov

The muscles of the face, head and neck are all connected. If your back teeth are not quite aligned then your jaw muscles may compensate for this throughout the day. You probably wouldn’t notice as your muscles get used to pulling the jaw into the correct position.

However, over time the muscles can become tired and strained, if they are pulling particularly hard then this can result in head and neck pain.

Straighter teeth can mean that your jaws line up in a more natural position relieving this pressure on the muscles and therefore relieving headache and neck pain.

 Preventing Abnormal Tooth Wear

When you eat your teeth grind from left to right as well as up and down. As your teeth move to each side they will glide over each other in a specific way, in dental terms this is known as a ‘lateral excursion’.

In a situation with straight teeth this lateral excursion (when you move your teeth to either the left or right) happens without any specific tooth getting in the way.  If a tooth gets in the way when you slide from left to right we call this an ‘interference’.

There are a few ways to remove these interferences during a lateral excursion and one of those ways is by moving the teeth into the correct position so that the interference doesn’t happen. This can also result in reduced headache and neck pain as the muscles around your jaws are not having to compensate for these teeth interferences.

 Improved Overall Health


the bacteria in your teeth which calls periodontal disease have been found to be  involved in other processes around the body. Halitosis, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems and even erectile dysfunction have all been linked to periodontal disease.

As we have said before, because straighter teeth are easier to keep clean you will find it easier to keep the bacteria which cause periodontal disease at bay.

A straighter smile not only gives you a healthy smile but could lead to a healthier body also.

We offer a free consultation for any patient wanting to discuss straighter teeth, please contact us today.

TEETH CLEANING, everything you need to know

In this blog post we will be taking a look at everything you need to know about keeping your teeth clean and healthy for life. People in Solihull are often looking for ways to reduce the cost and time of visiting the dentist, one of the best ways to do this is to keep your teeth fit and healthy.

A healthy smile means your dental fees will be smaller, you spend less time at the dentist and can smile with absolute confidence.

How to clean teeth properly

In order to keep your teeth fit and healthy for life you must adopt an efficient and effective system for cleaning your teeth. Here’s what we recommend:

  1. Wait 20 min after eating before brushing your teeth, this gives your enamel time to harden again after that acid attack of eating.
  2. Use a pea sized amount of toothpaste
  3. Hold your brush at an angle
  4. Brush all of your teeth from front to back, the top and the bottom, remember to brush your tongue.
  5. Brush up and down and round and round.
  6. Try to keep the toothpaste in your mouth without rinsing, this leaves the maximum amount of fluoride in contact with your teeth for the longest period of time.
  7. Once a day use an interdental brush or floss to clean in between your teeth, this does not have to be at the same time as you clean your teeth.
  8. Once or twice a day rinse your mouth out with a fluoride mouthwash, typically a good time to do this is just after the meal. Avoid using mouthwash after cleaning your teeth, toothpaste has a higher percentage of fluoride than mouthwash does, if you rinse with mouthwash after cleaning then you actually reduce the amount of fluoride in contact with your teeth.

fluoride in toothpaste versus mouthwash

Cleaning teeth with an electric toothbrush

Whilst it is not 100% necessary to use an electric toothbrush most dentists recommend them. Modern electric toothbrushes offer a few advantages:

  1. an audible timer to ensure that you clean your teeth for the correct length of time
  2. a pressure sensor to ensure you do not press too hard and damage the sensitive gums
  3. an oscillating brush head to get into all of the tiny gaps

The combination of all of these features means that an electric toothbrush tends to be more efficient at cleaning your teeth.

You may also find with a manual toothbrush that you tend to press on some areas of your teeth harder than others. This can often lead to receding gums in this area, an electric toothbrush tends to be easier to clean with the same amount of pressure over your entire row.

How to clean teeth plaque at home


Plaque buildup on your teeth due to something known as biofilm. This biofilm is a sticky thin layer over your teeth. It is made up of bacteria which feed on the sugar in your diet.

Sometimes this biofilm builds up in difficult to reach areas, such as in between your teeth or on the tongue side of your teeth. As the biofilm gets thicker and thicker it turns into plaque, a hard substance which adheres to your teeth.

The plaque means that the acid excreting bacteria are in constant contact with your teeth, as they excrete acid whilst they feed on the sugar in your diet this can attack your teeth causing dental decay.

For this reason it is important to keep plaque to the absolute minimum.

The best way to do this is to follow a good oral hygiene routine, please see our previous section on how to clean teeth properly.

If the plaque build up significantly then you will need to see a dental hygienist who can remove it using an ultrasonic scaling device.

Plaque is extremely difficult to remove at home because it is so hard and stuck your teeth.

How to clean teeth with braces

Image courtesy of Cuteimage at freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Cuteimage at freedigitalphotos.net

If you have dental braces it is just as important to keep your teeth clean as it is without braces. When you have the braces removed you want to be able to show off your brand-new smile!

Plaque can build up very quickly around braces so it really is important that you have a good oral hygiene routine whilst wearing them.

An electric toothbrush will help enormously if you have fixed orthodontics, using interdental brushes will also be important as you will probably not be able to get floss in between your teeth due to the arch wires.

Here are our top tips for cleaning teeth with braces:

  • follow the advice in our previous section on how to clean teeth properly, plus…
  • Use a mirror every time you clean your teeth, this can be really helpful to ensure you have cleaned all the way around your braces
  • ask your orthodontist for some special brushes which allow you to clean in difficult to reach areas, round ended bristle brushes seem to work best.

After brushing your braces should look clean and shiny and you should be able to see the edges of the brackets. Ensure you rinse with a good quality fluoride mouthwash at least once per day.

How to clean teeth stains at home

As with almost all of our advice we recommend avoiding getting teeth stains in the first place by maintaining a good oral health routine. If you find that your teeth stain then this may be because you have plaque which has built up, keeping this plaque to a minimum will help keep your teeth looking bright.

The best way to keep your teeth clean and free from stains at home is to visit the hygienist first, have a professional clean and polish and then follow our steps listed previously. This will allow your teeth to be cleaned to their maximum brightness, all you need to do after is to maintain them at home.

Some advice on cleaning teeth stains at home:

  1. try using a whitening tooth paste
  2. try using a whitening mouthwash

Your gums are very sensitive we therefore do not recommend you try any other stain removal technique at home.

Oral hygienists

A dental/oral hygienist is an important part of the dental team and could help you save lots of money at the dentist. Hygienists are specially trained to be dental health educators, helping you look after your teeth and carrying out deep cleaning which is not possible at home.

Your hygienist will also typically score your dental health on a scale from 0 to 4, this is known as a basic periodontal examination (BPE). Each tooth is rated on this scale which allows you to track your dental health across each visit. The hygienist will use a probe around each tooth to determine pocket depth around each tooth.

Scoring is typically

  • 0 No pockets >3.5 mm, no calculus/overhangs, no bleeding after probing
  • 1 No pockets >3.5 mm, no calculus/overhangs, but bleeding after probing
  • 2 No pockets >3.5 mm, but calculus/overhangs
  • 3 Probing depth 3.5-5.5 mm (indicating pocket of 4-5 mm)
  • 4 Probing depth >5.5 mm (indicating pocket of 6 mm or more) fifth

How much do oral hygienists cost?

Visits to the dentist are normally more expensive than visits to the oral hygienist, at our practice a oral hygiene program appointment costs from £39.

Teeth cleaning appointments

Teeth cleaning/oral hygiene appointments are best made at the same time as you visit your dentist. Typically a patient will visit the hygienist for 30 min and then go on to have a routine dental health check with the dentist for 30 min afterwards.

This makes best use of your time and is the most convenient way to make an appointment to have your teeth cleaned.

Our practice also offers Denplan Essentials, this includes:

  1. Routine care from your dentist including dental check-ups
  2. Dental x-rays
  3. Hygiene treatment.
  4. Discounts on Restorative care.

Denplan Essentials is available from approximately £13 per month, this would include two checkups, x-rays and to hygiene visits per year, this ensures that you have regular access to teeth cleaning appointments with the most affordable payment method.


How Does Smoking Affect Your DENTAL Health? #nosmokingday

Most people are fully aware of the health risks of smoking, they are, after all printed on the side of most cigarette packets.

Jin Ling cigarette pack - opened - left sideIn addition to the most widely known conditions such as lung cancer and heart disease, smoking has a large impact on your teeth and gums also.

As ‘National No Smoking Day’ on 9th March approaches we thought that now was a good time to give you more information about the implications of smoking on your teeth and gums and provide some resources for when you give up.

What effect does smoking have on my teeth?


Everyone has a light buildup of biofilm over their teeth, this builds up naturally throughout the day and it is this layer which we attempt to remove each time we clean our teeth. If this biofilm is left in place is too long (typically in between the teeth) it can harden and become dental plaque.

The biofilm and dental plaque are far more susceptible to picking up stain than your natural tooth, the result is that smokers often have badly stained or discoloured teeth.

Smoking and chewing tobacco also stains dentures and restorations.

Tooth wear

According to the Action on Smoking and Health research report published in January 2012 pipe smokers and smokeless tobacco users are prone to excessive wear on their teeth, which often become flat. The eventual exposure of tooth dentine can lead to deep tobacco staining.

What effect does smoking have on my gums?

Your gums are a delicate surrounding the your teeth, they help protect the roots around the teeth where they anchor into the bone. If your gums become inflamed, or start to recede, then the bone around the teeth can also begin to recede. This could ultimately result in tooth loss.

It has been estimated that smokers have between a five and 20 times higher chance of developing periodontal disease, and with that, any treatment of periodontal (gum) disease is compromised in anyone that smokes.

You therefore get a double whammy! You are more likely to contract gum disease if you smoke and if you do it is harder to treat.

What effect does smoking have on my mouth and throat?


Tobacco, however it is consumed whether it be smoked in a pipe, cigar or cigarette or even chewed can cause halitosis. And if you choose to smoke stronger tobacco this effect can be heightened due to the concentration of sulphur which produces the bad breath.

Smokers have a tendency to suck mint sweets to overcome this effect, these in themselves can then lead to dental erosion due to the large quantities of sugar and citric acid contained in them.


The link between smoking and cancer is well documented, some smokers believe that if they don’t inhale the smoke fully then they stand less chance of developing cancer. Unfortunately this is not true, you stand as much chance of developing mouth cancer whether you inhale or not.

What effect of smoking have on wound healing?

Through various research studies done smoking has been found to impair healing of wounds (1,2,3).

Smokers have decreased levels of salivary and serum immunoglobulin which affects wound healing in the oral cavity and the mouth’s ability to clear pathogens. They also have decreased blood oxygenation leading to decreased oxygen delivery to the tissues which also impairs healing following oral surgery.

The loss of the blood clot that follows the removal of teeth (referred to as dry sockets or localised osteitis) occurs four times more frequently in smokers than in non-smokers.

There is also evidence which suggests that smoking inhibits healing through the effects of decreased oxygenation in the blood and tissues, and constriction of blood vessels.

So even is you have an minor mouth injury, such as an ulcer or biting your cheek then smoking can have an effect here also.

Solihull Dental Centre & Implant Clinic are supporting people quitting


To help you overcome nicotine cravings, we recommend following the “Four Ds”, aimed at reducing the urge to smoke:

  • Delay: Don’t act on the urge to smoke by opening a pack or lighting a cigarette because even after a few minutes this urge will reduce.
  • Deep Breaths: Take three deep, slow breaths in and out.
  • Drink water: Sip it slowly and enjoy the taste.
  • Do something else: Take your mind off smoking by doing some exercise, listen to music or go for a walk.


iStop Smoking Today have also produced a helpful video with a 10 step proven plan to quitting smoking.  The plan involves:

  • Step #1: Make a list of reasons.
  • Step #2: Watch your money grow.
  • Step #3: Set a date.
  • Step #4: Make your list of substitutes.
  • Step #5: Have those conversations.
  • Step #6: Reach Out.
  • Step #7: Start new activities.
  • Step #8: Shop.
  • Step #9: Wash and purge.
  • Step #10: Stop Smoking Today!

 #NoSmokingDay – countdown to the day you start to stop.

  1. Jones JK, Triplett RG. The relationship of cigarette smoking to impaired intraoral wound healing: a review of evidence and implications for patient care. J Oral Maxillofac Surg 1992; 50: 237-9.
  2. Silverstein P. Smoking and wound healing. American Journal of Medicine 1992; 93 (1A):22S- 24S.
  3. Rayner R. Effects of cigarette smoking on cutaneous wound healing (pdf). Primary Intention 2006;14(3):100-102,104.

Why is the Sugar Smart App so Good?

Credit: nhs.uk/change4life-beta/campaigns/sugar-smart/

Every day, without realising, we’re ALL having too much added sugar

You’d be surprised at the amount of added sugar lurking in everyday food and drink – and it builds up quickly over the day.

Parents are now being advised to enroll in a totally free application which informs them on the sugar content of drink and food.

The “sugar smart app”, from Public Health England (PHE), functions by checking bar code scans and revealing total sugar content of the food in either cubes or grams.

Authorities hope it can help combat tooth cavities, weight problems and type 2 diabetes and encourage families to select more healthy options with their daily diet.

Tooth Cavities & Dental Disease

Approximately 46,500 children and young people under 19 were admitted to hospital for a primary diagnosis of dental caries in 2013–14 according to The state of children’s oral health in England report by the Faculty of Dental Surgery – that’s more children than were admitted for tonsillitis.

As a nation, if we are going to reduce these hospital admissions for young people and we need to get dental disease under control.



Dental caries is caused when the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar, as they do this they excrete acid which attacks The outer surface of your tooth. This attack continues until the dental care is reaches deep inside your tooth. If the attack isn’t halted by a change in oral healthcare routine, diet and dental treatments then ultimately the tooth will become extremely painful, sensitive and could be lost!

This seems to be what is happening to these young people which causes these hospital admissions. Becoming more educated about cleaning one’s teeth and diet is the route to reducing this hospitalisation.

Type 2 Diabetes

Chris Askew, Diabetes UK Chief Executive, said:

“Diets that are high in sugar are fuelling the rise in obesity, and in turn the dramatic rise in Type 2 diabetes, a serious health condition that can lead to devastating complications such as blindness, amputations and stroke. This is unlike Type 1 diabetes which cannot be prevented and is not caused by being obese. With the average child consuming three times the recommended daily amount of sugar, the need for action has never been more urgent. The new Sugar Smart app will help parents to understand and take control of their children’s sugar intake.

PHE states that young people are eating 3X more sugar than is recommended in their new Change4Life marketing campaign. Their research indicates that normally children aged 4 to 10 years of age are consuming 22kg of added sugar annually. That equates to about 5,500 sugar cubes which is more that the average 5-year old weighs!

It’s all as simple as 3 easy steps:

  1. Get The App

  2. Start Scanning

  3. Reveal The Sugar

Here’s how to use the sugar smart app

The app's instructions Credit: Public Health England

The Sugar Smart app instructions Credit: Public Health England

  • Download the application through the Apple Store or Google Play.
  • Based on how old you are, your everyday sugar allowance will differ. The application informs you on the maximum you should eat.
  • Select the product that has a barcode.
  • Open the application.
  • Permit the application the use of the digital camera on your phone- a box will appear requesting permission.
Credit: Public Health England

Credit: Public Health England

  • Line the barcode track up with the red-colored line and wait for a beep. If it’s doesn’t work, yo may be trying to scan too close up, so move the camera further away.
  • The application will let you know just how much sugar there is in the product – however the application does not have every food item available yet as it is still in it’s development stage.
  • After that you can share the end result together with your connections on Facebook, Twitter & other social media sites.
  • Clicking the menu button gives you more about sugar content in meals, a scanning history and let’s you go to the app’s website.

If you have children we can highly recommend that they download the app and begins scanning food, this can be a fun way to educate your case about the amount of sugar in food.

Do let us know what you think.


Solihull Dental Centre is a Private dental practice offering free dental health advice via their website, social media streams and regularly updated blog posts.