(Dental Health Extending-Lifespan Programme)
Poor dental health may contribute to shortening your lifespan by promoting life threatening diseases, such as heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes. Those with good oral health can expect to live six years or more of good quality life longer than those who suffer frequently bleeding gums.
Before reading further you may wish to view the following dental video clips
The main oral bacterial disease affecting lifespan is gum disease.
Despite all our efforts complete eradication of harmful bacteria is impossible.
What does Dental HELP assessment consist of?
Traditional dentistry focuses on maintaining oral function and may have little influence on general health consequences in a sizeable proportion of the population, who continue to remain at risk.
This programme differs by concentrating on general health consequences of poor dental health, using high quality approaches to remove general health risks and restore function.
Where a person is in peril of general health effects, immediately after the initial examination we reduce these risks, stabilising the mouth, as we progress to deal with less urgent, but nonetheless important, dental concerns, such as appearance.
From before birth
The programme starts before birth, when we concentrate on the mother's dental health, and where possible the close family members. At birth the baby receives bacteria from the mother and close relatives. If these pass from healthy people, they are more likely to be protective, whilst unhealthy people pass their harmful germs which may cause immediate or delayed problems. This shifting back and forth of bacteria from person to person continues with kissing, inadvertent use of someone else 's toothbrush or unwashed cutlery and so on. Later in life, those with established protective bacteria and healthy immune systems are less likely to be affected by the occasional influx of harmful ones.
During teething some children have problems with pain, swelling, and occasionally fever. As teeth come through it is likely bacteria aggravate the process , but it is not known to what degree, or whether the type of bacteria has any effect. Indeed mild attack at the time of teething may be useful for developing an effective immune system and ability to fight off infection in later life. (If it goes beyond the usual dribbling, redness and discomfort calmed by Calpol or Ibuprofen liquids, and progresses to fever it is advisable to contact your doctor .)
As children grow, a poor diet encourages the growth of harmful bacteria. Those unfortunate to have them from birth or as the teeth erupt, suffer tooth decay very early, whilst those inheriting good bacteria take longer to acquire harmful ones and develop damaged teeth.
Children with decay in first teeth are more likely to develop similar problems in their adult teeth. Around adult teeth, encouraged by poor diet and inadequate cleaning, overgrowth of bacteria leads to gum disease. This is detected when you spit out blood after brushing. Those who don't brush develop bleeding gums, which eventually becomes noticeable by the taste, but damage may be severe.
If inadequately carried out, repaired teeth may exacerbate the situation. It is vital to have high quality fillings and crowns to stop the downward spiral. Quality depends on:
- the skill and knowledge of the dentist
- sufficient time to carry out the work without undue pressure, particularly the time to create a good finish and polished surface , reducing the ability of bacteria to stick in concealed cracks and crevices
- the best materials, which minimize corrosion, crumbling, expansion on setting, contraction on setting, or irritation of gums.
As a patient you are generally unaware of the quality of care received, basing your choice of dentist on other reasons, such as convenience or cost.
Our dentist (Ray Steggles) has additional knowledge of such things as bacterial adhesion, growth, and disease. He is experienced in all areas of restoring teeth. We charge adequately to provide the best equipment, allow sufficient time to obtain a good finish, and use the most modern and durable materials. We advise a full treatment plan, but where finance is a problem we can adapt it to help you get the optimum health benefit, by concentrating on particular areas, or spreading payments.It is our view that dealing with the most critical areas well is a better investment than doing everything poorly. Doing so creates stability maintaining health, and other parts can be carried out as finances permit. Taking the patch-up option leaves you vulnerable to future health problems.