All posts by Catherine McCanny

The truth about tooth whitening

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What is tooth whitening?

Tooth whitening is a procedure performed by Dentists to improve the colour of your teeth. It involves a tooth whitening gel either Carbamide Peroxide or Hydrogen Peroxide that you place into some custom made trays that you wear over night to lighten your teeth. The active whitening ingredient (Carbamide or Hydrogen Peroxide) penetrates your enamel to get to the discoloured molecules and over a period of 4-5 days you will notice a huge difference in the colour of your teeth. It is the perfect way to finish off your smile after orthodontic treatment!

Frequently asked questions

1. My hairdresser does tooth whitening in her salon is it ok to go there?

The answer is no. Only registered Dentists, Dental Therapists, Dental Hygienists and Clinical Dental Technicians working to the prescription of a dentist can perform tooth whitening.  The British Association of Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology (BABTC) state that they will not insure any individual to perform tooth whitening. First of all they will not have insurance and secondly they will not have the correct equipment and training.

2. Is it illegal for beauticians to offer tooth whitening?

Yes. The High Court case of GDC Jamous confirmed that tooth whitening is the practice of dentistry and can only be legally performed by a dentist or a dental therapist, dental hygienist or a clinical dental technician working to the prescription of a dentist.

3. Can I book my son in for tooth whitening treatment for his 16th birthday?

No. Under the Cosmetic Products (Safety) regulations 2012 every patient must be over the age of 18 weather they are accompanied by an adult or not.

4. I want my teeth really white! I’ve seen some high percentage tooth whitening gels online will they be ok to use?

No. Firstly as stated before, only registered Dentists, Dental Therapists, Dental Hygienists and Clinical Dental Technicians working to the prescription of a dentist can perform tooth whitening. Regulations allow the maximum use of 6% Hydrogen Peroxide present or released. 10% of Carbamide Peroxide would release a maximum of 3.6% Hydrogen Peroxide therefore 16% Carbamide Peroxide is used in Dental Practices as the maximum Hydrogen Peroxide it will release is under 6%.

For more information on tooth whitening and what St Michaels Orthodontics have to offer –

10 top reasons to smile

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  1. 1. Smiling makes us attractive   There is a huge attraction factor to those who smile, we are drawn to them! Frowns and unhappy people push people away, so keep smiling.
  2. 2. Smiling relieves stress  When we are stressed it really shows up in our faces. Smiling can help us! When you’re stressed try your best to keep smiling and you will defiantly see a change in how you feel. It prevents you from looking tired, run down or upset. It makes other people think you are happy and you will feel a lot happier in yourself.
  3. 3. Smiling changes our mood  Next time you are feeling down, try putting on a smile. There’s a good chance you mood will change for the better. Smiling can trick the body into helping you change your mood.
  4. 4. Smiling is contagious  When someone is smiling; straight away they lighten up the room and make things more positive. If someone is smiling and seems a really happy person, it will make you want to smile as well. It changes the moods of others as a smiling person brings happiness with them. Make sure you smile lots and you will draw people too you!
  5. 5. Smiling boosts your immune system  When you smile you are more relaxed so your immune function can improve. Smile and you could prevent certain virus like cold and flu.
  6. 6. Smiling lowers your blood pressure  See if you notice a difference? Sit down at home and take a reading of your blood pressure. Spend the day smiling and measure your blood pressure after. You should see a reduction in your blood pressure, give it a try!
  7. 7. Smiling releases endorphins, natural pain killers and serotonin  Smiling is a natural drug, it releases endorphins, natural pain killers and serotonin and together these make us feel a lot better in our selves.
  8. 8. Smiling lifts the face and makes you look younger  No one needs to go for the expense of a face lift, just smile! Smiling will use muscles to lift your face and make you feel and look younger.
  9. 9. Smiling makes you seem successful  Smiling people appear more confident, are more likely to be promoted, and more likely to be approached. Put on a smile at meetings and appointments and people will react to you differently.
  10. 10. Smiling helps you stay positive Try this test: Smile. Now try to think of something negative without losing the smile. It’s hard. When we smile our body is sending the rest of us a message that “Life is good!” Stay away from depression, stress and worry by smiling.

National Smile Month – Local schools brush up on their knowledge on the importance of good oral hygiene!

The UK’s largest and longest running oral health campaign is on its way. National smile month takes place between May 18th and June 18th and is the perfect opportunity to educate the local community on how important Oral Health is. It’s a time for as many people as   possible to get involved in this jam packed, fun month where hundreds of events and activities will take place.
Here at St Michaels Orthodontics we think it is very important for everyone to have a good understanding on how important good oral health is, especially young children! We feel if children learn young then hopefully in the future there will be a lower percentage of adults with dental problems. Two members of staff here at St Michaels, Katie and Kate, make regular visits to local schools and present a talk on oral hygiene, braces and ourselves at St Michaels Orthodontics. Recently they have visited 3 different classes, one at Flushdyke Junior and Infant School and two at Towngate School. They came back with such great feedback on how much the children and teachers learnt from the talk! They were amazed how much they learnt, two minutes of brushing is actually a very long time! Also who’d of thought flavored water contained so much sugar? The children and teachers won’t be drinking that as much anymore! The children loved getting involved and learning about how the brush their teeth properly, what to use, what’s good and what’s bad for your teeth and the consequences if good oral hygiene doesn’t take place.
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There are so many ways of getting yourself, your team and your friends involved. Why not select a few people and do a sponsored leg wax or create an eye catching display full of posters and information. Why not do a smileathron? Here at St Michaels Orthodontics we love taking as many pictures (selfies) as we can with the national smile month smilies. It’s a fun and easy way of taking part. You could even get your hands dirty and get all creative baking some tasty little treats to sell and raise money. Last year the staff at St Michaels did a full week of baking and raised a great amount of money for this event. Our therapist Katie and her nurse Kate also set up a cart at our local shopping centre handing out leaflets, toothpaste samples, balloons and pens as well as stopping shoppers walking past and having a quick chat about the importance of good Oral Health. There’s so much to do so there’s no excuse to not take part!   bun pj buns Continue reading

Top Tips on how to keep your smile nice!

Throughout your life it is very important to keep your teeth! Teeth are necessary for chewing (mastication), this is where the teeth grind, tear and cut food ready for swallowing. Without your teeth, chewing will become very difficult, so make sure you keep your teeth as long as you possibly can!

Oral Hygiene
One very important thing that should be part of your daily routine is cleaning and flossing your teeth. This will help maintain your healthy smile.

Brushing tips

-First of all, choose a medium bristle brush or an electric brush and a toothpaste containing fluoride. (Fluoride has been proven to prevent cavities).

-Brush after every meal (3-4 times daily). One of those times should be just before you go to sleep on a night. Brushing too hard can damage your gums causing recession.

Brush your teeth for a minimum time of two minutes each time. A top tip is to brush whilst listening to a song and by the time the song has finished, you’ll have done your two minutes of brushing.

Roll or flick the brush so that the bristles move out from under the gum toward the biting edge of the tooth. This helps move the plaque out from under the gum line.

-Use interdental brushes twice daily to remove debris from in between your teeth.

-Use a fluoride mouthwash once a day on a separate occasion to brushing.

Bad oral hygiene will result in decalcification!!
The diagram below shows decalcification!

Decalcification simply means loss of calcium from the teeth. It occurs with poor cleaning and a bad diet leaving plaque to sit and built up on the teeth. This allows the acid in the plaque to sit on the enamel, resulting in the calcium being drawn out of each tooth. The calcium makes the enamel strong and with out it, it will become soft. This is irriversable as it is the early stages of decay.


Good diet?

A good diet is very important to help keep your teeth healthy. A poor diet can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and bad breath (halitosis). Try avoiding acidic food and drinks as each time you eat or drink, your teeth are under attack for up to one hour! Sugar reacts with bacteria in plaque and will cause harmful acids that will attack your teeth and may result in decay or decalcification. Therefore you need to make sure you have a balanced diet.

Acidic food and drinks causes damage to your teeth (decay/decalcification). Acid wears away enamel on your teeth and leaves dentine uncovered, your teeth are then more prone to decay. Tooth decay can lead to fillings in your teeth or even extractions (removal of teeth).

Any food or drink with a PH level lower than 5.5 is a danger as it has a potential of causing damage to your teeth. Here are some examples:

Examples to avoid are:

  • Vinegar PH 2.0
  • Red wine PH 2.5
  • Cola PH 2.5
  • Pickles PH 3.2
  • Grapefruit PH 3.3
  • Orange juice PH 3.8
  • Lager PH 4.4

Examples of healthier snacks are:

  • Cheddar Cheese PH 5.9
  • Celery PH 6.5
  • Milk PH 6.9
  • Breadstick PH 7.0
  • Mineral Water PH 7.6
  • Walnut PH 8.0
  • Carrots PH 9.5

The best drink to have throughout the day is water or milk and to drink as little red wine and fruit juices as possible as they have a much higher risk of causing damage to your teeth. Try to drink fruit juices or anything very acidic at meal times to minimise the acid attacks on your teeth throughout the day.