Category: Healthy Teeth

5 Tips For A Brighter Healthier Smile

Smiling isn’t just a facial expression that shows you’re feeling happy, it also helps connect with other people and put them at their ease. Various studies have also revealed that a white, healthy smile can lead to greater social acceptance and more job opportunities. Without the right care, however, your smile can cause you to lose self confidence and can also lead to a variety of dental problems. Here are 5 tips for a brighter, more healthy smile.

brighter healthier smile

  1. As a Southampton dentist we bang on about brushing, flossing, and rinsing twice a day and that’s for a very good reason. The number one way to keep your teeth white and healthy and to fight off bacteria is with good home oral care. That said, it’s all about brushing and flossing properly for 2 full minutes a day, followed by rinsing with an antiseptic mouth wash. If you’re not sure how to brush and floss correctly then our hygienists can show you.
  1. Be aware of the foods you’re eating – It’s pretty obvious that the food you put into your mouth can have a direct impact on the condition of your teeth and gums. Foods which stain your teeth, are filled with sugar, or high in acid content, can all have a negative effect on the health and appearance of your teeth. By limiting your consumption of these foods and rinsing with water once you’ve eaten them, you can reduce your chances of decay and cavities.
  1. Whitening – although white teeth aren’t necessarily healthier, they are commonly linked with health. You can keep your teeth white by cutting down on drinks such as coffee, tea, and red wine. However, if your teeth are discoloured or stained then your cosmetic dentist in Southampton can offer you power whitening or home whitening treatments to restore your smile.
  1. Straightening – Unfortunately we aren’t all blessed with straight even teeth and conditions such as a cross bite, overbite, crowding, and gapping, can all impact on functionality and appearance. However thanks to a plethora of brace systems there’s something to suit all needs and budgets to straighten out your smile and make your teeth easier to maintain.
  1. Visit your dentist in Southampton – finally, it’s important to visit your dentist at least twice a year to keep your smile in tip top condition. Any problems can be detected early and fixed before they can develop into something more complex and expensive to rectify. In addition,the hygienist can remove plaque which you can’t remove by brushing alone, keeping your teeth healthy and clean.

If you haven’t visited your Southampton dentist in a while, then it’s never too late to get back to good habits. Call Smilemakers today on 02380 442626 to book an appointment with Dr. Thomas Darling or contact us online at

Steps To Preserve Tooth Enamel – A Southampton Dentist Explains

Tooth enamel for those of you who don’t know is the thin outer coating of the tooth which is there to provide protection to the tooth from everyday activities such as biting, crunching, and chewing. It also acts as an insulator against hot and cold temperatures. However, although enamel is an important part of a tooth’s composition, once it’s gone then it’s lost forever.

tooth enamelEnamel is different from other parts of the body because it doesn’t contain any living cells, which means that it can’t regenerate and form new growth. Knowing this, it’s important for patients to take good care of their teeth so as to avoid excessive wear and tear or erosion of the enamel. Here are some of the things that can damage your tooth enamel and steps you can take to preserve it.

About enamel erosion

Enamel erosion is triggered by a chemical acid process which occurs in two different forms – intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic erosion is caused by internal matters such as gastrointestinal issues, acid reflux, dry mouth, eating disorders and genetics. Conversely extrinsic erosion is caused by external matters such as the regular consumption of acidic food and drink which elevates the amount of acid present in the mouth.

Some of the food and drink which can damage tooth enamel includes:

  • Soft drinks
  • Sweets
  • Alcohol
  • Fruit drinks
  • A diet high in sugar and starches

In addition, behavioural issues such as tooth grinding, friction, stress, and corrosion can also lead to the erosion of tooth enamel.

Signs of enamel erosion

So how do you know if your tooth enamel is wearing thin? Well, if your teeth easily become discoloured after eating or drinking then it’s likely that your enamel has worn down. If your teeth feel more sensitive to hot and cold temperatures, then that’s another indication of enamel erosion; and finally if you’re suffering from enamel damage you may see small indentations on the surface of your teeth.

How to protect tooth enamel

To reduce enamel erosion and preserve your tooth enamel you need to start making changes in your diet to cut out foods and drinks which are acidic. It’s also important to pay particular attention to your oral hygiene by brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing once a day as well as attending 6 month check-ups with your Southampton dentist. A few other tips include:

  • Chew sugar free gum after meals to increase saliva and wash the acid of your teeth
  • Drink lots of water
  • Drink sugary drinks through a straw
  • Use a fluoride mouthwash

Often taking these steps is sufficient to preserve tooth enamel but in more severe cases you may need to see your doctor for medical help relating to eating disorders or gastrointestinal issues. If your tooth enamel has been damaged beyond repair then you may need to seek the advice of a cosmetic dentist in Southampton to restore your teeth and your smile. If you’re worried about your tooth enamel then come and speak with Smilemakers and we’ll do all we can to help. You can make an appointment with Dr. Thomas Darling by calling 02380 442626 or contact us online at We look forward to welcoming you to our clinic.

Why It’s So Important To Floss Your Teeth

As a Southampton dentist we’re constantly telling patients that it’s important to floss their teeth at least once a day. When it comes to flossing many people consider it an inconvenience and simply don’t bother, thinking that regular brushing is all they need do to care for their teeth.

The importance of flossing

Southampton dentistNo matter how well you brush your teeth there are always certain areas that can’t be reached by a toothbrush alone and this includes spaces between the teeth where particles of food and excess plaque can accumulate. Dental floss should be used to remove these particles from hard to reach areas as well as along the gum line where the base of the teeth meets the gums. If you fail to floss on a regular basis here’s what could happen:

  • If food and plaque isn’t removed from the base of the teeth where they meet the gums then it can harden and turn into tartar which can result in gingivitis, the first sign of gum disease.
  • Although a Southampton dentist can treat gingivitis with a thorough scraping and cleaning of the area, if it’s left untreated then the plaque can spread below the surface of the gum and turn into periodontitis. Termed as severe gum disease, aside from swollen bleeding gums periodontitis can cause bone and tooth loss.
  • Lack of flossing also causes an excessive build up of bacteria in the mouth. However, it’s not just the teeth and gums that are affected by this. Research has shown that bacteria and gum disease have been contributing factors to heart disease, diabetes and even respiratory problems.

That’s why flossing is such an important part of your oral routine. So let’s take a look as 3 tips for maximising the effects of flossing.

Tips on flossing

  1. Always floss at night before you brush your teeth. This is more effective than flossing in the morning because it makes sure that food and bacteria aren’t left lingering in your mouth for the hours while you’re asleep.
  1. The best method of flossing is with a length of floss around 18 inches long. Wind each end around your fingers so the central area of floss is taut and then work methodically between each tooth taking it down to the gum line before bringing it back up. Try as well to hook the floss beneath the gum line.
  1. If you had a hard time reaching the back areas of your mouth or perhaps you’ve got arthritis, then you can buy devices which use water and air to remove plaque from the teeth, to make your task easier.

Now you know more about the importance on your oral and bodily health of flossing then there really is no excuse for not doing it. It only takes a couple of minutes of your time and look at the benefits! If you’re overdue a check-up or your teeth need a professional clean then why not make an appointment with Dr. Thomas Darling at Smilemakers. We’re a general and cosmetic dentist in Southampton committed to providing our customers with all aspects of dental care and restoration. Call us today on 02380 442626 or book online at

Common Dental Care Procedures For Our Older Patients

We like to regards ourselves as a family dentist in Southampton providing dental care through the generations. All of our treatments are tailored to meet the needs of our patients, which includes taking into account the age of our patients, since at different stages of life patients tend to have different dental care concerns. This allows us to decide which restorative procedure would be the most effective and which cosmetic treatment offers the perfect solution.

oral cancerThis blog discusses some of the dental health and oral hygiene concerns that many senior patients face and helps you to understand what you may face health-wise as you too get older.

Tooth decay and damage

One of our main services for senior patients is treating tooth decay and damage. Restorative treatment involves a variety of fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns to rebuild and strengthen teeth that have been damaged by oral bacteria.

Periodontal disease and gum recession

Older patients often suffer from gum disease and gum recession. When it comes to gum disease there are numerous antiseptic and antibiotic rinses that can be used to help bring the infection under control. With regards to gum recession then we may consider gum crafting techniques which build up the gum line.

Devices for missing teeth

Tooth loss is a fact of life as people age and to replace missing teeth we commonly use dentures and bridges. However, dental implants are fast becoming a more popular option, even for the elderly, and these can be used effectively for single or multiple tooth replacement and even for stabilising wobbly dentures.

TJM disorders

TJM disorders is very painful and results from problems with jaw joints which pop, lock, or click. Fortunately a Southampton dentist can treat this problem in a variety of ways including dental restorations, the use of a bite guard and using implants for a better fit to dentures.

Oral cancer screening

The chances of getting oral cancer increases with age and it’s important to visit your dentist on a regular basis as they will be able to check your mouth for any obvious signs of oral cancer and/or carry out an oral cancer screen. Early detection means early treatment and more likelihood of a successful outcome.

Dry Mouth

The salivary glands slow down with age and this can lead to the common problem of dry mouth. Sometime dry mouth can also be a symptom for a more serious health matter. We can treat dry mouth with a variety of artificial saliva products and give you tips for keeping your mouth moist and staying hydrated.

General basics

Even though older patients have a number of unique dental concerns we never overlook the basics which is why we regularly carry out routine services on patients of all ages. This is the best way to improve and maintain good dental health for the foreseeable future.

If you’d like to learn more about dental care for elderly patients then why not get in touch with Smilemakers. Our experienced and friendly team led by Dr. Thomas Darling will help you to have a healthy and beautiful smile whatever your age. Call us today on 02380 442626 to schedule a consultation or book online at

4 Top Tips To Maintaining A Young And Beautiful Smile

As a Southampton dentist we find that cosmetic procedures such as smile makeovers are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people are looking to bring back their beautiful smile. However, if you’re already blessed with a great looking smile and really want to keep it that way then you might want to follow these 4 top tips.

Limit tooth fractures

Southampton dentistDid you know that tooth fractures are the third leading cause of tooth loss in the world today? The culmination of people living longer coupled with rising stress levels often cause teeth grinding or clenching known as bruxism. Unfortunately teeth grinding is a major cause of teeth fractures and around 10% of the UK population is thought to suffer from it. In many cases bruxism can be prevented simply by adopting a healthy lifestyle. By eating foods that are good for you, taking regular exercise, maintaining good sleeping patterns, and adopting relaxation techniques it’s possible to alleviate bruxism and therefore limit tooth fractures.

Attend regular check-ups at all costs

When you’re younger it’s easy to think that your teeth are healthy so there’s no real need to attend dental check-ups regularly. This may be the case but the focus of a dental check-up is on prevention rather than cure. It’s all about fine-tuning your mouth making sure your teeth remain in great condition. For instance a professional clean performed by your hygienist will remove any calculus (tartar build up) that can’t be removed by normal brushing alone. If left, it can go on to cause major gum disease and in turn cause tooth problems further down the line.

Avoid amalgam fillings

Apart from looking unsightly, those old fashioned silver-style fillings (known as amalgam) experience a degree of expansion and contraction when confronted with hot and cold liquids. This can exacerbate cracking in the tooth. White composites on the other hand are tooth coloured, so not only do they look pretty natural but they also help to reinforce the tooth, thus limiting cracking.

Maintain or replace any old restorations

Over time restorations made to your teeth can experience wear and tear. When this happens they no longer do the job they were supposed to do. Aside from this, advancements in technology (take the case of amalgams vs white fillings) mean that newer restorations not only function better, they look better too. With this in mind ask your dentist about replacing any old-style restorations with their modern counterpart.

So there you have it, 4 top tips to retaining a beautiful smile!

If you feel that you’ve lost your sparkling smile and really want to get it back then help is at hand. At Smilemakers Dr Thomas Darling and the team have the ability to help you regain your smile. Using a whole host of treatments including dermal fillers, skin revitalising, teeth whitening, and a range of teeth and gum repairs we’ll see to it that you can smile again with confidence. Contact your friendly Southampton dentist on 02380 44 26 26 or visit our website at to find out more.

Do I Really Need To Bother With Regular Check ups

In our younger years especially, it’s fair to say that dental check-up’s can often seem like an inconvenience at best and total waste of money at worst. After all, you might be under the impression that there’s nothing wrong with your teeth so why should you pay for something that doesn’t need fixing?

Dr Thomas Darling a Southampton Dentist at Smilemakers explains.

Southampton DentistAs dentists we perform a lot of routine maintenance in order to prevent problems that occur when patients don’t look after their teeth as well as they’re supposed to. Let’s face it, how many of us religiously spend the allotted 3 minutes, two or three times a day, brushing our teeth. It’s all too easy when you’ve got more important things to do to give them a quick going over. Therefore regular check-up’s are a kind of safety net or backup that helps keep your teeth in good condition.

Aside from this, as dentists we’re trained to spot any anomalies or issues with your teeth that otherwise might go undetected. While these issues might seem minor now and are more often than not easily rectified, if you skip a visit or two, then there’s a strong chance that you may run into some very serious problems.

So what type of problems?


  • Periodontal disease
  • Tooth decay and
  • Gum disease.

Firstly it’s natural for the body to produce plaque which collects around the base of teeth and gums when we eat and drink. If it’s not dealt with through proper brushing and flossing, it transforms into tartar which can no longer be removed by brushing alone. If tartar is left it can cause periodontal disease which gradually and silently eats away at the bone tissue, eventually weakening otherwise healthy teeth.

The second type of problem is tooth decay. A small cavity is easily taken care of when spotted during a routine check-up. However if a cavity is allowed to escalate it can cause excruciating pain and eventually the loss of the tooth itself. You might feel that you can cope with the loss of one tooth, and indeed you probably can, but did you know that when a tooth is missing it sets off a catalyst of events that affect your remaining teeth and gums?

The final issue is gum disease. Did you know for instance that there’s a strong connection between heart related problems and gum disease? Plaque produces a multitude of bacteria, most of which end up in the bloodstream. Increased bacteria in the blood can (if not dealt with) clog blood vessels which surround the heart.

Next time you’re due a dental check-up, don’t look on it as an inconvenience, but rather as an MOT for your teeth. To book a check-up with your friendly Southampton dentist contact Smilemakers on 02380 44 26 26 or book online at

Beware Of Hidden Sugar In Your Diet

Sugar is the No.1 enemy when it comes to attacking teeth and sometimes it isn’t until your dentist in Southampton tells you that you have a decaying tooth which needs filling, that you know anything about it. The thing is, many of the foods we eat are full of hidden sugars and all of us need to take more responsibility for what we’re putting into our mouths if we want to keep our teeth for longer.

As sugar consumption increases so do cavities

dentist in SouthamptonBacteria feeds off sugar that clings to the teeth, and in doing so this produces an acid which attacks tooth enamel and begins to wear it away. Recent studies carried out by the World Health Organisation in 2014 confirm the fact that as sugar consumption increases so too does the amount of cavities. These same studies also show that increased levels of sugar can raise the risk of heart disease and diabetes. As a result the World Health Organisation recommends that sugar consumption be cut by as much as 50% meaning that the calorific intake should be 5% or less of an individual’s daily diet. According to the most recent figures available in the UK the average daily percentage of sugar (not natural sugars already in food) equates to 14.7% for children, 15.6% for adolescents, and 12.1% for adults.

So how can you cut back on sugar?

As well as eating less sweets, it’s important to be aware of hidden sugars in your every day diet. Even so called ‘nutritional food’ can be crammed with sugar. One way is to check food labels before buying a product. Just to confuse matters, sugar is called various names including:

  • Corn syrup, Malt and Dextrose
  • Sorghum Syrup
  • Molasses and Maltose

In addition beware of any ingredients ending in “sugar”, “-ose” and “syrup” as these are all alternative names for sugar.

Other top tips for cutting back on sugar

  • Cook more food at home from scratch so you know exactly what’s contained in your food
  • Reduce your intake of cereal bars, fruit juices, soft drinks, yoghurt and sugary breakfast cereals
  • Eat more healthy food since a healthy diet means a healthy mouth

You don’t have to stop eating sugar completely in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and healthy teeth and this is why it’s so important to incorporate a regular brushing and flossing routine into your day as well as attending regular six monthly check ups with your Southampton dentist. Here at Smilemakers, Dr Thomas Darling is keen to help you have a healthier and happier lifestyle. So, if you’ve any questions or concerns about your oral health then please get in touch with us by calling 02380 442626 and booking a reduced price new patient examination. For more information on the treatments we provide then visit our website at