28 Penallta Road, Ystrad Mynach, Hengoed, CF82 7AN | T:01443 816160 / 01443 812559

3 Ashgrove Terrace, Nelson, Treharris, CF46 6LR | T:01443 451851

Single use PPE- An Environmental Concern

With the rise of mandatory use of PPE in public, it is sad and worrying to see the amount of PPE that we see littering our streets. This is obviously not only an environmental concern for wildlife and an eyesore for our communities but is also unsanitary and heightens the risk of spreading disease. Single use PPE cannot be recycled and therefore becomes landfill. This represents a long-term problem on a global level.

Using sustainable masks that can be washed can be our little way of helping to reduce litter and unnecessary waste for our local community. By using a washable face covering, you will be helping the environment, protecting supplies of PPE to our health care and key workers and saving some money ££££££

Washable masks allow you to express your inner fashion sense too!!

Just remember though, to wear your mask correctly!

At the Grove we care deeply about the environment and our lovely Welsh countryside. We have chosen to predominantly use washable gowns for our staff for aerosol generating procedures and recycle all non-clinical waste. Small little measures but little changes will help to make the big differences for future generations.

Greetings from behind the door!!

Sadly we continue to remain in a high amber stage of the pandemic so are still operating from behind a closed door but wanted to reassure you all that we are still here and open to help you with any problems you might have.

We are aware that many of you would like to attend for your regular checkups but due to current restrictions and in line with welsh government advise, we are unable to offer routine care at this time. Should you have any problems, please pick up the telephone or drop us an email and we will be in touch to arrange a face to face visit for you. Should you be shielding, please also contact us so we can try to assist with any dental problems that you might have.

What you can do to help yourselves at this time

1-Avoid the wall of temptation!!

The key message for dental decay prevention is to avoid sugary snacking. Every supermarket I go into has a wall of tubs of Christmas chocolates and Halloween sweets and it’s still only September!!

Although these might be tempting- resist!! Don’t buy them now as you will end up snacking on them and then buying more therefore increasing your chances of decay or pulling a filling out.

2- Spit! Don’t rinse!!

Fluoride can help to remineralizer enamel and therefore has a protective factor for our teeth. We recommend that you use fluoride toothpaste twice daily and that you brush the toothpaste over your teeth for 2 minutes. We would then advise you to “spit- don’t rinse!!’

If you were to then rinse your mouth, you would wash off the toothpaste therefore reducing its protective function. This is particularly beneficial for those of you who suffer with sensitive teeth. Sensitive toothpastes help to block any sensitive parts of the teeth. Try it yourself- usually after a couple of days of adopting this method, the sensitivity reduces- you can even rub it in like an ointment.

Many are now working from home so use this time to care for the space between your teeth too. If you think of your teeth as being little blocks of Lego, if you only brush the tops and the sides i.e. the biting surface and the front and reverse side, then you are failing to brush approximately 25% of the tooth surface. Tepe brushes and flossing help to clean these hidden surfaces therefore removing bacteria from these surfaces too. Try it- you will be surprised how good your mouth feels

3- Contact Help Quit wales

There is never an ideal time to give up smoking so why not give it a go? Smoking hugely increases your chances of developing mouth cancer especially when combined with drinking alcohol. Why not contact help me quit wales for help or drop us a line for us to directly refer you for their expert help. This is a free service in Wales, and if you consider other help groups e.g. weight watchers etc. Success rates tend to be higher when expert help has been sought.

4- Mask up

Follow guidelines on how to protect yourselves and others by following simple instructions

wash your hands – keep washing your hands regularly.

cover your face- wear a face covering in enclosed spaces.

make space- stay at least 2m apart or 1 m

Goodbye from Louise – reflection on a decade

Having been a part of The Grove team for over 12 years, the decision to say goodbye was a very difficult one for me. Covid-19 has brought significant changes and challenges to all our lives – both personally and professionally. For me, having the time and unique opportunity to gain insight into another industry has enabled me to accept new challenges. Those of you who know me personally will know that I can never refuse a challenge! I will not be far away and am sure you will all still see me around the village, and I will certainly be in continued contact with all my friends at The Grove.

During my time at the practice I have learnt so much from everyone over the years – when I first started in 2008 under Mr Lesser’s employment, it was immediately clear that this was a practice with exceptionally high standards. Mr Lesser’s example of kindness and care set the standard for the Grove which has further developed under James and Clare’s ownership. James and Clare have continued to build a culture of excellence, of which I feel truly privileged to have been a part. I have benefited from countless training and learning opportunities during my time at the practice, and with their support improved my confidence and personal development. I have seen dental support roles evolve rapidly over my 20+ year career: dental nurses are now frequently involved in activities including targets, marketing and sales. But on the team at The Grove, it was impossible to forget why I joined the profession in the first place: to care for our patients and my community.

Vikki will be new to the practice taking over from me, assisted by Rachel who you all know. They are highly skilled and experienced in the field of dental support and administration, and I am certain that they will excel in their new roles.

Our community has demonstrated incredible strength, kindness and resilience over the last months. I will genuinely miss being a part of your care but look forward to seeing you all around.







Managing Mental Health Issues


One in four adults and one in ten children will experience mental health at some point in their life.

One in five adults has considered taking their own life at some point.

These are the sad facts of people struggling daily with mental health issues. Life is far more stressful now than it has ever been. High profile jobs, working long hours to pay the bills and generally living life 100 mile an hour. Also, the amount of pressure we put on ourselves. More and more people are finding life harder to cope with. Mental Health can affect anyone. It is so important to realise that what may seem trivial or insignificant to you, could be a huge problem for someone suffering with mental health.

We all have days where “things” get on top of us but for most of us, we can shake it off. For myself I try and take an hour where possible, away in a quiet place and listen to relaxing music, with a BIG do not disturb sign on the door. For others this may not be as easy. The feeling of not being able to get rid of the black cloud that hangs over them is extremely distressing and daunting and they will need lots of reassurance and support at these times. They often display signs of low self-esteem, worthlessness or even self-harm.

It is vital that if you notice any change in a family member or friend that you offer your support straight away or seek medical help where needed.


  • Long lasting sadness or irritability.
  • Extremely high and low moods.
  • Excessive fear, worry or anxiety.
  • Social withdrawal.
  • Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping.
  • Lack of personal care.
  • Strong feelings of anger.
  • Panic attacks.
  • Delusions or hallucinations.

Mental Health has a huge impact on the people who are closest to the person suffering. It is so very difficult to help care for someone with such problems. You are faced with different challenges every day, a rollercoaster of emotions. You learn to get “tougher skin” and not to take things personally. You must be non-judgemental, have endless amounts of patience and just to take one day at a time. Your health is also important, so you must take time out and look after your own wellbeing.



  • Educate yourself about Mental Health.
  • Seek all resources (I found having the crisis team number at hand was re assuring)
  • Have realistic expectations.
  • Reach out for support.
  • Provide emotional support.
  • Help them manage day to day tasks (writing to do lists is a good way to keep focused)
  • Encourage them to seek help.
  • Encourage them to exercise, outdoors if possible.

Just remember you don’t have to be a professional person to help someone with Mental Health, you just need to Care. Please be kind, we never know what people are struggling with. You could be the difference of life or death. Reach out and be supportive.

We are here to help.




What we have been up to in recent weeks

Sadly we enter another 3 weeks of lock down and continue to miss seeing our patients and communities but recognise that this is what is required of us to help the NHS hospitals and staff. We thought we would give you an update on what we have been up to as a practice.

Sharon and Louise have been working hard with our suppliers to secure all the relevant PPE that we will need in order to best protect our staff and patients. It is important going forwards that we can reassure you that all measures are being put in place to protect everyone from Corona virus transmission. We have been implementing measures to enable best social distancing whilst visiting the practice and will further update you on this going forwards for when we have an easing on restrictions to enable us to return to caring for our patients. Measures will include compulsory use of hand sanitiser on entering the building, recording of temperatures of patients with infrared thermometers prior to any procedures, reception screens, and digital solutions for paperwork to reduce risk of transmission from hand to hand whilst completing essential forms such as medical histories. These are in conjunction with our usual robust cross infection measures such as gloves, facemasks, visors, scrub uniform etc. The Government’s final guidelines have not been issued as yet as to the requirements for dental practices but please be assured- we are on it!!

Myself and James have also been meeting regularly with other local dental committees online to ensure our patients best interests are put forwards when restrictions are eased. These meetings are weekly and have input from a wealth of experts on how best to protect everyone moving forwards so some normality can resume. We have also had time to give the Ystrad practice interior a lick of paint and also James has been up a ladder giving the front of the building a little TLC! We also had a practice “well-being” session to help ourselves and staff with stress and relaxation techniques during these tricky times.
We hope you are all well and finding lots of things to keep yourselves busy. We are open 5 days a week for emergency contact and advice. Please do let us know if there is anything we can do to help or even just call to chat if anyone needs to hear a friendly voice.

Hopefully the good weather will return and we will see you all soon when normal service resumes.
Many thanks for your co-operation during lockdown and stay home and stay safe.
Kind regards to you all
Clare and James O’Shea

Fluoride Q & A


What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a natural mineral that is found in water. The amount of fluoride in the water depends on where you live.

Is Fluoride Safe?

Fluoride has been controversial for a long time. However, there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that fluoride is harmful. The amount of fluoride is tightly controlled in countries that intentionally add it to drinking water. Public health society say it is unlikely to cause any serious health conditions or problems.

The Benefits Of Fluoride.

Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay and is most effective when applied directly to the teeth. It fights the bacteria living in your mouth by balancing out minerals from the tooth enamel. This fights the cavities and helps to protect the tooth.

Why Is Fluoride In Toothpaste?

Brushing your teeth thoroughly with fluoride toothpaste is one of the most effective ways of preventing tooth decay. Most toothpastes contain fluoride but some have higher strengths than others. Mouthwash should not be used at the same time as brushing as this can wash away the toothpaste.

Why Do We Use Fluoride In The Dental Practice?

Fluoride is applied to both baby and adult teeth by the dentist. We do this by painting a clear varnish on to the surface of the tooth every six months. Application is recommended more often for children with a high rate of tooth decay.  We provide this service from the age of three. The advice we offer is not to eat or drink for thirty minutes after the varnish is applied.

Dental Myths Uncovered!


Myth 1: Eating more sugar means more tooth decay

This isn’t true. It isn’t about the amount of sugar you eat but how frequently you eat it. For example sticky sweets and pop are in the mouth for longer than say a chocolate bar therefore the teeth are under an acid and sugar attack for longer, which will increase the chances of tooth decay. Sweets and chocolate are ok as an occasional treat, and should be consumed all in one go, as ‘grazing’ on these items prolongs the time teeth are under attack!


Myth 2: Losing baby teeth to decay is okay

Many people believe that losing baby teeth prematurely to tooth decay is normal and okay as they are meant to fall out anyway. Tooth decay in baby teeth can affect the developing permanent tooth underneath. Also if baby teeth are removed early then the permanent teeth may erupt in the wrong place resulting in the child needing braces in later life.


Myth 3: Fruit juice is healthy

Fruit juice sounds healthy but it’s actually as bad for your teeth as fizzy pop because of the acid and sugar content. For example orange juice contains as much sugar as coke –  six teaspoons in a 250ml glass and apple juice has even more. In some cases the acid and sugar in these drinks can wear away at the enamel of the tooth and reduce them to stumps. The only drinks that are safe and advised by the dentist is milk and water. If fruit juice is consumed it’s far better to dilute it right down with water to help reduce the acidity and dilute the sugar.


Myth 4: The calcium in baby’s teeth is taken from the mother

Calcium is needed to help build up baby’s bones and teeth. This source of calcium comes from the expectant mothers diet and not from her own body. That’s why it’s important to obtain a healthy balanced diet throughout pregnancy.


Myth 5: Flossing can cause spaces between your teeth

Flossing does not create spaces between your teeth. In fact it actually helps prevent tooth decay. When you floss you are removing all the food debris that’s been left behind from around your teeth and gums. Which helps keep teeth healthy are removes harmful bacteria.


Myth 6: Root canal treatment is painful

People hear the word root canal and panic as they have been told many stories regarding this treatment, but root canal is no more painful than a filling. It takes longer as there are more stages than a routine filling but it shouldn’t be at all painful.

Easter Competition Terms and Conditions

  • The competition is run by Grove Surgery Ltd, via The Grove Dental Practice Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/TheGroveDental/
  • No purchase necessary
  • Entries must be replies on our original post on The Grove Dental Facebook page
  • Competition is open to children aged 12 and under
  • First prize is an art set and easter egg, second and third prizes an easter egg each
  • Prizes are not transferable
  • Prizes cannot be collected, delivery only. Please do not post your personal details or address online, we will request these to be sent to us privately when we announce winners.
  • Open to entries for delivery within 5 miles radius of CF82 7AN or CF46 6LR
  • One entry per person
  • Winner will be chosen by The Grove judging panel – entries will be judged anonymously ie entries will  not be linked to the posting Facebook account during judging
  • Competition closes 3pm Wednesday 8th April

Good Luck!

Keeping a Healthy Smile During Lockdown

Whilst we are all doing our bit for society and staying at home, we tend to succumb to a loss of routine and play on phones more, snacking rather than eating meals to try to fill the time.

Dental practices throughout the UK have been forced to close in an effort to halt the spread of COVID-19. Appointments at Emergency Dental Care Centres are limited at present. Broken teeth, lost fillings, crowns and bridges are not deemed a priority and will not be seen. To limit the chances of this happening, please consider these measures:

Avoid sticky toffees and hard sweets

Accepting a toffee, hard chocolate or boiled sweet that you normally wouldn’t eat is the most common cause of tooth fracture. Even though many of us are spending more time at home this is not a holiday season like Halloween or Christmas and try stay to your normal healthy diet.

Eat only 3 meals a day

Avoid snacking in between these. Easy to reach snacks such as biscuits, cakes, packets of sweets, chocolate bars and toffees (yes, them again!) are high in sugar and break teeth. This also increases our insulin levels causing weight gain. Chocolate is my preferred treat and if I’m treating myself, I aim to eat this immediately after a meal, therefore limiting the effect it will have of my teeth.

Start with a healthy breakfast

Porridge, whole wheat cereals (Shredded Wheat, Weetabix, Bran Flakes, All-Bran) are an excellent source of fibre, are lower in sugar and keep you feeling full for longer. Current advice is to brush your teeth before breakfast because at night we don’t produce saliva and essentially our teeth dry out and are most prone to tooth decay early in the day. Resist the urge to top them with sugar or honey (yes this is sugar too) but instead put some chopped fruit to sweeten them if necessary. Although quite scarce right now eggs are a great source of protein and also fill you up.  They can be cooked numerous ways and can be a fun way for kids to enjoy their food.  My kids enjoy a “dunky” egg or “dippy” egg.  Omelettes, scrambled, poached, fried – they all taste amazing.  Whilst we have this unprecedented time with our families, we can help to get them involved with cooking skills.  Get them to look up recipes online and cooking methods.  The majority of recipes are free of charge especially BBC good food guide.

Sugary cereals often come in brightly coloured boxes and feature an animated character on the front. These are aimed at children and contain alarming amounts of sugar. High sugar foods are metabolised much quicker and therefore you feel hunger at a faster rate therefore you are more likely to eat again putting your teeth at risk.


Be aware of what you drink. Many drinks contain acids to make them fizz or acid from fruit and this slowly erodes teeth away. This often goes unnoticed until teeth, especially from teeth start to chip away, even if they say “sugar free” or “zero”.   Fruit juices also should be avoided or diluted right down.  Whole fruits are not destructive to teeth as when you eat them, they still contain the fibre which helps to neutralise the sugar.  Smoothies are less of a problem as they still contain fibre.

This is hugely important for kids too. Toothache is no fun at all! Not to mention having to stay indoors with a child in pain with no ability to distract them. I would urge all of us to try to stick to our usual routine or use this time to develop a healthier routine. The key message for avoiding cavities is to avoid sugary snacking.

Writing a food diary/meal planner will help you to monitor your supplies and plan when to have treat days! It also means that when you do have to leave your house to visit the supermarket that you can buy for your plan and therefore won’t need to shop as frequently.  I am trying to buy veg that might last little longer or chop it up and freeze it so it doesn’t go to waste and you can add it to a stir fry for example on another day.

This could mean that you plan to bake a cake together or a special pudding and will look forward to it.  This causes less damage to teeth when eaten immediately after your lunch or dinner.  I try to bake using fruit in order to add sweetness and this encourages my kids going forwards to consider all options and not just dive in for the chocolate option (like me!!)  Apple pies and crumbles are delicious and easy to make and apples are easy enough to source.

Therefore key points would be

  • make a meal planner and get the whole family involved
  • try and let the kids help with the preparation/cooking as they will appreciate the food more (although you may not!) and the fact that they cooked it
  • remember to include drinks in your meal planner so they can be controlled
  • avoid sticky sweets/toffees that may break a tooth or loosen a filling that could lead to dental pain.


As always, the team is on hand to offer telephone advice, please call us on 01443 812559 (Ystrad Mynach) or 01443 451851 (Nelson) for free diet and oral hygiene advice.


Staying Safe and Well During Covid-19 Restrictions

As we are moved into a new, restricted world we’ve never experienced before it’s natural to feel anxious. But the drastic restrictions imposed are a really positive step towards things starting to get better.

We truly believe that routine and keeping busy are vital to the weeks ahead at home, and have complied our ideas to help. Getting up at the same time, and getting ready to start your day as you normally would helps bring structure to your week.

Jobs to do

Now is the perfect opportunity to complete all those tasks that you’ve been meaning to do for ages, for example:

  • Organise all your photos – lots of us have thousands of photos on phones and devices – now is the perfect opportunity to organise them into albums and ensure they are all backed up
  • Deep clean the kitchen – sort out all those old tins at the back of the cupboard, and bring them to the front before they go out of date

Visit the library – virtually!

Rach has been using BorrowBox to help keep the kids entertained – with Borrow Box you can borrow a book online using your Caerphilly Council Smartcard number.

Learn something new 

a host of online classes are available, our favourites are:

Travel from the comfort of your armchair

Go to Spain with  Armchair Travel

Stay in touch with friends and family 

Whatsapp and Facebook messenger have a video call function, simply start a group to begin chatting. There are various apps available for conferencing which is great for use to talk to friends and family – Clare likes ‘Zoom’.


Louise’s top tip is gardening – signs of spring and new life are really uplifting, plus some reports say sunlight helps immobilise the virus. Growing your own food is an amazing feeling and a really healthy thing to do, plus this will save you money in the long run and hopefully even take some of the stress out of some of the food shopping ahead!

Social Media 

Too much time on social media is not a good idea, its great for staying in touch with people and can help alleviate feelings of isolation, but it’s a good idea to limit the daily time spent. Has your dog got a special talent or a funny skill? Start an Instagram for your pet!


Various apps are available which guide you through meditating right from day 1, making it so easy if you’ve never done it before. We tried ‘Headspace’ – (just be careful of charges after free trials end!)


Check YouTube for gentle yoga exercises, or you’ve probably heard of Joe Wicks – 9am every day – this will help you get into that routine!


Above all, stay safe, and stay indoors. Please reach out if you’re feeling overwhelmed, out team are just a phone call away, and are always available for a chat so please let others help wherever they can.

From us all at The Grove