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

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

Professional Teeth Whitening v Home Remedies

A bright, white smile does wonders for confidence levels.  Tooth whitening is an increasingly popular means of improving the colour of the teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. Tooth whitening can be an extremely effective way of gently lightening and brightening your smile, provided it is carried out safely by a suitably qualified person.


Only dentists and their teams (if suitably qualified and supervised) can legally carry out tooth whitening, it is illegal for beauticians or any other cosmetic therapist to carry out tooth whitening.  Find out which is the best option for you:  


Over the counter/online teeth whitening kits: Although these may be cheaper, they are not as effective as professional treatment and the results will not last as long. Many are not assessed for their safety and may contain harmful acidic chemicals which are damaging to tooth enamel. Kits bought online often include self moulding whitening trays, these are often ill fitting, causing the whitening gel to leak irritating and possibly burning gums and soft tissues. These kits legally cannot contain more than 0.1% hydrogen peroxide active ingredient, which is not enough to be truly effective. Carrying out this treatment at home without the advice of a dentist may mean unsuitability – it is worth bearing in mind that whitening will not work on false teeth, crowns, bridges and fillings. Also you may not be suitable for treatment if you have gum disease as this will need to be addressed prior to any cosmetic work.

Professional teeth whitening: Professional whitening is completely safe under dentist supervision. Whitening trays will be custom made, well fitting and very comfortable. Our whitening gels contain a desensitising agent to minimise discomfort during and after treatment. Sensitivity is a common side effect of whitening, but completely treatable – our team of dental care professionals can offer help and advice on techniques and products to help. Your dentist will work with you to make sure you get the best possible result. Maintenance is easy – top up kits are available for £45.00 after an initial course of treatment at the practice.  As dental care professionals we are able to provide highly effective 16% carbamide peroxide whitening gels.

Whitening toothpastes: Some whitening toothpastes contain a blue colourant which can make teeth seem instantly whiter, but will n0t lighten or bleach teeth. Many whitening toothpastes contain abrasive particles which claim to remove staining, but can also cause irreversible damage to tooth enamel, particularly when used over a long period of time. Whitening toothpaste works on enamel (the hard tooth surface), where a professional tooth whitening system penetrates the enamel to alter the shade of the structure below. This is why whitening toothpastes will not work if staining is below the surface of the tooth.

For more information on whitening or to book an appointment please call us on 01443 812559 (Ystrad Mynach) 01443 451851 (Nelson) 

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

Blur of smile’ by Brosseau is licenced under CC by 2.0

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Oral cancer is on the increase but is highly treatable if detected early. The good news is that we know that certain avoidable factors increase the risk of oral cancer, and the signs and symptoms which could lead to an early, more treatable diagnosis.

Reduce the risk factors

  • Smoking is a major known contributing factor to oral cancer. When combined with alcohol consumption, the risk factor increases dramatically. Claire our hygienist has had specialised training in helping with smoking cessation. You can also contact your GP who can put you in touch with a smoking cessation support group. Tips on cutting down alcohol can be found here
  • E – cigarettes – the jury is out on this new tobacco replacement system as no long term research is in place yet, however inhaling chemicals of any type will cause damage
  • UV exposure – damaging effects of the sun on our skin is widely known, but the sun can cause damage and blistering to lips if not protected, Make sure lip balms contain the highest SPF available, (we recommend at least SPF 30). this is particularly important for young skin, which is more vulnerable
  • Regular dental appointments – as part of your regular dental checkup we routinely screen for oral cancer as well as other changes in your soft tissues.
  • Good oral hygiene will improve your general health and immune system, some schools of thought suggest simply flossing after brushing thoroughly can improve your general health
  • A healthy diet  rich in antioxidant ‘superfoods’: Broccoli, berries, walnuts, tomatoes, garlic, spinach and whole grains are are reported to have cancer busting properties.
  • Regular self checks using the checklist below –

Signs to look out for

  • Ulceration lasting longer than 2 weeks
  • Red, white or speckled patches inside of the mouth
  • Any swellings or thickening, lumps or crusty legions on the lips,gums or inside of the mouth
  • Any persistent pain should always be investigated
  • Pain or difficulty swallowing, or feeling like something is stuck in the throat
  • Swollen glands in the neck
  • Changes in the voice or speech, such as hoarseness or a persistent sore throat
  • Sudden and unexplained weight loss


The above signs do not always indicate oral cancer,  however these are common signs and symptoms which have proved effective in previous treatment and diagnosis, and could potentially save lives.

If you are concerned about oral cancer please ring the practice on 01443 451851 (Nelson) or 01443 812559 (Ystrad Mynach) for advice 

Our Bad Breath Prevention Secrets!

Photo by Walt Stoneburner (2009) is licence under CC by 2.0

Bad breath can seriously affect your confidence, causing embarrassment and stress, as well as affecting social and personal relationships and first impressions. In the overwhelming majority of cases bad breath needn’t be a way of life, and help is on hand:

What causes bad breath?
  • Most cases of bad breath are caused by poor oral hygiene. This results in trapped food particles, unpleasant smelling bacteria, and gum disease, a major cause of bad breath.
  • Smoking and tobacco products are a major contributory factor to gum disease, and smells unpleasant in itself!
  • Dry mouth – The dreaded ‘morning breath’ is caused by lack of activity during sleep and subsequent dry mouth!
  • Occasionally bad breath can be caused by an underlying medical condition, your GP will be able to advise you if this is the case.
How to prevent bad breath?
  • Brushing thoroughly twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, including flossing in between teeth and cleaning the tongue. Cleaning the tongue is very important to remove bacteria which causes an odour towards the back of the mouth. You can use a toothbrush to clean the tongue or a special tongue cleaner. Mouth rinses can help – however these tend to just mask the problem. Replace your toothbrush every 3 months, or sooner if it becomes damaged or the bristles start to look splayed.
  • Brushing your teeth thoroughly and eating a healthy breakfast and  can eliminate ‘morning breath’, and then eating regular, healthy meals throughout the day.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated and prevent your mouth from becoming dry. Some recent research has suggested that drinking antioxidant – rich green tea (sugar free of course!) can help sweeten the breath, as well as provide other health benefits.
  • Certain foods, for example spicy foods, onion and garlic leave a lingering odour some people find unpleasant, however thankfully the effects of these are temporary!
  • If you are out and about without your toothbrush, mints or chewing gum are a handy temporary fix, however always go for the sugar free variety. Alternatively opt for some fresh parsley – natures’s breath fresher!
  • Regular hygienist appointments – our hygienist, Claire, can work with you to prevent, and even reverse early gum disease, helping you to keep your breath fresh, and offer specialist advice on keeping your mouth healthy and sweet smelling.

If you find these steps are not helping, then an appointment with one of our dentists will identify any causes or issues which may be affecting your breath. For an appointment or advice please call us on 01443 812559 (Ystrad Mynach) or 01443 451851 (Nelson). 

Mouth Cancer Action Month

Last year we decided to get involved with Mouth Cancer Action Month.

Mouth Cancer Action Month is a charity campaign which aims to raise awareness of mouth cancer and make a difference by saving thousands of lives through early detection and prevention. The overarching aim of mouth cancer action month is to get more mouth cancers diagnosed at an early stage by increasing education of the risk factors and signs and symptoms while encouraging everybody to discuss them with their dental professional.

Signs and symptoms:

  • Ulcers which do not heal in 3 weeks
  • Red and white patches in the mouth
  • Unusual lumps or swellings in the mouth, head or neck area

If any of these are noticed, it is essential that you tell your dentist or doctor immediately.

Mouth cancer takes the lives of more than 2,000 people each year in the UK, which is more than testicular and cervical cancer combined. Mouth cancer also takes more lives a year than road traffic accidents. Knowing more about the risk factors and signs and symptoms can help reduce the number of lives mouth cancer claims. In the UK, more than 7,000 people were diagnosed with mouth cancer last year. The disease has grown by a third in the last decade and remains one of very few cancers which are predicted to increase further in the coming years. Although there are risk factors heavily linked to the disease, like any cancer mouth cancer can affect anybody – that’s why it’s so important that we all know what to look out for. Early detection saves lives.

Risk factors:

  • Smoking – smokers are 3 times more likely than non smokers to develop mouth cancer
  • Alcohol – drinking alcohol to excess is a major risk factor. This combined with smoking increases the risk of mouth cancer by up to 30 times
  • Diet – a healthy diet rich in fruit and vegetables will help keep your body healthy, reducing the risk

We routinely screen our patients for oral cancer simply call the practice on 01443 816160 to arrange an appointment.
More can be read about the campaign at http://www.mouthcancer.org/

Dental health without borders norway (TUG)

woman examinng childDental Health Without Borders Norway (TUG) is an NGO working to promote oral health in developing countries. The organisation sends dental professionals to areas with limited or poor access to dental care where free emergency treatments and preventative work is carried out.
Since 2016, TUG has worked in close partnership with the Faculty of Dentistry in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Dental equipment and dental materials have been donated to the faculty and there is an ongoing arrangement where volunteers from TUG are given access to the treatment rooms at the faculty to provide dental treatments, hold seminars and lectures for the Ethiopian dental students and provide oral health education for the local population.

In July 2018, our dental hygienist Tone and a group of other dental professionals are travelling to Addis Ababa to volunteer as part of TUG’s project. Tone has always had a keen interest in health promotion and disease prevention and is looking forward to taking on new challenges in Ethiopia and be part of a great project helping those who need it most.

We are delighted to support Tone in her involvement as a volunteer, and have donated gloves and masks to assist the project. We look forward to more photos and information when she returns.