Bacteria living on your Tongue: How to Get Rid!


Tongue Bacteria

Brush tongue to dislodge bacteria

Your Tongue is crawling with bacteria

Think about it – everything you eat coats the tongue. Coffee turns it brown; red wine turns it red; multi-coloured ice pops turn it….. multi-coloured!

All of those bumpy taste buds, nooks and crannies on the tongue surface make it an idea place for bacteria to hide and multiply.

Nasty coating grows on Tongue

These bacteria form a sticky covering all over the whole tongue, called biofilm.

Biofilm is exactly as it sounds – a film of biological material made up of bits of decaying food; bacteria that feed off that food and the destructive acids they secrete as a result.

This growing group of microorganisms coats the whole tongue and leaves you with a bad taste in your mouth and rotten breath. It doesn’t do your teeth any favours either.

This unpleasant film of nastiness must go. But how?

Rinsing not enough- Brush that Tongue!

Rinsing out your mouth doesn’t work; that only gives the surface cells of the biofilm a shower. Even a mouthwash can only destroy the surface layer of biofilm cells.

You need to dislodge the bacteria stubbornly handing on to all the crevices by giving that tongue a good brushing every time you clean your teeth.

Just brush the tongue gently back and forth; then side to side as the last step in your teeth cleaning routine. That’s all you need to physically remove the bacteria.

You can get a tongue scraper if you like, but regular brushing each time you clean your teeth should do the trick.

Make Tongue Brushing a Habit

Incorporating a swift brushing of the tongue each time you clean your teeth is a quick and simple way to improve your dental health. Floss and brush regularly, and you should enjoy the benefits of well- maintained teeth – a healthy smile and breath that doesn’t make people cringe.

If you find despite following these steps that you have bad breath or any pain/inflammation in your mouth, please call us straight away on 021 432 0004 and we will book you in to find the source of the problem.

HSE say 50% – 90% of Irish have gum disease

HSE records high levels of gum disease linked to major health issues

Can a Toothbrush save your life? Poor oral health linked to major health problems

Gum Disease affects 50% – 90% of Irish people at some point in their lives, according to the HSE.

Yes, you need to worry about it. Gum disease is linked with health problems ranging from heart attack to dementia.

Scientists continue to identify a growing list of severe health problems associated with poor oral health.

What starts as plaque can end in big trouble

Sticky plaque builds up hour by hour on your teeth. Eating or drinking anything with starches or sugars causes the bacteria in plaque to release tooth-destroying acids.

If these acids are not regularly brushed; flossed and rinsed away, their constant contact with teeth will begin to actually break down gum tissue.

Gums become red, swollen and inflamed, and may bleed when you brush. This level of gum disease is called gingivitis and is common in people who are a bit lax about taking care of their teeth.

If gingivitis goes unchecked, it can develop into periodontitis, a more severe inflammation that affects the tissues connecting the tooth to the socket; the jawbone itself and even spread through the bloodstream to other areas of your body.

It’s this spreading of inflammation that is linked to severe health issues.

Worried? Here’s what you can do

You can prevent gum disease with good oral hygiene – this means religiously brushing your teeth at least twice a day; flossing food debris out from the gaps between teeth and getting a dental check-up twice a year.

If you are already experiencing symptoms of gum disease, such as sore or bleeding gums, come in to the surgery as soon as possible so we can make sure the problem doesn’t get any worse.

We’ll make sure there’s nothing nasty going on in under the gum; give you a thorough professional cleaning; note any pockets around teeth or potential trouble spots and send you home with clear guidelines on how to look after your oral health.

Call Smile Store – Your Local Dental Specialists today at 021 432 0004 and we’ll book an appointment for you. If you already have symptoms, do not delay.

Denture wearers at risk of malnutrition



Limited diet forced by dentures can rob people of healthy foods they find too difficult to chew.

Researchers at King’s College found denture wearers and people with major tooth loss tend to avoid foods they find too hard to eat, resulting in a lack of nutrition; increased muscle and joint frailty, and risk of bone breakage.

Dentures stopping you from eating well?


“Persons with inadequate dentition are less likely to eat hard food that is difficult to chew, for example, some of the fresh fruits and vegetables, apples, pears, carrots, nuts etc,” said Dr Wael Sabbah, from King’s College London Dental Institute.

The study examined the health of more than 1,800 people who had an average age of 62, and were categorised into three groups; having at least 20 teeth, denture wearers with fewer than 20 teeth, and people and non-denture wearers with fewer than 20 teeth.

Denture wearers and those with fewer teeth were 32 per cent more likely to be frail and 20 per cent more likely to be nutritionally deficient.

Limited food choices

Most people are aware a balanced diet, rich in fresh vegetables, fruit and protein is key to maintaining good health, but people with traditional dentures struggle with foods they find challenging to chew or bite into.

Here at Smile Store ­- Your Local Dental Specialists, we hear from patients every day who have grown tired struggling with loose and uncomfortable dentures as they discover the inevitable truth: Dentures invariably get loose as the gums they sit on change shape and recede.

Traditional dentures, no matter how well-fitting at first, begin to shift around in the mouth. They can become very uncomfortable; making it impossible to tackle many foods and limiting wearers to a soft diet. People grow fearful of eating in public in case the dentures pop out.

Dental implants solve problem

Implant-retained dentures look; feel and function like natural teeth, restoring quality of life and food choices.

A dental implant is a titanium post that acts as an artificial tooth root. It is placed through the gum into the jaw, where it fuses with your own bone to become part of the jaw itself.

Dentures can then be affixed on top, with an easy-click attachment that offers complete security and functionality to the wearer.

Dental implants are the ideal replacement for one, some or all missing teeth, and treatment is entirely customised to each person for a beautiful, healthy smile.

To find out more, call us at 021 432 0004. You deserve to be well, and Smile Store ­- Your Local Dental Specialists are here to help.

Top Ten Ways to Sweeten your Breath

no more bad breath
no more bad breath
Fresh foods help sweeten your breath

If you suspect that you may have dragon breath – breath that causes people to wince when you open your mouth – don’t panic or become a social recluse.

Here are some simple but effective tips on how to neutralise those smelly sighs and there are ways to help neutralise it.

1. Fresh foods & balanced intake. The inevitable New Year’s Diet is usually high protein; low carbs. Fats break down and create ketones, a pretty smelly by-product of digestion. Don’t give up on your healthy eating, but add in plenty of foods rich in phytonutrients like broccoli, sweet potato, carrots and fresh fruits. These will balance out the fats and help sweeten your breath.

2. Vegetables: are important for a variety of reasons, but chemically they can work wonders for your breath. Green vegetables encourage a more alkaline environment in the body, balancing out the nasty acids that cause bad breath.

3. Hard Textured Foods: Incorporate crunchy fresh foods like apples, celery and carrots- the physical act of chowing down on hard-textured foods rubs away bacteria that would otherwise sit on your teeth. It’s the same concept as giving Denta-Stix to your dog. Crunchy, textured foods act like a natural tooth brush.

4. Green juice and green tea: Substitute coffee with green juice – coffee is highly acidic, while green juices or green teas promote a more alkaline environment in your mouth.

5. Chew on fresh parsley: Parsley contains chlorophyll, which battles the volatile sulphur compounds that contribute to halitosis. Fresh mint will work also.

6. Look after your gut: Gut health is vital to staying fit and well. If all is not well in your belly, people can smell it on your breath. Take probiotics daily to boost enzymes required to properly break down food so it doesn’t lie fermenting in your stomach. Live yoghurt is a great breakfast choice, but you can get capsules too.

7. Drink loads of water: It’s free (more or less); it’s good for your entire body, and it keeps mouth bacteria at bay. Bottled drinks and sodas either have high sugars or contain citric acid as a preservative, which contributes to bad breath and wears away tooth enamel. It’s plain old H2O from now on!

8. Brush and floss every single day: Get a tongue-scraper to dislodge the bacteria that stick to your tongue giving off pungent acids. If you don’t do a stellar job at oral health at home, you’re allowing the bacteria to increase and stinky breath is guaranteed.

9. Use alcohol-free mouthwash: Alcohol dries out the mouth tissues and create the perfect environment for bad bacteria proliferation. Use a mouthwash with zinc in it, as zinc zaps those smelly sulphur compounds.

10. Quit smoking: Any of the above therapies are useless if you persist in filling your mouth with poison. Aside from being a sure-fire route to early death, smoking dries out all mouth and body tissues. The nicotine contained in cigarettes squeezes all the tiny blood capillaries, so you are not able to make enough saliva to flow through the mouth. Smoking completely disrupts the mouth’s natural processes and all smokers have disgusting breath.

6 Clever Cures for Bad Breath

6 Clever Cures for Bad Breath

You’ll only realise you have bad breath by watching the reactions of others.

Do people lean back a bit when you talk to them? Does your spouse imperceptibly wrinkle their nose when you swoop in for a kiss? Yup; you have stinky breath.

Halitosis, or bad breath, can be caused by a variety of things. Poor dental hygiene, garlic and onions; certain medications or chronic illnesses can all lead to bad breath, but ultimately, it’s bacteria growing on the tongue that are responsible for the actual odour.

But if you never notice it yourself, how can you be sure you have halitosis?

Self-check for Bad Breath

Check your tongue. It should look shiny and pink – if it’s a bit scaly or white, it has a build-up of bacteria coating it.
Want to get an idea of the smell? Blowing into cupped hands doesn’t work.

Get a spoon; use it to scrape the back of your tongue, let the spoon dry and then take a whiff. Yuck! That’s what other people are smelling each time you open your mouth.

Another way to check is to lick the back of your hand; let it dry and then smell the surface. Note: these testing methods are not a spectator sport and should be done in the privacy of your bathroom, so you can tackle your halitosis before inflicting bad breath on the world!

How to Tackle that Bad Breath

1. Drink more water: A dry mouth leads to the build-up of dead cells on the tongue. Without enough saliva to wash them away, those bacteria feed on the dead cells and the resulting smell is gross. That’s where ‘morning breath’ comes from. Your mouth gets dry when you travel, and some medicines cause chronic dry-mouth.

2. Regular brushing and flossing: Trapped food provides a banquet for bacteria, which multiply quickly. As they feast on food debris in your mouth they secret enamel-destroying acid and a nasty smell. Regular brushing and flossing takes away their food source, and sweeps existing bacteria away. The more you brush and floss; the less chance the bacteria have to accumulate.

3. Balance that New Year diet: The usual January crash-diet well intentioned people start each year causes the body to break down fats and emit ketones. People who choose a high protein diet, or a very low-calorie plan, develop awful breath. Drastic diets are a poor choice as they are unstainable; you’ll out weight back on the moment you stop, and your breath will be rank.

4. Brush your tongue: Or use a tongue scraper. It’ll make you gag until you get used to it, but getting rid of the bacteria that build up at the very back of the tongue will reduce the concentration of smelly sulphur compounds that cause rancid breath.

5. Rinse with Mouthwash: Adding a rinse and gargle with mouthwash to your oral hygiene regime helps combat the bacteria that cause halitosis. It’s a quick-fix and won’t last as long as scraping the tongue itself, but at least buys you some confidence time during a face-to-face meeting. You need to gargle and rinse for at least 30 seconds, and do not eat or smoke for at least half an hour afterwards. Ask your Smile Store Hygienist which mouthwash would be the best choice for you.

6. Sugar-free gum: Keeps saliva flowing without exposing your teeth to sugar. Gum-chewing is not always appropriate in every environment, and it can make you look like a bratty teen so choose your moments. Ensure to dispose of gum properly- do not spit it on ground and DO NOT stick it under your desk!

Getting rid of bad breath requires a multi-pronged approach, and a few simple changes to the way you eat; hydrate and clean can make a huge difference.

A visit to our Dental Hygienist can get you started on the right path with a professional cleaning, and she can make sure there are no underlying causes such as tooth decay that may be the source of your bad breath. Call us at 021 432 0004 for an appointment and start 2018 right!

Do you have Halitosis?

Tomorrow, check back for a list of foods that will keep your breath smelling sweet.

Cut the sweet stuff

Dental Resolution 2018
Dental Resolution # 4: Cut the sweet stuff

This resolution will work nicely for anyone who wants to shed a few pounds and enjoy the benefits of a healthier diet!

Sugar is bad for you; end of story.

It’s found in almost every food in our Western diet, is one of the leading causes of general ill health and obesity, and takes centre stage as the main culprit in tooth decay.

Your mouth is a war zone

Sugar causes problems for your teeth because it is irresistible to bad bacteria.

The human mouth is filled with oodles of bacteria, and many are beneficial – but two destructive bacteria – Streptococcus mutans and Streptococcus sorbrinus – are dangerous. And they just LOVE sugar.

Once you eat something sweet, these harmful bacteria feed on the sugar; multiply and form a sticky plaque on the surface of the teeth.

How sugar destroys teeth

Once the destructive bacteria take hold, the delicate pH balance of your mouth changes. A pH balance of 7 is neutral, but sugar-loving bacteria cause it to drop, turning your mouth into a corrosive vat of acids that eat away at the protective enamel.

This demineralisation of the shiny enamel erodes it away, dissolving it and exposing the sensitive dentine layer underneath.

Saliva contains minerals like calcium and phosphate which help strengthen teeth against acid attacks, but the flow of saliva can’t keep up with the repeated cycles of erosion when you eat lots of sweet stuff.

Over time, the acids weaken and destroy your teeth’s enamel, causing holes or cavities. Left untreated, cavities will spread through the tooth layers and cause pain; extreme sensitivity and ultimately tooth loss.

Protect your teeth against sugar

• Cut the sweet snacks and stay away from processed and refined foods – the savoury products are chock-full of sugar to make the taste appealing. Check the label. Eat whole grains; dairy; fresh fruit and vegetables.
• Eat more raw foods; they increase saliva flow.
• Cut out sweet and acidic drinks – even fruit juices are bad for your teeth. Just an occasional sugary drink can increase your risk of tooth loss substantially.
• Don’t sip on anything except water- studies show that the way you drink impacts the risk of cavities.
• Use a straw for drinks; it helps bypass vulnerable teeth.
• Only chew sugar- free gum; holding foods in your mouth for prolonged periods gives the harmful bacteria more time to do damage.
• Flush your mouth with water after sweet foods to dislodge bacteria
• Don’t eat between meals; if you must have a sweet snack do so with other foods.
• Use a fluoride toothpaste. Brush and floss religiously at least twice a day.

Come visit us at Smile Store twice a year for your check-up so we can help before any problems get worse! Call us on 021 432 0004 and we’ll fit you in.

Invest in Electric Toothbrush! Dental Resolutions 2018

Dental Resolutions 2018
Resolution #3: Invest in an Electric Toothbrush

Look at your toothbrush. Go on, take a really good look at it. If it resembles a furry animal that got a fright, with bristles sticking out all over the place, it is time for a change.

Lots of our patients don’t realise how a good toothbrush can make a difference to their oral health. All manual toothbrushes have a short shelf life, and really need to be replaced every few months as they begin to wear. Using that old spiky thing that’s lived next to the sink for ages isn’t improving your oral health.

Using a manual brush is better than not brushing at all, of course, and there are some very good brands available in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit. Don’t choose a brush that’s too hard, as you may end up doing more harm than good.

But if you really, really want to prioritise your smile in 2018, you need to get yourself an electric toothbrush.

Benefits of Electric Toothbrush

There are electric toothbrushes on sale everywhere, so now is a great time to grab one. You’ll find brands retailing from €24 to €389, but it doesn’t need to make you tea or whistle showtunes; just have an automated movement that allows thorough cleaning of all your teeth.

Electric toothbrushes oscillate many times per second, far faster than we could attempt with a manual brush. The degree of movement and the varying angles of attack an electric brush allows patients to get their mouth as clean as possible.

This helps reduce cavity risk, is very effective at getting rid of plaque and helps prevent gingivitis. Electric toothbrushes are particularly useful in maintaining gum health, according to our Hygienist Jennifer who says “I can always tell when a patient uses an electric toothbrush; they just give a more comprehensive clean and leave gums in good shape”.

Electric toothbrushes offer advantages. The brush does all the work for you; some have a timer for the full two minutes; others tell you when to move to another section of your mouth. Some have pressure indicators to stop you brushing too hard.

Whichever brand you choose, electric toothbrushes allow ‘brainless brushing’ as all you must do is move it from tooth to tooth. Some penetrate under the gum line to disrupt bacteria or oscillate in a way that removes biofilm, a sticky coating, from the tooth surface.

Teenagers or adults with braces benefit hugely from the thorough cleaning an electric brush provides, as do elderly patients with any dexterity problems. Electric brushes are efficient at stain removal too; good news for smokers and coffee lovers.

Add the reduction of inflammation from sore gums; slowing of gum recession; reduction of hypersensitivity and excellent plaque removal all in a swift two minutes, and the case for an electric toothbrush looks like a no brainer for 2018. Go on – treat your teeth.

Guidance from a Professional

Start the year off right with a visit to our Dental Hygienist, who will show you the best way to brush your teeth; point out the pockets or areas to keep an eye on, and how to incorporate flossing or inter-dental brushes into your routine for healthy, attractive gnashers! Just call to make an appointment on 021 432 0004 or see

Become a Floss Boss! Dental Resolutions 2018

Become a Floss Boss!

When was the last time you flossed your teeth? Admit it – not since you got a wodge of bacon stuck between your molars that time after a hearty breakfast, and that wasn’t even floss; it was a bit of spare thread hanging off your cardigan.

Although we Irish have become far more dentally aware in recent years, we’re still fairly lax when it comes to flossing our teeth. So, what’s the big deal? We brush twice a day – isn’t that enough? No, it’s not! New Year is the perfect time to incorporate flossing into your day.

Disgusting stuff grows in your mouth

Just brushing your teeth mornings and evenings doesn’t do enough to keep plaque at bay.

Those teensy little scraps of food that get lodged between your teeth and around the gum line start to decay as the day wears on. They get smelly.

They attract bacteria, who are delighted to have such conveniently placed goodies to swarm all over.

Bacteria begin to multiply rapidly, feasting on those little morsels of food and secreting nasty tooth-eroding acids as they dine. These bacteria are the precursors of plaque; that soft coating that makes your teeth feel like they are wearing furry jumpers.

Brushing your teeth only moves plaque from the surfaces the bristles can reach, leaving plenty of plaque wedged between teeth and around the gum line. That plaque hardens into tartar, the villain that leads to tooth decay; gum disease and tooth loss.

Why Floss?

Flossing regularly is as important as brushing.

Only floss can reach all the nooks and crannies where plaque and bacteria like to hide.

Flossing after meals will get rid of lurking food scraps (it is not a spectator sport; best performed alone in the bathroom) and keep the sides of the teeth smooth so plaque can’t stick. It also protects the gum line by dislodging plaque that would otherwise harden into tartar.

Flossing Guidelines

There are many different flosses on the market from waxed or unwaxed; to flavoured flosses or even floss attached to a handle, like a tiny archer’s bow.

It doesn’t matter what your personal preference is; the mechanics of flossing are standard. Take a piece of floss about 15 inches long and wind each end around your index fingers.

Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it around the side of the tooth, working it up and down to scrape off plaque.

Do the same against the side of the adjacent tooth; then move on to a fresh spot on your length of floss and the next tooth. It’s better to work systematically around your mouth, and pay careful attention to the molar teeth at the back where it can be difficult to fit the floss.

Regular flossing will not only keep your teeth plaque-free; it can alert you to any tell-tale signs of health problems. Bleeding gums, for example, may indicate gum disease and the bacteria present in your mouth will migrate through your bloodstream, potentially causing inflammation elsewhere in your body.

If your gums bleed at first, gently floss and brush more often until they no longer bleed. If the bleeding persists, come and see us. Call us on 021 432 0004 or see

Brush Right for Pearly Whites! Dental Resolutions 2018 Dental Resolution #1


Brush right way to keep those teeth healthy – two full minutes twice a day. Make it your Dental Resolution #1 for 2018.

You’d be amazed how many of us were never taught how to use a toothbrush correctly. Simply sticking a loaded brush in your mouth for a swift surface swipe doesn’t do the job, which is why we at Smile Store see so many people with preventable decay.

Keep a good habit or bad things happen

How many of us have fallen into bed – especially over the Christmas holidays- without brushing our teeth at all? Or bypassed that toothbrush on a busy morning hoping a mint will cover the noxious fumes of halitosis?

Brushing your teeth is a habit that takes a daily total of 4 minutes. Forgo this habit at your peril, and you’ll be facing much more than bad breath and yellow fangs. Poor oral hygiene can cause anything from heart disease or stroke to lung problems and inflammation throughout the whole body.

we all start out like this!

Brushing Teeth: When, why and how

We brush after breakfast in the morning to freshen up and get rid of the bacteria that have been growing overnight.

We brush before bed to sweep away the remains of food and drink that would encourage more bacteria while we snooze. Your saliva flow helps wash out the mouth by day, but it tends to dry up at night so the acids secreted by mouth bacteria are undiluted and very damaging to tooth enamel.

If using a manual toothbrush, we should choose a soft-medium bristled brush (hard bristles can damage teeth and gums); brush at a 45-degree angle towards the gum line, for a full two minutes.

Work systematically around the mouth, brushing the front and back of the teeth. You’ll need to make weird faces in the mirror if you’re brushing correctly!

Change your toothbrush at least every three months, or if the bristles start to fray. Using a worn-out toothbrush is useless for cleaning; you’re only pushing toothpaste around.

Don’t use anyone else’s toothbrush; the human mouth is jam-packed with millions of bacteria so introducing alien bacteria will cause problems. It’s also a good idea to bin your brush if you’ve been ill.

Lastly, nearly everybody spends too short a time brushing. Set your phone; get an egg timer or find a song that lasts two minutes- this way you can ensure you don’t miss any lurking plaque.

The easiest way to guarantee yourself a productive two minutes of brushing is to invest in an electric toothbrush – more on this later in the week!

For guidance on brushing technique; a fantastic professional clean and a great start to your year, make an appointment with our Dental Hygienist Jennifer here at Smile Store. Call us on 021 432 0004 or see

Feel Out of Control at Dentist? Our 5 steps that work!

Feel out of control at the Dentist? Our 5 steps that work!

People who are nervous about seeing the dentist often worry about feeling out of control.

It’s understandable – being tipped back in a dental chair; a stranger in a mask invading your personal space; the sensation that you don’t know what’s going on or when it’s going to stop- all these feelings can seem overwhelming, especially if you’ve had a bad experience at a dentist when you were younger.

Putting Patients in Control

At Smile Store – Your Local Dental Specialists, we recognise and understand the psychology behind your fear. Here are some of the ways we empower you to feel in control:

1. Plain talk and proper explanations: Your full treatment plan; options; details and fees will always be explained before any work ever takes place. Informed patients have the best outcomes, because they understand what they are having done; why and how to take care of their teeth afterwards. We speak in plain English and won’t confuse you with medical jargon.

2. Patient Interaction: We talk to patients before commencing any treatment; be it a simple cleaning with our hygienist, or a dental procedure. Your specialist will always take the time to have a chat to you before starting any treatment, and we are tuned into cues such as nervous body language – even if the patient politely says they are fine (a very Irish trait!)

3. Tell; Show; Do: We discuss concerns the patient may have; and practice a ‘Tell – Show- Do’ model where we explain to the patient what we’re going to do; show them what is about to happen, before doing it. We explain the sensations you may feel; noises you’ll hear and what to expect throughout the procedure. No surprises!

4. Hand signals for patients: Before any work commences at all, we give the patient hand signals to communicate. When patients realise they can pause or halt the work by simply raising their hand, they feel far more in control.

5. Communication: We will constantly check in with our patients; ensuring they can rinse when they wish; sit up and take a break if necessary, and will keep talking to them to explain what we are doing at each step of the procedure.

It’s important to us that you feel comfortable when you’re here and we want you to feel relaxed and safe. Just call us on 021 432 0004 to make an appointment and see how we can help.

If you are nervous about seeing the dentist, take a look at some of the reviews by patients who felt the same way, and how a visit to Smile Store changed their mind here