We are all familiar with the old adage “A little bit of what you fancy does you good!”

Children are well known for picking their noses and then disgustingly often eating the results.

Well it turns out that they are right!

Mucus from the nose and other body linings contains proteins which have a protective effect on many tissues and organs including teeth.

Companies are now researching harvesting these proteins by making artificial mucus  to use in products such as toothpastes and facial treatments.

So get ready for your new slimy toothpaste and other health products.

For all things dental including disgusting knowledge, think of us at st Stephens Dental Practice where we always give the confidence to smile.


When you go to the dentists, you expect a hygienic environment don’t you? Of course!

Most dentists work hard to be as hygienic as possible but do they go the extra mile?

All dentists use gloves, masks and sterile equipment whilst treating you, but then what do they do? They type up your notes! Typing up using a keyboard and mouse. Studies have shown that a keyboard and mouse are amongst the least hygienic items in a person’s home, contaminated with a very high level of bacteria, especially between the keys.

So how clean are your dentist’s mouse and keyboard?

Well at St.Stephens Dental Practice in Canterbury we have special hygienic safe and easy clean keyboards and mouse, ensuring they are as clean as possible! So next time you go to your dentists, take a quick look at the keyboard and mouse they use. If they don’t use such cool clean technology, ask yourself, is this really the dental practice for you?


The UK market for toothpastes is about £400 million a year of which about a quarter is for whitening toothpastes some of them up to £200 a tube.

I am sorry to report that they do not work. All toothpastes, whitening or not have some ability to clean off stains but they cannot inherently whiten the internals of a tooth. Some of them do contain whitening agents such as Carbamide or Hydrogen Peroxide but not at a level that is clinically effective.

Products that do work are only available to dentists and are specially licensed as CE approved dental products. These usually contain Carbamide or Hydrogen Peroxide at a higher concentration. They  need a dentist to prescribe them after a thorough examination and treatment of any dental or gum problems. Other people such as beauticians and hairdressers offering tooth whitening are doing so illegally and are probably using unlicensed and possibly dangerous whitening compounds.

People attach a great significance to using mouthwashes. These are often marketed by glitzy TV adverts showing miracle clean white smiles following their use. In the main mouthwashes are nowhere near as effective as they are purported to be in the adverts and some can even stain teeth!

Cleaning teeth is all about physically cleaning using a toothbrush, preferably electric and floss or interdental brushes with normal toothpaste.

A good analogy to mouthwash use is cleaning your car! If you have a dirty car and throw a bucket of soapy water over it you will still have a dirty car.

That is the equivalent of mouthwash.

If you take the same bucket of soapy water and clean all over using a sponge, the equivalent of brushing etc you will have a clean car.

Now for some good news. A study in The International Journal of Dental Hygiene has found that added milk to your tea and drinking it has a similar whitening effect to using some of the lower level Peroxide products.

So there are three messages to take on board from this article;

Stop wasting money on expensive whitening toothpastes that do not work.

Drink white tea and smile a lot.

For tooth whitening that really works only your dentist can legally help with proper licensed products that ae not harmful and do actually work.

To book an appointment at St Stephens Dental Practice where we will give you the confidence to smile please phone on 01227 452668 or  go to the St Stephens Dental Practice website


If you touched or rubbed your face near your eye and your eye bled or even if your eye bled spontaneously you would be quite worried, wouldn’t you? You would rush to an see optician, such as Jon Brothwell at Pybus Opticians in Canterbury.

And yet, many people accept bleeding gums as being normal.

They see the current TV advert for Corsodyl mouthwash marketed as a cure for this.

A mouthwash alone is not and can never be a “cure”.

The mouthwash just reduces the symptoms.

One thing that is correct in that advert is that bleeding gums are a sign of a condition that ultimately will lead to tooth loss.

Bleeding gums are the first sign of gingivitis, inflamed gums. This, neglected and  untreated can lead to periodontitis, which can be summarised as inflammation of the tooth supporting tissues comprising gum, periodontal ligament (which holds the tooth in) and bone.

The symptoms are better recognised as loose teeth, infection and tooth loss.

If you or any of your family or friends have bleeding gums then a visit to the dentist is essential.

In most cases some simple advice and treatment is all that is necessary to get you back on the straight and narrow track to keeping your teeth life long.

So for advice and treatment to maintain your smile regardless of your age please come and see us at St Stephens Dental Practice.

We are on a mission to keep Canterburys teeth where they belong giving people the confidence to smile.

To book an appointment please call on 01227 452668 or go online at


A dentist recommending chocolate? Yes, that’s right, the news you always wanted to hear!

Recent studies emerging from Japan, England, and the U.S. support the fact that chocolate is actually an effective ingredient in fighting cavities, plaque, and tooth decay.

I must interject though at this point before you go and grab the closest bar of Galaxy or Dairy Milk that we are referring to high quality dark chocolate. Milk chocolate we can’t be so positive about!

And is the crux of this good news. Compounds in chocolate may be more effective at fighting decay than fluoride. Researchers are predicting that one day, the compound found in chocolate called CBH will be used in mouthwashes and toothpaste – how crazy is this!?!
Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth turn sugar into acids, which eat away at the tooth’s surface and cause cavities. Compounds in the cocoa bean husk have an anti-bacterial effect and also are anti acids fighting against plaque. This makes chocolate less harmful than many other sweet foods your dentist might warn you against because the antibacterial agents in cocoa beans offset its high sugar levels.

This research has even revealed that the cocoa extract is more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities. This compound has been proven effective in the animal model, but it will it will take another two to four years before the product is approved for human use and available for sale (in the form of mouthwashes and toothpastes) – so don’t get excited just yet.

Now, before you reach for your favourite chocolatey snack, read on…

For the best therapeutic effect (yes, I’m still talking about chocolate), it’s best to chew on cacao nibs. Most will find this option pretty bad to taste!

The second best choice, is dark chocolate with less than 6-8 grams of sugar per serving – organic if possible. Be aware that chocolate is a calorie-rich food, so modify your calorie intake accordingly.

Do all of this for your teeth, but you can actually enjoy the other benefits dark chocolate offers to boot – mood elevation and better blood flow!

With the recent findings, it’s now more true than ever, that chocolate is a superfood. Chocolate has over 300 chemical compounds in it, making it one of the most complex foods we know of, and I predict that many new compounds in chocolate beneficial to us will surface over time and cement its nutritional five star rating.


It turns out that keeping your breath fresh every day could be even easier than you thought if you do this one simple thing every morning… but can you guess what?
New research has suggested drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning is an effective way of reducing morning breath!

At St.Stephens Dental Practice, we followed the research published in the ‘International Journal of Dental Hygiene’ which showed drinking or rinsing the mouth with a glass of water helped remove up to 60 per cent of the substances which contribute to bad breath!

As Martin Southon, dentist at St.Stephens Dental Practice explained “A glass of water in the morning can aid in washing away bacteria. This bacteria can be the cause of bad breath. However, please bear in mind this is NOT a solution, only an aid”

“The best way to beat bad breath effectively is to ensure that you have an good oral health routine. This should involve brushing your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste. You should also floss or use small brushes to clean between your teeth at least once a day”

If you want to be sure you have a good oral hygiene routine, give us a call on 01227 452668. Make an appointment to see to see one of our friendly dentists who can help give advice and tips on how to keep your mouth healthy!

Not sure if your breath smells bad?

Try this simple tip – Just lick the inside of your wrist, wait for it to dry and then sniff the area. If the smell is bad, you can be fairly sure that your breath is too!

Other medical conditions that cause bad breath include infections in the throat, nose or lungs, sinusitis, and bronchitis. Diabetes and liver and kidney problems can also contribute . If you want to get to the route of your bad breath, make sure you visit us at , as we can help you uncover these problems. The earlier the causes are found, the more effective the treatment will be.

So remember, water is an essential part of the diet and has many benefits for oral health so having a glass of water in the morning is a good idea for more reasons than just quenching your thirst.

I hope this helped and remember to like our Facebook page for more amazing tips! 🙂


The New Year is often a great opportunity to get fighting fit and give your self-esteem a boost. You may be eating healthier or trying to exercise more. But did you know that smiling is actually deemed your most attractive feature?

And with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, why not put as much effort into your smile as you are the rest of your body?

Teeth whitening is a great way to improve self-confidence. Not only do whiter teeth look more pleasing, they will also encourage you to smile more often and show off your pearly whites. It’s also been proven that those who smile more are deemed more approachable. So don’t delay. Give us a call today and one of our expert dentists will be able to give you a gleaming smile just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Perhaps it’s not the colour of your teeth that bothers you, but the fact they’re crooked or misaligned? The great news is that you don’t have to worry about ‘train tracks’ anymore. Today, there are a number of discreet, ‘invisible’ options available, so you can look forward to straighter teeth without a mouth full of metal. Get in touch soon because modern braces can begin to improve the position of your teeth almost immediately.

Many of us are also trying to get in shape for the spring and summer. At rest we usually burn 1 calorie a minute just being alive. Did you know that kissing burns 2-3 calories a minute. So not only is kissing fun and pleasant you can also start to burn up more calories!

Finally, you may like to know that smooching increases saliva production which reduces your chances of cavities. But if you suffer from bad breath, you may be out of luck. Therefore, if you’re hoping for an enchanting kiss this Valentine’s Day, make sure you’re keeping bad breath at bay.

The leading cause of bad breath is poor dental hygiene, and even if you’re brushing twice a day, you could be missing vital parts of your mouth. The best way to ensure your mouth is completely clean and bacteria free is to have a scale and polish. This painless procedure is used to remove build-ups of plaque and tartar, often resulting in the mouth feeling cleaner than ever before. So you’ll have nothing to worry about other than choosing the right time to plant a kiss on your loved one.

We will also give you the latest advice about the best tooth cleaning products and techniques.

If you would like more information about any of the treatments mentioned here, or to book an appointment to come and see us, don’t hesitate to call our friendly team on at St Stephens Dental Practice 01227 452668. We will give you the confidence to smile and, hopefully to kiss more.

From all of us at my practice we hope you have a lovely Valentine’s Day… get smiling and kissing!

Martin Southon
Principle Dentist and Practice Owner
St Stephens Dental


A decades-long debate has finally been settled: a study has confirmed that English citizens have better teeth than their US counterparts.

In the study, published in the British Medical Journal, researchers in the UK and the US examined data from English and American dental surveys.

The results showed that the average number of missing teeth was 6.97 for English participants, but 7.31 for those in the US.

Additionally, people were more likely to suffer poor dental health in the US because of socio-economic factors.


Smile conscious Brits

Dr Sameer Patel, clinical director of Harley Street practice Elleven and member of the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, commented on the findings: ‘It has long been a stereotype that Americans have much better teeth than those in the UK.

‘However, in recent years the UK has grown increasingly “smile conscious” and as a nation our oral hygiene has come on leaps and bounds.

‘This can in part be attributed to the preventive and prospective visions of the British dental community, which we have seen filtering into the mindset of the general population – effectively leading to healthier teeth and gums around the country.

‘Additionally, the cosmetic dentistry industry has seen an increase in minimally invasive treatments and a boom in demand for orthodontics, which in the long term, actually helps to prevent tooth decay and oral health issues.









A recent study in Norway seemed to suggest that fillings were in some  way infectious.

The study of 750 recently filled teeth showed that 30% adjacent teeth required a filling themselves in the following few years, suggesting some form of contagion.

However on closer examination of the evidence it became apparent that this was not evenly spread among the participating dentists but more common with certain operators.

It became apparent that these dentists were actually damaging the tooth next door whilst drilling leading to an increased susceptibility to decay in that tooth!

If you play Scrabble then this word might prove useful- this is known as IATROGENIC damage meaning operator damage.

If you or your friends or family are still seeing “Old Shaky” to have their teeth “looked after” then you should be thinking about changing to us at my practice.

You will end up needing less treatment keeping you healthier and better off.

Come and see us or refer your friends and family to me and my team at St Stephens Dental Practice.

We will give you the confidence to smile and will carefully look after your mouth with very our steady hands so will not cause  further problems or damage.


Hello, Martin Southon Principal Dentist at St Stephens Dental Surgery here.

The job of my dental team is to look after and maintain the health of teeth and mouths. A rather obvious statement but our modern life is making this more and more difficult for patients and dentists alike. The TV celebrity chef, Jamie Oliver has been making it his mission to try to help the public at large eat more healthily. A few years ago his campaign was to fight obesity with a more sensible lower fat diet. This year his new programme and campaign is called Sugar Rush  highlighting the danger of sugar in our diet.
WE all know that sugar in our diet is the enemy of teeth and can cause other systemic problems like diabetes.
With our teeth, what many people do not know is that the problem with sugar is not the volume of the sugar but the frequency of sugar exposure to our dentition.
Sugars are a necessary part of our diet providing energy and they are a part of our metabolisms running normally and correctly. Dieticians say a reasonable intake is about 7 teaspoons of sugar a day…It sounds quite a lot doesn’t it?
This includes direct application of sugar such as in tea,coffee or on cereal  but must also include the hidden sugars within foods!


Eating supposedly healthily meals these days can boost sugar intake quite surprisingly and dramatically
How about this?…A healthy sounding days food intake;

Breakfast; Bran flakes and a lemon yoghurt

Lunch; Tomato soup with bread

Snack; Flavoured water such as Volvic and a special K bar

Dinner; Chicken with Lemon and Ginger stir fry.

With the hidden sugars in this group of meals sugar intake is an astonishing 36 teaspoons!

Obviously this level of sugar exposure to your teeth can dramatically increase risk and incidence of decay.
But it can also lead to systemic disease such as Type 2 Diabetes,  and 10% of the yearly NHS budget is now spent on dealing with problems caused by this type of largely avoidable Diabetes.
These problems range from obesity and its own bunch of related troubles to poor circulation. This can lead to blindness, gum disease general increased susceptibility to infections and at worse,a loss of limbs, especially legs.
At St Stephens Dental Practice we understand these hidden sugars are difficult to spot. If you need dietary advice please come and talk to us.
Book an appointment by phone on 01227 452668 or book online via our website.
St Stephens Dental Practice where we will maintain your confidence to smile.

CLICK HERE to Watch Jamie’s Sugar Rush