A TV presenter unveils her new invisible braces, an invention which takes the pain out of dental injections and a look at how National Smile Month revealed what makes us happy and how to put old toothbrushes to good use

June is proving to be a busy month for interesting dental news, and we’re only just halfway through it.

Holly’s new braces pride

TV presenter Holly Willoughby has proudly announced that she is wearing braces.

The This Morning Star used Twitter to tell her fans and followers: “Brace yourselves. I’ve got braces… eek!”

A picture of the 30-year-old’s happy smile accompanied the tweet and yet there was little sign of the braces in the photo.

This was because she has had invisible orthodontic braces fitted. People looking to copy Holly’s discreet braces look should check out braces such as those made by Invisalign. London dentist Ethicare provides Invisalign treatment and might well experience a surge in demand now that Holly has gone public.

Ms Willoughby is understandably keen to maintain her smile’s dazzling impact. In May she topped a British Dental Health Foundation poll to discover who the public think has the most welcoming smile, pipping second-placed Kelly Brook.

(In the male category, David Beckham and Prince William finished joint top.)

Taking the pain out of dental injections

A new system to reduce the pain of the anaesthetic injection given by dentists to patients has won a health award.

John Meechan, a senior lecturer at Newcastle University, told Radio Four’s Today programme that it’s not the needle going in which causes the stinging sensation that makes the prospect of having dental work done so frightening for many patients.

Dr Meechan stressed that the needle causes very little pain and can be masked quite easily with surface anaesthetic – rubbing cream on your gum.

It is the acidity of the anaesthetic in the syringe itself which causes the stinging sensation when it enters the tissues.

And, surprisingly, the solution is acidic purely for storage reasons – the anaesthetic solution loses its effectiveness if stored in a non-acidic environment.

Dr Meechan and his colleagues claim to have reduced the pain by developing a syringe which adds a neutralising solution to the anaesthetic just before it is injected into the patient’s mouth.

The concept is not a new one but the award has been granted because the researchers at Newcastle have come up with a way of putting the anaesthetic and the neutralising solution in one syringe – other systems have been more cumbersome.

If you don’t understand all this, don’t worry, it’s just good to hear Dr Meechan summarise the concept’s success by saying: “It’s not painful and it works quicker.”

The Newcastle research team is hopeful that the invention will be mass-produced soon.

End of National Smile Month

While the dental world looks forward to saying hello to the new syringe invention, it’s time to say goodbye to National Smile Month which ended on June 15th.

We will all miss learning about National Smile Month polls such as the one conducted to find out the thinks which make Brits smile the most (a simple bar of chocolate, followed by “seeing a loved one”).

And how can we forget the findings of the poll organised to find out the most popular use for old toothbrushes (“scrubbing bathroom tiles”).

Let’s hope the rest of the month brings us more dental news to smile about!

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