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 Sep 1, 2023

It is so dark, damp and blustery outside as I write this. We actually had to put the heating on for short bursts of time this week as clients were shivering. After an hour lying still, you can start to feel quite cool.

It certainly has been a patchy summer weatherwise- typically English I’d say.  As you can see, we were cooking our BBQ under a brolly when we were in Cornwall with friends in July! (Credit to james for the beautiful pose). Rob was doing his cooking in the kitchen...and I was behind the camera with a cocktail! Very relaxing!



I had a conversation with Rob recently where I explained that at school in Ireland, (a long time ago now!), we learned the seasons differently than here and for me August is autumn and therefore the weather is autumnal - which it definitely has been this year.

Autumn - harvesting the crops and preparing the ground for new growth after the winter. August, September and October, Autumn. November, December and January, Winter - not a lot happening. February, March and April, Spring – new growth starts as crocus, snowdrops etc herald the new season.  May, June and July, Summer- everything, including the weeds, grows like wildfire.

Needless to say, we ended up agreeing!!!!!! that he is incorrect to think of August as Summer. The weather forecast for the next week is looking good though so here’s hoping for an Indian summer.



Team News

And now a word or two from Karenn, our dental therapist (having a lunchtime siesta).




As you may know I am from Mexico and although I am very happy with my life here in England, I love my roots and miss my homeland and its culture. Because I cannot go home to Mexico too often, I decided to get involved in Mexican events here and I joined ‘Coleres Mexicanos'.

Coleres Mexicanos translates to Mexican Colours and is a group of proud Mexican women in love with the traditional Mexican dance folklore. In Mexico we grow up dancing and a Mexican baby is introduced to dancing from birth. Grandparents, parents, siblings, friends, neighbours, pretty much everyone who picks a baby up, dances with them rather than lull them to sleep. So our earliest experience is dance, and we naturally want to dance. By the age of 10 we know all of the folklore dances.



I joined the group because I love dancing but I also want to share the Mexican culture with everyone in England.So far, I have been involved in two events, one in Bournemouth and one in Southampton. We do about 4 each year. And let me tell you, every time I perform, my eyes tear up and I feel immense joy in my heart. It is such an adrenaline rush. There are no words to describe my feelings for it. Plus, it gives me an excuse to wear heels. And I loooooove heels!

There is no website but if you ever want to join me for an evening of Mexican dance, keep an eye on the Coleres Mexicanos Facebook or Instagram profile.  I would love to see you there.


You may have noticed on Anus name badge that it says 'trainee dental nurse'.  She has been studying diligently for the past year and has now passed her exam, first time.  Congratulations to her from all of us. She is just waiting for the official piece of paper to say she is registered so we can change her name badge to 'Dental Nurse' rather than trainee.

Anus husband is the Gurkhas and fantastic news for them – he has been promoted. Sad news for us – that means he will be moving to the midlands most likely. So we are on the hunt for a new trainee dental nurse. Keep us I mind should you have friends or family members who fancy a new career.



And now for the science (or is it the boring bit)!


As a follow on to the last blog when I spoke about Oral B electric toothbrushes, I thought I might give a little information about the heads. We frequently get asked about which is the most appropriate.


A few points before I outline the differences so it is less of a minefield when you rock up to Boots or such like to buy new heads.

Firstly, while it is easier to do a good job on toothbrushing with an electric toothbrush, a properly used manual toothbrush can give a great result. Conversely an improperly used electric toothbrush can give a poor job. It is all about the technique – getting the angle correct and holding the brush still to allow it to do its job.

Secondly, because the Oral B technology is all about oscillation of the bristles and rotation of the head, the shape of the head needs to be circular.

Thirdly, did you know there is a visible use indicator on your brush head? The green bristles turn to yellow when it is time for a change.




Oral B electric toothbrush ranges

There are numerous different ranges of Oral B toothbrushes and numerous versions within each range. I really hope I am not going to confuse you all here. I find it confusing when I go looking at shelves of all the different ones.  Pro, Genius, Smart, Vitality and iO.

Other than gadgetry and the ability to interact with an app, the main difference is the less expensive ranges are less powerful – as in fewer oscillations and rotations per minute that the other ranges.

I spoke only about the Pro and iO in the last blog as these are the ones the current offer applies to. If you want something more than a simple ‘one button does everything’ brush, the iO on offer should be more cost effective than most of the other ranges. And the offer price on Pro makes it equally as affordable as the cheaper ranges.

iO toothbrush heads

If you are using the iO brush, your choice of heads currently is limited to 2 for general everyday use.

Ultimate Clean and Gentle Care. There are 2 slightly more specialised/specific heads - Ultimate White and Specialised Clean.

Ultimate Clean - the blurb says it give ‘up to 100% more plaque removal with superior clinical results’ when compared to a manual toothbrush. And that its ‘tuft in tuft bristle structure with 16-degree angle allows the bristle to reach deeper in between the teeth’.



Gentle Care has up to 4000 soft bristles and a cushioning outer ring which adapts to the curves of the teeth and protects the gums from trauma.

Which to get? It is personal choice really. Both, when used with the correct technique, will give an equally good clean. If you can be quite heavy handed and frequently damage your gums with the bristles then the Gentle Care may be the one for you.

Be warned though, my experience of ‘heavy-handed’ clients is that they, (just like me!), are heavy handed because they are always rushing to get onto the next item on their list. Therefore, a gentle brush might not feel like it is doing enough for you.

The Gentle Care is a definite must for sensitive souls who don’t like anything aggressive or harsh on their skin/body and those who are concerned about gum recession and/or suffer with sensitive teeth.


When it comes to whitening, there is only one way to actually whiten/alter the colour of your teeth and that is by professional means (as in whitening gel from a dental practice). Whitening toothpastes and whitening heads/modes on electric toothbrushes will help to keep staining from tea and coffee etc. at bay but will not remove it once it has established itself on your tooth and will never alter the intrinsic shade of the tooth.


The Ultimate White head has ‘polishing petals which will polish away surface staining so if you have the brush which has a whitening mode and you drink a lot of tea, coffee (especially black), red wine or eat curries, it may be worth a go. I suggest you start with this immediately after a hygienist visit when Karenn or myself will have removed any built-up staining. You may then be able to mainly keep it under control between visits.


The Specialised Head has just a few tufts of bristles on it and is designed to reach the areas nothing else can easily reach such as areas where the teeth are quite crooked or wisdom teeth that are not fully through. It is also a really useful head to have if you are wearing traditional (traintrack) braces or have dental implants. It is also my ‘go to’ when I have clients who just cannot get on with anything else to clean in between the teeth.



Other ranges.



The following heads work with all the remaining toothbrush base handles so Vitality, Pro, Genius and Smart and you have a larger range from which to choose for daily tooth cleaning. – Precision Clean, Cross Action, Floss action, Sensitive Clean, 3D White and the Interspace Head.



The Precision Clean head is ‘an oldie but a goodie’. Basic, with no frills and flounces. Although I did read that it now comes with x shaped bristle ends rather than rounded ones. The blurb says this means they can clean in areas rounded end bristle cannot. I assume all of the Oral B heads now have x shaped bristle ends rather than round. Never too old to learn something new!


The Cross Action head ‘features more than 2200 perfectly angled bristles to remove up to 100% more plaque than a manual toothbrush’. The Floss Action blurb is ‘specifically engineered MicroPulse bristles that loosen plaque’, with ‘up to 100% more plaque removal than a manual toothbrush.

Which to get? Sorry I am no real help as again, it is personal choice really

Of the 3 outlined above, the Cross Action and Precision Clean are my preference. I find a lot of clients who use the Floss Action seem to end up with traumatised gums. Personally, I hated the hard plastic bits when I tried it and found it difficult to not massacre my gums.

Similarly, I find the Cross Action quite hard. It does soften after you start brushing but the first few seconds can be tough. A quick run under warm water helps – but then the toothpaste dribbles all down the brush handle - and your hand – and it sprays everywhere – the downsides of electric toothbrushing!


And now we get to my personal favourite – Sensitive Clean. Love it, love it, love it! It has soft bristles and does a brilliant job. Same thing as with the iO sensitive head – not for those who want to feel the burn, as it were.  Apologies for the German in the picture above, this was the only image I could source.  It translates as ultra-tight bristle hairs!


The 3D White has a polishing cup in the centre and like the Cross Action is quite hard on the gums. Regarding its effectiveness see the info in the iO whitening head section.

Please do not use this head except on the whitening mode on your brush.

And finally, the Interspace head, exactly the same as the iO Specialised head outlined above - it gets to the places that nothing else can! Clear as mud now on toothbrush heads?


So now that I have messed with your heads, overloaded you with information and provided no clarity, I am going to sign off.

Have a good weekend.

Karenn, Niamh, Rob and the Gentle Dental team.

Gentle Dental Blog