Dr. Peter Galgut
UK National Dentist of the Year 2013.
Left: radio Personality Chris Neill. Centre: Dr. Peter Galgut. Right: Mike Volk: Sales & Marketing Director, The Dental Directory
Peter Galgut gobbles up a top dental award for his work on gums
GUM SPECIALIST Peter Galgut has a good reason to smile. The periodontist has been appointed vice president of the British Dental Hygienists and Therapists Association in recognition of his contribution to preventive dental care.
Dr. Galgut, 63, has spent more than 30 years specializing in periodontal conditions and promoting preventative care.
He runs his own practice in Golders Green, north London. He says, “People don’t take dental hygiene terribly seriously because often, there isn’t anything too dramatic that appears on a regular basis. But periodontal diseases can have a profound effect on other areas of the body. The bacteria that cause periodontal disease are very malicious organisms.”
He adds; “People may have nice-looking gums but there can be an infection burrowing away underneath.” Born in South Africa, Dr. Galgut moved to UK in 1973. He gained the Membership in Restorative Dentistry (MRD) and also the MFGDP of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He was awarded an MPhil in acknowledgement of his research into biomaterials and wound healing.
The senior vice president of Alyth Synagogue, he is the author of several books on subjects including periodontics, Judaism at home and humming your way to happiness.
Dentist of the year’s battle to promote healthy smiles
An award-winning periodontist is acting as a bridge between the academic and practical worlds of dentistry in his crusade to prevent gum disease
Dr Peter Galgut has run a periodontal practice in Golders Green for 28 years, but his battle to promote dental hygiene has lasted his whole life.
After being named UK Dentist of the Year by the British Dental Health Foundation for an unprecedented second time last month, he is in a strong position to highlight the dangers of gum disease.
“The award wasn’t because I do better fillings than anyone else.” says Dr Galgut. “It’s not a play-off between us for that.
“All of my life I’ve tried to promote preventative care. It’s about trying to prevent gum disease, not just waiting until it gets out of hand and then doing surgery.”
Dr. Galgut is the highest qualified periodontist in the UK –a profession that sees him deal with patients’ gums as opposed to their teeth. While gum disease may not rank highly on many people’s list of worries, the South African says new studies may prove it is more important than has been previously realized.
“What we are finding now is that you can’t isolate the mouth from the rest of the body. We’ve been examining the effects of closed infections and found a relationship between gum and heart disease. Now professionals are also looking at how it could affect arthritis, diabetes and low birth weight babies for example.”
In light of such studies, why is it that gum disease is rarely seen to be a threat? Dr Galgut believes much of the problem is to do with recent developments in how the public approaches dental hygiene.
“Some people benefit from a wider approach, they’re not always comfortable with the chemicals and antibiotics for instance
“Once upon a time, you’d see your gums were red and swollen, you’d just accept it and go for surgery.”
“Nowadays, the issue is that we get superficial help, so the problem goes underground.”
“Look at your fingernail cuticles – there should be a tight collar between the nail and the skin. If something gets in between those cuticles, it can cause an infection and it’s the same with gums. If you got a periodontal infection, you start brushing like mad so the gum ‘collar’ tightens up, but this just seals in these infected poclonta.”
The manner in which Dr Galgut treats such infections is different to herbal medicine and deep cleaning as well as more traditional approaches.
The reason for this, he says, is due to public demand. “Some people benefit from a wider approach, they’re not always comfortable with the chemicals and antibiotics for instance.
“Usually they’ll ask and dental establishments say no, but I believe there’s room for both approaches.
Despite his degrees and qualifications, Dr Galgut attributes much of his popularity to the fact that he can act as a bridge between the academic and the practical worlds of dentistry. However, he is keen to ensure his knowledge reaches out beyond the surgery walls.
In 2010, he served a term as vice president of the British Dental Hygienists and Therapists Association – an honor given in recognition of his time touring within lecture circuits around Europe.
He has also worked with the Dental Wellness Trust, which reaches out to foreign communities where poor water and toilet facilities make dental hygiene almost impossible.
“The biggest cause of tooth loss is gum disease,” says Dr Galgut. “You can get dentures or false teeth, but there’s no substitute for the real thing.
“The more work we do, the more it makes people like you conscious and, hospitality; this will create an opportunity for even more awareness.
“I take pride in treating real people, not celebrities, so we work very much inside the local community.”
For more information about Dr. Galgut’s dental surgery, visit periodontal.co.uk/about
Click to see Dr. Galgut’s Published Work