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Gum Disease: Electric toothbrushes VS standard toothbrushes

If you are suffering from gum disease or are worried about the health of your teeth, you may have wondered which type of toothbrush is best for you, and whether an electric toothbrush or a standard one is best. Unfortunately, when it comes to brushing your teeth, there is no one ‘best toothbrush’, anymore than there is one ‘best technique for brushing your teeth’ to prevent gum disease. Your dental health is unique to you. Every dental record, apart from being unique in its own right, comes attached to a human being, unique in their own right, with an additional set of issues and preferences. However, this article will attempt to give you some of the pros and cons of electric toothbrushes vs standard ones, to help you make your decision.
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Periodontal Disease: Did The Romans Really Have Less Gum Disease Than Us?

Gum Disease: Why Romans had teeth to smile about

A recent article in The Times newspaper claims the Romans suffered from  less periodontal disease than we do today. Really? We know they didn’t have access to the same modern dentistry and mouth-care techniques back then, so what was their secret? Was it really all down to not smoking and less sugar in the  diet, or are there other factors at play? Dr Galgut challenges some of the views proffered by Professor Frances Hughes and suggests some other reasons for the lowered incidence of periodontal disease found in our ancient forebears.
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The Effects of Tobacco on Our Teeth and the Oral Cancer Connection

Are you aware of the link between smoking and gum disease, or the link between gum disease and cancer?

When it comes to our general health and well-being, it doesn’t take a medical genius to work out that in order to be fit and healthy, we need to live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. We should cut out junk food, or at least cut right back on it. We should eat fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, and fresh and natural produce. We should drink more water, and we should get more exercise. Whilst all of those things are constantly stressed to us, and every day we hear more and reasons why we need to heed that advice through media and television, there is another factor that we should address:  The effects our lifestyles in general, or more specifically, our lifestyle choices and habits, have on the health of our teeth and gums, together with the further ranging consequences of that. Read More

Preventative Dentistry: Everything You Need To Know About Dental Plaque

Dental plaque is not just about the build-up of film on your teeth caused by bacteria or bad brushing. It is the first line in a whole array of oral problems, including gum disease and periodontal disease, which left untreated, can cause other more serious illness throughout the body. Preventative dentistry is about just that: preventing oral problems from developing in the first place, rather than just treating the symptoms as they appear. Nothing in the body is isolated. In terms of “good health”, it is important to remember the whole body functions as one unit. Each process is inter-connected to another in some way, shape, or form. That means if you want a healthy body, you can’t ignore your teeth!
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Informed Dental Care to Help with Bleeding Gums

Our teeth are a fundamental part of our overall appearance, giving us the confidence to welcome the world with a smile. Because a good smile is such an integral part of our beauty-conscious culture, persuading people to spend money on products and treatments to make their teeth whiter, brighter and ‘healthier’ is easy. But your teeth are not the only component of a healthy smile. Healthy gums are an essential but all too often over-looked part of the mix. Minor symptoms, for example bleeding gums, tend to get overlooked and dismissed as “unimportant”, when in fact, they can be one of the early signs of gum disease and, as such, far more important than most people realise. Read More

Is Too Much Sport and Exercise Giving You Gum Disease?

The number of people exercising to stay healthy is at an all time high. And the health industry is at its peak because everybody knows sport and exercise is a major component in avoiding disease and leading a healthy lifestyle. However, is there a darker side to all that exercise that the health industry and the exercise professionals are not telling you about?  Exercise may be good for your bones but what about your teeth? Could all that exercise really be bad for you teeth? What if too much sport was actually giving you gum disease?  Researchers have found a distinct correlation between the consumption of sports and energy drinks and an increase in gum disease, particularly amongst the teenage population. Read More

Why Gum Disease Could Be Destroying More Than Your Teeth

The most recent adult dental health survey (2009), the results of which were published by the Telegraph under the heading “Why not brushing your teeth can kill you” has shown that a staggering 83% of adults in the UK have some form of gum disease.  Similar figures have been published in other countries.

Woah, let’s stop right there, rewind, and play that statistic again. “83% of adults in the UK have some form of gum disease”… Really? Sadly, yes. That means the overwhelming majority of us therefore have gum disease or will suffer from it at some pont in the future. Yet for the most part we are blissfully unaware of it because it has few, if any, symptoms.  A bit of bleeding, a bit of sensitivity while brushing our teeth, a bit of tenderness here and there. Nothing that exactly rings alarm bells or sends us scuttling off to the dentist or hygienist for treatment.

And that is where a good part of the problem lies. Because for the most part, this insidious mostly painless condition that erodes away the foundations of the teeth and ends up with them moving about, getting loose, forming abscesses, and ultimately tooth loss, does not cause enough symptoms for us to seek treatment until it is too late, and major dental reparative work or tooth loss are inevitable.

But that is only the tip of the iceberg!  When we have a chronic low-grade infections like periodontal disease continuously eroding away at the tissues in our mouths, cascades of “messenger molecules” are secreted from the cells that are being affected by the infection, that alert the rest of the body to the presence of a damaging process going on somewhere in the body.  Increasingly, published papers are demonstrating that the effects on the rest of the body are far reaching, affecting our recovery from heart and other diseases, outcomes from pregnancy, and the progression of diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, bowel disease (including IBS, cancer, and many others,) meningitis, and even strokes and other serious life-threatening conditions.

As more and more research is showing that this quietly ongoing infection of the gums has far reaching and sometimes even life-threatening effects throughout the body, we need to take it far more seriously than we currently do.

Most of us would say we go and have regular dental check ups. However, as the overwhelming majority of us have been proven to have some form of gum disease, and given that the condition comes and goes with periods of activity and non-activity, one of the most important reasons for going to see your dentist and/or your hygienist regularly is not to have your teeth checked to see if you need any fillings, but most importantly, to have your gums checked to make sure that you do not have underlying gum disease affecting not only your mouth health but also your general health and compromising your immune system’s ability keep you healthy.

Unfortunately, not all dentists or hygienists do periodontal examinations routinely, so when you go to your checkup please specify that you want your gums checked, and you want a print out of the results of the periodontal checkup for your records because, if you change dentist/hygienists at some time, it is always good to have these records yourself to share with your new dentist and/or hygienist, and to check yourself that the condition is not getting worse with time.

You never know, but you may just be saving yourself from a major medical disaster in the future!

For more information on the diagnosing and treating gum disease, please go to: http://Periodontal.co.uk

 

Ten Classic Signs You Have Gum Disease & How Best To Treat Them

Gum disease is a common problem that can indicate the presence of a serious underlying infection. Latest studies have linked this disease to other serious health concerns such as stroke, diabetes, heart disease and other degenerative ailments. If you’re suffering from gum disease, be advised that the treatment is not just about how often you clean your teeth. Quickly identifying the signs of gum disease is the first step along the way to initiating treatment and finding the best gum disease treatment for you. It is important to do this as early as possible before the condition worsens.

A lot of people fear gum disease because naturally the effects can be disfiguring. This can affect your confidence to smile in public, which in turn can cause some people to suffer from lower self-confidence and self-esteem. The disease causes your gums to become swollen, red and they will tend to bleed very easily. Spaces between your teeth can then develop and the ultimate fear (and eventuality, if you ignore the symptoms and leave them untreated) is that the disease will become so severe, it will eventually compel you to undergo teeth extraction.

Contacting a gum disease expert in good time is the first step in successfully dealing with the problem. Caught in the early stages, the disease need not cause any lasting damage. A good specialist will be able to help you with the best course of gum disease treatment, and it is important you contact them as early as possible to minimise the damage to your teeth and the underlying bone structure. Left untreated, the disease will start to eat away at the roots of your teeth and this is when the effects become irreversible. The place to start is by contacting your own dentist. A reputable dentist should advise that you undergo a gum disease screening at least once a year as part of your regular checkups.

What are the signs of gum disease?

Here are ten classic signs you may be suffering from gum disease:

1) When you brush your teeth, you notice the presence of red or pink tinge appearing on your toothbrush.

2) Having a taste of blood in your mouth or other peculiar tastes

3) The gums particularly those located between your teeth become swollen, bruised or tender

4) The presence of blood in your mouth or teeth especially in the morning after waking up

5) Pain or difficulties to remove food from some spots around your teeth

6) Teeth become loose

7) Your teeth begin to change positions or drift out of alignment

8) Your gums become swollen, in some cases, pus develops around the gums

9) Temperature changes cause increased teeth sensitivity

10) Receding gums

It’s important to note that these symptoms may not all occur at the same time, however, most of them manifest in the early stages of the disease.
Although the above symptoms of gum disease are easy to spot, many people ignore them, thinking they will go away or sort themselves out with time. This is not the case. As a gum disease expert myself, specialising in non-surgical correction of periodontitis and gum disease, I cannot stress enough how important early detection and gum disease treatment is to the overall prognosis of the disease. The good news is that this condition can be fully treated, without painful surgery, and you can attain full recovery and regain a totally healthy set of teeth. However, only if you seek early medical attention.

Your dentist will probably be the best person to advise you on the early signs, however, for more advanced cases, gum disease treatment is best administered by a dental expert who specialises in periodontitis.

How to treat signs of gum disease

Once the dentist has confirmed your early stage symptoms, gum disease treatment begins. However, the treatment administered depends on the stage of the disease. Common treatment options include;

  1. –   Advising patients to observe good oral habits
  2. –    Scaling to remove plaque
  3. –    Use of anti-biotic treatments
  4. –    Tooth cleaning
  5. –    Grafting
  6. –    Tooth extraction or repairing bone damage
  7. –    Surgery

Your periodontist or gum disease specialist will be able to advise you on the best method of gum disease treatment for you, depending on the diagnosis and the extent of damage.

If you need further advice or are worried about any of the above signs of gum disease, ask your dentist to refer you to a specialist periodontist or gum disease expert. Alternatively, I offer a telephone consulting service, you are welcome to get in touch directly with myself.  To find out more about my services, or to contact me, visit www.periodontal.co.uk/patients/
Remember, don’t ignore the early signs of the disease and get in contact with your dentist or a specialist gum disease expert as soon as you can so that no lasting damage is caused to your teeth or gums.

Best Way to Brush Your Teeth to Prevent Gum Disease?

Recently, The Times ran an article suggesting that dentists are confused over the best way to brush your teeth. Really? Could it really be true that “in reality dentists have no real idea of the best way to brush your teeth” to prevent gum disease, periodontal disease and other nasties? Or, worse, that the advice your parents gave you to brush twice a day is “based on habit rather than solid research”. Could it really be that the reason why nearly half of all adults in the UK suffer from some kind of gum disease is because dentists have been advising their patients wrongly?

Below is  a copy of the article ‘Dentist’s divided over best way to brush’ as it was run in Times, on Saturday 9th August, together with my comments, and my advice, based on over 25 years of research and clinical practice, on how best to brush your teeth to prevent gum disease and periodontits.

Dentists divided over best way to brush

Chris Smyth Health Correspondent

“Some demand a circular motion, others call a 45-degree angle, and there are still partisans of the horizontal scrub. Yet in reality dentists have no real idea of the best way to brush your teeth, researchers have concluded.
A range of contradictory advice is offered by dentists, governments and the makers of toothbrushes, yet there is little evidence to support any of it, scientists have said. Even the advice to brush twice a day for two minutes is based on habit rather than solid research, according to scientists who surveyed dozens of studies for an article in the British Dental Journal.
The senior author of the research, Professor Aubrey Sheiham, of University College London, said: “If people hear one thing from a dental association, another from a toothbrush company and something else from their dentist, no wonder they are confused about how to brush. In this study we found an unacceptably inconsistent array of advice from different sources.” He added: “There is no evidence to suggest that complicated techniques are any better than a simple, gentle scrub.”
Professor Sheiham said that brushing after eating sweet or sugary drinks made little difference to tooth decay, and John Wainwright, who carried out the study, said ensuring toothpaste contained fluoride was more important than any brushing technique.
“I advise my patients to focus their brushing on areas where plaque is most likely to collect – the biting surfaces and where the teeth and gums meet – and to use a gentle scrubbing motion,” Dr Wainwright said, adding that holding the toothbrush in a pencil grip might help to stop gums being damaged by overzealous brushing.
He conceded: “We can give these kinds of rationale, but the evidence that’s available doesn’t score highly. The current situation, where not just individuals dentists but different dental organizations worldwide, are all issuing different brushing guidelines isn’t just confusing, it’s undermining faith and trust in the profession as a whole. For something most people do twice a day, you would expect dentists to send a clearer message to their patients on how to brush their teeth.”
Professor Damien Walmsley, a scientific adviser to the British Dental Association, said: “No technique is superior to the other but a dental professional will check what the patient does and tweak the technique accordingly.
“Take two minutes to brush all surfaces of the teeth in a systematic manner, using fluoridated toothpaste; brush at least twice a day; and spit, don’t rinse the mouth after brushing [to avoid washing away the fluoride].”
Nigel Carter, the chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: “There’s no real evidence on which is the best way of tooth-brushing. They will all have benefits and drawbacks.”
Although people in Britain are told advised to brush twice a day, Dr Carter said there was no international agreement. “Virtually the whole of South America says one minute, three times a day,” he said. “It’s based on habit and there’s no robust research.”
He said that it was probably not necessary for children to brush for two minutes but establishing that habit during supervised brushing up to the age of seven ensured that it would be carried on into later life.”

[The Times, Saturday 9th August 2014]

So, are we dentists really confused about the best way to brush your teeth – Of course we’re not!

In my opinion, the study by Professor Aubrey Sheiham is yet another example of academics sitting in their ivory towers spending lots of money and resources on totally irrelevant clinical research.  Anyone in the real world of clinical dentistry as opposed to academia knows that people are different, their levels of manual dexterity is different, their mouths the different, and even different parts of their mouths of different.  Not only that, but there are many different toothbrushes and other oral hygiene aids and there are many different ways of achieving a nice clean mouth only an academic, divorced from the reality of clinical practice could dream up the preposterous idea that there is some universal tooth brushing technique that is the best for everyone.

There is no such thing as the best way to clean your teeth, any more than there is a best motorcar or a best T-shirt, or even the best dentist!  The idea that one tooth brushing technique is good for everyone is simply stupid.  People who suffer from gum recession need to brush their teeth in a different way to those who do not, and the secret of achieving good oral hygiene is not a matter of the best toothbrush, or the best dental floss, or the best technique, but rather it is the best combination of technique and oral hygiene aids for you which might be different to everybody else.

In my own practice I recommend different techniques and different toothbrushes and different oral hygiene aids because I believe everybody is an individual and therefore need individual attention that is tailored to their needs specifically rather than assuming that what is good for Professor Aubrey Sheiham is good for the rest of us!

The general advice, as suggested in the article:

•    Brush for two minutes, twice a day
•    Brush all the surfaces in a systematic manner
•    Use fluoridated toothpaste
•    After brushing, spit. Don’t rinse the fluoride away
[Source: Damien Walmsley]

is of course true, however, if you are suffering from any unusual symptoms or are worried about gum disease, periodontitis or are suffering from bleeding, itchy gums, why not not take advantage of my ‘Ask a dentist online‘ service?

Alternatively, I offer a telephone support service, where I can discuss with your dentist, the best treatment pan for you. Please contact me for details.

I look forward to answering your questions, and giving you an individual service and care plan 🙂