Periodontal disease is a common condition that affects the gums and the bone that supports the teeth. Despite its prevalence, there are still many misconceptions about it that can lead to delayed treatment and even tooth loss.
In this blog, we will clear up five common misconceptions with insights from a periodontist in London.
Periodontal Disease Only Affects Older People
Contrary to popular belief, periodontal disease can affect people of all ages. While it is more common in older adults, younger people can also develop the condition. Poor oral hygiene, smoking, diabetes, and certain medications can increase the risk of it at any age. Therefore, it is essential to maintain healthy teeth and gums from a young age to prevent this. At RW Perio, we provide supportive periodontal therapy, in which when active treatment is complete, supportive therapy maintains the health improvements achieved.
Brushing and Flossing Alone Can Be A Preventative
While brushing and flossing are essential for maintaining good oral hygiene, they are not enough to prevent the disease. Regular dental check-ups and professional cleanings by a periodontist are also necessary. A periodontist can detect the early signs and recommend appropriate treatment to prevent them from progressing.
Bleeding Gums Are Normal
Many people assume that bleeding gums are natural, particularly when brushing or flossing their teeth. Bleeding gums, on the other hand, are a sign of inflammation and can be an indication of this disease. As a result, if your gums bleed on a frequent basis, you should consult a periodontist. If you’re curious to know why your gums are persistently bleeding, read about it here – “What Your Bleeding Gums are Trying to Tell You”.
Periodontal Disease Only Affects Gums
The gums and the bone that holds the teeth in place are both affected by periodontal disease. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss as well as other major health issues like heart disease and diabetes. If you have any indications of these symptoms, it is critical that you seek treatment from a periodontist. Read our latest article on what you can do about your receding gums – “Is Gum Recession Reversible”.
Periodontal Treatment Is Painful and Expensive
Many people skip periodontal therapy because they believe it will be painful and costly. Periodontal therapy, however, is now more comfortable and affordable than ever before thanks to contemporary periodontal treatment procedures. In fact, postponing therapy may result in more extensive and costly treatment in the future. Why not try our Online Gum Health Check today?
Clearing up Misconceptions
Periodontal disease is a serious condition that can affect anyone at any age. Maintaining healthy teeth and gums, seeing a periodontist regularly, and seeking prompt treatment can help prevent this from progressing. If you have any questions about periodontal health or periodontal treatment, contact us for a specialist assessment here at RW Perio.
Can gum disease affect my general health?
The simple answer is yes, gum disease can affect your general health. The mouth is connected with the rest of the body. It is the doorway to the body, rather than a separate organ, and is the access point for bacteria to enter the bloodstream via the gums.
There are particularly strong associations between diabetes and heart disease. When considering diabetes, not only does gum disease have an effect on diabetic control, but it also increases the risk of diabetes in healthy individuals.
The good news is that treating gum/periodontal disease may have a positive impact on general health. So don’t ignore the signs of gum disease and take the necessary steps to ensure healthy gums. Remember, healthy gums = healthy body.
For more information on gum health, disease, dental, and articles, make sure to read our other blogs.
More information on periodontal can be found on the British Society of Periodontology and Implant dentistry website.
Can gum/periodontal disease treatment make a difference to my life?
Gum/periodontal disease can have a negative impact on your quality of life. For example, bad breath may affect your confidence to get close to someone, loose teeth may affect your ability to eat hard foods, tooth loss may affect your nutritional status and the teeth may change position leading to an unattractive smile.
Treating gum/periodontal condition will make a difference to the quality of your life and daily functions. If the condition is treated, you would not have to worry about bad breath, you could eat the foods you like and future tooth loss is prevented. Even individuals who initially don’t have any major symptoms from the condition often say that their mouth feels healthier and they feel better in themselves.
Make sure to read our other blogs to keep a check on your gums. Or contact us if you have any questions or feedback, or would like to book an appointment.
How well does gum/periodontal disease treatment work?
Gum/periodontal disease treatment works really well!
It’s not all doom and gloom when it comes to gum disease. The treatment for the condition is highly predictive and works very well. Of course, the earlier it’s treated the more predictable it is. The first line of treatment is usually ‘non-surgical debridement, which involves disinfecting the gum pockets, allowing them to heal and close up. Even for very advanced cases, there are many options to get the condition under control and ensure the mouth is healthy again.
Although gum/periodontal condition can’t be cured, it can be stabilised. Once it has been stabilised, life-long maintenance of health is simple.
Check out our other blogs if you want to learn more about your dental care. Or contact us if you have any questions or feedback, or would like to book an appointment.
Why are my gums bleeding during pregnancy?
Pregnancy changes your body and that includes your gums too! This means you are more at risk of gum disease and may experience signs of this such as bleeding gums. These signs should not be ignored, as gum disease treatment is safe, effective, and important during pregnancy. Pregnant women should be aware that dental X-rays can be undertaken and local anaesthesia can be delivered without additional risk either to the mother or the foetus. In fact, the risks of no treatment are much higher.
Even without any of the symptoms, if you’re pregnant, it’s always a good idea to get a gum screen and take the necessary precautions to prevent gum disease.
Check out our other articles if you want to learn more about your dental care. Or contact us if you have any questions or feedback, or would like to book an appointment.
Does gum disease run in families?
Genetics and underlying susceptibility play a big role in determining whether you suffer from gum/periodontal condition. Although the plaque/bacteria are the initial cause, your genetic makeup affects how you react to that plaque. For example, your response may be exaggerated if you are genetically more susceptible. Especially if you are young, have a severe disease, and have no other risk factors, this may be the central reason as to why you have developed the disease.
Even if gum disease runs in your family, it doesn’t mean the treatment won’t be successful. In fact, treatment for this is generally highly predictable.
Does my diet affect my gums?
Nutrition and diet have a role in gum/periodontal problems. An imbalance or deficiencies can increase the risk and severity of periodontal disease by affecting the body’s resistance and potential for repair.
Therefore, it’s important to have a healthy intake of fibre, fruit and vegetables and reduce the level of refined sugars to prevent dental disease and improve general health.
Can you cure gum/periodontal disease?
You can never really ‘cure’ gum/periodontal condition but you can treat and stabilise it. Once treated and the gums are healthy, you need to ensure life-long regular maintenance at home and with your hygienist to ensure you minimise any chances of relapse.
Check out our other articles if you want to learn more about your dental care. Or contact us if you have any questions, or feedback, or would like to book an appointment.
What if I leave my gums untreated?
If your gum/periodontal condition is left untreated, this can result in your teeth loosening up and eventual tooth loss. Other associated symptoms may also start to develop including bleeding gums, gum boils, bad breath, bad taste and painful gums/teeth.
You may get very few symptoms until it is advanced so it is important to catch it early, as it’s a preventable and treatable condition.
Are lasers needed to treat my gum?
The simple answer to the question above is no.
Laser is an acronym for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation. The evidence base for using lasers in the treatment of periodontal/gum problems is unclear. However, what we do know is that they do not have any additional advantages over conventional treatment.
Conventional therapy has been used predictably for many decades and often those who use lasers will charge you more for the treatment, but the outcome will be the same as that for conventional therapy. So further well-designed studies are required before the widespread use of lasers in periodontology can be advocated.
If I have gum disease is it safe to have dental implants?
Dental implants have become a popular choice for replacing missing teeth. Implants are manufactured from titanium and can support crowns, bridges or dentures.
For patients with advanced gum/periodontal problems, it is often tempting to want to replace loose teeth with implants. The first thing to remember is that nothing beats your own tooth! So wherever you can, you should always try and save your natural tooth, even if it is loose.
The second thing to be aware of is that you must treat any gum/periodontal condition before having any dental implant treatment. If you have active gum/periodontal disease that has not been treated, you are at a higher risk of having problems around dental implants than someone with treated/healthy gums. These problems may include infection around the implant and eventual implant loss. So always ensure your gum condition has been treated before thinking about any implant treatment.
Check out our other articles if you want to learn more about your dental care. Or contact us if you have any questions or feedback, or would like to book an appointment. Follow us on Instagram to get updated on our latest treatments!
Should You See a Periodontist?
Not all dentists are born equal. All dentists have a dentistry degree, but if you want to be specialised, another degree in the area you want to be specialised in is required. For example, a periodontist has a degree specialising in periodontology, which involves examining the structures around the teeth, such as the gums and the bone.
A periodontist treats gum diseases non-surgically and surgically. Surgery can also be performed to treat gum recessions, which is when the gums are receding.
The opposite of that is treating gummy smiles by performing what we call a ‘gum lift’ to look nicer, for personal aesthetic reasons. Sometimes, someone’s smile can reveal a lot of gum so that their lip appears quite high. For people that feel they have extra gum that is interfering with their image, we can perform a gum-lift (which you can see before and after images of on our Instagram).
Here are a few things you should know before deciding whether you should visit a periodontist.
What causes bad breath?
How do you know if you have gum disease?
Can gum disease indicate other health problems?
How should you maintain dental healthcare?
When should you see a periodontist?
Do you need to see a specialist clinic?
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath, which is also known as halitosis, is a result of the bad odours produced by bacteria trapped by the surface of your tongue or within your gum pockets. Bad breath can be embarrassing or even cause anxiety.
There are two causes of bad breath. One cause is tongue coating, which is why tongue cleaning is so important. The other cause of bad breath is gum disease. Even more so, in light of the pandemic, since everyone has their masks on.
How do you know if you have gum disease?
Gum disease is not always visually apparent. Red gums can be a sign of gum disease, but some people’s gums can look completely normal whilst suffering from severe gum disease.
Other telltale signs of gum disease include:
- Bleeding gums
- Loose teeth
- Swelling of the gums
- Poor bone support
Loose teeth are a really important indicator of gum disease. On top of that, swelling of gums and poor bone support may cause the position of teeth to drift and change, and gaps may start opening up between the teeth. Patients don’t always feel pain, but that can also be a sign.
Most people start noticing they might have something wrong when their smile begins to look different.
Can gum disease indicate other health problems?
A recent hot topic is looking into the link between gum disease and general health. Your gums can affect your risk of getting heart disease or otherwise be an indication of diabetes. Your body is intricate and interconnected, so it is not surprising that these links exist as your mouth is connected to your body.
How should you maintain dental care?
More and more young children, as well as young adults in their early twenties, are succumbing to gum disease. This is quite worrying.
As soon as your first teeth come through good dental care is extremely important. Some might think that dummies may be a concern. Dummies for children can affect the growth of teeth but only once the teeth start developing. It does not have a significant effect on the gums.
Instead, there should be more education on how to brush your teeth as people are not completely aware of how they should really be doing it. It is not as easy as some might think. Though, there are some quite simple things you should know, such as using a toothpaste that contains fluoride and ensuring you are brushing well and thoroughly.
Once the baby teeth fall out, flossing is a habit that is important to maintain as soon as your adult teeth start to come in. It is important to floss as soon as possible. The best tool for flossing for adults is interdental brushes. These are brushes that are designed to be used in between your teeth. It is more effective than flossing so it is the method that we promote to our patients, especially those with gum disease.
Whilst some might believe that adding toothpaste to your interdental brush would prove more effective it is not necessary. You can use it plain, then wash it each time you use it. However, it is important to replace the brushes every few days.
If you have healthy gums, then you should have your teeth for life. The common stereotype is that you lose your teeth when you age. However, we have a lot of patients who are in their 80s who still have healthy teeth, and the current generation also have expectations to keep their teeth for life.
Getting into good habits from an early age is critical for reaping the long-term benefits. Gum disease is preventable, therefore it makes sense that maintaining good habits serves as a preventative measure to actually getting gum disease.
When should you see a periodontist?
Whether you should see a periodontist depends on the level of risk. Gum disease patients normally need to see a good hygienist every three months. Whilst gum disease is preventable, it is not something that can really be cured but instead stabilised.
Regardless of whether you need care every three months or six months, it is advisable that everyone refers to professionals for their hygiene and cleaning from the very beginning and consistently if they want to maintain their dental care.
Do you need to see a specialist clinic?
If a patient does not think they have gum disease but wants to refer to a good hygienist under a specialist clinic, they can book a hygienist directly. The treatment that follows is called Polish and Perfect.
This treatment has three tiers.
The investment for this treatment is £250. The patient receives an assessment and tailored oral hygiene instructions. They also receive a full mouth cleanse using airflow, which removes any stains that a normal hygienist scale and polish wouldn’t do.
Polish and Perfect Maintenance
The investment for this is £200, which is more cost-effective after the patient has already been to our practice once for their initial assessment. They can continue with the maintenance of their dental care.
Polish and Perfect Whitening
This is a tier we have recently introduced. This is for people who now have healthy teeth and gums but can moreover invest in the appearance of their smile. The whitening package is £595.
Make sure to read our other blogs for more information.
Science of Smiles
“Put on a smile!” We’ve all heard this phrase, but have you ever wondered why smiling is such a ubiquitous part of human behaviour? As it turns out, there’s a fascinating interplay of psychological factors (the science of smiles) that influence why we smile, when we smile, and what those smiles communicate. From feelings of happiness to social norms and even the impact of our surroundings, let’s delve into the intriguing world of the psychology of smiles.
Happiness and Positive Emotions
At the heart of smiling lie happiness and positive emotions. When we experience joy, contentment, or any positive feelings, our brain signals our facial muscles to curve into a smile. It’s a natural and universal expression of the good vibes we feel inside.
Social Interaction and Communication
Smiling is more than just a facial expression; it’s a powerful non-verbal communication tool. A smile can instantly convey friendliness, approachability, and openness. It acts as a social lubricant, making it easier for individuals to connect with others and build meaningful relationships.
Stress and Coping
Remarkably, smiling is not just a response to happiness; it can also influence our emotional state. Research suggests that smiling can reduce stress and serve as a coping mechanism during challenging times. By smiling, we may help regulate our emotional responses and maintain a positive outlook when facing difficulties.
Self-esteem and Confidence
The relationship between smiling and self-esteem is bidirectional. When we feel good about ourselves, we tend to smile more in social interactions, projecting confidence and a positive self-image. Conversely, the simple act of smiling can trigger positive emotions and boost our self-esteem.
Culture and Social Norms
Cultural factors play a significant role in shaping our smiling behaviour. Different societies have distinct norms regarding when and how much to smile, influencing individual smiling patterns. Being aware of these cultural variations is crucial for cross-cultural communication and understanding.
Facial Feedback Hypothesis
The facial feedback hypothesis suggests that our facial expressions can impact our emotions. In other words, the act of smiling itself can trigger the brain to release neurotransmitters associated with happiness and pleasure, even if we weren’t feeling particularly happy, to begin with. So, go ahead, give yourself a reason to smile—your brain will do the rest!
Mirroring and Empathy
Smiles are contagious for a good reason. Our brain’s mirror neurons make us unconsciously mimic the facial expressions of others, fostering social bonding and empathy. When we see someone smile, we’re naturally inclined to smile back, enhancing our ability to understand and share the emotions of those around us.
Our personality traits also influence our smiling behaviour. Extroverted individuals tend to smile more frequently, enjoying social interactions and seek positive engagement with others. On the other hand, introverted individuals may express their emotions more subtly, resulting in fewer smiles.
Research indicates that there may be gender differences in smiling behaviour, with women generally smiling more than men. Socialisation, cultural expectations, and the function of smiles in managing interpersonal relationships are just a few of the factors that can affect these differences.
Influence of Surroundings
Our environment can significantly impact how often we smile. Spending time in pleasant and enjoyable settings, surrounded by loved ones or nature, naturally elicits more smiles. Conversely, stressful or uncomfortable situations may lead to fewer smiles.
Smiling may have deep-rooted evolutionary significance as a form of non-verbal communication. In human evolution, a smile may have signalled non-threatening behaviour, fostering trust and cooperation within social groups. It might also have served as a signal of submission or a way to defuse potential conflicts.
Not all smiles are conscious decisions. Sometimes, we smile involuntarily in response to various stimuli, like a funny joke or a tickling sensation. These spontaneous smiles provide genuine insights into our emotional responses.
In certain social situations, people may use smiles to hide their true emotions. This behaviour is common in professional settings or during challenging times when individuals put on a smiling facade to maintain a positive image or protect themselves from scrutiny.
In conclusion, smiles are much more than a simple facial expression; they are windows into the complex interplay of human psychology and social interactions. From communicating joy to coping with stress and bridging cultural divides, smiles play a crucial role in our lives. So, the next time you flash a smile, remember that you’re not just brightening someone’s day – you’re unravelling the intricate tapestry of human emotions.