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21 August 2018

Janice Andrews, our dental hygienist asks if patients are aware of their own risk of gum problems.

Gingivitis and periodontitis are a risk to all of us. There are always “bad” bacteria present in our mouth which can lead to gum problems if we do not keep them under control. A combination of eating the wrong diet, along with failing to keep our teeth and gums clean, makes it highly likely that we will start to notice some of the symptoms of gum disease, including sore or bleeding gums.

Whilst this applies to all of us, there are certain groups for whom gum disease might be a particular problem.

Diabetics

It is a well known fact that people with diabetes are at a higher risk of gingivitis and periodontitis than those who are not. People with poor blood sugar control are likely to suffer from this problem more regularly, and sometimes more severely too. There is also some current thinking that having gum disease may also increase the risks of having diabetes.

To help to counteract this, it is important to make sure that you take care to keep your mouth in the best condition possible. Whilst we recommend that all patients have a scale and polish at our Surbiton practice at least twice a year, this is especially important for diabetics, and we usually recommend that these are carried out more frequently to help to combat this potential problem.

Pregnancy

Being pregnant can mean that you encounter additional health issues, including back pain and morning sickness amongst other things. Gingivitis is also very common when you are pregnant, partially due to hormonal changes at this time. Although it may feel like a struggle to see a dentist during your pregnancy, we recommend that you do continue visits. Even if only for the time that you are pregnant, extra hygienist appointments could be very beneficial.

One slightly unrelated piece of advice is for pregnant women who suffer from morning sickness. The stomach acids that pass over your teeth can cause enamel erosion, so if you rinse your mouth out well with water after episodes of sickness, this should help to reduce the effects.

Smokers

Smoking can cause many health issues. As the smoke is held in the mouth for a while, it is perhaps not surprising that oral cancers are a real problem, as is gum disease. Smokers are one of the highest risk groups for gum disease and the best advice that we can give you is to stop. Particularly if you are in a high risk group, but even if you are not, having a professional clean to remove plaque and tartar is a great way to help keep your mouth as healthy as possible.

If you would like an appointment with myself or the team, you can arrange this by calling the Confidental Clinic in Surbiton on 020 8399 1291. We look forward to assisting you.

Janice Andrews is a dental hygienist at the Confidental Clinic (GDC 4969).

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