SHAFAQNA – A dental expert has claimed that the effects of gum disease have been exaggerated to sell mouthwash and expensive toothbrushes.
Paul Batchelor, a senior lecturer at University College London’s dental public health unit, has insisted that gum disease – or periodontitis – is a normal part of ageing and bleeding when you brush does not mean your teeth will fall out.
He explained that brushing regularly with a fluoride toothpaste is the best method of protecting your teeth from decay – a more serious problem.
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Dental expert Paul Batchelor says gum disease is a normal part of ageing and bleeding gums can be treated by brushing properly with a fluoride toothpaste
In the British Dental Journal, he argued that pricey scales and polishes offered by dentists to treat gum disease will do little if people do not look after their teeth on a regular basis.
Mr Batchelor told The Times: ‘It’s an overstated problem. If you don’t brush your teeth you will tend to get some inflammation and bleeding, but that will not have the impact that has been suggested.
‘To say it will end with all your teeth falling out if you don’t do something about it, that’s over-egging the pudding.
‘You’re creating a problem and then people will buy something.’
He explained only 10% of people need treatment for gum-related problems and dentists should focus on smokers and those with a poor diet.
He added that people should not ignore bleeding gums because they indicate poor brushing which can then lead to tooth decay.
Mr Batchelor says the problem of gum disease is ‘overstated’ to sell pricey products, like mouthwash and electrical toothbrushes. ‘You’re creating a problem and then people will buy something’
But Frances Hughes, Professor of Periodontitis at King’s College London, said gum disease can be treated by dental professionals to prevent long term tooth loss in more severe cases.
She said: ‘We are beginning to have a much better understanding of the impacts of periodontitis.
‘We learn that periodontitis is not a silent disease, but has significant impacts on patients’ quality of life, not just in terms of tooth loss, but also in terms of function, comfort, aesthetics and self esteem.’
She added: ‘It is clear that we as dental professionals can genuinely do something about the condition.
‘Time and time again periodontal treatment has been shown to be highly effective in preventing long-term tooth loss and reversing many of the condition’s other adverse effects.’