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Chewing Gum
I have always been told that if you chew gum after every meal that it will keep your teeth healthy is this true?

Question by:
A.Nonymous
Dr Peter GalgutAnswer by:
Dr Peter Galgut

Yes, it’s great to chew gum after meals or snacks. It has been shown that chewing gum increases the flow of saliva. This flushes out the food debris and helps to counteract the effects of sugar and other carbohydrates on the teeth. It also brings high levels of natural antibodies to the tissues of the mouth so it helps to fight off plaque. Chewing gum also “exercises” the gums and this helps to keep them healthy. So yes chew gum, but please, please, please make sure it’s SUGAR FREE!!!


Enlarged Gums
I have big gums and am embarrassed to smile. I heard somewhere that there is a procedure which actually shaves off part of your gums. Is this true? If so, is it safe and how much would it cost?

Question by:
A.Nonymous
Dr Peter GalgutAnswer by:
Dr Peter Galgut

There are lots of reasons why people have large gums, but without actually seeing you, it’s impossible to tell what the best solution to your problem actually is. The procedure that you may have heard of is called a “crown lengthening procedure”, but please bear in mind that this might not actually be appropriate for you, so do seek advice from your dentist.


Mouth Ulcers
I suffer from mouth ulcers almost every month and have tried every kind of product from the Chemist. Can you recommend anything as the pain and irritation is so annoying?

Question by:
A.Nonymous
DAnswer by:
D

I recommend the new gels and mouth rinses which contain hyaluronan. Hyaluronan is a natural substance which adheres to the surface of the ulcer for several hours protecting it from irritation from food particles and other substances which could cause pain. Hyaluronan will also accelerate the healing process as it stimulates the production of new healthy tissue


Sensitive Teeth
Recently I have noticed that one of my teeth has become more sensitive to cold than the others. Also, if I press my fingernail against the tooth at the gum line I get a pain in the nerve. The tooth doesn’t ache, but the temperature sensitivity has increased. Why is this?

Question by:
A.Nonymous
Dr Peter GalgutAnswer by:
Dr Peter Galgut

There are many reasons why teeth become sensitive, but it seems that the symptoms that you are experiencing are not from the nerve dying, but because the gum line is receding. This problem is likely to get worse with time. There are many causes of gum recession, but one of the most common is brushing the teeth harshly with a horizontal scrub technique. This often exposes the root of the tooth as you have described it. If you want advice on the correct way of brushing your teeth ask your dentist or hygienist next time you visit. They’ll be happy to show you how to brush your teeth properly, and advise on how to treat the sensitivity. You could also try changing to a specialist sensitive toothpaste and promote healthy gum tissue with a hyaluronan containing gel or mouth rinse.


White Gums
In the past few weeks I have just discovered that the gum area just beneath my teeth has become white. Can you tell me what it is and if there is any way I could get rid of it.

Question by:
A.Nonymous
Dr Peter GalgutAnswer by:
Dr Peter Galgut

It really is impossible to say on this one. White patches can be caused by so many things that without seeing you and assessing the situation, it really is impossible to say. Only a full examination by your dentist can really solve this problem for you.


Receding Gums, Gum Line
Lately, I’ve been looking at my gums and it looks like there is less gum covering my teeth than there should be. They are pink and healthy, and they have never bled, but they just seem as though they should be covering more of the actual teeth. What can I do about a receding gum line?

Question by:
A.Nonymous
DAnswer by:
D

Just because your gums do not bleed, it may not mean that they are healthy. One of the problems with periodontal diseases is that often people have gums that look superficially healthy, but plaque bacteria have gotten in underneath the teeth and are eroding them away from under the foundations. The best thing that you can do is to ask your dentist to check that you don’t have any pockets of infection under your gums and to advise you if you need any treatment. If you don’t need any treatment you can treat your receding gums with one of the new types of gels and mouthwashes containing hyaluronan. If you are not happy with his examination or recommendations, ask him to refer you to a periodontist who is a dentist that specialises in fixing gum problems.


Bleeding Gums, Bleeding Mouth?
Every morning when I wake up, I find that my mouth has blood in it. I have never seen any during the day though? I just am not sure where it comes from.

Question by:
A.Nonymous
Dr Peter GalgutAnswer by:
Dr Peter Galgut

Bleeding gums is a symptom of gingivitis, or gum disease. You will find a great deal of information about the condition and how to treat it yourself, on this website. If the bleeding does not improve, you must see a dentist for advice and possibly some treatment.


Despite regular cleaning; electric toothbrush, flossing, mouthwash and regular dental treatment, I continue to suffer from very bad bleeding gums and very bad breath. I have had this problem for 30 years. Could you please help?

Question by:
A.Nonymous
Dr Peter GalgutAnswer by:
Dr Peter Galgut

The adult dental health survey of 1998 (the most recent) found that 8% of the population have severe gum problems that are very difficult to control.

Assuming you are brushing your teeth everyday and flossing or using an interdental brush to ensure that no plaque is left behind, you may need specialist help from a periodontist (a dentist who specialises in gum conditions).

Alternatively you could use a new generation of anti-inflammatory products containing hyaluranon, such as Gengigel that have been proven to reduce inflammation of gum tissue and prevent bleeding gums.

Bleeding gums can sometimes be a sign of a medical condition such as diabetes and so it may be wise to visit your GP for a medical check up and blood test.


How do you treat bad breath?

Question by:
A.Nonymous
Dr Peter GalgutAnswer by:
Dr Peter Galgut

Most bad breath is caused by problems in the mouth, and sometimes indigestion.

Assuming you do not have acids coming up from your tummy and you are not eating garlic sandwiches for lunch everyday, then it is most probably a problem related to the mouth.

You should:

  • brush your teeth and gums
  • Clean in between your teeth with dental floss or an interdental brush
  • Brush your tongue from side to side
  • Use a mouthwash like Gengigel