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Q&A with Oral-B on gum health with Dr Uchenna Okoye - ANSWERS BACK

(45 Posts)
HeatherMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 25-Oct-13 15:29:49

Were running a Q&A on understanding the importance of looking after your gums with Dr Uchenna Okoye.

Maintaining healthy gums is vital as one in two Brits will have gum problems. Most of us dont know that gum disease is the biggest cause of tooth loss so we arent treating the problem.

For pregnant women, paying attention to gum health is especially important as research shows between 50-70% of women will develop gum problems sometime during their pregnancy.

Dr Uchenna Okoye is an industry leader and innovator in the field of dentistry. She is currently Clinical Director of London Smiling Dental Group. Beyond running her own multi-clinic practice, Dr Uchenna often appears on television and radio and is a frequent contributing expert on the health panels of multiple boards and magazines.

Post your questions to Dr Uchenna Okoye by Friday 15th November and we'll upload the answers to this thread the following week.

See further information about Oral-B s Love Your Gums campaign and here:

This Q&A is promoted by Oral-B.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:16:03


What is your opinion of the Dr Ellie Phillips oral health programme,in particular the use of Xylitol to help stop,prevent and in some cases reverse disease?

I am not totally convinced but I do agree that xylitol has been shown to help prevent the growth of plaque bacteria so for that reason, I do recommend it.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:15:23


Are sonic toothbrushes better for gums?

How does one avoid receding gums?

My favourite electric toothbrushes are the Oral-B ones as it they have most recommendations behind it. They use Oscillate Rotate rather than Sonic technology. However as long as it is getting rid of the plaque then I would say it is ok to use. Using one helps with receding gums as it is gentler than brushing by hand.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:14:34


I brush my teeth twice a day, use a mouthwash twice a day, never need any fillings but still my dentist says I don't clean my teeth well. Where am I going wrong? I do the full 2mins, make a huge effort to not miss bits but every check up is the same.

An easy way to fix this is by using a disclosing tablet after you have brushed your teeth. This will stain all the areas containing plaque so you can tell where you might be missing.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:14:01


Is there anything I can do to improve receeding gums?

I suggest investing in an electric toothbrush. The Oral-B Triumph 5000 has been recommended by the British Dental Health Foundation and is extremely beneficial for your teeth. It is gentler than brushing by hand but actually more effective

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:13:40


I have generally good gums and teeth, but have a long-term issue with sensitivity in one area of my mouth (canine/premolar). This is the one area of my mouth where I can have bleeding gums. I use tape as the gaps between my teeth are too tight for floss. The smallest size of TePe brush can only be used on some teeth and won't fit through other gaps. I have the sensitivity under control with colgate prorelief. Should I introduce another toothpaste to help my gums? Do you recommend another tape / floss option for tight gaps?

Oral-B Satin Floss is an excellent one to try. You are already doing all the right things but I would also advise changing your toothpaste after about a year to a different brand if it stops working as well. I often recommend rotating them as they have different products.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:13:05


After my first child I've developed severe gum problems. Now with regular cleaning & maintenance am problem free. But I believe the pockets are going to stay forever even if they don't get worse. Should I worry that having more children will make it worse? What precautions should I take? I've heard that if gum problems resurface during a pregnancy they can trigger premature delivery - is this true?

Gum disease can in fact cause premature births. It is really important to get into training now and work on getting things really healthy. I would advise seeing your hygienist every three months religiously especially as you have pockets and your brush will not reach the deepest areas.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:12:35


Densitry but not gum related; why can't I use an electric toothbrush on my 2 year old (they all say 3+)? Husband & I had awful childhood dentisry we're keen to get the kids into good routines.

I recommend parents brush their children’s teeth until they are about 8 years of age. The night time brush is the most important and as long as you are doing this, you can wait a little longer.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:11:42


Is airflossing much better than flossing?
I have bleeding gums due to plaque buildup and find flossing v.painful.

Unfortunately 'elbow grease' is the only thing that will shift the bacteria. See your hygienist for a thorough clean, maybe numbing up the most sensitive areas so then you can maintain it at home. Once your gums are healthy you should not experience any pain.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:11:05


I had fab teeth until I got pregnant.

3 pregnancies later I have had:
gum problems
tooth grinding due to hip/back pain
chipped a tooth in labour due to a particularly hairy delivery (eek!)
enamel erosion due to chucking up 24/7 and gagging like crazy if I tried to floss or used my usual now 'funny tasting' toothpaste

Does she have any recommendations for tooth/gum care in pregnancy and the post natal period?


Why do we have to wait to be booked until the free dentistry kicks in? Much of the damage was already done by this point for me all 3 times.

I recommend ladies go into 'gum training' as soon as they start trying to get pregnant. The hormones affect your immune system and in turn make pregnant women more prone to gum problems. Regular visits to the hygienist, using the right toothpaste and an electric toothbrush will make a real difference to teeth. Additionally, it is extremely important to rinse with a fluoride mouthwash after morning sickness as this helps to neutralise the effect of the acid on the teeth.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:09:20


How bad is smoking for gum health?

Smoking is really not good for your gums. The toxins in the tobacco affect the 'good' cells in your mouth that are trying to fight gum problems.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:08:32


Floss, tepe picks or water piks - which do you recommend?

Floss and tepes are my main recommendations.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:07:59


Can you tell me about gum grafts?

If gums have receded to the extent that the teeth look like horses' teeth is there anything to be done to rectify this for health/aesthetic reasons?

Gum grafts can work really well in replacing gum lost from recession. It depends on how severe the case is and you would need to see a periodontist (gum specialist) to ensure a proper assessment.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:04:31


I have read a bit about 'oil pulling' having seen a discussion about it on threads here. What does Dr Uchenna Okoye think of this practice? Does it kill harmful oral bacteria? Does she recommend it for keeping the gums and teeth healthy?

I am not convinced about this although you are supposed to brush your teeth after and I think this is actually what has the effect!

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:03:42


Can oral-B protect of gum disease?

Oral-B can help you remove the bacteria that causes the gum problems. I also recommend seeing the hygienist every three months so any problems can be spotted early.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:03:06


I have gum erosion from brushing too hard. To be honest, I never knew this was a risk until it was too late.

Can anything be done to fix this (as in help them grow back, or to harden the now exposed tooth)? What are the long term consequences?

Unfortunately we cannot get the enamel back once it has gone. The long term effect is sensitivity and if this happens your dentist can bond some material to seal the tooth.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:01:55


How exactly does your new toothpaste for gum health work? My dentist has recommended it to me for post pregnancy gum issues and it sounds brilliant, but I'd like to read the science. If the Stannous Fluoride actually does what it is supposed to, why don't you bring out an oral gel for overnight as I'd love to use some inside my mouthguard.
Corsodyl was rubbish and stained my teeth like the poster above.
FWIW - my mouth is transformed after about 2 weeks of use. much less uncomfortable and no bleeding.

That's great to know. In your case, think of the Stannous, combined with your mechanical brushing, as a great way to remove the bacteria. It's great too as the fluoride also helps make teeth more resistant to decay.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:00:54


What should you do if your child is complaining of sore teeth and her gums bleed when you brush them? I've clearly been missing bits when brushing and don't know what to do for the best now.

After brushing, use a disclosing tablet; this will stain any areas containing plaque so you can identify the areas you are missing. Once the plaque bacterium disappears then the bleeding and soreness should stop. If not I would advise consulting your dentist to check there is not a cavity.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 14:00:11


Why do some mouth washes stain teeth brown? I no longer use mouth wash because of this.

Chlorhexidine is the ingredient that can make teeth brown and is in some mouthwash products. They should only be used for about 2weeks however and in that time it is rare for any staining to occur.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 13:59:39


If my dentist has no concerns about my gums and I use mouthwash twice a day as well as brushing, what would make them spontaneously bleed around certain teeth? Could wisdom teeth cause movement? Can certain diets affect gum health? Why would supposed healthy gums suddenly bleed?

The only reason gums will bleed is if there is plaque bacteria present, which will in turn cause inflammation. To help this problem use an electric toothbrush and floss two times a day and, if after 2 weeks the problem persists, I would suggest for you to go back to your dentist.

DrUchennaOkoye Wed 18-Dec-13 13:58:59


Once you've got gum disease can it be rectified and if so, how?

Once you have gum problems if it is in its early stages it can be rectified with treatment from the hygienist. However, if it is in it the later stages it will need to be rectified by the Periodontist (gum specialist). After you have undergone treatment this will only make the problem go into 'recession' meaning it can return at any stage which means it will need constant monitoring.

LucilleMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 18-Dec-13 10:25:18

Sorry for the delay, we have the answers back now and will be posting them shortly. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions.

AmyMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 09-Dec-13 11:55:49


We're just chasing up the answers for you.

In the meantime - floss daily! fgrin

SwimmingMom Thu 05-Dec-13 18:20:52

OP - when are we getting answers? It's well past the stated dates now?!

Seaoftroubles Tue 19-Nov-13 23:35:55

What is your opinion of the Dr Ellie Phillips oral health programme,in particular the use of Xylitol to help stop,prevent and in some cases reverse disease?

OneHolyCow Thu 14-Nov-13 10:08:19

I had bad gums, bleeding and infection but am now in the clear. Have to share.. mouthwash stains your teeth but rinsing with oxigenated water solution (ask your chemist) works great! I use a 3% solution, dilute in with the same amount of water and keep it in my mouth, rinsing, for about a minute. Once or twice a day. It is foul but you can do a quick brush afterwards to get rid of the taste.
It is also much cheaper than mouthwash.

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