Dental plans – can you afford not to join?
Did you know that a staggering 9 out of 10 people report bleeding gums whilst cleaning their teeth? With only 10% avoiding the dreaded bleeding when brushing, it’s no surprise that more and more patients are turning to dental plans in a bid to future-proof their dental health……and bank balance.
In this month’s blog, we focus on preparation and preventative care. Why do gums bleed and how can you tap into an affordable dental plan to help keep your mouth fit and healthy?
Why do gums bleed?
Gums bleed when they become inflamed due to the presence of dental plaque; a hardened version of your mouth’s natural bacterial biofilm. The bacteria excretes acid as it feeds on the sugar in your diet. The more bacteria you have, the more acid they excrete. The more acid they produce, the greater the chance of tooth decay.
If you do not remove the biofilm through adequate daily brushing, it hardens to form dental plaque. This irritates the soft gum tissue, leaving it inflamed.
What if I ignore bleeding gums?
Approximately 10% to 15% of patients will go on to develop periodontitis, a far more serious condition involving the supporting structures of the teeth.
What should I do about bleeding gums?
If you are otherwise fit and healthy, and you’re not taking any medicine which increases the likelihood of bleeding, there are four top tips for you to follow.
1. Ensure you have a dental health toolkit
Your kit should include:
- a good quality toothbrush, which is replaced approximately every two months
- a fluoride-releasing toothpaste, which is used twice per day for two minutes
- floss or interdental brushes to clean in-between your teeth daily as recommended
- a fluoride-releasing mouthwash, which should be used after meals.
2. Commit to a daily dental health regime
- brush your teeth for two minutes twice per day
- take 30 seconds to brush each quadrant (top left, top right, bottom left and bottom right)
- brush in-between your teeth with interdental brushes at least once per day (to clean out the bacteria in those difficult to reach places)
- use a fluoride mouthwash in-between meals. Never use mouthwash after brushing as mouthwash contains significantly less fluoride than toothpaste.
3. Follow a dental health friendly diet
- reduce your sugar intake (sugar feeds the bacteria in your mouth
- chew sugar-free gum after meals to stimulate thealkaline saliva in your mouth, which neutralises the bacterial acid.
4. Visit your dentist
What will happen at my dental appointment?
Your dentist will use mirrors to look inside your mouth to check areas that are difficult to see by yourself. They will carefully inspect your gums for any visible sign of inflammation or infection.
Remember, you may look at your gums every day and think that what you see is normal. A dentist is an expert in their field; they will be able to recognise the early signs of gum disease and give you advice and/or treatment to reduce its onset.
How will I know how bad the problem is?
Many dentists and hygienists now use a scoring system to rank your dental health. Each tooth is checked and assessed against a scoring chart. The lower your score the better.
If your score is particularly high, you may be required to visit the hygienist for a short period of time. Their deep cleaning solutions will help restore your dental health.
The advantage of this scoring system is that you can keep track of your oral health routine, diet and techniques at home. You can continuously monitor your score to ensure it improves with each six-monthly dental health check.
How can you prevent bleeding gums after your visit to the dentist?
1) If bleeding is serious, apply gentle pressure to the area. This will restrict the blood vessels and allow clotting to occur.
2) Change your toothbrush and your tooth brushing technique. An old toothbrush may have bristles which are bent out of shape or broken; these can dig into the gums and cause bleeding. You may also be scrubbing your teeth whilst you clean. Gentle pressure is all that is required.
3) If you think that you may be pressing too hard then consider an electric toothbrush. Many of these have a pressure sensor and warning light.
4) Be gentle when you floss. When you first begin flossing or cleaning with interdental brushes it is natural to have a small amount of bleeding.
5) Once you have been flossing for a while you will notice you can do this simply and easily without your gums bleeding at all. This is the sign of a healthy mouth – and being on a dental plan is often the way to achieve this.
What is a dental plan?
Dental plans are an excellent way to help keep your teeth and gums fit and healthy. They allow you to budget monthly for affordable private dental care.
Being on a dental plan means you can take advantage of the best preventive care. This can help reduce the risk of developing more serious oral health problems such as bleeding gums, gingivitis or periodontitis.
What are the benefits of a Denplan payment plan?
Denplan is widely recognised as one of the top dental plans available, the benefits include:
- preventive oral health advice, to help stop dental problems before they start (like bleeding gums)
- predictable monthly payments, allowing you to budget for your private dental care
- worldwide dental injury and dental emergency cover (included in all dental plans)
- regular appointments with your registered Denplan member dentist, helping you to keep your teeth and gums healthy and discover the best care for your mouth
- access to Denplan’s 24-hour Worldwide Dental Emergency Helpline when you need it most.
What can you expect during a Denplan check-up?
Your dentist will:
- look at your occlusion (bite)
- update your general health details
- assess you for infections, including your tongue and gums
- check for oral cancer by feeling for lumps in the jaw, neck and throat
- record measurements of your gums to assess for gum disease
- examine your teeth for caries (tooth decay)
- offer preventive oral health advice, specifically tailored to you.
Where can I find a Denplan dentist in London?
The Dental Centre London has been a Denplan Excel quality assured practice since Denplan Excel was introduced. This is an independently validated clinical governance accredited program, developed 15 years ago and recognised by the British Dental Health Foundation.
What does being Denplan Excel quality assured mean?
- you know that we are practising in line with current good practice and complying with all dental health regulations
- we are committed to quality of care and continuous improvement
- we take your feedback seriously and listen to you via our patient surveys
- the way we explain treatments will allow you to have a clear understanding of care and treatment available
- you will be provided with information that you can take away about each of your treatment options
- there is a visible sign of our commitment to everything we say that we do.
The accreditation program is rigorous and covers areas such as regulation, radiation, record-keeping, complaints handling, infection control and decontamination and out of hours emergency cover. Becoming accredited means that you can be assured all of these needs are met within the practice.
Our Denplan Excel assured practice when combined with one of our Denplan membership plans provides you with the highest quality dentistry in the heart of London, Euston and WC1E area.
How much does Denplan cost?
Our patient friendly dental practice membership plan ensures you receive quality preventive care and advice at reasonable prices. There are a range of plans to suit your dental requirements and your budget, which often include dental injury and dental emergency cover.