If the eyes are the window to the soul, then what are your teeth? A window into your overall health, according to Reena Wadia of RW Perio. Whilst Reena can talk all day about oral health, her specialism is gums. And I went along to her clinic in Marylebone to try their unique Polish + Perfect treatment.
Polish + Perfect is a 45 minute session with Reena and her team which involves an assessment, advice and airflow. Similarly to a hygienist appointment, this is to give your teeth and most importantly, your gums, a deep clean. However, whilst a regular hygienist would polish the teeth, Reena uses an advanced airflow treatment which is a little like a jetwash, comprising of a flavoured powder, compressed air and water.
Now, I’m not a fan of dentists. As a fairly unflappable person, I get rather flappy when I’m sitting in the dentist’s chair. I talk too fast, feel a little like I can’t breathe properly, and have sudden urges to leap out the chair. Once, I even bit a dental nurse… But I also know that oral health is incredibly important. As well as a desire for cleaner teeth, I was keen to see if new technology could make my experience at the dentist more pleasant.
I used to pride myself on my teeth – they might not be as straight as is considered desirable but they were white. Over the past year, I’d noticed an unsightly build up of tartar around my front bottom teeth (did you know that tartar is the hardened version of plaque?) and no amount of scraping with my fingernail could remove it. They also weren’t as white as they used to be. After filling in a series of health questions in the waiting room, I was ushered into the appointment. The team is friendly and welcoming and I was surprised at how young Reena was; I’d only ever experienced older and more grumpy dentists.
During the assessment, Reena took an initial photo of my mouth which involved holding metal mouth openers to expose the teeth. Whilst not unpleasant, I felt a little like a horse. She also did a check of my teeth and asked me if I drank coffee or tea, which I can only assume is because my teeth looked stained. I’m still trying to work out what it is I’m eating which prompted this question. Whilst I’d heard about gum disease, I didn’t really know what it was. Reena explained that gum disease is where we get a build up of tartar, similar to limescale in kettles, which attracts more and more bacteria until eventually the gum pulls away from the tooth which leaves it vulnerable to even more bacteria, deeper in the gum. If the bacteria get beneath the tooth, bone loss can occur. Reena also pointed out that my gums by my lower front teeth also looked a little inflamed which is something to keep an eye on.
We discussed my teeth brushing habits and Reena advised me to use an electric toothbrush rather than a manual one. I also discovered that flossing was so last year – it’s all about interdental brushes now! At the very minimum, I was advised to switch to an electric toothbrush, use interdental brushes and also a tongue scraper which helps remove additional bacteria.
Before we moved onto the ‘jetwash’, Reena scraped away the tartar on my teeth so that the polish could be more effective. The airflow polish comes in two flavours – lemon or cherry. Which would you have gone for? This is where I didn’t do so well. I got a little panicky during the treatment and my ridiculously sensitive gag-reflect meant that on several occasions I was lunging to sit up and get to the sink. In response to my embarrassment and apologies, the team were patient and comforting which I was most grateful for.
My experience lasted approximately 30 minutes and whilst it didn’t necessarily make me want to run back in a hurry, I left feeling more informed about what small changes I could necessitate in order to improve my oral health.
Here are some of the tips for better oral health which I took from my treatment:
- Bleeding gums isn’t a sign that you’re brushing too hard but rather that your gums are sensitive. They can be an early indicator of gum disease so if you’re experiencing bleeding gums, make an appointment to see your dentist.
- When brushing your teeth, it’s just as important to brush your gums! Namely, the area where the tooth meets the gums. Angle the head of your toothbrush so it’s focusing on the gumline for more efficient cleaning.
- Hygienist appointments should be a necessity rather than a luxury. It’s advised to see one every 6 months.
- Invest in an electric toothbrush – they help you remove more plaque and cleans your teeth better.
My teeth cleaning routine has definitely improved since my experience! I have switched to an electric toothbrush and most days I also use the interdental sticks. I’m not so keen on the tongue scraper as it feels weird and tickly, but I appreciate it’s a good habit to instil. I thought having the flavouring in the treatment made it more pleasant and I was happy that I could see a definite improvement in my teeth cleanliness. Whilst visiting Reena is most definitely a luxury, her advice is invaluable and I took her advice onboard more so than I had at previous dentists’ appointments.
Where: Lister House, 11-12 Wimpole Street, W1G 9ST
How much: £250 for a 45 minute appointment