Maintaining patients’ optimal oral hygiene – especially in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic – means a win-win for the patient, the clinician and the practice.
This belief was shared by an eminent panel of specialists which formed BioMin’s presentation at the Oral Health Summit, organised to mark the Oral Health Foundation’s National Smile Month. BioMin’s impressive line-up included experts from general practice, dental hygiene, orthodontics and research, sharing their thoughts on best practice: integrating clinical remineralising protocols; making tooth whitening treatments more effective and comfortable for patients; and giving their insight on how optimized oral hygiene can help develop a profitable practice – a win-win for patients and clinicians.
First up, Professor Robert Hill from Queen Mary University London, and one of the developers of BioMin F, gave a scientific presentation, describing the role of fluoride in protecting tooth enamel. BioMin F contains a lower level of fluoride than conventional toothpastes based on soluble sodium fluoride, he explained, but this was optimally combined with calcium and phosphates to both restore pH equilibrium and remineralise enamel with durable fluorapatite continuously for 8-12 hours after brushing.
Unlike its precursor, Novamin, on which Sensodyne Repair and Protect is based, the glass in BioMin F has been specifically designed for use in a toothpaste, explained Professor Hill, to include fluoride and a higher level of phosphates to enhance its effect.
With the additional option of BioMin C for those who do not want a fluoride toothpaste, he described BioMin’s technology as ‘radically different’ from the science behind conventional toothpastes. ‘It is a quantum leap’, said Professor Hill.
He believed that it was of benefit to a practice to stock toothpastes like BioMin F. ‘It has unique benefits and by selling it in the practice you can make life easy for your patients. It shows you are caring for them – and makes you money too.’
Dr Victoria Sampson, a general dental practitioner in London, has a strong interest in the oral microbiome, and during the pandemic has carried out extensive research into the correlations between gum disease, higher risk of developing COVID-19 complications, and other systemic disease.
‘Many of my patients want a dentist who takes a holistic attitude,’ she explained, and she’s found that many of them also want to be fluoride free. Rather than trying to dissuade them from this if they are set on it, she is pleased to have found an alternative to offer them that she can believe in – BioMin C. ‘I tell them, “If you are going to go fluoride free, then that’s OK, but you do increase your risk of decay. I want you to use a highly remineralising toothpaste and I will see you more regularly.” Most of them are ok with that,’ she said. ‘You need to adapt and give other options. BioMin C is perfect for these patients.’
A prolific Instagrammer, Dr Sampson has found that the Covid pandemic has created a ‘door’ to discuss oral and general health more naturally with her patients. Many of them are more concerned with their health than previously, taking more responsibility for their oral health while they have not been able to visit the practice.
‘I absolutely love BioMin,’ she said. ‘I use it myself and encourage all my patients to use it – whether they have sensitivity, are at risk of decay, or just want a good general toothpaste. It’s brilliant, feels nice and tastes nice, and has so many added benefits. I believe that dentists should believe in everything they recommend and use it themselves. By recommending a toothpaste I strongly believe in and I know patients will benefit from means I can maintain and build their trust.’
Her sister and colleague, orthodontist Ariane Sampson, described the challenges faced by orthodontic patients, both children and adults, to maintain oral hygiene. This was especially so during the pandemic when there have been long intervals without supervision, and work, school and home routines have been disrupted.
‘It’s important for me to hammer home the necessity of three times a day brushing, especially at the gingival margin between the wire and the gum,’ she said. Many patients don’t brush for the full two minutes, and there is a strong risk of demineralisation at the margins. She recommends BioMin F for orthodontic patients to reduce the risk of white spot lesions developing, leading to demineralisation. ‘It’s so useful for making sure we provide the best quality results in the healthiest possible way for orthodontic patients,’ she said.
As orthodontic work is often an aesthetically driven treatment, it was essential that the teeth were kept healthy as well as straight. ‘There’s no point in embarking on orthodontic treatment if we leave the teeth in a less healthy state than when we began,’ she argued.
Not only is this an obvious benefit to the patient, but if they are well cared for and their oral hygiene is well maintained, their visits will be more comfortable and they will have strong, healthy teeth. ‘If they are well supported and happy with their good result, they will recommend you to their family and friends,’ she said.
Cancer patients have many challenges to contend with, and their oral health may not be their first priority, said hygienist Joss Harding from Stroud, Gloucestershire, who has a particular interest in caring for patients with cancer. The role of the hygienist is to get to the root of all these issues, with questions about diet, dexterity, dry mouth problems, comorbidity, and so on. ‘There is so much to take into consideration,’ she explained. ‘We need to listen to the patient,’ she explained, and tailor the care and advice we give according to their circumstances and priorities. Teamwork with the hospital, GP and nurses was key, she added. Joss is happy to recommend BioMin F to her patients as many have painful mouths or are concerned for religious or other belief reasons that the product is not tested on animals, and is vegan. The taste of BioMin F is less strongly minty than many other pastes, making it more acceptable to those with sore mouths. She described her local area as ‘quite alternative’ and was glad to be able to offer BioMin C as an alternative for those who didn’t want a fluoride toothpaste. Joss sees her role as encompassing much more than cleaning the patient’s teeth, rather caring for their quality of life too. ‘We are lucky to have the time to ask, “how are you”, and I ask them about their families and loved ones too, pointing them to means of support if they are suffering financial hardship, depression and so on. You need to know who to refer to, and to remember that when they are going through cancer treatment, oral health is not their priority. ‘I tell them to eat what they like, and we will take care of their teeth,’ she said. ‘BioMin is a lovely option for them. They enjoy using it and they notice the reduction in their sensitivity.’
Discussing the role of BioMin in whitening treatments, hygienist and President of the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy, Diane Rochford stressed the need to keep patients motivated to maintain good oral hygiene. At her practice, protocols are in place so that all the team, from front desk to dentists, give the same consistent messages.
‘Whitening has become more popular as people have been seeing themselves on Zoom and Teams,’ she said. ‘We aim not to prevent sensitivity as it almost always occurs, but to manage it.’ The practice protocols enable Diane and her colleagues to achieve good and consistent results, using the best whitening and desensitising products to give patients a good experience of the whole whitening treatment, she said.
‘Our goal with all our patients all the time is to achieve optimal oral health,’ she explained. Educating and motivating them towards this will be a win-win for the practice, and for the patient by maintaining oral and systemic health. ‘Patients are becoming much more aware of health, which is a real positive for dentistry, and hopefully we will see more collaborative working between dentistry and health care,’ she added.
In order to support her patients, Diane and her practice colleagues look for good quality products with science and research behind them and that they can believe in, like BioMin. ‘Knowing it works enables us to improve patients’ quality of life,’ she said. ‘Sensitivity can have a really negative impact on quality of life, and having products like BioMin helps improve the patient’s quality of life and enables them to enjoy their food and day to day lifestyle.’
I recommend BioMin F often for patients with dentine hypersensitivity, erosive tooth wear and whitening treatment. It fits in with lots of different aspects of oral health care for the patient.’