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Periodontics/My Periodontitis Situtation


Dear Dr Marketta,

I have been suffering from periodontitis in my gums since a long time ago. I have undergone root planing treatment in 2012 however,  due to my inadequacy of maintaining a strict oral hygiene and my smoking habit previously, I have not improved my gum health.

The reason is that I can see my saliva is reddish or it has random blood whenever i spit out or it's bleeding when i brush my teeth. At first, i thought I had brushed too hard but it is not. Sometimes my saliva is clean but it doesn't happen all the time.

Today I went to my dentist to have it checked again and his finding is that my bottom gums are okay but however my top gums have 8mm deep pockets and he recommended me to come in a week for a root planing treatment. Only recently I have maintained a strict oral hygiene by flossing harder and using a mouth rinse. I have a couple of questions, and forgive me if they do sound silly, I have some anxiety issues and I get worried for a lot of things :

1) Do I need to worry about anything when I kiss my girlfriend with my gum problems, what I worried is when I kiss her and my gums bleed? i do not have any other diseases.

2)Can I use Listerine as my mouth wash ? Is it recommended?

3) What kind of foods should i avoid to eat? Because my fear stems that eating food will make the small bits go into my pockets.

4) I have been using interdental toothbrush for flossing, but i notice do i need to get in deep the pockets for effective flossing?

5) After root planing treatment, do I need avoid eating while my gums recede to the bone line ?

Forgive me for asking numerous questions. I am at a loss ... I really want to have 100% healthy gums without bleeding at all the time.

The most important thing to consider because of periodontal disease is to quit smoking. I understand that you did it already, am I right? It is very unlikely that your periodontal problems can be healed if you smoke.

Because you have 8 mm pockets, you need a thorough curettage or periodontal surgery and thereafter you should have scaling and root planing at least twice a year, in the beginning preferably even more often.

Answers to your questions are:

You donít have to worry about anything when you kiss your girlfriend, but maybe she would prefer kissing a healthy mouth.

You can use Listerine. It might be beneficial but it does not cure your periodontal disease.

You can eat any foods you like. Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that live in the pockets. The pockets should be eliminated by treatment and then the food problem is solved.

Careful cleaning at the gum lines and between the teeth is mandatory. This can be done through a proper brushing technique and by using floss and interdental brushes.

You donít need to avoid eating after root planing but it is important to follow the instructions given to you by your dentist and hygienist.


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Marketta Hormia, DDS, PhD


I am a periodontist living and working in Helsinki, the capital of Finland, where I have my private dental practice. I am an international member of the American Academy of Periodontology. I have a Ph.D degree and a long background in research and teaching at the University of Helsinki and at the University of Turku, Finland. I function as an adjunct Professor at these Universities. I have also worked as a visiting scientist at the Scripps Clinic and research Foundation, la Jolla, CA. I can answer any question in the fields of dentistry and periodontics.


Private practitioner in Helsinki, Finland over 20 years. Former researcher and teacher at two Finnish Universities.

The Finnish Society of Dentists, Division of Periodontology, American academy of Periodontology

Over 30 scientific research articles published in peer-reviewed international scientific journals (can be found on PubMed)

D.D.S., Ph.D, Specialist in Periodontology. Adjunct Professor.

Awards and Honors
Visiting Scientist at the Scripps Research Foundation, San Diego, California, 1992-1994. NIH grant

Past/Present Clients
Dental patients, national and international. All kinds of dental, oral and temporomandibular joint problems

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