A hygienist’s main area of work is to prevent and treat gum disease and this includes professionally cleaning your teeth, sometimes referred to as scaling and polishing, when you visit the dentist or book an appointment specifically to see a hygienist.
A hygienist’s main area of work is to prevent and treat gum disease and this includes professionally cleaning your teeth, sometimes referred to as scaling and polishing, when you visit the dentist or book an appointment specifically to see a hygienist. An important part of their role includes showing patients how to take care of their teeth in order to promote good oral and dental hygiene. They should show you how to keep your teeth free from plaque, the sticky coating that forms on teeth that can harden to form tartar, that cannot be removed with simple brushing. Their advice should also cover other areas that complement dental care, such as advising on a diet that will promote strong and healthy teeth.
The symptoms of inadequate dental hygiene include and reasons to visit a hygienist include:
• Bleeding and painful gums
• Continuous bad breath
• Yellow or brown deposits on teeth
• Widening gaps between teeth or teeth that are loosening
Good dental and oral hygiene helps to:
• Good dental hygiene helps to prevent the build-up of plaque that can then harden on the surface of the teeth. Plaque contributes to other dental problems, including tooth decay, periodontitis, gum disease, gingivitis and tartar.
The results of good dental hygiene will give you:
• Clean, debris-free teeth
• Gums that are pink coloured and do not become sore or bleed while brushing or flossing
• A mouth that is free from regular episodes of bad breath.
Maintaining good dental hygiene includes:
• Tooth brushing – You should brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes. The toothbrush that you use can have an impact on your oral health too, with electric brushes proven to be more effective. If you’re unsure of which toothbrush to select you can ask your dentist for advice.
• Floss and other interdental cleaning aids – Cleaning in between your teeth on a regular basis is just as important as brushing but is often overlooked. A dental professional can show you the proper technique if you’re unsure.
• Antiseptic mouthwashes – Antiseptic mouthwash can help to kill bacteria that leads to plaque forming. It can also reduce the risk of gum disease and help prevent bad breath.
• Fluoride use – Many toothpastes contain fluoride, which helps to protect and strengthen the teeth. It works by binding to the enamel that naturally occurs on your teeth. As well as toothpaste, you can increase your fluoride intake with supplements and some drinking waters.
• Regular visits to the dentist – Regular visits to the dentists can highlight any potential problems and ensure that they’re remedied as soon as possible.
• Regular professional dental cleaning – When you visit you dentists they should offer you professional dental cleaning procedures if they are needed that will scrape off the hardened plaque that will not come off with regular brushing.
• Diagnostic services – It may be necessary for you to go for an X-ray imaging and oral cancer screening if your dentist recommends one.
• Treatment services – If you need treatment to restore and retain teeth, such as fillings, crowns or bridges, having them conducted as quickly as possible is vital.
• Eating a healthy, balanced diet – A healthy, balanced diet plays a vital role in maintaining healthy teeth. Foods that are high in fibre and without added sugars should make up a good portion of your diet.
• Drinking – Water is the best drink to keep teeth healthy but sugary and sweetened drinks should be avoided or drunk through a straw to minimise damage to teeth.
• Smoking – Not only does smoking increase the risk of oral cancer it can damage teeth and gums too.
Tooth whitening involves lightening the natural colour of your teeth without removing any of the tooth surface. There are several options available depending on how much you wish to spend and whether you would like to visit a dentist or do at home.