Dental hygienists specialise in preventative oral care, with their focus on ensuring you keep your natural teeth for as long as possible.
The hygienist will focus on removing the plaque and tarter present on your teeth which if left can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and potentially tooth loss. In the UK the number one cause of tooth loss in adults is gum disease. The hygienist will also be able to provide an individually tailored oral hygiene plan to ensure that you have the right tools and techniques to keep your teeth looking their best in between visits.
Finally, the hygienist may give you advice on lifestyle changes which could help to improve the health of your teeth and gums, for example quitting smoking. Smoking will have a detrimental effect on your teeth, increasing the risk of gum disease and staining. They may also give dietary advice on reducing the number of times you have sugary food and drink throughout the day to help reduce the risk of acid erosion and tooth decay.
The hygienist is able to perform a number of procedures including
- Demonstrations on effective tooth brushing techniques to remove plaque without causing tooth wear and receding gums.
- Discussions on the latest oral hygiene products.
- Advice on the best aid to clean in-between teeth
- Detailed explanations of periodontal disease.
- The removal of plaque and hard tarter deposits.
- Discussions on the secondary factors that cause (periodontal) gum disease, for example smoking and diabetes.
- Discussions on how (periodontal) gum disease could affect or complicate other health problems, for example heart disease.
Offering dietary advice on how to reduce sugary and acidic food and drink.
- Advising on fluoride and fluoride varnish applications to help remineralise early signs of tooth decay.
- Polishing the teeth to remove food and drink stains.
By having regular hygienist appointments, it is possible to change red and inflamed gums to a healthy pink, preventing teeth from becoming mobile and drifting and preventing gums from bleeding when they are brushed.
In between appointments
- Use a medium toothbrush with a small head to ensure you can reach to brush all areas of your teeth.
- Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles become worn to ensure that you are brushing effectively.
- Brush twice daily. Last thing at night and before breakfast in the morning
- Use toothpaste with fluoride and always place the toothpaste on a dry brush
- Try to clean interdentally at night before brushing
- Avoid tobacco products
- Avoid excessive alcohol use