Visits to the hygienist are the best defence against gum disease on top of a great oral care regime at home. The job of the dental hygienist is to professionally clean your teeth, ensuring that your mouth is fresh, healthy and free from tartar. Even with the best brushing routine at home it is impossible to stop the gradual build-up of plaque on your teeth, which continues daily. Without the regular removal of this tartar layer, you are at a higher risk of developing gum disease.
What is gum disease?
Bacteria in the plaque can cause the tissues around your teeth to become inflamed. As a result, you may notice bleeding gums when you brush. This early stage of gum disease, gingivitis, can be cured through removing the plaque and tartar from the teeth, therefore removing the bacteria.
Although some signs of gum disease can be quite obvious other people may show no signs at all. If left untreated, the gum irritation can lead to long-term problems including bone recession and tooth loss.
Combined with a good oral hygiene routine - brushing and flossing twice a day - regular trips to the hygienist in between dental appointments are the best way of ensuring that your teeth stay healthy and strong.
A hygienist offers the following services:
- To professionally deep clean and polish your teeth (otherwise known as scaling and polishing). This helps to remove any plaque build-up, greatly reducing your chances of developing gum disease.
- To educate patients on their oral health, including tips for keeping their mouth, teeth and gums healthy in the long-term.
- To help keep breath fresh and prevent the development of any gum disease.
- To help prevent the need for more involved treatments in the future.
- To spot the early signs and changes in your mouth that could indicate cancer and other dental diseases.
Many dental hygienists are also fully qualified to undertake routine dental treatments on behalf of the dentist. These include oral assessments, fillings, x-rays and impressions. They can also apply fissure sealants and fluoride treatments if required.
If you have children, a hygienist appointment is a great opportunity for their teeth to be fully checked whilst also allowing them to learn the best ways of looking after their teeth as they grow up.
Remember that your diet plays a considerable part in your dental health. Limit your consumption of sugary food and drink and try to avoid snacking on items throughout the day.