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3rd November 2014

Dental Hygiene

A dental hygenist is a specially trained to work as part of a dental team with a dentist to give care to patients. The specific treatment is aimed at gum health. Regular tooth brushing and cleaning between your teeth helps keep your gums healthy. With less bacteria and food debris, you are less likely to develop bad breath, tooth decay or gum problems. The hygenist cleans tartar (calculus) and plaque from your teeth while also teaching you to make better informed lifestyle choices so you can keep your teeth healthier for longer.

Gum disease

Gum disease is a silent disease because most patients don’t even know they have it. The dentist and hygenist can plan your care to help either eliminate the problem or stabilize it. There are four common reasons why you may get gum disease and they are:

  • Smoking
  • Poor cleaning
  • Poor control of Diabetes Mellitus
  • Family history of gum related problems

(there are many other causes but these are the most common)

Tackling causes one by one is the best tool we have to tackling the disease.

Lifestyle choices

If you smoke, stopping smoking can save your teeth, your money and reduces the chances of developing other life threatening conditions. Tobacco smoke has chemicals that irritate your gums, change the bacteria in your mouth and damage blood supplies to your gums. Over time the gums loose their bony support resulting in loose teeth and tooth loss.

How to care for your teeth and gums

Electric tooth brushes can offer you a better clean if used correctly. Brushing techniques are different with electric and manual toothbrushes so a sonic or electric toothbrush is a sound long term investment. We recommend spending a minimum of two minutes twice daily brushing your teeth and gums using a fluoride containing toothpaste.

Cleaning aids such as floss and interdental brushes reduce build up food between the teeth specifically. Every dentist and hygenist you ever meet will tell you that this is the most effective way to reduce plaque around your mouth.

Mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine gluconate and are brilliant for gum problems but cause stain build up with long term use.

In addition to the benefits to your teeth, good mouth hygiene may have benefits for your heart. Poor oral hygiene is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease angina and heart attacks. Further research is required to clarify how weighted the link actually is but the data taken from 11 000 people so far from trails indicate a link. Your dental professional will provide you with a tailored approach to your teeth and gums. They can help advise you how to improve your smile. If in doubt please ask, we are always here to help.

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