Dental hygiene is important because good oral health can prevent a number of dental problems.
Dental Hygienists are specially trained members of our dental team. They play a vitally important role in dental healthcare and prevent dental disease by giving oral hygiene instruction to patients and used specialised tools to clean teeth thoroughly.
Our dentists will recommend a visit to the hygienist if they find signs of gum disease as you will benefit from both the active treatment and preventative advice that this service can offer.
Prevention is better than cure and this means less treatment costs for you over the long term.
Gum disease is caused by plaque bacteria, which forms naturally on the tooth surface. Plaque bacteria can cause damage to the gums and the bone supporting the tooth. The majority of people have some form of gum disease ranging from mild to severe.
Treatment of gum disease
Treatment consists of scaling & polishing in order to gently remove plaque and tartar deposits from the tooth surface. This may be carried out under local anesthetic for those with more sensitive teeth. Depending on the severity of gum disease more than one visit may be required, after which a maintenance program is recommended. Good oral hygiene is a key factor in how well the gums respond to treatment.
It is good practice to incorporate mouthwash into your oral hygiene routine, using this at a different time to brushing. By doing so you help to keep your breath fresh and remove loose food debris from hard to reach areas. Most daily mouthwashes contain fluoride, which is a natural substance that helps to strengthen tooth enamel thus helping to prevent tooth decay. We recommend you use a good daily mouthwash like Colgate Plax. In some cases, especially when bleeding gums are an issue we may suggest a short course of a stronger antibacterial mouthwash.
As well as having your teeth checked for decay and your gums checked for gum disease, it is important to check for mouth cancer too, your dentist will do this as part of your regular dental check. Mouth Cancer can be found in any part of the mouth from the tonsils and cheeks to the tongue and lips or even as far back as the throat. Early detection is vital to prevent the cancer from spreading to other parts of the body. If detected early there is more chance the problem can be cured.
At Risk Groups
At present mouth cancer is more common in men than women and also in those over the age of 40. That is not to say that younger people cannot develop mouth cancer. Those who use tobacco, whether it is chewing tobacco or smoked in cigarettes, cigars or pipes and those who regularly consume large amounts of alcohol are more at risk of developing mouth cancer.
Reducing the Risk
As mentioned above, check your mouth frequently and report to your dentist any concerns you may have. Try to stick to the recommended guidelines regarding consumption of alcohol, that is, less than two units per day for women and less than three units per day for men. While cutting down on tobacco use will help to improve your general health, the best way to reduce the risk of oral cancer is to stop tobacco use completely. Speak to your doctor or dentist/hygienist.