As well as regularly visiting your dentist, hygiene appointments should also be an essential part of your dental care. Hygienists are qualified members of the dental team who focus on preventing and treating gum disease.
Gum disease causes inflammation of the tissue that surrounds teeth and, if not treated, it can lead to recession of the gums. This can cause pockets to develop as the gum moves away from the tooth and can eventually lead to loosening of the teeth. A hygienist will not only thoroughly clean your teeth but will also show you how to keep up the good work at home.
During an appointment, the hygienist will assess the health of your gums and teeth and look for any signs of swelling, inflammation or bleeding. The hygienist may also take measurements where the gum attaches to the tooth and check for signs of oral cancer.
A chief part of a hygienist’s role is to remove any build-up of plaque and tartar. If allowed to accumulate, it can harden and form tartar. If tartar forms at the gum line, the early stage of gum disease (gingivitis) can occur, which can cause inflammation of the gums. If not treated, this can lead to more serious periodontal disease which can go on to cause tooth loss.
Hygienists also offer helpful hygiene advice and demonstrate how to keep your teeth plaque-free with toothbrushes, interdental brushes and floss
It is a good idea to introduce your children to a hygienist as soon as possible to encourage a relaxed approach to teeth cleaning treatments and so they can learn useful tooth care techniques. Hygienists can also protect young teeth with fissure sealants and fluoride varnishes to help keep decay at bay.
Regularly visiting a hygienist will not only help you maintain healthy teeth and gums, but also protect your overall well-being because poor gum health has been linked to more serious conditions such as heart disease, respiratory infections, diabetes and dementia.