Hygiene

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Worried about gum disease?
Visits to the hygienist will keep your gums healthy and problem free.

The biggest threat to your oral health is gum disease. As the leading cause of tooth loss in the UK, gum disease causes problems partly because even when you have it, the symptoms can be few and barely noticeable. While a great cleaning regime at home will keep your teeth bacteria free, there are areas in your smile that are hard to reach with conventional tooth brushing.

A hygienist can properly clean your teeth so your gums stay healthy. Regular visits are the best defence against gum disease.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is a common problem that occurs when bacteria causes the gum tissue to become irritated. The immune system reacts to the bacteria present in plaque build-ups near the gum line. This causes the gums to become inflamed and can result in them bleeding as you brush. This early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and can be cured through cleaning and scaling away plaque and tartar from the teeth surfaces.

If left untreated, gingivitis progresses to periodontitis. At this stage of the disease, the gum recedes and forms pockets between the tooth and gum. These pockets trap more bacteria and can cause the gums to become infected. This stage of the condition isn’t curable, but can be treated through regular maintenance. Even at this more aggressive stage, gum disease has few symptoms which is why it often gets left untreated.

Symptoms of gum disease that you need to look out for are:

  • red or swollen gums
  • bleeding gums
  • increase sensitivity to hot and cold
  • bad breath
  • tooth instability
Notice that your gums bleed when you brush? Arrange for an appointment with the hygienist to prevent the condition from getting worse.

Hygiene FAQ

  • While visits to your dentist will help keep an eye on your overall oral health, it’s only a hygienist that can provide a thorough clean using a scale and polish. Hygienists are skilled clinicians trained in tracking, assessing and treating gum disease. Appointments with the hygienist are the best way to make sure your gums are as healthy as possible.

    If you have gum disease, it can cause problems if left untreated. Advanced gum disease, periodontitis, can’t be cured through standard hygiene appointments and will be a life-long condition. It can cause your gums to recede and can cause tooth loss. Visits to the hygienist will prevent the condition from getting out of hand.

  • If it’s your first appointment with a hygienist, we’ll take the time to talk through what we’ll do and what you can expect. Once we’re all up to speed, we start with assessing your gums to assess their health. We’ll then start to clean your teeth using a focused jet of water that removes plaque and loosens tartar. Using special tools, we’ll then scale away the tartar.

    Following this, we add a special paste and polish your teeth, removing any surface stains. This polish leaves your teeth feeling silky and smooth.

  • Generally it takes up to 30 minutes – longer than a routine dental examination.

  • It entirely depends on your individual case. We recommend that you see a hygienist every six months to get the most out of your preventative care but your hygienist will be the best person to advise on your treatment plan.

  • While both focus on the diagnosis and treatment of gum disease, a periodontist is a dentist who has completed additional years of training to become a qualified and registered specialist periodontist. Periodontists can carry out more extensive treatment, such as root planing and gum surgery.

  • Not at all. You can book for a hygiene appointment without the need of being referred first. Recent changes in dentistry mean that you can get the oral care that you need without jumping through unnecessary hoops. Just get in touch with our team and book your appointment.

Oral hygiene at home

Dental care at home is so ingrained into our daily routines, we rarely think if our brushing habits need improving. During a hygiene appointment, we’ll be able to see if your brushing regime at home is doing the job and can give advice on how to improve.

Brushing techniques

You should brush at least twice a day, especially before bed. Brush for at least two minutes to make sure you do a thorough job. It can help if you divide your mouth into four sections and spend 30 seconds on each area.

Place your toothbrush at a 45° angle along the gum line and use short, gentle strokes. Brush the inside surface of each tooth, the chewing surface and behind the teeth. Remember to pay particular attention to the gum line, and the areas around fillings and crowns. Don’t forget to give your tongue a brush to get rid of bacteria.

Interdental cleaning

One of our favourite questions to ask you during a hygiene appointment or check-up is “how often do you floss?” Interdental cleaning will keep the spaces between your teeth clear of plaque build-ups which can cause gum disease. Flossing or using interdental brushes daily will help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Mouthwash and tongue scrapers can be added to your routine to ensure an extra fresh, plaque-free mouth.

Cleaning little teeth

Remember to encourage the younger members of your family to develop the brushing habit, but make sure you supervise them until they are old enough to clean their teeth independently.

As soon as your child’s teeth start to appear, start brushing them with a soft toothbrush and smear of toothpaste. When children are aged 3-6 years, you should use a pea-sized amount. From around age 7-8, children should be able to brush their own teeth, but you should still keep an eye on their technique. Use a timer to ensure they brush for long enough.

Much of the hard work is done in front of the bathroom mirror, but are you brushing properly? Contact Us
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