A regular dental examination is the foundation to great oral health. By visiting your dentist every six months and having a thorough dental examination, soft tissue review and scale and polish, you are giving yourself a great advantage in preventing costly and painful repair work.
Oral Hygiene (Cleaning of teeth and gums and other soft tissues in the mouth)
Oral hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth and teeth clean to prevent dental problems, most commonly, dental cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath.
Here are the 5 steps to good oral hygiene.
Teeth cleaning is the removal of dental plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Severe gum disease causes at least one-third of adult tooth loss. Tooth decay is the most common global disease. Visits to the hygienist are heavily subsidised by the health funds. Generally dentists recommend that teeth are cleaned professionally at least twice a year.
Dental sealants, which are applied by dentists and therapists, cover and protect fissures and grooves in the chewing surfaces of back teeth, preventing food from becoming trapped thus halting or preventing the decay process.
Between cleanings good oral hygiene is essential for preventing tartar build-up which causes the problems mentioned above. This is done through careful, frequent brushing with a toothbrush, combined with the use of dental floss to prevent accumulation of plaque on the teeth.
Plaque is a yellow sticky film that forms on the teeth and gums and can be seen at gum margins of teeth with a food dye. The bacteria in plaque convert sugars into acid that demineralises teeth, eventually causing cavities. Daily brushing and flossing removes plaque and can prevent cavities and reduce tartar from forming on the teeth.
Plaque bacteria can cause gum irritation (gingivitis), making gums red, tender and cause them to bleed. If this is not treated, bones around the teeth can become involved, (periodontal disease), and this leads to tooth mobility over time. Loose teeth can sometimes be saved but many have to be removed due to periodontal disease. Eating a balanced diet and limiting sugary snacks can help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, but poor cleaning is the main cause of the problems.
The use of dental floss or an interdental brush is an important element of oral hygiene, since it removes plaque and food remaining stuck between the teeth. This food and plaque bacteria cause irritation to the gums, the gums then bleed more easily, which is a sign there is a problem. Acidic foods left on the teeth can also demineralise teeth, eventually causing cavities.
Cleaning between the teeth is recommended at least once per day, preferably before brushing so fluoride toothpaste has better access to help remineralise teeth, prevent receding gums, gum disease, and cavities on the surfaces between the teeth.
At Beach Road Dental Care we also recommend the ‘Air Floss’ machine. This fires a small jet of bubbles and mouthwash or water between the teeth to help remove the debris. Our hygiene team will happily discuss the many ways to clean between your teeth so you can find the way which best suits you.
Cleaning the tongue as part of a daily oral hygiene regime helps reduce the bacteria which colonise the surface of the tongue. These bacteria can cause bad tastes and bad breath. Brushing the tongue with a tooth brush will achieve cleaning. A flat plastic tongue cleaner can also be used and is stocked by most chemists.