While it’s recommended that everyone visit the dental hygienist at least once or twice a year, sometimes it can be difficult to keep up with visits to the dentist. Regardless the reason for not visiting the hygienist as often as you should, you should know that regular visits to your local clinic are pivotal to maintaining a healthy mouth.
Here are 5 reasons why you need to regularly see a dental hygienist:
1. Keep healthy gums. Gum disease is caused by plaque, the white sticky film that forms in all our mouths. Plaque is filled with bacteria – some of it good, and some of it bad. If plaque is left behind, after a period of time it will start to irritate the gums and cause inflammation.
Toxins produced by the bacteria in the plaque start to break down the bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place. As it worsens, the pockets deepen, and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. Teeth are no longer anchored in place and become loose, resulting in tooth loss.
Healthy gums will look firm and pink, although they may contain other pigments depending on your ethnic origin. Any change in its natural colour is a sign of poor health.
Sore, tender, bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. These symptoms generally indicate gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum disease. This stage is reversible, but if proper oral care is not taken, it will advance to severe stages of gum disease known as periodontitis.
A hygienist will be able to do an assessment of your gum health and provide with treatment and advice.
2. Get rid of bad breath. The most common cause of bad breath, also known as halitosis, is poor oral hygiene. As various food and drinks are consumed throughout the day, they often become trapped between our teeth and stuck in small folds of the tongue and other areas of the mouth. If this buildup isn’t removed daily, the bacteria in your mouth help it thrive, resulting in bad breath.
The most common culprits of bad breath are alcohol, smoking, digestive issues, dry mouth, and pungent foods that are high in sugar. Paying attention to the onset and persistence is key in discovering its cause.
Bad breath can be stressful and embarrassing, but luckily, adopting a good oral hygiene routine can minimise bad breath. Consistently brushing twice a day, cleaning in-between the teeth and using a tongue cleaner/scraper can help. Staying hydrated and using sugar free gum or mints are a great way to stay fresh throughout the day, along with regular visits to your hygienist who can clean your teeth and give you a tailored oral hygiene routine.
3. Get whiter teeth. If it can stain your carpet, it can stain your teeth, which means that if you haven’t been to the hygienist in a while, you may notice your pearly whites look less, well, white. A professional clean by a dental hygienist can help remove stains and deposits that have built up over time.
London Hygienist uses a treatment called ‘Guided Biofilm Therapy,’ which uses a technology called “Airflow” – a powerful but gentle combination of warm water, air and fine powder to clean the teeth. It can leave teeth looking whiter in just 10 minutes.
Don’t waste your money buying so called whitening products online or instore – they will NOT work! Same goes for whitening toothpastes, which are so harsh that they actually scratch the hard-outer layer of the tooth, making it even more prone to staining in the long-run.
Note: if you do want professional whitening done, make sure you see a registered dental practitioner. They are the only ones who can legally perform teeth whitening, and you must have a check-up before the procedure to ensure your suitability for whitening, something a hygienist can help you with.
4. Prevent oral cancer. New cases of mouth cancer in the UK reached 8,337 in 2019. More than 38,000 people in this country are living with a diagnosis of head and neck cancer, while around 60,000 will be diagnosed with mouth cancer over the next decade.
Two-thirds of mouth cancers occur in men, and more than three in four are in those over 55. These numbers continue to rise while the disease claims more lives than cervical and testicular cancer combined.
An astonishing 90% of mouth cancer diagnoses are linked to lifestyle and risk factors. The biggest the risk factors that have been shown to play a part in contracting the disease are smoking, alcohol, diet and Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). While many cases are linked to lifestyle choices, it is important to remember that mouth cancer can affect anyone.
Mouth cancer can appear in several places – lips, tongue, gums, tonsils, cheeks, roof and floor of the mouth – and can have a devastating effect on a person’s life. It can impact breathing, eating, drinking and speaking, which can ultimately lead to nutritional deficiency, depression, low self-esteem and social isolation.
The best way to tackle cancers of the mouth is through early intervention. If mouth cancer is picked up early, treatment is more likely to be successful. Learn about signs and symptoms of oral cancer, and if you are concerned, visit a hygienist immediately.
At every visit your hygienist will check the face, neck and lymph nodes for any abnormalities, as well as the outside of the lips, inside of the lips, cheeks, the top and sides of the tongue, under the tongue, floor of the mouth, roof of the mouth and back of the throat.
5. Improve your confidence. A bright, clean and healthy smile can make you feel younger, more attractive and boost your confidence. The best thing about seeing your dental hygienist regularly is that they will be able to give you oral hygiene education and a routine tailored specifically to you and your needs.
Think of your hygienist as your personal oral hygiene coach who will show you which products to use, and how to use them, in order to keep your mouth healthy. Hygienists can also give you diet advice to help protect your teeth from decay, erosion and oral manifestations of various deficiencies, as well as flag anything of concern to a dentist through routine visits. We can even help give you advice on how to quit smoking!
Routine visits to the hygienist can ensure that if a problem arises, it is dealt with it in its early stages. Remember, both gum disease and dental decay are entirely preventable and often painless or symptomless in their earlier stages. Aim to visit 1-2 times a year as a minimum.
Ready to see a dental hygienist in London? Book your appointment today!