It’s estimated that around 90% of the U.K population has some form of gum disease. Routine hygienist appointments are essential in keeping gum disease at bay throughout your life. While having minor gum disease (known as gingivitis) won’t cause you to lose all your teeth, it’s crucial to ensure it does not progress to periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease.
Today, we’re looking at the essential role routine hygienist appointments play in preventing gum disease and how you can care for your gums at home.
Routine Hygienist Appointments: How Do They Help?
Here at Cliftonville Dental, we’re very focused on preventative treatment and patient education. Our friendly and engaging team can help inspire you to improve your at-home oral hygiene habits and support you in changing habits that might be exacerbating gum disease. If you’re a smoker, consume high amounts of sugar or drink alcohol in excess regularly, we can refer you to services that help overcome these lifestyle choices. We aim to help you avoid complex dental treatment in the future and to prevent tooth loss, which can often be an upsetting thing for patients to go through.
What Happens During Routine Hygienist Appointments?
The aspect of a hygienist appointment most patients may be familiar with is a scale and polish. Every adult will develop some degree of plaque, a sticky biofilm that coats your teeth every day – it’s plaque that’s responsible for your teeth feeling woolly or as if they’re coated in something when you wake up in the morning, before having brushed.
Failing to brush and floss consistently and neglecting to visit the hygienist bi-annually will eventually result in plaque hardening into a substance known as tartar, a great enemy to your teeth and gums. As tartar coats your teeth (making it a challenge to brush), this will eventually lead to problems like cavities and tooth decay, threatening the long-term wellbeing of your smile. Prevent plaque from lingering and causing complications with your oral health by attending routine hygienist appointments.
How Else Can a Hygienist Benefit You?
Plaque and tartar staining can cause persistent bad breath, which can affect personal and professional relationships, as well as your confidence. As we mentioned above, when your teeth are heavily laden with plaque or tartar, it can feel as though they’re coated in a fuzzy substance, which can make them feel perpetually ‘dirty’. You’ll notice that after a scale and polish, your teeth feel clean and look free of stains, helping you to feel emotionally rejuvenated and more willing to show off your smile.
Hygienists are also great educators when it comes to your gum health. They’re able to show you how you can improve your brushing technique and suggest the right products to help you care for your smile. If you feel you’re struggling with how to floss correctly or you’re not managing to reach certain areas of your mouth whilst you brush, don’t hesitate to let your hygienist here at Cliftonville Dental know. Our friendly team is here to help and support you on your way to healthy gums and a stain-free smile.
State-of-the-art Florida Probe System at Cliftonville Dental
We’re thrilled to have the Florida Probe system at our disposal for routine hygienist appointments. This sophisticated technology works digitally to detect and diagnose gum disease and creates a bespoke treatment map designed to address advanced gum disease, known as periodontitis. Using the Florida Probe, we’re able to measure periodontal pockets (the spaces surrounding teeth below your gum line) and make earlier diagnoses. Catching problems as soon as possible is key to helping patients avoid complex restorative treatment and even tooth loss.
Cliftonville Dental are one of the few dental practices in the Northampton area to have invested in the Florida Probe.
Unhealthy Gums and Bad General Health: Is There a Link?
In short, yes. There are several links between poor oral hygiene and certain general health conditions, backed by the evidence of several reliable studies. In 2012, it was conclusively proved that gum disease is a cause of Type 2 Diabetes, a condition that can cause renal problems, loss of sight and cardiovascular deterioration.
It’s also true that people with gum disease are 50% more likely to suffer from a heart attack due to plaque entering the bloodstream and going on to damage blood vessels in the brain and heart. There is also on-going research suggesting advanced gum disease (periodontitis) is linked to memory loss and Alzheimer’s. Not only does investing in your oral hygiene mean looking out for your gum health but also for your overall health too.
How to Maintain Good Oral Hygiene at Home
Avoiding gum disease and maintaining good oral hygiene requires healthy and consistent habits at home, in addition to routine hygienist appointments. A few tips to adhere to are:
- Try to avoid snacking: every time you eat, the proteins in your saliva mix with food, creating plaque. The more often you put your mouth through this, the more plaque will gradually coat your teeth. Try to stick to eating at mealtimes and when you do snack, be sure to drink plenty of water to wash away food particles that might otherwise find a home in-between your teeth.
- Never forget to brush in the evening: we were shocked to hear that only 1 in 8 Brits brushed their teeth twice a day during the first lockdown of last year. Failing to brush twice a day will increase your risk of numerous hygiene and dental-related problems, and neglecting to brush before bedtime is a huge no-no.
- Use fluoride toothpaste: fluoride toothpaste will strengthen exposed areas of dentin and prevent the early stages of gum disease.
We’re thrilled that routine appointments have continued throughout the third lockdown. If you’re due a routine hygienist appointment, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly Northampton dental practice, who can book this for you at your convenience.