Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene, also referred to as oral hygiene, is the preventative care taken to avoid problems with dental health. The main component of dental hygiene is your personal at home hygiene regimen. When combined with professional dental care, such as regular examinations and cleanings to treat and prevent decay and disease, you can be sure to maintain a healthy mouth and smile.

Away from the dental chair, you are responsible for the daily maintenance of your oral health. Your dentist and dental hygienist work with you to schedule dental cleanings and check-ups at least twice a year to help make sure you stay on the right path. Brushing your teeth at least twice and day and flossing in between your teeth at least once a day (if not more) will guarantee that dental plaque is not allowed to build up. Plaque that is allowed to remain on the teeth will harden in 48 hours, turning into calcified tartar which may only be removed by a dentist or dental hygienist safely during your scheduled dental cleaning. Plaque and tartar must be kept at bay to prevent the formation of tooth decay and cavities which if not treated will develop into more serious oral health problems requiring root canal, dental crowns extractions etc. Plaque and tartar left untreated will also develop into gingivitis and periodontal disease, the leading cause of tooth loss.

Plaque and tartar

Let’s talk about plaque and tartar, and what roles they play in the development of serious oral health issues. Plaque is a colorless biofilm that collects on the surfaces of the teeth and along the gum line. Plaque is very soft and can easily be removed with daily brushing to prevent it from hardening. Plaque hardens within just 48 hours after which, it is hardened and transformed into calcified tartar which is difficult to remove.  Plaque may seem trivial at first, but the toxins released from the collection of bacteria within its colonies will trigger the painful inflammation reaction in the gingival tissue that causes gingivitis and periodontal disease.  This is why brushing and flossing is so important. The surfaces and in between areas on the teeth must be maintained regularly to ensure a healthy mouth and smile. However, there are areas within your mouth that are impossible for you to see which require the help and expertise of a professional dentist.

Dental hygienists are generally responsible for performing tooth cleaning, scaling to remove hardened tartar and calculus, taking X-rays to identify cavities, recognizing changes in the bite etc. Dental hygienists also are responsible for setting up the nitrous oxide laughing gas required for more invasive procedures.

Your dentist will then further examine your oral health but checking to ensure the state of your teeth and gums to identify any potential tooth decay or gum disease. Regular dental examinations are required two a year to effectively prevent to development of serious dental health issues. Early detection is key and can easily prevent decay and disease from forming and resulting in tooth loss.