What’s the point of dental hygiene?

We believe that dental hygiene is one of the most important services we offer at our Botley High Street dental practice. Dentists treat disease but hygienists help prevent it from starting in the first place.

This is especially important as gum disease has been linked to many serious illnesses, including heart disease, bacterial lung infections, strokes, diabetes and dementia.

Good oral health involves more than just brushing. To keep your teeth and mouth healthy for a lifetime of use, there are steps you should follow:

Talk with your dentist and hygienist about any special conditions in your mouth and any ways in which your medical or health conditions may affect your teeth and oral health. For example, cancer treatments, pregnancy, heart diseases, diabetes, dental appliances (denturesimplants and braces) can all impact your oral health and may require a change in how you care for your mouth. Be sure to tell us if you have experienced a change in your general health or in any medications since your last visit.

We will help you develop an oral health routine that is easy to follow on a daily basis. Please make sure you understand the care and treatment required for your mouth, commit to the extra tasks, and work them into your daily routine. The results will speak for themselves.

Fluoride strengthens developing teeth in children and prevents tooth decay in both children and adults. Toothpastes and mouth rinses contain fluoride. Fluoride levels in tap water may not be high enough without supplementation to prevent tooth decay. Ask us if fluoride supplements or a higher strength, prescription fluoride product would be helpful for you.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day (morning and before bed time) and floss at least once a day. Brushing and flossing (or using interdental brushes) remove plaque, which if left, combines with sugars to form acids that lead to tooth decay. Bacterial plaque also causes gum disease.

Eat a variety of foods, but eat fewer items containing sugars and starches, for example, cakes, pies, sweets, ice cream, dried fruits and raisins, and soft drinks. These foods produce the most acids in your mouth, which begin the decaying process. If you do snack, chew sugar-free gum afterwards or brush your teeth after waiting 20 minutes.

Smoking cigarettes or using smokeless tobacco products increases your risk of oral cancer and cancers of the larynx, pharynx and oesophagus. It also causes gum disease, bad breath, tooth discolouration and other oral and general health problems. Our advice is to stop.

Become familiar with the appearance of your own mouth and teeth. This way, you will be able to catch any changes at an early stage and have these changes examined by your dentist. Look for the development of any spots, lesions, cuts, swellings, or growths on your gums, tongue, cheeks, inside of your lips, and floor and roof of your mouth. Examine your teeth for any signs of chipping or cracking, discolouration and looseness. If you experience a change in your bite or develop pain, contact us as soon as possible.

The standard recommendation is to visit your dentist and hygienist twice a year for an examination and teeth cleaning. Ask us which frequency is best for you.