You might think that visiting the dentist for regular checkups means you are doing enough to stay on top of your oral health. However, learning that a regular hygienist appointment may actually reduce your trips to the dentist might just make you think again!
Visiting a dental hygienist is a critical part of caring for your teeth and gums, and helps to prevent oral health issues that may otherwise lead to costly and time-consuming treatment. In this blog, we take a closer look at what you can expect from a dental hygienist appointment and why it’s so beneficial to your health, schedule and wallet.
What is a dental hygienist
Dental hygienists are specially trained to keep patients’ teeth healthy, helping to keep your mouth and teeth clean, and aid in the prevention of painful and costly oral health problems and diseases.
They professionally clean your teeth by removing plaque and tartar (known as a ‘scale and polish’), provide advice on how to keep your teeth clean, and carry out certain dental procedures and treatments.
What does a dental hygienist do
Regular appointments with a dental hygienist, separate to your regular check-ups with a dentist, ensure your teeth and gums are clean and healthy, and any potential problems are spotted and dealt with before they worsen into a more expensive procedure.
Prevention is better than the cure, both for your health and for your wallet. A hygienist appointment is typically also slightly longer than a regular check-up, giving you plenty of time to ask questions and receive oral hygiene advice that’s uniquely tailored to your needs.
The benefits of dental hygienist appointments
Prevent gum disease
Over half (52.9%) of the UK’s population have gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. And it’s even more common (60.9%) in people who haven’t seen the dentist in over 2 years. Early signs of gum disease include gums that bleed when you brush, floss or eat hard foods like apples. Gums might also be swollen, red and sore. Not only can gum disease lead to bad breath, it can also cause gums to shrink and teeth to loosen and fall out.
Gingivitis is reversible if spotted and treated early, preventing it developing into non-reversible gum disease – which is all the more reason to see your dental hygienist regularly! Dental hygienists make sure your gums are in the best condition possible by removing plaque and tartar build-up. They will spot signs of gingivitis and recommend preventative measures that you can do at home to stop it developing further.
Keep breath fresh
Bad breath is often caused by bacteria lurking beneath the gum line – an area that can’t be reached by toothbrushes at home. Your dental hygienist, however, will have all the tools necessary to gently clean underneath the gum line and leave your breath minty fresh!
Oral hygiene guidance
Many UK adults have never received the right advice on how to properly clean their teeth and gums – for instance, 33% of adults have never flossed or cleaned interdentally. In fact, many adults use a vigorous brushing technique that actually wears away their teeth and gums. Learning how to properly clean your teeth, especially in a way that targets your unique problem areas, means potential issues are nipped in the bud and you have a healthy foundation for long-lasting restorative procedures.
Health beyond the mouth
Your mouth can reveal a lot about your general health, with connections to conditions like oral cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure and anaemia. This means that your dental hygienist may be able to see signs of certain conditions and advise you accordingly. There’s also evidence suggesting that certain bacteria found in the mouth can cause heart problems, strokes, lung disease and diabetes. So regular visits to a dental hygienist makes sure harmful bacteria is removed from your mouth to promote better general health.
Fewer visits to the dentist
Regular appointments with a dental hygienist will leave you with a much cleaner, healthier mouth – resulting in less need for treatments such as fillings and extractions. When paired with a thorough at-home cleaning regimen (following the advice of your hygienist), you’ll be on the path to excellent oral health for life!
At Ringley Park, our friendly dental hygienists are experts in preventative care and gentle cleaning. Book your hygienist appointment online or speak to a member of the team on 01737 240123 to give your teeth and gums the level of care they need for long-term health.