Looking after your oral health between hygienist appointments

by Core Dental Group
hygienist

It is highly recommended that you visit your dentist and your dental hygienist for a dental check-up and clean every 6 months. Attending these regular appointments will help prevent the need for extensive dental work down the track as it will pick up any early signs of dental disease before it can progress.

At Core Dental our dental hygienists look after your gums and teeth by thoroughly removing any tartar with their specialised equipment. They will also give all your teeth a good floss and polish. During your clean visit, which can last for about 30-40 minutes, your dental hygienist will give you some guidance to help you maintain your oral health at home and in between your dental visits.

This includes suggesting what type of toothbrush, floss and mouth rinse will suit your lifestyle and needs. For instance, if a patient has severe gum disease, effective flossing with floss string is difficult due to bone loss and gaps between teeth. That’s when we recommend Piksters, which are floss brushes. Patients with periodontal disease may also need a specialised mouth rinse such a Curasept or Savacol to help disrupt the formation of harmful bacteria in the mouth and to promote healing of their gums. Such patients might also benefit from the use of a quality electric toothbrush to ensure they access all areas of the oral cavity.

Your oral hygiene routine is an important habit that will help you maintain a healthy mouth for life. And it’s good to start this habit at a young age. Parents of children with most of their first teeth should be taking those kids to the dentist or hygienist to have their teeth looked at and cleaned. The usual age to start this is 2 years. The friendly hygienist will teach your child how to brush and floss at home.

There is a range of different oral hygiene instructions to cater for each individual. Patients with orthodontic work, such as braces or Invisalign, would also benefit from dental cleans as the movement of their teeth can be hindered by tenacious tartar. Again, for these patients dental hygiene at home will differ from that practised by others. Superfloss is a kind of floss that is recommended for patients with braces as it can be easily passed in between wires, and a specialised orthodontic manual toothbrush might also be recommended. Patients with dentures will use Strident to help clean their appliance and will need to take their dentures out at night to allow their gums to breathe.

Once you have visited your dental hygienist and been taught to maintain your oral hygiene at home, then it is up to you to carry out these instructions. Brushing, whether it is with a manual toothbrush or an electric one, should be done twice a day. The bristles of the toothbrush should be soft, as hard and medium toothbrushes are too harsh on your gums and can damage them. Flossing should be done once a day and your mouth rinse should always be alcohol free to prevent drying out the oral cavity.

In summary, if you truly value your dental health and wish to keep your teeth in good shape for the rest of your life, it is paramount to see your hygienist every six months for a thorough clean. It is also crucial that you follow the oral hygiene instructions that your dental hygienist has put together specially for you. Good hygiene practice at home can prevent dental cavities and gum disease, which can help you to save money and time spent trying to reverse these conditions. Your gums are the foundations of your teeth, so we urge you to do your best to look after them.

Cathy Huynh
BOH (La Trobe)
Dental Hygienist and Therapist