Before you head out for a big day you want to make sure you not only look your best but also feel your best. Why is this any different with your teeth? You use and show them every day and they want to be looked after just like anything else.
You may have heard the phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” well that is definitely true when talking about your dental health! While on the outside they may look okay, dental and gum disease can sometimes present with very limited warning signs!
Looking after your smile requires a combined approach between yourself, your dentist and your dental hygienist. A dental hygienist is purposefully and specifically trained to educate and promote good oral hygiene practice, while also preventing gum disease through clinical treatments (such as a scale and clean).
Here are some top tips for maintaining your dental health and oral hygiene:
Both an electric and manual toothbrush can do a great job, but it is important that you are brushing using the correct technique. Your dental hygienist will show you the correct method as a part of oral hygiene instructions and give demonstrations during your routine cleaning appointments. We recommend brushing twice daily.
While many people think that flossing is just to remove those little pieces of leftover dinner, it is much more! It not only physically removes debris but also cleans surfaces of the teeth ready for the fluoride in toothpaste to penetrate and strengthen them. A lot of time and practice is required to get this just right and your dental hygienist can show you a few different tools which can help. We recommend flossing once daily.
Clean your tongue
Your tongue will trap plaque and bacteria within its pores and rougher outer surface. You can use your toothbrush or tongue cleaner daily as a part of your routine. Cleaning your tongue will also help prevent halitosis (commonly known as bad breath!)
Monitor sweet and sour foods
Foods and drinks that contain sugar, acid or bubbles can often damage the outer surface of your tooth known as enamel. This can cause teeth to become very sensitive, physically worn or even decayed. Dietary advice is an area your dental hygienist can help you with and this will benefit your overall oral and systemic health.
While we are aware of many effects of smoking on our systemic health many people are surprised to learn of its impact in the mouth. While it is linked to mouth cancer (which can include but not limited to the tongue, lips and soft cheek tissue) it also plays a significant role in gum disease. Periodontal disease is the permanent destruction of the supporting tissues in your mouth and can lead to tooth movement and loss. Superficially it can also cause yellowing of the teeth and a brown type of stain. Your dental hygienist can give you strategies to help reduce smoking tobacco and also information of programs which can further assist.
See a dental hygienist regularly
These trained professionals will work with you to help develop and implement an oral hygiene and oral health routine that benefits your dental health. It is recommended to see a dental hygienist every 6 months to support you and prevent gum disease. They will also work closely with a dentist to maintain your teeth.
BOH (La Trobe)
Dental Hygienist and Therapist