Dentist in London explains what a dental hygienist does
A professional dental cleaning is about more than just polishing your teeth. This crucial appointment can have a dramatic impact on oral health as well as overall wellness. At Downtown Dental Centre in London, Ontario, our dental team includes several dental hygienists who help ensure that your mouth is healthy for the long term. Unsure of what a dental hygienist really does? Let’s take a look.
Your dental hygienist plays a large role in oral health
Everyone understands that professional teeth cleaning is good for your oral health, but your dental hygienist’s role isn’t just to clean your teeth and run. It’s important to emphasize this because we find that many people often cancel or postpone these yearly visits if there aren’t any visible or physical reasons to go. But, even in the absence of pain or noticeable build-up, changes could be occurring in the mouth that can lead to problems down the road.
Next time you are thinking about skipping your twice-yearly visit, think about some of the many ways a dental hygienist can help you:
Identify dental health problems
One of the most obvious roles of the dental hygienist is to look for cavities or any sign of tooth decay that can lead to cavities. But in addition to this, the dental hygienist will also look for signs of TMJ, tooth grinding, and gum disease. An oral cancer screening may also be performed.
Prevent future dental problems
Removing plaque and tartar buildup is a simple, preventative measure that can lead to long term oral health. While at home oral hygiene is important, professional dental cleanings from your hygienist can help prevent future decay or disease.
Provide prevention education
A dental hygienist possesses a wealth of knowledge about keeping the mouth healthy. They can help you with proper brushing technique, answer questions about nutrition, discuss how certain habits can impact oral health, and more.
Here are some health care tips you may receive from your dental hygienist:
- How to brush your teeth – It sounds simple, but not everyone knows how to brush properly. It’s recommended that you use a soft-bristled brush in a back and forth motion at 45-degree angle to the gums. Short vertical strokes can be used for the back of the teeth.
- Using the right toothbrush – The head and bristles on the brush should be small enough to adequately clean around the molars.
- How long to brush – You should aim to brush your teeth for two minutes, twice daily. Since you can only touch a few teeth at the same time with the brush, this gives you enough time to clean all the teeth.
- Floss properly – Get a piece of floss that is about 18 inches wide so that you will have a fresh strip every few teeth. Make sure the floss wraps around each tooth in the shape of a “C” as you go.
- Use mouthwash – Mouthwash is great to eliminate debris, either after brushing or when you’re on the go and can’t brush your teeth.
- Replace your toothbrush often – Toothbrushes should be replaced once the bristles start to wear or every two months.
Prevent or detect other medical conditions
Many individuals are unaware that there are a significant number of health conditions that originate in the mouth. While dental hygienists are not medical doctors, they can identify certain changes that may be indicative of other health problems. These include:
- Diabetes – Pockets around the gumline
- Heart Disease – Advanced, untreated gum disease
- Oral Cancer – Mouth lesions
- Anxiety / Stress – Wearing of the teeth from grinding
While these symptoms don’t necessarily mean a patient is suffering from a more serious condition, it can be a good opportunity to schedule an appointment to be evaluated by your family physician.
A healthy smile is good for your total health. It can also boost confidence, help you make positive first impressions, and make you feel great. At Downtown Dental Centre, we offer comprehensive dental services for the whole family. From professional cleanings with our hygienists to cosmetic and restorative services, we can handle all your dental needs.
If you’re in the London, Ontario area and would like to schedule your exam, please call us today at (855) 669-0775.