Dental hygiene, also referred to as ‘a cleaning,’ removes plaque, tartar and stains to help you keep your teeth and gums healthy. Routine cleanings are the best way to prevent gum disease.
Your dental hygienist may also provide an oral cancer screening, fluoride to resist decay, scaling, polishing and/or restorations. They will assist you with proper brushing and flossing, nutrition counselling and treatment explanation.
Common dental related issues to discuss with your dental hygienist:
Halitosis, or bad breath, is one of the most frequent reason for visiting the dentist. Causes include infrequent brushing and flossing, gum disease, dry mouth, smoking and diet. Your hygienist may suggest using a tongue scraper, chewing sugarless gum, gargling with mouthwash and drinking lots of water.
Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)
Periodontal disease (link) is an infection caused by bacteria found in plaque. As the bacteria spread below the gumline, the gums and bone around the teeth begin to break down, and can lead to loose teeth. Quite often, symptoms do not appear until the late stages, which is one reason why regular hygiene visits are encouraged. Possible early signs include: receding gums, bleeding while brushing or flossing, bad breath, sores in mouth or loose or separating teeth.
By examining your X-rays and probing, your hygienist can tell how much bone loss your periodontitis has caused. Once your stage of periodontal disease has been determined, your hygienist will work with your dentist to personalize a treatment plan, which may include homecare, Soft Tissue Management (link) or a referral to a Dawson periodontist.
Tooth sensitivity is a very common concern. Symptoms often arise after drinking hot or cold drinks or foods and sweets. Sensitivity is easily treated with fluoride. Your hygienist will often suggest using a toothpaste specifically for sensitive teeth. Learn more about tooth sensitivity.
Dry mouth is a common side effect of many prescription and nonprescription drugs, certain diseases and infections and medical treatments. It can also be a result of nerve damage, dehydration and lifestyle (smoking or chewing tobacco).
Symptoms include: frequent thirst, dryness in mouth, sores in mouth, cracked lips, dry and red tongue, problems speaking or trouble tasting, sore throat and bad breath.
Your hygienist will discuss home care solutions to help combat dry mouth.