All about Dental Hygiene

So, what is involved when we say ‘dental hygiene’? It is the practice of keeping your mouth clean and free of disease and other issues, such as gingivitis or bad breath. This is done by brushing and flossing between the teeth to remove food debris and plaque, which if left untreated can cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and eventually gum disease, which can lead to loss of teeth.

Dental hygienists have a particular role in your dental practice and are specifically trained to clean the teeth, often by scaling and polishing the teeth, which can help prevent gum disease from occurring. They also inform and educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health when at home.

How many times do I need to floss a day?

The general consensus is that you should floss at least once a day. If you have time, you could do it twice a day when you brush your teeth. Some people floss before brushing so that the brushing can effectively remove the debris, which has become dislodged. It doesn’t really matter, what order you do it in, it’s just important to do it. The best time of day to floss is when you feel like you have the most time and energy to do it properly and dedicate a bit of time to it.

If the spaces between your teeth are quite large, then you can use a larger, thicker type of floss. Whereas if your teeth are closer together, using floss can be a bit tricky and you may want to try dental tape or a waxed or Teflon floss.

What type of toothpaste should I use?

There are many different types of toothpaste to choose from on the market nowadays. Some of them contain detergents such as sodium lauryl sulfate, which makes the toothpaste foam up but is not preferred by some patients.

Most toothpaste contains fluoride, which is a mineral added to prevent tooth decay, as it makes tooth enamel stronger and provides minerals to those parts of the teeth that have already started to decay. Children should only use a pea size amount of fluoride toothpaste and try not to accidentally swallow it.

How many times a day should I use mouthwash and what type?

Using a mouthwash, which contains fluoride can help to prevent tooth decay but don’t use it straight after brushing as it will wash away the fluoride left on teeth from your toothpaste. Mouthwash is better used at a different time, such as after lunch but it is important not to eat or drink for 30 minutes after using mouthwash.