Let’s firstly consider the teeth themselves. If plaque is not allowed to accumulate and spend long periods of time on the tooth surfaces, decay simply cannot develop.
For those who have never had a filling, maintaining a good routine will prevent their unblemished record being ruined. For those of us who have dental work the incentive is that the work we have will last longer meaning less frequent dental treatments – a good motivator!
Now let’s consider the gums. Here gum disease is the big enemy. Once again a build up of plaque is the problem. It initially inflames the gums which causes them to bleed. If left undetected it will gradually cause the gums to strip away from the teeth. Unpleasant I know, and not only that teeth can eventually loosen and fall out. If losing teeth was not bad enough, gum disease is also linked to certain other diseases including heart disease. Clearly not an issue to take lightly.
Looking after our teeth and gums is a team effort. Doing our best at home is important. There are however challenges. Firstly, we clean our teeth blindly. By that we mean that many of the areas we are trying to clean are not actually visible to us. Secondly, we tend to clean our teeth when we are tired, distracted and even rushed. So even with our best efforts we are often not totally efficient.
That is why seeing the hygienist on a regular basis is so important. They are professionals who can get into the areas we are missing and teach us how to improve our cleaning. How often one needs to see a hygienist varies from person to person. Someone with a perfect mouth who maintains a good cleaning routine may only need to go every 6 months, but someone with gum disease or lots of advanced treatments like implants should go at least every 3 months.
And let’s face it, it is a lot cheaper and less unpleasant than many of the problems it’s preventing!