Your oral hygiene habits have a huge impact on the health and longevity of your teeth. Good dental hygiene can prevent tooth decay, gum disease, tooth loss and other serious dental issues.
Oral Hygiene and Taking Care of Your Mouth
Dental hygiene is the practice of maintaining clean and healthy teeth and gums. Good dental hygiene requires at-home maintenance, like brushing and flossing, and regular tips to your dentist for routine cleanings.
Together, these oral care efforts decrease your likelihood of developing issues like tooth decay or gum disease. They also increase your likelihood of keeping your teeth for life.
The Dental Hygiene Process
Unfortunately, even the most meticulous dental care routine can’t ward off all plaque and calculus (tartar) buildup, especially if you skip routine dental cleanings.
Plaque is a soft, sticky substance that forms on your teeth after you eat. If you don’t carefully remove plaque soon after it forms, it solidifies into a hard, porous substance known as calculus. Calculus can build up under the gum line, spreading bacteria and irritating the gums. Eventually, calculus build up can cause gum disease and tooth loss.
Unfortunately, only a trained dental hygienist using special tools can remove calculus build up.
When the hygienist has completed your cleaning, your dentist will conduct further examination of the gums and mouth for signs of tooth decay or gum disease. The American Dental Association suggests patients schedule a visit to the dentist and dental hygienist twice per year to guarantee good oral hygiene.