Dental hygiene is extremely vital and one might not realize until it is too late. The health of one’s mouth, gums and teeth plays an integral role in one’s overall health. Did you know that your oral health can offer clues that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body?
The mouth produces bacteria most of which are harmless. However, with proper care of the mouth, teeth and gums, through the use of flossing and brushing three times daily, can reduce the bacteria present. On the other hand, lacking proper hygiene can cause bacteria to reach levels that might lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. A dental hygienist is a licensed oral health professional that helps people know how to and why they must care for their mouth, teeth and gums.
What Do Dental Hygienists Do? American Dental Hygienist Association- (ADHA.org)
- Perform oral health care assessments that include the review of patients’ health history, dental charting, Oral cancer screening, and evaluation of gum disease / health
- Expose, process, and interpret dental radiographs (x-rays)
- Remove plaque and calculus (“tartar”) from above and below the gum line using dental instruments; Apply cavity-preventive agents such as fluorides and sealants to the teeth
- Administer local anesthetic and / or nitrous oxide analgesia
- Educate patients on proper oral hygiene techniques to maintain healthy teeth and gums
ORAL HYGIENE AND HEALTH
According to the Academy of General Dentistry, oral disease leads to health complications such as stroke and heart disease. Other research shows that over 90 percent of all systemic diseases (diseases involving many organs or the whole body) have oral manifestations, including swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and excessive gum problems. Such diseases are:
- Leukemia and other cancer (oral, pancreatic)
- Heart and kidney diseases
HOW TO CARE FOR THE MOUTH
Seeing a dentist regularly helps to keep your mouth in top shape. Since most people have regular oral examinations, their dentist may be the first health care provider to diagnose a health problem in its early stages.
At home, you can practice good oral hygiene by:
- Brushing for two to three minutes, at least twice a day, with fluoridated toothpaste.
- Floss daily to remove plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach.
- Eat a healthy diet to provide the nutrients necessary (vitamins A and C, in particular) to prevent gum disease.
- Avoid cigarettes and smokeless tobacco, which may contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.
- Exercise preventive care and schedule regular dental checkups — the surest way to detect early signs of periodontal disease.