10 reasons you may need to visit your hygienist
According to a recent Bupa Dental Care Survey, 33% of adults don’t visit a hygienist*. So, do we really need to see a hygienist? Dr. Oliver Harman from Bupa Dental Care Grange Over Sands, highlights 10 reasons you might be in need of a scale and polish.
1. You’ve got a case of smelly breath
Bad breath can be very distracting for you and even those around you. During World War I, stinky breath was often referred to as “trench mouth” - not nice! If you were hoping for your breath to allow more than a peck on the cheek this Valentine’s Day, we recommend getting your hygienist to check your mouth and gums. Deep, smelly pockets around your teeth are the number one cause of bad breath – which your hygienist can help with.
2. You’ve got blood on your toothbrush
You may have heard it said – be it on a TV advert or directly from your dentist - bleeding gums is a key sign of gum disease. Did you know that 25% of those under 35 in the UK have had a tooth removed or damaged due to gum disease*? If you see blood when brushing your teeth or notice bleeding gums, visit your dentist and hygienist to get your gums back to health.
3. Your children (or you) have toothache!
Dental hygienists are specially trained to offer you and your children a service which can help protect and prevent any damage to your teeth. This will include diet advice, thorough dental cleaning, as well as carrying out fluoride treatment and providing fissure sealants when required (which are a plastic coating to protect your teeth from food and bacteria getting stuck and causing decay). So, regular visits can keep your little one’s gnashers in tip top condition!
4. Your front teeth are starting to stick out
When a patient comes to me saying their front teeth used to be straight but are now starting to stick out, often this can be a sign of serious gum disease. This can be caused by our back teeth collapsing and putting forward pressure on our front teeth – so they start to buck forward. Get your hygienist to check your gum health right away, so they can help to save your teeth from further damage.
5. You start to notice chips coming away from your teeth
If parts of your teeth are starting to chip away this could be a sign of serious tooth wear. It could also be lumps of tartar or limescale that build up on the teeth and then break away. A bit like ice falling away from an iceberg - and like an iceberg it is what is under the gum line that does the real damage. Tooth wear in the younger age group is often due to excess fizzy drinks or fruit acids so a change in your diet may be recommended by your hygienist to preserve teeth for your later life. Regular hygiene visits to remove tartar are essential so your toothbrush and interdental tools can still reach your gums properly to remove the plaque, to keep your mouth and gums healthy.
6. Your teeth are discoloured
44% of people in the UK believe that discoloured teeth are a sign of poor hygiene*. Your dental hygienist is often trained to carry out simple tooth whitening treatments either in the dental chair or as part of a take -home system. As well as whitening treatments, your hygienist can help to remove everyday stains such as those from tea, coffee, red wine or tobacco - which can improve the brightness of your smile. So, if your pearly whites are no longer very pearly white, speak to your hygienist about a scale and polish or whitening treatment to brighten up your smile.
7. Looking “long in the tooth” is becoming a reality
You may or may not have heard the expression for one to “look long in-the-tooth” – but this refers to looking like you’re growing older. This was originally taken from when horses’ gums receded with age, making their teeth appear longer. However, getting longer-looking teeth is not an inevitable part of ageing. It is generally caused by the gradual onset of gum disease, causing your bone to disappear around the root of your teeth. The best part - it is preventable if you follow the brushing and cleaning advice from your hygienist. Ask on your next visit how to stop your teeth aging prematurely.
8. You’re suffering with wobbly teeth
Unfortunately, the tooth fairy doesn’t collect adult teeth but only healthy baby teeth and it goes without saying that adult teeth should not feel loose. Loose teeth are often a result of gum disease, causing the bone to breakdown around the teeth, eventually making your teeth wobble and even fall out. Your hygienist can help to keep your teeth healthy and strong as part of a course of treatment, focussing on your gums.
9. Your teeth are super sensitive
If you struggle drinking a hot cup of tea or eating a cold ice lolly, it could be a sign that you’re suffering with overly delicate teeth. Sensitive teeth can often be a sign of either gum recession or tooth wear (including acid erosion, over brushing or teeth grinding.) Your hygienist can recommend or apply treatments to reduce tooth sensitivity as well as providing diet advice and brushing tips to help to reduce tooth wear.
10. New gaps are appearing between your teeth
If you’ve started to notice openings between your teeth, almost like little black triangles, you may start to really ‘mind-the-gap’. These gaps can appear as a result of the breakdown of both your gums and the bone between your teeth. While it can often be fairly extensive to correct, it is preventable by taking advice from your dental hygienist. They will be able to teach you how to keep your teeth healthy on a daily basis with correct brushing, cleaning and diet.
*According to research conducted for Bupa Dental Care by Atomik Research, using a survey sample of 2,007 people. The research fieldwork took place in March 2018.