Dental Hygiene

Dental hygiene is the practice of keeping the mouth and teeth clean to prevent dental problems, like cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath. Good oral hygiene is required for healing and regeneration of the oral tissues following a dental procedure.

Cleaning of teeth

Teeth cleaning is the removal of dental plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and gum disease. Severe gum disease causes at least one-third of adult tooth loss.

Tooth decay is the most common global disease affecting every family. Over 80% of cavities occur inside pits and fissures on chewing surfaces where brushing cannot reach food left trapped after every meal or snack, and saliva or fluoride have no access to neutralise acid unlike easy-to-reach surfaces, where fewer cavities occur.

It isrecommend that teeth be cleaned professionally at least twice per year. At Starsmiles Dental ourcleaningprocedure includes tooth scaling, tooth polishing, and tartar removal. This is usually followed by a fluoride treatment.

Between cleanings we recommend good oral hygiene as being essential for preventing tartar build-up which causes some of the problems mentioned above. This is done through careful, frequent brushing with a toothbrush, combined with the use of dental floss to prevent accumulation of plaque on the teeth.

Plaque Removal

Plaque is a yellow sticky film that forms on the teeth and gums. Plaque is a storehouse for bacteria.The bacteria in plaque convert carbohydrates in food (such as sugar) into acid that attacks the teeth, eventually causing cavities. Daily brushing and flossing removes plaque and can prevent tartar from forming on the teeth.

Plaque can also cause gum irritation (gingivitis), making them red, tender and cause them to bleed. In some cases, the gums pull away from the teeth (receding gums), leaving cavities inhabited by bacteria and pus. If this is not treated, bones around the teeth can be destroyed.Teeth may become loose or have to be removed due to periodontal (gum) disease, mostly in adults.

Eating a balanced diet and limiting snacks can prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease. The Fédérationdentaireinternationale (World Dental Federation) and the American Dental Association has promoted foods such as raw vegetables, plain yogurt, cheese, or fruit as dentally beneficial.

Flossing

The use of dental floss is an important element of oral hygiene, since it removes plaque and decaying food remaining stuck between the teeth. This food decay and plaque cause irritation to the gums, allowing the gum tissue to bleed more easily. Acidic foods left on the teeth can also demineralise teeth, eventually causing cavities.

Flossing is recommended at least once per day, preferably before brushing so fluoride toothpaste has better access between teeth to help remineralise teeth, prevent receding gums, gum disease, and cavities on the surfaces between the teeth.

It is recommended to use enough floss to enable easy use, usually ten or more inches with three to four inches of taut floss to put between teeth. Floss is then wrapped around the middle finger and/or index finger, and supported with the thumb on each hand. It is then held tightly to make taut, and then gently moved up and down between each tooth. It is important to floss under visible areas by curving the floss around each tooth instead of moving up and down on gums, which are much more sensitive than teeth.

However, bleeding gums are normal upon first usage of floss, and will harden with use. One should use an unused section of the floss when moving around different teeth. Removing floss from between teeth requires using the same back-and-forth motion as flossing, but gently bringing the floss up and out of gaps between teeth.

Tongue cleaning

Cleaning the tongue as part of daily oral hygiene is essential, since it removes the white/yellow bad-breath-generating coating of bacteria, decaying food particles, fungi (such as Candida), and dead cells from the dorsal area of the tongue. Tongue cleaning also removes some of the bacteria species which generate tooth decay and gum problems.