Dental hygiene, also known as oral hygiene, is the process by which preventative dental care is provided to avoid dental emergencies. At its core, dental hygiene is the in-home dental care regimen you perform. Your at-home regimen is supplemented with professional preventative dental care provided by dentists and dental hygienists. While you are responsible for day-to-day dental maintenance, dental hygienists along with dentists play an integral role in preventative oral care.
Tooth brushing and flossing is fundamentally important, though it alone will not remove the tartar (also called a calculus) that builds up over time. Tartar must be removed to lower your risk of toothaches, cavities, gum disease or even the loss of your teeth. By removing tartar, you can reduce your chances of needing root canal treatments, teeth extractions, dental crowns and bridges, and more. If tartar forms below the gum line, bacteria can invade and create a host of other dental problems. Furthermore, the surfaces and areas between the teeth and under the gum must be maintained and treated on a regular basis in order to ensure proper dental hygiene. These areas are impossible for you to examine yourself – they require professional care.
Dental hygienists are often responsible for performing professional tooth cleaning, scraping hardened plaque (tartar) and removing tartar deposits located below the gum line. Your dentist then works with your hygienist by further examining your teeth, mouth and gums to provide any necessary treatment for tooth decay or gum disease.
Regular dental visits are critical at any age for maintenance of dental hygiene. Westport Dental Centre strongly recommends that patients visit their dentist and dental hygienist a minimum of 2 times each year to maintain proper dental hygiene.