National Smile Month starts this week and it aims to promote good oral health. It’s a great time to review your oral health routine and make sure that you are doing all the right things to look after your mouth, including seeing the dentist and hygienist as often as they recommend.
We asked hygienist Mandi Evans, who was named as the Oral Health Awards Hygienist of the Year, to answer some frequently asked questions about a healthy mouth as well as explaining more about a hygiene appointment.
How often should I see my dentist?
“You should visit your dentist as often as they recommend which might be every six months or they might be happy to see you less often. But if you’ve fallen out of your routine don’t worry, just get booked in as soon as you can.”
Why does my dentist want me to see the hygienist?
“Your dentist might advise you to see a hygienist to help you remove a buildup of plaque on your teeth, or to manage certain conditions such as gum disease. We can also give you lifestyle and diet advice to help you avoid future oral health problems and help you understand which products are best for cleaning your teeth.”
What happens during a hygienist appointment?
“The hygienist will take a medical history, then they will assess your gum health and check the soft tissues in your mouth, looking for abnormalities that may be an early indicator of oral cancer.
“The hygienist will clean your teeth using an ultrasonic scaler and they may use hand scalers too. They may also polish your teeth to remove any residual staining.
“If you have a problem with gum disease the hygienist may need to do some deeper cleaning, which can feel a little uncomfortable but it can be completed with local anaesthetic if required.”
I’m confused by all the different toothpastes, toothbrushes, floss and mouthwash. Are there any differences?
“There are so many products as everyone’s needs are different. For example, some toothpastes are specifically for sensitive teeth or to treat gum disease.
“At mydentist we’ve teamed up with GSK and Philips to create an oral health products range that suits people with any clinical needs. You might find now that after your hygiene visit you receive an oral health ‘prescription’ with products suited to you clearly shown including the right toothpaste, interdental cleaning aids, mouthwashes and toothbrush.”
What can I do to protect my family’s teeth at home?
“The most important thing is to make sure everyone brushes twice a day, for at least two minutes. Try and do this at least half an hour before or after eating to protect your teeth. Everyone should clean between the teeth too, using floss or interdental brushes. That includes children once they reach about three years old.
“Try and reduce sugary and acidic foods which damage the teeth and keep a check on things by regularly seeing your dentist.”
Mandi works at mydentist Kandy Lodge, Wrexham.
WIN with mydentist & Philips Sonicare!
To celebrate national smile month we have teamed up with Philips Sonicare to give you the chance to win an electric toothbrush and private check-up for every member of your family, plus a selection of Sensodyne toothpaste.
To enter just show us how you are reducing the sugar in your diet by uploading a picture to Instagram, Facebook or Twitter using #habits4life
Competition closes 13th