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How often should you really see your dentist and oral hygienist?

Even if you don’t have dentophobia, most people don’t exactly look forward to their dentist check-up and many avoid regular appointments. The problem with that behaviour is that regular check-ups and thorough cleans could prevent serious dental issues. Here’s when you should go – and why.

If you don’t have a history of dental issues and consider yourself one of those lucky humans blessed with a “Colgate Smile”, it’s still important to go for an annual check-up. Ideally, every six months. Think of your dental check-ups and cleans as an essential way to maintain good oral health and prevent diseases.

Some individuals may need more frequent dental visits, especially those who are at a higher risk of dental issues. People with a history of gum disease, cavities or other oral health problems might need to see the dentist every three to four months.

Dental cleanings by an oral hygienist, also known as dental hygienist, are typically done during dental check-ups, but occasionally they need to be booked in as a separate appointment. Oral hygienist cleanings help remove plaque, tartar and stains from your teeth and gums.

Dentists and oral hygienists also provide valuable information on proper oral hygiene techniques, diet recommendations and lifestyle habits that can help you maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Why is it important to visit your dentist regularly?

  1. Prevention
    Regular visits allow the dentist to catch potential issues early, such as cavities, gum disease, oral cancer and even problems with your bite or alignment. Early detection can lead to more effective and less invasive treatments.
  2. Professional Cleaning
    Even with diligent oral hygiene at home, there are areas that are difficult to clean effectively. Professional cleanings help remove stubborn plaque and tartar build-up that can lead to cavities and gum diseases
  3. Customised Care
    Dental care is not one-size-fits-all. Regular visits allow your dental team to develop a personalised treatment plan based on your specific needs and risk factors.
  4. Monitoring Oral Health Changes
    Regular visits help track changes in your oral health over time. This is especially important for detecting any signs of progression or deterioration in conditions like gum disease or oral cancer.
  5. Maintaining Dental Records
    Keeping a consistent record of your oral health history is valuable for both you and your dental care providers. It helps them tailor their care to your needs and track any changes.

Remember that the recommended frequency of dental visits can vary based on individual factors such as age, overall health, oral health history and other risk factors. It’s best to consult your dentist or oral hygienist to determine the optimal schedule for your dental check-ups and cleanings.

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5 easy ways to improve your oral hygiene at home

September is National Oral Health Month and we are here to give you some great tips to take better care of your teeth at home.

Improving your oral hygiene at home is crucial for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Outside of your regular dental check-ups and oral hygienist cleans, there are a number of ways to maintain excellent oral health at home. Follow these guidelines and don’t hesitate to reach out to your dental team for any questions.

Here are five easy ways to enhance your oral hygiene routine:

  1. Brush Properly and Regularly

Brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and before bed. Use a good-quality toothpaste with fluoride to strengthen tooth enamel and prevent cavities. Fluoride strengthens teeth and reduces your risk of cavities by approximately 25%. It also remineralises your tooth enamel and could reverse early tooth decay. Brush for at least two minutes each time, using gentle, circular motions. Don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.

     2.   Floss Daily
Flossing helps remove food particles and plaque from between your teeth and along the gumline. Floss at least once a day using a gentle back-and-forth motion. Be careful not to snap the floss, as this can damage your gums. Water Flossers are becoming more and more easily available for purchasing for at-home use. Ask your local pharmacy for options. (Click here for Waterpik, available at Dis-Chem).

    3.  Rinse with Mouthwash
Using an antimicrobial or fluoride mouthwash can help kill bacteria, freshen your breath and strengthen teeth. Rinse according to the product instructions. Some mouthwashes are used before brushing, while others are used after. Ask your dentist for the best recommended mouthwash.

4.   Limit Sugary Snacks and Beverages
Sugary foods and drinks can contribute to tooth decay. Limit your consumption of sugary snacks, sodas and juices. If you do indulge in sugary treats, try to brush your teeth afterward or at least rinse your mouth with water. This is also a great way to prevent discolouration. After every cup of coffee or tea, make sure to rinse your mouth with water.

5.  Stay Hydrated and Choose Water
Drinking water throughout the day helps flush away food particles and bacteria. Water is the best beverage for your oral health, as it doesn’t contain sugars that can lead to cavities.

 It’s all down to the right toothbrush!

  • Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles to avoid damaging your gums and enamel.
  • Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head every three to four months or sooner if the bristles are frayed.
  • Consider using an electric toothbrush, which can be more effective at removing plaque.

Remember that consistency is key when it comes to maintaining good oral hygiene. Establishing a daily routine that includes these practices will help keep your teeth and gums healthy between dental visits.

If you have specific dental concerns or conditions, such as braces, dental work or gum disease, consult your dentist for tailor-made recommendations on how to adapt your oral hygiene routine accordingly.

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