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The important role of dental hygienists

The Importance of the Dental Hygienist
To properly maintain the health of your mouth and teeth, regular visits to the dental hygienist are necessary. A thorough cleaning will make you healthier, enable you to eat, smile and speak comfortably and confidently, and will provide you with an aesthetic, glowing look.

1. The Dental Hygienist’s Treatment and its Importance
2. Correct Brushing
3. Brushing Tools

1. The Dental Hygienist’s Treatment and its Importance

The treatment performed by the dental hygienist is not just to remove calculus. This is a vital treatment procedure which contributes to preventing problems such as periodontal diseases and caries, as well as treating sensitive teeth and keeping the teeth white. Prophylactic treatment by the dental hygienist – an effective, simple, inexpensive and quick treatment, can spare you from severe tooth pain and complex medical treatment by the dentist. Furthermore, the dental hygienist instructs on the correct treatment routine and maintenance of oral hygiene on a daily basis.

Removal of Calculus
Calculus is created by the accumulation of minerals on plaque deposits. The calculus is yellowish-gray in color and its texture is rough, damaging the aesthetics of the tooth surface. The rate of calculus buildup is different from person to person, and different individuals must visit the dental hygienist at varying frequencies.
Calculus encourages gingivitis, causes bleeding when brushing, halitosis and also accelerates the progress of periodontal diseases, causing gingival recession and the destruction of bone supporting the teeth. During the dental hygienist’s treatment, the calculus is removed without damaging the tooth enamel, and the surface returns to being smooth and white.

Periodontal Diseases
Calculus created from leftover food particles and bacterial plaque into which various minerals (such as calcium) are deposited is the primary cause of the development of gingivitis. Gingivitis is a very common phenomenon from which approximately 90% of the adult population suffers, as well as children and adolescents.
Redness, swelling and sensitivity to touch in the gingiva, as well as bleeding while brushing, are some of the symptoms of gingivitis. Most people do not suffer from pain during the first stages, but when the situation begins to worsen and clinical symptoms appear, they turn to seek help. Periodic visits to the dental hygienist can eliminate this deterioration.

Treatment of tooth sensitivity
A large percentage of the population suffers from sensitivity to heat and cold due to the exposure of the roots of the teeth, advanced periodontal diseases, aggressive brushing and the use of a toothbrush that is too hard. The dental hygienist will direct the patient regarding which toothpaste and toothbrush to choose, and how to brush in a manner that will reduce the sensitivity. When necessary, treatment to lessen the sensitivity can also be performed.

2. Correct Brushing

 The teeth should be brushed twice a day – morning and evening.
 Tooth brushing must be done without applying force on the teeth or gingiva.
 The toothbrush should be held at a 45-degree angle and used in circular motions.
 While brushing, concentrate on the transition area between the teeth and gingiva, where most of the food traces accumulate.
 Proper tooth brushing takes 2 minutes. Each jaw should be brushed separately for about a minute, focusing carefully on each region in turn.

3. Brushing Tools

Only use toothpaste that contains fluoride, the agent proved to be the most effective in preventing caries. The concentrated found in toothpastes are supervised and when used properly, can reduce by up to 50% potential future caries. A mouthwash can be added that includes fluoride as well, which could aid in protecting the teeth. For children under the age of 4, non-fluoride toothpaste or a very small quantity of toothpaste should be used, for fear of unsupervised use. Children’s toothpastes are usually tasty and there is a risk of excessive fluoride intake, which could be unhealthy.

Use a toothbrush with an appropriate head and soft bristles. The use of hard bristles causes damage to the teeth and gingiva. The package of the toothbrush will always state the firmness of the bristles and the size of the head of the brush. Choose the “Soft” bristle type. The “Extra Soft” bristles are meant for limited use – especially following extractions, implants and periodontal surgery. The “Medium” firmness is not meant for human use. For close, effective contact with the teeth, the size of the head of the brush should cover one or two teeth.

Dental Floss
Dental floss is meant to reach the two tooth surfaces where the toothbrush does not reach – meaning, the point of contact between the teeth. This is also one of the areas where caries develop the most. Without using dental floss, the tooth cleaning cannot be complete.
How should dental floss be used?
Wrap the dental floss around your middle finger on each hand and hold it between two fingers in a manner which gives you good control of the floss. Reach all of the spaces between the teeth – even the most posterior teeth. Enter between the teeth and move the floss in an up and down direction in order to remove bacteria which have accumulated in the area.

What is a Proxabrush and how is it used?
The Proxabrush is made to reach areas between the teeth where the standard toothbrush cannot reach, and is suitable primarily for people with crowns or gingival recession. The Proxabrush comes in various thicknesses, the desired size being determined according to the space which exists between the teeth. Hold the handle of the brush and insert the head of the brush between the teeth – without exerting pressure! Move the brush in and out two or three times to remove all of the bacteria which have accumulated at the site. To enhance the procedure, the brush can be dipped in appropriate gel, liquid or paste for cleaning or disinfecting.

How is a Tongue Brush Used?
Dead bacteria accumulate on the tongue, especially among smokers. The bacteria cause a bad odor in the mouth and alter the sense of taste. Use a tongue brush like a rake, placing the brush close to the back part of the tongue and raking the bacteria outward. Repeat the procedure 3-4 times, without exerting pressure.

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