Burton dental hygienist, Alison Lowe, looks at the fundamentals of good oral care.
As patients, most people probably focus on the condition of their teeth when it comes to their oral health care. This is more likely to be the case if they have experienced a bad toothache or two in the past. There is no doubt that no one wants to have tooth pain, which can be very severe indeed, and obviously, no one wants to lose their teeth.
This is all well and good, and anything that encourages people to brush their teeth properly is only to be encouraged. There is another good reason why people should pay special attention when brushing though, and that is to control the buildup of plaque and tartar, not only on the teeth, but on the gum line too.
What is plaque?
Plaque is a sticky film that collects on the teeth and gums. It is made up of millions of bacteria. Not all of these are necessarily harmful, but some certainly are. If not controlled, over time these will not only cause enamel erosion, and potentially tooth decay, but potentially also gingivitis and even periodontitis, both forms of gum disease.
Plaque should not be confused with tartar. Plaque can largely be controlled with diligent brushing and flossing. Over time however, a hardened form of plaque called tartar builds up which causes a rough surface which attracts further bacterial and mineral build-up. This can only be removed by a hygienist cleaning known as a ‘scale and polish’ here at Mike Allen’s Dental Practice in Burton.