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Why is oral hygiene important?

In this section you will find out why oral hygiene and excellent home care are decisive factors in the fight against widespread diseases such as caries and periodontitis and what role professional dental cleanings play in this.

Oral hygiene and home care is not about removing food debris. It is about removing the malicious bacteria that rest in plaque. Bacteria in the mouth are completely normal. There are more of them in each mouth than there are people on earth.

In very simple terms, there are two types of bacteria:

1.  Healthy bacteria which is important for the normal oral flora.
2.  Harmful bacteria which can damage the gums and teeth.

What is dental plaque?

Plaque is a very thin film of mucus that sticks to the tooth surface. It occurs at any time solely through the flow of saliva in the mouth and the intake of food. Teeth that have not been brushed for a day will feel rough from the plaque accumulation. Plaque staining tablets are helpful to see areas of plaque remaining of a tooth surface.  

How do bacteria and plaque behave together?

Bacteria settles in plaque where it feeds and multiplies at a rapid speed through cell division. This leads to a doubling within 20 minutes. In harmful bacteria waste products are excreted after eating known as acids or toxins. These attack the tooth enamel and can form a cavity or cause inflammation of the gums and jaw bone leading to gum disease. This process repeats itself hour after hour and day after day.

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When plaque is removed, it deprives the harmful bacteria of the breeding ground and the opportunity to excrete harmful acids and toxins. This lowers the risk of cavities and periodontal disease.

Brushing alone will remove plaque from the surface, but bacteria between the teeth will be left behind. Brushing twice daily and the use of interdental cleaning aids daily along with regular dental visits support a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Professional Care

It is essential to visit the dentist regularly and see a dental hygienist 2-4 times a year for a professional cleaning. Throughout the entire appointment the hygienist will be a great resource  to offer suggestions for better home care and demonstrate how the cleaning of missed areas can be optimized.

Good to know:

Use the time to ask questions about home care during dental visits. Dentists and hygienists have excellent solutions to optimize a custom plan.

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