What Do You Know About Your Dental Hygienist?


Do you know what a dental hygienist does? Most people know that the hygienist cleans teeth. But fewer are aware of their frontline role in preventive care.  Dental hygienists educate patients on ways to improve and maintain good oral health practices that will help avoid serious health problems.

What Do Hygienists Do?

Hygienists do so much more than clean teeth. As highly trained and licensed oral health professionals, they provide educational, clinical, and therapeutic services to enhance your oral and overall health. They use their skills and knowledge to prevent, detect, and treat gum disease and tooth decay in their patients. Here are some of the strategies and treatments they perform:

  • Thoroughly clean all surfaces of your teeth, removing plaque, tartar, and stains from above and below your gum line (the point where your teeth meet your gums).
  • Evaluate the health of your gums and may be involved in the specialized treatment of advanced gum disease, which includes procedures such as scaling and root planing.
  • Maintain charts to track progress, diagnose ailments, perform exams and recommend solutions.
  • Teach you how to effectively care for your teeth at home to help you prevent decay and periodontal disease. They create a treatment plan for each patient that includes recommended diet and oral maintenance changes.
  • Take dental x-rays so your dentist may view them and accurately diagnose any problems.
  • Apply fluoride gels, show you how to select the proper toothbrush, and demonstrate the most effective techniques for brushing and flossing to help you maintain excellent oral hygiene.

Why is Oral Health Important?

Your mouth is a window into the health of your body. Hygienists can explain the relationship between your diet and dental health, offering suggestions about which foods to select and which to avoid. Specific ailments may first become apparent because of problems occurring in your mouth.

Periodontal disease has been linked to chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis. To ensure that you’re in your best health, it is imperative that you see your hygienist in conjunction with your doctor for oral evaluations and regular periodic cleanings.

Remember, healthy teeth make a healthy smile!

Dr. Nishan Halim

Nishan Halim, DMD specializes in adult and pediatric restorative and cosmetic dentistry, as well as preventive dentistry, which is at the heart of this Capitol Hill, Washington DC neighborhood dental center.  If you have questions about gum disease, contact Dr. Halim to schedule an appointment. Find out how he can help you maintain your healthy smile.

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