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Dental hygiene


Oral hygiene is keeping the mouth clean. Oral hygiene is considered to be the best means of prevention of cavities ( dental caries ), gingivitis , periodontitis , and other dental disorders. It also helps to prevent bad breath ( halitosis ). Oral hygiene is necessary for allpersons to maintain the health of their teeth and mouth . Healthy teeth have fewer cavities. They are clean and have minimal or no plaque deposits. Healthy gums are pink and firm.

Oral hygiene consists of both personal and professional care. Dental X-rays may beperformed as part of routine professional examinations.


Personal care

Careful toothbrushing and flossing help to prevent build-up of plaque and calculus ( tartar ).

The teeth should be brushed at least twice daily and flossed at least once per day. For some people, brushing and flossing maybe recommended after every meal and at bedtime. Consult a dentist or dental hygienist if instructionor demonstration of proper brushing and flossing techniques is needed.

Special appliances or tools may be recommended to supplement (but not to replace) tooth brushing and flossing. These includespecial toothpicks , toothbrushes, water irrigation, or other devices. Initially electrictoothbrushes were only recommended for persons who have problems with strength or dexterity of their hands, but many dentistsare now recommending them to many other patients in order to improve their dental home care.

Fluoride -containing, or anti-plaque (tartar control) toothpastes or mouth rinses may be recommended by the dentist or dental hygienist.

Dentures , retainers , and other appliances must be kept extremely clean. This includes regular brushing and mayinclude soaking them in a cleansing solution.

Professional care

Regular tooth cleaning by the dentist or dental hygienist is important to remove plaque that may develop even with carefulbrushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult for a patient to reach on his own at home. Professional cleaningincludes tooth scaling and tooth polishing . Thisinvolves the use of various instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.

Many dentists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned every six months. More frequent cleaning and examination maybe necessary during the treatment of many of the dental/oral disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at leastevery year. This may include yearly, select dental X-rays. See also dental plaque identification procedure and removal.


Good oral hygiene prevents, and is vital to the treatment of, many of the dental and oral disorders. Good oral hygiene resultsin healthy teeth and mouth.


Usually there are no complications; however, overly vigorous or improperly performed brushing and flossing may result ininjury to the gingiva (gums).

Call the dentist or dental hygienist if instructions or demonstration of proper brushing or flossing techniques is needed, orto schedule routine dental cleaning and examination.

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