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Oral Hygiene / Hygienist Services

Regrettably, our mouths have massive numbers and varieties of bacteria and micro-organisms present. Any food that is eaten feeds these opportunist micro-organisms which in turn create waste products. All dental diseases spring from these origins.

Regrettably, most modern foods have a degree of being processed and often have highly processed flours and sugars in them. Whilst, unprocessed flours and sugars are more difficult for the micro-organisms to digest, they still have a bad effect on the mouth. For social reasons as well, clean teeth and mouths are much more acceptable, which is why dental cleaning should always be a part of your oral health care plan.

Everyone is aware of cleaning their teeth but often they neglect their gum health. So what is good gum health? Healthy gums are light pink in colour and tend to fit closely to the teeth and bone. The converse, unhealthy gums tend to be reddened and puffy and potentially have bleeding with cleaning. There are many other causes for poor gum health, including some general medical conditions like diabetes and normal hormonal events like pregnancy. As with all dentistry, a good diagnosis is imperative — this is where our dental hygienist in Tauranga can help. Various negative factors can combine and the gums become less healthy to an increasing extent where the teeth may be lost or become sore and painful.

Plaque is the soft furry sludge that forms on the teeth. It is a combination of bacteria, salivary proteins and food debris. With the build-up of plaque, over time the plaque matures. Different bacteria populate the plaque and have different effects. The deeper the plaque penetrates under the gums, generally the worse the type of bacteria. Your homecare is all about removing plaque and keeping it at an absolute minimum. Mature plaque, which is removed within 12 hours, is relatively undamaging but left longer than this, the situation gets worse. Given enough time, calculus can form which is where the soft plaque has calcified in to crusty deposits, commonly observed inside the lower front teeth. Calculus is particularly difficult to remove and maybe considered like long term apartment blocks for bacteria. As a consequence, calculus concentrates the waste products which irritate the gums and supporting bone

The first stage of breakdown is the disease gingivitis.

What is Gingivitis?

Bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth is the earliest and most common sign of gingivitis. Gingivitis is reversible if treated by a hygienist or by improved brushing and flossing techniques. Gingivitis is usually treated by the Hygienist. However, if left untreated you will develop the later stages of gum disease, which is known as ‘Periodontal Disease’.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal Disease is the later stages of gum disease. This is when the bacteria infect under the gums and progresses deeper and affects the bone and tissue supporting the tooth.

Your gums may –

• Bleed when brushing or flossing.
• Be red and swollen.
• Cause the bad breath.
• Have pulled away from the tooth, this is called ‘Pocketing’
• Have pus in the pockets around the tooth.

The infection damages the tissue that connects the gum to the roots of the tooth. Once the tissue has been destroyed, the gum connection pulls away from the tooth and this forms a pocket which bacteria thrive in. If not treated, in time the bone anchoring the teeth in the jaw will break down, making the teeth loose and eventually the teeth will fall out.

Periodontal disease is irreversible, but you can slow down the progression by regular visits to the Dentist and Dental Hygienist and by improving your oral hygiene at home. The better the care, the better the result!

Bad breath (haliotosis)

The causes for bad breath can be quite variable. Does the bad odour come from our gullet and stomach? Is it caused or made worse from alcohol and smoking? Or is it related to what is happening in our mouth? As always, a good diagnosis and a thorough understanding of what is happening is important and we examine you carefully and give you the appropriate advice and of course treatment when possible.

Bad breath from your mouth is often caused by the onset of gingivitis and the more severe version of a similar condition, periodontitis. Decayed teeth can also contribute to this.

These and other related diseases are some of the biggest reasons our dental hygienist in Tauranga recommend undergoing oral cleaning regularly. Book an appointment today and we’ll show you how to properly care for your teeth and mouth. At Harley Dentistry, we do dental cleaning right.
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Harley Dentistry
344 Otumoetai Road
Otumoetai, Tauranga  3110
Phone: (07) 576-3104
New patients: (07) 576-3109
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