How Important Is Dental Hygiene?

What Is a Scale and Polish

How Important Is Dental Hygiene?

We all know dental hygiene is important but do you actually know just how important it is? It may surprise you to know that poor dental hygiene can actually do more damage to you than just inside your mouth. It’s not just your vanity that’s at risk when you don’t look after the health of your mouth, but your overall health is too.

The good news is that we’re here to help and you’re only a few simple steps away from following good dental hygiene practices.

What does dental hygiene mean?

Dental hygiene refers to the cleanliness and health of teeth and gums and it’s important that it’s taken seriously as it can lead to other health implications if not. Dental hygiene should be part of your everyday routine, including regular visits to the dentist and dental hygienist.

Following good dental hygiene includes doing things such as brushing your teeth twice a day, using interdental brushes, flossing, eating healthy foods and of course regular visits to the dentist.

Without brushing, flossing or using mouthwash, food would stay in our mouths, stuck between our teeth, feeding the bacteria in our mouths and causing our teeth to decay. A mouth full of bacteria would also cause gum disease, ulcers and even tonsillitis, all of which can be very painful and result in the loss of teeth.

Good dental hygiene

Good dental hygiene

Here are some steps you can take to practice good dental hygiene.

To get the most out of your oral health routine, follow these 8 tips.

  1. Brush your teeth twice a day, including your tongue
  2. Visit your dentist at least twice a year
  3. Visit your dental hygienist to do a deep clean on your teeth
  4. Replace your toothbrush regularly
  5. Floss and use interdental brushes once a day
  6. Avoid sugary foods and drinks
  7. Use a fluoride toothpaste
  8. Go private.

You may be wondering why we recommend going private. In many cases, private dentists can offer better care than NHS dentists. This isn’t because private dental staff are more highly trained but because the private healthcare sector has more funding, which means more money for better equipment, higher salaries that attract excellent staff and due to the additional cost that NHS dentists don’t come with, fewer patients so fewer wait times.

There are several differences between private dentists and NHS. Many NHS dental practices are only available around the hours of 9-5 with some offering occasional late-night appointments, whereas private dentists often offer 24-hour emergency care and a wider range of appointment times.

With a private dentist, you will pay for everything you have done but you will also have access to more than you would have an NHS dentist, such as cosmetic procedures like veneers or teeth whitening.

Most importantly, make sure you maintain good dental hygiene by regularly keeping up with these practices, whether you go private or stick with an NHS dentist, otherwise, your oral hygiene will decrease and could cause you all sorts of problems.

A dental hygiene appointment

In the list above, you can see that there’s a recommendation to see a dental hygienist. The job of a dental hygienist is to clean your teeth and gums and to remove stubborn plaque that has set hard around the difficult-to-reach places of your teeth. It’s important to note that a hygienist isn’t a replacement for good dental hygiene at home, but more of an every-so-often method of maintaining good dental hygiene.

At your dental hygienist appointment, the hygienist will use a range of harmless tools to scrape away bacteria and plaque from your teeth. They will perform something called a scale and polish to remove surface stains on your teeth and to give your mouth a good clean. We recommend that you see a dental hygienist around twice a year and the appointment will cost between £30-£250 depending on what you need to have done.

A dental hygienist goes through different training than a dentist and they will train for 3-4 years. They aren’t the same as a dentist; they don’t go to dental school and they don’t perform dental procedures such as fillings or tooth extraction.

A dental hygienist is purely concerned with the health of your teeth and gums. They have diplomas in dental hygiene in order to practise and can also perform certain helpful tasks at the dentist’s office like taking an x-ray of your teeth and assessing the general health of your teeth.

The impact of poor dental hygiene

The impact of poor dental hygiene

You may be surprised to learn that poor dental hygiene can make you sick so looking after your teeth isn’t just for vanity reasons, although poor dental hygiene can lead to an undesirable appearance to your smile.

These are some of the complications that can arise from poor dental hygiene, and many reasons why you should take the health of your mouth and teeth seriously.


Surprisingly, poor dental hygiene can lead to symptoms of acne and other skin conditions. When we don’t keep our teeth clean, bacteria thrive in our mouths as it’s a warm and wet environment that is ideal for bacteria to duplicate and spread. This bacteria can then spread onto our skin, causing irritation and infecting our pores, which can lead to pimples, redness, itching and other symptoms of skin irritability.

If you have spots concentrated around your mouth that won’t go despite other remedies to clear your skin, your dental health could well be the issue. Even if you brush your teeth, if you don’t visit the dental hygienist regularly for a check-up to clean your teeth of plaque, which can build up over time, this plaque can cause cavities and gingivitis, which may spread to your skin and cause spots to form around your mouth and chin.

Heart disease

Poor dental hygiene over time can lead to heart disease. Mouth infections cause inflammation in your dental pulp as your body is stimulated to produce white blood cells to fight the infections and contain the bacteria, however, when untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body.

Given the location of your mouth, between your brain and your heart and surrounded by some of the body’s largest and most important arteries surround your mouth. This means that bacteria from your mouth can easily spread through your blood vessels to your heart, spreading the infection.

Stomach problems

When we eat and drink, if our mouths are full of harmful bacteria, the food and drink wash the harmful bacteria into our digestive system, down our throats, into our stomachs and then pass through our bowels. This bacteria from our mouths that has been caused by poor dental hygiene, can then go on to cause stomach problems.

Some symptoms of stomach problems that relate to poor dental hygiene include: vomiting, diarrhoea, IBS and IBD.


Small studies have shown that in some cases, poor dental hygiene can lead to cancer of the mouth and oropharynx. It’s important to note that these studies are still only small, but if there is even a slight chance that poor dental hygiene can increase the risk of cancer, everyone should be taking the health of their mouth more seriously.

Mouth cancers can occur in the gums, tongue, inside of the cheek, roof of the mouth, lips and back of the throat known as the oropharynx which includes the tonsils and back of the tongue.

Fixing poor dental hygiene

3 Tips to Improve Dental Hygiene

As well as the complications above, the most common oral issue due to poor hygiene is gum disease but the good news is that you can fix poor dental hygiene in most cases, before the symptoms get too extreme by following the simple dental hygiene practices above, consistently.

Try to never go to sleep without brushing your teeth at night, no matter how tired you are, and make sure to focus on every tooth and get in between every gap. Use interdental brushes so you can squeeze hard to reach food out from the tiny gaps in between your teeth and avoid plaque build up. One of the most important things you can do for your oral health is to visit a dentist and dental hygienist and we have the perfect practice for you at Didsbury Dental Practice in Manchester.

Didsbury Dental Practice

We are Didsbury Dental Practice in Manchester who not only offer dental hygiene appointments but also 24-hour emergency dental care. Regarded as one of Manchester’s premier dental facilities, we have a highly experienced team offering a range of treatments including emergency dentistry, dental implants, teeth whitening, restorative dentistry and orthodontics.

Didsbury Dental is equipped with the very latest state-of-the-art technology to create beautiful, healthy smiles in tranquil surroundings, delivering a level of patient comfort like no other dental practice. To make your dental hygienist appointment to take care of your dental hygiene, contact us.

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