Oral health is considered an important part of your overall health. In the past, having a healthy mouth and gums was not necessarily considered as something that could make you healthy or not healthy, and seeing the hygienist was often regarded as a luxury visit.  Good dental hygiene has often been viewed as a cosmetic treatment. However, there are an increasing number of studies which now link (poor) oral hygiene  and Alzheimer's disease. The most recent study was conducted at the University of Bergen in Norway. Researchers used DNA evidence to prove that gingivitis (gum disease) makes people more likely to develop Alzheimer's, and causes the disease to progress faster in patients who already have gingivitis.

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Gingivitis is a reversible gum disease. You may experience some of these symptoms: bleeding gums, halitosis ( bad breath), build-up of matter on the teeth, discoloured teeth and inflamed or painful gums, or you may not be aware of any of the symptoms. Regular visits to the hygienist will help to remove build up and improve gum health. The hygienist will give you tailored cleaning advice, and recommend effective products to help with home care.

Irreversible gum disease, also known as periodontitis will cause you to have similar symtoms to gingivitis. You may also experience sensitivity, bad taste in the mouth or even wobbly teeth. The reason for wobbly teeth may be due to bone loss. Once you develop bone loss, a hygienist is unable to bring the bone back. They can however, stabilise the condition, and prevent any further loss. In extreme cases you may be referred to a Periodontist or other relevant specialist.

So remember: whenthe dentist recommends you to see the hygienist, they do not just "clean teeth"! They can help prevent gum disease, improve oral hygiene, and offer a holistic approach with minimal intervention.