36 Haden Hill Road HalesowenB63 3NQ

Hygiene Q&A Session!


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Cass, our hygienst, answers a few of your hygiene related questions!

What is a scale and polish?

A scale and polish is a treatment carried out by your dentist or hygienist to clean your teeth and gums. Brushing your teeth is the best way to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy, but sometimes you can get a build up of plaque around the teeth and if this isn’t removed, you will get calculus, which can aggrivate the gums and lead to tooth decay. It’s best to have this cleaned off by a dental professional. It’s super hard, so a tooth brush won’t be able to move it. The scale refers to the ultrasonic scaling tip that we use to take away the tartar and plaque (the white stuff) and the polish refers to the cleaning of the teeth with some special polishing paste, which is more abrasive than usual toothpaste and will remove any stains on your teeth.

Why is there a build up of white stuff on my teeth?

This is known as plaque or calculus. Everyone gets it though, so don’t worry. Some people get more of a build up than others too. It’s all down to your eating and brushing habits, and how fast your mouth produces saliva. Plaque is a sticky film that forms on your teeth every day: You know, that slippery/fuzzy coating you feel when you first wake up. Scientists call plaque a “biofilm” because it’s actually a community of living microbes surrounded by a gluey polymer layer. The sticky coating helps the microbes attach to surfaces in your mouth so they can grow into thriving microcolonies.

Plaque is soft and can be removed by a toothbrush, but if it is left, it will harden and become calculus. It’s at this point you will need a dentist to remove it with an ultrasonic scaler.

Most people get a build up around the back of their lower front teeth, as this is where saliva pools, and is most often missed when brushing.

Why are my gums bleeding?

Your gums are most likely bleeding because you have a buildup of calculus between the tooth and the gum. Food can easily get trapped here and it’s not the easiest area to clean, so your gums may be inflammed. Don’t panic though! Get yourself booked in for an appointment and we can soon sort it out. Please don’t just go and buy Corsodyl Mouthwash. This will not fix the underlying problem, although may temporarily stop the bleeding. It will also stain your teeth!

Why do you have saliva?

Saliva moistens the mouth for comfort, lubricates as you chew and swallow, and neutralizes harmful acids. It also kills germs and prevents bad breath, defends against tooth decay and gum disease, protects enamel, and speeds up wound healing.

What are Pockets in my gums?

When the bacteria (plaque) in your mouth is not regularly cleaned out with a toothbrush and interdental brush/floss, it will lead to the build-up of tartar on your teeth, especially where your gums attach around the neck of your tooth. When left untreated, bacteria
(plaque) will continue to stick to the hardened tartar and cause inflammation in your gums. This will create a condition referred to as gingivitis ( gum inflammation) , the first stage of periodontal disease. You'll need a dentist or dental hygienist to remove it during a
professional cleaning appointment. If this hard tartar isn’t removed Inflammation due to plaque and tartar can result in ‘pocket’ formation – this is where the gum starts to detach from the tooth. This often will be un-noticed by the patient as it rarely presents with pain.
As the gums starts to loosen from around the tooth your gum tissue is now the perfect place for more plaque and tartar to hide, deepening the pocket and threatening the health of the bone around your teeth. You can think of this phenomenon as a turtleneck sweater that
begins to stretch out around your neck, letting the draft in. we measure pockets with a probe that has mm increments. A pocket is part of the gum that is deeper than 4mm.

What should I clean between my teeth with?

You should get some sort of dental aid between your teeth every day. Floss is great but if you struggle with dexterity, there are other items such as curaprox brushes or flossettes that you can use. It’s best to ask at your next hygiene appointment!

Should I clean between my teeth every day?

Yes! At least once a day you should get soemthing between your teeth, as this will prevent food from getting stuck and causing tooth decay.

Does tooth whitening damage the teeth?
The answer is no if prescribed by a dentist and provided at a dental practice, there is no evidence to support the theory that prescribed tooth whitening gel damages/or weaken your teeth. At Halesowen dental we only offer vigorously tested premium tooth whitening
brands backed by clinical research and a strong evidence base . However no matter what treatment you use, there’s a chance your gums will be sensitive to the chemicals present in teeth whitening gel, particularly if you already have sensitive teeth.

There are whitening products that you can buy online and beauty salons that offer whitening (Illegally)- , these products can have limited testing/ vary in strength and may have different ingredients than the whitening gel we are legally allowed to provide in a dental practice – there have been cases where these products have caused gum burns and extreme sensitivity.


For more information regarding oral health, please book an appointment with Cass!

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