Happy National Dental Hygiene Month!

October 18, 2018


When most people think of October they think of fall leaves, crisp air, scarecrows and Halloween. Here At Safe Harbor Smiles we like to recognize our hygienists to celebrate National Dental Hygiene Month. They are always striving to better serve their patients and October is a time to help us raise awareness about the importance of good oral health. It is also a time to celebrate the important work they do on a daily basis. We’re so lucky to have our talented hygiene team and we wanted to dedicate this blog to them and their jobs! Read on to learn more about the disease your hygienist is working hard to treat and prevent every day.

Let’s start with gingivitis, this is a mild form of gum disease that presents with red, swollen and bleeding gums.The most common cause of gingivitis is poor oral hygiene. Good oral health habits, such as brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily and getting regular dental checkups, can help prevent and reverse gingivitis.

Periodontal disease or periodontitis is the advancement of untreated gingivitis. When plaque is left to build up, over time your body’s inflammatory response starts to do irreparable damage. The gums become tender, red, easily bleed and develop deeper pockets. While becoming harder to clean the more buildup occurs below the gumline. Without treatment, the cycle continues with more gum tissue and bone being destroyed. Once the bone is lost, it cannot be regenerated. As you can imagine this leads to loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.

Our hygienist’s focus is to prevent and treat periodontal disease. Treatment for periodontal disease starts with gum therapy, also referred to as “deep cleanings” or “scaling and root planing.”  This entails the use of anesthetic and specialized instruments to reach and adapt below the gumline to remove the tartar and plaque buildup at the depths of the pockets. If your hygienist determines your gum disease is advanced to a point that a specialist (Periodontist) would best serve you, a referral will be given.

Once treated for the disease, good home care is imperative. Your hygienist will discuss the best tools for you based on your individual needs. Also, depending on the severity of your periodontal disease, your hygienist may recommend a more frequent cleaning schedule. Many people are unaware that the 6 month recall frequency is intended for those with a healthier mouth. The goal is to prevent periodontal disease at these visits. A 3-4 month recall is appropriate for anyone that has undergone treatment for gum disease. The more frequent recall helps to keep your gums stable and the disease under control and to avoid the need for “deep cleanings” again in the future.

I would like to conclude by thanking our amazing dental hygienists, Angela and Shullon. They work hard everyday to keep their patients healthy. As always if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask them. If you’re ready to begin your journey to a healthy smile, give us a call! 360-479-4380


Happy Dental Hygiene Month!



American Academy of Periodontology: https://www.perio.org/consumer/types-gum-disease.html#OverlayWrapper[flash]/0/


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