Why do I need to see a dental hygienist?

The dental hygienist plays an important part in modern dentistry. They have had specialist training in how to clean, scale and polish your teeth as well as how to teach you the best ways of keeping your teeth and, just as importantly, your gums healthy.

With more time available to spend with you, they can talk to you about your diet, which may be a leading cause in the build up of plaque and tartar. They can carefully remove calculus – or hard deposits of tartar – that build on the surface and in the cracks between your teeth, then show you preventative measures to stop them returning.

If you’re interested in improving the look of your teeth with specialised teeth whitening techniques, then it’s the dental hygienist who is able to help you too. Cleaning the stains from smoking or simple neglect can all be done by the hygienist.

Your hygienist can also give you advice on how to quit smoking.

Research has shown that smokers are more likely to suffer gum disease and tooth loss than non-smokers.

What about my children, is help available for them?

Absolutely. Almost a third of five year-olds are suffering from tooth decay. A rather disturbing statistic from the Royal Collage of Surgeons of England – Faculty of Dental Surgery, which was published in their report ‘The state of children’s oral health in England’.

Children need to see the dentist once they have milk teeth and it is recommended that they return for follow-ups usually between every three months to once a year. The dental hygienist can show you the proper methods for keeping your children’s teeth and gums in the best condition. Brushing should be done for two minutes in the morning and in the evening, with circular motions and toothpaste that contains fluoride. If you think helping your child with regular brushing seems like a bit too much hassle, ask someone who’s seen their toddler have a filling!

Will it hurt?

A visit to the hygienist is most commonly pain free, if however, you do find any discomfort in the procedures, we can use an anaesthetic cream or even a local anaesthetic if necessary. The last thing we want to do is cause you pain!

The British Dental Health Foundation has some great advice on what you can do to help both yourself and your hygienist:

You can do a lot to help yourself and the hygienist, as you are the one who looks after your mouth in between visits to the practice. Your hygienist will have shown you how to remove plaque with a toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

They will also have shown you how to clean between your teeth with ‘interdental’ brushes, floss or tape.

There are many oral care products you can get, including specialist toothpastes, electric or ‘power’ toothbrushes, and mouthwashes. Your hygienist will recommend those that are best for you.

We recommend that you follow three simple steps to help keep your teeth and gums healthy:

  • brush your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste
  • cut down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks
  • visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.


If you have a bridge, implant, denture or orthodontic treatment then you will have specific hygiene needs that the dental hygienist can address.

It is all too easy for tiny bits of food to go unnoticed without proper and careful care, bacteria can build and infection begin. We want your teeth and gums to remain healthy, and these treatments can help your natural teeth as well as any dental work you may have to last as long as possible.