At your check up the dentist will check how well you are brushing your teeth. They will also be checking how much plaque is in your mouth…

What exactly is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky film of germs (bacteria) that grows on the teeth and gums. These bacteria react with sugars and starches in the foods we eat and drink to make acids and other substances that can cause problems and damage the teeth, gums, and bone. These problems include: tooth decay, bad breath and gum recession.

More surprising details on plaque: Dental plaque is a very smart, complex colony of different types of bacteria which live together, and assist each other. The nastier, bacteria live on the inside of the mix, and provide nutrients. While the hardier bacteria, live on the outside of the colony and provide protection from the saliva and adherence to the tooth surface.

To date, at least 500 different species of micro organisms have been identified within Dental plaque. Tooth surface is the only bacterial covered  surface in the mouth which does not shed regularly, and so bacteria are allowed to mature, and get cosy, if not removed
thoroughly on a regular basis.

Layers of plaque build up , if brushing is not performed and if this continues to form it will eventually result in tartar that cannot be removed my brushing at home. These are the first stages of gum disease.

The main cause of tooth loss among adults in the UK is gum disease. This condition is extremely common; with one in four adults over the age of 35 in the UK suffering from it to some degree. Tooth loss is your body’s natural way of stopping the dental plaque from getting into the blood stream, and causing serious illness. The body slowly pushes out the tooth, which is covered in damaging bacteria, by resorbing the bone around it, with an end plan of the tooth dropping out.

Will a mouthwash do?

Careful brushing and cleaning in between your teeth is VERY important to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. This is because it’s the mechanical force of brushing and flossing that dislodges and removes the film of plaque that is harmful to our teeth and gums. Mouthwashes do not thoroughly remove plaque, and should not be seen as an easy way out. Mouthwashes are useful to freshen breath, or to deliver fluoride to the tooth surface, but when it comes to cleaning, they only remove a few layers of bacteria from the surface of the plaque build up.

Top Tip: make sure to brush the inside surfaces of your teeth( on the tongue side) at the gum line.

This is an area that is easy to miss!. Plaque tends on to build up along the gum line first so this is where you need to angle your toothbrush.

Why have a Hygiene visit?

Gum care is vital to keep hold of your teeth for life, keep your breath fresh and keep a healthy youthful smile. Neglecting your gums can cause many problems including tooth decay, sensitivity, pain and eventually, loose teeth.

The hygienist plays a key role in looking after your teeth:

  • Remove tartar that cannot be removed with a toothbrush
  • Ensure that your gums are healthy and pink, not inflamed and red
  • Give you important care advice to carry out an effective dental care routine every day at home.
  • Stop gums bleeding when brushing
  • Prevent teeth from becoming loose and drifting

Did you know?

Dental phobia affects 5.5million people in the UK, with around 1.4 million preferring to suffer from toothache
than visit the dentist.

There are many reasons behind this fear, including fear of pain, needles, gagging and having things placed inside your mouth. Some people may also feel very vulnerable in the dentist’s chair, or may be embarrassed by their teeth.

Often your fear can stem from an incident in your childhood.

Whatever the reason, there are a number of steps you can take to help you conquer your fear.

The first is to share your concerns with us. We understand that many people do have problems with visiting the dentist and are happy to do what we can to help. Always remember you are in control!
Some of the techniques we use at Whole Tooth are :

  • Good anaesthesia, so you can be confident that the procedure will be pain free
  • Distraction, to help take your mind off the procedure being carried out
  • Desensitising your memory of previous bad experiences, by starting with a nice easy treatment.
  • Tell. Show. Do – if you know what sensations you can expect to feel, then you are more relaxed.
  • Giving you the power to stop us anytime during the procedure.
  • Involving you in your dental care, so that there is less fear of the unknown.
  • Intravenous sedation for some treatments, so that you can have the procedure done while you dream!

For more help and advice, please feel free to speak to us. You can also find advice and support on