Dental (oral) hygienists are allied health professionals who work alongside dentists to help patients improve and maintain their oral health. This is done through various dental hygiene services, educating them to follow treatment plans, and adopting better oral health behaviours. Our hygienists are University graduates with a B.Sc. in Dental Hygiene.
What do dental hygienists do?
The main work of a dental hygienist is the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease through the removal of bacterial plaque and calculus (“ġebla”) from the teeth and roots.
Dental hygienists achieve this by helping the patient to achieve a high standard of self-performed tooth cleaning at home and through professional tooth cleaning. This not only prevents or treats gum disease but also gives the patient cleaner whiter teeth.
Dental hygienists can help the dentist by applying protective materials like fluorides and sealants to the teeth and in teaching patients about proper oral healthcare. They can also perform tooth whitening under the supervision of a dentist and can help patients achieve fresher breath.
What is halitosis?
Halitosis refers to persistent bad breath and is a very common problem that may occur due to many causes, most usually the build-up of bacteria (plaque) that coat the teeth, gums and tongue.
Frequent causes of bad breath include:
- Dental problems like cavities and gum disease
- Dry mouth (xerostomia)
- Infections affecting the mouth, nose and throat
- Other chronic health conditions
In certain cases, you may be referred to a periodontist to treat underlying problems affecting your teeth and gums that lead to halitosis.
It is important to practice good oral hygiene consistently to prevent bad breath. Your dentist can help by prescribing you mouth rinses and specially formulated toothpastes that contain antibacterial agents designed to kill bacteria and reduce build-up of plaque on your teeth.
Click on these links to find out more about bad breath.
- Information about bad breath (Oral Health Foundation)
- What is halitosis? (American Dental Association)
- BSDHT public information guides (British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy)