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A dental hygienist is your partner in prevention

(NC)—Oral health is the cornerstone of overall physical, social, and mental well-being. Without a good oral hygiene plan, we put ourselves at risk for serious health complications. In fact, research shows that unchecked plaque on the teeth can result in gingivitis and tooth decay. Even worse, it can lead to periodontal disease, which is now recognized as a risk factor for diabetes, lung and heart diseases, and stroke.

A dental hygienist has the skills, knowledge, and judgment to facilitate early detection of these issues. They can also help us to maintain good oral health and prevent oral diseases across the lifespan. At a dental visit, a hygienist will examine your mouth, head, and neck and recommend preventive treatments, such as dental sealants or fluoride when warranted. A hygienist can also custom-fit you with a mouthguard if you're involved in sports where orofacial injury is a risk. As importantly, a dental hygienist will work with you to develop an oral hygiene plan based on six simple steps:

• Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

• Floss daily.

• Rinse with an antiseptic mouthwash once a day.

• Eat healthy foods and avoid sugary treats.

• Eliminate tobacco use.

• Schedule regular dental visits.

Dental hygienists are a vital partner in disease prevention, working in a variety of settings and can guide you to the peak of oral health every step of the way. More information is available online at www.dentalhygienecanada.ca.

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