Don’t forget the hygienists’ clean and polish

Despite all the gadgets and tricks to make life quicker and easier, it seems that we are all just as busy as we ever were, maybe even more so. We are constantly trying to find ways to save an hour here, 20 minutes there.

Hygienists Clean and PolishSo, if you have your regular check-ups here at Amsel & Wilkins in Banbury, you may think it’s okay to not bother with your 6-monthly half hour with hygienists for a clean and polish. After all, the dentist has already given you the thumbs up as far as your dental health is concerned, surely it can’t hurt to skip the hygienist and save yourself some time, and money.

Well, we don’t think skipping the clean and polish is a good plan, and here’s why.

Plaque, plaque, plaque

Plaque is the name we give to a particular kind of bacteria that live in your mouth. It builds up in sticky layers on your teeth, and other surfaces in order to avoid being swallowed in your saliva. Plaque bacteria feed on the sugars in your saliva and the more sugar there is, the more quickly they reproduce and build up on your teeth, giving you that furry feeling.

The trouble with plaque is that it gives off acids. They’re not harmful when they have been diluted in your saliva but as they come off the bacteria they are pretty concentrated and they can eat away at your teeth, creating little holes for decay-causing bacteria to get into.

Plaque love to hide away in difficult to reach places, such as around the gum line, and here the acids attack the gums, and then get under the gums to attack tooth roots and jawbone. With both decay and gum disease, the end result is tooth loss.

Brushing your teeth is done to remove plaque, but it’s impossible to get it all and when it’s left in situ for more than 3 days, plaque hardens and can’t be brushed away. Twice yearly sessions with the hygienist ensure that any build up of plaque is removed. So, please don’t skip this vital part of your oral health regime. If you haven’t been for a while, why not book an appointment today?

When did you last have a hygienist clean and polish?

Run your tongue over your teeth. How do they feel? Lovely and smooth like a mirror? Or a bit ridged and furry? If it’s been a while since you last had a hygienist clean and polish, it’s more likely to the latter.

Hygienist Clean and Polish in BanburyThose ridges are not your teeth, they are a build-up of plaque and it’s likely that some of it has hardened into tartar, a chalky cement-like substance that can only be scraped away with special tools. If you look in the mirror, you might be able to see it on your teeth as yellowish stuff. It is mostly likely to be in the crevices between the teeth and also around the gumline. If you are a big tea or coffee drinker, or partial to red wine or smoking, the tartar could be stained brown or grey. Look at the tartar on other people’s teeth. Ew.

Get your plaque removed

At Amsel & Wilkins, we recommend a twice-yearly plaque removal session, called a hygienist clean and polish, to get rid of harmful plaque and bring out the beauty of your smile.

The reason we encourage people to get plaque removed is because it gives off acids that corrode the teeth, irritate and inflame the gums, cause bleeding and eventually can attack the tooth roots and bone, cause infections under the gum and lead to tooth loss.

That’s a pretty grim prospect. It’s called periodontitis, or advanced gum disease. The treatment for it can be pretty intense, requiring a local anaesthetic while the corroded roots and bone are planed flat. You may also need antibiotics for infected gums and you may even need gum grafts.

You can avoid all that by coming in twice a year to see our hygienists. Even if you have not been to us for a while, don’t be afraid to show them what’s in your mouth. They will remove any plaque and tartar before polishing up your teeth to create a shiny surface that plaque will find it hard to stick to for a while. They will also teach you great brushing techniques so that you can ward off the build-up of plaque at home.

People who need a clean and polish more often

Dental plaque is the enemy of a great feeling mouth, and the only way to get rid of all of it is to come in for a regular clean and polish with our dental hygienist. We recommend that everyone has a clean and polish twice a year and often people book a cleaning session alongside their bi-annual check-up with us at Amsel & Wilkins in Banbury.

Hygienists Clean and Polish in BanburySome people need to have a clean and polish more often.


If you are pregnant, the elevated hormones associated with pregnancy mean that dental plaque proliferates more quickly and you can get something called pregnancy gum disease. Gum disease is caused by acids from plaque attacking gum tissue, which becomes sore and inflamed and can start to pull away from the teeth. Then the plaque can get under the gums and start to corrode the tooth roots and the bone holding your teeth in place. Your body is under enough strain as it is without your teeth being affected, so it really is worth coming in for an extra clean and polish while you are waiting for baby to arrive.


If you are a smoker, you will know that it doesn’t take long after a clean and polish for the stains to start building up again on your teeth. But, alongside that, did you know that you are at twice the risk of gum disease as a non-smoker?

This is because smokers seem to produce more plaque than non-smokers. However, people who smoke may not notice that they have gum disease because the smoke causes their gums to be thin and pale and not red and swollen as people expect the early symptoms of gum disease to be. Lack of oxygen in the blood means that infected gum tissue does not heal so quickly. All good reasons to come more often for a clean-up, and you can also ask for help with smoking cessation.

Others at risk?

Other people who are more at risk of gum disease include those with type 1 or 2 diabetes, people who suffer from stress, people who clench or grind their teeth, people with obesity and diseases associated with inflammation, such as heart disease and rheumatoid arthritis.

Keep ‘em clean

The root cause of almost every dental problem is plaque. Keep on the top of the build-up of plaque in your mouth and you can hang onto your smile. Let plaque build up unchecked and before too long, you will be looking at treatments for bad breath, tooth decay and gum disease. It’s not fun.

Hygienists Clean and Polish in BanburyYou can’t stop plaque starting to build up in your mouth. It just does. Plaque is the dental profession’s name for the millions of harmless bacteria that feed on sugars in your mouth and then proliferate to form a sticky film over your teeth.

They don’t feel great and after a few days, if left undisturbed, the sticky film hardens into tartar. Tartar doesn’t look good, but the real problem is that these bacteria give off acids. The acids are corrosive, like all acids, and they can create holes in your tooth enamel, through which infection and decay can get in. The acids also inflame and irritate the gums, as acids would, and lead to gum disease, eventually getting under the gums to corrode the jawbone and tooth roots. The end result for both issues is tooth loss.

Keeping these 2 issues at bay is why you need to brush and floss twice a day. But, even if you do that religiously, you may still need to come in for a hygienist’s clean and polish in Banbury twice a year.

What the hygienist does

Our hygienists will take a good look at your teeth and use special tools and pastes to remove any plaque and tartar that are building up in hard-to-reach places. These tend to be around the gumline and between the teeth. Once all the plaque has been removed, they will also work on any stains that have built up on the surface of the teeth.

They will finish off by polishing the teeth so that the surfaces are not so easy for plaque to settle on.

Come in twice a year

We recommend a clean and polish every 6 months, or more if you have diabetes, are a smoker or are pregnant, or have another medical condition that affects the build up of plaque.

The keystone of a great smile

Behind every great smile is a diligent dental hygiene routine. Dental decay and gum disease, the two main causes of tooth loss, are both caused by the acids given off by the bacteria that live in our mouths, so it’s very important to take the time and effort to keep these invisible critters at bay.

Dental Hygiene in BanburyIn themselves, the bacteria responsible for so much damage in our mouth are not harmful. They just love to feast on the sugars in our mouths. When sugar cane was introduced to the court of Queen Elizabeth 1 in the 1500s, no one knew it caused so much harm. Good Queen Bess was a raving sugar addict, had sugar at every meal and even used it to brush her teeth with. Her teeth all started to rot and turn black.

Now back in those days, the Queen was the leader of fashion, and everyone at court followed suit with the black teeth look, some using soot rubbed on their teeth to get a quick makeover.

Nowadays, we know that sugar is the main fuel for decay in the mouth, and we are advised to either avoid it as much as possible, or to brush it away after eating so that the bacteria is our mouths have less to feed on.

Dental hygiene is vital to keeping our teeth healthy. The bacteria that feed on sugars don’t just float around, they stick to our teeth, particularly in the crevices around the gum line and the grooves on the molars. Eat some really sugary food and give it an hour or two and you can actually feel ridges of bacteria developing and your teeth becoming furry-feeling.

Here at Amsel & Wilkins in Banbury, we recommend a twice yearly clean and polish with our hygienist. This may be more often if you are a smoker, have diabetes or are pregnant, because these three things can increase your chances of gum disease. Our hygienist will remove the tartar that has built up and give you advice on how to better clean your teeth. If you have clean teeth, you will hang onto them for longer with diligent dental hygiene in Banbury.

The foundation of good oral health

You may think that your mouth is home to just your teeth, gums tongue, and taste buds, but, you are in fact the home to millions of invisible citizens made of bacteria, who live there. They are meant to be there and don’t do any harm themselves.

Dental Hygiene in BanburyThese invisible critters feed on sugar and get to work on digesting any that are left in your mouth when you have been eating or drinking sugary drinks. If they have a good supply of sugars, they can rapidly breed and build up a layer of stickiness on your teeth. This film of bacteria is called plaque, and if it is not removed after about three days it hardens into something called tartar or calculus. While the bacteria themselves are harmless, the acids they give off are not.

What decay does

These acids can eat through the enamel that form the protective casing over your teeth, and once they have made a hole through to the dentin, other bacteria can get it and start to eat away, creating decay. This can get down into the pulp and nerves of the teeth, and that’s when you get toothache. It may be just decay, but if it gets infected as well, you may have to have root canal therapy. This is when the dentist has to clean the infection out from the root of your tooth, and then, when it is empty, fill it and seal it. You get to keep your tooth this way, and natural teeth are always better than replacement teeth.

Sometimes it’s not possible for us at Amsel & Wilkins in Banbury to save your tooth, and you will have to have it replaced with either a fixed bridge, a denture or a dental implant.

As you can see, each treatment is more invasive and more expensive. It’s going to be way cheaper to just practise good dental hygiene in Banbury, with twice-daily brushing with a fluoride toothpaste, flossing, mouthwashes and interdental brushes. You should also come for a bi-annual check-up and get your teeth professionally cleaned and polished by the dental hygienist.

What to expect during a dental hygiene appointment in Banbury

An essential step to keeping your mouth healthy is to regularly visit your dentist for check-ups and ongoing oral care. By doing so, you can help prevent oral health issues from getting extensive and more expensive. Regular cleanings should be performed every six months to ensure that your teeth remain healthy and plaque-free.

At Amsel & Wilkins, we believe that prevention is better than cure and we offer a thorough hygienist’s clean and polish in Banbury. Our experienced hygienists are trained in the latest techniques to offer you quality dental care. We are also committed to educating our patients on tooth brushing and flossing.

Dental Hygiene in BanburyWhy you should schedule regular dental cleanings

Even if you brush and floss your teeth diligently at home, it is impossible to get rid of the plaque gather below your teeth and gum line on your own. Regular dental cleanings are essential for every patient as they are the only way to remove plaque and bacteria from hard-to-reach places in your mouth. Moreover, they have significant health benefits. Not only do they prevent gum disease and tooth decay, but they also give you a brighter smile and prevent bad breath. Last but not least, your dentist will detect early signs of cavities and gum disease.

What should I expect during a teeth cleaning?

A hygienist’s clean and polish in Banbury is a painless procedure and typically takes less than an hour. The first part of the cleaning will involve the dental hygienist using special equipment to remove plaque and tartar from both above and below the gum line. Next, the hygienist will polish your teeth. The last step in the teeth cleaning procedure involves advice on how to brush and floss your teeth properly.

Protect your oral health

At our dental practice, the length of your hygienist’s clean and polish appointment will vary according to how long it has been since your last dental cleaning and the amount of plaque build-up on your teeth. We are committed to providing the most advanced dental health services to keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy and clean. To book an appointment, contact us today.

Fresh and healthy teeth

Taking care of your teeth at home is an essential part of maintaining good oral health. An oral hygiene routine that prevents the harmful build-up of plaque will help you to keep using your natural teeth for many decades. You reduce the risk of bad breath, gum disease, and tooth decay when you keep your mouth clean.

Hygienist Clean and Polish in BanburyHowever, some teeth are harder to clean than others. Because every tooth is differently shaped, and they don’t always emerge in the most convenient positions, awkward spaces can form. These are the spaces your toothbrush finds hard to properly cover. Maybe one tooth is slightly in front of another, or there’s a tiny gap between molars that seems to attract tiny particles of food. Conventional toothbrushes have a hard time removing plaque from places like these. Over time, the plaque hardens into tartar, which is very difficult to remove, and can lead to decay and gum disease.

Risks of tartar build up

Having a hygienist clean and polish in Banbury will make sure your teeth are as clean as they can be. Amsel & Wilkins use special tools to get into the nooks and crannies in your mouth and remove all the harmful layers of bacteria that have built up over time. Using ultrasonic scalers and tiny jets of water, the hygienist will address the oral hygiene issues you can’t take care of at home.

The hygienist will polish your teeth after the plaque and tartar have been removed. Using a specially-made toothbrush and toothpaste, every last bit of your teeth will be meticulously brushed. Afterwards, they’ll look much cleaner and feel remarkably fresh.

Future benefits

The clean and polish treatment helps to extend the life and improve the vitality of your teeth. Your oral hygiene routine can be seen as a partnership between you and your dental team. While you take care of your teeth and gums as well as you can at home, the hygienist will treat the tricky aspects with technology and skill. Together, patient and dentist lower the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, helping to keep teeth bright and healthy.

Deep clean your teeth

Imagine if your mouth was a cooker. You’d probably give it a good wipe over if you see a spill, or after cooking. But would you go for over a year or maybe even two without giving it a deep clean? Imagine the bugs that can build up when you don’t. Once you start poking about in the nooks and crannies, there’s a lot of nasty crusty bits and slimy things that can harbour germs and cause disease. That’s why you give it a really good going over every few months. That’s what you should also be doing for your teeth.

Hygienists Clean and PolishIf you are a diligent person, you probably already brush your teeth twice a day with a good fluoride toothpaste for around two minutes each time, and finish up with flossing between each of your teeth to remove any extra stuck bits of food and plaque. And this is really great. But it doesn’t get rid of everything. Plaque will continue to build up in nooks and crannies where the teeth touch, and along the gum line, no matter how carefully you brush.

The consequences of plaque

Plaque starts off as sticky film. That film is bacteria, growing on the surfaces of the teeth, gums and any artificial things like crowns and dental implants. The bacteria are not harmful in themselves. But, if you don’t remove the plaque with brushing, it gets thicker and the bacteria nearest the tooth, at the bottom of the thickening film, get their energy by feeding off sugars in the mouth, and then they release acid. The acid eats into your tooth enamel and can start to decay the insides of your teeth.

Plaque on the gums can cause inflammation and, if left untreated, can then attack the bone under the gum.

This will happen however often you brush your teeth. Just like a deep clean in your oven or fridge, you need to get your mouth deep cleaned about twice a year.

When you come to us at Amsel & Wilkins in Banbury, hygienists clean and polish your teeth using special equipment and pastes that ensure that every bit of plaque is removed. It may take more than one appointment if you have a particularly bad build-up of plaque.

The hygiene routine behind great teeth

Part of a good dental maintenance routine is coming to see the dentist for a check-up at least twice a year. Depending on the state of your oral health, your dentist at Amsel & Wilkins may recommend that you come more often.

Another important part of dental maintenance is keeping your teeth clean and free from plaque and gum disease. Your part in this is to carefully clean and floss your teeth at least twice a day, with a good fluoride toothpaste, dental floss, and possibly also interdental brushes.

Hygienists Clean and Polish in BanburyIf you can keep plaque under control then it has less chance to develop into hard tartar, which leads to tooth decay and gum disease. It also gets rid of food trapped between the teeth, which can also lead to decay.

That’s your part at home. At the dentist, you will need a check-up from the dentist and to see our hygienists who clean and polish your teeth twice a year.

Our hygienists

At Amsel & Wilkins, we have five hygienists: Magda Mararu, Sharon Buick, Louise Hirons, Emma Godwin, and Claire Bloxham. Each of them has been through two years of training to earn a diploma in dental hygiene. They are trained to provide primary dental care, including: scaling and polishing teeth, using dental local anaesthesia, applying topical medicaments, taking dental x-rays, applying fissure sealants and giving oral health advice.

Hygienists clean and polish teeth far more thoroughly than you can do at home, even with the most sophisticated electric toothbrushes.

The scale and polish

This is what gets your teeth really clean. Our hygienists clean and polish your teeth with special equipment and pastes. Depending on how long it is since you had a scale and polish, you might need to have a double appointment. You might also need more time if you are a smoker, as tobacco builds up stains on the teeth.

How to brush your teeth

Our hygienists can also give you good information on the latest and best ways to brush your teeth at home. Are you holding your brush correctly? Are you brushing in the right direction? Knowing how can make all the difference.