What to expect when seeing a dental hygienist

Here at Riverside Dental Spa we are lucky to have a team that are dedicated to providing quality and exceptional care to our patients. Part of that team are our dental hygienists. Our dental hygienists are university trained and specialise in preventive dentistry, focusing on reducing the risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

At each appointment our dental hygienists will throughly assess the health of your gums, this is done in a few different ways.

  • Firstly, they will ask you about any medical issues or changes, this is to ensure your safety and assess any risks to your dental health that can be associated with different medications and/or conditions. There are a number of links between general health and oral health that people are unaware of, if relevant we will discuss this with you.
  • Secondly, the gums will be checked with a specialised measurement instrument. This will allow your dental hygienist to note things such as plaque, calculus, bleeding, recession and pocket depths. This is essential in assessing the health of the gums and usually feels like a slight pressure around the gum surrounding each tooth. If there is any pain or hypersensitivity associated with this part of the exam (due to the gums being inflamed) you have the option to have numbing gel placed on the gum (although this is often not needed).
  • Once these first two steps have been done the dental hygienist may talk through with you any areas of concern and give you some tips and tricks in getting to those hard to reach areas. If it has been sometime since your last dental check up and or if there is a larger amount of plaque and calculus around the teeth, the hygienist may need another appointment to complete cleaning the whole mouth, this is to ensure that you are provided with the best possible treatment.

It is generally recommended that x-rays (radiographs) are taken every two years to ensure that a very thorough clinical examination can be conducted. Without regular radiographs, clinically it is impossible for any Dental Professional to be 100 per cent accurate in diagnostic purposes. Of course, if you are pregnant please ensure you have discussed this information at the beginning of the appointment as we would advise holding off on the radiographs until after the arrival of your little one.


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Top Causes of Bad Breath Including Remedies!

1. Poor Dental Hygiene Habits

A build up of food, plaque and bacteria can be a cause of bad breath. This can not only lead to bad breath but also to dental disease such as gum disease and tooth decay.

The Remedy: Brushing twice daily, after breakfast in the morning and right be before bed in the evening to ensure the mouth is clean for as long as possible throughout the day and night.

Flossing once per day to remove anything from between the teeth, this is best done before brushing.

Mouth rinse is an additional step in your routine that can help reduce the overall amount of bacteria in the mouth, unfortunately this does not physically remove plaque and food so should never be used in place of brushing and flossing.

2. Gum Disease

Gum disease (periodontitis) can be a silent condition that leaves people unaware of the problem until the teeth become sore or loose. Bad breath can be a major symptoms of gum disease due to the build up of plaque and bacteria and the inflammatory effect it has on the gums.

The Remedy: If you experience bleeding when brushing or flossing that does not resolve within 2 weeks of daily flossing and twice daily brushing, then book an appointment with your dental professional to assess possible issues and to develop an appropriate treatment plan.

3. Dry Mouth

Dry mouth can be a side effect of many medications and because salvia works to buffer the mouth or wash away odour producing bacteria and particles, this can then lead to bad breath.

If you are otherwise well hydrated and you are not taking medications but still experiencing a dry mouth often, stress and anxiety may be a reason behind having a dry mouth.

The Remedy: Drinking water helps to wash away bacteria and lubricate the mouth, saliva stimulates and substitutes are also available to help relieve the symptoms of dry mouth and help reduce any bad breath issues. Sugar free gum and mints can help to stimulate saliva and aid in freshening breath. Try to avoid foods containing sugar especially mints and lollies.

4. Medical/ Health Conditions

Digestive issues – Acid reflux from the stomach to the oesophagus can be a cause of bad breath, this can be evident on the teeth themselves and is often described by dental professionals as acid wear or erosion

The Remedy: Ask your dental professional for signs of wear if you are concerned this may be an issues. Seeking relief by seeing your GP or trying a change in diet can help reduce acid reflux.

Respiratory tracts issues/infections – Respiratory tract infection can cause bad breath, this is due to nasal or sinus secretions passing into the throat and mouth.

The Remedy: If bad breath is consistent and other common causes have been ruled out or if you have other symptoms or respiratory issues please seek professional advice from your GP or a referral may be required for an ears, nose, throat specialist.

Smoking – Smoke particles can dry the mouth and allow for bacteria to increase more rapidly. Smokers are at a much higher risk of gum disease or periodontitis as nicotine reduces the blood supply to the gums, therefore decreasing your body’s defence against bacteria.

The Remedy: Quitting is the quickest and best way to reduce the risk associated with smoking and help resolve the symptoms of bad breath. in the short term, keeping the mouth very clean and free from particles such as bacteria, plaque and food will help to reduce odour.

5. Food

Foods and Spices – Garlic, onion and spices can be absorbed into the bloodstream, and may linger on your breath for up to 24 hours until the body has processed it.

The Remedy: If you notice that after eating a particular spice or meal that the smell lingers on your breath for a noticeable amount of time afterwards, then we would suggest steering clear of these foods on date night or the day before any event where you could be worried about having bad breath.

Dieting – Low-carb diets can be a cause of bad breath. This is due to the body producing a chemical called ketones, which happens when your body goes into a “fat-burning” state, also known as ketosis.

The Remedy: The good news is that this symptom is usually temporary and eating even as little as 50-70 grams of carbohydrates per day will bring the body out of ketosis and should help resolve any associated bad breath. If there is no difference within a few weeks, there may be another underlying issue in which you should seek professional medical advice.


3 Ways to Help Prevent Crooked Teeth

Here are three ways to help you prevent crooked teeth:

1. Brushing habits

Keeping your teeth and gums healthy is the best way to avoid dental diseases which can lead to tooth loss.

For adults this can reduce this risk of tooth movement and tooth loss, which is a common side effect of gum disease.

For children this can reduce the risk of early tooth loss due to tooth decay. Baby teeth are very important for maintaining the spaces needed for adult teeth to develop and erupt into the mouth.

2. Avoid thumb sucking and dummies

The pressure associated with sucking thumbs, fingers or dummies for a long period of time can lead to altering how the jaw and teeth develop, this can affect the shape of jaw and tooth positioning which can cause the teeth to develop crooked and distort the appearance of natural jaw shape.

3. Early intervention

Genetics play a major role in tooth and jaw development. Attending regular dental appointments will not only reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease but will also allow your dentist to observe and monitor the growth and development of the teeth and jaw and provide intervention as needed.

Call us today for some more info or to schedule an appointment!


Toothpaste Guide

Toothpaste is an essential part of everyone’s daily routine but with so many to choose from its hard to figure out what suits you best. We have developed a list of toothpastes and their benefits to help make choosing a toothpaste a little easier.

Conventional Toothpaste

Our top pick is a toothpaste containing fluoride. Most conventional toothpaste contains an approved amount of fluoride, which helps to strengthen the enamel, and reduce the risk of tooth decay. The fluoride content is different for adults and children so depending on your household, you may need more then one toothpaste.


For the average adult we recommend toothpaste which contains 1000ppm fluoride to protect against tooth decay. This is the standard amount in most conventional toothpastes.

Some examples of these include:

  • Colgate Total,
  • Oral-B Pro-Health,
  • Macleans Multi Action
  • Woolworths Homebrand with fluoride


For children we recommend a toothpaste with a lower fluoride, these usually contain 500ppm fluoride. Children toothpaste usually has an age indication on the box, some great kids toothpaste include:

  • Macleans Milk teeth – for children 0-3 years
  • Macleans Little teeth – for children 4-7 years
  • Macleans Big teeth – for children 7+
  • Colgate My first – for children up the age of 6
  • Colgate Dora the Explorer – for children aged 2-6 years
  • Colgate Spider-Man – for children aged 6+

Acid Protection Toothpaste

If your dental professional has discussed acid wear on the enamel of your teeth, there are a few toothpastes on the market to help reduce this from progressing. These can help those who have had a high amount of acidity in their diet, people who have a high sugar diet, those who suffer from reflux or for anyone who has acid wear on their enamel but haven’t gotten to bottom of it just yet. Some acid protecting toothpaste include:

  • Colgate Maximun Cavity Protection plus Sugar Acid Neutraliser (This also comes in a junior toothpaste for 6+ years)
  • Macleans Multi Action with Sugar Acid Protection

Sensitive Toothpaste

If you suffer for tooth sensitivity when eating cold foods and drinks a sensitive toothpaste might help give you some relief. There are a range on products available. Our top picks include:

  • Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief
  • Sensodyne

We also recommend using this toothpaste topically, this means rubbing it on the teeth which are sensitive and leaving in on for as long as possible to get the full effect.

Non-Fluoride Toothpaste

We commonly do not recommend to use toothpaste that does not contain fluoride but for those who have an allergy to fluoride or have decided to attempt to remove fluoride from their life or looking for a vegan alternative, there are toothpastes on the market which do not contain fluoride, we recommend:

  • Grants – containing xylitol

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) Free Toothpaste

For those who have an allergy or sensitivity to SLS, there are toothpastes on the market which do not contain SLS but do still have the added benefit of fluoride. These include:

  • Sensodyne True White – Fluoride. No SLS
  • Sensodyne ProNamel – Fluoride. No SLS
  • Grants – No SLS. No Fluoride.