Expert Contribution

Take Care of Your Health

See Your Dentist and Hygienist

Is a dental cleaning and checkup on your To-Do list? Visiting your dentist’s office regularly not only leaves your teeth and smile clean and fresh, but it also can help maintain your overall health!


If you are like many people, your gums can sometimes be puffy and irritated, and even bleed a bit when you brush or floss. This condition, either gingivitis or gum disease, is caused in part by not cleaning effectively enough to remove all the plaque from your teeth, resulting in a bacterial infection. The infection progresses to the more serious condition called periodontitis. Studies have shown an association with periodontal disease and diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and even Alzheimer’s! It makes sense that an active infection in your mouth can have effects throughout your body, since it’s all connected through the circulatory system. It’s about much more than simply the risk of tooth loss.


Keep yourself in optimal health by first taking care of your mouth and smile! Addressing any bacterial infections in your oral cavity is a simple, conservative first step. So how do we prevent or treat periodontal disease? The basic idea is to disrupt the biofilm – the sticky, slimy layer of bacterial colonies – that constantly forms on our teeth. Effective teeth cleaning at home is essential, possibly followed by an antimicrobial mouthwash or rinse. Good nutrition is also important. These should be addressed at home on a daily basis. However, in addition, regular visits are needed with a hygienist at your dental office to treat the areas below the gumline, where the bacterial biofilm is out of your reach. So three things have to be in place to have healthy teeth and gums: what you do at home on a daily basis, what the dental hygienist does when you visit the dental office, and the appropriate frequency between professional dental hygiene visits. Everyone has a unique “balance point,” an optimal interval for visits to the dental hygienist; waiting too long between visits will keep gums in a state of ongoing health risk.


Dental hygienists are professionally trained to help maintain your optimal oral health. Boost your overall wellness and get your smile back on track; schedule your next dental hygiene visit and checkup now!

By Brian J. Hockel, DDS, Life Dental & Orthodontics, Resident since 1964

About The Author

Brian J. Hockel, DDS
Life Dental & Orthodontics

Dr. Brian Hockel graduated from UCSF School of Dentistry in 1989 and has practiced dentistry for over 30 years next door to the Ygnacio Valley Library on Oak Grove Road. The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Hockel is active in several professional organizations. He combines his cosmetic, orthodontic, airway treatment and gnathology skills to bring about great changes in people’s smiles and health. 

View All Contributions