October is National Dental Hygiene Month! Let’s talk about the amazing world of dental hygiene and our awesome dental hygienists.
Dental hygienists assist the dentist with performing dental cleanings and other preventative care such as dental sealants and fluoride treatment. They are an essential part of every dental practice and celebrating Dental Hygiene Month means celebrating them too.
How important is dental hygiene?
Much like personal hygiene, dental hygiene focuses on your oral health which impacts the entire body. The American Heart Association has performed several studies to show the link between heart disease and oral health. Interestingly, in this article by The American Academy for Oral and Systematic Health there is a link between dental cleanings and the reduction of stroke and heart attacks. How amazing is that?!
In fact, dental hygiene is an important aspect of managing your overall health. Dental hygiene has been related to several diseases. A healthy mouth is a healthy body. Dental hygiene and oral health have been related to the following conditions:
- Heart Disease
- Respiratory Infections
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Periodic dental cleanings and exams also help the dentist determine and treat small problems from becoming big ones. Oral cancer screenings are an important part of your preventative care and are performed during your hygiene visits.
What do dental hygienists do?
According to this article by the American Dental Hygiene Association, a dental hygienist manages many roles throughout their career.
Some of these important roles include:
- Clinical - They assist the dentist in assessing, diagnosing, planning, implementing, treating, and documenting existing conditions. This is the role we know them for best!
- Educator- Dental hygienists help educate patients on best hygiene practices and products. Having difficulty flossing or brushing certain areas? Ask your hygienist, they can probably help show you the most efficient and easy way that works for you.
- Researcher-Dental hygienists take part in many surveys that help to develop products that we use every day. They work very hard to find the best tools, products, and procedures to help each patient achieve their very best dental health.
Dental hygienists do so much more than we know. They thoroughly and gently clean our teeth and gums while helping to educate us on the best hygiene practices and well-researched products. They do this every day to help address each patient’s specific needs.
Recommendations from a Dental Hygienist
Now that we know how much dental hygienists do during their careers, let’s talk about an important tool of the trade. A dental hygienist is a wonderful resource to ask about recommendations on everything from a toothbrush to toothpaste to whitening products.
Some patients may be sensitive to certain ingredients in common dental hygiene products, a dental hygienist will be up to date on the best product for everyday use.
Do you wear braces? Do you have dental crowns, bridges, or partial dentures? Keeping these dental restorations and the areas around them clean is very important. Doing so will help to maintain their integrity and protect them for a long time to come. Dental hygienists can offer lots of recommendations on the best way to keep these areas clean and healthy.
Interesting Dental Hygiene Facts
- Natural teeth are not perfectly white. A yellowish tint is normal and actually natural tooth shades can range from gray, to yellow and various shades of white.
- Dental cleanings also help with common stains that develop over time from tea, coffee, wine, and certain foods.
- Electric toothbrushes can spin or rotate up to 8,800 times per minute! It’s no wonder that dentists and hygienists recommend eclectic over manual toothbrushes.
- Changing your toothbrush or toothbrush head for electric toothbrushes should be done every 12 weeks. During times of illness, especially with family illness, you should replace your toothbrush. Have some extra on hand.
- Carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with you in your purse, backpack and to keep at work. The old saying out of sight, out of mind definitely applies to dental hygiene. If you have the tools of the trade with you, there’s no reason not to use them.
- Schedule your future dental cleaning appointment at the end of your visit. These appointments can always be rescheduled closer to the due date but the extra reminder will help keep you on schedule.
Dental hygiene is important every month of the year, not just this one! Our dentists and dental hygienists are here to help you maintain your oral health and overall well-being. Contact us today to schedule your next dental hygiene appointment!