Dental Tips Blog

Aug
30

What Does a Dental Hygienist Do?

You might be surprised to learn that a hygienist’s job involves more than just teeth cleaning. Understanding your local dental hygienist’s role in healthcare could even motivate you to make some changes in your oral hygiene routine.

Hygiene – Not A Job Just Anyone Can Do!

Hygienists are registered and licensed in various ways depending on the state they live in. But one thing they all have in common is a solid education. Most dental hygiene programs are rigorous 2-4 year long college courses that are very similar to nursing.

Dental hygienists also get hands-on training in a disciplined environment to prepare them for their work responsibilities. As a result, they pick up skills and habits like:

  • Cleanliness
  • Attention to detail
  • A sharp eye
  • Compassion
  • Adaptability
  • Good manual dexterity

If you had to pick someone to clean your teeth with small and very sharp tools, wouldn’t you want someone who fits that description?

Your hygienist is a respected professional in the medical community.

Beyond The Brush

A dental hygienist’s work doesn’t end with cleaning teeth.

Perhaps most important of all is their role in educating patients on the importance of oral hygiene. This aspect often has them actively promoting preventive dental care in schools, nursing homes, and underserved areas.

For the record, your hygienist doesn’t get on your case about flossing for no reason! He or she wants you to understand the deeper connection between clean gums and a healthy body.

If you pay attention to what your dental hygienist has to say, you’ll learn lots of practical tips that can make your flossing and brushing routine worlds easier – and improve your overall health.

Posted on behalf of:
Gainesville Dental Group
1026 Thompson Bridge Rd
Gainesville, GA 30501
(770) 297-0401

Jun
4

Could Chocolate Be Good for Your Smile?

In spite of its sugar, caffeine, and fat content, chocolate is receiving more attention for its ability to ward off dental disease.

Why Candy Is Bad For Teeth

All of those simple carbohydrates are very acidic to tooth enamel, to begin with. Throw in the fact that these carbs help power acid-producing bacteria to do their dirty work, and you’ve got a recipe for cavities.

Worst of all are candies that stick to teeth for a long time or that you suck on slowly over the course of an hour or so.

What’s In Chocolate?

If you’ve got to have your sweets, chocolate is a good choice. It melts quickly, so it doesn’t leave behind too much residue that can cause enamel erosion.

Even better is the fact that chocolate contains some key ingredients that can give your smile a healthful boost:

  • Antioxidants – can help fight gum disease
  • Polyphenols – natural chemicals that limit the effects of harmful bacteria
  • Epicatechin – a flavonoid that helps slow tooth decay
  • Tannins – plant compounds which prevent bacteria from sticking to teeth

Smile-Healthy Chocolate Habit

This isn’t to say you can just munch on a chocolate bar in place of brushing your teeth. You still need to maintain a steady routine of flossing, rinsing, and wielding a toothbrush.

To get the fullest benefits from chocolate, choose a kind that’s as dark as possible; at least 70% cocoa is ideal. You still need to eat it in moderation.

Don’t forget to keep your regular dental appointments for checkups and professional cleanings. Your dentist will let you know whether your chocolate addiction is helping or harming your smile!

Posted on behalf of:
Rolling Hills Dentistry
53 North Street
Danbury, CT 06810
(203) 743-0783

Jan
30

“What’s That ‘Buzzing’ Tool My Hygienist Uses?”

All you know is that it tingles when it bumps your tongue, there’s a lot of water, and your teeth feel nice and smooth afterwards.

What is that thing?

Some people feel it’s a device that shoots out a jet of water powerful enough to blast teeth clean. Close. . . but not close enough.

Ultrasonic Powered Tooth Cleaning

You can thank ultrasonic energy for the zingy sensation. ‘Ultrasonic’ refers to sound waves that are extremely high-pitched. These sound waves generate energy.

The vibration actually comes from the metal tip which is moving back and forth too fast to see. In fact, the motions are very small. This energy helps to break up things like tartar, plaque, and stain. It’s also very effective at disrupting bacterial colonies which don’t like ultrasonic energy.

Where does the water come in?

Ultrasonic machines include a channel for water flow which helps wash away debris and cool the tip of the instrument. All that energy generates heat! That wouldn’t feel good on your teeth, at all.

Ultrasonic Scalers – The Benefits

Traditional teeth cleaning instruments are called ‘scalers’ because of the way they gently smooth the surface of teeth.

Ultrasonic scalers are electrically powered and use that special energy to break up microscopic deposits.

It’s a lot easier on everyone all around when your hygienist doesn’t have to vigorously scrape your teeth by hand. A mini power tool makes it easier for him or her to do the job and means less pressure on your mouth.

These powerful instruments have several interesting functions. Ask your hygienist about them at your next dental cleaning.

Posted on behalf of:
River Ranch Dental
203 George Hopper Rd #100
Midlothian, TX 76065
(469) 672-4245

Aug
10

3 Myths About Dental Cleanings

Perhaps you’ve heard one or more of the following statements come from a trusted friend. Or you may have caught yourself thinking these things! Read along as three common but misguided statements about professional dental cleanings are debunked.

  1. “They’re just for looks.”

Dental cleanings do far more than just shine up your smile. They remove plaque and tartar deposits that can irritate your gums and cause oral disease. If your oral health stands to benefit from any changes, your dentist and hygienist will make personalized recommendations. Additionally, your overall health is closely connected to your oral health. Keeping your mouth healthy with regular cleanings is good for your whole body!

  1. “All that scraping is bad for your enamel.”

Scraping EVERYDAY is not good for your enamel! But the relatively small amount of abrasion from dental instruments on an infrequent basis won’t harm your teeth. All dental hygienists are trained to remove as much stain and debris as possible with the minimum amount of force. Regularly using fluoride will help to reinforce your enamel against any abrasive forces it experiences.

  1. “One or two cleanings per year is enough for me.”

Two cleanings per year should be the minimum for everyone. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend more, however. This could be done in an effort to keep gum disease under control. Perhaps you tend to build up tartar more quickly than most people. An extra cleaning or two a year will help you to stave off inflammation and prevent serious disease from setting in.

Don’t miss your next chance for a full cleaning and dental examination! Contact your local dentist to schedule a visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. Farhan Qureshi, DDS
5206 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
(703) 931-4544

Jun
25

3 Month Dental Cleaning Versus 6 Month – Why?

“My dental hygienist told me I need to come in for cleanings more often, but I don’t see why – I’ve come in for regular six-month cleanings my whole life!”

Can you relate to that statement?

The fact is that dental needs change with time. Every patient is a unique case. A dental cleaning is far from a routine procedure that suits everyone equally.

Why might your hygienist recommend that you come for more frequent cleanings?

Difficulty Keeping Teeth Clean

Because of conditions such as arthritis or Parkinson’s, some patients have a hard time keeping their teeth properly cleaned. Certain areas in the mouth may often be missed and so they are more prone to developing disease. Frequent cleanings can keep disease at bay!

Gums Affected By Health Issue

Diseases like diabetes and conditions such as Down’s Syndrome predispose many individuals to gum inflammation. Extra cleanings can keep harmful inflammation to a minimum.

Post-Periodontal Treatment

Probably the most common reason for scheduling more frequent cleanings is because of having periodontal treatment completed. Deep root scaling to remove debris and bacteria below the gums is effective in controlling periodontal disease.

After the procedure, however, you need to maintain the health and cleanliness of your gums. The extra cleanings that follow are actually periodontal maintenance appointments. They specifically help you to keep your gums clean after periodontal treatment.

Coming in for dental cleanings on a more frequent basis is a way you can avail yourself of personalized preventive dental care. The point of cleaning your teeth more is to prevent bigger problems from setting in! Talk with your dentist for more information on why the office recommends that you have extra dental cleanings.

Posted on behalf of:
Dream Dentist
1646 W U.S. 50
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 726-2699

Jun
22

How Can I Prevent Gingivitis?

Posted in Gum Disease

Gingivitis simply means inflammation of the gums. Your gums become sensitive and inflamed when bacteria in dental plaque is left on them too long. Dental plaque is a combination of food, fluids from your mouth, and bacteria. It forms within hours of brushing, and will irritate your gums if not removed regularly.

Avoid Gingivitis With Effective Plaque Removal

Nothing gets rid of gum irritants like good old-fashioned brushing and flossing! Brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once daily is sufficient for most folks. Make sure that you spend a little extra time carefully cleaning around bridges, implants, and braces.

Don’t forget about oral appliances like mouth guards, dentures, and partials. Bacteria can still hide out on these items even though they are removable and cause gum inflammation when you wear them without cleaning them on a regular basis.

Prevent Gingivitis Efficient Plaque Prevention

Specific ingredients in toothpaste and mouthwashes actually prohibit plaque formation. These products give your gums added protection against gingivitis.

One of these is triclosan, which is found in most anti-gingivitis toothpastes. Another is a combination of essential oils (such as menthol and thymol). Such elements effectively slow down plaque growth in-between your brushing sessions.

How Your Dentist Can Help You Limit Gum Inflammation

Visiting your local dentist will allow you to have a full gum health examination. Professional dental cleanings will remove the tartar buildup, which harbors more plaque and bacteria. Tartar can be a major irritant to gums, but it can’t be removed by brushing, alone.

Visit your local dentist for a thorough dental health assessment and customized recommendations for your oral care routine.

Posted on behalf of:
Grateful Dental
2000 Powers Ferry Rd SE #1
Marietta, GA 30067
(678) 593-2979

Jun
22

The Real Danger of Dental Plaque and How to Remove It

You hear about dental plaque all the time in advertisements for toothpaste and mouthwash. Just what is plaque, why do you need to efficiently get rid of it, and how can you do so?

Learning these answers can make all the difference in the state of your dental health.

How a Biofilm Forms

Dental plaque is a biofilm. It occurs naturally and is made up of living things. It’s essentially a combination of food debris, natural fluids produced by your mouth, and naturally occurring bacteria. Everyone has plaque! It forms within hours after brushing and is invisible until it significantly accumulates. The longer it stays undisturbed, the more harmful bacteria gather.

Plaque – Why Is It Bad?

When allowed to grow uninterrupted, the biofilm in plaque multiply and live safely within the matrix, or fluids, of the plaque. The presence of the bacteria is what triggers an inflammatory reaction in the gums.

Have you ever had a splinter in your finger? The wound gets swollen and inflamed because your body is reacting to remove the unwelcome germs. Your gums respond similarly to the bad bacteria in plaque.

This inflammation is what makes your gums puffy, sensitive, and prone to bleeding when brushed or flossed. This happens because small blood vessels in your gums have expanded. This inflammation is called gingivitis.

What You Can Do

Control plaque formation by:

  • Regular brushing and flossing
  • Use of an antimicrobial rinse
  • Having regular professional dental cleanings

Visiting your dentist is imperative to make sure your gum health is stable. If your current routine of oral care needs adjusting, then the team at your local dental office will give you the best personalized recommendations. Call your dentist today!

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

Mar
30

Getting the Most Out of Your Dental Hygiene Appointment

Each dental hygiene visit represents an opportunity for you to get personalized advice from a dental care professional. This is your chance to get help that Google can’t provide!

How do you get the most from each session?

Be On Time

Your dental care providers understand that life happens. Emergencies arise and bad weather can come up. But if you can, try to arrive to your appointment early. This will help your dental team accommodate you so that you get the full appointment time you deserve.

It’s encouraged to ask questions of the hygienist. But be careful that you don’t talk too much! The issue is that when you’re talking, the hygienist can’t clean your teeth. Too much talking will waste valuable appointment time that is otherwise spent getting your teeth thoroughly cleaned.

Come Prepared

Don’t forget to bring any oral appliances such as mouth guards and dentures to your appointment. The dentist will check the fit of your device and then make sure that it gets properly cleaned. Keep an updated list of your current medications handy. You might want to bring “comfort” items that will help you relax such as:

  • Neck pillow
  • Music device and headphones
  • Book or crossword puzzle

Take Away Valuable Knowledge

The recommendations your hygienist gives go beyond the standard brush-floss-rinse. Listen to HOW you should brush, WHERE you need to floss carefully, and what KIND of rinse you should use. You’ll be alerted to potential problems so that you can treat them early or even avoid them altogether.

Don’t miss your next hygiene appointment! Call your local dental office to schedule it.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Jan
26

What is My Hygienist Doing When She “Cleans” My Teeth?

Your dental check-up should include your dentist examining your teeth for cavities, gums for gum disease and screen for oral cancer.  Along with your dental exam, it is equally important to have your teeth “cleaned” by a Registered Dental Hygienist at your dental check-up.  Though you may brush and floss your teeth at home, you can still get “tarter” build-up which can only be removed or “cleaned” by your dental hygienist.

What all is your dental hygienist doing at a typical “teeth cleaning” visit?

  • Examining your gums and the surrounding tooth structures- A dental probe (a mini ruler) is used to measure the space between your gums and teeth to make sure your teeth are attached to your gums properly and to check for gum disease.
  • Screening for Oral Cancer- Checking tissues in and around your mouth for suspicious areas that could be oral cancer.
  • Removing tarter build-up- Removing tarter with special dental instruments, which can’t be done with brushing and flossing. This will help prevent gum disease and/or reverse early onset of gum disease.
  • Removing plaque biofilm and stain with polishing paste- Plaque biofilm causes gum disease and cavities so your hygienist will remove the biofilm and surface stain from your teeth.
  • Flossing your teeth
  • Give brushing and flossing instructions
  • Fluoride Treatment- Fluoride rinse or varnish is placed on your teeth to strengthen them and to fight cavities.

Have you been in recently to see your dentist for an exam and your dental hygienist for a cleaning?  If not, call your dentist to schedule an exam and cleaning today!

Posted on behalf of:
Red Oak Family Dentistry
5345 W University Dr #200
McKinney, TX 75071
(469) 209-4279

Dec
26

Does “Oil Pulling” Really Work?

If you follow social media or the latest health buzz, there’s a good chance that you’ve heard about oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient method that people claim improves oral health, tooth color, and helps them eliminate infections like gingivitis. But does it really work?

First of all – oil pulling is a lengthy process. Take a spoonful of coconut oil and then “swish” it around your mouth for 20 minutes. Much longer than it would take to brush or floss! Oil pulling was not meant to replace physical plaque removal like flossing, but unfortunately many people feel that it does.

There are chemical components of the coconut oil that may actually impact inflammation and bacterial levels in the mouth. Many people report that oil pulling every day helps them to eliminate gingivitis. Unfortunately there have not yet been any clinical studies to show the specifics of such.

As far as whitening your tooth enamel with coconut oil – that doesn’t necessarily work either. Part of the reason why people may feel that it does whiten their tooth enamel is the oils ability to potentially limit plaque buildup.

Oil pulling certainly isn’t going to hurt anything to try it. That’s something that can’t be said for many home whitening remedies that can actually damage your teeth.

The important thing to remember is that you should be cleaning your teeth first – not skipping the floss. After all, not even an antimicrobial mouthrinse bought at the store can remove plaque biofilm that is built up under your gumlines. Secondly, it’s a lengthy process, so it may not actually be worth your time. That’s something that you will have to decide for yourself. If you decide to try oil pulling, be sure to let your dentist know how it goes!

Posted on behalf of:
Marbella Dentistry
791 FM 1103 #119
Cibolo, TX 78108
(210) 504-2655

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