Despite what some people seem to think, a hygienist’s greatest desire is not to scold patients. A dental hygienist’s greatest desire is to see healthy mouths free of tooth decay and dental disease. As the professional at our practice that you see the most often, your dental hygienist is on the front lines of keeping your smile healthy, so you better make sure to stay on his or her good side!
Here are a few things you shouldn’t do if you want to stay on your dental hygienist’s nice list.
Rumors have been flying around about a study that says flossing doesn’t prevent gum disease, but flossing is still vitally important for your dental hygiene. Think flossing doesn’t matter? Tell that to your dental hygienist when she finds a popcorn kernel between your teeth from when you went to the movies three weeks ago! When debris is allowed to build up between teeth, it can become a breeding ground for bacteria that cause tooth decay. Relying on your hygienist to clean between your teeth every few months isn’t enough! You still have to floss daily if you want healthy teeth and gums.
We get it, it’s super strange to leave your mouth wide open for a long time. But please try to keep it open as wide as you can for as long as you can! Hygienists depend on being able to see inside your mouth in order to do their jobs thoroughly and spot problems like tooth decay, signs of bruxism, gum disease and more. If your hygienist keeps having to ask you to open your mouth, that’s a sign that you’re making things very difficult for him or her.
This one is more about common courtesy than your dental health, though we’re all for extra brushing. If you brush in the morning and before bed, you might not bother to brush your teeth right before your dental appointment. But we guarantee that making the extra effort to brush your teeth right before your professional teeth cleaning goes a long way with your hygienist. Also, if you know you have a dental appointment that day, avoid stinky foods like onion and garlic that may linger on your breath hours later, even after brushing! It’s just the polite thing to do.
This may be the most important thing to avoid. The hygienist is a trained dental professional who, along with the dentist, is part of a team dedicated to keeping your healthy and treating problems in the most conservative and gentle way possible. Much of the time, the hygienist is the first person to spot signs of trouble, such as tooth decay that needs repair or bleeding gums that are a sign of gingivitis or gum disease. If your hygienist says you need to come in for cleanings more frequently than twice a year and that you need to cut back on sugary drinks, this is his or her way of reducing your risks for dental problems and disease. Following your dental hygienist’s recommendations could eventually make the difference between losing or keeping all your teeth!