10 Facts and Tips from Your Dental Hygienist in Chico, CA
Dental Hygiene: During Your Visit and Beyond
Visiting your dental hygienist regularly is crucial to maintaining healthy gums and teeth. If you visit the dental office every six months, you’ve heard them discuss the importance of brushing twice daily and flossing once daily. But is there anything else they’d like you to know?
1. Change your toothbrush on a regular basis.
Do you remember the last time you replaced your toothbrush? If it’s a distant memory, it’s time to replace it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months or when the bristles look splayed or worn out.
As the bristles become worn, they can damage gum tissue and harbor bacteria. It’s also more challenging to clean your teeth properly with worn-out bristles. A worn brush could leave you with bad breath and a higher chance of developing gingivitis.
2. It’s okay to swallow your spit.
Swallowing can be a voluntary or involuntary response. Many patients struggle to fight the urge to swallow during their cleaning appointment. It’s okay to swallow your spit, but we don’t recommend it. This is why your dental hygienist uses a suction tool to remove your saliva.
Spit pools in the back of your mouth during your cleaning, but it’s often more than saliva. There can be extra water, tartar, and sometimes blood. These materials are all safe to swallow, but why would you want to when we can suction them up?
3. You don’t have to talk when our tools are in your mouth.
Dental hygienists can talk a lot. Sometimes it’s to help ease your anxiety, and sometimes it’s because they like to talk. We don’t expect you to talk back when our tools are in your mouth.
You can answer most questions with a thumbs up or thumbs down. But if you really need to use your words, wait until your hygienist finishes cleaning your teeth.
4. You can ask your dental hygienist questions.
Even though talking may feel a little awkward, you can ask questions before or after your appointment. Do you need to know the best way to brush your teeth? Your dental hygienist will be happy to help you.
There are no stupid questions, so if you are concerned about a particular product or want recommendations for the best toothpaste or mouthwash, feel comfortable asking us.
5. We enjoy picking the plaque.
Some people go crazy over a good zit-popping video. A dental hygienist feels the same way about removing the gunk stuck between your teeth. Yes, they are helping you prevent gum disease and cavities, but it also brings them a sense of satisfaction.
6. Brush your tongue.
Has your tongue ever had a white film covering it? That’s plaque. The same bacteria-infested buildup that attacks your teeth can also accumulate on your tongue.
The rough surface your taste buds create is great for hiding bacteria and debris. Scraping or brushing your tongue when brushing your teeth can help eliminate this buildup.
7. Chew sugar-free gum.
Chewing sugar-free gum at least 20 minutes after eating can help clean your teeth. It stimulates saliva production, which rinses the mouth. Chewing gum can also help dislodge food particles from between your teeth.
8. Drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated is crucial for the health of your body and mouth. Water fights dry mouth and tooth decay by washing away the leftover residue and increasing saliva production.
Saliva consists of 99% water and 1% other substances that help fight oral bacteria and aid in food digestion. Drinking water with fluoride is one of the most straightforward ways to fight tooth decay as it remineralizes weakened enamel.
9. Sports and energy drinks are worse to drink than soda.
You know that drinks containing extensive amounts of sugar can cause tooth decay, which leads to tooth pain. But did you know highly acidic drinks can also damage your teeth?
Taurine, caffeine, and guarana are common ingredients in energy drinks. When you mix them with lots of sugar, it creates an unpleasant oral environment.
Over time, the high-acid levels can weaken your enamel and increase your risk of developing tooth decay.
10. Probing Is important.
Periodontal probing sounds invasive, but it’s necessary. The natural opening between your tooth and gum tissue is called a pocket. A dental hygienist uses a plastic or metal periodontal probe to measure the pocket depth and monitor changes in your gum health. This instrument has a blunt end and measures in millimeters.
Each measurement should be three millimeters or less for patients with healthy gums. When your hygienist starts reading out numbers higher than four, it could mean you have inflamed tissue, or there is bone loss.
Schedule your dental cleaning in Chico, CA.
Visit a dental hygienist at My Chico Dental to begin your journey to good oral health. Call us today!