Archive for April, 2014
We all love those people around us that care for us, you know, your parents, siblings, spouse, and friends. But what about those people that choose to professionally care for you? Registered Dental Hygienists are just those people! Although there are many reasons for you to love your Dental Hygienists, we thought we would focus on a few that may not be as obvious.
Don’t forget to add your own personal reasons in the comments section….don’t be shy to mention your hygienist I know she (or he) would love to know they’re thought of!
Your Dental Hygienist can easily be added to the list of people who know you well and look forward to visiting with you. Families tend to zero in on a good dental hygienist and request the same one for years (this is a huge compliment). A dental hygienist may even treat more than one generation.
Many times, a dental hygienist becomes a family friend who knows all about major events in your life. During your visits, you can also expect some good-humored chatting and some well-meaning advice! Dental hygienists often grow into more than just a professional who takes care of your teeth.
A trusting relationship is a two way street, I like when I have reached a point with my clients that I am able to have frank discussions with them about many different topics both personally and professionally.
We Try Really Hard
Whether it’s working to make the appointment as pain free as possible or offering advice to better your home care regime, we really do try hard. We are continually learning to keep up with the most modern treatment options and trying to stay ahead of the trends.
I am always appreciative when I patient comments on my effort with regards to noticing their improvement or their lapse of home care. Quite often they are surprised at what I can notice when working on their mouth.
We Help You Stay Healthy
The most important reason to love your dental hygienist is because we help you to maintain your oral health, so that you can enjoy healthy teeth, gums and good overall health throughout your life.
We help you maintain your teeth in a way that you can not do for yourself while providing very useful advise on how you can do a better job of keeping your teeth and gums healthy.
Next time you visit your Dental Hygienist remember that she is a person too, and loves knowing that she’s appreciated and valued. Instead of starting the visit with “I hate it here….nothing personal” maybe try “It’s so nice to see you how have you been the last few months?”
Consider us your oral health cheerleaders, always on your side and here to help…..with a smile!!
If you don’t love your Dental Hygienist perhaps you should think about trying someone new. Sometimes it’s not your fault or hers it’s just not the right match. Having someone you feel has your best interest at the forefront and that you can talk to openly is imperative to long lasting oral and overall health.
Remember, you have options, there are plenty Dental Hygienists out there for you to see!
Bleeding gums are no laughing matter and it is not normal. A general rule of thumb is that if your gums are bleeding from things like brushing, flossing or eating then there is infection present.
In other words, if your gums are bleeding when you floss or brush your teeth, you have gum disease.
Here are some reasons this may be happening
1. You have sub-par oral hygiene resulting in gingivitis.
If you fail to brush and floss regularily the plaque and food debris that is left behind will cause your gums to become red and swollen, the result is gingivitis.
Surprisingly, this can happen quickly. Your gums can become diseased within 24 – 36 hours of not brushing. Quite often gingivitis is missed unless you notice bloodstains on your toothbrush or dental floss. It’s easy to ignore gingivitis because it isn’t always painful; it’s out of sight out mind. But left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, a serious oral condition characterized by the destruction of gum tissue and even tooth loss.
Luckily, gingivitis can be reversed, and is preventable. Meticulous oral hygiene – brushing and flossing – to remove plaque from the teeth, in addition to regular visits to your Registered Dental Hygienist can keep bleeding gums and gingivitis at bay.
2. You’re a smoker
Smokers are at a higher risk of experiencing bleeding gums due to the many toxins in cigarettes, these chemicals decrease the body’s immune response and create inflammation. Your gums may become fibrous and enlarged, a sign they are not getting proper nourishment. Add this to the numerous reasons you should quit.
3. You have a poor diet
If you don’t eat the recommended daily servings of fresh vegetables and fruit as well as grains, dairy and protein, you could be setting your gums up for inflammation. A balanced diet is key for not only a healthy body, but also a healthy mouth. A combination of good oral hygiene and overall health is the best prevention. Pick produce over processed, your mouth and waistline will thank you!
4. You’re female
Hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, and even pre or post menopause can increase the chances of having bleeding gums. There are many women who experience regular hormonal gingivitis associated with their monthly cycle. If you think that your hormones might be causing your gums to bleed, ask us for advice on how to adapt your oral health routine. You may need more frequent professional care to keep it in check.
5. You’re stressed
Being in a constant state of agitation can get in the way your immune system’s ability to keep gum disease at bay. It can cause inflammation in the blood vessels, which inhibits healing.
6. It’s in your DNA
About 35% of the population is born with a genetic marker for periodontal disease. If this is you, don’t worry, your fate is not sealed. It may just mean you need to work a bit harder to keep your gums and tissue healthy. While extractions and periodontal surgery used to be the only answer, today there are non surgical options such as lasers available to help treat periodontal disease. But you may find you are able to prevent it with an early adoption of great home and professional oral care.
7. You’re on certain medications
Ever wondered why we ask if you’ve started any new medications? Some prescription drugs can raise your risk for bleeding gums. Many medications can interfere with blood flow to tissues or slow down saliva flow which causes dry mouth and less protection for your gums. With these side effects it’s important to have good oral hygiene because your mouth isn’t getting the beneficial effects of saliva, and your gums may be more reactive to the presence of plaque.
What can you do?
Remember oral health care, just like your overall health care is not cookie-cutter. What works for one does not necessarily work for the next. So when you’re co-worker tells you she sees her Dental Hygienist only 2 times a year, while it’s been recommended for you to visit 4 times a year, be aware that there are many factors involved in that recommendation. If you are unsure about what interval is right for you have a candid discussion with your Dental Hygienist about it.
One of the best indicators of gingival health is the lack of bleeding, both at home and during your professional maintenance visits. If you can achieve this then you are on the right path!
You’re told to brush your teeth and to floss regularly, but apart from having sparkly white teeth and not having bad breath, what’s the reason for it? Well, for a start, slacking off on oral hygiene means that the bacteria that are normally kept at bay by toothpaste and floss has the chance to multiply to unhealthy levels, which may lead to oral infections, such as tooth decay and gum disease. The bad news isn’t limited to your mouth.
There’s lots of research out there that links the bacteria in your mouth to other very serious health conditions. Gum disease increases inflammation in the body, when the body’s inflammation levels are chronically high, severe health conditions may result. When dental hygiene is not maintained, the bacteria in the mouth can multiply and grow out of control. These bacteria can enter the bloodstream and spread to the rest of the body. The following list is just a few of the systemic problems that may be encountered if you let your oral health suffer.
Gingivitis has been shown in several studies to raise your risk of heart disease and stroke. Inflammation is proven to be a major risk factor for heart disease.
Gum disease as a result of plaque bacteria can lead to cardiovascular disease as it may increase the inflammation level throughout the body. According to the Canadian Academy of Periodontology, people with periodontal disease are at greater risk of heart disease and have twice the risk of having a fatal heart attack than people without periodontal disease.
Your dental hygienist should ask you about your heart health and family history of heart disease and conversely, your physician should inquire about your oral health. A problem in one area may signal trouble in the other.
While we are already well aware that people with diabetes are more prone to gum disease, what about vice versa? New studies suggest that serious gum disease may actually contribute to diabetes as it affects blood glucose control. The Canadian Diabetes Association says, “Because periodontal disease is an infection, bacteria produce toxins that affect the carbohydrate metabolism in individual cells. It is also thought that the host response to periodontal bacteria can increase insulin resistance and, therefore, blood glucose levels.”
Studies show that pregnant women with progressive gum and periodontal disease are more likely to develop gestational diabetes, deliver pre-term or have a low-birth-weight baby.
A new study in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that periodontitis, a chronic infection of the gums and the main source of bad breath, may cause erectile dysfunction. Since periodontal disease is considered an inflammatory disorder, it may play a role in the progression of ED, or, the disease may just be a marker for other issues previously linked to ED, like poor nutrition, diabetes, and heart disease. Either way, if there’s any chance that a healthy mouth can help with ED, isn’t it worth a try?
This needs further study but recent research has linked poor oral hygiene maintenance with development of alzheimer’s disease.
The results of the early study support a theory that bacteria in the mouth are able to enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body, specifically finding its way to and residing in the brain. The theory also states that these bacteria produce chemicals, which could build up and contribute to the development Alzheimer’s.
Studies indicate that compared to the general population, people with periodontal disease have an increased prevalence of rheumatoid arthritis and periodontal disease is at least two times more prevalent in rheumatoid arthritis patients.
A link has been found between the bacteria responsible for gum disease and earlier onset of rheumatoid arthritis, as well as faster progression and greater severity of the condition.
Bacteria in the joints could exacerbate arthritis. However, more research is needed to prove that mouth bacteria can cause or worsen arthritis.
The evidence linking oral health with overall systemic health is growing and should not be ignored. Even if some of these are disproven as having direct causative relationships, having a healthy mouth is certainly not going to hurt in the long run. The good news is that gingivitis is reversible, once it progresses to periodontal disease however; it is more difficult to treat.
Protect your overall health! Practicing good oral hygiene every day is a good place to start, and partnering with a Registered Dental Hygienist that you trust is another great way to help keep your oral health in optimal shape.
Oil pulling has gotten a lot of air time lately, and so I thought I would try to find out what exactly it is and what the benefits may (or may not) be. I was shocked how many views and shares a video that we recently posted on our facebook page received and so thought that I should do a bit of my own research to better understand oil pulling. In case you missed it, here is the video:
Please remember that I am not a physician and am simply looking for some clarity about this old/new practice. It’s difficult to keep up with all the trends out there, but I’m interested in trying to develop an understanding and opinion to help guide patients.
Oil pulling definition:
Oil pulling is known as “Kavala” or “Gandusha”. It is an ancient remedy where oil is swished or held in the mouth. Some Ayurvedic studies suggest it can benefit conditions such as headaches, migraines, diabetes, gingivitis and teeth whitening.
Use 1 tablespoon of food oil (most commonly coconut oil) swish and “pull” through teeth for 20 minutes once a day. After spitting, rinse with salt water to rinse away any excess oil then continue with standard brushing and flossing.
There are not many scientific studies to support oil pulling.
I was able to find a few, that suggested some benefit in the reduction of certain oral bacteria over a longer period of time (1-2 weeks of oil pulling).
Things to keep in mind about this study:
- The control group was small, only 20 people
- The oil used was sesame, not coconut
- Both studies were conducted by the same author, who seems to be looking to support these treatments (biased?)
Bacteria reduction was greater in those using the Chlorhexidine rinse, although not as effective, there was a significant reduction in bacteria in those using oil pulling especially at the 1 and 2 week time frame.
My initial questions:
After reading through some of the literature, I have a couple of questions.
- Does the oil actually “kill” the bacteria, or is it the act of swishing for that length of time that has a mechanical cleaning action?
Coconuts are high in saturated fatty acids, which contain lauric acid (about 40-50%). This lauric acid is known to be helpful to the human body. It is very well known for its antimicrobial actions; it inhibits Strep mutans that are the primary bacteria that cause tooth decay.
So, if this is the case, then the answer is that yes, coconut oil actually does help to lessens the bacterial load in the mouth by “killing” the bacteria, not simply by rinsing them away.
Having said that there is some mechanical benefit as well, most microorganisms inhabiting the mouth consist of a single cell, these cells are covered with a lipid (fatty) membrane. When these cells come into contact with oil, “a fat,” they naturally adhere to each other. Bacteria hiding under crevices in the gums and in pores and tubules within the teeth are sucked out of their hiding places and held firmly in the solution which is then spit out.
- Does it loose its effectiveness if the rinsing time is shortened to let’s say 2 minutes?
This is a good question; I have yet to find a firm answer regarding the timing. Some articles suggest that it can be done for as little as 5 minutes, but the consensus seems to be 20 minutes for max effectiveness.
Negative impact of oil pulling
Just because something is deemed “natural” doesn’t mean it may not come with some risks. It is important to know what these may be.
Lipoid pneumonia, this is a chemical lung disease caused by aspirating, or breathing in, small amounts of oil. Swishing for such a long period of time can certainly put you at risk for this, so be extra careful.
Also, be sure to spit into the trash can, not your sink or toilet as oils can easily clog your drains.
My professional opinion:
For the record, a regular oil-pulling routine should not replace routine dental hygiene visits and traditional at-home oral care and it does not reverse the effects of tooth decay.
Don’t give up brushing (well) for at least 2 minutes and flossing to make room for oil pulling.
If you think that this is something that you can easily add into your morning routine then I say go for it! But just ensure that it is not at the expense of other very important activities that are proven to be a great defence against all sorts of mouth issues. These things all need to work together for maximum effectiveness.
I would not recommend oil pulling as a comprehensive home care regime, but it can be a good way to enhance tooth brushing, flossing and regular visits to your dental hygienist.
For people that are concerned about chemicals found in mass marketing dental products, oil pulling is a great “natural” way to get some antibacterial effects, which will no doubt help with bad breath and gingivitis.
This may be a good adjunctive therapy for people who cannot brush, perhaps due to mouth ulcers, or bad gag reflex during to pregnancy?
This takes a lot of commitment which is another reason I wouldn’t jump to recommending it. Adding 20 minutes a day to an oral care regime is a lot to ask of someone, many patients struggle with brushing for a full 2 minutes!
Have you tried it, do you love it? Hate it? We are interested in hearing from you.
The internet is overflowing with information on this subject; here are a few links that I found helpful.
Is it a coincidence that The Dental Hygiene Groups one year anniversary lands right in the middle of National Dental Hygienists Week? We would like to say no, but really it is!
I can’t believe that it has already been a year since I treated my first patient here at The Dental Hygiene Group. This has been such a fantastic year, and I am so excited about how my business has grown thus far. I am happy to say that practicing independently has made me fall more in love with my chosen career as a Registered Dental Hygienist!
But, this is not about me, as my business would be nothing without my supporters and my clients. It is you who I appreciate. It is you who I owe my thanks. It is you who pushed me to take a leap of faith and start this in the first place. It is you who has been supportive, appreciative and most importantly, has referred me and worked with me!
I have learned a lot from you all in the last year. I have learned…
- To be more patient. I have always struggled with this one (ask my mother), and I am proud to say that I, while not perfect yet, have definitely learned how to be more patient with people and processes.
- To understand the needs of clients. It’s easy to just listen to what people said – now that I am in control of my appointment book, I make time to actually hear what is being said. This is a huge change as it has given me clearer understandings and a better grasp on how to make patient specific recommendations.
- How to price services. Everybody struggles with how to price a service, and I certainly was no exception. It takes time to be able to trust that your price is fair, and especially hard to not undervalue yourself. But, I can proudly say I am becoming more confident now!
- To ask for help. It is hard to admit when you can’t do something, or that someone else would be better than you. Luckily, I have been able to learn this lesson without too many hits to my ego, and have many great contacts for when I need help.
- I am an exceptional hygienist. I am not an egomaniac in any way, but this year has really done a lot for my clinical confidence. I am so grateful that my patients trust me and I strive to always learn and keep their wellbeing at the forefront of my clinical decisions.
So, thank you all again for your support and help in making this business so wonderful! I am not exactly sure where the next year will lead – but I know that I am excited about it and am more than ready to take on the next challenges of owning my business!
The month of April is Oral Health Month, and this week we celebrate National Dental Hygienist Week. This annual event is sponsored by the Canadian Dental Hygienists Association (CDHA), an organization that represents more than 24,000 dental hygienists across Canada.
Check back every day this week for information focusing on the importance of good oral practices, the oral systemic link, and information to help you understand the role your dental hygienist plays.
First let’s take a moment to review a very brief history of dental hygiene as a profession.
So what exactly is Self-Initiation? And why is it so awesome?
Self-Initiation simply means that a Registered Dental Hygienist that has met the requirements set out by the College of Dental Hygienists of Ontario (CDHO) can be authorized to work without the need for any supervision by a dentist. As you can see in the timeline, this happened for Ontario in 2007.
This was is a big deal!
Not only does this legislation benefit us Dental Hygienists that wish to expand our options regarding where and how we practice, more importantly it benefits you.
Here are just a few reasons why self-initiation rocks:
- Increased access to care, there are now dental hygienists that will travel to you. Are you a busy parent and want to have your regular oral care done in the comfort of your home? There’s DH’s that will do that. Are you concerned about the lack of oral care that your parent is receiving in their long-term care facility? There are DH’s that will travel to them.
- Does the thought of walking into a dental office give you so much anxiety that you avoid it all together? There are DH’s that own clinics that are completely independent of a dentist, a great place for people with phobias to start getting back on track.
- Decreased cost. Because there is no dentist, independent dental hygienists use a fee guide that is developed specifically for them. These fees offer some cost saving to you.
- Longer appointments and customized care. There are many traditional dental offices out there that offer great personal service, but a common complaint that we hear is that people feel like just a number at their previous office. Dental Hygienists that choose to practice independently are passionate about their field and clients and have the benefit of scheduling appointments in whatever length they feel is needed.
As an Independent Dental Hygienist practicing in a store front clinic here in Etobicoke I can only hope that my clients feel they are receiving above average oral care, I love that I am not restricted by a dentists scheduling and billing policies and instead am able to focus completely on my clients’ needs.
We would love to hear your feedback. Are there any reasons we may have missed? Do you have any concerns that we can help address?