This Blog is all about sharing my current perspective on all things "Dental Hygiene" and is intended for dental professionals.
My goal is to help dental enthusiasts learn, grow, get-involved, and love their profession as much as possible!
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Oral Health Information and Practice: It's never too early!
Dental Professionals should aim to teach
soon-to-be parents about oral hygiene practices for their new baby even before
It is common practice to make time
to discuss the oral health status of a mother during pregnancy. As
we are all familiar with the risks associated with poor oral health and
pregnancy. However, we also need to make time to discuss the oral hygiene
practices for the baby when he or she arrives.
even though infants do not have teeth they still need to keep their mouth
clean, is a critical piece of communication. Educating on the earlier the oral
hygiene habits are formed it can actually hep decrease the risk for future
dental cavities is a motivating factor.
This is hard
for parents to wrap their head around because commonly they feel there is no
risk if their baby does not have teeth. We need to explain to parents the
biofilm (microscopic) that commonly appears on teeth can also accumulate on the
tongue and gums where the soon-to-be teeth will be popping out.
about creating an environment that is ready for those little pearly whites.
Parents need to understand as that first tooth erupts it's at risk for dental
caries development. When the practice of cleaning the mouth starts right from
birth it allows for a smooth transition when the teeth appear and the time is
needed in the oral cavity to clean the teeth.
Using a soft
damp clot or specialized finger brush to wipe the baby's mouth are perfect tools to get around the gums, roof of the mouth, and cheeks. Having two parents work
together when possible can be very helpful when using the knee-to-knee
technique. This is something we can demonstrate for the parents right inside
our operatories. This involves having two adults sit facing each other with
knees touching and having baby lay across the legs. It creates a great visual field for
one of the adults and aids in child comfort.
would be to have parents understand the importance of wiping the mouth after
each feeding or at least two times daily. When parents start to notice teeth
appear its imperative the cleaning habits are formed. It's only natural
the more involved the parents are at home with oral care the higher chance for
compliance during an oral health assessment at the dental office.
conversation about when to expect teeth to erupt can lead to less surprises for
the parents. Also letting them know as soon as the first tooth erupts this is
when they can start to use a small soft bristled brush. For young children
under 3 years of age the introduction of a specific toothpaste (ie. fluoride
and/or 25% xylitol) will depend on the current risk factors, and professional
Lastly, we as
dental professionals need to continue to promote and educate the public on
taking their baby's to a dental provider for an assessment by their first
birthday. As you can see there are many key points we need to review with
parents, to ensure the child's oral heath starts off in the right
This is where
we as dental professionals can make one of the greatest impacts within our
I was privileged to attend a recent course with Dr. Bale and Dr. Doneen focused on Heart Attack, Stroke and Oral Health. Bringing to the fore-front once again, the work dental professionals provide matters when it comes to cardiac health. The collaboration between medical and dental professionals is continuing to strengthen as science recognizes what is happening in the mouth directly impacts the rest of the body, and vice versa. Current research is demonstrating more than a casual association between oral health and cardiovascular health, with a direct cause and effect relationship. This means it's time to make a change! Screening for both diseases more aggressively and more frequently in both the medical and dental field is required. How does one impact the other? We know inflammation in the oral cavity will lead to ulcerations in the epithelium tissues, allowing bacteria to travel a distance systemically. The bacteria present in the oral cavity triggers the inflammator
We know that for some clients dental hygiene appointments can be a daunting experience and something they easily delay or avoid. One of main reasons I have found is related to discomfort they may have experienced in the past. Clients make their feelings well known inside and outside the dental operatoy, while discussing their experiences with friends and family. Since working chair-side for well over a decade, as well as being privileged with my current role to hear from hundreds of hygienists, about what makes a positive impact on their appointments. I have learned ideal strategies hygienists can utilize to make a true difference. Recognizing our client's comfort is a top priority is one thing, but implementing strategies to meet their on-going needs is another. One of the best skills we can have as dental hygienists is the ability to put ourselves in our clients shoes. This empathy will allow you to meet the needs of your clients. If you let your clients truly express ho