Seeing your dentist and hygienist for routine cleanings and exams is one of the best things you can do to protect your oral health. And while your dentist certainly knows your teeth inside and out, it's really your dental hygienist who typically does the most preventative work, such as cleanings, X-rays, and fluoride treatments on your mouth. With that in mind, there are a few things your dental hygienist would probably like you to know and keep in mind regarding your oral health.
It's Obvious When You're Not Flossing
No hygienist enjoys telling his or her patients that they need to floss, yet it's always very obvious when a patient doesn't floss in between dental visits. Even if you make sure to floss thoroughly before your cleaning/exam, your hygienist will know you don't normally floss because your gums will be inflamed and will likely bleed during your cleaning as well. By flossing daily, you can prevent this discomfort during your cleaning and reduce your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, and other dental problems.
Preventative Care Saves You Money and Stress
Please, don't be one of those patients who only comes into the dentist when you're having tooth pain or experiencing some other obvious dental issue that needs immediate attention. Not only will this lead you to have a negative association with going to the dentist, but it will cost you more in the long run than routine preventative care. With regular dental cleanings every six months or so, you can save money (especially if you have preventative care covered by your insurance) and avoid uncomfortable dental work.
Some Forms of Gum Disease Can't Be Cured
If you develop gum disease and it's caught quickly enough, the good news is that your hygienist can likely cure it and reverse its effects. Unfortunately, if you ignore gum disease, it can turn into periodontal disease, which can be treated but not cured. Furthermore, the effects of periodontal disease (such as pockets of bacteria in the gums and bone loss in the jaw) cannot be reversed.
Dental X-Rays Don't Expose You to Much Radiation
Finally, if you're concerned about getting the recommended set of dental X-rays once a year, consider the fact that your typical full set of X-rays exposes you to less radiation than your average airplane flight. With that in mind, you shouldn't forego these X-rays for fear of excessive radiation.
Click to read more on dental care.