Sunday, August 19, 2018

Some Insight From A Dental Hygienist!

I read this insight from a dental hygienist when I was doing some research, so I thought I would share this as my blog. A very good article and some things you probably didn't know. 

1. We are highly educated. Dental hygienists have varying degrees of higher education, ranging from an associates degree to a masters degree. Associates degrees often take 3 to 4 years to obtain while schooling through summer breaks! No matter our degree level, we all must pass the same board exams to prove our competency level and gain our license to practice. Also, we are not done learning once licensed; we are required to receive a set amount of continuing education hours to renew our license every two years. We LOVE learning!
2. We take MANY licensing exams. Unlike other medical fields who take one exam, dental hygienists often take 3 to 5 different board exams to get their license. These exams are both written and practical AND are specific to geographical location, meaning that if we wanted to live in another state we would likely have to take (and pay for) more exams!
3. Our career is VERY tough on our body. We are constantly having to strain our backs, necks and shoulders throughout the day.
While we strive to achieve proper ergonomics and equipment meant to reduce fatigue, the stress on our bodies still occurs over time. You can help us by allowing us to lay you all the way back in the dental chair, and move your head to the positions that we ask of you unless you have a medical reason preventing you from doing so. Eight hours of muscle strain for us is a huge toll compared to the 60 minute patient appointment every 3, 4 or 6 months.
4. We are part of the healthcare team. Dental hygienists are required to know the same science of other medical professionals so that we can properly help manage all health needs, not just oral health needs, as the mouth is connected to the body as a whole. We don’t JUST put a shine in your smile; we treat, prevent AND screen for disease whether it is systemic or oral health related. This includes blood pressure check, cancer screenings, medication reviews, and much more.
5. We are not immune from dental complications. We all still need regular dental cleanings and sometimes we get cavities, too! While we are highly educated in prevention and maintenance of our oral health, sometimes we experience dental needs also. It just goes to show that we are all still human.
6. We are constantly in a battle with the clock. Our schedules are very tight and we have A LOT to do in the time we are given. Sometimes we may run behind due to factors beyond our control such as a late patient, a patient with many questions, or a patient who needed some very complex care. We try as hard as we can to stay on schedule, but sometimes it just is not possible.
By the time we are finishing up your appointment, it is likely that our next patient has arrived and is already waiting to be seen. Often, we work into our lunch break, come in early and leave late as we work hard to be 110 percent prepared for our day.
7. We make recommendations based on YOUR needs. We want what is best for you, and dentistry is NOT one size fits all. If we are recommending it during your appointment, it truly means that we feel it is in your best interest, based upon our in-depth knowledge, to utilize to achieve optimal health results. This includes x-rays, fluoride treatments, toothbrush recommendations and much more.
8. We do it to make a difference. No one would sign up for this career, go through the rigorous curriculum or many expensive board exams and tolerate the daily wear and tear on their bodies if they truly did not love this field. We are real people with strong emotions who often think about the wellbeing of our patients long after we’ve left the office for the day.
9. We WANT your experience to be comfortable and stress free. We will do everything we can to achieve this. If there is something that you know will make you more comfortable, just ask. We can provide numbing relief, pillows, and other comfort commodities to help you through your visit. If you’re comfortable, we’re comfortable (as long as we can position
you correctly as we discussed in No. 3).
10. You are MORE than just our patient! You become our friend. We laugh with you, cry with you, celebrate with you, and mourn with you. Our bond will grow powerful over time, and we are more than just your dental hygienist, we are your friend, confidant, and sometimes your therapist.
As tough as our day may be, this is what makes everything worth it.


Sarah Clark, RDH, IPDH, is a 2014 dental hygiene graduate of New Hampshire Technical Institute. She is currently practicing at Topsham Dental Arts and loves being part of a progressive, caring team.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Mouth Injury In Sports? Check Out These Tips

Did you know sports is the leading cause in mouth injuries? If you play or have played a sport you have been probably been hit in the mouth at least once. The most common injuries that a dentist has seen related to sports are: broken, displaced or knocked out teeth, and broken jaws.

What should you do if your child hurts their teeth or jaw?

"If a tooth has been knocked out, the tooth needs to back in the mouth with in 30 min. for the best chance of survival"

  • Avoid touching the root because it can be damaged easily.

  • If the tooth is dirty, hold it by the upper part and rinse it off with milk. If you don't have milk, don't clean it. Wiping it off may cause more damage.

  • If you can't get it back in the socket, put it in a cup of milk and head for the dentist or emergency room.

***Milk will help provide nutrients to the cells, DO NOT place/wash tooth in water

" If your child has hurt their jaw"


  • See a doctor
Remember always wear a mouth guard no matter what sport you are playing!

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Can Drinking Black Tea Reduce Cavities?

Are you a black tea drinker? If so, you may have less plaque buildup and cavities than those who don't!

Christine Wu, Professor of Periodontics at the University of Illinois said "we found that the black tea infusion can inhibit or suppress the growth of bacteria that promotes cavities and affect their ability to attach to the tooth surface."

Medical research has also found that drinking black tea offers many health benefits, some include:
  • Protection against heart disease
  • Reduces bacterial infections
  • Protects against some types of cancer
So even if you're not a black tea drinker you can rinse your mouth out with it several times a day to help reduce plaque build up and the chance of cavities!


*Info is from 2001

Lip Cancer

We all have heard about breast, colon, lung, skin and many other horrible cancer types but have you heard about lip cancer?

Lip cancer is a type of oral cancer that develops from abnormal cells that grow out of control and is commonly mistaken as cold sores and many times goes undiagnosed.

Just like any cancer, if it's left untreated it can spread to the lymph nodes and to the lungs. Fortunately, lip cancer is very treatable if it's caught early one.

Dentist are usually the ones to discover  lip cancer, which usually appears on the bottom lip and most commonly found on people over the age of 45.

Certain life styles can increase your risk of developing lip cancer:
  • Smoking
  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Sun exposure
  • Tanning beds
If you're going to be in the sun or use a tanning bed make sure you use a lip balm with at least a SPF 30!!

Remember to protect your pucker!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Your Dental Knowledge - Myth vs. Fact

**This information was gathered from various online sources**

Myth: Brushing more than once a day can harm tooth enamel.
Well, sort of. Brushing multiple times a day with anything other than a soft toothbrush could possibly harm your enamel. That's why most dentists recommend you use a soft bristle toothbrush, and brush preferably after each meal.

Myth: There's no need to take a child to the dentist because their baby teeth will fall out anyway.
As soon as your child develops a tooth, it's time to pay attention. Neglecting your child's baby teeth can cause major and even painful problems for them presently, as well as possibly causing major issues for them once the permanent teeth come in. It is never too early to teach your children about the importance of proper oral hygiene.

Myth: Chewing sugarless gum is the same as brushing.
Nothing replaces actual brushing (with a toothbrush) and flossing. Chewing sugarless gum in between meals can help clean the surface of your teeth and may also freshen your breath, however, it does not remove plaque and food that may be stuck in between your teeth. Also, it does not effectively remove plaque and build-up around the gum line which is what a toothbrush and floss are designed to do.

Myth: Women should avoid the dentist altogether while pregnant.
Due to the amount of vitamins and nutrients the baby needs, pregnant women often find that they develop more dental problems during this delicate period. It is for this reason that regular dental visits should continue and are, if anything, more important during pregnancy. Of course, there are certain dental procedures that pregnant women should avoid, such as x-rays and dental surgery, but your dentist will advise you properly and this should be no reason to skip out on your dental care.

Myth: I can't see any problems with my teeth, so I don't need to go to the dentist.
Not all dental problems are visible. You could have a cavity the size of Texas and never see it because it could be on the back side of a molar or in between two teeth. Too many people go by the notion that "if I can't see it or feel it, it's not there." As with many health related issues, you don't always know that there's a problem until it's too late. If you could physically see every problem in your mouth, what would be the purpose of dental x-rays?

These are just a few myths I found and did a little research on, but all comments or additions are welcome!

Keep Smiling!

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Canker "Mouth" Sores Home Treatment

Canker sores are painful, no doubt about it. I get them as an allergic reaction to citrus. Well, I got sick, drank a big glass of orange juice and now I am paying the price. 5 of them in my mouth. Eating hurts, drinking hurts, moving my tongue near one of them hurts. Plain and simple, my mouth hurts.

However, I have found somethings that helps ease the pain and helps them heal up a little faster.

1. Warm Salt Water - as I mentioned in one of previous blogs, this is my go to for almost anything mouth related. It does sting a little bit at first, but the relief afterwords is worth it.

2. Consistent brushing. This is a given everyday whether you have canker sores or not, but even missing one brushing, you will feel the difference.

3. Allow ice chips to dissolve slowly in your moth for relief of pain.

4. Lastly, i have used carrot, celery, and cantaloupe juices, the have helped to.

Any other ideas? Please let me know.!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Can Stress Ruin Your Teeth?

Did you know that when your anxious or stressed out, you're unconsciously ruining your teeth?

You might ask, how does being stressed or anxious really affect my teeth, Right? Well let me explain!

Stress and anxiety have been linked to clenched jaws and bruxism (teeth grinding). Although this is not considered a dangerous disorder, it can put pressure on the jaw muscles and tissues causing facial soreness and can wear down your teeth causing fractured or broken teeth.

 Here are some tips that can help stop teeth grinding while stressed or anxious:
  • Do a few yoga stretches 
  • A couple deep breathes
  • Listen to a relaxing song (nature sounds, jazz music, Hawaiian music)
  • Apply warm washcloth against check to help sooth the jaw muscles
  • Drink water
  • Place your tongue between the teeth if you notice grinding/clenching
  • Wear a night guard
 If your stressed or your anxiety levels are at an all time high, you should consult with your primary physician to help you identity the underlying problems and prescribe you the proper medication. Hopefully this will help save your teeth in the long run!