What Is A Dental Hygienist? (Job Description and Requirements)

What is a Dental Hygienist?  Have you ever wondered this? 

Or maybe you are just curious if this career is something you might want to pursue.

I have made a life long career of Dental Hygiene and I am here to explain the job description and requirements in detail.

Essential functions and responsibilities of the job will be provided.  I will explain the care given to the patients, typical job demands and typical working conditions.

I will go into detail about the job description of a Dental Hygienist and the requirements to become one.

Also, in this article I am going to explain all the prerequisites needed in order to obtain a position as a Dental Hygienist.

You can learn more about me and my Dental Hygiene career on the About the Author page.What Is A Dental Hygienist

Summary of Position

A Dental Hygienist will provide dental hygiene services including educational, therapeutic methods and preventative services for the control of oral disease.

The goal is to help individuals achieve and maintain optimal oral health.

You can see the definition of a Dental Hygienist here from Wikipedia.

Oral health is defined as the absence of disease in the mouth. 

Such disease processes include:  cavities, gum disease and oral cancer. 

A dental hygienist strives to treat and prevent such ailments from occurring in their patients.

Some people are better suited for this position than others.

In addition to a degree and license (which I will discuss shortly), a Dental Hygienist will do well if they have a certain set of skills.

This is a healthcare position and those who work in this occupation need a desire to help others.

The ability to relate to people is important. A compassionate and caring individual will thrive in this field.

A few other skill sets are important. These include great attention to detail and manual dexterity to be able to complete a thorough cleaning and work inside patients’ mouths.

Essential Responsibilities

Patient care is a priority. This includes:

  • Setting up and preparing the treatment room according to OSHA standards.
  • Performing a prophylaxis (cleaning) on a child or adult. This includes removing deposits from above and below the gum line that may contribute to disease. These deposits are generally food debris, bacterial plaque and calculus (tartar).
  • Polishing to remove accretions and stain from all surfaces of the teeth and flossing all teeth.
  • Educated patients on ways they can improve their oral health and answering questions in regard to their oral health.
  • Teaching patients good home care techniques so that they may maintain oral health.
  • Helping patients to feel at ease during their appointment and addressing all concerns.
  • Teaching patients about diet and nutrition for optimal oral and overall health.
  • Taking diagnostic digital x rays prescribed by the Dentist including bitewings, periapical and panoramic x rays.
  • Taking intraoral camera and video images as a diagnostic tool for the Dentist.
  • Performing evaluations of intra and extra oral tissues and report findings to the Dentist.
  • Recording periodontal findings and evaluate patients’ gum health by measuring and recording pocket depths.
  • Performing fluoride treatments as prescribed by the Dentist and applying sealants on teeth to prevent decay.
  • Providing local anesthetic as necessary under the supervision of the Dentist.
  • Cleaning up after patient care and sterilizing instruments
  • Performing daily maintenance on tools and equipment.
  • Practicing the recommended safeguards for personal and patient safety.
  • Computer entries involving charges, scheduling, treatment planning, health histories and insurance information.
  • Record keeping and documentation of all patient information.

Performance RequirementsWhat Is A Dental Hygienist

Education

You will need to be a graduate of an accredited Dental Hygiene school.

This may be an associate’s degree or a bachelor’s degree in Dental Hygiene. A master’s degree in Dental Hygiene is also available but less common.

An associate degree will allow you to practice Dental Hygiene in a clinical setting.

You will need a bachelor’s or master’s if you desire to hold a position that involves teaching Dental Hygiene in a public or school health program.

License/Certificate

In addition to being a graduate of an accredited school, a current state license is required.

In order to obtain a state license, you will need to have passed state and national board exams.

A current state license is required. This license is good for a period of two years.

After each two years, a fee is paid to the state in order to renew it.

Fees vary by state but on average are around $100.

You will also need to obtain a certificate to administer local anesthesia.

Skills, Knowledge and Abilities

  • Professional skills with patient contact is necessary.
  • A polite, friendly and personable demeanor is beneficial.
  • Knowledge of computer skills are required. You will be trained in the software for the particular office that you work in.
  • You must be organized and able to stay on schedule.
  • You will need the ability to operate x ray equipment, intra oral cameras, instruments, ultrasonic scalers, polishers, hand pieces and other equipment as needed.
  • A great attention to detail is necessary using tactile and visual senses.
  • You must be able to concentrate and focus.
  • You will need to be able to follow directions closely as given to you by the Dentist.
  • Being able to work well with others will make you a valued employee.
    What Is A Dental Hygienist

What a Dental Hygienist Is

A Dental Hygienist is a professional health care provider who helps people improve their oral health.

By helping people improve their oral health, a Dental Hygienist is also helping to improve their overall health.

Our mouths are connected to our bodies and the mouth is often referred to as a window to our bodies.

Oral disease can manifest itself in many ways contributing to many diseases of the human body.

By choosing to become a Dental Hygienist, you will be making the commitment to helping others. This is the most rewarding feature of this career and is what attracted me, personally to this line of work.

I encourage you to explore this very gratifying career choice. Please read more about oral hygiene and oral health solutions at oralprobioticheath.com.

Thank you for reading and please leave me a comment or question below and I will be happy to help you!

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What Is The Best Electric Toothbrush | Oral B or Sonic (5 Best Choices)

What is the best electric toothbrushAre your gums bleeding? Do you have receding gums?

Or do you just want to do all you can to improve your overall health?

Chances are that you have been told by your dentist to start using an electric toothbrush.

With good reason too, because electric toothbrushes work way better than any manual toothbrush you can buy on the market.

I will explain what is the best electric toothbrush you can purchase today.

Oral B and Sonic toothbrushes will be discussed giving you the 5 best choices.

I am going to take the confusion out of all the different choices so that you can make an informed purchase based on your dentist’s recommendation.

Has your dentist or hygienist told you that you need to be brushing better or that you are not brushing well in a particular area (behind the lower front teeth)?

Or, have you been told that you are causing damage to your teeth or gums for brushing too hard? Then an electric toothbrush is right for you.

I Want To Help You!

As a Dental Hygienist, I can honestly say that by using an electric toothbrush, I have seen THE BIGGEST improvement in my patient’s home care by simply making the switch from a manual brush. 

See About the Author to learn more about me and why I would like to help you.

Much less bleeding, inflammation and a night and day difference in the amount of tartar formation.

Not to mention, less plaque along the gum line (cavity prone area) and less recession of the gum line (exposing sensitive roots).

But why spend the money on an electric toothbrush when you can do just as good of a job brushing your teeth with a cheaper manual brush?

The reason is…drum roll here…you are NOT doing just as good of a job using your manual brush!

I will explain how and why electric toothbrushes work better. Also, I want to help you decide which make and model is going to be the best fit for you based on your needs.

Why Use An Electric Versus A Manual Toothbrush?Electric versus manual toothbrush

You may be surprised at the features offered by electric toothbrushes these days.

With everything from built in timers, pressure sensors (to indicate when you apply too much pressure) and blue tooth technology (to alert you to where you need to spend more time) you will be brushing better in no time!

Electric toothbrushes will greatly improve your brushing technique.

They are a simple addition to your home care routine that can save you hundreds of dollars on your dental care. 

Learn more about the benefits of using an electric toothbrush versus a manual brush.  This recent study was done by the US National Library of Health.

This is not even considering all the benefits to your entire health in general, especially when you think of the health issues related to bacterial plaque. 

Learn about the correlation of gum disease and your overall health.

Electric toothbrushes will provide you with more brush strokes per minute than a manual toothbrush.

With your hand motion and a manual toothbrush you will be able to provide 500 brush strokes per minute.

Using an electric toothbrush, you will be achieving 40,000 to 60,000 brush strokes per minute- a far superior improvement over a manual brush.

Do the math, THAT IS 100 TIMES MORE BRUSH STROKES per minute!

Why is the speed of the brush so important?

The more brush strokes per minute means more cleaning capacity per minute.

Think about if you were washing your car in a timed car wash.

You would get a cleaner car if you went to a wash with faster moving brushes than one with super slow cleaning brushes.

Without having to visit the dentist for twice daily brushing, you can still get high-quality cleaning results by simply adding an electric toothbrush to your home care routine.

Most Important Difference

The main difference in manual vs electric brushes is the fact that you are getting more effective brush strokes per minute.

However, the other differences are not to be ignored.

By using an electric toothbrush, you will be brushing for the full two-minute time frame recommended by dentists for effective plaque removal.

Believe it or not, most people on average spend less than one minute each time they brush when they use a manual toothbrush.

That’s TWICE as long when using an electric!

What is the best electric toothbrushIt is important to brush for this length of time to make sure you are properly and thoroughly remove plaque from hard to reach places.

These places include areas along and underneath the gum line where most plaque likes to hide.

Most electric toothbrushes even go a step further by including a quad pacer.

This is noted as an extra vibration signal at 30 second intervals to notify you that it is time to move to the next quadrant (one quarter of your mouth).

This allows you to spend equal amounts of time in each section of the mouth.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chqjw61B1IM[/embedyt]

Another huge benefit to using an electric toothbrush is that they are kinder and gentler and do not allow for “over brushing” of your teeth.

Electric toothbrushes also make brushing easier.

All you need to do is hold the brush against the tooth surface and move it from one side of the mouth to the next.

There is nothing to think about- the brush does all the work for you.

They will benefit those that need extra to help remove plaque if they are a slacker or just plain lazy with their home care regimen.

Some people have physical handicaps like arthritis in their hands that make brushing difficult and could use the extra help.

But, and this is huge, they will also benefit those people who put too much force or damaging pressure on their teeth and gums when they brush.

Many of the electric toothbrushes come with a built in alert system to let you know you are being too aggressive.

Receding gum lineOver brushing can cause all sorts of problems ranging from sensitive teeth to receding gumlines that expose sensitive, cavity prone roots.

Recession of the gum line is most often caused by being too aggressive with your brushing.

The damage from recession cannot be reversed and can only be treated by seeing a gum specialist (Periodontist) to perform a procedure such as a tissue graft.

This is where they take tissue from another area of your mouth (usually the roof of your mouth) and reattach it over the sensitive exposed roots.

Sounds drastic, doesn’t it?

It is so much easier using an electric toothbrush in the first place to prevent recession.

Do You Want Rotating/Oscillating/Pulsating or Sonic?

There are two main brush types to choose from.

You can either use a rotating/oscillating type brush head or one that works by sonic vibrations. Both are very effective electric toothbrushes for different reasons.

Let’s look at the mechanics of how each one works. 

A comparative clinical study of rotating/oscillating/pulsating brushes versus sonic brushes can be viewed from PubMed.

A rotating/oscillating/pulsating toothbrush does just that. It surrounds each tooth as it spins in circles.

The brush head pulsates to loosen plaque and then oscillates and rotates to sweep the plaque away.

Oral B electric toothbrushes have a dentist inspired, small, round head which removes more plaque in hard to reach areas.

A sonic toothbrush works in an entirely different way.

In addition to the regular scrubbing motion of a regular toothbrush it also creates a secondary cleansing motion to disrupt plaque.

This motion is created beyond where the tips of the bristles can reach and is called fluid dynamics.[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4_MGFd2Sug[/embedyt]

Fluid dynamics refers to the process where the intense speed and vibration of the brush head’s oscillating bristles agitate the fluids surrounding the teeth so that plaque is disrupted.

After that, the regular motion of the brush head takes the plaque away.

With sonic toothbrushes, the fluid dynamics also creates tiny micro bubbles from the motion of the bristles in an air/fluid environment.

Plaque can be disrupted by the energy created when these tiny micro bubbles burst. This happens when they are forcefully propelled against the tooth.

In reading this, it might make sense that a sonic type toothbrush would have added benefits when it comes to plaque removal.

However, it has to be stated that there needs to be more research to prove the long-term benefit of using a sonic toothbrush over other types of electric toothbrushes. 

A recent 6-month clinical evaluation was performed comparing the different types of electric toothbrushes and can be viewed from the National Health Institute.

Non-the-less, a sonic toothbrush will more effectively clean your teeth than a manual toothbrush.

The biggest part of sonic brush’s cleaning mechanism is due to the conventional scrubbing action of the bristles on the teeth.

What is the best electric toothbrushEach of these methods is very effective at cleaning your teeth.

When choosing between rotating/oscillating/pulsating or sonic toothbrushes, it is a matter of personal preference.

Some people like the quietness of the sonic vibration while others may be sensitive to the vibration so the rotating/oscillating/pulsating style brush is preferred.

Look For ADA Seal of Acceptance

ADA stands for American Dental Association.

The ADA Seal of Acceptance was founded back in 1931 to give consumers a way of finding oral health care products that are safe and effective.

When a toothbrush has the ADA Seal of Acceptance, you know that the toothbrush has been proven to be safe and effective at remove plaque and also for helping to prevent and reduce inflammation of the gums.

In order for a product to earn the ADA Seal of Acceptance, it has to meet the ADA standards and pass a number of ADA laboratory tests.

When a product displays this seal, you can be rest assured that the guess work has been done for you and you are getting a quality product that works!

Always look for the ADA Seal of Acceptance on an electric toothbrush. The Oral B and Sonicare toothbrushes all have this seal.

So What’s The Best Electric Toothbrush?

Let’s look at the top 5 choices:

Best of the Best- Oral B Genius Pro 8000

Oral B Genius Pro 8000Features and details

  • Position detection helps you brush the way your dentist recommends which tracks the time you’ve spent brushing each area of the mouth
  • Smartphone Oral B app uses innovative technology and your device’s camera to ensure you do not miss a zone
  • Pressure sensor technology to prevent over brushing which automatically reduces brush speed and a visual alert when too much pressure is applied to protect teeth and gums
  • 6 different cleaning modes: Daily Clean, Gum Care, Sensitive, Whitening, Tongue Cleaning and Pro Clean Mode
  • Real time visual coaching
  • Amazon Dash Replenishment option to automatically reorder replacement heads when it’s time if you choose
  • Travel case that allows charging of your smartphone and toothbrush at the same time
  • Built in timer

Cons

  • Slightly noisy
  • Can take a few days to get used to
  • Pricier than other Oral B models

Best for Complete Oral Care- Sonicare DiamondClean Smart

Philips Sonicare DiamondClean SmartFeatures and details

  • Smartphone app combines smart sensors to provide real-time feedback perfecting your technique
  • Location sensor tracks where you have brushed and where you have missed
  • Brush head reordering service automatically orders new brush heads for you when needed
  • Glass holder that instantly starts charging your brushes when you simply place your toothbrush in it
  • 5 modes including: Clean, White+, Deep Clean+, Gum Health and TongueCare+
  • 3 intensities: High, Medium and Low
  • Pressure sensor to alert you when you apply too much pressure- light ring on handle lights up
  • 4 different brush head types that automatically pair with the appropriate brushing mode
  • Built in timer

Cons

  • No stand or holder for smartphone
  • No brush head storage
  • More expensive than other Sonicare models

The Best Sonic Clean for the Price- Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100

Philips Sonicare ProtectiveClean 6100Features and details

  • Built in pressure sensor
  • Surface stain removal to whiten teeth
  • 3 intensities, high, medium and low
  • 3 modes including: Clean, White and Gum Care
  • Safe and gentle for sensitive teeth
  • Includes travel case
  • BrushSync tracks how long you have been using your brush head for and when it’s time to replace
  • 2 weeks of regular use from a single charge
  • Built in timer

Cons

  • Brush heads can be expensive depending on where you buy them
  • May have more features than you need

High Performer With Low Price- Oral B Pro 1000

Oral B Pro 1000Features and details

  • Rechargeable with one mode- Daily Clean
  • Clinically proven superior cleaning action rotates, oscillates and pulsates simultaneously
  • Pressure sensor will stop brushing action if too much pressure is applied
  • Features the CrossAction toothbrush head with crisscross bristles to reach between teeth
  • Compatible with a variety of Oral B brush heads for every oral care need
  • Amazon’s #1 best-seller
  • Built in timer
  • Very affordable

Cons

  • Does not come with extra features such as smartphone technology
  • No position detection to alert you to areas you’ve missed
  • No choices of modes or intensities

The Best Sonic Brush With Water Flossing- Waterpik SonicFusion

Waterpik SonicFusionFeatures and details

  • Combines the proven effectiveness of the Waterpik Water Flosser with the power of an advanced sonic toothbrush
  • The head of the brush contains a built-in water flosser tip
  • Time saving as brushing and flossing can be achieved at the same time
  • There are settings up to 10 to customize comfort and intensity of the clean desired
  • Built in timer
  • Comes with 2 patented water flossing heads
  • Includes travel case
  • Features 3 modes: brush, floss, and brush + floss
  • Water flossing removes twice as much bacterial plaque than traditional floss

Cons

  • When traveling you can take brush away from water reservoir and it will hold a charge for a full week or you can bring entire unit with you to utilize water flossing option
  • Basic model will hold 2 fewer ounces of water than professional model but professional model will take up slightly more space on the counter

Learn more about the Waterpik SonicFusion toothbrush by reading the product review or you can watch the video below.

[embedyt] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fr8uVNbFtMk[/embedyt]Now You Know What Is the Best Electric Toothbrush

I have outlined what is the best electric toothbrush and given you the 5 best choices of Oral B and sonic brushes.

By choosing an electric toothbrush, you will have made the choice to improve your oral health.

By improving your oral health, you are also improving your overall health. 

Read more about other oral health solutions you can implement into your home care.   

The mouth is a window into the health of the body.

Ongoing research studies are showing the relationship between bacterial plaque and many systemic diseases including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s Disease.

These are just to name a few!

If you can afford it, you will be very satisfied with a higher end model.

You get what you pay for with more overall features.

However, if affordability is an issue, you will still be getting a very good electric brush with the less expensive versions mentioned.

Please feel free to leave any questions or concerns below and I will be happy to help.

I encourage you to please take the first step to better oral health by investing in an electric toothbrush. You are not only investing in your smile but a better overall you!

Medical Disclaimer:
The information that I provide on my website is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Care and investigation should always be sought from an appropriate health care provider.  I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one.  I have created this site as a way to share information and experiences. 


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The Best Teeth Whitening Products- Dental Hygienist’s Top 3

Dental Hygienist's Teeth Whitening ProductsWhen considering the best teeth whitening products on the market, it is easy to get confused.

There are so many options to choose from, how do you know which ones work?

As a Dental Hygienist, I would like to share with you the top 3 choices of the best teeth whitening products available today.

I will get straight to the point as to which products work, how they work and what to expect for results. 

Please read more about me in the About the Author page.

What Makes the Best Teeth Whitening Product?

According to the ADA (American Dental Association) there are only two active ingredients that will actually change the shade of your enamel.

These two ingredients are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide.

Only whiteners with these active ingredients will work.

You should consider saving your time and money if thinking of using any other type of whitener.white teeth,

Products with high percentages of peroxide can cause tissue damage and should only be used with a dentist’s supervision.

The percentages you want to safely use at home are 35% carbamide peroxide or 15% hydrogen peroxide.

At any rate, it is always a good idea to check with your dentist before using any whitening product to make sure you are getting what is best your teeth and gums.

You can safely and effectively whiten your teeth at home if you choose the right product.  Learn more about how teeth whitening works from Wikipedia.

Make sure the product has the ADA seal of acceptance.

This is the American Dental Association’s verification that the product is safe to use and measures up to its marketing claims.

This seal removes doubt from all the whitening product claims and is a valuable sign of product quality.

And above all, what makes the best whitening product is the fact that it works! Keep reading and I will disclose the top 3 best whitening products.

Opalescence Go 15%

This is Ultradent’s newest whitening product. The Opalescence Go 15% kit comes with form fitting trays that adapt to your teeth completely.

The trays span from molar to molar and provide complete coverage of all your teeth.

The kit comes with 20 trays, 10 for your top teeth and 10 for your bottom teeth.

The trays are prefilled and can be worn right out of the package with no mess.

These can be worn simultaneously or you can choose if you only want to whiten your top or bottom teeth.

This product molds completely to your teeth instantly and in my opinion, amazingly comfortable.

I also like that it is pleasant tasting- almost like a mild minty fresh taste. Opalescence Go 15% contain 15% hydrogen peroxide and only need to be worn for 15-20 minutes a day.

Yes, you read that right, only 15-20 minutes a day! They can be worn for 5-10 days depending on the results you would like to receive.

The superior adaptability of the trays ensure that the active ingredient stays in contact with your teeth during the whitening procedure.

Your results will last at least 6 months and most people experience results after only 2-3 treatments.

This product has a few added benefits that other whitening systems do not.

From a Dental Hygienist’s view, these features make this product stand out above the others.

These benefits are added potassium nitrate and fluoride.

Potassium nitrate helps reduce sensitivity and is the added ingredient in common sensitivity toothpastes like Sensodyne.

This ingredient blocks the tubules from the outside of the tooth leading to the nerve to block sensitivity to hot and cold.

Fluoride will strengthen the enamel, provide sensitivity protection and reduce cavities.

So together, these two added ingredients will help to improve the overall health of the teeth.  Learn more about caring for your teeth and gums here.

Opalescence Go products are sold through dentists and considered Professional products; therefore are not approved by the American Dental Association because of the strength of peroxide being used.

So, you are not going to see the ADA seal of Acceptance on this product but you can feel rest assured because it is recommended and supplied through dental offices nationwide.

Dentist-supervised methods include at-home and in-office options. 

Whitening products supplied by dentists for use at home or applied by dentists in the office are considered “professional products” and are not eligible for the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Whitestrips

You can safely remove 10 years of stains and whiten your teeth 25 times better than a leading whitening toothpaste with these Whitestrips.

These are thin, flexible strips that are coated with a tooth whitening gel. The active ingredient is 10% hydrogen peroxide.

These strips mold to the shape of your teeth and are used once a day for 30 minutes.

The strips have a no slip grip on your teeth and I have been able to drink a glass of water without these strips moving out of place.

Due to “Advanced Seal Technology” they will stay where you put them until you take them off.

Most Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Whitestrips come with 28 strips.

This is 14 treatments if you do both your top teeth and bottom teeth at the same time.

However, feel free to only do your top teeth or only your bottom teeth if that’s all that show when you smile. It is your choice.

Feel free to only do as many strips as you feel you need to.

If you reach your desired whiteness, you can save the rest of the box for a future date. The results will last 6 months.

You may have a wedding or reunion coming up and you can easily wear a few strips just to brighten up your smile for a special occasion.

Crest 3D White Luxe Glamorous White Whitestrips are the first and only whitening strips accepted by the American Dental Association.

So, you can feel confident that purchasing this over the counter product will give you safe and effective results.

These Whitestrips contain the same enamel-safe teeth whitening ingredient as dentists use, so this is another reason you can feel good about their safety and effectiveness.

Be sure to effectively brush and floss or remove plaque from between your teeth by other means before applying any whitening treatment. 

This will allow you to achieve maximum results.  Clean teeth will allow better absorption of the active ingredients in the best teeth whitening products.

Opalescence PF 35% Teeth Whitening Gel Syringes/Trays

This product is a complete at home whitening treatment system.

It comes with customizable (thermoforming) at home whitening trays or can be purchased in a refill kit if you want to use trays you already may have.

The trays that come with it are heated up in boiling water which you will then bite into to make a form fitting tray that will hold the gel in place on your teeth.

With the easy syringe delivery, Opalescence PF 35% is easily customizable for each person’s individual needs.

Say you have crowns on some teeth, well you do not need to apply the gel to these areas because crowns and veneers will not bleach.

This can be a money saving feature that allows you to place the gel only where you need it which will make the product last longer.

This product is often recommended by dentists to remove discoloration of teeth due to systemic, traumatic, congenital or pharmacologic (caused by medication) causes. It can simply be used for darkening of teeth due to aging.

Opalescence PF 35% Teeth Whitening Gel contains carbamide peroxide, 20% water to prevent dehydration, potassium nitrate for sensitivity and fluoride for cavity prevention.

Each syringe contains 1.2ml of whitening gel and can be purchased in amounts of 4 or 8 syringes at a time.

To use this product you would fill the tray with a bead of gel halfway up the front of the facial side of each tray in the areas you wish to bleach.

This should use about 1/3 of a syringe. Place in your mouth and wear for 30 minutes. Rinse afterwards to remove any remaining gel.

You will see impressive results within a week but can be safely worn once a day for 30 minutes for several weeks.

However, you will want to discontinue once your desired results are achieved. Results will last for at least 6 months.

I have personally seen no regression years later of enamel shade for my patients who use this.

This formulation also comes in 20% carbamide peroxide if you wish but most people prefer the 35% gel for faster results.

You can keep the product refrigerated to prolong its shelf life but it should last 18 months.

The reason dental professionals prefer this product is due to its viscosity.

It is a very thick, sticky gel (unlike the other thin watery gels of other products).

This is important because it is thicker than saliva and therefore won’t be easily diluted in your mouth.

Use A Safe Product That Works!

best teeth whitening productsI invite you to try any one of the best whitening products- Dental Hygienist’s top 3.

You will not be disappointed with any of these choices.

When it comes to choosing which one is best for you, it is a matter of preference in how you would like to achieve your whitening results.

If you want a convenient, on the go, all in one product that is fast, then you will want to choose Opalescence GO 15%.

This product will also give you potassium nitrate for sensitivity relief and fluoride for cavity prevention.

If you would rather wear a thin strip that is form fitting to your teeth and super comfortable, then choose the Crest 3D White Lux Glamorous Whitestrips.

This product has the ADA seal of acceptance.

Or, if you want to wear a custom fitted tray and apply the gel only where you want or need it, then please choose Opalescence PF 35% gel syringe/tray system.

This product also provides cavity prevention and sensitivity relief.

All 3 of these Dental Hygienist top 3 choices for best whitening products are recommended and used in dental offices. However, these products are now available over the counter for convenient at home use.

Please feel free to leave a question or comment below and I will be more than happy to reply. Thanks for reading and enjoy your white teeth!

Medical Disclaimer:
The information that I provide on my website is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Care and investigation should always be sought from an appropriate health care provider.  I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one.  I have created this site as a way to share information and experiences. 

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Gum Disease and Treatment- You Have It-Now What?

Treating gum disease

Have you been told you have gum disease?

Maybe your dentist hasn’t told you but you think you might.

Or maybe, you are like so many people who do not see their dentist regularly which means you probably do. 

You need to know about gum disease and treatment- and if you have it, now what?

Gum disease is an infection that affects the tissues and bone that support your teeth.

It is also known as periodontal disease. Our teeth are meant to last a lifetime- and they can with proper care.

Learning about gum disease and treatment will increase your chances of overcoming this unfortunate condition.

More than half of all people over age 18 have at least the early stage of gum disease.

After age 35, 75% of all adults are affected by some form of this disease. This means that you or someone you know is most likely affected by this disease.

In this article, I will explain the causes of gum disease, stages and the connection between gum disease and other health issues. 

I am a Dental Hygienist and  would like to help you improve the health of your teeth and gums.

Please read more about me in the About the Author page.

Also, you will learn how gum disease is found, risk factors, symptoms of this condition and what to do if you have it.

Gum disease

What Causes Gum Disease?

There are numerous types of bacteria that live in your mouth.

While this is normal, it is possible for certain types of bacteria to outgrow the others. When this happens, the gum disease process begins.

It all starts with plaque. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

These bacteria create toxins which cause inflammation of the gums and break down the attachment of gum tissues to the teeth.

When plaque is not effectively removed from the tooth surface, it can harden into something called tartar.

Tartar on your teeth make it harder for you to keep your teeth clean on your own. The tartar also acts as an area for bacteria to hang out and cause further problems.

The toxins given off by bacteria cause the gums to become red, puffy and swollen.

When this happens, the gums can start to pull away from the teeth creating spaces called pockets.

These pockets collect more bacteria and then gum disease gets worse.

What’s The Big Deal?

The mouth is a window into the health of the body.

Ongoing research is showing that many systemic diseases are related to the health of our mouths.

Diseases that affect the entire body may be first noticed because of oral problems or gum disease.

According to a growing body of evidence, gum disease could play a role in many seemingly unrelated health problems.

Not taking good care of our teeth and gums can lead to more than gum disease. Research has linked gum disease to many other diseases and health conditions.

These include but are not limited to: diabetes, stroke, heart disease, kidney disease, asthma, cancer, premature births, osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s disease.

Experts say that inflammation is probably the common denominator. Gum disease, marked by inflammation may increase inflammation throughout the entire body.

We now know that inflammation is an underlying problem in many of these other health conditions.

Although gum disease may contribute to these health problems, it’s important to know that just because two conditions occur at the same time, doesn’t necessarily mean that one condition caused the other. That is why researchers are studying what happens when gum disease is treated in people who have these health problems.

Types of Gum Disease

There are many forms of gum disease.

The most common forms are gingivitis and adult periodontitis.

The earliest stage is gingivitis which affects only the gum tissue and not the supporting bone structure.

This form of gum disease is reversible.

In gingivitis, the gums become tender, red, swollen and bleed easily. This happens when the toxins in plaque irritate the gums.

You may notice when you brush or floss that there is a pinkish color to the toothpaste you spit out into the sink.

This is a sign that you have bleeding gums and is most often the first sign of gum disease you will notice.

Periodontitis is the more advanced stage of gum disease. At this stage, the gums, bone and supporting ligaments become damaged.

Plaque spreads to your tooth roots under the gum line creating spaces between the tooth and gum called pockets.

In periodontitis, the pockets harbor more and more bacteria.

An infection occurs which can damage the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place. At this stage, teeth may become noticeably loose.

In the advanced stage of periodontitis, the fibers and bone holding the teeth in place are destroyed to the point where the teeth may fall out or need to be extracted.

This stage will cause your teeth to shift, loosen and affect the way your teeth come together when you bite.

How Do You Know if You Have Gum Disease?

It is important to have regular dental checkups and exams because it is not always easy to know if you have gum disease.

Visit your dentist if you notice any of these signs:

  • Gums that bleed when you brush or floss
  • Red, puffy, swollen or tender gums
  • Gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • Loose or separating teeth
  • Pus that appears between your teeth and gums
  • Bad breath that is constant and will not go away
  • Persistent bad taste in your mouth
  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures

Other Factors Causing Gum Disease

Plaque is the main culprit causing gum disease. However, there are other factors you need to be aware of that may contribute to this condition:

  • Smoking or chewing tobacco- these habits include chemical and physical irritants to the gums
  • Systemic diseases such as diabetes, blood cell disorders or HIV infections and AIDS can lower the body’s resistance to infection, making gum disease worse
  • Hormonal changes such as pregnancy, birth control or changes in hormone levels
  • Certain medications such as calcium channel blockers, anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs or steroids
  • Genetics
  • Stress
  • Poor diet
  • Crooked teeth, bad fillings or restorations can harbor bacteria causing the condition to progress
  • Habits such as clenching or grinding teeth may increase the rate of supporting bone loss

While these things may contribute to periodontal diseases, they do not cause them.

If one or more of these circumstances apply to you, you can still have good oral health by practicing good plaque control and following your dentist’s advice.

Preventing Gum DiseasePreventing gum disease

Brushing thoroughly twice a day will help to remove the accumulation of bacterial plaque.

Studies show that it only takes an average of twelve hours for bacterial plaque to start mineralizing from the minerals in your saliva.

If you are removing the bacteria every twelve hours (or twice daily) you will be ahead of the tartar formation process.

The tartar on your teeth and below the gum line does not actually cause the gum disease but it acts as an area for the bacterial plaque to harbor.

The bacteria  give off inflammation causing toxins that irritate the gums.  You can learn more about home treatment for gum disease in this article.

Floss every day or use some other means of removing plaque and food debris from between your teeth.

A Waterpik (oral irrigator) can remove twice the amount of bacterial plaque from between teeth than flossing can.

Use a soft bristled toothbrush and remember to replace your brush every 3 months to keep the bristles in good shape.

You can improve your cleaning capability by using an electric toothbrush versus a manual brush.

Using an electric toothbrush will give you up to 50,000 brush strokes per minute compared to only 500 brush strokes per minute with the average manual toothbrush.

Combining an oral irrigator with an electric toothbrush will give you the best plaque removing device possible for your home care.

Waterpik has designed a device called the Waterpik Sonic Fusion that allows from brushing and flossing your teeth at the same time.

Use a tongue cleaner or tongue scraper. Over time, debris, bacteria and dead cells can build up on the surface of the tongue.

Bacteria give off a material called volatile sulfur compounds as a by product.

This can cause bad breath. By properly using a tongue cleaner on a daily basis, you can greatly improve your oral hygiene.

What Else Can Help Prevent Gum Disease?Healthy food to prevent gum disease

Eat a balanced diet. Research indicates that proper nutrition makes mouth tissues more resistant to infection.

Supplementing with an oral probiotic will promote the proper microbiome (balance of good and bad bacteria) in the mouth promoting oral health.

Probiotics are mostly known for benefiting digestive health but now research shows they can keep your mouth healthy too.

Oral probiotics can prevent plaque, fight bad breath, manage symptoms of gum disease and decrease the inflammation caused by gum disease.

Curcumin for gum disease

Supplementing with high quality (absorbable form) of curcumin will prevent and treat inflammation.

We now know that inflammation is a key component in the breakdown and destruction of our gum tissues.

Our inflammatory response to the toxins in bacterial plaque needs to be controlled in order for gum disease to be controlled.

When choosing a form of curcumin, it is important to use only a product that your body can use.

There are many forms of turmeric with curcumin on the market but you will essentially be wasting your money unless you purchase a product that your body can absorb.

Terry Naturally has developed a product called CuraMed with superior absorption of curcumin.

When compared gram per gram, CuraMed’s curcumin delivers up to 500 times more curcumin to the bloodstream than turmeric.

This company uses a patented curcumin called BCM-95 that is extracted from turmeric roots.

This is a natural 100% curcumin product that remains in the bloodstream for 8-12 hours, far longer than any other form of curcumin.

Do not forget to schedule regular dental visits. It is essential to have regular professional dental cleanings to prevent periodontal diseases.

Your hygienist or dentist can show you proper home care techniques for adequate plaque removal.

It is understandable that most people do not like to go to the dentist.

However, without regular checkups, it is hard to know if you may have gum disease. If it is caught early, it is more likely to be treated and managed.

So please schedule regular visits with your dentist and hygienist.

Maintenance visits are so much easier than only visiting when you have a toothache or other problem.

By this time, it is often too late and extreme measures like extractions may be needed.

Along with good home care to eliminate plaque, being aware of the state of your gum health is one of the best ways to decrease your chances of gum disease.

Gum Disease and Treatment- If You Have It, Now What?Regular dental visits prevent gum disease

The method of treating periodontal diseases depends on the type of disease you have and how far it has progressed.

The first plan of action is to have a thorough professional cleaning to remove plaque and tartar.

By removing the hardened tartar, it is less likely for the bacterial plaque to hide in the pockets of your gums and give off toxins.

To aid in the healing process, a more thorough or deep cleaning may be needed.

This process may require local anesthetic or numbing of the tissues for added comfort.

This process is called scaling and root planing.

By doing this procedure, the roots are smoothed so bacterial plaque is less likely to attach allowing the gum tissue to heal.

Certain antimicrobial mouth rinses may be prescribed as well as antibiotics.

However, research is ongoing whether these treatment options are beneficial to the healing process.

Often times, these are used as an adjunct to other oral hygiene practices.

Periodontal or gum surgery may be required when the spaces or pockets between your teeth and gums progress.

They may get so deep that you can no longer manage them with good home care and regular cleanings.

Newer technology allows for lasers to perform periodontal surgery.

This is a less invasive procedure with better outcomes and faster healing times.

Surgery is usually recommended for the advanced stages of gum disease to remove these pockets. 

If the pockets are allowed to remain, this invites infection and bone destruction.

With surgery, the pockets and diseased tissue are removed and then sutured back into a new position that will be easier for you to keep clean.

In ConclusionTreating gum disease

Knowing what gum disease is and what causes it is the first step in helping to prevent it. 

With good habits and home care, the beginning stages can be reversed.

If it progresses, you do have options for treating it. 

In any treatment plan, emphasis needs to be placed on good oral hygiene to keep gum disease from progressing or recurring.

Remember, you don’t need to take care of all of your teeth, only the ones you wish to keep!

Please leave a reply or a comment below and I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.  

To learn more keep reading related posts on oral health solutions!

 

Medical Disclaimer:
The information that I provide on my website is not intended to take the place of medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Care and investigation should always be sought from an appropriate health care provider.  I am not a doctor and do not claim to be one.  I have created this site as a way to share information and experiences. 

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