Lets talk dental hygiene and what should ALWAYS be done at your appointment

September 27, 2020

I often get asked how I handle cleaning teeth and being in mouths all day long and the simple answer is that I love it. I find being a Dental Hygienist very rewarding. My day is filled with new people, new conversation, new experiences every hour on the hour each day that I am at work. I’ve met some very interesting people and made some amazing connections with my patients. Even though I only see most patients twice a year we’ve built great relationships with each other and I look forward to seeing them and continuing to grow our friendships.

Dental Hygiene to me is like instant gratification. I usually compare it to ironing or steaming which I recently started and I may love it more than ironing! You have a wrinkly item, hit it with the steamer and BAM! It’s smooth and you can instantly see the results of your work. With dental hygiene, a patient comes in with plaque or tartar (a dirty mouth) and after an hour of work, it’s clean! Every hour on the hour I feel a sense of accomplishment and it’s awesome.

In all seriousness though there is one very important thing that should be done at your dental cleaning appointments and that is a head/neck exam and oral cancer screening. If your hygienist or dentist are not screening you then ask for it! Most people do not spend time inspecting their own mouths and throats so your regular dental appointments are the perfect time for the exam to happen and it can save your life!

Mouth Cancer or Oropharyngeal Cancer is often not thought of as a common form of cancer when in actuality over 600,000 people will be diagnosed worldwide each year according to The WHO. Oral cancer is often caused by alcohol and tobacco use but can also be cause by an HPV infection, sun exposure, diet, etc. Typically people in their 40s are at a higher risk but it’s a good idea to being screenings early on so any changes can be documented. I personally do head and neck exam on each patient regardless of age at every single appointment. It’s less then five minutes of the appointment and can potentially save a life. Early detection can lead to an 83% five year survival rate as opposed to metastasized oral cancer which only has a 36% survival rate. Unfortunately, oral cancer is often found in later stages which is why I stress, if you’re not receiving a head and neck exam at your hygiene appointments than request it! It could be saving your life!

I’ll leave some links for resources regarding oral cancer that I found interesting and helpful xx MJB

American Dental Association

Oral Cancer Foundation

September 27, 2020 – Wellness

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