What People Don’t Ask About Oral Health But Should
My friend Sheila asked me a question the other day that has stuck with me. She asked me “why do hygienists always ask you how often you are flossing?” She went on to say that “they already know the answer!” I asked her what she is asking her dental health care professional. She was taken aback. “What do you mean?” she said.
We all need to ask our dental health care professionals a host of questions about the dental products they’re recommending:
- Science: What is the science behind this product you are recommending? Have studies shown this product to be both safe and effective? Can you share the science you have read with me?
- Show, Tell and Follow up: Ask the dental health care professional to please not just tell you how to use the item but to show you in your own mouth. It is hard for most people to picture what they are being asked to do until they have that hands-on experience.
- Advances: Are there any new advances in dental products that can help me achieve optimal dental and full body health? We know that the bacteria in the mouth can affect oral health and may also affect full body health. New science has led to new products. Ask your dental health care provider for recommendations since they know your mouth and the products to match your needs.
- Disease Transmission: What steps can I take to prevent dental disease from being spread among my family and friends? The bacteria involved in dental diseases can be passed from person to person. Dental diseases (such as cavities and periodontal disease) are highly transmittable. Solutions can include an antibacterial toothbrush cover and not storing toothbrushes together. These simple steps can make a huge difference.
- Tailoring cleaning between teeth: With the shape, size and alignment of my teeth, is floss the only thing that I can use to clean between my teeth? Are there any other dental products that will do the same thing? If you’re having trouble flossing, let your dental health care professional know. They have many things they can recommend. For example, GUM® Soft-Picks® are a great addition for patients with large hands or difficulty getting between the teeth. Make your dental professional aware of your needs and ability to follow through on their recommendation.
I am sure Sheila’s hygienist will have a whole new list of topics to talk about since Sheila is going to bring new questions to the chair. There are so many new advances in dentistry and prevention. Asking the right questions can lead to all those solutions.