In honor of National Dental Health Month, I’m going to let you in on some things you probably don’t know about me. I was a dental hygienist in my former life…Ok, well maybe in this life, but it feels like ages ago. Confession time: I still keep my licenses and the geek in me thoroughly enjoys a day in the clinic from time to time. That said, I’ve got some sneaky secrets to share.
5 Secrets I Learned as a Dental Hygienist
1.You have to have dental insurance to have a healthy smile.
That couldn’t be further from the truth! As a dental hygienist,the healthiest mouths I’ve seen were the folks who did their homework (aka brushing and flossing diligently) but only came in once a year. Yeah, once a year that’s what I said. These hard working patients saved the monthly insurance premium, did what they were supposed to home, and paid out of pocket for their visit. They saved both time and cash.
2. Professional whitening is the key to a bright white smile.
Nope, try diluting some hydrogen peroxide twice a week. 1/2 water, 1/2 peroxide and brushing with it. Done! PS, when we have to remove some serious stain in the office, that’s what your dental hygienists is using!
3. The key to strong cavity free teeth is lots and lots (and lots) of fluoride.
Friends, this is a sad and downright dangerous money making lie! That’s right, fluoride is a big money maker for dentists because it’s often not covered by insurance and it’s cheap. Fluoride is linked to kidney disease, cognitive damage, thyroid dysfunction, bone cancer and the list goes on! By all means, refuse the fluoride treatment. It’s what’s best for your health and your wallet. I’m not trying to harp, but please also switch to a fluoride free toothpaste as well. Check for the safest brands here.
Here are my favorite brands:
Earthpaste ~a minty fresh paste
Theodent ~ kid friendly & approved
4. Mouthwash is the best way to kill germs and prevent bad breath and periodontal disease
DIY tip #2, warm salt water is the bomb for your mouth. Germs, especially the dangerous gum disease causing ones really cannot live in a saline environment. (Hint: that’s why it works so well on a sore throat!) Alcohol and other additives in mouthwash are linked to throat cancer (1.) among other issues. If you have a sore in your mouth, are prone to periodontal disease or just need to freshen your breath, rinse with warm water and a tsp of high quality salt.
5. The doctor (aka dentist) knows best
Actually, this may surprise you , but that 30 second peak the doc takes around your mouth isn’t how your dentist gained the knowledge of that cavity on your back tooth. It’s because of your dental hygienist who just spent an hour in your stinky mouth (I mean let’s show em some love- it’s a tough job.) She pointed it out to the dentist when she went to get him from his office, but the law says she can’t tell you. She’s often the true guru and reason a problem could go unnoticed, if it weren’t for her detail oriented diligence.
Anyone else having a difficult time escaping the face of Stu as you read this?
Don’t forget to pin this for the easy DIY tips and tweet it out now!
1. Dental Journal of Australia (December 2008; 53(4): pages 302-305)
Melissa Schollaert is a Holistic Health & Nutrition Counselor and founder of Real Nutritious Living. Helping others achieve their health goals to attain their healthiest, happiest life is her greatest ambition.