Think you know your teeth? Dental hygiene students across the country learn the ins and outs of not only how to keep teeth pearly white, but how to keep them healthy so they will last. In addition to the basics of learning how to clean teeth, dental hygiene school students learn interesting tips and facts that can be passed along to patients. Here are a few things your dental hygienist may not have mentioned at your last checkup.
Not All Candy is Created Equal
We've all heard it before that candy is bad for our teeth and should be avoided, but did you know that that not all candies are created equal? Sticky candies like taffy and fruit snacks stick to your teeth, making them harder for your saliva to wash away. Unless you brush immediately after consuming them, these candies have plenty of time to erode the enamel on your teeth as they aren't going anywhere fast. If you're thinking this is only limited to candy, think again. Raisins, touted as a healthy alternative, are just as bad in this respect. If you aren't ready to brush as soon as your snack is eaten, opt instead for candies that dissolve quickly, such as chocolate.
The Truth About Flossing
Anyone who's ever been to the dentist before has surely gotten the flossing lecture. If you routinely visit your dentist, you could probably recite the speech yourself. Flossing is great for helping to prevent cavities and dislodge food, but did you know that there are greater things at stake here than pepper in your teeth and bad breath? Students in dental hygiene schools are taught the deeper implications of flossing and why it is so important. Forgetting to floss leads to periodontal disease, wrecking your gums and potentially causing your teeth to fall out. As if that isn't bad enough, avoiding flossing can also result in heart disease, respiratory illness and diabetes as hidden bacteria tucked between your teeth is allowed to flourish. Strike up a conversation with your dental hygienist next time you're in the chair for the skinny on flossing.
Though covered briefly in dental hygiene school, teeth whitening is a much bigger deal to you than it is your hygienist. While showing off your pearly whites in pictures may be your focus, your hygienist cares primarily that they are clean and free of cavities. In fact, students learn in dental hygiene school that yellow teeth aren't necessarily a bad thing, as they tend to be stronger than white teeth. Rather than paying for expensive whitening procedures or kits to do it at home, ask your dental hygienist about how to take the natural approach. Several foods have been proven to work wonders on lightening teeth, such as strawberries and apples.
If you're still curious and dental hygiene school isn't in your immediate future, talk to your dentist or dental hygienist next time you're in the chair. There is so much information and cool facts that the dental staff may not have time to impart on you before you leave. Ask questions, listen closely, and, most importantly, don't forget to floss!
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