Ever get your teeth cleaned and feel like you’re getting a tune-up on your pearly whites? If so, you’ve made the right correlation. Getting your teeth checked is like getting your tires rotated or having your car serviced. After a certain number of miles, your car will need to be checked, just as you teeth need to be checked after not visiting the dentist after a certain amount of time. This way, you can make sure that there are no cavities, tooth decay, or other problems that may develop down the road for your teeth. Just as your car, you would need a checkup every few months to make sure everything is running smoothly to prevent it from breaking down. Be sure to care for your teeth and visit a dentist at least twice a year. This can avoid hitting any bumps in the road for a smooth ride to a better smile!
Common Dental Hygienist Tools
Those shiny silver tools that are propped next to you in the dentist’s chair may look intimidating, but they’re not as scary as you think. At the end of the day, they’re just there to help fix any problems with your teeth or clean away any debris! Here are some common tools used by dental hygienists along with their functions:
Mouth Mirror: This guy pretty much speaks for itself. This is to help the hygienist get views of your mouth at different angles. It is also used to reflect light and to retract your lips, cheeks, and tongue
Air Drill: This compact air compressor targets and gets rid of any small, early areas of tooth decay
Cotton Forceps: The job for these guys is to grasp and/or transfer any material in and out of the mouth without disturbing or interacting with any teeth
Explorers: The name says it all. These guys explore and examine any tooth decay, canals, and other things that look out of the ordinary. They have pointed tips which are either sharp, thin, or flexible which can poke around to find any cavities
Smooth Condenser: So what’s so smooth about this tool, you ask? It’s ends are! They can be round or flat, small or large, and single or double-sided. The function of this guy is to pack cavity filling into the space your dentist cleared
Hatchet: The name may sound frightening, but this tool is harmless. It is mainly used when preparing for cavity procedures and removes unsupported enamel from the tooth. This guy has a one-sided handle with an angled pointed tip on the other side
Disposable Saliva Ejector: Ah, the almighty “spit sucker” that hangs out of your mouth to get rid of any excess saliva. This guy vacuums up any saliva, water, or other debris during procedures and cleaning
There are many more tools used, but these are the most popular of the bunch. So now that you’re aware of what these guys do and what they look like, don’t freak out next time you happen to look over at those shiny tools; they’re only there to get the job done and pave the way to a better smile!
Why And How NOT To Fear The Dentist
So the day has finally come for your dental appointment. You may be super anxious, but there’s no need to freak out! We have some things for you to think about and try to soothe those nerves away before heading into the dentist’s office.
- Remember that it might not be as bad as you think- you could be overthinking which can cause you to stress more.
- Bring a companion with you! Your parent, friend, or family members can lessen any stress you may be having by keeping you company and assuring you that everything will be okay.
- Breathe, breathe, BREATHE! For a relaxation technique, take a big breath in and let it out slowly. It’ll do wonders if your nerves start getting the better of you.
- Stay hydrated and have something to eat to make sure you feel good before seeing the dentist.
- Doctors are here to help you! The outcome of any procedure is to better your teeth or any problem you may be having. Keep looking forward to that positive outcome you will receive.
- Remember that this procedure won’t last forever and it’ll all be over before you know it. Once it is, you’ll feel like a million bucks!
What Are Your Teeth Actually Made Of?
Let’s take things step by step here. First and foremost, your teeth have several layers to them; each with a purpose. The hard outer shell of your teeth is called enamel. The purpose of enamel is to protect the inner layers of your teeth. So how strong is enamel, exactly? You might be surprised by this, but enamel is actually the hardest substance in your body! It’s even harder than your bones. So what’s underneath that hard, shiny armor? The next layer after the enamel is called dentin. Dentin protects the very inner layer of your teeth, known as pulp. It’s also a little less stronger than enamel but is just about as hard as your bones. So what’s this “pulp” we speak of and why does it need to be protected? Pulp contains the nerve endings of your teeth and is where the blood supply can be found that connects to each tooth to provide the nutrients needed for each. Pretty neat, huh? But we’re not done yet! What about the roots of your teeth? These substances, called cementum, anchor each tooth to the jawbone.
Facts About Fluoride
Did you wonder about any of the myths you’ve been hearing about fluoride? Well we have a few solid facts to set the record straight!
- Fact #1: Exposing teeth to fluoride during childhood years strengthens teeth over an entire lifetime
- Fact #2: Fluoride prevents tooth decay in the most cost-effective way
- Fact #3: Most of the fluoride in public water is extracted from phosphate rock
- Fact #4: Fluoride isn’t considered dangerous to children when used as intended
- Fact #5: Children who swallow toothpaste are at risk of mild fluorosis
- What is fluorosis you ask? The appearance of brown or white discoloration spots on your teeth from taking in too much fluoride
- Fact #6: Fluoride helps to harden the enamel on adult teeth that have already emerged
Bad Breath, Be Gone!
So how do you keep good smelling breath to stick around longer? We have a few tips to keep you and your mouth smelling fresh throughout the day.
- Chow down on some veggies! These guys will balance out the bad-breath-causing acid in your body.
- Consuming hard texture foods like apples and celery are beneficial for rubbing away any bacteria or residue left on your teeth.
- Stay hydrated! Drink 48 oz – or about 6 cups – of water a day to keep bacteria under control by lubricating your mouth without any acidic chemicals involved.
- Like we went over in previous posts, brush, floss, and clean your tongue as well as rinse with alcohol-free mouthwash. Chewing sugarless gum also helps!
- Tea anyone? Having a cup of tea can wash away smelly germs while preventing any bad-breath-bacteria from forming
- Having some yogurt keeps your mouth smelling nice and sweet from its probiotics
Why Tongue Scrapers and Cleaners are Important
You may not always think of going the extra mile to clean your tongue but the benefits from doing so may be worth it.
- The first advantage you get from keeping your tongue squeaky clean is a crisp, clean taste of every morsel you consume! Keeping your taste buds clean and clear can open up those pores ready to give you bursts of flavor in every bite.
- It can also be advantageous for your immune system! The removal of bacteria keeps your and your mouth clean and away from any toxins from being reabsorbed back into your body.
- The removal of bacteria and other toxins can also reduce the overall buildup of plaque, gum infections, tooth decay, and much more.
How to scrape your tongue
- Stick your tongue out as far as you can
- Place the scraper as far back on your tongue as you can
- Work your way up by gently scraping the surface of your tongue
- Rinse the scraper and repeat until you feel rid of its coating