With Your Home Care, Does Your Dental Professional Engage You or Shame You?

As a dental practitioner, you are taught to focus on preventive health.

Dental VisitAs your relationships with patients develop, they often become more like friendships, bonds that becomes so comfortable that patients begin to share secrets, family vacations, and recipes with you. Over time, your role tends to become part oral healthcare provider, part therapist, and part public relations agent for your office.

Your intentions are good, and you do the best job that you can with the time you have with patients in the chair. But you don’t want to make your favorite patients uncomfortable and tell them what is actually going on in their mouth.

But when you begin to learn the true implications of oral disease, you realize that you are inadvertently putting your patient at unnecessary risk for total body disease.

If you are not addressing home care, you are putting your patients at risk for chronic disease.

Plenty of scientific evidence shows that bacteria found in mature plaque are a contributing factor in overall disease conditions. Yet, these bacteria can only be controlled when a patient understands how to manage their home care in a way that stops plaque from building up.

We can be the best scalers on the planet, but unless we learn to be great communicators, coaches, and trainers, we are doing a huge disservice to our patients. Sooner or later, they are bound to find out that the service provided has not helped them with their overall health, and instead may even be contributing to the disease they are now trying to manage.

This does not mean that you get to run over your patients like a steamroller and berate them for not flossing. If your patients do not want to floss, find another alternative and teach them how to use it effectively. Let them know that this tool may not be your No. 1 choice, but that you will show them how to use it. Then, you and your patient can re-evaluate the area at the next visit.

Becoming an effective communicator takes a bit of work,

but the single most effective thing that you can say to your patient is: “I’m learning new things about systemic health that I’d like to share with you. When I am looking at your mouth and I notice something that looks like it is home care-related, is it something that you would like to know about?”

The vast majority of the time patients grant permission, and that permission brings the communication barrier down from the patient’s perspective. Focus on a healthy area first, and then highlight an area that is not so healthy. Correlate the buildup in that area and then show them (in their mouth) what tool will help. Open that tool and use it in their mouth with them so that they see and feel it.

Focus on only one skill at each visit,

and praise patients for what they are doing right. They will become engaged and will be excited to show you next time what they have been focusing on.

Never tell them that they are doing a great job and leave it at that. Give them something to strive for and not a reason to be complacent.

Effective home care isn’t rocket science, but it is technique-sensitive. Every patient deserves the right to know how to be healthy, and how to use their tools correctly. It is our job to help patients understand how they can be effective at home and to communicate it in a way that empowers them into a healthier situation.

If you are looking for real answers to your oral health issues, I invite you to visit www.OralHealthCoaching.com and see the online program that was designed to help you learn the easy tricks and tips that have your mouth the healthiest it can be.  Learn how to stop bleeding gums and cavities at home and make your dental visits easy and make your dental work last!

What are your thoughts on your dental providers, or do you not visit the dentist regularly?  Leave a comment and let’s discuss!

Can Periogen and Water Flossing Stop Gum Disease and Bleeding Gums?

Stop Gum DiseaseWe all know the recommended saying.  Brush, floss and visit your dental office twice a year.  But what is so important about that twice yearly appointment, and what are they trying to do while you are there?

There are key factors to a dental exam

For starters, your appointment should include an exam, and in that exam they should be checking for any lumps, bumps or abnormalities.  Although I haven’t had my teeth cleaned in over 4 years (yes I said it, and you can get there too if you want), I still visit the dentist for an exam.  Oral cancer is on the rise again and I want to make sure that I am healthy.

Then you get to the nitty gritty of the appointment, the “cleaning”.  This consists of various tools to clean above and below the gum line in order to remove the plaque and tartar.  Although this seems easy enough, tartar below the gum line is often hard to remove because the hygienist (or dentist) is using their fingers to “feel” the tartar.  To make things more difficult, if the instruments aren’t really sharp only the top portion of the tartar is removed, leaving what is called burnished calculus (calculus is the clinical term for tartar).  Burnished tartar may seem smooth, but in fact it is rough and allows bacteria to hold on to it which is how plaque grows and increases the negative bacteria in the gums.  This is the all time recipe for gum disease and infection.

Why Periogen, and water flossing?

Using Periogen is amazing for the simple fact that it dissolves tartar build up, and if you missed the post on what it is all about, click here and then come back when you are done…..go ahead, I’ll wait…..

Now that you have gotten the jest of Periogen, it’s important to understand that rinsing with it does not allow the solution to get under the gum line and in between the teeth, which is where that nasty tartar is hanging out.  An irrigator however, flushes out the pocket, and delivers Periogen to the root surface which is where burnished calculus lives.   If you want to know more about irrigation, click here to learn the benefits.

I’ve been told I need deep cleanings and would like another option

Deep cleanings seem to be the in style thing right now!  Why?  Well that answer is twofold.  The first is that most people have some form of gum disease, and the other is because deep cleanings are far more beneficial to the dental office in terms of money generated.

In the past, dental offices would take the first appointment and examine a patient and if there were areas of disease present they would teach the patient how to work on their home care, send them home for a few weeks and see what the patient could achieve on their own and then re-evaluate the situation.

Nowadays many offices jump straight into deep cleanings, many of them doing all 4 sections of your mouth in 1-2 visits with little to no numbing.

LET ME BE CLEAR ABOUT SOMETHING…WHEN DEEP CLEANINGS ARE DONE THOROUGHLY, IT WILL USUALLY REQUIRES SOME FORM OF NUMBING AGENT, AND USUALLY MORE THAN JUST TOPICAL GEL. 

If you are able to sit through a deep cleaning without anesthesia, chances are that you may not need the extensive $600-$1,000 procedure, and it may be something that you can tackle at home with better knowledge and the right tools!

Deep cleanings can be great, but daily home care is still important

Instead of jumping into that deep cleaning, try something like 21 Days to a Healthy Mouth an online e-course; this will give you daily how to instructions that will help you get to the areas that may be having an issue.  Invest in products like Periogen and either a Hydrofloss or a Water Pik (personally I like the one for kids because it is pressure regulated not to damage the gums which many can do).

Learn how to really clean and massage the gums, learn how to use alternatives to flossing, and be certain that you see the areas that need deep cleaning (preferably with a camera that shows in the mouth).

What can I do in order to take care of my mouth?

Help Stop Gum Disease

Know what a healthy area of your mouth looks like, and know what the areas that are infected look like.  Look at the difference in gum color and texture, and ask to see it again when you go back to the office.  Don’t be afraid to ask and learn, because chances are that if someone is rushing into these procedures they are going to be too rushed to do a thorough job!

Know what areas need treatment because you need to know how to care for those areas regardless of whether or not you get the deep cleanings because it will come back again…..remember the creator of Periogen and his story.  He was facing round 2 of gum surgery which sparked his quest for creating a product that does what dentistry called impossible…it dissolves tartar!

What issues have you experienced with deep cleanings?  Leave a comment and let’s talk about real life situations!

How Your Oral Health Affects Your Total Health

Take-Charge-of-Your-Oral-Health-1Let’s face it, on the surface oral health can seem like a bit of a boring topic, however, in reality it can be one of the most important aspects of a daily routine.  Current trends (yea for current trends) have (finally) confirmed that oral health is the gateway to overall health.  Yet most of the adult population suffers with gum disease or cavities.

In fact, did you know that gingivitis (reversible) and gum disease (non reversible but treatable) are now thought to be one of the major contributing factors to diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s and arthritis (just to name a few)?  Why?  Because when the gums are inflamed, the lining of the gums opens up like a cut, and allows all of the nasty inflammatory bacteria into your bloodstream.  Plaque that has been in the mouth for more than 8 days is the main contributor to both gum disease and cavities.  On the average, people get their teeth cleaned somewhere between every 90 to 180 days…and that is only the people that visit the dentist regularly.  Inflammation begins once plaque remains on a surface for 8 days.  Meaning if you don’t clean every nook and cranny of the gum “pocket” every 8 days, infection begins.

There is Hope

Now this post isn’t meant to be all about doom and gloom and have you running for the hills or even to the dental office to “cure” you from disease, instead what I would like to share with you is that in fact, you, yourself can take care of this disease landslide yourself, in the privacy of your own home. 

Yes, I said it; both gingivitis and periodontal disease can be dealt with at home, if, and only if you have the right tools and the right understanding on how to use them.  You see, “cleanings”, whether they be every 3 or 6 months are really only effective for the first week, so essentially if you are relying on “cleanings”  in order to keep yourself “healthy”,  you would need to schedule far more cleanings and open your wallet more often than you care to think about.

A History Into Dental Cleaning Frequency

As you read this, you may be getting skeptical and thinking “well has my dentist/hygienist recommended that I come in every _ months, and why do advertisements follow this ideology”?  The truth behind the frequency for cleanings is linked back to a radio advertisement in 1929 for Pepsodent recommending that you brush and see your dentist 2 times a year.  Prior to that, people did not see the dentist for preventative maintenance.  As you can imagine, the dental community was thrilled to see people coming in for checkups so they jumped on the bandwagon, and when dental insurance came into existence, they too followed suit.

Oral Disease and Whole Body Disease are Completely Related

As the understanding on the relationship between oral health and many if not most chronic diseases continues to grow, it becomes more important that we focus on the daily rituals that keep the mouth healthy.  Here is where my position differs from the mainstream.  As a dental professional of nearly 20 years (acting as a dental assistant, front office/insurance coordinator and dental hygienist), I see the same people coming in with the same disease time and time again.  I know the business inside and out, and understand how each factor plays a part.

Dentistry as a whole is based around treating disease, not preventing it.  Truth be told, when you are effective in your daily home care, you don’t “NEED” to see the dentist every few months to have them assist you in controlling your disease.  Instead, you are able to see them for your regular exams ensuring that the teeth are not breaking down, and you are free from diseases like oral cancer, and hopefully get a good pat on the back.

So Here’s What You Really Need To Do

So here’s my suggestion, get used to REALLY taking care of your mouth,  if you have any buildup, bleeding or sensitivity at all, it means that something is not right.  Understand WHAT products to use and equally important, HOW to use them.  Do not rely on mainstream media to tell you what products are effective, and do not rely on someone telling you what to do.

Instead what you need is a clear understanding of your mouth, what looks healthy and what does not.  What areas are inflamed and what areas are receiving enough oxygen and nutrients.  A good magnification mirror is a great tool, and products that balance the good and bad bacteria are imperative.  Most importantly learn HOW to use the products that you invest in, instead of just thinking that deep cleanings, cavities and buildup are a normal part of life.

One Last thing, we need to really understand how we as family members and care givers infect each other by common things like kissing, blowing on food to cool it down and sharing utensils.  Technically, I SHOULD have the worst teeth in the world.  Both of my parents have dental issues, I am married to a Brit (and you know what they say about British teeth and dental care), and as a child I had horrible hygiene and cavities in nearly every tooth.  Trust me, if I can figure out a way to not have a cleaning in 4 years, anyone can.  And, I promise I don’t spend 10 minutes a day cleaning my mouth in a typical type “A” personality fashion that many hygienists do.

There is Help that Makes it Easy and Understandable

Sometimes it takes the help of an Oral Health Coach (what I now am and highly recommend), because someone that can teach you true prevention and oral health is worth every penny if it adds years to your life and decreases time and money spent in the dental chair, and helps control so many of the diseases we face today. 

If this sounds like something you would like to know more about, check out this link about the 7 Secrets About Oral Health Your Dentist Won’t Tell You.  This will at least get you started on the path to amazing oral health, or as some like to call it, oral wellness.

Of course, you can always contact me and get started on the path ASAP!

Thank you for reading; I hope this helps you on your journey.  I’d love to hear what you are going through and if or how I may help.  You can reply to the blog post below, or email me at Carrie@NaturalGumption.com

All the Best,

Carrie

Dry Mouth Remedies and Cavity Prevention

Dry Mouth Remedies

Today’s question is…. What is the best thing to keep your mouth from being dry and what to stop gum decay?

Dry mouth is one of the most frustrating things to deal with, both for the client and the clinician.  Also, it can be one of the most destructive things that can happen to a mouth if left untreated, and treating it really depends on what the source is.

Causes of Dry Mouth

Medications, stress, diseases such as diabetes, Parkinson’s and Sjogren’s, head and neck radiation, hormonal changes and medical marijuana are all triggers for dry mouth, and what I see most often in the dental office.  Often people are dealing with compounding issues so their symptoms and severity range from a mild annoyance to complete lack of saliva producing capabilities!  I have been blessed to see such a vast number of mouths with varying conditions, and my can help attitude has always led me to find what products work for what people.  It’s a random gift to possess, but someone needs to be the modern day tooth fairy or something like that.  One time a client called me the Tooth Fairy’s Sweetheart…..ahh that made my heart melt.  The products we sell on Natural Gumption are due to the random and extensive knowledge I compiled for 15+ yrs in the clinical world of dentistry.

Dry Mouth and Cavities

Gum line cavities (also referred to as class 5 cavities, or cervical decay) are prevalent with dry mouth, and so are gum infections.  The cavity situation is often because the gums have receded, and the softer root (dentin) is exposed.  Carbohydrates are the only thing that break down in the mouth, and cause a spike in pH for typically 20 min.  Breads, candy and starchy food often stick to the tooth while they ferment and break down.  This intensifies the already acidic environment created from the initial eating encounter, and will lengthen the time sugars sit on the tooth.  When brushing your teeth, you need to make sure you are removing plaque from all areas including the gum line.  Brush with a toothpaste that contains xylitol, we like Vita-Myr’s Toothpastes because of the mild flavor and effective ingredients.

Use Products Throughout The Day That Help Stimulate Saliva Flow and Soothe The Mouth

Moisture replacement and pH buffers are important to use throughout the day to help control the acids.  One of the most beneficial things on the market is xylitol.  Xylitol is sweet like sugar, but essentially instead of coming from sugar cane, it comes from birch wood (or corn).  Xylitol helps to stimulate saliva flow, remineralize teeth, buffer the pH and control the plaque in your mouth.  Follow this link to the many blog posts I have on Xylitol.  It’s a big topic, so you can always call me for advice on this one.  I offer 15 minute increment sessions over the phone or online to help you really understand how to effectively use what products and why to use them.  Restore mouth rinse is one of the few fluoride containing rinses that I recommend.  It has a VERY SMALL amount of fluoride, and does wonders for dry mouth sufferers.  A local periodontist created it, and I have been amazed at the results.  The primary focus with this rinse is to balance the pH of the mouth.  It comes in citrus and mint, and both are very soothing to the tissues.

Remineralize Teeth to Avoid Cavities and Sensitivity

Remineralization of the teeth is important as well.  I’m not the biggest fan of fluoride, so you will almost never hear me recommend it.  I have found that there are a handful of alternative products that work beautifully.  MI Paste CPP-ACP, Recaldent (casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate) and NovaMin (calcium sodium phosphosilicate-containing toothpastes) are remineralizing pastes that are fluoride free and extremely effective. (Currently, these products are available by phone only; we will have them up on the site in the New Year

Oil pulling helps to keep the gums lubricated, and using coconut oil (organic cold pressed if possible) gets you all of those amazing antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial properties and healthy enzymes which also help to balance your mouth.  Work up to 20 min, and see the post I did on oil pulling.

I hope this helps a bit, again this is such a big topic my hope is that I have helped you connect the dots, or find something that resonates with you.  I’d love to discuss your specific situation if you’d like.  Please note that I am an Oral Health Coach and design at home programs for individuals so they can achieve a healthy mouth at home every day.  I’d love to help you come to a better understanding of your current situation, and help you take steps that help you keep your mouth healthy on a daily basis.  Thanks for the great question Cheryl!

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