I don’t blog about this part of my life a lot but besides being a full-time mom (is there another type) and a very part-time photographer I am a dental hygienist. I work only about 1-2 days per week and so when the opportunity to volunteer arose I was glad of it. The office I work at Mt. Scott Family Dental located in Happy Valley Oregon took part in the Compassion Connect outreach program and I was so excited to be able to help out by cleaning teeth and taking photos. I was really happy that our Doctors and staff were happy to open the office and volunteer their time to help those less fortunate.
We all came in early on Saturday to get set up and prepare for treating patients that are unable to pay for dental care. In my chair I even had a patient that at the age of 20 had never been to the dentist. Unfortunately in these types of situations we are really only able to provide limited treatment as there are many people coming through the doors. So although he had a few teeth that needed fillings we were only able to provide him with his number one priority which was a dental cleaning and recommend that he try to get into a clinic for some extra work.
I had never worked so hard and done so much intense scaling in a 1 hour session as I did that day. I felt very happy to be able to provide this service and I have to admit that at times in response to some of the specific patients I saw I found myself very preachy about oral health and home care instructions. I even had my patients promise that they would work a lot harder on a daily basis in maintaining their oral health. What gets me, is that gingivitis and periodontitis are totally preventable if we only get a little bit informed and spend a total of 4-6 minutes a day in our oral hygiene maintenance.
Oral Hygiene Instructions
All it takes to overcome the effects of the food we eat and the normal bacteria present in our mouths is taking the time to brush 1-2 x day for 2 minutes each time making sure we cover each tooth. Preferably this should be done in front of a mirror while paying close attention to make sure you cover all the sides of the teeth. I recommend that you use a circular pattern when brushing and make sure to cover the gums (be gentle here don’t scrub furiously as you’ll injure your gums).
Make sure that you floss before bed (I highly recommend flossing after each major meal) using waxed floss is the best but any will do. Preferred flossing technique: wrap floss around the middle finger of each hand and leave about 1-2 inches between thumbs and forefingers, you want to gently glide the floss between teeth and in a C-shape form wrap the floss around the side of the teeth scrubbing from bellow the gum and upwards on the crown of the tooth.
If you make it a point to do this every night for 2-3 weeks you will see a remarkable difference. You will not only have developed a healthy habit but I bet that you will notice your gums no longer bleed when you floss and they will also not be as sensitive when you get your professional cleaning. I am also certain that your hygienist will remark on your improved oral health. Just in case you didn’t know, studies have linked Periodontal disease to Diabetes and heart disease, just more reasons to make good oral hygiene a priority.
here is a collection of photos from our outreach day.
It was really a memorable event, I hope one we will repeat every year.