The Best Questions to Ask Your Hygienist

Most people end up visiting a dental hygienist more than their actual dentist. This is because hygienists perform the most common tasks associated with dental visits: cleaning and oral health inspections. The dentist often does a final check on patients before they leave the office, but generally, patients will only spend a lot of time with their dentist if there is a problem (cavities and such) or if they have questions the hygienist cannot answer.

That said, your hygienist is a highly trained professional capable of helping with all kinds of oral health issues. In fact, hygienists often offer patients advice on how to better care for their teeth, gums, and oral health concerns.

You should not hesitate to discuss any problems you’re experiencing or any questions you may have about proper oral health with your hygienist. He or she wants to make sure you have a good experience. These professionals never want to cause discomfort or pain to their patients and they want to ensure that all patients have the information they need to see to their own oral health.

That said, it is your responsibility to make sure you address any questions or concerns you have. Here are just a few of the best questions to ask your hygienist.

How Can I Improve My Oral Health?

This is a question absolutely everyone should ask their hygienist, and you should probably ask every time you visit. Initially, you may need to learn (or relearn) how to properly brush, floss, rinse, and generally care for your teeth on a daily basis.

Beyond that, however, your diet can definitely affect your oral health, as can changes in your medical history. The discussion about oral health should be an ongoing one since oral health can change with time and circumstance.

In addition, hygienists often undertake a variety of continuing education courses, giving them insight into the latest oral health issues, treatments, and technologies. As a result, they may have new or better information available every time you visit.

Will I Experience Changes in Oral Health as I Age?

We all know that our bodies change as we age. We develop wrinkles, skin sags, and we suffer aches and pains in places we didn’t even know existed as youngsters. So it’s funny that so few people bother to question how oral health changes over time.

Any number of oral health issues can develop with age, including a reduction in saliva production, difficulty healing from oral surgery or trauma, and so on. When you understand what can happen, you have a better chance to remain aware of changes and compensate for them accordingly.

Your oral health conditions are almost certain to change with time and age, so it’s best to speak to your hygienist about common occurrences and discuss any changes you happen to notice. If you adjust your routine to account for common issues that occur with age, you may prevent more serious issues like receding gums, tooth decay, or even tooth loss.

How Do My Behaviors and Conditions Affect My Oral Health?

Certain behaviors could have a negative impact on your oral health, especially if you smoke and/or consume a lot of refined sugars. However, medical conditions and the use of certain medications could also impact your teeth and gums.

Whether you’re experiencing dental problems or not, it’s a good idea to discuss your lifestyle (as it pertains to oral health) and your medical history with your dental hygienist. This will give you the opportunity to ask relevant questions and allow your hygienist to provide you with a proper treatment plan and the information you need to take steps to prevent harm to your oral health as much as possible.

What Do My Symptoms Mean?

Plenty of people suffer oral health issues and think they’re not important enough to ask about, or they’re too scared to bring up the topic. However, the longer you allow oral health problems to persist, the worse the outcome could be.

Whether you’re dealing with sensitivity, pain, swelling, bleeding, frequent canker sores, or other oral health issues, it’s important to discuss them with your hygienist as soon as possible. Early treatment can often help to reverse problems and prevent damage.  Speaking with your hygienist about any oral symptoms you experience could save you pain, money, and even trauma like tooth loss.