One quick look at our teeth can tell us a lot about our oral health. While going to the dentist twice a year is important, it’s not always enough to detect signs of dental problems before they get worse. As a dental hygienist, part of your job revolves around instructing clients on how to care for their teeth, and part of their home care routine should involve checking for signs of trouble in their mouths. Not only could performing a simple check save your clients some time, but it could also help them to avoid harmful, long-lasting damage.
Here are five things clients should look for to determine whether their teeth are healthy.
1. If You’re In Dental Hygienist School, Tell Future Clients to Look for Healthy Gums
Our gums can be examined to determine the health of our teeth and even our bodies. Gums should be a healthy pink, and should be solid when touched. The teeth should be firmly in place in the gums, and gums should not be receding from the teeth. If gums are red or white in colour, or are painful to the touch, this could indicate a problem such as gingivitis. Additionally, tender gums can indicate that a client is brushing their teeth too hard, and should avoid putting too much pressure on the gum area. As someone in dental hygienist school, it’s important to remember that healthy gums are an indicator of good oral health and strong teeth.
2. Correctly Aligned Teeth
Teeth that are overly crowded or too spaced out can cause bacteria to build as they can be harder to clean, and can lead to unnecessary wear and tear on the teeth. Teeth that sit straight along the jaw and are evenly spaced are easier to floss between and reach with a toothbrush, and they are less likely to trap bacteria. If a client’s teeth are misaligned, this might be a sign that they need braces or another cosmetic dental procedure in order to avoid oral health issues down the road.
3. Good Breath
Although surprising, having bad breath can indicate a more serious oral health problem. A healthy mouth should have a neutral smell or no smell at all. Bad breath can indicate an excess of food particles or bacteria, or even tooth decay. You can tell clients to check how their breath smells at home by scratching their tongues with a finger and smelling, or smelling their dental floss after flossing between a few teeth.
4. Teeth That Are Similar in Appearance
If you’re enrolled in dental hygiene courses, you’ll be interested to know that a miscoloured tooth can be an indication of a greater problem. Clients should check their teeth frequently to ensure that they are all a similar colour. Discolouration can be a sign of tooth decay, an infection, or possibly a dead nerve, and should always be addressed by a professional.
5. Strong Teeth
As a dental hygienist student, this next point might sound obvious to you—but it’s important to warn clients to look out for any teeth that feel loose or wiggly. Teeth should only be loose when you’re losing your teeth as a child. As an adult, the issue may indicate gum disease or some other underlying issue. If a client’s teeth are firmly in place, this is a sign that the teeth and gums are healthy.
Are you passionate about helping people to keep their teeth healthy?
Enroll in the dental hygiene diploma program at CADH today.