2 Jane Street, Suite 505
Toronto, ON. M6S 4W3
A dental hygienist differs from a dentist or orthodontist in the type of work they do. Minor services and teeth cleaning fall under the scope of your dental hygienist. At Bloor West Smiles, we have some of the leading hygienists in Toronto.
Working with patients of all ages across the Greater Toronto Area, our dental hygienists often get questions. We encourage questions because it’s so important to have up-to-date and accurate information about oral health.
To help support our patients, we’re sharing 5 questions you should ask your dental hygienist.
1. Why do my teeth feel sensitive?
Asking your dental hygienist about teeth sensitivity is important because the cause of your sensitivity might be treatable. Symptoms of sensitivity could also be caused by a more serious underlying oral health concern.
Sensitive teeth become more common in adults aged 20 to 40 years old. They can stem from a variety of factors, including:
- Toothbrush abrasion: Brushing your teeth is important, but you can brush too much and too hard. This damages the outer layer and protective coating of your teeth, which can lead to sensitivity.
- Receding gums: Gums recede with age, and this can increase the number of exposed nerves in your mouth. A receding gum line could be the cause of sensitive teeth.
- Acid erosion: The foods you eat impact your oral health. Food and drink that are high in acid eat away at the enamel on your teeth. This can cause sensitivity and pain.
- Grinding at night: Many people grind their teeth without realizing it. This eventually removes the protective coating on your teeth, thus leaving the layers underneath exposed to heat, cold, and sugar.
If you experience sensitive teeth, we recommend bringing it to your dental hygienist’s attention. There are many ways to treat these symptoms without invasive action. They may recommend a new toothpaste, tooth brush, brushing style, topical tooth treatment, or dietary changes to protect your teeth.
2. Which areas get missed when I brush my teeth?
According to the Canadian Dental Association, you should be brushing for 2 to 3 minutes, twice a day. Even with this rule in place, there are some spots in your mouth that are easier to miss than others. Frequently missing the same areas in your mouth when you brush could cause quick deterioration of those spots.
Another smart question to ask your dental hygienist is: “Which areas should I try to focus on more while brushing?” This will help you determine where to spend extra attention during daily brushing.
For most people, the answer is the inside of your teeth, facing your tongue. People often remember to brush thoroughly on the outside, and on the tops of their teeth, but not inside. Remember, the inside of your teeth interact with acids, saliva, and sugar from your foods more regularly than teeth on the outside. Keeping them clean could be the difference between a smile or a filling at your next dental appointment.
3. Should I be using a different toothbrush?
A quick Google search for “best toothbrush” will give you a selection of popular toothbrush models to choose from. It doesn’t, however, tell you which toothbrush is best for your teeth and why.
Believe it or not, there are different shapes and firmness to the toothbrushes we use. Your dental hygienist can help you pick one that works for your individual dental needs. Toothbrushes come in various styles such as:
- Soft bristles
- Firm bristles
There are some times in your life when you will need a toothbrush different from the one you use for everyday brushing. An example of this is if you have wisdom teeth. If you didn’t have your wisdom teeth extracted at a young age, you may need a tiny brush to reach all the nooks and crannies. Patients with braces may also need a narrow round-tipped electric toothbrush to get in and around wires in their mouth.
The right toothbrush can make all the difference in how well you brush and which areas are missed. It’s an important choice, particularly if you have special circumstances to consider.
4. How often do I need professional cleanings?
While the standard time between professional cleanings is normally every 6 months to a year, your hygienist may offer different information. For some patients, a more frequent teeth cleaning schedule may be useful.
Your dental hygienist may need to see you more frequently if:
- You have existing oral health issues
- You wear braces
- You’re experiencing tooth pain or sensitivity
During your professional teeth cleaning, a dental hygienist will use a tooth scaler to get rid of plaque. Your teeth will also be brushed, flossed, and treated with fluoride. This cleans your teeth and gets rid of hardened tartar and other buildup.
Ask your dentist if you are seeing them regularly enough, or if you should increase your appointment frequency. It’s your hygienist’s job to ensure your mouth is looking healthy. They will know if there is something going on that needs additional attention.
5. Why do my gums bleed when I brush?
Gums bleed for many reasons; some harmless, others requiring attention. If you notice blood on your gums when you brush or floss, bring it to the attention of your dental hygienist.
Some of the reasons for bloody gums include:
- Plaque buildup causing bacteria to get under the gum line
One of the most common reasons for bloody gums is not brushing enough. When you don’t brush well regularly, your gums aren’t used to the feel of toothbrush bristles. This can cause irritation and tenderness during brushing, and even make your gums bleed!
Building up your gums by brushing and flossing more regularly will decrease the risk of bleeding. If bleeding persists, it’s important to speak with your dental hygienist, as it could be caused by another underlying health issue that should be treated.
Contact Bloor West Smiles
Interested in learning more about ways that your dental hygienist can help? We invite you to contact us and speak to a member of our experienced team today. Call us at 647-371-1407 today! Or, you can request an appointment online through our contact form.