April is Oral Health Month. And, fittingly, an entire week of Oral Health Month is National Hygienists Week.
Hygienists do so much more than clean teeth. They are usually the first person a patient sees when they come in for routine checkups. The hygienist is there to guide you through the dental exam, ask important questions, assess your oral health, administer important services and report findings to your dentist that can affect not only your visit but also your health.
They truly are the frontline for optimal oral hygiene. And as more and more studies show the link between oral health and the overall health of your body, the hygienist’s role is more crucial than ever.
Did you know that bacteria causing gum disease are also associated with everything from heart disease to colorectal cancer? The same can be said for Type 2 diabetes, respiratory disease, pre-term & low birth-weight babies, Alzheimer’s disease and more.
So, when your hygienist talks to you about bleeding gums, which 80% of American have, it’s not just because they’re concerned about your mouth. They know that infections in your gums can affect your health and quality of life.
The charts that your hygienist records measure the periodontal pockets around your teeth. If you don’t know about periodontal pockets, feel free to ask your friendly neighborhood hygienist or read on.
Periodontal pockets are the spaces between your teeth and gums. When bacteria colonize those areas, the pockets can become inflamed and enlarged. As that tissue tenderizes, it becomes susceptible to laceration that allows bacteria to enter the bloodstream.
From there, pathogens have access to your entire body via your cardiovascular system.
So, while it may sound like they’re just speaking in numerical code, your hygienist is actively trying to protect you and your body from infection. And if those numbers are under 4, a hy-five is definitely in order.
It’s important work, and we’re proud to assist hygienists and their patients with the Perio Protect Method that not only treats gum disease but can also help prevent gum disease in the first place. This doctor-prescribed, patient-administered treatment is delivered for minutes each day with non-invasive Perio Trays and specially formulated Perio Gel. And patients who use Perio Protect tend to have healthier gums at their very next visit.
Happy Oral Health Month and National Hygienists Week from your dentist and all of us at Perio Protect.