Dental Hygiene Month Reminder More than a Cleaning

A Gentle Reminder from Your Madison Dentist: October is Dental Hygiene Month

It’s a chance for us as your Madison dentist to remind you that dental hygiene is “more than a cleaning”. It’s a critical part of dental wellness and overall wellness too. Today’s dental hygienists in Madison and all over the country are on the forefront of ensuring their patient’s dental wellness, and also offering insight and monitoring indictors of their patient’s overall health as well.

Most people see their dental hygienist far more often than they do their family physician.
You may be surprised to know that you’ll see your Madison dentist or dental hygienist more often than you will your medical doctor, if you’re like most people. Statistics show that 20 million Americans will see a dentist this year, but will not see a primary health care provider.  A generally healthy person who may or may not see their doctor annually may actually spend more time – twice a year – with a dentist and hygienist, than with any other health care provider. That’s one more good reason to make sure your Madison dentist and dental hygienist are part of your healthcare team and that you’re up to date on oral health checkups.

Though a visit to your Madison dentist will never replace a medical examination, often a hygienist may note changes in dental health that may be an indicator of a more serious health problem.  Severe pocketing of the gums may indicate a concern about diabetes; unmanaged periodontal disease may aggravate a heart condition, or lesions in the mouth may spark a concern about oral cancer. 

An important aspect beyond semi-annual dental hygiene visits is the opportunity they present to start a conversation about health. If your hygienist or dentist here in Madison notices a change in your oral or dental health that may be linked to other health changes or concerns, they will always recommend they follow-up with a visit to your medical provider.

What does a dental hygiene visit and routine dental exam include?
Dental offices in Madison such as First Choice Dental whose staff is committed to supporting their patients’ overall wellness may offer the following wellness and preventive measures beyond teeth cleanings.  The following are suggested services to ask for or expect when selecting a dentist and hygienist:

  • Update x-rays as needed
  • Develop complete health history that assesses early risk factors for diabetes, heart health, and other systemic health issues
  • Clean teeth to help ensure optimal dental health, avoid tooth decay and remove bacteria that can worsen decay
  • Take blood pressure if indicated by patient’s health history
  • Check for gum recession and pocketing as key changes of gum and overall health
  • Conduct exam to check for lumps or changes around the mouth as well as on throat, jaw and neck that could indicate change in health
  • Provide oral cancer screening if recommended based on patient’s health
  • Develop a periodontal health maintenance program – can be especially important for patients with diabetes or other systemic health conditions

Sometimes our mouths speak volumes without saying a word.  Your dentist or hygienist can help interpret those messages and help guide you on a path to dental and overall wellness.