Rethink that Pink in the Sink!

Have you ever had a life changing event?  I was lucky enough to have just that last weekend!  It will forever change the way I practice dental hygiene, making it even better for my clients.  

I had the opportunity and pleasure to travel to St. Louis, Missouri and attend the American Association of Oral Systemic Health Scientific Session.  It was so exciting to be surrounded by like-minded people, all hungry to learn more.  The bottom line for the entire weekend was:  If your mouth is not healthy, your body is not healthy.  The mouth is a barometer for the rest of the body’s health.   I learned so much from so many great speakers who are tops in their fields.  From researchers, medical doctors, nurse practitioners, dentists, dental hygienists, and even a cardiologist, I heard the latest on the oral/systemic connection research, and want to share it all with you.  (Stay tuned for more in my next posts, there’s so much to tell you!)

First, (and the topic of today’s post) so we are all clear- what exactly constitutes a “Healthy Mouth”?!  Do you know?  This is our goal- so what exactly does it look like and what should you look for?
                                        Take the Healthy Mouth Challenge!

healthy gums

 Healthy Gums:  Clean, firm, tight pink gums.

  • Pale pink to dark pink- depending on ethnicity
  • Flat, firm, NO bleeding (yes, even if I prod with my pointy instruments)
  • NO pus 
  • Texture- stippled (like an orange peel)
  • C-shaped around the necks of the teeth
  • Low to no levels of pathogenic bacteria (click on the link to see how I test for this!)
  • Free from plaque and tartar 
  • Ability to floss without shredding
Healthy Teeth:  Strong, clean, stable teeth
Plaque is invisible unless stained 
  • Absence of tooth decay or infection
  • Absence of unstable tooth structure due to large fillings
  • Absence of broken, chipped or cracked teeth
  • Freedom from broken fillings 
  • Absence of plaque and tartar 
  • Freedom from missing or loose teeth
  • Freedom from sensitive teeth
Healthy Bite and Jaw:  Smooth, pain free jaw motion
  • Absence of crooked teeth
  • Absence from infection in the jaw
  • Freedom from pain or sensitivity with jaw movement
  • No teeth reflecting age-related wear
  • Freedom from headaches
  • Freedom from limited jaw opening
  • Freedom from jaw pain or joint noise
  • Freedom from chewing problems
General Oral Health:   General pink tissue, just like a baby’s mouth
Tonsil stones stink!
  • Absence of precancerous or cancerous lesions
  • Absence of any oral lesions or sore spots
  • Freedom from pain or sensitivity in the mouth or face
  • Freedom from dry mouth syndrome
  • Freedom from bad breath
  • Clean tongue 
  • Freedom to breathe through your nose
  • Tonsils free from stones, pus or blocking airway (see the photo! amazing they can breathe.) 
Cosmetic Health:  Big bright, happy smiles, daily!
  • Happy with your smile
  • Bright smile
  • Straight teeth
  • Confident smile
  • Increase in self-esteem
Healthy Oral Habits:  Good habits, practiced daily
  • Brush  two to three times per day 
  • Floss/clean in between one time per day 
  • Irrigate under the gumline once per day
  • Remineralize the teeth daily
  • Gargle to disinfect the tonsils and rest of the mouth
  • No nail biting
  • No ice chewing
  • No lip/cheek biting
  • No clenching or grinding
Here’s how to get a grade- start with 100 points- for each broken tooth, bleeding point (there are six points measured on each tooth), tooth with tartar, or other “problem” lose one point.  You could end up in the negative column.  For every problem you fix, you gain it back.  I made it into a PDF (click there!) that you can take into your dental office and have them give you a truthful report.  Get a grade! Shoot for 100%!
So, how’d you do?  Not so good?  Is your mouth healthy?  Did you realize there’s so much to look for in a healthy mouth?   Got bleeding gums?  Take the Eastman Interdental Bleeding index test.  Rethink that pink you see in the sink.  Turn it around, and you can indeed have a healthy mouth for your lifetime.   We know so much more after our weekend of learning, and this will definitely change the way we care for your gums, your mouth and your total health.

A healthy mouth can help you live longer and avoid serious health problems (more on this in my next blog posts).  Please join me and take the Healthy Mouth Challenge.  ** Share your beginning score here, or on my Facebook page then let’s get you to 100%!**  It starts at the top and you can do it! 

From your Queen of Dental Hygiene!
Keep Smiling,
Barbara 

   

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2 Responses

  1. ketoye lient says:

    Thank you so much for going over this! I feel like so many people think professionalism means no emotion.

  2. Ketoye,
    Thanks for your kind comment. Hope it's helpful and enlightening. I'm quite enthusiastic about oral health!
    Barbara

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