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Oral Health

Q&A with Irene Iancu

Irene, Restorative Dental Hygienist & Content Creator

Irene Iancu

Restorative Dental Hygienist & Content Creator

Restorative Dental Hygienist and Content Creator, Irene Iancu, shares her personal oral hygiene tips and tricks.

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Why is oral care so important for overall health?

The mouth is the gateway to the body. Poor oral health can lead to a variety of health problems:

Gum disease: If left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.

Tooth decay: The destruction of tooth structure caused by acids that are produced when plaque bacteria break down sugar in the mouth.

Bad breath: Poor oral hygiene can cause bad breath, which can be embarrassing and affect your confidence.

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Cardiovascular disease: Research has shown that there may be a link between gum disease and cardiovascular disease. Bacteria from the mouth can enter the bloodstream and contribute to the development of heart disease.

Diabetes: People with diabetes are more prone to gum disease, can make it harder to control blood sugar levels.

Respiratory infections: Oral bacteria can be inhaled into the lungs, causing infections such as pneumonia.

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What are your personal tips and tricks to maintaining good oral hygiene?

Brush your teeth twice a day: Science shows that an electronic toothbrush is more effective at removing plaque and reducing bleeding.

Replace your toothbrush regularly: Every three to four months or sooner if the bristles become frayed or if you get sick. Toothbrushes hold tons of bacteria so replace them often.

Use fluoride toothpaste: Controversial statement however scientifically proven. Using toothpaste containing fluoride decreases the likelihood of cavities and some assist with reducing the count of bacteria that contributes to gingivitis and gum disease. 

Mouthwash that contains fewer ingredients can be a good addition to a homecare routine. However, this should be discussed with a dental professional as patients with a dry mouth, higher risk factors, and specific needs should have a tailored homecare routine, similar to that of a skincare routine.

Visit your dentist regularly and take the advice of the professionals on the frequency of your visits. Generally, adults should be seen every three to four months and most children can get away with a six-month interval however I personally can say I’m seeing kids sooner than that.

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What are some common misconceptions about dental hygiene?

Dental hygienists are just a cleaning lady: your dental professionals are really smart and kind people. We work hard to learn about leading technologies and improve our skills in oral cancer detection. Some of them are specialists and can do restorative and myofunctional therapy. Often we find that patients come in for their visits and don’t do the homework either because they feel it’s unnecessary or because they don’t trust our advice. Either way, dental hygiene is a team sport and the patient is the captain. 

I’ve heard things like…. “brushing harder cleans teeth better”: This can harm the teeth and gums, leading to tooth sensitivity, gum recession, and enamel erosion.

Brushing once a day is enough: This is not true. Dentists recommend brushing twice a day for at least two minutes each time to effectively remove plaque and bacteria from teeth.

Flossing isn’t necessary: Flossing is just as important as brushing. Flossing helps to remove plaque and bacteria from areas that a toothbrush cannot reach.

Teeth whitening is harmful: Teeth whitening is safe when done properly. However, overdoing it can lead to tooth sensitivity, and it’s always best to consult a dentist before attempting to whiten your teeth.

Gum disease only affects the gums: This doesn’t just affect the gums, it can also damage the bone that supports the teeth, leading to tooth loss, increasing the chances of other systemic health problems and has been researched to connect the bacteria in the mouth to many other diseases (like Alzheimer’s.) 

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