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10 Ways Being Confident Can Boost Patient Satisfaction

There are many ways to boost patient satisfaction in your dental practice. Clear communication, good time management, friendliness, efficiency, and empathy are significant factors in a patient’s overall expectations of their dental experience.  

 

10 Ways Being Confident Can Boost Patient Satisfaction

 

But according to the Canadian Dental Association, one quality stands out above the rest: confidence.  

 

A dental practitioner’s confidence, and the ways in which they demonstrate it, ranks as the #1 influencer on how patients perceive their quality of care, according to the latest Canadian Dental Association survey. 

 

Why? Confident people attract positive attention — no secret there. It’s natural to be attracted to people with high self-esteem, whose confidence shines through their charisma, appearance, speaking, writing, and listening skills. Confidence is a sign of competence, not arrogance, in the dental practice. 

 

To promote and maintain patient satisfaction, professional dental care providers need to keep confidence at an optimum level to ensure ongoing quality of care. Below, we’ll discuss some of the ways to grow and maintain that confidence in your practice. 

 

Ways to Be Confident and Boost Patient Satisfaction 

 

A person’s levels of confidence can swing up and down due to positive or negative experiences, and criticisms. We are most confident when we are performing routine and familiar tasks.

 

Here are ways to show your confidence as a dental practitioner or hygienist: 

 

  1. Be optimistic. Think positively. While it may sound cliché, there are tangible and proven benefits to adopting an air of optimism, and your positive outlook will rub off on your patients. 
  2. Focus on the present. What do you want to accomplish today? Don’t dwell on the past. Once you have acknowledged your mistakes, learn to accept them and move forward. 
  3. Accept compliments graciously. Say thank you. What may seem like minor work to you can have a profoundly positive impact on your patients’ lives, so you should always be open to their praises. 
  4. Face your fears. When you have a busy day ahead, tackle the tasks you like least first. You will face the remainder with the confidence of knowing the worst is over. 
  5. Break down large tasks into smaller sub-tasks. Knowing how to prioritize your to-dos is key to ensuring you accomplish your daily goals. 
  6. Learn and research new skills and technology. The world of dentistry is continuously advancing, and being prepared will help you keep a competitive edge. 
  7. Recognize your strengths and achievements. You have come a long way to get where you are. Remember to celebrate successes. 
  8. Manage stress. Don’t let your own wellness get lost in the daily grind. Develop effective coping strategies, and take moments to just breathe throughout your day. 
  9. Smile. Learn to laugh at yourself. Take pleasure in your daily tasks. 
  10. Believe in yourself and your team. Positive reinforcement will help everyone in the practice grow their confidence and boost patient satisfaction. 

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Opioids and Dentistry: What Dentists Can Do In The Face of An Opioid Crisis

The North American opioid crisis is not only an issue for public health and law enforcement officials; it also concerns dentists and dental hygienists in private practice. In fact, dentists can play a significant role in protecting their patients from succumbing to addiction and substance abuse.

 

Opioids and Dentistry -  What Dentists Can Do In The Face of An Opioid Crisis

 

As medical professionals who prescribe opioid drugs to patients, it is imperative for dentists to understand the link between opioids and dentistry, and the steps they can take to help combat the opioid crisis.

 

Opioids and Dentistry

Despite great advancements in dental techniques and technology, pain is often a necessary consequence of performing dental work. Fortunately, we have also come a long way in developing effective steps to lessen patients’ discomfort, and pain management is a top priority of any dental practice.

 

Among the pain management tools at a dentist’s disposal are analgesics (painkillers) and other prescription drugs. In many cases, drugs like acetaminophen and anti-inflammatories are sufficient in managing a patient’s dental pain. However, there are cases where non-opioid drugs are not enough, and that is when dentists might consider prescribing an opioid analgesic like codeine or oxycodone.

 

All drugs carry risks, but opioids are more liable to misuse than most, and opioid abuse can result in grievous harm. In 2016, over 42,000 peopled died from overdosing on opioid drugs in the United States alone. Many people who use narcotics first developed a dependency to legally-prescribed analgesics.

 

It’s not to say that dentists are unaccustomed to making judgement calls; exercising professional judgement is a part of what dentists and other healthcare professionals do every day. However, with opioid abuse causing a record-number of overdose deaths in Canada and the U.S., dentists must be especially careful in weighing the potential benefits and risks of prescribing these drugs to a patient.

 

What Dentists Can Do

The American Dental Association has made a commitment to help put an end to opioid abuse, urging dentists to educate themselves on the issue and follow the opioid prescribing guidelines set out by the Centers for Disease Control.

 

In a message to America’s dentists, ADA president Joseph Crowley asks dentists to take four specific steps to prevent opioid analgesics from harming patients:

 

1.     Consider using non-narcotic pain relievers as the first line of treatment.

2.     When prescribing an opioid pain reliever, consider prescribing fewer pills in accordance with state law and the latest pain management guidelines.

3.     Counsel patients about the benefits and drawbacks of using opioids to relieve pain, especially the risk of addiction.

4.     Learn to recognize when a patient might have a substance use disorder or be more prone than others to addiction.

 

The ADA also provides a free continuing education course on how to incorporate safe and effective protocols for using opioids to manage dental pain and offers a reference manual on how to manage dental pain for patients who are at risk of substance abuse.

 

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NEW Expanded List of Electric Parts Available

Important New Product Introduction Announcement:

 

 

Dear Valued Customers,

 

It is with great enthusiasm that Sable Industries announces the introduction of our expanded Electric Parts series of products.

 

Sable now offers more key electric parts in order to help you keep repairs in house and at a great value.  We have integral parts for Bein Air, Kavo and NSK electric handpieces. 

 

Sable electric parts are compatible with leading electric handpieces which will allow you to:

  • Keep more repairs in house as opposed to sending back to OEM
  • Purchase only the key assemblies that require replacement
  • Contain costs for yourself and your clients

Sable is the North American leader in handpiece parts.  It is our pleasure to expand our offerings into electric parts to bring our expertise and outstanding service to this under-served yet growing segment of your business.  We will be adding more electric parts from other OEM manufacturers in the near future.

 

Please note that our Cartridge and Assembled products are warrantied for manufacturer defect for 1 year, all individual parts are not warrantied.

 

To order or to learn more please call us at 1.800.368.8106

 

Regards,

 

Riley T. Nick

Sales & Marketing Manager

Sable Industries Inc.

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Is Your Dental Practice Using Too Many Chemicals?

With more and more people making an effort to be informed on the chemicals and materials they’re exposed to every day, many dentists are looking to reduce the number of chemicals used in their practices.

Cutting down on chemicals dental practice

 

Proper cleaning and disinfection in a dental office is a legitimate concern. After all, if disinfection isn’t done properly, a patient could be harmed. Everyone in the practice is responsible for ensuring the safety of all patients that walk through its doors.

 

The best way to avoid making a patient sick is to make sure that any sources of infection are properly contained. Unfortunately, it’s all too common to hear that evacuation systems aren’t cleaned daily—or aren’t properly disinfected when they are cleaned.

 

Reasons for the lapse in cleanliness could partly be due to the work involved, but also the perceived dangers of the continuous use of chemicals every time the system is cleaned. Over the past three decades, newer and stronger chemicals have been introduced to keep surfaces, water lines, and evacuation systems clean and sterile. However, the number of chemicals can also create issues, and many are harmful on their own.

 

The alternative is microbiological cleaners. But what are they, and how do they work?

 

Microbiology

 

It was over 150 years ago that doctors figured out washing their hands before surgery drastically reduced the patient’s risk of infection. This jumpstarted the field of microbiology, or the study of microscopic organisms.

 

Once we started looking, we discovered bacteria everywhere.

 

It’s estimated that there are more bacterial cells in a human body than there are cells that make up that whole person. The sheer number of microbial organisms that constantly surround us is staggering, which is why it’s so hard to create sterile environments. We need to use intense stressors like temperature, pressure, or chemicals to eliminate microbial growth.

 

We simply must accept that we are, and always will be, swimming in a sea of bacteria. The good news is, though, that the clear majority of bacteria won’t make you sick. Most bacteria really do not affect us. In fact, there are plenty of microbes that actually keep us healthy. Your gut, for example, is chock full of bacteria that is helping you to remain healthy and digest your food.

 

The good bacteria in your gut also keeps dangerous, harmful bacteria at bay. It’s this same principle that makes microbial disinfection such a good alternative.

 

Microbial Disinfection

 

As an alternative to chemicals, disinfection can be done using microbial cleaning products. These products seed and jumpstart the growth of “good bugs.”

 

These good bugs not only help to kill harmful ones, but they also work to keep the bad bugs away. This is one clear advantage to chemical sterilization—the harmful bacteria is kept at bay for longer.

 

Products like Bio-Pure can keep an evacuation system clean of harmful bacteria on a continuous basis. It does this by introducing a cleaning microbe into the system. Microbial growth is exponential, which means one microbe can quickly become 10,000,000. This army of good bacteria cleans out all other microbes and creates a barrier against bad bugs.

 

Short of cleaning out the system before and after each use, Bio-Pure is the most effective way to keep a system clean and safe at all times. Plus, there’s no need for harmful chemicals.

 

Click here if you want to learn more about Bio-Pure and whether it’s a good fit for your practice!

 

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New Power Transformer for Part Number 2300101 - Sable Light Board

Dear Dealers,

 

Please note that Sable has replaced our current power transformer for our light board from a 12VDC, 1 Amp - to a 9VDC, 2.2 Amp wall type, military spec. power transformer.

 

This change will allow for ANY Star Dental halogen bulb to be used with our current lightboard.

 

The part number for this new power transformer will be: 2300203

 

Thank you for your attention in this matter. Please share this information with your service departments and techs.

 

- Sable Technical Department. 

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Can Chewing Xylitol Gum be Good for Your Teeth?

 

Most of us chew gum, and we chew it for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s a piece before a first date, or after a particularly strong cup of coffee, many of us use the chewy stuff to keep our mouths smelling clean and fresh as we go about our day.

 

We see gum promoted in advertisements as something you can use not only to keep your breath smelling fresh; but to whiten and clean your teeth, improving your oral health.

 

Exaggerated marketing, or bona-fide fact? The answer lies in the ingredients of the gum you choose to chew.

 

The Potential Benefits

 

It comes as no surprise that if you’re chewing gum with a lot of sugar in it, it’s going to be bad for your teeth. Sugar promotes the growth of plaque bacteria, which in turn promotes the development of cavities, the decay of enamel, and other issues.

 

It’s because of this that many companies, such as Wrigley’s, have begun to use both aspartame and a substance known as Xylitol as a substitute for sugar in their products.

 

A naturally occurring compound that has been shown to prevent tooth decay, the National Centre for Biotechnology Information writes that Xylitol, “reduces the levels of mutans streptococci … in plaque and saliva by disrupting their energy production processes, leading to futile energy cycle and cell death … Consumption of xylitol chewing gum for >3 weeks leads to both long-term and short-term reduction in salivary and plaque S. mutans levels.

 

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Less bacteria on your teeth means less enamel-eating acid created, which means a healthier mouth. Brands like Confadent advertise and discuss their use of Xylitol as a safe alternative to aspartame, and a plaque reducer.

 

According to Delta Dental of California, “With xylitol use over a period of time, the types of bacteria in the mouth change and fewer decay-causing bacteria survive on tooth surfaces.

 

Potential Drawbacks

 

This sounds like a big-time benefit for your pearly whites, but how do the results compare to projection? Some research shows that the evidence regarding the long term benefits of Xylitol as a dental hygiene product is still unclear.

 

According to a review published by the American Dental Association in 2015, while there is some evidence that Xylitol may reduce tooth decay over a period of years, the evidence is low quality.

 

Research published by the Cochrane Library website suggests that there just isn’t enough high quality evidence to confirm that Xylitol prevents tooth decay.

 

Philip Riley, M.P.H., of the School of Dentistry at the University of Manchester in the UK, is quoted as writing, “More well-conducted, randomized placebo-controlled trials that are large enough (in terms of number of randomized participants) to show a difference, if one exists, are needed.

 

The Cochrane Library review stresses in its conclusions, “We found some low quality evidence to suggest that fluoride toothpaste containing xylitol may be more effective than fluoride-only toothpaste … The effect estimate should be interpreted with caution due to high risk of bias and the fact that it results from two studies that were carried out by the same authors in the same population.

 

So, What to Do?

 

In the end, the conclusions are yours to draw based on the evidence given, but it’s safe to say that chewing gum with Xylitol is better for your teeth than its sugary counterparts. While there needs to be some more research done to better reinforce this conclusion, Xylitol has indeed been shown to reduce cavity causing bacteria in the mouth.

 

Still, if you want to keep your teeth healthy, at the end of the day no gum is a substitute for regular brushing and flossing. For more information on Xylitol, its benefits and drawbacks, you can check out this article from Access Dental, or this one from Delta Dental.

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Dental Office Design

 

When concentrating on efficiency and making the best use of the available space, it can be easy to forget a dental office also must provide the right atmosphere for clients. Although many dental practitioners have done their best to reduce anxiety for clients, Ondontophobia is still all too real for many people.

 

Dental Office Layout

 

While some of these individuals require therapy to manage this issue, practitioners can still do their part to reduce anxiety experienced by anyone dreading a trip to the dentist. A great way to start is by reducing a client’s apprehension before they sit in the examination chair.

 

Here are some things to keep in mind for dental office design that will help to generate an inviting, relaxed atmosphere for your patients.

 

Visual Distractions

 

In the old days, dental offices often had a tropical fish tank in the waiting room. These provided a gentle distraction for patients, particularly children. Many still do, but now many offices are also installing televisions.

 

These generally play programs and movies without the sound, but with closed captions activated so interested viewers can follow what is happening.

 

A TV can provide a relaxing diversion, but you need to be careful about what is on. Violent shows or ones that are particularly suspenseful will be counterproductive, as will news channels on days when the reporting is particularly negative.

 

Soothing Colours and Artwork

 

Personal preference always plays a big role when choosing colours for an office, but here are some suggestions to consider. When choosing your colour scheme, aim for hues that induce a sense of tranquility and do not have any hint of threat.

 

Colours able to bring about a calming energy include those people commonly enjoy in nature, such as sky blue, green/sage, and tan/brown.

 

White suggests cleanliness and reminds some of anti-septic, but can be triggering for some due to its hospital connotations.

 

Bright colours, while attractive, can actually put people on edge (red is particularly strong in this regard), so try to stay away from them.

 

Do not choose only a single colour; pick a main one as well as another that provides a notable contrast, but not too harsh (e.g. a darker and lighter version of the same hue). Solicit opinions from your staff, and ask what they would prefer for areas only they will use.

 

Artwork can also provide both decoration and visual interest. Be sure to choose art the average person can easily relate to and does not include an abundance of off-putting shades.

 

Plants and Furniture

 

Plants will help to reinforce the natural theme and suggest that your practice is a healthy and vibrant place. Be sure to regularly water and maintain them so wilted, dying leaves are never apparent. If it is apparent that everyone on staff is too busy to ensure this happens, hire an outside company to do it.

 

Choose chairs that look and feel comfortable, but can also hold up well to steady traffic and children. Side tables should be big enough to accommodate patient’s incidentals, but not take up so much space that it becomes awkward to move around.

Include magazine and brochure racks for those who would prefer to read.

 

Provide a View

 

If building design permits, and you are lucky enough to be in a picturesque area, provide a window view in the waiting and exam rooms.

This offers another healthy and natural way for patients to get their minds off their procedures, both before and during the process.

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4 Tips to Prevent Chairside Burnout

 

Everyone has a bad day at work from time to time. But if you find yourself feeling physically, mentally and emotionally drained on a regular basis, you may be on the road to chairside burnout.

 

Chairside Burnout

 

It’s not hard to see why dentistry has one of the highest burnout rates of any profession. While rewarding, the work of a dental hygienist can also be enormously stressful. Hygienists often deal with long hours, tight schedules, and fussy patients in a fast-paced, high-pressure environment. One study found one in eight dental hygienists leaves work feeling emotionally exhausted by the demands of the job.

 

Follow these steps to prevent stress from leading to full-blown chairside burnout.

 

1) Know the Signs

 

Stress is hard to miss, but it’s not always as easy to see a burnout coming. The daily marathon of cleanings and consultations leaves little time to stop and think about yourself. Recognizing the signs of burnout is the first step to preventing it.

 

Burnout is marked by feelings of hopelessness, cynicism, and resentfulness. Once stress takes its toll, a normally-cheerful hygienist may start to become impatient and critical. The job may feel less rewarding or purposeful than it did in the beginning. Enthusiasm is replaced by a lack of energy, leading to less productivity. Some people suffer unexplained headaches or other physical complaints.

 

If you can relate to these signs, take time to gather your thoughts and reflect on your career as a dental hygienist. Try to understand where your negative feelings are coming from. Is it the physical demands of the work? Frustrating office politics? Lack of work-life balance? Like a bad toothache, you can only treat the problem once you’ve found the source of the pain.

 

2) Take Care of Yourself

 

Self-care is important in any career, but especially so for dental hygienists. You must make time in your busy day to do things that help you replenish your emotional energy, like walking the dog, taking a long shower, gardening, or listening to your favourite album. Use this time to focus on the present moment and practice positive thinking.

 

Since being a hygienist is physically demanding, it’s also important to take care of your body. Cardio is proven to help reduce burnout, and light exercise can help reduce the muscle and joint strain. If you’re feeling the burn, ask your doctor about physical therapy or other treatment for work-related injury.

 

3) Maintain a Work-Life Balance

 

Your work as a hygienist is important, but it doesn’t have to define who you are. Don’t fall into the trap of making life all about your job. If you’re constantly thinking about being chairside, even on your days off, you’ll only accelerate the burnout effect on your career.

 

Having things to look forward to outside of work is key to avoiding burnout. It can be something structured, like a college course or a sports league, or a casual hobby like photography. If you’re starting to feel burned out on the job, try something new in your off-time to instill new energy in your life.

 

4) Connect with Other Hygienists

 

It’s said that engagement is the antithesis of burnout, but when you’re having difficulty at work, it’s easy to forget why you pursued this career in the first place. People who experience chairside burnout often lose sight of the things they loved about being a dental hygienist.

 

One of the best ways to stay engaged in your work is to network with other dental hygienists. Your colleagues know the ups and downs of dentistry better than anyone. Sharing stories and advice will help you broaden your knowledge and keep in touch with your passion for dentistry. You can connect with others through online groups and forums, continuing professional development events, and your local hygienist association.

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Fluoride – What You Should Know

 

Almost everyone concerned about the health of their teeth brushes regularly, but they may not know exactly why toothpaste performs the cleansing magic it does. They may not even know they also receive fluoride every day in their community’s drinking water.

 

There are various cleaning components in toothpaste and one of the primary ones is fluoride. The discovery of fluoride's cleaning abilities was a boon in preserving dental health. Toothpaste and tap water then became convenient fluoride delivery systems to aid in the fight against tooth decay.

 

A Natural Cavity Fighter

 

The discovery of fluoride’s ability to keep our teeth healthy dates back to the early 20th century. A pair of dentists in Colorado discovered that people in the area had teeth unusually resistant to decay. This was due to the high degree of natural fluoride deposits in the area, which had found their way into the local drinking water. Fluoride became a regular part of toothpaste beginning in 1914.

 

In the 1940s, a multi-year study began with the goal of determining whether adding fluoride to drinking water made a notable difference for dental health. The results showed a 60-65% decrease in tooth decay in children born after the experiment began. As a result, a number of states in America began water fluoridation programs to improve their citizens’ oral health.

 

How Flouride Works

 

The enamel of your teeth is the natural coating that helps to protect them. When children’s teeth are first forming, fluoride combines with the enamel to help stave off decay during a time of life when teeth are particularly vulnerable to cavities. Fluoride remains valuable throughout the life of your teeth by helping protect them against the ravages of sugar and plaque.

 

Rare Health Risks

 

As mentioned, almost everyone’s teeth come into regular contact with fluoride through exposure to drinking water and toothpaste. There are additional fluoride supplements in the form of drops or tablets, and it is also an ingredient in mouthwash. The degree of fluoride in the latter is quite high, so do not swallow it.

High doses of fluoride in water can be bad for you, but this would require ingesting a volume of water with fluoride going well beyond what the normal person drinks.

 

Excessive fluoride can cause conditions known as dental fluorosis and skeletal fluorosis. You can only come down with dental fluorosis as a child, as ingesting too much fluoride at a young age can lead to white spots appearing on your permanent teeth. Fortunately, degrees of this condition ranking above very mild are almost non-existent.

 

You can also acquire skeletal fluorosis by taking in too much fluoride. However, you would have to have a very high amount on a daily basis for a very long period. As with dental fluorosis, the odds of contracting this problem are extremely rare.

 

Government oversight helps to ensure the level of fluoride in drinking water does not exceed safe rates. In Ontario, municipalities follow the guidelines laid out in the Safe Drinking Water Act managed by the Ministry of the Environment.

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10 Tips for Oral Health Care

 

Tooth Care

 

You know the basics of oral health care: brush twice a day, floss your teeth, avoid sugary snacks, and visit your dentist at least twice a year. Here are 10 tips for oral health care you may not know (and a good refresher if you do!)

 

1) Brush Smarter

 

Which is better: a humble manual toothbrush or a fancy electric one? They can be equally effective, but what really matters is your brushing technique.

 

Don’t just brush up and down or back and forth. Hold the brush at a 45-degree angle and use a gentle, circular motion to clean each surface of the teeth, including the chewing side and the side facing your tongue, for at least two minutes. Brushing harder or faster doesn’t do you any good. In fact, it can actually lead to tooth and gum damage! 

 

2) Don't Forget to Floss

 

People often think flossing is secondary to brushing, but they are both essential to good oral health. If you aren’t flossing, you’re leaving a third of the surface of the teeth unclean.

 

The ideal flossing technique is a forward or backward motion, with the floss forming a curved ‘C’ shape around the tooth. Use a fresh part of the floss for each tooth so you aren’t re-inserting the bacteria you just removed.

 

3) Pay Attention to Sensitive Teeth

 

Sensitivity to heat and cold is a common dental complaint, and it’s often a sign of an underlying issue like tooth decay, gum disease, or tooth grinding. It’s important to find and treat the source of tooth sensitivity, even if the pain is mild. See your dentist at the first signs of sensitive teeth.

 

4) Eat Well and Brush Often

 

You’ve heard it since you were a kid: sugar causes cavities. True, a diet high in sugar can lead to cavities, but the real cause is plaque, produced by bacteria in your mouth that eats the carbohydrates left on teeth after a meal.

 

While sugar is the biggest cavity culprit, even healthy food leads to some plaque formation. This is why you should brush after every meal, not just after dessert, and avoid eating or drinking anything, aside from water, after you have brushed your teeth at night.

 

5) Watch Your Fillings

 

Do you have fillings? If so, you can usually expect them to last for eight to 10 years. However, some fillings break down earlier than that. When a filling starts to chip and break apart, food and bacteria can get caught underneath, causing decay deep in the tooth. Be sure to make a dental appointment if your tooth filling is not holding up.

 

6) Wear a Mouth Guard

 

Mouth guards are standard equipment for contact sports like hockey and football. However, less confrontational sports—such as baseball, skiing, and skateboarding—can also pose a risk of injury to your teeth. Even minor dental injuries can lead to long-term consequences, so a mouth guard is a good investment for anyone who participates in a sport on a regular basis.

 

7) Read the Ingredients on Toothpaste

 

What’s in your toothpaste? Different kinds of toothpaste—those for desensitizing, tartar control, whitening, et cetera—consist of different active ingredients. Understanding how these ingredients work will help you choose the right toothpaste for you. You should always choose a toothpaste containing fluoride, even if your tap water is already fluoridated. 

 

8) Beat Bad Breath

 

There are many possible causes of bad breath, but poor oral hygiene is a common source. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, odor-causing bacteria can accumulate between teeth and in the back of your throat. However, bad breath can also be a sign of a medical problem, so have a dentist rule out any oral hygiene issues first.

 

9) Use Mouthwash as Directed

 

Mouthwash cannot replace proper brushing and flossing, but it can help boost your oral hygiene and control issues like bad breath, plaque, and oral sores. Be sure to read the instructions on the bottle before using it. Depending on the ingredients, the manufacturer may recommend using it either before or after brushing or flossing for the best results.

 

10) Make Regular Dental Appointments

 

Do not wait until you have a problem to see your dentist! Even if your teeth and gums seem fine, the dentist might notice things you can’t feel or see. Scheduling regular dental exams will help you detect and treat cavities, tooth decay, gingivitis, and other oral health issues before they become painful and/or expensive to fix.

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