Dear Dr. H,
I am so annoyed! This new dental hygienist spent 10 minutes of my appointment teaching me how to brush and floss! I know how to brush and floss- I am a grown woman! I need her to clean my teeth! Is this really what I am paying for?
This is a common concern that I hear. I would like to change the discussion to skin and then explain:
I was taught to wash my face with soap when I was a little girl. My primary goal in doing this was to remove enough dirt to keep my mother from coming in and washing my face!
Then, in fifth grade, I started to get acne. This prompted me to use Clearasil.
In college my face got dry AND I had acne. I switched to Proactive.
After I had my first child, I noticed the acne had changed and that I was getting sun spots. I changed products again.
Then I turned 40 and … wow! I have a whole crazy regime of products to keep my skin healthy!
Now back to teeth:
Most of us were taught to brush and floss our teeth when we were little children. We were taught when we had a mouth full of baby teeth and brushing was fairly easy.
Hopefully in middle school someone taught you how to brush your adult teeth.
It is likely that you have received no instruction since that time. However, your mouth and teeth have continued to age- just like your skin! By aging, I mean that you probably have more fillings than in childhood and perhaps you even have a crown or two. You probably have lost bone around some teeth and a few teeth have shifted out of place. This is normal aging.
It is important that someone teaches you how to manage this aging in your mouth in order to keep you healthy.
I am sorry the hygienist did not fully explain this to you. You deserve to know what is happening and why.
Sincerely, Dr. H