The Tongue Test
Oh the tongue! The nemesis to all dental hygienists. I have spent most of my clinical career battling the most curious, and in my opinion, strongest muscle in the body. Patients are not even aware that their tongue is trying to push me away or trying to feel where my instrument is. The tongue may be difficult to work around but it can be a great asset to help patients improve their brushing skills.
I know that I am a neurotic hygienist who always feels the need to brush my teeth but I am sure you have also experienced the feeling of having ‘furry’ teeth. The next time you have a dental cleaning, run your tongue over all of your teeth. Especially the back teeth next to your cheek and your bottom front teeth. Feel how smooth they are. Now, after your next tooth brushing, take your tongue and do the same thing, feeling each tooth with your tongue. Do they feel as smooth? If not, get that toothbrush back out and brush those areas that still feel a little furry. If you do this every time you brush, you will brush away more plaque, preventing it from building up and turning into tartar or calculus (the rough stuff that hygienist need to scale away).
Another tip for a thorough tooth bushing is to start in your trouble areas. Do you always miss the same place? Is the hard to reach area for you down by your tongue or your bottom front teeth? Well, start there! We tend to be more focused when we first start to brush, so if you start there before you drift off into la la land, you will have tackled your hardest to reach areas! I have seen this work. Remember, dental disease is not expected. Finding the most effective way to brush and clean between our teeth can help control the plaque biofilm before the dental disease occurs.
Try out TePe’s Supreme toothbrush and check out our educational videos on how to care for those hard to reach areas!