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Discussing homecare

I was wondering if people could share what verbiage they use when talking about why it’s important to brush before bed. I am just looking for other ideas to discuss with patients. Sometimes I still feel like I can’t get through to people, which I know comes with the job. Also, verbiage about flossing is OK to say too! It’s nice to switch things up at times rather than saying the same thing patient after patient haha.



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3 Answers

What I usually tell them is it’s most important to have nightly homecare bc you’ve been eating and drinking all day, so it’s leaving sugars on your teeth that allow the bacteria to use to produce acids and give you cavities. As well as your whole body slows down, including your salivary flow that protects your teeth so it’s allowing the bacteria to have a party while you sleep. As far as flossing I show them the inter proximal spaces on X-rays and explain that their tooth is essentially a square and not cleaning in between them will cause cavities, perio, & calc build up, then usually demo the correct way after I’ve seen what they do. Hope this helps 🙂

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I have a great flip book that shows correct angles for brushing and how to floss properly so I show them the visual pictures, as well as using my typodont and a set of toothbrushes I use for OHI; the language I typically use is that plaque has the ability to harden in about 8-12 hours so going to bed without brushing or flossing is going to lead to some tartar accumulation, which in turn, acts as a shelf for bacteria and plaque to gather on, thus leading to larger deposits, inflammation, and tender bleeding gums. I compare it to a sliver in the skin as well, and that nothing at home will remove tartar once it’s hardened to the tooth structure.

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First, I always like to highlight what they are doing right. I will tell them it’s great that you are brushing in the morning and using mouthwash everyday, but it’s very important to brush right before bed. After you brush in the morning then you have coffee, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. When you go to bed without brushing, you’re leaving a buffet of food for the bacteria to eat which can lead to cavities and gum disease. If they ask why they need to brush in the morning if they just brushed at night and haven’t eaten, I will tell them bacteria multiply more during the night. When a large group of bacteria get together they don’t smell good…like the left over container left in your fridge for who knows how long. It’s important to brush and cut down the number of bacteria.

With flossing, I ask pt’s to imagine if they only brushed as often as they floss. “Oh, I only brush my teeth once a week.” (I always say how ever often they have told me they floss) Imagine how your teeth would feel as you run your tongue over them. They’d have fuzzy plaque-sweaters. That’s how you leave the sides of your teeth anytime you choose not to floss. Just because you can’t feel it, doesn’t mean it’s not important to clean there.

Giving pt’s gross visuals really hits home with a lot of people. The floss thing works GREAT for those people how brush 2x/day every day but do not floss at all.

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