It’s fair to say Rachel Smith is an oral health expert – she’s been a Dental Hygienist at Lumino Courtenay Place in Wellington for over 20 years, over which time she has successfully helped improve the oral health and dental knowledge of thousands of happy customers.
Rachel loves the social interaction she has in her role, however, she is also passionate about education and believes in individually tailor-making treatment programmes, to help people take control of their oral health.
“I love empowering people to take control of their health,” she says.
When asked about what the most rewarding aspect of her job is, Rachel says building and establishing great relationships is at the forefront. “Also, returning patients’ mouths into a healthy state,” she adds.
Here are Rachel’s top three tips to successfully achieve a healthy, happy mouth:
Eat and drink at set meal times throughout the day. Every time you eat or drink you will have a 30-minute period of time of acid invasion in your mouth that follows.
- Do not brush during this period of time, as you will then be effectively brushing acid into your teeth.
- Avoid grazing continually throughout the day.
- Promote saliva (your natural acid neutralizer) with sugar-free chewing gum. Keep your diet low in acid. For example, reduce sugary drinks, citric fruit, etc.
- Baking soda rinses post meals – because it is alkaline and will reduce the acid level.
- Drink plenty of water.
- It’s essential. Flossing is not just to remove food, which is a common misconception.
- Around the circumference of each tooth you have a ditch between the gum and the tooth which is a breeding ground of bacteria. This needs to be shaken up every day (every 24 hours) to disturb the environment, otherwise negative bacteria will start to set in and infect the gums with disease on some level.
- Make sure your technique is correct, this can be checked by your dental hygienist.
Brush with an extra soft head and electric toothbrush if possible.
- Brush twice daily.
- Just like in any industry, there are a lot of gimmicks we are bombarded with in the dental world – which does not make it easy for choice. Electric toothbrushes with rotating/oscillating heads are revolutionary.
- Make sure you always go for a ‘sensitive’ or ‘EXTRA soft’ head as sometimes the heads labelled ‘soft’ are actually ‘medium’ in disguise. This is because you are predominately working on the gums and you need to use something safe and with confidence. Tooth brushing is more about gum massage and you are mostly working around the gum line which is where most plaque starts to form.
- Make sure your technique is correct, again this can be checked by your dental hygienist.