Your dental hygienist should know as much as he or she can before the start of your dental cleaning. When the hygienist is aware of the medications you take, your past and present medical conditions, and your lifestyle choices; your oral health can be monitored for specific conditions. Here are three things to discuss with your dental hygienist before your cleaning begins:
Whether you take prescription anticoagulant medication to reduce your risk for stroke, blood clots, or a heart attack, or whether you take plain aspirin for chronic pain, tell your dental hygienist. These medications can inhibit platelet aggregation and diminish your blood's ability to clot.
They can also cause heavy bleeding when the hygienist uses a dental probe or other instruments on your gums. In addition to heavy bleeding, prescription anticoagulants and over-the-counter aspirin can make oral bleeding difficult to control. When your hygienist knows about these medications, he or she will take extra care when probing the spaces between your teeth or removing dental tartar so that bleeding is minimized.
Revealing your use of dietary supplements is just as important as telling your dental hygienist about the medications you take. Certain supplements can actually have some of the same effects as prescription medications, including the ability to cause abnormal bleeding.
These include magnesium, omega-3 fatty acids, and garlic supplements. Other supplements that may cause dental problems are those containing vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. Vitamin C can cause enamel erosion or thinning of your dental enamel. If your hygienist determines that you have acid erosion, he or she may recommend that you limit your intake of vitamin C supplements and citrus fruits.
History of Diabetes
Your hygienist will also want to know if you have diabetes because this disorder can take a toll on your oral cavity. When your hygienist is aware of your diabetes history, he or she will closely examine your mouth for evidence of white patches.
White patches that appear on or under your tongue, on the floor of your mouth, or on the insides of your cheeks may be indicative of a fungal infection. These infections are common in people with high levels of circulating blood glucose. Fungi and yeast thrive in the oral cavity, especially when high concentrations of glucose are present.
If you take dietary supplements, blood-thinning medications, or if you have a history of diabetes; be sure to tell your dental hygienist before your cleaning. He or she can then monitor your teeth, gums, and soft tissue for any abnormal bleeding, enamel erosion, or sores on your soft tissue.