I have been working as a dental assistant for about six years now for Dr. Jennifer Ngai in Edmonds, Washington. Before getting into the dental field I never knew the importance of basic oral healthcare. Growing up in a Vietnamese household I only learned the basics and was taught that going to the dentist was not important.

My family only went to the dentist when we really needed to. This is a common practice for many patients that come to our office. Many people believe that if they just floss and brush twice a day, everything will be okay. Others feel certain dental procedures might not be necessary just because the doctor suggested them.

Dr. Ngai said: “Basic level [of dental care] is important. However, the immigrant community is not up to its standards in oral healthcare and there are a lot of myths and misconceptions that we need to overcome.”

Being in the healthcare profession, we really are looking out for the patients’ best interests. Patients need to understand that taking care of your teeth also leads to taking care of your body. Health issues in your mouth can get into your blood stream and lead to other health issues, such as heart problems.

Some easy tips patients should remember are:

• Make sure to brush twice a day.

• Brush longer and towards your gum line, especially when using a manual toothbrush.

• When using an electric toothbrush, you do not need to apply a lot of pressure. Hold your toothbrush like a pencil and gently brush your teeth.

• Floss at least once a day (especially after meals).

• Try to brush or rinse out your mouth after drinking soda or sweet products. Letting the sugar sit in your mouth through out the day can lead to cavities.

• Make sure to get your six-month cleaning/check up.

Even if you are really good at taking care of your teeth, everyone still needs to get their teeth cleaned by the special equipment at the dentist. Brushing and flossing alone cannot take care of all bacteria and the stains that can build up.

Finally, if you are experiencing any toothache, make sure to make an appointment to have it checked out sooner than later. Finding out what the problem is right when it happens can save you from discomfort and money in the long run. Waiting it out can lead from an easy filling procedure to a root canal or losing a tooth.

We understand that people are very busy these days, but taking a moment out of your day just to make sure your teeth are clean can lead to a healthier lifestyle and save you more money in the long run.

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