Caviar Tongue: Are Dental Hygiene Patients Displaying Signs of “Aging?”

Caviar tongue is a condition recognized by purplish veins located on the ventral side of the tongue. Veins are normally visible underneath (ventrally) the tongue since the mucous membrane is so thin and translucent. However, with caviar tongue, the blood vessels become dilated and tortuous and appear round and black (resembling caviar).1 Caviar tongue is also referred to as sublingual...

Fluoride Varnish vs. Foam: What Research Shows

A patient comes in and with a chief complaint of extremely sensitive teeth. It’s painful to drink a cold beverage or eat their favorite ice cream. They even struggle with the simple act of brushing their teeth. You know the answer to their problems and so does every dental hygienist across the nation: Fluoride. Whether you have patients that...

Oral Allergy Syndrome: Educate Dental Patients about Reactions to Food

Oral allergy syndrome (OAS), which is also called pollen-fruit allergy syndrome, is a type of food allergy that causes instant allergic reactions in the mouth and throat. The syndrome is caused by cross-reacting allergens found in both pollen and the protein in raw fruits, vegetables, and tree nuts. This reaction occurs usually from eating raw or fully ripened fresh fruits...

Dental Patient Video Messaging: Smile, You’re on Camera!

In 2018, my husband and I were interviewing college coaches for our son (and, no, not the Lori Loughlin kind of “coach”). A friend at a university recommended a company that could help us navigate the minefield of discussions. My dear, sweet son had become a different soul in his teenage years. As I looked onto the horizon, I saw...

Scarlet Fever: Why Should Dental Professionals Pay Attention to Medical History?

With the extensive list of conditions on a dental health history, it can be quite overwhelming to really know about all of them and how they affect the dental appointment. While scarlet and rheumatic fever is not too common anymore, there’s still a reason it’s listed on health histories. I have even seen it marked on the health history of...

Understanding the Monetary Value of the “Essential” Dental Hygienist

Dental professionals could have never imagined a time when dental offices across the country would close with only emergency services deemed essential. The shutdowns imposed on dental offices were meant to shift personal protective equipment to where it was needed most. This created conversations in the dental community on social media filled with worry, confusion, and anger. Most shocking were...

Strawberry Tongue: Systemic Health Influences This Oral Health Condition

Strawberry tongue, which is also called raspberry tongue, is described as a red tongue that is bumpy, swollen, and, in some cases, enlarged. The condition reflects a systemic issue rather than an oral disorder. When strawberry tongue is present, it means there is an underlying issue involved. To determine the underlying cause, other symptoms will need to be considered.1A healthy...

Debunking the Dental Hygiene Diagnosis

The first time I heard the phrase, “dental hygiene diagnosis,” I was completely befuddled. What in the world could this be referring to? Dental hygienists, if I understood correctly, were legally prohibited from diagnosing; the right to diagnose remained the dentist’s right alone. So what does a “dental hygiene diagnosis” involve? Did this phrase refer more to observations such...

Hearing Loss in Dentistry: A Silent Topic

It is estimated that 30 million Americans are exposed to potentially harmful sounds at work. Many workplaces require hearing protection devices (HPD) as personal protective equipment (PPE). Dentists and their auxiliaries are regularly exposed to decibel (dB) levels at and above the level of 85, which begins an unsafe zone for ears without protection. Awareness needs to be generated...

The History of Fluoride & Why It’s So Important

In dental hygiene school, I remember being taught the efficacy and benefits of fluoride on the dentition nearly from day one. There were never any questions asked nor did students doubt what this element was capable of. We studied the content in our “dental hygiene bibles,” a.k.a. Textbooks, and as we transitioned into clinic, the proof was simply in...

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