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Celebrating National Dental Hygiene Week 2012!

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
St. Francis of Assisi


This year I was able to get out and celebrate National Dental Hygiene Week within the community of Kensington. I had the pleasure of visiting with 4 different West Hillhurst Preschool Classes and boy was it fun! Teeth were counted in English and en francais; we learnt how to brush teeth and gums using Doogan Dog as a trusty but sneezy model,: kids listened with wide eyes and open ears during story time and explanations about what sugar bugs did in their mouth! What an attentive, and happy go lucky audience.

Dental Hygiene Week is a time when Canada recognizes the initiatives of this profession and how it impacts Canadians. It is both a good time and bad time to be a hygienist in 2012; good because of the changes made to the Health Professions Act that gave Canadians more direct access to dental hygiene care and bad because of economic changes that affected  the landscape of once plentiful jobs for us hygienists.

If there is one thing that has not changed, it is the constant need for access to preventive oral health care in this country. I would like to personally thank every hygienist I know who has been instrumental in spearheading these legislative changes that would affect how healthy Canadians mouths could be.  You pioneers and trailblazers are amazing individuals! This is a great time to be a hygienist and it is only going to get better. Lots of faith, hope, and love.



Xylitol: Sugar that is a Cavity Fighter!

Can you imagine a naturally occurring sugar found in plums, strawberries, raspberries and birch trees that can help reduce tooth decay? Well xylitol is exactly that!
How xylitol works as an anticariogenic is a twofold process:

1. By not producing acid harmful to enamel:

Xylitol passes through the cell wall of cavity forming bacteria (streptococcus mutans) but is not metabolized by the bacteria into an acid like a glucose or sucrose sugar would.

2. By decreasing the amount of bacteria being created:

Because of less acid and metabolic waste around the teeth, the bacteria have less chance to stick to each other and the teeth. This is the beginning of biofilm breakdown. Bacteria are unable to communicate to each other effectively without acid and metabolic waste, which then decreases the reproduction of more bacteria in the mouth.
Xylitol can be found added in chewing gum, mouthrinses, toothpastes and even lollipops! Just make sure to not give xylitol to dogs, because just like chocolate it is poisonous for your furry four-legged friends to eat!

Brush smart,