Some Things You Don't Learn In a Text Book


If you are a dental nerd like me you love all things dentistry. Even after school there are so many interesting things to learn and implement.  I do keep a few trusty old books close by in the operatory for reference, as you can see in my photo, but one thing school books don’t train you on is your chairside manner. I remember struggling as a new grad to find my stride on educating patients on treatment plans and providing the best customer service. I ordered book after book on the best practices to become an amazing hygienist, and how to build a hygiene department. There are so many great resources we have in dental hygiene to guide us on this path. 

Here at Hygiene Edge we have a subscription to  They have helped me to become a better dental hygienist through their helpful videos. Lately, I especially like the ones on restorative dentistry so I can better help patients understand their treatment needs. There are a lot of offices that invest in their team and get an office subscription. You can watch these and learn techniques together during staff meetings or during down time. Learning is always informational with their unique site.  

What are some of your favorite resources that have helped you on your path as a hygienist?

2018 Student Essay Contest

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It's time again for our Annual Student Essay Contest!

This year, we've decided to look into ADHA and being part of your student chapter. We'd love to know how being part of it as helped you learn and grow as a person and as a dental hygienist. Any fun activities you've done? Any great events or volunteer opportunities that your classmates have been involved in? What have you learned from being part of the events and a dental hygiene community? We want to know!

Winner will be chosen and given $100, a prize package from our shop, and be published on Hygiene Edge. Email your submissions by August 1 to

We're so excited to hear what you've been up to with the ADHA and SADHA!

Fine print: You must be a current dental hygiene student OR have graduated dental hygiene school in the last 6 months. Entries are due August 1, 2018 and should be emailed to All writing must be original work. Entry must been less than 1000 words long. Photos can be included, but must be copyright free. 

What, No Toothpaste?!?

Before you have a heart attack, you can add toothpaste, just not in the way we were taught in hygiene school.  

Am I the only one that squirms when a patient asks about toothpaste ingredients?  The patient starts rambling off ingredients that you're pretty sure you recognize from hygiene school, but the recall is not there.  Thank heavens we are "able" (required) to take Continuing Education classes.  

Apparently its not only the ingredients we should be worried about but WHEN the patient brushes.  

I recently took a course from Spear Education from one of my FAVORITE hygienist-Trisha O'heir. The course was called, "The Toothpaste Secret: Helping Patients Develop Effective Toothbrushing Habits."  The course was short and it was fascinating.  She shared that in the 70's before there were strict laws on recording people without their consent,  researchers put up secret cameras to watch people brush their teeth.

As hygienist we already know what the research confirmed- patients brush sporadically-they start on the facials and barely touch the lingual side of their mouth, they don't brush very long and aren't very effective.

Her remedy was to have them brush WITHOUT toothpaste, starting on the lower right linguals for right-handed patients and lower left linguals for left-handed patients.   This is called "dry brushing."  When dry brushing is done the research shows that patients brush longer and more effectively!  

Genius!!  it makes perfect sense to have patients start brushing where they brush the least. And because toothpaste numbs senses, without toothpaste the patient can feel if his/her mouth is actually clean or not.  After the patient's mouth feels clean, advise him/her to add toothpaste and brush again. 

We still want our patients to use toothpaste but WHEN the patients uses it is very important.  

As far as patient ingredients:  O'Heir advises against any kinds of toothpaste containing microbeads. Proctor and Gamble has been working on getting the little pieces out of toothpaste but definitely look before you recommend any brand.  Also, O'Heir strongly advises against Sodium-laurel sulfate (the ingredient that causes toothpaste to foam) because of its increased risk of aphthous ulcers.  

Hygiene Edge Advice:  If you have a patient with a lot of plaque- teach them how to dry brush (we included a handout for you below).  Patients trust your opinion so be a detective and research toothpaste ingredients before you recommend a toothpaste.  

Here is a handout for you to give to your patients all about dry brushing :) 




What Patient's are Talking About: Crest Gum Detoxify


Gum Detoxify is Crest’s latest and greatest toothpaste on the market. And they’ve been heavy on the marketing for this new product. They even have a sponsored Buzzfeed video! Of course, with all this marketing of the paste, your patients will definitely ask about it. Here’s a little bit about it:


When you compare the ingredients from Crest Pro Health and the new Crest Gum Detoxify, they are surprisingly similar. The active ingredient is the same, stannous fluoride 0.454%, and most of the inactive are exactly the same. I talked to a few reps about the difference in products, and they mentioned that the new paste has a higher concentration of SLS which causes an increase of “bubbling” and a clean feeling, and the list of ingredients does have SLS higher in the list.  

Subgingival Cleaning

One claim that Crest does make is that Gum Detoxify does clean subgingivally better than other pastes. There is a study posted on their website, however reading through it, the conclusion that they came to doesn’t say too much about how Gum Detoxify is better than any other toothpaste.

Different Packaging

Also, you’ll want to be aware that there are 3 “different” Gum Detoxify toothpastes out in stores. They are, however, all the same product but are marketed differently depending on the purchaser. Currently, there are Gentle Whitening, Sensitivity, and Deep Clean packeting at major retail stores like Target. They all have the same ingredients however. “Deep Clean” is currently the only one that is sold and marketed to dental professionals and to dental offices. If you request a sample, you’ll definitely be given that “Deep Clean” packaging.

My Experience

I personally have been using this paste for the last 2ish months to try it out and see. And honestly, I like it. Because of the extra foaming agent, it “feels” like it cleans better. I don’t know if that’s a great feature for the everyday patient who rarely brushes or only brushes the anterior teeth, but if it helps motivate then hey! Sign me up. The cost is another factor for both patients and me. Since it's a premium product,  it costs $3-5 more than another toothpastes on the market.

Have you tried this new Crest toothpaste? What did you think?

What are your patient's asking about? Let us know!