Someone you know probably has a fear of going to the dentist. Hell, there’s a good chance that someone is you. The Journal of the American Dental Association reports that as many as 75 percent of Americans have dental anxiety. But you know who you never hear anyone say they’re scared of? Dental hygienists.
Think about it: Dental hygienists are like angels that visit you right before the dentist goes in for the more daunting stuff, putting you at ease and giving your mouth that “wow, I forgot what really clean teeth actually feel like” experience. Even more so than angels, they’re like the estheticians of the dental industry, more or less performing tiny facials on your teeth to ensure your smile is healthy and radiant. And they love what they do.
“It gives me a sense of purpose knowing that I was a part of coaching, guiding, and educating my patients,” says Alexandra Ochi, a dental hygienist at Silicon Beach Dental in Los Angeles. “Having a healthy smile instills confidence in people, and I am proud to say I help contribute to that.”
But even though dental hygienists are equipped to clean your teeth far better than you ever could on your own, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t be doing a better job — and they’re the ones who know exactly how. We spoke to Ochi and several other dental hygienists from around the country to find out which over-the-counter products they’re obsessed with, both for their patients and themselves.