Tips for optimal oral health

Oct. 20, 2014
Kristy Menage Bernie, RDH, a Colgate Enamel Health brand ambassador, has shared a few oral health tips to share with your patients to ensure a white, bright, and healthy smile.

The American Dental Hygienists' Association(1) defines optimal oral health as “a standard of health of the oral and related tissues which enable an individual to eat, speak, and socialize without active disease, discomfort, or embarrassment, and which contribute to general well-being and overall total health.” Kristy Menage Bernie, RDH, a Colgate Enamel Health brand ambassador, has shared a few oral health tips to share with your patients to ensure a white, bright, and healthy smile.

Bacteria and cavities can have an impact on your overall health; so encourage your patients to do what they can in between dentist visits to ensure a healthy, beautiful smile!

Tips to share with patients

  1. pH matters in the mouth! Foods and liquids that are acid based can rob your smile of the minerals that maintain smooth, healthy teeth. Sour candies, soda pop, even citrus fruits can lower the pH of the saliva and create an environment that bacteria love! Your best defense is minimizing consumption of acidic foods and brushing at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Acids can also erode the surfaces of teeth, making them look dull. Be kind to your smile and adjust your pH!
  2. Keep it smooth! Everyday life takes a toll on us. Our teeth are no exception. When our enamel isn’t properly maintained, it becomes rough and more susceptible to damage. But your hygienist has the secret to keeping your smile beautiful. By polishing your teeth, he or she can go beyond cleaning to help replenish natural calcium and smooth out your enamel, making germs less likely to stick. And, now you can help maintain the work your hygienist does in between visits everyday with Colgate Enamel Health toothpaste.
  3. Approximately 90% of bad breath is caused by bacteria residing in the mouth!(2) Especially the tongue! Bacteria accumulate on the surface of the tongue and then those bacteria produce smelly gasses, or volatile sulfur compounds, from proteins in the food we eat. Be sure to clean your tongue at least once a day to freshen your breath! There are many toothbrushes now that have a cheek and tongue cleaner built in that can be picked up at your local drug store.
  4. Strengthen your teeth with every brush! Fluoride treatments have long been given at your dental appointment to help prevent cavities. Toothpastes can now help you achieve those results at home. The fluoride in the toothpaste helps replenish natural calcium back into weakened enamel to strengthen teeth in between dental appointments.

“Remember, enamel is the hardest substance known to man, and yet acidic, sugary, or gooey foods provide a feast for the smallest of bacteria, which cause the enamel to loose precious minerals and can lead to tooth decay and dull looking teeth. Protecting enamel on a daily basis is easy! Be sure to use toothpastes that will replenish minerals and keep bacteria at bay,” Menage Bernie said.

Colgate Enamel Healthis a new line of products uniquely formulated to replenish and polish teeth for stronger, healthy enamel. The ColgateEnamel Health Toothpastehelps replenish natural calcium and other minerals back into weakened enamel, filling in rough spots, and gently polishes the enamel surface so germs are less likely to stick to teeth.

Kristy Menage Bernie, RDH, BS, RYT, is the immediate past president of the American Academy of Dental Hygiene, an international featured speaker on a variety of oral health-care topics since 1989 and a recent recipient of an appointment as an assistant clinical professor of oral epidemiology and dental public heath, Preventive and Restorative Dental Sciences at the University of California, San Francisco. As a speaker at major dental and dental hygiene conventions, Kristy is known for facilitating interactive, fast-paced sessions based on the latest technologies and research with a focus on fresh breath, aesthetic and gum health. A graduate of the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s in dental hygiene, Kristy is also a registered yoga teacher and is currently based out of San Ramon, Calif.


  1. American Dental Hygienists’ Association Policy Manual, Updated 10.25.13
  2. American Dental Association Council on Scientific Affairs Report, Vol. 134, February 2003