Dental Hygienist Shares Insightful Observations About Patients from Oral Examinations

Emma Cubis, a dental hygienist with a decade of experience, has taken to TikTok (@emmafrommelbourne) to share intriguing insights she gathers from oral examinations. In a recent video that garnered over 1.2 million views and 83,000 likes, she reveals several surprising things that can be determined just by looking in a patient’s mouth.

Speaking to, Emma, based in Melbourne, Australia, emphasized dental professionals’ unique perspective: “No other health professional assesses the oral cavity like we do, which is why an annual dentist examination is crucial.”

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The key revelations Emma discusses include:

Dominant Hand Identification:
Dentists often tell which hand a person uses more by observing their teeth brushing habits. The non-dominant side typically gets brushed longer due to the awkward angle of brushing the dominant side. Emma states, “95% of the time, I can tell if [patients] are left or right-handed” using plaque-disclosing gel.

Preferred Chewing Side:
The accumulation of hardened plaque (calculus) in some mouth regions indicates a patient’s preferred chewing side. More plaque on one side suggests that the side is favoured for chewing.

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Sleep Disorder Indicators:
Dental signs such as inflamed gums, a tongue with scalloped edges, worn tooth surfaces, teeth grinding, and enlarged tonsils can indicate a sleep disorder. While dentists can identify these signs, they refer patients to specialists for official diagnosis.

STIs and Oral Cancer Checks:
Dentists are often the first to notice symptoms of STIs or oral cancer, as they thoroughly inspect the mouth’s soft tissues for abnormalities. Early detection allows for immediate treatment and helps prevent transmission.

Emma recommends seeing a dentist annually and a dental hygienist every six months for optimal oral hygiene, with more frequent visits if necessary.


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