Hygienists have found a champion.
We recently spoke with Amber Auger, a powerhouse of a human being who teaches hygienists to take control of their lives and create happiness, in and out of the chair.
Amber wears many hats. She's a dental hygienist, a spin instructor, an author for RDH magazine, a public speaker, a consultant, and an all-around advocate for hygienists.
But her overarching mission is to empower hygienists to LOVE what they do.
It's not easy being a hygienist. Many of them feel underappreciated and underestimated. They're often looked at as just "those people who clean your teeth". But in reality, they're SO much more.
Let's hear it from Amber:
"There’s a really dismissive vibe out there like 'You should hate the clinical side. You should want more. It’s a dead-end job. If you’re just a clinician, you’re not enough'"
These vibes can lead to burnout. 1 in 12 hygienists left their job during the pandemic.
"We need to change the conversation. I love clinical care. We have such a unique opportunity to spend 2 hours with a patient to change their mind about preventative care."
Amber runs a masterclass online, with 50 on-demand lessons to help hygienists navigate their world and prevent burnout.
She wants her community to learn from the mistakes that she made in 12+ years of clinical practice.
"I was shamed for my high energy. I was shamed for being passionate about education. And now those are things that I'm valued for, both chairside and in consulting."
"I want to show hygienists how to create their dream life too, in and out of the chair."
In addition to building her community, Amber is focused on educating her patients about the importance of creating a healthy microbiome in their mouths.
She noticed that a lot of her patients were doing everything they were supposed to, but not improving. They were brushing, flossing, and taking care of their mouths, yet they still showed excessive bleeding and signs of gingivitis.
So she began testing their saliva to see what the heck was going on. And it told her a story.
Those patients had some nasty bacteria present, like P. Gingivalis (which - side note - can increase the likelihood of Alzheimer's Disease by up to 80x!). They also had more acidic PH levels.
"If you drink a lot of coffee, alcohol, seltzer or tea, that will reduce the PH of your mouth and make it more acidic. If you have healthy saliva without pathogens, though, that will wash away the acid and bring the PH levels back up to a more balanced level."
So how can we balance our PH levels, kill these bacteria, and create a healthy mouth?
"There are a few ways, but one of them is something as simple as xylitol gum, which anyone can do. You can pop it in after lunch. You can pop it in after an acidic cup of coffee."
"Another way is to mix some xylitol into your water so when you're sipping throughout the day, you're killing bacteria and creating a healthy microbiome"
We asked Amber if there was one moment in her life that led her to where she is now, and she told us the following story:
"For me, it was Kenya. We went there on a mission and met some patients in their 50’s who had never had a cleaning in their lives."
"What I noticed was that these people actually had really strong teeth. Of course they had plaque buildup and calculus. So in this moment, I thought “What’s in their diet that’s helping their teeth so much?”
"They don’t have processed sugar in their diet! They live a much more natural lifestyle, and they are in touch with nature."
"I asked them to show me what they use to brush their teeth. They took me to an echinacea tree, where they cut off a branch and showed me how they chew on it."
"I thought “Wow how cool is this?” They’re getting a lot of the same results as we do, but naturally. Because they don’t have the same systemic burdens we do here in the USA."
Then we went to a different village where they had severe tooth decay, but there they had processed sugar and access to many of the products we have in the USA. They were drinking a lot of coke and not giving their mouth the nutrition it needed.
So whether you're a hygienists looking for support, or just a mouth lover looking for tips for a healthier mouth, you should probably follow Amber (@amberaugerrdh), or check out her website by clicking the button below.
And if you haven't' subscribed to our newsletter yet, do it here!