How frequently should I have my teeth cleaned?
Fighting off Cavities and Gum Disease
It’s generally recommended that you get a dental cleaning at least once every 6 months. This way you can ensure that no cavities or gum diseases develop between your dental appointments. Keep in mind, however, that good family dentistry isn’t just about averages, it’s about your individual needs. It’s recommended that you consult your dentist to see whether you need more frequent appointments to maintain healthy oral hygiene.
Why is it important to get my teeth cleaned?
While brushing and flossing at home are necessary preventative measures against cavities and gum disease, they are not sufficient for guaranteeing preservation of your teeth in the long term. Plaque is a sticky layer of bacteria that is constantly building up on your teeth; it’s also the leading cause of tooth decay. The harmful effects of bacteria on your teeth and gums only increase when uncared for. While you can remove the majority of plaque buildup at home with consistent oral hygiene practices, when left on your teeth plaque hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by your dentist. Both plaque and tartar contribute heavily to gum disease.
Gum disease is classified into two stages: the initial stage, gingivitis, and the progressive stage, periodontitis. During the first stage of gum disease, no sustainable damage occurs. Gingivitis typically consists of sensitive, red swollen gums that easily bleed during brushing.
If teeth cleaning remains inadequate, gingivitis advances to periodontitis. Periodontitis involves the forming of deep pockets between your teeth and your gums. These deep pockets collect additional debris more quickly, while also making it harder to appropriately remove bacteria build up. Between the plaque, tartar, and limited access bone and tissue deterioration occurs, loosening the anchors of your teeth and eventually leading to tooth loss.
How do my regular checkups help to fight and prevent gum disease and other oral health issues?
In addition to the prevention of gum disease, family dentistry is also invested in ensuring total oral hygiene. Your regular checkups consist of two main stages: the examination and the cleaning. Regular check-ups allow your dentist to examine your teeth, gums, tongue, jaw, neck, and head for troublesome signs such as oral cancer. During your initial visits, your examination will consist of x-rays to inspect your teeth for any cavities or other health issues.
The cleaning process will include both a more in-depth brushing and flossing than available at home, and what is called scaling. During scaling, special tools are used to remove tartar build up from the teeth, which you can’t remove at home. Your teeth will be polished to remove surface stains. When indicated, fluoride will be applied to reinforce your teeth’s surface strength which may have eroded from the acidity of the bacteria or other sources.
Family Dentistry Wrap-up
Family dentistry is meant to help stop progressive gum disease before it can reach the stage of periodontitis, but the pace at which plaque and tartar build up is different from person to person. By consulting your dentist about the frequency of visits appropriate for you and your family, you maintain the highest possible chance of health for your gums and teeth.
Recent studies have shown oral hygiene to be connected with overall health, so be sure to maintain a healthy mouth.