If you're like many people, you're not a big fan of going to the dentist — and you may even be among those who only make an appointment with your dentist when you develop a toothache or otherwise require immediate care. However, one of the most important reasons to schedule a dental checkup every six months is to have your teeth cleaned. Although many people associate professional teeth cleaning sessions as something that's only real benefit is aesthetic, these actually do way more than simply brighten up your smile. The following are four things that you need to know about professional dental cleanings.
Dental Cleanings Get Your Teeth Really Clean
It's not uncommon for those who practice good oral hygiene at home to consider professional teeth cleaning to be unnecessary — after all, they're brushing and flossing twice per day, and many are adding a good rinsing out with an antibacterial mouthwash as a grand finale to their routine. However, even the best home oral hygiene practices don't get the teeth as clean as a professional session.
Think of professional teeth cleaning as the equivalent of deep cleaning your kitchen once or twice per year — Your normal household routine keeps things reasonably clean and sanitized, but an annual or semi-annual deep cleaning provides thorough results. Simply brushing and flossing at home removes a great deal of bacterial buildup on your teeth, but it doesn't get all of it. Oral bacteria combine with saliva and sugary substances from foods and beverages to form a film over your teeth commonly known as plaque, which can turn into tartar without regular brushing. Tartar needs to be removed by a dentist during a dental cleaning.
Dental Cleanings Can Help Minimize Cavities
Bacterial buildup is the main cause of tooth decay, and as you probably already know, tooth decay is the prime cause of dental cavities. Cavities are holes that develop in the teeth as they erode from decay. Left untreated, this can lead to excruciating toothaches, and if the decay is too far gone to allow the tooth to be saved by having a filling installed, you will most likely lose the tooth altogether.
Dental Cleanings Can Help Prevent Gum Disease
Initial stage gum disease is known as gingivitis. Its warning signs include swollen, painful, or sensitive gum tissues, and gums may bleed during brushing and/or flossing sessions. Left untreated, gingivitis may evolve into a more destructive form of gum disease known as periodontal disease, which can lead to tooth loss as well as systemic health issues such as cardiovascular disease.
The good news is that gingivitis is a relatively preventable condition as long as good oral hygiene at home and regular professional cleanings are a part of the picture. Gum disease is caused by the same bacterial buildup that causes tooth decay and cavities.
Dental Cleanings Allow Your Dentist or Hygienist to Identify Potential Problems
Your dentist or hygienist gets an excellent close-up view of your teeth during the course of an average professional cleaning session, and this allows them to identify any potential dental health issues. This is important because, like gum disease, most dental problems can be circumvented if they are caught in the early stages. Not only will this save you money on treatment in the long run, but you'll also experience less discomfort by keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Keep in mind that poor oral hygiene, including neglecting professional cleanings, can result in extensive tooth loss that may result in having to have implants installed or wearing dentures. Your dentist will be able to provide you with more information on the advantages of scheduling a professional dental cleaning session on a regular basis.
For more information, contact a dental clinic like Family Dentistry Of Woodstock.