Taking care of your teeth and gums at home requires that you floss and brush regularly. But if you do a good job of it and your teeth feel clean, isn't that enough? Do you really need to visit a dentist for regular cleanings? The reality is that yes, you still need to come see a dentist for a dental cleaning even if you floss and brush more than twice a day. Here's why.
Nothing Removes 100%
Flossing, brushing, and even water flossing do an excellent job of getting rid of plaque, bacteria, and food debris that can feed said bacteria. But unfortunately, brushing, flossing, and water flossing don't remove 100% of the bacteria or plaque in the mouth. Even if you add in mouthwash, you'll likely notice that the bottle shows that it eliminates less than a full 100% of bacteria.
What this means is that you're still going to develop plaque, and not all of the plaque will necessarily be cleaned away when you brush and floss.
When some plaque is left behind, it doesn't remain as plaque. It instead hardens into a secondary form called tartar. Tartar is just as bad for your teeth as plaque, as it can cause cavities and even trigger gum disease. But, unfortunately, tartar can't be removed at home. Once it's on your teeth, it's there to stay until you get help from a dentist.
What to Do
The good news here is that if you do take good care of your teeth, chances are your dentist visits will amount to nothing more than a deep cleaning. This is because dentists have access to tools that can clear away tartar, like ultrasonic scalers. These scalers break up the tartar with high-frequency ultrasonic waves so that it can simply be brushed and rinsed away from that point forward. Dentists also have a better view of a person's teeth, as they're not trying to see their own teeth from the inside, as you are when you try to brush and floss everyday. Between all the mirrors and tools that they have at their disposal and being able to sit in front of you, they can do a far better job of removing plaque and tartar from your teeth than you can.
Tartar is ultimately the biggest reason why you still need to visit a dentist no matter what. Even if you take excellent care of your teeth, you could still develop cavities or gum disease from tartar, so make sure you're getting cleanings at least twice a year.