Dental cleanings are probably the last thing you want to consider when it comes to your dental hygiene routine. You spend most of your time thinking about how to prevent cavities, gingivitis, and plaque. But what you might not know is that dental cleanings are just as crucial for your general health as preventing these things in the first place.
Whether you call them oral prophylaxis or some other name, dental cleanings keep bacteria from festering in hidden places where they can cause problems later on. As with most things related to your teeth and gums, the sooner you start cleaning them regularly, the better off you’ll be. Let’s take a look at why this is so important.
ADA Recommended Cleanings
The recommended dental cleaning schedule is once every six months for people with healthy teeth and gums. If you’re in the process of trying to repair damage to your teeth and gums, such as after an infection, you may need to come more often. If you have diabetes, you may also need frequent cleanings to prevent gum disease.
Why Are Dental Services Necessary?
The short answer is that bacteria can fester and cause problems in your mouth long before they can be seen. The longer you put off a dental cleaning, the greater the chance of infection and other health problems, such as heart disease. X-rays and other tools have shown us that dental plaque, a sticky substance that contains bacteria, can form between teeth, on the roots, and even below the gum line.
You may not be able to see these areas, but they can lead to cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
The Benefits of Professional Teeth Cleaning
- Flossing and brushing are excellent ways to keep your teeth healthy. But cleaning your teeth regularly removes the plaque that can build up on them. This means less tartar (calcium), and your gums are healthier.
- A clean mouth has a less chance of developing cavities or gum disease.
- When your teeth are cleaned, you can get a regular checkup and find problems early on.
- You will be more susceptible to infections if you have a compromised immune system. Professional teeth cleaning helps your immune system by removing bacteria that are bad for your health.
- A professional cleaning can also find cavities and fix them before they get too bad.
- If you’re pregnant, you and your child are at a greater risk of developing cavities during the pregnancy. The good news is that a professional teeth cleaning can minimize the risk.
What Do Teeth Cleaning Visits Provide?
When you go to the dentist for a checkup, you can expect the hygienist to clean your teeth inside and out. They will also scrape your gums to remove any tartar that has formed there. This is often done with a unique tool called a scraper.
You may have heard that people have their teeth "scraped" during teeth cleaning. Teeth are not like paint on a wall that can be scraped off. Teeth are living tissues that grow throughout our lives. During teeth cleaning, the hygienist removes the buildup on the teeth that cause cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath.
They will also use various cleaning tools, like floss and an electric toothbrush, to clean your teeth. A thorough teeth cleaning can take about an hour. So if you go in for a teeth cleaning, don’t expect to be out of the dentist’s office quickly.
What to Expect at Your Next Dental Visit
When you arrive at the dentist, one of the first things they might do is X-ray your teeth. This can help the hygienist see if you have cavities or gum disease. The hygienist will then scrape your teeth to eliminate the buildup on them.
If you have any cavities, they will be able to see them and start treating them. After your teeth are cleaned, the dentist will examine your teeth and gums for signs of infection or other issues like tooth decay and periodontal disease. The dentist may also suggest changing your dental hygiene routine to prevent future problems.
A Dental Cleaning and Exam Can Improve Your Wellness
There are several ways in which a dental cleaning and exam can improve your overall health.
First, thoroughly cleaning your teeth removes bacteria and toxins that can cause disease. Second, routine dental checkups allow the dentist to identify and treat potential problems sooner. Third, a healthy mouth is connected to a healthy body.
Gums are connected to your bloodstream so gum disease can increase your risk of heart disease. Dental cleaning and exam may also find problems like an infection you weren’t even aware of. This can be useful in several ways.
Your dentist can suggest you the treatment you need much sooner. And you may be more likely to get prompt treatment if it’s done in the dentist’s office.
How the Condition of Your Teeth Affects Your Body
Dental problems such as cavities, gum disease, and periodontitis are often called "silent diseases" because they do not produce any symptoms until it’s too late. The earlier these health problems are found, the better your chances of getting treatment that works.
The bacteria in your mouth can travel through your bloodstream and settle in other body parts. This is called bacterial invasion. Bacteria entering the bloodstream can cause many health problems and severe infections.
The Next Part of Your Visit: The Dental Exam
If you’ve been diligent about your dental hygiene routine and have been going in for regular cleanings, you may be wondering when you should start seeing a dentist for more serious dental problems. The best rule of thumb is that you should start seeing a dentist for a more serious dental exam when you start experiencing one or more of the following signs:
- Moderate to severe pain in your teeth
- Bleeding gums
- Change in the way your teeth fit together
- Change in your bite
- Sensitivity to heat or cold
- Having trouble opening your mouth wide enough
Contact a Dentist in Round Rock for your dental cleaning.
If you are busy, you may not have time to make an appointment for your dental cleaning. Dental cleanings are essential for overall health and help prevent oral diseases like gum disease and tooth decay. Dental cleanings are also recommended every six months. While it may be tempting to skip them, doing so can lead to more severe problems.
Regular dental cleanings will keep your teeth' natural shine and stay free from plaque buildup. If you are interested in learning more about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment at Round Rock Dental Clinic, please contact us today!