Most individuals know that routine teeth cleanings are essential for optimal oral health. Even so, many do not understand exactly why. Furthermore, how frequently should you visit the dentist? Today, our team at LG Dental Centre will explore these topics, explaining why teeth cleanings are so important and how often you should receive them.
What happens between teeth cleanings?
During a routine cleaning, your hygienist carefully removes plaque deposits, tartar, debris, and other particles from your mouth and leaves your teeth feeling smooth and fresh. This process eradicates harmful bacteria that can cause oral health problems like gum disease and tooth decay. However, did you know that oral bacteria begin to repopulate as soon as 24 to 48 hours after your cleaning? That is why healthy habits, such as daily brushing and flossing, are so important. Even the most diligent patients will have some degree of plaque reformation before the six-month mark. The longer plaque is left on the teeth, the more it will calcify. When this occurs, it is virtually impossible to remove through brushing and flossing alone. A professional teeth cleaning will be required again to remove plaque and tartar and return bacteria levels to baseline.
How often should I have a teeth cleaning?
Six-month teeth cleanings are common. However, this is not the definitive answer for every patient. In fact, the Canadian Dental Association states that cleanings and examinations should be performed at intervals recommended by the dentist. Therefore, individuals who are prone to excessive tooth decay or gum disease may necessitate more frequent cleanings. It is not uncommon for a patient with a history of periodontal disease to receive cleanings every three to four months. Essentially, your recommended cleaning schedule will entirely depend on your unique oral health needs. During a consultation at our practice, Dr. Goldstein can help you determine an oral care regimen that will work for you.
What to expect during a teeth cleaning
Believe it or not, a hygiene appointment is about more than simply cleaning the teeth. Dr. Goldstein will also perform a comprehensive assessment of the teeth, gums, jaw joints, and surrounding structures to ensure there are no signs of decay, gum disease, or other dental problems. An oral cancer screening will also be completed. During this process, Dr. Goldstein will visually check for any tissue irregularities and will palpate for any lumps or bumps. Our team will also make any necessary recommendations regarding preventative care, such as fluoride treatments or dental sealants. Finally, we can help design a personalized oral care routine to keep your teeth and gums looking and feeling great between visits.
Prevention is key
True, professional dental care is absolutely crucial to long-term oral health. However, what happens between your dental visits is just as important. If plaque and tartar are not removed through daily brushing and flossing, it can quickly lead to more serious oral health concerns. Therefore, patients should brush at least two times a day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. In addition, flossing should be completed once daily, as well as swishing with a CDA-approved antibacterial mouthwash. If you have crowns, bridges, or other restorations, you may require specialized instruments – such as interproximal brushes, floss threaders, or dental picks – to properly clean these areas. If you find that a particular area is difficult to reach, your hygienist can help you develop a practice that will keep your smile healthy.