Why we need Teeth Cleanings
Why do we need teeth cleanings anyhow?
One of the least thought about subjects in dentistry is usually the subject of teeth cleanings. Some consider they don’t really need them. Others are perfectly happy getting a dental cleaning once every couple years. Well, let me tell you right now…they’re great, and pretty necessary if you want to maintain great oral health.
Teeth cleanings are necessary for a couple of reasons. First of all, when you go to the dentist for a dental cleaning they will look at your overall oral health. They will determine if there is any impending problems, take x-rays to look for existing problems, and even check for oral cancer. They’re able to spot if you have gum disease and help determine the appropriate course of actions if you do. The dentist and hygienist will give you home care instructions so you can better take care of your teeth and gums, so you can maintain that clean smile after they’re done. Dental health is important to us, and it should be to you – we feel. Having a healthy mouth will directly lead to better overall health, and reversely, poor oral health can directly lead to bad overall health. Many of us in dentistry adhere to the maxim about your mouth being the gateway to the body, and the positive health effects of having a healthy smile. Gum disease and the bad breath associated with it can also affect your interpersonal relationships. I, for one, would be far less social and intimate if I had oral health issues and resultant bad breath (my spouse would probably dislike it as well).
Another factor you have to take into consideration when talking about why teeth cleanings are so important is the thoroughness of the cleanings you get when at the dentist. Brushing and flossing is great, do them regularly. Brush twice a day, and be sure to floss once. This is great! That’s what you should be doing. However…brushing and flossing, even regularly and well can still leave plaque on the teeth. Plaque will harden after only a day or two into something you cannot remove with just a brush and floss. This hardened substance is called dental tartar, or calculus. It’s made from bacteria, food particles, bacterial waste, and your own saliva. Just to show you a pretty extreme example:
That’s what can happen if teeth are left too long without a professional dental cleaning. That yellow stuff is a combination of calculus and plaque. As you can see as well, the gums around the teeth that have the tartar are dark purple or red, this is because the gums are infected. The calculus and plaque is partially made from bacteria, bacteria cause infections in the body. The gums are no exception. In a case like this, the infection is also going to cause the gums to shrink away from the teeth, this allows more bacteria even further down your teeth. To avoid infection, the bone supporting your teeth will even begin to dissolve in order to eject the source of the infection (the teeth – or so your body supposes).
Teeth Cleanings are good.
To recap; teeth cleanings are good. They remove the stuff you can’t remove your stuff (the “stuff” being the calculus of course) and at the same time your oral health is being checked on to ensure there’s no other issues. It’s good to know of problems before they become catastrophes. For instance, I’d rather know that I have a small cavity that needs to be filled, rather than wait for the pain that tells me I have an infected root which now will require root canal therapy and a crown to fix. I’d also rather I’d found out that I have the receding gums and bone level associated with gum disease sooner, rather than later.
So, let us help you stay healthy, we are here and ready to clean your teeth and to help you with any other oral health issues may exist. We’re located in the heart of DC, right off of Dupont Circle. Conveniently located, with convenient hours. Schedule an appointment today.
Stay healthy my friends.