Routine dental cleanings are essential in maintaining good oral health for life. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that you should visit your dentist for a teeth cleaning twice a year (at least every six months) to make sure that your teeth and gums are both healthy. During your dental visit for a professional cleaning, you should be able to learn more about how to take care of your dental health, as well as the benefits of preventive dentistry.
Reasons You Need Preventive Care
1. It helps prevent gum disease.
A dental cleaning is essential in ensuring that your oral health and your smile are in great shape. A professional cleaning can help remove plaque, tartar, and food debris that can cause inflamed gums and loose teeth. A cleaning can determine if you are in the early stages of gingivitis or have any gum infections that can affect your dental and overall health.
2. It helps prevent tooth decay.
Dental cleanings remove plaque and calculus that can often lead to cavities. When plaque deposits remain on teeth for extended periods, they can weaken tooth enamel leading to decay. A professional cleaning will help remove these catalysts and restore your oral health. Typically during their professional cleaning, patients will also receive a fluoride treatment, which helps decrease the risk for tooth decay.
3. It helps prevent bad breath.
Professional teeth and gum cleanings will help remove food and plaque debris that also contributes to halitosis, more commonly known as bad breath. Oral bacteria can produce foul smells that are found on the gums, teeth, and tongue.
4. It is cost-effective.
A dental cleaning is the simplest and most cost-effective treatment to help maintain your dental health. A cleaning is also usually accompanied by a diagnostic examination that evaluates for cavities and gum disease and ensures any existing fillings are in tip-top shape. Those who usually neglect their oral health and routine visits will have long-term higher costs and time spent in the dental chair.
5. It impacts our overall health.
Our dental health and overall health are directly related. Research shows that oral bacteria responsible for gum disease, can enter your bloodstream through your gum tissue and affect other parts of your body. Gum disease is linked to high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, diabetes, and pre-term birth weight. A dental cleaning can prevent chronic inflammation, which can impact several medical conditions.
6. It helps educate patients.
A regular visit to the dentist involves more than simply cleaning your teeth; it informs you about what is going on in your mouth. It gives you an opportunity to learn, ask questions, and address any concerns you may have. It is also a great indicator of general health and can show signs of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and sleep disorders. Routine dental exams and professional cleanings can prevent many of these health problems, and also identify them for better management. The dentist’s goal is to educate you on your oral health and help you establish a “dental home” so you feel confident and comfortable during your visits and healthy for a lifetime.
Author: Dr. Erica Anand is a pediatric dentist in private practice focused on preventative dentistry including SDF, SMART fillings, and myofunctional therapy. Read more on her author page.