Going to the dentist is critical to your oral health. A good, thorough examination and subsequent teeth cleaning can repair the damage done to your teeth by built-up bacteria. But how does getting your teeth cleaned, in particular, accomplish this?

 

The Benefits of Teeth Cleaning

A dental cleaning is a procedure conducted by a dental hygienist or dentist. A thorough dental cleaning session is designed to remove the tartar and stain on your teeth.

Plaque is bacteria that cling to the outer surface of your teeth, the enamel. Despite being the hardest surface of your body, your enamel can become damaged due to prolonged exposure to an interaction between plaque and acids, like from sugary drinks. This combination eats away at your enamel, causing holes to form. These holes are called dental caries, or cavities.

Through this progression of events, your mouth becomes more damaged over time and which can cause other issues such as tooth pain, migraines, and ear infections. Your mouth is uniquely connected to the rest of your body, influencing your physical health. Regular teeth cleanings can help mitigate these issues.

 

Why Should I Get My Teeth Cleaned?

When you do not get regular teeth cleanings done, your oral and physical health are at risk of declination. Teeth cleanings are engineered specifically to clear up the bacteria in your mouth. Good oral hygiene will only go so far, as plaque can fester just beneath your gum line, and in other crevices that you might not regularly clean.

Other issues that might arise due to severe plaque accumulation include:

  • tooth decay
  • gingivitis or periodontal disease (inflammation of the gingiva, the part of your gum around the base of your teeth)
  • periodontitis (a severe gum infection that damages your gums and can destroy your jawbone)
  • tooth loss

Alongside these issues, poor oral hygiene and disease progression can be a risk factor for heart disease, lung disease, and other severe conditions. Skipping teeth cleanings could also prevent early detection of diseases such as diabetes or oral cancers as well. Dental cleanings are considered a form of preventative dentistry.

Without teeth cleaning, you could be stuck with tartar. Tartar is a hardened deposit of bacteria that stains your teeth, dulling your bright smile. During a routine cleaning, bacteria is removed and then your teeth are polished to perfection. Another benefit is that your breath will be noticeably better than before.

As a general rule, dentists typically recommend that to curb all these potential problems, patients should attend a dental cleaning every 6 months. Based on your own circumstances, however, this recommendation might be shortened to ensure your teeth are being properly taken care of. This is a question for your dentist.

 

Good Dental Hygiene at Home

Between biannual dental cleaning visits, you will be taking care of your teeth yourself. Your dentist will typically spend time with you after a cleaning to instruct you on how to effectively manage your dental hygiene.

 

How to Brush Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth is all in the technique. 

  1. Hold your toothbrush at about a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  2. Brush back-and-forth softly in short strokes between the crevices of your teeth.
  3. Make sure you also brush the outer, inner, and chewing surfaces.
  4. Hold your brush at a near vertical angle to your gums.
  5. Brush back-and-forth softly, taking care to glide the toothbrush over your teeth and gums.
  6. Brush your tongue.
  7. Brush the roof of your mouth.
  8. Continue for at least two minutes, to ensure a thorough cleaning.

Your toothpaste should have fluoride in it. Fluoride is the best at removing plaque and cavities. It is recommended that you also brush at least twice a day.

Every three to four months, you should replace your toothbrush. Frayed bristles make cleaning your teeth harder.

 

How to Floss Your Teeth

Flossing lifts out the grime between your teeth, removing harmful bacteria that cannot be manually brushed away. Proper technique is key in ensuring you are getting as much out of your teeth cleaning sessions as possible.

  1.  Wind several inches of floss between your two middle fingers.
  2. Leave about five inches of floss between your hands.
  3. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers.
  4. Leave about one inch in between.
  5. Guide the floss, using a side-to-side motion, between the teeth.
  6. Pull the floss tightly in a C-shape around the side of the tooth.
  7. Slide the floss underneath the gumline.
  8. Use an up-and-down motion to clean the surface of the tooth.
  9. When the surface is clean, the floss will make a squeaking noise.
  10. Pull floss around the next tooth.
  11. Repeat until all teeth have been cleaned.

If you are flossing for the first time in a while, gum bleeding is to be expected. This is due to inflammation caused by bacteria. After about a week of regular flossing, the bleeding should diminish.

If the floss gets stuck between your teeth or otherwise frayed, you should notify your dentist.

Flossing once a day is highly recommended, combined with brushing.

 

Your Dental Health is Our Priority

At Stuart Prosthetic Dentistry, we believe that improving the health of your teeth is the first step towards improving your overall physical well-being. Contact us today with any questions you may have, or to schedule an appointment.