One of the best ways to keep your smile bright and shiny is to have them professionally cleaned at least every six months. Just like your home, regular maintenance and cleaning does not reach all the nooks and crannies. You do some extensive cleaning and organizing a couple of times a year to keep those hard to reach areas clean. The same goes for your teeth! Regular brushing and flossing is great, but to keep teeth really clean and healthy, a professional cleaning is the only way to remove certain types of plaque and tarter build up.
Your mouth is full of bacteria. Over 300 strains of it, in fact. Many of those strains are able to metabolize sugars into acid that softens and wears away enamel, causing cavities to form. That same bacteria is also responsible for getting beneath your gums and causing gum disease. Has your mouth ever felt slimy at the end of the day? That’s plaque bacteria that’s been building up all day. You brush and floss to keep its spread in check, but that won’t stop it from causing serious problems in the meantime! Without professional dental care, plaque is able to build up in the most vulnerable spots in your mouth. Those spots are usually ones that you can’t reach with normal cleaning habits, which is why they’re so dangerous. Not only will they remain full of bacteria, but it’s impossible for you to notice once a cavity has begun. We see plenty of patients who have been away from the dentist, only to return with multiple cavities in spots that they could never have seen or kept clean.
The same goes for gum disease-when it’s able to sneak below your gumline it starts to spread like wildfire, causing an infection that your body responds to with inflammation. Inflamed gum tissues start to recede, bleed, swell and become sensitive. Many times those hard-to-clean spots are the first to become infected, and gum disease is only noticed once it is already spreading and becoming serious.
Studies suggest that around 90 percent of us will end up with a cavity at some point in our lives. That means that a great many people, even if they see the dentist regularly, will develop tooth decay. The trick to treating a cavity when it’s just a pinhole versus a serious problem is regular cleanings and exams.
We use X-rays, digital scans and other imaging techniques to detect cavities when they’re barely forming. When we see even the smallest problem we’re able to address it right then and there with fluoride treatments, sealants, and fillings that can stop the spread of bacteria further and further into your teeth.
Cleanings and exams also involve probing the size of your gingival pockets, which can give us an indicator of any gum disease. Even a few millimeters of variation is enough to allow us to identify, treat, and reverse the damage caused by gum disease. If you don’t clean out the closet, you never see what’s behind all the junk! Having your teeth professionally cleaned also means that a thorough and careful inspection of each tooth’s health and condition will take place.
So, keep a clean house and mouth this spring and keep smiling! If your teeth are looking a little yellow-maybe you drank a little too much red wine or hot cocoa during the cold winter months? – it may be time to get your teeth a few shades whiter. Call our office to find out about our spring whitening specials and our Quality Dental Plan (in office dental savings plan).
With Oshins of Smiles,
-Dr. Steven Oshins