The Importance of Dental Cleanings
Without teeth, a person is confined to life with applesauce diets and bendable straws. While people often dismiss dental healthcare as something to take seriously, teeth are what give us the ability to enjoy a variety of flavors and textures in food. Teeth give is a unique way to explore the world. Teeth are important and they deserve to be treated as such.
The best way to take care of your teeth and ensure they stay strong and healthy is to commit to regular dental cleanings.
Why Should I Get Regular Dental Cleanings?
Just like you would get a regular check-up with your general doctor, you should be doing regular dental check-ups too. You go to your doctor for a general check-up, so why wouldn’t you go to a dentist to evaluate your dental health? After all, it’s part of your body, right?
There are countless benefits to regular cleanings and most insurance covers them in their dental plans:
- ● You’ll feel good afterward. Getting your teeth cleaned means eliminating the bacteria that cause bad breath. While your mouth may feel a little sensitive afterward, you’ll ultimately feel better.
- ● You’re less likely to develop cavities. It’s common knowledge that a clean mouth means a reduced chance of cavities. With regular brushing, flossing, and check-ups, the chance of developing cavities is slim.
- ● Periodontal Disease won’t show up in a clean mouth. Gum disease happens when bacteria enter the gums through pockets between the gum and bone. It irritates the gum which then leads to redness and bleeding. Left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss as well.
- ● You’ll save money in the long run. Most insurance companies fully cover dental cleanings. If you’re taking advantage of this, you reduce the chance of more serious diseases developing, which cost significantly more than a routine check-up.
- ● Taking care of your teeth means you’re taking care of your whole health. We know our entire body is connected, right? Well, when someone develops excess bacteria in their mouth, this can ultimately lead to heart issues, pregnancy or birth defects, and pneumonia among other things.
How Often Should My Teeth be Professionally Cleaned?
Spokane Dental recommends a person gets a dental cleaning twice per year or once every six months. While these visits will ensure you aren’t developing more serious dental diseases, it’s imperative you maintain healthy cleaning habits at home too.
While at your appointment, your dentist will typically talk to you about best practices for at-home cleaning. This usually means brushing at least twice per day and flossing once per day. Doing so will break down the food particles and proteins that cause plaque build-up. This means the bacteria that cause periodontal disease and tooth decay has nothing to feed on, therefore it won’t survive.
Here are a few at-home cleaning tips to keep in mind after your visit:
- ● Dental Floss: It’s important to choose a dental floss that easily slips between your teeth without breaking or fraying. Rub the floss up and down a few times in between each tooth gap to remove any stray particles.
- ● Toothbrush: Both electric and manual toothbrushes have their own advantages and both are recommended by dentists. An electric brush will do a better job massaging the gums while a manual brush is easier to get into tighter spaces in your mouth.
- ● Waterpik: The Waterpik is an alternative to flossing. This should be complementary to brushing and flossing and should never be used in place of either. Waterpiks use water to remove food particles from in between the teeth.
- ● Mouthwash: Mouthwash is commonly used to treat bad breath and help fight against gingivitis. Like the Waterpik, this should be complementary to brushing and flossing rather than being used as a substitute.
Teeth Cleanings Make Me Nervous... What Should I Expect?
Fear of doctors, dentists, or hospitals is extremely common, and for good reason. Many people fear the dentist due to traumatic past experiences, whether it was in childhood or their adult life. It’s okay to be afraid. The best thing you can do in this situation is to be open and upfront with your dentist’s office and they’re likely to help ease your fears.
We can quell some of that fear right now with a brief overview of what to expect when you get to your appointment:
- 1. There are typically two parts to every appointment: the examination and the cleaning.
- a. The examination: This is where the dentist or dental assistant will look inside your mouth and assess what type of cleaning you’ll need.
- b. The oral cleaning: If you brush and floss regularly, you’ll likely get a prophylaxis oral cleaning (the most common). However, if you have a history of gum disease or tooth pain/decay, you’ll likely get a more in-depth cleaning.
- 2. You may experience some side effects during your cleaning: you likely won’t need drugs, but there are sometimes physical side effects to the cleaning utensils poking around in your mouth. These can be anything from general sensitivity to irritated, bloody gums. These may feel scary, but they’re extremely common and are rarely cause for worry.
- 3. Your dentist will give you the run-down afterward: Once you finish your cleaning, your dentist will likely tell you everything they did during the appointment along with any pointers to maintain your dental health. You’ll usually get a toothbrush and floss to take home as well.
The dentist can be scary, but anxiety doesn’t negate the importance of regular dental cleanings. In order to prevent tooth loss, decay, and periodontal disease, it’s imperative you see your dentist for cleanings once every six months.
You can prepare yourself ahead of time by taking good care of your teeth and gums through brushing and flossing twice and once a day respectively. Using added products like a Waterpik and mouthwash can be helpful too but brushing and flossing is the single most important thing you can do for yourself.
Treat your mouth like you would treat the rest of your body. Take good care of it and see your dentist regularly. Now, go schedule your next dental cleaning!