The importance of professional teeth cleanings and general dentistry examinations cannot be overstated. Moreover, any short-term savings by avoiding cleanings usually precedes increasing costs over time. The American Dental Association recommends at least one professional cleaning and examination per year, and more if necessary. Here are some reasons why.
In a dentist’s office, the hygienist uses specialized tools to remove plaque, tartar, and bacteria build-up. When necessary, x-rays of the mouth are taken to validate the presence of cavities, decay, or the necessity of teeth fillings among other potential problem areas. The dentist and hygienist also explore the gums for any signs of disease or infections, as well for any irregularities in the anatomy of the mouth.
Plaque, a biofilm formed by colonies of bacteria that live in the mouth, produces an acid that can destroy teeth and gums. When it is not removed, plaque turns into tartar, a hard substance that attracts more bacteria and launches gum disease. Professional cleanings are vital to the removal of plaque by reaching beneath the gumline to destroy plaque before it becomes tartar.
Once it has taken root in the gums, there is no cure for periodontal disease. As it moves further down through the gums to the jawbone, the disease causes teeth to loosen, become isolated, and eventually fall out. The safest way to prevent such destruction is by removing the buildup of harmful bacteria with professional teeth cleanings and examinations.
General dentistry research from around the world has found conclusive evidence that poor oral health is an early sign of chronic whole-body diseases. According to the American Dental Association, 90 percent of whole-body diseases have oral manifestations. Also, the Eco-Dentistry Association estimates that up to 90 percent of adults have some form of gum disease. Among the diseases linked to oral health are diabetes, leukemia, oral cancer, pancreatic cancer, lung disease, kidney disease, and stroke.
Professional cleaning can remove some discoloration of teeth, but many stains are permanent unless bleached. Whitening toothpaste may remove minor stains, but usually, they are not very effective. Dentists recommend rinsing the mouth with water after consuming wine, coffee, or other drinks or foods that can stain teeth. Regular professional cleanings can help prevent surface stains. A dentist should be consulted for an evaluation of teeth stains and most definitely contact a family dentist regarding any change in a child’s normal tooth color.
Clearly, professional teeth cleaning and general dentistry attention are imperative to overall oral health. The dentist and hygienist comprise the front line of the protection and treatment of teeth.