To maintain good oral hygiene, you should get a dental cleaning 2-4 times a year. This will help maintain the mouth, gums and overall health. Plaque is naturally sticky. If it isn’t removed (i.e., brushing or flossing), it puts the tooth at a higher risk for decay. Once the plaque has been on the tooth for a period, it hardens and becomes difficult to remove. This will also put you at risk for periodontal disease where the gums become inflamed and tender. Periodontal disease can cause the loss the surrounding bone supporting your teeth.
Dental cleanings also help to maintain overall health. Large amounts of plaque and tartar are known to be linked to heart disease. In addition, it can exacerbate diabetes symptoms and increase the risk of a premature birth. Bacteria found in plaque and tartar may be released into the system and lead to plaque in the arteries. Plaque may also travel through the bloodstream and affect pregnancies. Seeing your hygienist regularly will help to remove these types of bacteria and prevent them from spreading.
While cleanings help prevent decay and gum disease, they also help with inflammation and redness of the gums. If you are a coffee drinker or a smoker, the hygienist will also be able to remove the stain. Removing the bacteria in the mouth is also attributed to better and fresher breath.
The hygienists will often use an ultrasonic instrument to remove the buildup. This tool uses vibrations and a water spray to dislodge the harder buildup and flush out the gums. It is also very helpful in the removal of stains. After, the hygienist may switch to hand instruments which will help to remove the remainder of plaque and buildup. They will clean each tooth and go over every surface to ensure all the buildup has been removed. Once this is complete, the hygienist will polish the teeth with a prophylaxis paste. They may decide to administer a fluoride treatment as well if you are at a higher risk for cavities.