Many people love the feeling of clean teeth after a professional dental cleaning, but did you know that regular visits to your dental hygienist can also improve overall health and wellness? Good oral health is linked to better cardiovascular health, lower risk of pneumonia and lower risk of premature birth during pregnancy.
During a professional dental cleaning, bacteria in the form of plaque and tartar are removed from the teeth- both above and below the gum line. Plaque is a soft deposit that can be removed easily, even with a toothbrush at home. Tartar is bacteria that has calcified over time and hardened onto the teeth. It cannot be removed with the bristles of a toothbrush or dental floss. Tartar must be either scraped off with hand tools or removed with a high-powered tool that sprays water. If tartar remains on the teeth without being cleaned off, it will begin to cause gum infection (called gingivitis) and eventually infection of the supporting tissues of the teeth and bone (called periodontitis.) Professional dental tools can also reach nooks and crannies that a toothbrush and floss are unable to access. Dental hygienists can also monitor oral changes that may take place and make any necessary recommendations. Also, during a regular dental cleaning and check up, measurements of the gums may be taken, which provide a look at the health of the bone and gum attachment.
Based on your specific needs, your dental hygienist will recommend your dental hygiene maintenance interval to be anywhere between 3 to 6 months. The recommendation will be based on a variety of factors. Factors that influence this recommendation may be:
– Is there any gum inflammation or issues with the bone level?
– Is there gum recession?
– How frequently are you brushing/flossing?
– Willingness to make improvements to your current oral hygiene regimen
– Any factors that might make gums more susceptible to infection such as pregnancy or certain medications?
Talk with your dental professional about what hygiene interval will work best for you.