Importance of Regular Dental CleaningsYour regular cleanings are an incredibly important part of your preventative dental care routine and are essential for helping you to maintain healthy teeth and gums. If you are already a patient here at McLoughlin Dental Care then you will know that our dentist, Dr. Donald Nimz is a firm believer in preventative dentistry. He thoroughly recommends regular cleanings and our hygiene team are highly trained and experienced.

Why Is It Important to Have Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned?

Ideally, if you have a good daily oral hygiene routine then you will brush your teeth at least twice a day and will floss once-a-day. This helps to remove most of the plaque buildup from your teeth and gums. However, even people with an excellent oral hygiene routine will often miss out certain areas of their mouth. When this happens, plaque can soon harden into tartar or calculus. This is an extremely hard substance that you won’t be able to remove with a toothbrush or with dental floss. Instead, it must be gently scraped or scaled from your teeth during your professional dental cleaning. It’s important to regularly remove calculus because it consists of plaque bacteria. These bacteria produce toxins that infect and inflame your gums and in time, can cause gum disease.

Gum disease is unfortunately extremely common, and lots of people will develop some form of this disease during their lifetime. During its initial stages, called gingivitis, gum disease causes your gums to become red and inflamed and they will most likely bleed slightly whenever you brush or floss. When left untreated, gum disease will progress into periodontitis which is much more serious. Periodontitis destroys gums and other vital structures surrounding your teeth and which hold them in place, including ligaments and bone. Eventually, teeth will loosen, and periodontitis is a major cause of tooth loss. What is perhaps equally as bad or even worse is the potential effect on your general health.

How Gum Disease Can Affect Your General Health

Periodontitis has been connected to numerous serious health conditions in extensive clinical studies. When you have periodontitis your risk of developing serious health conditions may increase, or it could worsen any existing health problems. This is because disease-causing bacteria in the mouth can directly enter your bloodstream when your gums readily bleed. Once in your bloodstream, these bacteria may cause more inflammation in your body. This can be especially bad for your systemic health and gum disease has been linked to diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and to heart problems. 

Preventing Gum Disease

By having your teeth professionally cleaned, your risk of gum disease decreases because all calculus will be thoroughly removed. At the same time, your gums will be carefully checked, and precise measurements are taken using a special dental probe. This measures any spaces in between your gums and teeth and these measurements are recorded so any changes are easily identified at your next visit. Healthy gums have a gap of just 3 mm, but when this gap increases then it could indicate gum disease. Continually monitoring your dental health allows our dentist, Dr. Nimz to quickly detect any signs of gum disease so he can provide you with the most appropriate treatment. One of the great things about having regular cleanings is that any signs of gum disease can normally be easily reversed, often by having your teeth properly cleaned and by paying more attention to your oral hygiene routine. This is because gum disease is often caused by poor oral hygiene.

What to Expect during Your Professional Cleaning

Your hygienist will carefully assess the condition of your teeth and gums before thoroughly removing all plaque by scraping or scaling your teeth. Next, they will carefully polish your teeth, helping to create smoother surfaces so bacteria are less likely to adhere to your teeth. This can be a very nice treatment because polishing your teeth removes some surface stains. Afterward, your teeth will look just a little brighter and you should have nice fresh breath. As part of your hygiene appointment, you can also receive an oral cancer screening which is a quick and non-invasive examination of the inside of your mouth. This is simply to check that your cheeks, lips, tongue, and the roof and floor of your mouth look healthy, do not have any color changes, unexplained sore spots or lumps, and bumps. Once your teeth are clean and your examination is complete, your hygienist can talk to you about your dental care routine. If you have been missing out certain areas of your mouth when you brush and floss or if you have trouble with brushing and flossing, your hygienist can help you.

Get Customized Advice on Brushing and Flossing

The dental hygienists at McLoughlin Dental Care are passionate about patient education and can help you understand your dental health more easily. Your hygienist can identify any areas of your mouth that require a bit more attention and will work with you to improve your brushing and flossing routine. They can provide you with lots of practical advice and help in choosing the right tools to keep your teeth thoroughly clean. For example, some people may have limited dexterity and will find it easier to use an electric toothbrush. If you find it difficult to floss, then a practical demonstration on how to floss correctly will help tremendously. Alternatively, there are other ways you can clean in between your teeth and your hygienist can discuss using more suitable tools that you will find easy to use. These tools include interdental or interproximal brushes while some people may prefer to use a Water Pik or water flosser. The trick is to find something you feel comfortable using and your hygienist can talk to you about all possible options.

How Often Should You Have Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned?

Dr. Nimz will most likely suggest that you see our hygienist every six months, although some people may benefit from a more frequent schedule of professional dental cleanings. For example, if you have health problems or have chronic periodontitis, you may need more frequent cleanings to help maintain reasonable dental health. Pregnant women may also benefit from more frequent cleanings. This is because during pregnancy hormonal changes increase the sensitivity of the gums to disease-causing bacteria. As a result, a condition called pregnancy gingivitis can develop where the gums become inflamed, red and will bleed when brushed. More frequent professional cleanings help to reduce this risk, making it easier to maintain good gum health. It’s extremely important to maintain good dental health during pregnancy because periodontitis has been associated with premature births and low birthweight babies.

It can be helpful to book a regular cleaning at the same time as your dental checkup because it’s a great way to maintain dental health and will only take about an hour of your time. However, you don’t need to see a dentist at the same time as your regular cleaning as you can always schedule a stand-alone hygiene appointment whenever you wish. People who feel a little anxious about seeing a dentist may also find easier to visit a hygienist first. They will help you feel more comfortable and relaxed, so you find it easier to see a dentist.