Why a Regular Dental Cleaning Is Important for Oral Health

Getting a regular dental cleaning goes a long way when it comes to keeping gums and teeth healthy. Dentists typically recommend getting a dental cleaning at least once every six months. Dental cleanings are particularly important when it comes to preventing tooth decay, one of the most common oral diseases.

What to expect during a dental cleaning

Regular visits to the dentist's clinic often involve two parts. The oral professional will start by conducting a thorough examination of the patient's mouth, looking for signs of dental issues. Once the checkup is over, a professional cleaning is performed. The formal name for teeth cleanings is oral prophylaxis.

During the examination, the dentist will look for signs of tooth decay, like cavities. X-rays are sometimes taken to ensure there are no cavities in the patient's teeth. During the checkup, the dentist will also look for signs of plaque and tartar. Plaque is a sticky, clear film of bacteria that produces acids that damage teeth enamel. When plaque is left on a person's teeth for a few days, it eventually hardens and turns into tartar. Unlike plaque, which can be easily removed by brushing and flossing, tartar can only be removed with a dental cleaning.

The dentist will also perform an inspection of the gums during the checkup, looking for signs of gum disease. The oral professional will also take a close look at the throat, face, neck, head and tongue, looking for signs like swelling, redness or oral cancer.

Once the examination is over, the dentist will proceed with cleaning the patient's teeth. They will use a dental tool to scrape tartar off the patient's teeth. This process is known as scaling.

After tartar has been removed from the patient's teeth, a gritty paste is typically used to polish them. This paste also removes surface stains that are left on the teeth. The dentist will follow that up by flossing the teeth to ensure the spaces between them are clean.

Depending on the condition of the person's teeth, the dentist might decide to apply a fluoride treatment. This helps keep tooth decay at bay for months at a time.

Taking care of teeth between dental cleanings

While dental cleanings go a long way when it comes to keeping teeth decay free, it is not a substitute for good oral hygiene. It is up to each patient to take proper care of their teeth between visits. Here are a few things that should be part of everyone's oral hygiene routine:

  • Brush at twice a day; one of those times should be right before bed, since that is when most decay takes place due to reduced saliva production
  • Floss at least once a day
  • An antibacterial mouthwash should be used to control the bacteria population in the mouth and to promote fresh breath
  • Drink lots of fluoride-infused water
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks as much as possible

Ready for a professional teeth cleaning? Schedule an appointment with one of our dentists today!

Request a dental appointment here: https://www.dentistofvisalia.com or call Visalia Care Dental at (559) 975-1213 for an appointment in our Visalia dental office.

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