The Importance of Dental Cleanings
Dentists commonly recommend that you get a professional cleaning twice a year (every six months). But why, exactly, are they such an important part – along with regular brushing and flossing – in maintaining good oral health? Not only does getting a regular cleaning protect your dental health and keep your smile bright, but it can also guard your overall health and even save you money in the long run.
The whitish film that constantly develops on your teeth is called plaque, and it is the number one cause of cavities. The bacteria in plaque are fueled by the sugars in foods that we eat and produce acids that eat away at the teeth enamel. If left untreated, damaged tooth enamel can result in cavities.
Gum Disease Prevention
Plaque and tartar (hardened plaque) can also cause an infection in the gums, known as gum disease. If this is left untreated, the bacteria can burrow deeper into the gums, threatening the underlying bone. This can lead to loose teeth and even tooth loss.
Compared to more invasive or more complex dental procedures, routine cleanings are much more affordable. That is why it’s a good idea to get regular cleanings and exams to avoid the need for these more advanced treatments, such as periodontal therapy or the need for dental prosthetics like crowns.
Protect Overall Health
Research has shown that there is a link between dental health and overall health. Conditions such as diabetes, stroke, and cardiovascular disease can be related to poor oral hygiene, so these conditions could possibly be prevented (or at least have their risk lowered) by taking good care of the teeth. Cleanings include exams and possibly oral cancer screenings. Like with other forms of cancer, early detection is very important to receiving a good prognosis. It is advisable, then, to see the dentist regularly so that he or she can catch the disease in its early stages when it’s easier to treat.