Just as each mouth is different, so too are various peoples’ oral care routines. Dentists see all types of mouths on a daily basis, but some problems result from genetics, while others come from a lack of brushing. Still, no matter how good your genes are, it’s wise to engage in daily oral care.
What’s a “Good Brusher?”
More and more people are realizing the benefits of brushing twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, as well as daily flossing. You can even add antimicrobial mouthwash to your routine. But with all this effort, is it really necessary to get bi-annual dental cleanings, too?
Following a consistent oral care routine is important, and helps keep gums healthy while preventing cavities and decay. Even if you never have a cavity when you go to the dentist, it doesn’t mean that you should stop going. What you may not realize is that no matter how well or how often you brush and floss, you can’t eliminate tartar buildup on your own.
What Your Six-Month Appointment Does
Most regular dental appointments consist of two parts: a check-up including a dental exam and various x-rays, and the cleaning itself. Each part serves a certain purpose in maintaining a healthy mouth, as well as preventing future issues.
Part One: Preventative Checks
Your dentist should obtain current x-rays to check the status of your teeth, gums, and dental roots. This is one of the most essential steps in preventative care. If your dentist can catch a bad cavity or problematic root issue early on, it will be less expensive and painful in the long run.
Even if you’re a top-quality brusher, it’s difficult for you to examine your own mouth with the necessary dental knowledge. Following these basic x-rays, your dentist should examine your mouth to check for cavities, tartar or plaque buildup, and gum redness or recession.
Plaque manifests on normal healthy teeth all the time, and is essentially a sticky layer of bacteria. If allowed to sit on your gum line, the plaque hardens and becomes tartar, or calculus. This substance is much better at adhering to your teeth and gum line.
It’s this tartar that becomes impossible for you to get rid of with regular brushing and flossing. Tartar buildup is one of the main causes of gum irritation, gum disease, and other oral issues. This is only one reason why getting regular professional cleanings is so important to your oral health.
Part Two: Tartar Attack
As you can tell, your quality brushing and flossing is much better at cavity prevention than tartar removal. Luckily for you, dental hygienists use various special tools and techniques to get rid of that pesky tartar buildup. They do this through three major processes: scaling, polishing, and flossing.
- Scaling: using small curved metal instruments, your hygienist scrapes the tartar, calcium, and plaque from your teeth. He or she uses specialized training to tackle hard-to-reach places and to carefully clear your gum line of any harmful buildup. Although this may cause some discomfort, it’s essential for your gum health and decay prevention.
- Polishing: this part often feels like a more intense toothbrush session. Using gritty paste, the hygienist applies ample amounts to polish each tooth. This practice eliminates any missed food or bacteria on the surface of your teeth. It also “scrubs” stains from your teeth, leaving them smooth and shined.
- Flossing: while you can floss at home, your hygienist finishes your thorough cleaning with a careful floss. This ensures the removal of any stray food or buildup that could be hiding in between your teeth.
With that, your teeth are now clean and free of bacterial buildup. While this is wonderful, it only lasts so long. After about six months, your mouth will once again house harmful buildup that needs professional removal. Although the sensations of a cleaning can be unpleasant at times, it’s nice to know that your hygienist has eliminated any harmful tartar or other things your faithful brushing could have missed.
Let the Professionals Help
Most modern tooth brushes and paste cater towards cavity prevention and maintaining tooth enamel. While these issues are important, it may not always be possible to maintain your gum health without professional help.
Trust your dentist and their team to do what your mouth needs. We commend your vigilance and warranted efforts to keep your teeth clean and healthy. At the same time, attitudes that you don’t need regular dental cleanings can create the need for crisis treatment.
Most dentists prefer to perform preventative treatments, for your own good. Let them help you maintain a healthy and happy mouth, so you can avoid crisis treatments, and keep things preventative. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, do something good for your body. Set up an appointment today.