Unfortunately, I often hear, “I have not been to the dentist in a year.” Or sometimes even, “It has been several years, and I think I need a cleaning now.” If you only knew what was happening in your mouth, you absolutely would never miss another dental cleaning. Often, when I suggest more frequent cleanings, I also hear rumbling about this “every six months” myth.
The six-month cleaning myth was created in the 1950’s by “Bucky Beaver” for the Ipana tooth paste commercials. He said, “Brush brush brush and see your dentist twice a year”. And there you have it! The science behind twice a year cleanings! There WAS no science behind the decree. Every six months is fine for a small percentage of adults because they have “perfect gums” and no contributing factors. The other 90% are suffering chronic infection.
Most of us want to do what’s best for our health. We exercise, take vitamins, try to eat well. Unfortunately, when it comes to our oral health, often we fall into the old “out of sight – out of mind” fallacy. The fact is, much of your systemic health is affected by and also affects your oral health. Let us help you stay healthy! So, put on your seat belts while I throw down some truths. Pay special attention to number five. It’s all about the biofilm!
5 Reasons Why You Should Have Your Teeth Cleaned Regularly
So here we go:
1. WE OFFER AN ORAL CANCER EXAM.
Oral cancer is a terrible disease. It can cause the need for drastic surgeries up to and including partial removal of the jaw. Like any form of cancer, your survival rate goes way up with early detection. The major risk factors of oral cancer are: tobacco and alcohol use. People who use both alcohol and tobacco are six times more likely than people who use one or the other, but not both.
While we are in there checking and cleaning, we are also checking your tissues for signs of this terrible disease.
2. WE DETECT AND CLEAN INFECTION.
If your gums bleed when you floss or brush, you have an infection. No matter what you have heard, blood in your mouth is not in any way normal. I have heard this statement a thousand times: “I brush twice a day and I don’t floss, but I have never had a cavity. My dentist says I’m doing great, but when I have my teeth cleaned, the hygienist digs in there and causes my gums to bleed.”
Please keep in mind, I and my office strive to provide painless care. If you have pain and bleeding during a hygiene visit, you should let us know so we can make you comfortable. Normal mouths do not bleed or have pain. Even if it has been happening your whole life, that does not mean it is normal. If your arm started bleeding, or your scalp bled when you brushed your hair you would be concerned about a possible problem. Gums should not bleed either. Dental health is not only about cavities, it is about lo much more! Gum disease is a definite path to tooth loss as infection causes loss in bone, and bone is the anchor that holds the tooth in place. As the bone deteriorates from infection, the tooth has nothing to hold onto and becomes mobile and falls out. Gum disease has also been shown to have a bidirectional relationship to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and osteoporosis.
3. AVOID BAD BREATH
Have you ever been having a conversation with someone that has smelly breath? It’s not onion breath that I’m talking about. Often, that noxious smell is the smell of infection. The bummer about it is that most people do not notice the smell in themselves. Get fresh! Get clean!
4. KEEP THEM WHITE AND PRETTY
Your smile is your calling card. It sounds totally cliché, but people judge you in the initial few seconds of meeting them and one of the first things they see is your smile–or lack of smile, in some cases. What does your smile say about you? Regular hygiene appointments can remove plaque, which can become stained, so that your teeth look shiny and healthy. Not white enough? We offer several methods of whitening, if that is something you’re interested in.
5. REMOVE BIOFILM AND CALCULUS
What is biofilm, you ask? It is the colonizing bacteria that forms in your mouth and sticks to the tooth’s surface. This is the fuzzy film we often call plaque. The tooth is the only part of the human body that does not have a shedding mechanism, so the plaque accumulates until it is removed. This allows numerous organisms to adhere to the tooth’s surface for long periods of time. It is soft at first, but then after about one day, it begins to harden and becomes calculus. Then it is necessary to remove it with the proper dental tools. Sometimes you can feel it with your tongue. Anytime your tooth’s surface is not smooth, calculus is a likely culprit. The calculus is millions of these tiny bacteria releasing toxins that the body reacts to in the form of inflammation and bone loss. This is the infection. This chronic condition is simple enough to prevent, can be improved and maintained in a healthy state but must not be ignored if you are to remain at your best health.
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