According to the World Health Organization (WHO), gum disease affects over 19% of the global population1. That is why dentists often emphasize the importance of professional teeth cleanings in enjoying optimal oral health and a pearly white smile.
Teeth cleanings are an essential component of dental hygiene that, combined with regular brushing and flossing, helps fight germs causing various dental and medical problems. If you are wondering why you should consider getting your teeth professionally cleaned regularly, here are some advantages of dental cleanings that will help you decide. Before delving into that, let us discuss teeth cleaning and how the procedure works.
What is Professional Teeth Cleaning?
According to the Canadian Academy of Periodontology2, professional teeth cleaning, also known as scaling and root planning, is a preventive procedure via which your dentist will remove plaque and tartar deposits from your teeth. Your dentist or hygienist uses various instruments to remove the adherent deposits on your teeth that are not removable with brushing or flossing.
Do People Who Brush and Floss Regularly Still Need Teeth Cleaning?
While regular brushing and flossing are effective oral hygiene measures, they are not enough to prevent dental issues and maintain optimal oral health. Why? Because brushing and flossing may not prevent plaque and tartar deposition in the tight spaces between the teeth, increasing the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Teeth cleanings ensure that all the tooth surfaces are cleaned optimally and harmful bacteria are neutralized.
Procedure For Professional Teeth Cleaning
The teeth cleaning procedure is straightforward and is typically completed in a single sitting. First, your professional cleaning dentist will perform a detailed clinical examination and review your medical history. This is important because some medical conditions and genetic factors can increase the risk of gum disease in some individuals, requiring more frequent dental cleanings.
Before starting the procedure, your dental cleaning professional will apply topical local anesthetic on your gums so you do not feel pain or irritation during the procedure. Next, they will use an ultrasonic scaler with a tip that vibrates at a very high frequency, removing the adherent tartar and plaque deposits from the teeth.
Once the teeth scaling procedure is completed, your dentist or oral hygienist will polish the surfaces of the teeth. They will apply prophy paste on your teeth and use a special handpiece that attaches a soft rubber cup to polish the teeth. Polishing after cleaning helps optimize the shine and aesthetics of your teeth and prevents the chances of re-adherence of plaque. You may feel slight sensitivity or pain in your teeth after the procedure. However, it will go away in a few days.
What are the Benefits of Professional Teeth Cleaning?
1. Enjoy a Pearly White Smile
Teeth cleaning helps remove plaque and tartar deposits from the teeth, which are not only the perfect hiding places for harmful bacteria but also get stained easily and affect one’s smile. So, professional teeth cleanings help remove coffee, tea, and tobacco stains that build up on the adherent plaque and tartar deposits.
2. Prevention of Gum and Periodontal Disease
Did you know that plaque and tartar are the starting points for gum disease? The harmful bacteria utilize sugars from these deposits and release toxins that damage the gums and fibres that attach them to the teeth. As a result, the gums start to recede and “pockets” begin to form around the teeth, promoting further plaque deposition and increasing the severity of gum disease. If this condition is not treated timely, it can lead to severe degradation of the bone anchoring the teeth and may even lead to tooth loss.
This can be easily prevented with regular brushing and flossing and preventive dental procedures such as fluoride therapy and professional teeth cleanings. Fluoride makes the teeth resistant to decay, while teeth cleanings reduce the overall risk of gum disease by neutralizing the disease-causing bacteria.
3. Prevention of Dental Cavities
Tooth decay begins when the harmful bacteria in plaque and tartar deposits release acidic substances, increasing local acidity. This leads to the removal of essential minerals from the teeth, such as calcium and phosphate, making them weak and cavity-prone. So, scaling and polishing also help prevent dental cavities by removing plaque and tartar and neutralizing the disease-causing bacteria.
More importantly, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums during routine checkups and teeth cleanings. This ensures that any underlying issues with your oral health are diagnosed and treated well before they cause permanent damage.
4. Prevention of Medical Issues
Our mouth is a gateway to the body. Anything we eat or drink passes through the mouth to other organs. This means that if there is an underlying disease in the mouth, the infection can travel elsewhere in the body— the so-called oral-systemic link.
If someone has gum disease, the disease-causing bacteria in dental plaque and tartar can also travel through our food and bloodstream to different body organs and cause severe, even life-threatening, medical illnesses. That is why, when dentists perform professional teeth cleaning, they ensure that you remain protected not only from dental issues but also from medical complications.
5. Reduction/Prevention of Bad Breath
Did you know that poor oral health and gum disease are the most common causes of bad breath? This is because the food debris adhering to the teeth and the toxins released by disease-causing bacteria cause bad breath.
Professional dental cleanings, brushing and flossing help eliminate bad breath from gum disease. So, if you want to get rid of the discomfort and oral health issues caused by smelly breath, you should consider getting your teeth professionally cleaned.
5. Cost Savings
When you visit your professional cleaning dentist for regular checkups and teeth cleaning, they conduct a detailed clinical examination to identify underlying issues. As a result, any underlying issues, such as tooth decay or periodontal diseases, can be detected timely and treated before they require expensive and time-consuming treatment.
Professional Teeth Cleaning Vs. At-Home Dental Cleaning Kits
Various at-home dental cleaning kits and products are available in the market, such as dental flosses and oral irrigators. A research study3 found that these products are effective in reducing plaque formation between the teeth and also reduce the likelihood of gum disease.
However, these products cannot be considered a substitute for professional teeth cleaning. At-home cleaning products provide an additional benefit along with regular brushing and flossing. But, professional cleaning ensures that the root cause is eliminated, providing long-term prevention against gum disease.
How Often Should I Get My Teeth Cleaned?
The frequency of teeth scaling depends on one’s oral health condition. If someone is prone to gum disease and tooth decay, dentists recommend they visit for checkups and get their teeth professionally cleaned at least twice a year.
On the other hand, people with good oral hygiene and a low risk of dental diseases do not require dental cleanings as frequently. For such individuals, their dentists may recommend getting dental scaling done once a year. Typically, dentists recommend the frequency of teeth cleanings after detailed clinical examinations.
According to the Canadian Dental Association4, regular dental exams and teeth cleanings are the most effective way to prevent dental problems before they permanently damage oral health or require expensive treatment. Most importantly, ultrasonic teeth cleanings by a dentist or a dental hygienist will keep you healthy, active and smiling by neutralizing the disease-causing bacteria. So regular brushing and flossing, a tooth-friendly diet, and regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital to enjoying good dental and physical health.
At Trafalgar Dental Oakville, we offer all dental services for you and your family under one roof. Book an appointment today to consult with our qualified and experienced dental professionals.
- Worthington HV, MacDonald L, Poklepovic Pericic T, Sambunjak D, Johnson TM, Imai P, Clarkson JE. Home use of interdental cleaning devices, in addition to toothbrushing, for preventing and controlling periodontal diseases and dental caries. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2019, Issue 4. Art. No.: CD012018. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD012018.pub2.