Regular dental exams incorporating professional teeth cleaning are the keystone of preventive dentistry and its focus on minimizing or avoiding oral health issues.
Routine check-ups and cleanings play a crucial role in helping to keep your teeth and gums healthy. A healthy mouth can also help to protect the rest of your body from serious medical disorders.
Oral infections can spread to other parts of your body, including vital organs. Furthermore, monitoring your dental health can detect signs of existing issues with your overall well being that might otherwise go unnoticed.
The importance of dental exams and cleanings is further underscored by the financial benefits. Making sure your oral health stays in good condition can avoid costly dental procedures later.
Benefits of Dental Exams
During your routine check-up, your dentist will look for any signs of tooth decay and resulting cavities. These problems can infect tooth pulp – the soft tissue in the centre of a tooth – and spread to its root and beyond.
One warning sign of potential tooth decay is an accumulation of plaque and tartar, which can also cause gum disease.
However, there’s much more to a dental exam than checking for decay and cavities. Dental check-ups can point to many other issues, including:
- Oral cancer. Most cancers of the mouth or throat are initially diagnosed by dentists during routine check-ups. The survival rate for cancer is good if the disease is detected during the early stages.
- Gum disease. Deep spaces between your gums and teeth can indicate gum disease (periodontal disease) – a leading cause of tooth loss. According to the Canadian Dental Association, 70 per cent of the population will get gum disease at some time in their lives.
- Multiple medical conditions. Your dentist will check whether you have bad breath (halitosis), which can be caused by a variety of issues, including a yeast infection of the mouth, lung problems, or diabetes.
Benefits of Dental Cleanings
Professional teeth cleaning (oral prophylaxis) by a dentist or dental hygienist will eliminate build-ups of bacteria, plaque and tartar, which can develop even if you brush and floss regularly.
Dental professionals use special tools to gently remove these deposits. If plaque hardens into tartar (dental calculus), it can only be removed by a dental professional.
Your dental cleaning will also include flossing between your teeth and polishing to eliminate stains and leave your mouth feeling ultra-fresh.
If you have a build-up of plaque beneath the gum line, your dentist or dental hygienist can fix the problem with a procedure called scaling – a specialized form of dental cleaning that’s routinely used in cases of gum disease.
Professional cleanings help to prevent cavities and tooth loss, and gum disease, while giving you fresher breath and a brighter smile.
Studies have established links between oral health and overall well being, and dental cleanings can help to lessen the risk of ailments such as cancer, lung infections, heart disease and stroke, and diabetes.
Stopping Oral Health Problems Before They Start
Good oral health not only gives you an attractive smile; it can also help to keep the rest of your body healthy. Dental exams and cleanings every six months are generally sufficient but may be needed more often, depending on the condition of your oral health.
Having to visit your dentist twice a year for a dental exam and cleaning may not be the appointment you most look forward to, but it’s one of the most important. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings can stop problems before they start.
Dental check-ups will:
- Help to prevent tooth decay and gum disease.
- Save you money in the long run by helping to avoid costly treatments.
- Help to diagnose any problems with your overall health.
A professional cleaning will:
- Get rid of built-up stains.
- Help to keep your tooth enamel strong.
- Leave you with fresh-feeling polished teeth.
A dental practice with a strong focus on preventive dentistry can help to safeguard your oral and general health with comprehensive check-ups and cleanings. They will also be able to offer preventive treatments such as fluoride applications and dental sealants.
How to Take Full Advantage of the Benefits of Dental Exams
To get the most from dental exams and professional teeth cleaning, it’s important to maintain a good routine of oral healthcare at home. The bacteria that attack your teeth and gums are persistent and can quickly develop – even after professional hygiene measures.
It’s advisable to:
- Brush your teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste.
- Floss daily.
- Use a mouthwash that contains fluoride.
- Maintain a healthy, balanced diet and limit snacks.
- Avoid smoking and other forms of tobacco use.
- Continue getting regular dental exams and cleanings.