The Importance of Dental Cleanings

It’s safe to say that all of us have had a dental cleaning before, but are you getting them regularly enough? What is the point of a dental cleaning if you brush your teeth at home and what role does it play in preventing decay and gum disease?

In this blog from Forest Lake Smiles, we’re giving a detailed explanation of what happens during dental cleanings, why, and how they keep your teeth healthy. To find out if you’re due for a dental cleaning, read on.

What Happens During Dental Cleanings?

A dental cleaning is typically combined with a checkup. During the checkup portion of the appointment, the dentist will perform an oral exam to look for signs of cavities, tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. 

Early detection is important in preventing decay and disease from becoming worse and oral cancer can be stopped if caught early enough. X-rays may be conducted if it has been a while since you’ve had one or if your dentist doesn’t have one on file.

The cleaning portion of your appointment will then commence. First, your dentist will use a scaler to scrape away plaque and tartar that has built up around the gumline. Then, they will professionally brush and polish your teeth with a high-powered electric toothbrush and gritty toothpaste. 

Afterward, your teeth will be flossed and a fluoride varnish will be applied to your teeth. It should be left on for about a minute and the dentist will tell you to avoid eating or drinking anything for the next 30 minutes.

Why Dental Cleanings Are Important for Prevention

Dental cleanings are important for maintaining good oral health which impacts your overall health. During a dental cleaning, plaque buildup is removed from the mouth. When cleanings are neglected, plaque turns into tartar which cannot be removed without professional help.

When plaque and tartar are left untreated, they lead to tooth decay and gum disease. If gum disease is not caught early enough, it causes irreversible damage to the gums and deteriorates the jaw bone. Gum disease can lead to tooth loss and is also linked with a higher risk of cardiovascular disease.

Early detection of oral cancer is important as this can also be cured in the early stages. Dental cleanings also improve the whiteness and appearance of your teeth by removing stains and polishing your teeth. Fluoride treatments prevent cavities.

How Often Should You Get a Cleaning?

You should go to the dentist for a cleaning and checkup every 6 months. This can vary depending on your risk for decay. Someone with an increased risk of decay or who has lost all of their teeth and wears dentures may need to go every 3 months.

In between professional cleanings, you need to have a good oral hygiene routine at home. There is only so much your dentist can do to keep your teeth healthy over 6 months. Brush your teeth twice a day and floss every day. 

Use fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash and drink water that contains fluoride if possible. Only use a soft-bristle toothbrush and gently scrub your teeth at a 45-degree angle. A diet high in sugar and carbohydrates increases your risk of developing cavities, so reduce your intake of these foods and limit snacking throughout the day.

Dental Cleanings at Forest Lake Smiles

Long story short, dental cleanings keep your teeth healthy and aesthetically pleasing. If you have any present oral health problems or damage to the teeth that need addressing, these will be spotted during your dental cleaning. To schedule an appointment with Dr. Jonathan Siverson at Forest Lake Smiles, contact us at (651) 464-8207. 

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