Your routine cleaning is about more than maintaining a beautiful smile. Each checkup has a significant impact on your oral health. Your general health and wellbeing are affected too.
Dentists across Canada agree that getting your teeth professionally cleaned twice a year is enough to prevent most oralproblems. But what is it that you and your dentist are fighting against? This article will explore why teeth cleanings are important.
PREVENTING GUM DISEASE
Skipping a cleaning allows for extra bacteria and tartar build-up in your mouth. Without intervention, it starts to destroy the bone supporting your teeth. That quickly leads to tooth loss. Thankfully, gum disease is often preventable; simply brushing and flossing every day and getting routine cleanings.
The state of your gums is strongly connected to your heart health. Regular teeth cleaning can prevent periodontitis, which in turn reduces your risk of heart attack or stroke.
There are areas of the tooth that are difficult to get to at home, in fact, one-third of your tooth’s surface is hidden under gums or between teeth.
Plaque, an invisible film, is made up of bacteria and develops on your teeth over the course of the day. It’s the leading cause of gum disease.
Specialists are anticipating about 5,400 Canadians being diagnosed with oral cavity cancer in 2021. Two-thirds are expected to survive. That percentage could be higher, because most oral cancers are curable. Early detection is key, that’s why scanning the mouth for signs of cancer has become a regular part of your semi-annual checkup.
MAKE YOUR CLEANINGS MORE ENJOYABLE
If the thought of seeing your dentist twice a year is nerve-racking, there are some things you can do to improve your experience.
- KEEP UP REGULAR CLEANINGS: This is an odd tip to start with, especially for someone who doesn’t enjoy their semi-annual checkup. However, skipping a cleaning will only make the next one worse. The longer you go between dentist visits the more time tartar has to build up. Not only does tartar cause discoloration, but it also causes the hygienist to take longer during the next cleaning. Most agree that a longer, more aggressive cleaning is worse than two mild cleanings.
- TAKE PAIN MEDICATION: An over-the-counter pain killer such as Tylenol can reduce inflammation during your cleaning. When gums aren’t inflamed, they are less likely to bleed or become irritated.
- REQUEST A NUMBING GEL: Many dentists keep gels to numb your gums nearby. These can make cleaningsmuch more comfortable. The gels start working almost immediately so they don’t delay the dentist. They also fade quickly, usually by the time you get home.
- ORAL SEDATION: Some patients request oral sedation to eliminate the anxiety and discomfort they feel. The most common form of sedation is a pill. It may not knock you out completely, but you will feel relaxed and unaware of any pain.
- COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR DENTIST: You and your dentist should be on the same page before and during your cleanings. You should feel comfortable discussing your concerns. Partially because they could do something to help, but also because it could be a sign of an underlying problem. For example, if you hate the feel of the polisher because you have sensitive teeth, the dentist will want to know and be able to help.