Most of us are taught about the importance of taking care of our oral health at home from a very young age. The need to brush our teeth after breakfast and again before bed is normally drummed into us as children, although for many people, the strictness with which they perform their oral hygiene routine often fluctuates. Nevertheless, if you are taking care of your oral health well at home, you might think that any further cleaning isn’t necessary. This isn’t the case. In fact, we recommend that all of our patients attend regular teeth cleanings with us, regardless of their age. Here’s why.
When you brush your teeth each day, your aim is to remove plaque. This is the thin, colorless, sticky substance that continually forms on your teeth during the day and occurs as a result of the interaction between the sugars in the things that you eat and drink and the bacteria that is naturally present in your mouth. This plaque contains bacteria that produce acids that can erode the teeth, causing areas of decay. Plaque can also spread onto the gums where the bacteria cause irritation and infection, signaling the start of gum disease. While regular brushing removes most of the plaque on your teeth, and that is missed can harden into tartar. Tartar is yellow/brown in color and incredibly tough. So tough that it’s impossible to remove it with your toothbrush. Fortunately, we not only have the professional equipment to eliminate tartar but also to clean the tiny crevices that can be difficult or impossible to reach with a toothbrush.
Most people have heard of gum disease, but very few understand the complications and effects it can cause. Gum disease is one of the most common dental issues, alongside cavities. As we know, it occurs when plaque from the teeth moves onto the gum tissue. In the early stages of gum disease, patients can expect to experience swollen, red, and tender gums that may bleed a little when you brush your teeth. Since these symptoms are so mild, they are often overlooked. However, gum disease is progressive and without treatment, it will get worse. Later symptoms include abscesses, severe dental pain, tooth loss, and deterioration of the jawbone, affecting the structure of the lower half of your face. Research has also found that patients who have severe gum disease may be at greater risk of serious health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke. When you attend regular dental cleanings, plaque and tartar are removed from your teeth and gums before they can cause damage, helping to keep gum disease at bay.
Oral cancer probably isn’t first cancer to spring to mind, but it is more common than you might expect, with around 24 people in the United States dying as a result of oral cancer every day. Just like with any cancer, the sooner that oral cancer is detected and treated, the better the outcome is likely to be. When you attend regular appointments with our dental team, including for teeth cleanings, we can check for any abnormalities that may need to be investigated, increasing the likelihood of any issues being detected early, while they are still treated fairly easily. Similarly, we can also check for signs of any other dental issues that may require treatment, and schedule you an appointment to have them addressed.
If you would like more information about what is involved in teeth cleanings or why they are important, or to schedule your visit, please contact our dental team in Atlanta, GA.