Going to your dentist for regular dental cleanings is essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Skipping out on getting regular dental cleanings can harm your teeth and gums. You increase your risk of developing dental cavities and gum disease. This leads to toothaches, bleeding gums, bad breath, and sensitive teeth. Eventually, this leads to tooth infection, loose teeth, and tooth loss. Maintaining regular dental cleanings is a great way to avoid these unnecessary dental problems.
Why are dental cleanings important?
Failing to maintain regular dental cleanings will harm your teeth and gums. If you don’t keep up with your dental cleanings you start building up plaque and tartar on your teeth. Plaque is a combination of bacteria and food particles that attach to your teeth. Tartar, or calculus, is calcified plaque which is very difficult to remove from your teeth. Failing to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth leads to gum disease. Gum disease eats away at your gums and jawbone. It causes bleeding gums, bad breath, and tooth sensitivity. If left untreated, it causes infection and tooth loss.
Dental cleanings remove plaque and start from your teeth to reverse gum disease. Tartar attaches firmly to your teeth and you can’t remove tartar by yourself. Brushing and flossing alone can’t remove these calcified buildups either. Only a thorough dental cleaning from your dentist can remove these harmful buildups and get your gums back to a healthy and happy state.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a disease that destroys your gums and jawbone which makes your teeth sensitive, loose, and infected. Gum disease is a serious condition. It is the number cause of tooth loss amongst adults. It’s not uncommon for patients suffering from advanced gum disease to lose multiple teeth, sometimes even all of their teeth. The sooner you treat your gum disease, the easier it is to reverse its harmful effects and save your teeth.
What are the stages of gum disease?
We divide gum disease into two separate stages depending on how widespread the infection is:
Your dentist will take X-rays, examine your gums, measure your periodontal pockets, and help you decide which stage of gum disease you’re suffering from. Here’s what you need to know about the different stages of gum disease:
Gum disease always starts off by infecting your gum tissue before it spreads to your jawbone. When gum disease is confined to your gums it’s known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is highlighted by changes in the texture and color of your gums. It causes your gums to become red, puffy and swollen. You may also experience frequent episodes of bleeding gums, especially when brushing or flossing your teeth.
Periodontitis, or pyorrhea, is the more advanced stage of gum disease. This occurs when bacteria start to spread from your gums to the surrounding jawbone. Periodontitis causes bone loss, pus pocket formation, and eventually loose teeth. Dentists break down periodontitis into 3 stages of mild, moderate and advanced. The more bone you lose, the more advanced your periodontitis becomes.
Will gum disease cause me to lose my teeth?
It’ true that gum disease is the number cause of tooth loss among the adult population. Luckily, not everyone with gum disease is going to lose their teeth! Only those with the most advanced level of periodontitis are at a risk of losing their teeth. Ultimately, your prognosis largely depends on how advanced your gum disease is:
- Gingivitis, or gum disease confined to the gums, is relatively easy to treat. Plus, gingivitis is 100% reversible. Typically, a good dental cleaning and better brushing and flossing is all ti takes to get your gingivitis under control.
- Periodontitis is more difficult to treat. Mild to moderate periodontitis can usually be managed with proper dental care. You may require deep cleaning, gum surgery, or other special treatments to treat mild to moderate periodontitis. Plus, you will definitely need to visit your dentist regularly for dental cleanings to control your peridontitis.
- Severe periodontitis is usually irreversible. Unfortunately, once you lose more than 50% of your supporting bone structure there’s not a whole you can do to save your teeth.
How frequently should I get a dental cleaning?
Each person has a unique mouth so there’s not a set number that works for everyone. Talk to your dentist to decide how often you need a dental cleaning. Here are a few factors you should consider when deciding how frequently you need a dental cleaning:
Your oral hygiene
If you brush and floss your teeth well, then you don’t need a dental cleaning as frequently. Those of you who you live an active lifestyle with a healthy diet, one low in processed sugars, are likely to do just fine with one or two dental cleanings a year.
You’re much more likely to develop gum disease if you have unresolved orthodontic issues. Those of you with crowded teeth will require more frequent dental cleanings. If you have extremely crowded teeth, you will likely require a dental cleaning every 3 to 4 months.
People with serious medical problems usually need to see their dentist more frequently. Medical conditions like diabetes, Sjogren’s syndrome, heart conditions, digestive problems, cancer, and many others have a direct impact on your oral health. Taking lots of medications can also affect your oral health. There are hundreds of medications that cause dry mouth and contribute to gum disease and cavity formation. Therefore, the longer your list of medical issues and medications, the more frequently you should see your dentist for a dental cleaning.
We should mention that age is not an absolute factor here. There are many seniors with impeccable oral health and no signs of gum disease. However, aging does make it more difficult to maintain proper oral hygiene. As we get older, we develop more medical problems, we take more medications, and we pick up more bad habits. Medical conditions such as arthritis, glaucoma, and cancer also affect our ability to take care of our teeth and gums.
Another reason age affects your oral health is because of how much dental work you have in your mouth. The more dental work present in your mouth, the more difficult it becomes to maintain adequate oral hygiene. Fillings and crowns trap more plaque and tartar than natural teeth. Having numerous fillings and crowns in your mouth can contribute to gum disease.
Seniors typically require more frequent dental cleanings to maintain proper oral health. It’s not uncommon for seniors to have to need a dental cleaning every 3 to 4 months instead of the usual 6 months.
Your optimal number of dental cleanings can vary anywhere from one a year all the way to one every 3 months. The average person requires a dental cleaning once every 6 months. Those with advanced gum disease, numerous medical issues, and most seniors, require a dental cleaning every 3 to 4 months. Finally, those of you with impeccable oral hygiene, few existing dental restorations, and excellent medical history, require a dental cleaning every 6 months to a year.
Finding a dentist for dental cleaning
Dental cleanings are essential to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Don’t delay your dental cleaning any longer! A dental cleaning can do wonders for your teeth and gums. Plus, your dentist will examine your mouth to make sure that there are no hidden surprises. If you don’t currently have a dentist, you can find one using our dentist Search Engine. Browse through dentist profiles and book your appointment online. Read reviews, view treatment photos, even shop their online store conveniently from your home. Click on the link below to start your search of a great dentist today: