Regular dentistry care is more than a teeth cleaning. Your dentist can tell a lot about your overall health, including if you might be suffering from a disease such as diabetes.
There are two parts to a teeth cleaning visit. The first is a check up and the second the actual cleaning.
The Check Up
During your checkup, your dentist will check for cavities, plaque and tartar buildup, and bacteria. If plaque is not removed, it can harden and become tartar. If tartar build up goes untreated, it can cause oral diseases.
Next, your dentist will check your gums. This is done with a tool that measures the spaces between your gums and teeth. If these spaces are shallow, you have healthy gums. If these spaces are deep, you may have gum disease.
The Teeth Cleaning
If you have tartar build up, only your dentist can remove it. Brushing and flossing help remove plaque from a tooth, but not tartar.
During your teeth cleaning, your dentist will do what is called scaling to remove any tartar. After your teeth are scaled, they are polished to remove any surface stains.
What are signs that I need a teeth cleaning?
If you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, your mouth is saying that you need dental cleaning:
- Tooth pain — Could be a sign of an infected cavity
- Bleeding gums — A sign of periodontal disease
- Inflamed, swollen or discolored gums — A sign that your gums may be infected
- Morning headaches, especially those accompanied by neck stiffness — Could be caused by clenching or grinding your teeth
- White patches on your tongue — A sign of possible oral cancer
- Chronic bad breath — Can indicate disease
- Canker sores that won’t heal — A sign of possible misalignment
- Dry mouth — Can accelerate tooth decay and disease
What happens without teeth cleanings?
Not only are you prone to oral diseases without the dental cleanings, but your overall health can be compromised as well. Research shows that 90 percent of systemic diseases have an oral manifestation.
Poor oral health can lead to other problems, dental or otherwise, such as:
- Oral and facial pain. This pain may be due to a dental infection in the gums. Gingivitis, the early form of gum disease, affects more than 75 percent of the US population and can lead to tooth loss.
- Heart and organ problems. Poor dental health can affect your heart and other major organs.
- Digestion issues. Digestion begins with physical and chemical processes in your mouth. Problems can lead to irritable bowel syndrome and other digestive issues.
You can help the dental cleaning process with brushing and flossing your teeth twice a day. The more preemptive care you do for your teeth, the less risk of any of these issues happening.