October is National Dental Hygiene Month! Make sure your smile is at it’s best by following a good oral hygiene routine such as brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing at least once day, and making healthy food choices for strong teeth, and healthy gums.

Seeing your dentist twice a year for a dental exam and teeth cleaning is also part of your dental hygiene routine. A teeth cleaning by a dental expert helps to remove tartar buildup. This buildup occurs when plaque hardens around the tooth and gum from not brushing and flossing daily. Dental plaque and tartar can cause gum disease, and eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities.  A teeth cleaning twice a year can also brighten your smile by removing stains from coffee and freshen your breath for a healthy mouth.

Dental exams and dental cleanings are part of preventive care and covered by some dental insurance plans. Remember to check your dental coverage or contact the dentist for details.

The two most common types of teeth cleaning are regular dental cleanings and deep cleanings. Your dentist will decide which cleaning is best for you.

Regular Dental Cleaning.

A regular dental cleaning is usually for patients who have healthy gums and minimal tartar buildup above the gums. A regular cleaning is used to remove the buildup of bacteria, plaque or tartar that accumulates in between the teeth and gums between regular cleanings. Along with proper brushing and flossing, a regular teeth cleaning every six months helps to maintain healthy teeth and gums.

Deep Cleaning.

A deep cleaning, also known as a scaling and root planing is recommended for patients who have gums that may bleed when brushing or flossing, and have a larger buildup of tartar above and below the gums. A deep cleaning is important to prevent or address issues at the gumline that may cause tooth or bone loss. A deep cleaning may take two or more visits to complete, treating one side at a time.

 Six (6) Benefits from a Dental Cleaning –  Delta Dental.

  1. Prevent cavities
    The whitish film that builds up on teeth is called plaque and is the leading cause of tooth decay. This acidic substance eats away at the tooth enamel and, if left unattended, can lead to cavities. Plaque can be removed by brushing, flossing and dental cleanings.
  1. Stop tooth loss
    Gum disease, which starts with built-up plaque, is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. As gum disease advances, plaque moves further down the tooth where it can destroy the supporting bone in your jaw, causing teeth to loosen and fall out. Luckily, the chance of this happening to you can be greatly reduced through regular dental cleanings combined with good oral hygiene habits.
  1. Brighten your smile
    Drinking coffee, tea and wine or using tobacco can stain your teeth. A dental cleaning can remove built-up stains and leave you with freshly polished teeth. The result? A whiter, brighter smile!
  1. Freshen your breath
    Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent persistent bad breath. Even if you brush and floss regularly, getting a cleaning is a great way to keep your mouth healthy and odor-free.
  1. Boost your overall health
    Studies have shown a connection between oral health and a person’s overall health. Regular dental cleanings may help lower your risk for some diseases, like heart disease and stroke. Many medical conditions, some of them life-threatening, can be detected in their early stages by your dentist during a routine oral exam.
  1. Save money
    You may be able to save money in the long run by helping to protect your oral health and potentially avoiding more costly and extensive procedures.

 Returning to the Dentist.

Many dental offices are working hard to provide their patients with a safe visit. The American Dental Association has provided dentist with steps to take to protect the health and safety of the patients and the dental team. Call your dental office to make an appointment for your dental care visit. The dental staff will provide you with guidance and answer your questions.

Find more tips and information on oral hygiene and other dental care resources for the whole family at SmileHabitsOC.org.

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