You’ve heard the advice that you should see your dentist every six months for a checkup, but have you ever wondered why that’s the case?
Dental checkups include an assessment of your oral health, as well as crucial scaling and cleaning.
Without having these things done regularly, your teeth and gums are at risk – and so are other parts of your body.
Here’s why a scale and clean every six months is so important.
Identify problems before they become worse
Before cleaning your teeth, your hygienist thoroughly examines your mouth and overall dental health.
This is a chance to discover any potential issues and prevent them from deteriorating, saving you money and discomfort.
Like with your car, regular maintenance is key to stopping problems in their tracks.
Poor dental and oral health can negatively affect your overall health
While gum and periodontal diseases (inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissues) and cavities can hurt, affect your eating and speaking abilities, and cause bad breath, dental problems can also do damage outside of your mouth.
Not many people know that poor dental health can cause havoc for conditions like diabetes, arthritis and pregnancy.
There are certain types of gum infection that have been found to have a link to low-birth-weight and premature birth – showing that not only is mum affected, but baby as well.
Oral inflammation can affect parts of the body in many ways, including your:
Oral inflammation has been linked to Alzheimer’s and dementia, and an increased risk of blood clots, leading to stroke.
Oral inflammation can raise the risk of heart attack by 13.6 times – twice the risk of a heavy smoker
Current research shows that oral inflammation can be linked to kidney failure.
Oral inflammation can increase susceptibility to pneumonia and bronchitis.
Oral inflammation disrupts blood sugars, likely resulting in diabetes.
It has also been linked to pancreatic cancer.
Non-smokers are also at risk of oral cancer, which has only got a survival rate of 22% if undetected, but 100% if caught early.
Those with diabetes already have reduced resistance to infection, so oral infections take hold easier and progress quicker when left unmanaged.
There is also evidence that bacteria found in gum disease has the potential to move through your body to your heart, possibly clogging arteries or causing a stroke or heart disease.
What happens during a scale and clean?
After the dental hygienist has finished checking your oral health, they will then move on to cleaning your teeth, performing what is known as a scale and clean.
Any build-up of tartar or plaque that has occurred since your last checkup is removed with specialised dental instruments like scalers.
As soon as tartar gets hard it cannot be removed at home with a toothbrush.
Using a scaler is a pain-free way to loosen the bigger tartar deposits, and thoroughly clean on top of and beneath your gum line.
After this process smooths out the surfaces of your teeth your dentist then begins to remove discolouration.
They do this by using special polishing tools and an effective cleaning mix that includes fluoride.
Some patients who have periodontal disease, which is the next step of gum disease, might require periodontal analysis, review and deep cleaning during recall appointments.
The deep cleaning is done with local anesthetic and targets the root of the teeth where bone loss has happened and bleeding is present as a proof of active disease.
You’ll then be given a fluoride treatment to keep on your teeth for a short period of time, to give them extra strength.
Smooth, clean and shiny teeth – what a great feeling!
Is it time for your next dental checkup?
You may be fantastic at looking after your teeth, but home cleaning isn’t enough to promote excellent oral health.
Only a dental hygienist can thoroughly assess your mouth and give your teeth the proper treatment to ward off nasty problems like gum diseases.
It’s important to remember that your dental health can affect your whole body, which is why we recommend a scale and clean every six months (at a minimum, depending on your dental needs).
If it’s been six months or more since you last saw the Smile Ville team, book your scale and clean now.