Visiting the dental office for routine oral hygiene appointments and checkups is vital to the maintenance of an individual’s oral care as well as one’s general health, too. Teeth cleanings are completed with a dental hygienist and focus on the prevention and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease. Treatment and prevention of this disease not only ensures a healthy mouth, but also reduces the risk of developing certain seemingly unrelated conditions such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Our hygienists are happy to provide teeth cleanings to patients of all ages; no one is ever too young or too old for periodontal maintenance.
When plaque (a sticky, clear bacterial substance that collects on teeth surfaces) is not removed with brushing and flossing, it hardens onto the tooth’s surface thereby creating tartar (or calculus). If tartar is not removed by a dental hygienist, an infection can form where the teeth and gums meet. This infection is the first stage of periodontal disease and is also referred to as gingivitis. Symptoms that accompany gingivitis are usually minimal but can include tender and puffy gums, redness of the gums, and bleeding of the gums when brushing and flossing. If infection persists, the surrounding gum tissue and bone which hold teeth in place begin to deteriorate; this eventually results in the loss of permanent teeth.
Normal saliva production is also key in keeping this disease at bay. Saliva helps to flush away food particles in the mouth and also contains enzymes that help fight and destroy the bad bacteria responsible for the development of periodontal disease. Saliva production can be affected by the use of different medications which is why it is important to advise your dental hygienist of any changes to your medical history at every appointment.
Early to moderate stages of periodontal disease can be treated, and in most cases, even reversed. At your dental hygiene appointment, the hygienist will assess your periodontal health and advise you of how often hygiene appointments are needed; everyone is a little bit different.