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Dental Cleanings: Why You Shouldn’t Miss Your Checkup

A woman getting a dental cleaning in Lexington, SC
Close-up partial view of beautiful middle aged woman at dental check up

Did you know that there are at least 700 different species of bacteria in the oral cavity? Many of these are harmful microorganisms that can cause tooth decay and gum disease. They can do so by forming plaque on the teeth and gum line.

What’s more, it takes as little as two to six hours for new plaque to colonize on the teeth.

That’s why regular flossing, brushing, and dental cleanings are essential to your health. These three can help you achieve optimal oral health and overall well-being.

However, dental check-ups and cleanings can do more than keep your teeth and gums healthy. We’ve compiled a list of all these benefits below, so please be sure to read on.

Removal of Dental Calculus

Dental calculus, also known as “tartar,” is a crusty, and sometimes even hard layer of deposits on the teeth. It forms from unremoved plaque, and it builds up above and below the gum line. It can make the section of the teeth nearest the gums appear darker (yellowish or even brownish) in color.

Tartar is terrible for you since it can give the bacteria in your mouth more places to hide and accumulate. Moreover, dental calculus can make it more difficult to remove new plaque. Also, since it’s harder than plaque, you’ll have a harder time brushing and flossing your teeth.

Tartar is also a primary cause of gum disease, which affects an estimated 47% of US adults aged 30 and above. Dental calculus, after all, contains plaque and bacteria. These substances produce acids that can irritate the gums.

You can remove most new plaque formations with optimal dental hygiene habits. However, even regular brushing and flossing aren’t enough to get rid of them entirely. That’s why tartar can still accumulate below and above the gum line.

Once tartar forms on the teeth, only a dentist, using specialized tools, can remove it.

As such, it’s best to schedule dental cleanings and check-ups every six months. This way, your dentist can remove all those plaque and tartar formations. In doing so, you can avoid tooth decay and also lower your risks for gum disease.

Early Discovery and Diagnosis of Dental Cavities

In their initial stages, some cases of dental cavities don’t exhibit any signs. As such, it’s possible to have them without you noticing right away. This may be one of the reasons behind one in four US adults having untreated dental decay.

The symptoms of tooth decay begin to show up as the disease progresses. These often include tooth sensitivity and toothaches. You may also feel pain whenever you eat something hot, cold, or sweet.

The longer the cavity remains untreated, the more enamel that the tooth loses. This, in turn, can result in visible symptoms like pits, holes, and stains on the tooth. The pain may also get worse as the disease progresses deeper into the affected tooth.

Routine visits to the dentist and dental cleanings in Lexington, SC can help you keep these issues at bay. That’s because your dentist, upon closer look at your teeth, can discover early signs of decay. From there, your dentist can administer restorative treatments, such as composite fillings.

Gum Disease Monitoring and Prompt Treatment

There are several stages of gum disease, with the earliest one being “gingivitis.” At this stage, it’s more of a treatable and reversible infection. If left untreated, however, it can progress to periodontal disease.

Keep in mind that gum disease is one of the leading causes of permanent tooth loss. As such, keeping your gums healthy can help you reduce your risks of losing your natural teeth.

Dental cleanings can help you maintain healthy gums as they remove plaque and tartar. As mentioned above, these harmful substances can cause gum irritation and inflammation. As such, removing them also helps reduce your risks for gum disease.

Dental check-ups also provide your dentist with the chance to monitor the state of your gums. This can then lead to the early discovery of gum disease. From here, your dentist can administer prompt treatment, such as periodontal therapy.

Oral Cancer Detection

At its earliest stages, oral cancer signs may take the form of white or red patches on the gums, tongue, or tonsils. It may also cause mouth sores that don’t go away, as well as lumps in and around the mouth.

These are symptoms that your dentist can detect during your routine dental cleanings. In the event of their discovery, you should consider undergoing oral cancer screening. This type of cancer is curable, so long as treated early.

Dental Cleanings and Check-Ups May Also Detect Other Health Conditions

Dentists may also play a vital role in the detection of systemic diseases. These include diabetes, osteoporosis, and pneumonia, to name a few.

For instance, in one study, dentists were able to identify 73% of cases of diabetes and prediabetes. That’s because the health of the gums can indicate the presence of this chronic disease.

Aside from diabetes, here are other systemic diseases that dentists can detect.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is another condition that your dentist in Lexington, SC, can discover. This disease can make the bones weak and brittle. As such, it may also affect the alveolar bone, which is the bone that holds and supports the teeth.

An increase in tooth mobility and tooth loss may indicate osteoporosis.

During routine dental cleanings, your dentist also notes these changes in your mouth. If you exhibit these signs, your oral healthcare provider may then advise you to take a digital X-ray.

The results of the imaging technology can then tell you if you’ve had bone loss. If so, your dentist can help you by referring you to a bone specialist.

Pneumonia

Pneumonia is a type of infection that affects the lungs. It causes fluid and even pus build-up in the lungs. As with all kinds of infections, it results from pathogens like bacteria and viruses.

The great news is, studies confirm that dental check-ups and cleanings can help keep it at bay. These treatments appear to help by reducing the number of bacteria in the mouth. The study also noted that patients who didn’t see a dentist had an 86% higher risk of getting the infection.

Regular Dental Cleanings and Check-Ups for a Healthier You

As you can see, dental cleanings and check-ups can do more than prevent tooth decay or gum disease. They can also help you stay on top of your overall health and well-being. This is why, as much as possible, you should visit the dentist every six months.

If you’re ready to visit a dentist in Lexington, SC, Dr. Michael Moulton will be happy to see you. Please feel free to get in touch with our team here at Lexington Family Smiles.