Maintaining good oral hygiene is a part of a holistic approach towards health. Poor oral hygiene is proven to have many ill effects on systemic health. Studies say that poor oral hygiene and tartar on teeth lead to many heart diseases. Hence, maintaining oral hygiene plays a crucial role in keeping us away from many systemic diseases.
Though brushing and flossing are recommended regimes for maintaining oral hygiene, these practices alone cannot help us maintain oral hygiene. Brushing alone doesn’t help us get rid of all the plaque and tartar on teeth. Plaque is a biofilm stuck to the teeth. It is composed of bacteria, saliva, and food particles. When left without cleaning, this plaque calcifies to form tartar(also called CALCULUS), which is very difficult to remove with brushing alone.
MECHANISM OF PLAQUE FORMATION:
Not all the food particles that we eat are cleared off by saliva. Some of it gets stuck to the teeth along with other components of saliva to form a layer on teeth called plaque. This plaque is made up of food debris, saliva, and bacteria.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN PLAQUE REMAINS:
When plaque remains on the tooth surface it attracts more and more bacteria and minerals to it. This leads to the following phenomena:
● Redness of gums
● Swelling of gums
● Bleeding from gums
● Pus oozing from gums
● Bad breath
● Gum level recedes
● Loss of bone around tooth structure
● Mobility of teeth
● Eventually, teeth fall out
Hence it is very important to make sure that plaque is not retained around the tooth.
So professional help is required at this point, where a dental hygienist or a dentist professionally cleans your teeth.
Different methods are for teeth cleaning. The most common one being brushing teeth with toothpaste and toothbrush.
It is always recommended to use fluoridated toothpaste as it helps prevent cavities/ caries. Different brushing techniques have been recommended based on the condition of gums and teeth. For example- Stillman’s technique of brushing is used for receding gums, whereas “modified bass technique” is the most preferred one for people with good gum health and without periodontal problems. Not everyone should follow one method/ technique of brushing. Speak to your dentist regarding the best method of brushing that suits your teeth and gums.
Professional teeth cleaning by the dentist:
Professional teeth cleaning has the following steps:
- Intraoral examination
- Scaling and root planing
- Polishing teeth
- Mouth rinse
- Intraoral examination:
The dental hygienist examines your mouth with a mouth mirror and probe to make sure if any oral conditions like gingivitis are present and to grade the amount of calculus or plaque present. If bleeding from gums is severe, special care is taken to rule out any systemic diseases and multiple appointments are given.
- Scaling and root planing:
Scaling is done with specialized equipment like ultrascalers. If calculus is on the root of teeth, then root planing is done with instruments called “curettes”. The time taken for scaling and root planning depends upon the amount of calculus present.
- Polishing teeth:
Polishing of teeth is done following ultra scaling of teeth. A Prophylactic paste is used, which is similar to regular toothpaste. This paste is dispensed on a small rubber cup called a prophy cup and gently rubbed on the tooth to get rid of stains or additional plaque.
- Mouth rinse:
After polishing your teeth, the dental hygienist asks you to rinse with a mouth wash, which usually is a chlorhexidine mouthwash. Special conditions require other kinds of mouthwashes like betadine which will be determined by your dentist.
It is recommended to get your teeth professionally cleaned at least once in 6 months along with regular oral hygiene practices like brushing teeth twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste and flossing once daily before bed.
After all, dentistry is not expensive, but your neglect is. So visit your dentist in Keller regularly to keep your pearly whites clean.