All Posts tagged Teeth cleaning

More Than Just a “Teeth Cleaning”

More Than Just a “Teeth Cleaning”

    It’s that time again! You just received that friendly reminder call
from your dental office, reminding you its time to have your teeth cleaned.
Some of us are happy knowing our appointment is already scheduled, while
others begrudgingly oblige because we know it’s “good for us,” and others of
us put it off as long as possible.  No matter how you feel about having your
teeth cleaned, the benefits go far beyond what many of us are aware of.

Sure, we all know having our teeth cleaned helps with whiter teeth
and fresher breath, and we all love that “fresh from the dentist clean”
feeling.  However, the underlying benefits of having your teeth cleaned go
far beyond what you can see and feel in your mouth. In fact, having your
teeth cleaned regularly not only maintains your oral health, but also has a
significant impact on maintaining your overall health.

Hidden Benefits to having regular teeth cleanings:

*Prevent Heart Attack and Stroke

Having your teeth cleaned involves removing plaque and tartar that
adheres to your teeth, both above and below the gumline.  Both plaque and
tartar harbor bacteria, which in high enough concentration, causes an
infection in your gums.  As with anywhere else in the body, when an
infection is present, inflammation occurs. When inflammation occurs in the
gums we refer to it as gingivitis. If the infection is left untreated, the
bacteria continues to thrive and multiply eventually causing damage to the
bone structure that supports the teeth. This is called periodontal disease.
Several studies have shown a link between both heart disease and
stroke.  When the tissues in the oral cavity are inflamed, they bleed
easily.  When the gums bleed, the bacteria in the area have a freeway
entrance into the blood stream and entire body.  There have been documented
cases of both dental plaque build up and dental bacteria present in arterial
walls.  For this reason, periodontal disease has been found to be a risk
factor for both cardiovascular disease and stroke.

*Prevent Oral Cancer

The Oral Cancer Foundation states that in the United States, someone
dies every hour of the day from oral cancer.  During every cleaning
appointment, a thorough oral cancer screening is performed.  Any abnormality
can be addressed early and possibly avoid progression into cancerous cells.
Early diagnosis of oral cancer is the best prevention, in that, if caught
early, oral cancer has a very good prognosis.

*Save Money!!

It’s no secret that when dental treatment is needed, as with most
things, if dealt with early, you can almost always save time and money.
Allowing an infection or broken tooth to go untreated will only cost more
money and effort to fix in the long run.  If there are dental problems
present, being seen regularly can detect them when they are at an early
stage.  Not only does this save time and money, but has the potential of
preventing severe pain somewhere down the road.

*Healthy Pregnancy and Childhood

Inflammation of the gums caused by the bacteria in plaque and tartar
has another unseen complication.  Both gingivitis and periodontal disease
can contribute to unhealthy pregnancy.  Gum disease has been marked as a
risk factor for both pre term labor, as well as low birth weight babies.
The long term complications of low birth weight babies are extensive, and
can sometime be prevented just by maintaining a healthy oral environment
during pregnancy. Pregnancy hormones in turn can have a detrimental affect
on the health of gum tissue, which can be remedied by regular dental care.
Another risk to children associated with high levels of bacteria
present in their parent’s mouths, comes from what many parents do without a
second thought.  The simple action of sharing a bite of food with your
children, has been shown to contribute to higher decay rates in children.
By sharing utensils, bacteria is passed from one to another.  By maintaining
a healthy mouth, the amount of bacteria available to be “shared” is
significantly reduced and therefore reduces the risk for both cavities and
gum disease in younger children.

There are many more unrealized benefits to maintaining a healthy
oral cavity, even including lowering the risks of diabetes.  So, while many
of us may not love the idea of seeing the dentist or hygienist, the benefits
go far beyond that “fresh from the dentist feel.”  By having regular dental
cleanings, you are not only maintaining a healthy smile, but you are
contributing to an overall healthy YOU!

De Elise Krause, RDH