Tips for Healthy Teeth. What You Need To Know.

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

Every day we see television commercials for toothpastes and mouthwashes. One would think that by simply using a certain brand of toothpaste, or a “special” commercial mouthwash, we could eliminate tooth decay and gingivitis. While it is true that fluoride toothpastes may be helpful in controlling tooth decay, they can’t do the job by themselves.

As for mouthwashes; rinsing after eating can remove food particles, but can’t take the place of a thorough brushing. We offer prescription toothpastes and mouthwashes here for persons who need them. However, there is much you can do on your own to keep your teeth and mouth healthy.

Here are some tips:

1. Brush for at least two minutes.
Two minutes is considered the minimum amount of time it takes to be effective when brushing. While this is not a long time period, you may be surprised by how long it seems when you are actually doing it! (Most of us brush for around 20 seconds!)All tooth surfaces that can be accessed with the brush should be thoroughly cleaned. This means the sides of the teeth toward the cheek, the sides of the teeth toward the tongue or palate, and the tops, or biting surfaces of the teeth. When brushing the cheek and tongue sides, angle the brush slightly “into” the gum area. Imagine that each of your teeth is sitting in its own little turtleneck sweater, and your job is to clean out the turtleneck. Aiming the bristles along the gum line, and then sweeping toward the biting surfaces removes food debris and plaque from the “turtleneck”. Don’t use a “sawing” motion on the cheek or tongue sides. This can actually contribute to gum recession and erosion of tooth root surfaces!

2. Use a soft bristle brush.
While it may seem that a hard or medium bristle brush would do a better job of cleaning the teeth, the opposite is true. Hard bristles may be ok on the biting surfaces, but they can damage the gum tissues and root surfaces, while leaving plaque behind. Soft bristles can be used safely around and under the “gum turtleneck” surrounding each tooth. Plaque and food can be removed without hurting tooth surfaces or your gums.

3. Change your brush every two months.
The bristles on a toothbrush get a lot of wear. It is definitely time for a change when they look frayed or flat. However, even before they are looking worn, the bristles may not be sufficiently sturdy to do a good job of cleaning. Also-change your toothbrush after you have been ill. Cold and flu germs can live on the bristles, and re-infect you after you get well! Needless to say-never share a toothbrush with other family members.

4. “Power” brushes can help.
A powered toothbrush typically provides rapid brush strokes that can help a person be more effective when cleaning their teeth. Usually they are also “timed” keeping track of the two-minute brushing sequence for you. If you think you need some help in the brushing department, a power brush might be good for you.

5. Use dental floss!
There is no better way to get between the teeth than dental floss. Floss can clean out the “turtleneck” of gum tissue that a brush can’t reach. If you don’t use floss you are missing 40% of the surfaces of your teeth! Cavities and gum disease thrive in the crevices between the teeth. Keep these areas clean to keep the teeth healthy.

Call us if you want to know more. We are always happy to help!

Test Your Knowledge-Keeping Your Young Child’s Teeth Healthy

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

All parents want their children to have healthy teeth and a beautiful smile. Keeping teeth healthy begins at a very young age. Take this true/false test to learn more.

1. Parents should begin cleaning their child’s teeth as soon as the first tooth appears.

TRUE-You should begin cleaning your baby’s teeth right from the start. When the first tooth appears, you can use a soft damp cloth, or an extra-soft bristle brush, (no toothpaste). This performs two functions. It keeps the baby’s teeth clean, and it helps the baby become accustomed to having his mouth cleaned.

2. Parents should brush their child’s teeth with fluoride toothpaste.

FALSE-While fluoride toothpaste is of significant value in reducing cavities, a young child may swallow the paste instead of spitting it out. Refrain from using fluoride toothpaste until your child is old enough to understand that she should not swallow the paste. (This may be around 2 or 3 years of age.) Also-keep fluoride toothpaste or any other products containing fluoride out of your child’s reach. Many of these items have pleasant flavorings and your child may think they are “treats”. Think of fluoride as you would any medication. You would not leave children’s pain-relievers where your child could get to them. Pain relievers are of significant value when used correctly, but they can also be dangerous! Used correctly, fluoride has helped millions of people avoid tooth decay. However, too much can be harmful.

3. Use enough fluoride toothpaste to “cover” the top of the toothbrush.

FALSE- Once a child is old enough for fluoride toothpaste, use only a pea-sized amount on the brush.

4. Parents should encourage their young children to brush twice a day.

FALSE-Parents should take charge of brushing their child’s teeth until he or she is old enough to do it adequately. While each child is different, this might not be until age 6 or 7. Young children do not have the coordination to brush their teeth correctly and may simply be swishing the brush around the mouth. Also, because we know that two-minutes is the minimum amount of time for adequate brushing; enforcing this may be difficult with a very young child. When the parent decides that the child is ready to begin taking on brushing, the parent may allow the child to brush alone in the morning, but brush her teeth for her at night. In this way, food debris and plaque is removed before the child goes to sleep, and therefore is not allowed to do its’ damage during the nighttime hours.

5. Parents should avoid putting a baby to bed with a bottle.

TRUE-Allowing a child to fall asleep with a bottle can be extremely harmful to her teeth. In fact, there is a term for the rampant tooth destruction that this can cause; “baby bottle syndrome”. When a child falls to sleep with a mouth coated with milk, formula, juice, or any other sweetened liquid, bacterial invasion of the teeth is assured and cavities will develop. This is painful and unsightly and a very bad way for a child to start off in life.

6. Sucking on hard sugared candy, chewing sugared gum, and drinking sugared soft drinks cause tooth decay.

TRUE- This is an easy one. The presence of sugar in the mouth provides an environment that bacteria love. The longer the sugar is present in the mouth, the more the bacteria can grow. The teeth literally receive a “sugar bath” when a child is sucking on candy or chewing sugar gum. This is why a diet consisting of large amounts of sugar contributes to tooth decay, among other problems. If you give your child sweets, have him at least rinse his mouth afterwards. (Brushing is best).

These tips are just a few of the ways you can help your child grow up with healthy teeth.

Call us if you want to know more. We are always happy to help!

Professional Dental Cleaning. What You Need to Know.

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

One of the most valuable services you can receive from your dentist’s office is a professional dental cleaning. In the past, you may have thought of this service as “just a cleaning” or simply “polishing teeth”. You are not alone. In fact, many patients believe that coming in for regular cleanings is not very important. After all, nothing is hurting, no “fillings” or crowns are being prepared or placed, and you brush your teeth every day. Right?

The truth is, a professional dental cleaning is an important service your dentist and dental hygienist provide to help you prevent the emergence or growth of dental disease. The dental term for a professional cleaning is prophylaxis, which is “a measure taken for the prevention of a disease or condition”. In dentistry, a prophylaxis, or professional dental cleaning, functions as just that.

The mouth is a breeding ground for all types of bacteria and infections; so preventing these problems from overwhelming a person’s defenses is very important. Your oral health and the possible development of gum and bone disease are not the only considerations. Your general health is greatly affected as well! In recent years the importance of reducing or eliminating mouth bacteria and infections has become well known. While your dentist and dental hygienist have always realized that the bacteria that breed and spread in the mouth can have a negative affect on your general health; this fact is finally being recognized by the medical world as a whole. Conditions in the mouth can make systemic diseases (diseases that affect the entire body) much worse. Keeping the oral bacterial load under control has never been more important. Here’s why:

Studies show that bacterial infection and tissue inflammation are important factors in periodontal (gum and bone) disease. Bacterial byproducts and the inflammation they can cause in the body can also be major factors in the development of diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious problems. What does this mean? It appears that inflammation is a significant link between systemic (body) disease and oral disease.1
Inflammation is the first response of the immune system to injury, infection or irritation. When the body’s immune system senses an infection, a series of reactions begins which are designed to protect the entire body, not just the area directly involved. However, if an infection in the mouth persists, the inflammatory process can never shut down! The body thinks it is under constant attack.
Periodontal (gum and bone) disease typically begins from bacteria growing around the teeth, causing infection and starting up the body’s inflammatory response. The combined “one-two punch” of bacterial attack plus inflammatory reaction causes destruction of the gum tissues and bone around the teeth.

A professional cleaning can be the first step in getting your mouth bacteria under control so that your dental health is protected and your immune system can function normally.

Call us if you want to know more. We are always happy to help!

My Tongue Looks Funny! What You Need to Know.

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

Our tongues are an essential part of our oral apparatus. The tongue enables us to enjoy our food, being the site of little bumps also known as papillae, which contain our taste buds. In addition, the tongue is what enables us to speak and swallow, and helps with keeping the mouth lubricated.

The tongue can also be an important indicator of a person’s general health and we pay attention to it here at our office. There are some conditions of the tongue that are harmful, however there are a few that can make it look “funny” and cause people to needlessly worry. We see these conditions in our office from time to time and want you to know about them.

GeographicTongue
Some people have patterns on their tongues. They have smooth, shiny patches intermixed with bumpy red sections. Even more surprising, these patches can move! Sometimes they are in one part of the tongue, other times in another part. The technical name for this condition is Benign Migratory Glossitis. The common term is Geographic Tongue. Geographic Tongue is a harmless (benign) condition that causes the atrophy or reduction in size of the filiform papillae, the little bumps on the tongue that contain the taste buds. It is not related to any type of infection or cancer. The condition is usually painless, but sometimes can cause discomfort or increased sensitivity to certain substances or foods. For example, some people report a soreness or burning sensation that can worsen with spicy or acidic foods. It is not known why the tongue loses papillae on some parts of the tongue, but the condition does tend to run in families, so heredity is likely involved. Geographic tongue can occur in persons of all ages, and has been reported to only affect about 2% of the population. However, recent research supports a much larger, up to 25%, rate. Women also appear to be affected more than men. Usually geographic tongue goes through stages of appearance and then remission without any treatment. If a person is experiencing some pain, over-the-counter remedies such as ibuprophen, and perhaps a topical anesthetic mouthrinse can help. If you notice that your tongue is sore after eating certain foods, or using a certain toothpaste, simply avoid these. The good news is Geographic Tongue may look funny, but it is not harmful.

Fissured Tongue

Fissured tongue is another tongue condition that may appear worrisome. As the name implies, the tongue appears to have deep lines or fissures on the top surface and may look rough or “bumpy”. This is a normal, thought to be hereditary, condition that is also not harmful.

Black, Hairy Tongue
Black, Hairy Tongue is a temporary, harmless condition that gives the tongue a dark furry appearance, resembling hair growing on the center and back portions of the tongue. It is usually the result of an overgrowth of bacteria in the mouth. Again, the condition may look alarming, but it is not associated with serious infection or cancer. It is however, associated with bacteria, so controlling oral bacteria is important. The tongue often looks black, but can also appear to be deep yellow or brown and rough or furry. Some persons report that they have an altered taste or metallic taste in the mouth and sometimes, bad breath. Black, Hairy Tongue is believed to be caused from the filiform papillae (the bumps that contain your taste buds) growing longer, making them collectors of bacteria. What causes the overgrowth in a particular person may not ever be determined, however it has been associated with changes in normal bacteria or yeast content of the mouth following a course of antibiotics, poor oral hygiene, medications containing bismuth (such as Pepto-Bismol) and regular use of peroxide or menthol mouthwashes. It is also related to heavy tobacco use.

Black Hairy Tongue usually doesn’t require medical treatment, but eliminating the possible sources of the condition may help, such as discontinuing the use of a bismuth medicine. Also regular and complete home care is vital. Brushing the teeth, brushing the top of the tongue with a toothbrush, using a tongue scraper to remove debris and bacteria, and flossing can take care of the condition.

Call us if you want to know more. We are always happy to help!

Do Your Teeth Bleed When You Brush? What You Need to Know.

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

People sometimes believe that bleeding when brushing is normal. They say that their gums always bleed and so do their other family member’s. Are bleeding gums normal?

The short answer is No. Healthy gums do not bleed with brushing or flossing. In fact, bleeding gums is a sign of gingivitis, which is an early stage of gum and bone (periodontal) disease. If you watch TV, you have heard of gingivitis. A multimillion- dollar industry surrounds various types of products that are purported to eliminate gingivitis. The problem is, most of the products don’t really work. They can make your mouth “feel” clean, but the source of the gingivitis remains. Here’s what you need to know:

1. Gingivitis is caused from an inflammation of the gum tissues. This inflammation can be from caused from a bacterial infection or some other type of irritation. It is known that there are at least 11 different strains of bacteria that can cause gum and bone disease. These bacteria thrive in dark, moist areas, such as the gum tissues around the teeth. Our immune systems recognize that there is a problem and send out cells to get rid of the bacteria. Blood to the infected area is also increased to help flush away the invaders. However, if the invaders don’t go, our tissues become engorged with blood and our gums can bleed when we brush.
2. Bleeding is sometimes the “first alert” to more damaging problems arising. Because gum and bone disease can exist in the absence of other noticeable symptoms, bleeding may be the only sign a person notices; until some destruction of bone has already occurred.
3. Brushing with a soft bristle brush or a soft bristle “power” brush and using dental floss can reduce plaque, which is a soft, sticky substance that forms on our teeth. Plaque is a breeding ground for bacteria.
4. Prescription products, such as medicinal mouth rinses and pastes can help. These provide ingredients known to reduce bacteria.
5. Professional cleaning or prophylaxis, where the dentist or hygienist removes plaque, calculus (also known as tartar-a hard deposit), and stains also reduces bacteria.
6. If bleeding continues, or if you have “pockets” that are 4mm or deeper around any of your teeth, root planing may be needed. Root planing is not the same as a professional cleaning. It is a more extensive procedure to rid the teeth of germs and deposits.
7. Since bleeding gums may be the first sign of a mouth infection, and since infections in the mouth are related to many chronic illness, such as diabetes and heart disease, a mouth infection is nothing to ignore.

There are sometimes other serious reasons for gums that bleed. These include blood disorders, clotting disorders, liver problems, kidney disorders, artery or capillary diseases, and diabetes and heart problems. Bleeding gums can also be the result of vitamin C and K deficiencies. Fungal infections are implicated with bleeding tissues, as well as certain medications such as aspirin and blood thinners.

What should you look for?
Bleeding gum tissue upon brushing or flossing
Red, tender or swollen gums
A bad taste in the mouth
Recession of gums from the teeth
Sensitive teeth,
Bad breath

If you have any of these symptoms, your dentist and hygienist can help. Despite the fact that many people think that gums that bleed are normal, we know that they are not.

Call us if you want to know more. We are always happy to help!

Dental Insurance. What You Need to Know

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

Dental insurance isn’t really insurance (a payment to cover the cost of a loss) at all. It is actually a money benefit, typically provided by an employer, to help their employees pay for routine dental treatment. The employer buys the plan based on the amount of the benefit and how much the premium costs per month. Most plans are designed to only cover a portion of the total cost. Even if your plan says that it will cover some procedures completely, this is seldom the case. The complete coverage they refer to is usually just what the carrier allows as total payment toward a procedure, not what any dentist may actually charge. So, the amount that will be paid is based on what your employer has negotiated as a benefit for you; tied more to the premium being paid to the insurance carrier rather than the fee for the service you need. Because of this, most patients find that there will be an amount that insurance doesn’t cover, even when they say they are paying 100%. That amount is your responsibility, commonly called your portion.

Most insurance plans specify how many of certain types of procedures they will consider annually. These include “cleanings”, periodontal (gum and bone) treatments, x-rays, and examinations, because these are the types of services that many people regularly need. Since they are “in demand” the carrier wants to limit how many they will cover. If they did not limit their payment toward these procedures, the employer’s premiums would be much higher. A way to think about this might be to compare dental benefits to what is covered under your car insurance. Accidents and damage to the car are typically covered; not replacement of windshield wiper blades, oil changes, or tires. Why is this? Replacement of wiper blades, oil, and tires occur frequently and would be expensive to include in any policy. Damage to a car, less frequently.

If you are wondering about your insurance coverage, a good place to start is the Employee Benefits Coordinator where you work. He will likely have the answers you are looking for. In addition, if you are unhappy with your insurance, or if you feel you are not getting the proper benefits, he is the best person to go to with your concerns. Most employers want their employers to receive the benefits for which they are paying. If the insurance is not paying correctly, they want to know.

Whether your insurance plan pays a little or a lot toward your dental treatment, it helps. However, it is a mistake to let your benefit plan tell you what treatment you should have. Your dentist has the responsibility of recommending treatment you need, your insurance plan has the responsibility of limiting payments to the terms negotiated by the employer.

We base our fees on the basic Manitoba Fee Schedule of the current year.

Call us if you want to know more. We are always happy to help!

Dental X-rays. What You Need to Know.

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

Dental x-rays are an important tool, a dentist uses, to determine what is going on in your mouth. Without these pictures, a dentist is limited to just what he can see on the tops of your teeth. It is impossible to see between the teeth or under the gums and bone without dental radiographs. It would be like taking your car to your mechanic and asking him to figure out what is wrong with the engine without opening the hood!

Patients often have questions concerning x-rays. Here are some answers.

How often should I have dental x-rays?

Dental radiographs are prescribed based on what you need as an individual. There are guidelines available from the ADA, however, we will determine what you require after factoring in your general health history, including any conditions making you more prone to dental problems, your dental history, including frequency of decay and cavities, any periodontal concerns, such as gingivitis and gum and bone disease, and any other issues that might impact your oral health. For example, a person who has had many cavities in the past will need x-rays taken more frequently than a person who has had little decay.

How much radiation is in dental x-rays?

We use digital sensors to take your radiographs. These use a fraction of the radiation required for most medical x-rays. For example, a chest x-ray uses 0.080 mSV (mSV is a millisievert, which is a unit of measurement for radiation) while four decay detecting radiographs uses only 0.038. Another way of looking at it is four dental x-rays expose a person to less radiation than a person receives simply living in Winnipeg, from daylight exposure. Even though the amount of radiation is small, we will cover you with a lead shield so that only your teeth and mouth area are receiving any x-rays. Additionally, we have digital radiography with phosphor plate development; the safest and best available.

Can you use the x-rays from my previous dentist?

We can use them if they are recent and have good, clear images on them. Let us know if you have had radiographs taken during the past few months and we will help you get them to us.

Will my insurance cover my x-rays?

Many dental plans cover x-rays, however your particular plan will specify how many dental x-rays it will consider paying a portion of each year. Some plans limit the number of radiographs and other services such as professional teeth cleaning and gum treatments it will pay because these are the types of procedures many people need to have frequently. Since they are needed often, the insurance plan limits how many they will pay toward.

Can you take care of my dental needs without x-rays?

The simple answer to this is “no”. Dental x-rays are essential to correctly diagnosing a person’s dental problems. Even if a patient wants to sign a “waiver” stating that he has refused x-rays according to his personal wishes; any dentist who treats that person knows better. Doctors cannot provide care for patients based on an incomplete diagnosis. From a legal standpoint a patient cannot give consent for a dentist to be negligent. So-radiographs are necessary and essential to the care of dental needs.

Call us if you want to know more. We are always happy to help and welcome your questions.

Crowns and Onlays. What You Need to Know.

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

Crowns are sometimes referred to as “caps”. They are an artificial replacement for that part of the tooth that is above the gum line. A crown typically covers the entire tooth, replacing most of the enamel. They can be made from metal, gold alloys, metal and porcelain fused together, or entirely of porcelain or other white material. Crowns may be fabricated in a laboratory or on a Computer Assisted Design machine. They are cemented or bonded into place.

Teeth that have cracked enamel, broken cusps, extensive decay, or defective fillings often must be crowned. These situations are more involved than a simple area of decay, and can also be more serious; making a replacement filling insufficient or impossible. Cracked enamel can allow mouth fluids and bacteria into a tooth. Left unrepaired, this can result in a contaminated nerve. Broken cusps or other broken sections can continue to fracture, causing pain and possible nerve damage. Extensive decay usually means that a large part of the tooth structure has been damaged or destroyed making the area to be repaired too large for a simple filling. And a defective filling is broken or fractured or has sections that have shrunk or expanded away from the rest of the tooth, leaving it at risk for nerve exposure. A crown replaces the damaged parts of a tooth and makes it viable again, adding years to its lifespan. Crowns can also be placed to make cosmetic improvements in the appearance of teeth.

An onlay is a restoration that replaces the central portion of a tooth plus a partial crown covering damaged cusps. It is also cemented or bonded into place. An onlay is recommended when a tooth has been extensively damaged, but has a bit more natural tooth structure remaining. It is a more conservative restoration than a full crown.

Crowns and onlays are often required where there has been too much tooth destruction for a “filling” to work. Fillings are not sufficient for repairing cracks, broken cusps, extensive decay, or severely damaged old fillings. There has to be enough of the natural tooth left to support a filling. If not, a crown or an onlay is typically the only solution.

Many patients are concerned about possible insurance coverage for crowns and onlays. While insurance may help, most will not cover all the costs for crowns, and may stipulate an “alternate benefit” of payment toward a a silver filling instead of an onlay. Most plans also have a maximum limit as to the amount of money they will pay for any treatment during a year’s time. It is our responsibility to prescribe what is best for you. The insurance carrier’s responsibility is to control payments.

Even if your insurance only covers a portion of the fee, a crown or an onlay may be the best way to restore your damaged tooth.

Call us if you want to know more. We are always happy to help!

Chronic Illness is Related to Mouth Germs! What You Need to Know.

November 16, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

The dental profession has known for decades that the condition of a person’s mouth is directly related to their overall, general health and well-being. Now it appears that the medical community at large is recognizing and even encouraging more research into this connection. It turns out that inflammation and bacterial infections in the mouth are linked to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even pregnancy issues! Taking care of your teeth and gums is not just about having an attractive smile, it can be essential in staying healthy.

What do we know?
We know that bacterial infection and tissue inflammation are important factors in the development of gum and bone (periodontal) disease. We know that inflammation is also a major factor in the development or worsening of many chronic illnesses. Ironically, inflammation is the first response of a healthy immune system to injury, infection or irritation. It is only when the inflammation spreads or the source of the injury, infection or irritation is allowed to continue, that the entire body suffers.

Here’s why:
Blood vessels dilate around the site of an infection, often causing swelling, redness and heat. White (infection killing) cells rush to an affected area with the purpose of surrounding the bacteria and preventing their spread.
If the infection and the source of the infection is eliminated by the white cells, the situation is resolved. If the cause of the inflammation does not go away or gets worse, the inflammatory process continues.
If the inflammatory process is overwhelmed by infection, the white cells just keep trying. The body recognizes trouble in the system and continues to ignite defenses. If nothing is done about the source of an infection, the swelling, heat, and attack of the white cells will affect more than just the bacteria. Damage can occur to organs, blood vessels, joints and even nerves.
An overstressed inflammatory system also does not do its job of killing bacteria. They can spread and eventually travel throughout the body, doing even more damage.
So, if bacteria in the mouth are not controlled, which is what can happen in chronic gum and bone (periodontal) disease, the body may never shut down the “full body” inflammatory process. Why? Because the cause of the inflammation, the bacteria in the mouth, continue to incite the process. It can just go on and on.
The longer bacteria and the inflammation they cause are allowed to spread from the mouth, the higher the chance for damage to the body as a whole.

What can we do?
Here at our office we have many methods of helping people control bacteria in the mouth. We actively look for and treat periodontal disease so that our patients can maintain a healthy immune system. This may include more frequent professional cleanings, or more extensively; root planing and scaling of the teeth to remove diseased tissues and bacteria. In some cases certain medicines may be recommended, and we will provide you with detailed home care instructions and help with your daily mouth cleaning routines. With the mouth germs brought under control, the body’s immune system can begin the healing process.

Even if no dentist has ever previously told you that you need gum and bone care, new conditions require new treatment. It is not uncommon for even “regular” patients to develop mouth infections from time to time and need more than “just a cleaning” such as they have had in the past. Just as a person may develop high blood pressure, having never had it in the past, so may a person develop gum and bone disease. Our bodies change and face challenges all the time.

We are here to help you maintain the health of your mouth, which in turn will make you a healthier person.

Call us if you want to know more. We are always happy to help!

A Professional Cleaning Prevents Disease. What You Need to Know.

October 24, 2010 by  
Filed under Carrington Dental News & Updates

A Professional Cleaning Prevents Disease.  What You Need to Know.

We know that controlling bacteria and inflammation in the mouth is an important aspect of both a person’s oral health and general health.  Here at our office, we can help by offering professional dental cleanings on a regular schedule.
A professional cleaning may help prevent disease in several ways:
1. A professional dental cleaning removes plaque from the teeth. Plaque is a soft, sticky substance that forms on teeth, regardless of what types of foods are eaten. It is mainly composed of bacteria and bacterial by-products. Removing plaque reduces bacteria.
2. Calculus (also known as “tartar”) is also removed.  Calculus is a hard, mineralized deposit that is formed from the plaque in the mouth and the minerals in a person’s saliva.  This calculus is rough and provides an excellent surface on which bacteria can live, grow and multiply. Removing calculus reduces bacteria by removing a favorable location for these infectious agents to grow and spread.
3. When a person’s bacterial load is reduced, the body’s immune system can keep inflammation and infection under control. This not only can help prevent the development of periodontal disease, but can make the entire body healthier.   (It is important to realize that even a professional dental cleaning may not be enough to control inflammation and infection for some people.  These individuals may be candidates for a more extensive procedure known as scaling and root planing.)

While a professional dental cleaning also removes surface stains from the teeth, making for a more beautiful smile, We now realize that this service is important for much more than just cosmetics. It can be a vital part of the prevention of oral and systemic disease.
How often should a person have a professional cleaning?  The old system of everybody having their teeth professionally cleaned only twice a year no longer makes sense.  While twice a year may be enough for some individuals to keep their bacterial load under control, most dentists and hygienists now base a patient’s cleaning schedule on his/her personal needs. This may be as often as three or four (or more) times a year for some people.

There is much you can also do yourself to keep your mouth healthy:
Don’t put off your regular dental visits. We will recommend how often you should come for regular exams and professional cleanings. Please help us keep you healthy by accepting our advice.
Maintain good home care.  This means daily flossing and brushing for most people, in addition to the use of other devices or products we may recommend.
Let us know about any changes or issues with your general health, or any medications that you are taking. Medications, in addition to certain illnesses or conditions, can affect the oral tissues in surprising ways.

Now you can see that a professional dental cleaning can be an important part of staying healthy.  Call us if you want to know more.  We are always happy to help!