Professional dental cleanings are the best way to achieve and maintain great oral health. Did you know that cavities are not the number one cause of tooth loss? While brushing your teeth is important, you also need to take care of your gums. Periodontal (gum) disease is the primary reason why people lose their teeth. Periodontics is an area of dentistry that focuses on the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of gums and related structures.

Why is dental hygiene is an important part of oral health ?

The goal of dental hygiene is to prevent oral health problems. Your mouth is the main entrance to your entire body. Removing harmful bacteria from your teeth and gums will protect you from cavities and periodontal disease while benefiting your overall well being.

Why do I need a professional dental cleaning ?

A professional cleaning will remove plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth using specialized instruments. The frequency of regular checkups will depend on your current oral health. Your hygienist can help you develop an appropriate prevention program.

Risk factors

The following factors put a person at more risk for developing gum disease:

  • Smoking or using chewing tobacco

  • Hormonal changes in girls and women

  • Diabetes

  • Certain medicines

  • Heredity

Prevention

Good oral hygiene like brushing and flossing at least twice every day can help prevent gum infections, cavities, and tooth loss. Having your teeth cleaned and checked by a dentist or dental hygienist at least once a year also is important, the ADA says. No matter how well you brush, tartar and plaque can still build up and cause gum problems.

To brush correctly:

  • Brush in the morning and before going to sleep.

  • Use a soft-bristled brush and toothpaste that contains fluoride. If you can afford the cost, buy and use an electric toothbrush.

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45° angle against your gums and brush each tooth 15 to 20 times.

  • Move the brush gently, using short strokes. Don’t scrub.

  • Brush the outer tooth surfaces using short, back-and-forth strokes.

  • Brush the inner upper-front teeth by brushing vertically against them using short, downward strokes. Use short, upward strokes for lower inside teeth.

  • Brush the chewing surfaces of the teeth with short, back-and-forth strokes. Replace your toothbrush when it’s worn or frayed about every 3 or 4 months, experts say. You should also get a new toothbrush after you have had a cold, strep throat, or similar illness.

  • Don’t cover your toothbrush or store it in a closed container. This can encourage growth of microorganisms.

Floss with care

Flossing helps to remove plaque and food particles that are stuck between your teeth and under your gums. To floss correctly:

  • Cut off about 18 inches of floss and hold it tightly between your thumbs and forefingers. Place it between your teeth and gently slide it up and down.

  • When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it around 1 tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss with up-and-down motions, making sure to go below the gum line. Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth, remembering to floss the back side of your back teeth.

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