Why are teeth cleanings important?
Teeth cleanings are not just about removing tartar and stain for cosmetic reasons. Our hygienists also remove calculus (tartar) from the teeth and plaque from deep pockets where patients can’t reach. They offer advice on how to clean your teeth better at home and take the necessary measurements to allow us to diagnose gum disease. Gum disease or periodontitis is the most common infection in humans and is the most common source of chronic inflammation in humans. We now know that chronic inflammation has a connection to many systemic diseases. There is a connection between chronic inflammation and the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in the blood vessels, the development of asthma, and a possible connection with Alzheimer’s disease. It is known that comprehensive treatment of gum disease has also been known shown to decrease the conversion of mild systemic bone loss (osteopenia) to severe bone loss (osteoporosis) in post menopausal women. The link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis due to imflammatory mediators is well established. As well, there is a link between poor oral hygiene and the risk of contracting bacterial pneumonia and hospital acquired pneumonia.
How often should I have my teeth cleaned and checked?
It depends on your oral health. Most orally healthy people have a checkup yearly and their teeth cleaned every 6 months. Patients who are very cavity prone are advised to have a checkup at 6 months. Healthy mouths need to be cleaned at a 6 month interval. The “gold standard” for patients with gum disease is 3 months. This can sometimes be stretched out to every 4 months. It has been well established with large, long term studies that it takes 3 months for bone destruction to begin again in a patient with gum disease. This is the reason for the 3 month interval. Some insurance plans allow a checkup every 9 months. This should not be confused with cleaning frequency. Very few adults will maintain healthy gums with a 9 month interval. If your plan restricts the frequency of cleanings call and talk with Ronny or Kerry. Many plans will allow the 3 month cleanings for patients with gum disease if a predetermination is sent along with our pocket and recession measurements.