3 Ways To Keep Your Teeth Clean

A combination of oral care and professional dental cleanings is necessary to prevent bad breath, remove stains, and keep your gums healthy. There are different approaches you and your dentist can use to clean your teeth and maintain the results.

Specialty Oral Care Products

Cleaning your teeth is not just a matter of brushing and flossing, you should incorporate specialty products. Start with a toothpaste designed to control tartar buildup. This is the hardened version of plaque, which contains food debris and bacteria. Once plaque hardens into tartar, it is difficult to remove without professional cleanings. Additionally, tartar irritates your gums and leads to pockets in the gums that can further harbor bacteria and lead to gum disease. There are also pre-rinse products that are designed to reduce tartar. These are used before brushing and flossing. Depending on the severity of tartar, frequent use of these products may help loosen and remove some tartar buildup. Although flossing is necessary to minimize tartar buildup at and beneath the gum line, if you do not use the right products for your specific teeth, flossing may do little to help. Use floss that is thin and slick enough to make it between teeth and below the gum line. Getting plaque that hides below the gum line is the best strategy to keep your teeth clean.

Routine Cleanings

You should include routine cleanings as often as your dentist recommends. Dentists usually recommend cleanings two to three times per year. The point of professional cleanings is to remove tartar and create a smooth surface. When your teeth are smooth, it is harder for tarter to build up. Additionally, regular cleanings can minimize or eliminate surface stains. The process of routine cleanings can usually be done in one session and is typically performed by a dental hygienist. Your hygienist will use specialty tools that are designed to get under the gums and between teeth and remove any tartar buildup. Other tools are also used to smooth the surface of the tooth. Lastly, your hygienist will use a special paste and essentially brush your teeth. The paste further smooths the surface of the teeth and may remove some stains.

Deep Cleanings

Deep cleanings are a more invasive form of cleaning. Since deep cleanings are time-consuming, they are typically done one quadrant at a time. Your dentist will recommend a deep cleaning if you have signs of gum disease, such as inflamed, bleeding gums, gum recession, or obvious tartar buildup that cannot be removed with routine cleanings. The process for deep cleanings will depend on the technology your dentist uses. Some dentists continue to manually perform deep cleanings, whereas others use special ultrasonic technology. Ultrasonic devices vibrate at such as high speed that it knocks tartar off the teeth with little effort. The device also sprays a stream of water to prevent damage to the teeth and gums and prevent over-heating of the device. If your dentist uses an ultrasonic device, they may choose to do more than one quadrant in a session, since the device makes the process significantly faster.

Conventional deep cleanings involve tools similar to a routine cleaning. The dentist will use these tools to scrape away tartar that is stuck to the tooth above the gum line. Next, the pockets in the gums will need to be cleaned of tartar. Depending on the depth of the pockets this can involve reaching deep into the gums and even scraping the tooth's root. Since deep cleanings are more complex and uncomfortable, they typically require local anesthetic. The amount of deep cleanings you will need depends on the severity of gum disease. Your dentist may recommend deep cleanings more than once per year until the pockets in your gums heal. Thereafter, routine cleanings and changes in your oral hygiene routine may be enough to keep future problems at bay.

Teeth cleaning and minimizing the chance of gum disease go far beyond basic oral hygiene. You need at minimum routine cleanings to keep your teeth and gums healthy. In some cases, deep cleanings are necessary for significant tartar buildup and to treat gum disease.