When you brush on a regular basis with fluoride toothpaste and floss every day, you can minimize plaque and tartar accumulation. Unfortunately, you may not be able to reach every area of your mouth in which plaque and tartar tend to build up. Left alone, these substances can irritate your gums and increase the chance of gum disease. The bacteria they harbor create acids that eat away at dental enamel and cause tooth decay. Even if you are diligent about maintaining good oral hygiene, and you brush and floss your teeth according to recommendations, biannual dental cleanings can provide you with a bunch of cosmetic and oral health benefits.

Periodontal disease is an infection in the tissues that support your teeth. In its earliest stages, it may appear as redness, swelling and bleeding during brushing or flossing. If left untreated, it can progress and result in receding gums, persistently bad breath and loose or lost teeth. Periodontal disease is linked to poor oral hygiene, but it also has hereditary factors. By visiting your dentist regularly, you boost your chances of catching it in its earliest, most treatable form and saving your natural teeth.

A thorough professional cleaning by your dentist or hygienist can also help them diagnose signs of dental disease, often at the earliest stages. Cavities, broken fillings or loose dental crowns can all lead to serious problems if left untreated. An untreated cavity can become worse quickly if it is not addressed, while bacteria and plaque can leak around loose dental fillings or crowns, infecting the pulp of the affected tooth and leading to the need for a root canal or even extraction.

Your dentist will also inspect your mouth for signs of more serious conditions at your biannual dental cleaning. Oral cancer may start as a small spot or sore that does not heal. Other conditions, such as diabetes, can have oral symptoms. Some medications can affect the health of your mouth or increase your risk of gum disease. This is also a great time for you to ask any questions about your oral health or any dental procedures in which you are interested, such as teeth whitening.

Finally, regular dental cleanings are a great way to assess your own oral hygiene habits. Your dentist or hygienist can let you know if there are spots you are regularly missing or if your flossing technique needs to be fine-tuned. You can learn about new products or techniques that may be particularly beneficial for you. Your teeth will be polished of superficial stains at your dental cleaning, and you will have a bright, fresh smile. If you have not had a professional cleaning in more than six months, it is time to call and schedule yours today.

Dr. Afar advises individuals to have professional teeth cleaning as well as dental exam every six months to ensure the health of their teeth.