I am mortified when I hear people say things like, “I have not been to the dentist in a year.” If you only knew what was happening in your mouth, you absolutely would never miss another dental cleaning. So, put on your seat belts, I’m going to throw down some truths. Pay special attention to number five. It’s all about biofilm and super gross!
I also hear numerous rumbling about this “every six months” myth. I have worked in a dental office for nearly ten years and I am going to tell you my observation. Every six months is fine for about 5%-10% of adults. For the other 90%, they are suffering from chronic infection.
Just because you may fall into the 90% category does not make you a bad person. In my opinion, this is normal for adults because that is where most of us fall. I’m an every two months girl myself and I proudly have amazing oral hygiene habits, but I just can’t do it alone.
You should also know that we are not here to judge. We are here for the sole purpose of supporting your health and partnering with you. We ENJOY helping you to achieve your health goals and are available to talk about anything that you need or even just what you might WANT for your smile.
Ok, here we go.
1. We offer an oral cancer exam.
Oral cancer is a terrible disease. It can cause the need for drastic surgeries up to and including partial removal of the jaw. Like any form of cancer, your survival rate goes way up with early detection. The risk factors of oral cancer are: tobacco and alcohol use. People who use both alcohol and tobacco are six times more likely than people who use one or the other, but not both.
2. We detect and sterilize infection.
If your gums bleed when you floss or brush, you have an infection. No matter what you have heard, blood in your mouth is not in any way normal. I have heard this statement a thousand times:
“I brush twice a day and I don’t floss, but I have never had a cavity. My dentist says I’m doing great. When I have my teeth cleaned, the hygienist digs in there and causes my gums to bleed.”
Where do I start? First, we never set out to cause pain. If you have pain during a hygiene visit, you should let us know so we can make you comfortable. Being comfortable will make you more likely to follow through with your recommended treatment. Secondly, normal mouths do not bleed. Even if it had been happening your whole life, that does not mean it is normal. If your arm started bleeding, would you think that was normal? Thirdly, it’s not just about cavities. With fluoride treatments and today’s technology in toothbrushes, cavities are not as common as they once were. Gum disease is a definite path to tooth loss. Infection causes loss in bone. Bone is the anchor that holds the tooth in place. As the bone deteriorates from infection, the tooth has nothing to hold onto and becomes mobile and falls out.
3. Avoid Bad Breath
Have you ever been out to dinner and your waiter has smelly breath? Yuck. It’s not onion breath that I’m talking about. It’s the smell of infection. The bummer about it is that most people do not notice the smell in themselves. Get fresh!
4. Keep Them White and Pretty
Your smile is your calling card. It sounds totally cliche, but people judge you immediately and one of the first things they see is your smile–or lack of smile, in some cases. What does your smile say about you? Regular hygiene appointments can remove plaque, which can become stained, so that your teeth look shiny and healthy. Not white enough? We offer affordable whitening, if that is something you’re interested in.
5. Remove Biofilm and Calculus
What is biofilm, you ask? Oh, do allow me to share: It is the colonizing bacteria that forms in your mouth and sticks to the tooth’s surface. It is the same bacteria found in feces. The tooth is the only part of the human body that does not have a shedding mechanism. This allows numerous organisms to adhere to the tooth’s surface for long periods of time. It is soft at first, but then after 1-10 days, it hardens and becomes calculus. Then it is necessary to remove it with the proper dental tools. Sometimes you can feel it with your tongue. Anytime your tooth’s surface is not smooth, calculus is a likely culprit.
Five more reasons in the next blog…
In the meantime, if you’re grossed out and want to get rid of that biofilm, give us a call 303-422-8748.