Your teeth need different types of cleaning at different times. Here are several types of dental cleaning and how they are used.
At-Home Brushing and Flossing
On a daily basis, to clean your teeth properly, you should brush at least twice and floss at least once. It is best to clean your teeth before bed and again after breakfast.
As you brush, the bristles of your toothbrush gently sweep away plaque that has accumulated since your last teeth-cleaning session. The plaque, which is made up of bits of food, bacteria, and biofilm, sticks to the teeth and soft tissues of the mouth. Although the plaque may seem harmless, as it rests in place the substance is actually releasing acids that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
The bacteria in the plaque feed on the carbohydrate content of the leftover food particles and release waste products that include acids. These bacterial acids dissolve the minerals that comprise the tooth enamel and promote the development of cavities. They also inflame the gums.
To brush your teeth properly, be sure to use a toothbrush with soft bristles that won't erode the enamel or damage the gingival tissue. Also, use a fluoride-based toothpaste, since fluoride can help remineralize the weakened areas of the tooth material.
Flossing should be performed with string floss or an oral irrigator. The string floss is pushed between the teeth to dislodge the plaque and debris that may be trapped in the interdental spaces and around the gum line. An oral irrigator performs the same functions, but instead of nylon string, it uses a concentrated stream of water.
Routine Professional Cleaning
Twice a year, during your routine dental appointments, your dentist performs a professional cleaning. Unlike an at-home brushing session, a professional cleaning targets the plaque that has hardened into tartar.
Tartar, a hard, yellow, porous substance, forms from plaque that has been left in position for an extended period. Although its softer predecessor, plaque, can be swept away by the bristles of a toothbrush, tartar must be scraped from the teeth using a scaler.
During the professional cleaning, the dentist scrapes the tartar accumulations from the surface of the enamel, being careful not to damage the sensitive gum tissues.
Scaling and Root Planing
If you suffer from periodontitis, which is a severe form of gum disease. Your dentist may perform a scaling and root planing, which is a special type of cleaning designed to remove tartar from the areas below the gum line, including the roots of the teeth.
To learn more ways to keep your teeth their cleanest, schedule a consultation with a dental clinic like Rupp and Grabowski Family Dentistry in your local area.