- Oral Health
Why do I need to get my teeth cleaned anyway?
Why clean my teeth?
Having one's teeth cleaned professionally is an experience, depending on whom you are talking to, altogether different. It is wonderful, makes my mouth feel so good, my teeth are shiny, I love it say some! Oh my God, it's horrible, ripping my gums open, bleeding, gagging me on my own saliva, nasty tastes, I hate it others say! What is really going on when you have your teeth cleaned by a hygienist.\? I like to use visually enabling examples with my patients so I will include them here as well. Forgive me now if they are too ";graphically visual"; for your likening, but hey, whatever it takes to get the message across. Imagine your teeth like little white picket fences that are surrounded by gullys. Everyday, they are blasted by a vicious array of acids, dirty liquids, sticky foods, and bacteria that grow like algae in a pool. Now, a nicely painted fence will repel most things and the gully below would end up capturing some of this as well, depending on the size of it. Now imagine your teeth the same way, shiny, slippery teeth blocking anything from adhering to them, and firm, healthy gums locking out anything from building up inside them. Fast forward to two to three years of no cleanings. The surface of the tooth is not like glass, but can have grooves, depressions and chips in it, all of which attract stains and calculus(a combination of bacteria, saliva and other unsavory things.) The gums become unhealthy from having all of the above next to them, bring blood with antibodies to fight the onslaught of infection. This in turn makes them puffy, bleed easy and especially tender. And the bone inside the gums, holding the teeth in, starts to withdraw away from all this unhealthiness which is the beginning of gum disease or periodontal disease or perio as we professionals like to call it. What to do? Now when you have a kitchen trash can that is full of old food and trash, usually after about 4 or 5 days, it starts to stink. Longer than that and we take it out. Well, old food and debri trapped in your teeth does the same thing basically. And other people notice! Since it's right under our own noses, we can't smell it anymore. Try this test.. lick the back of your hand, let it air dry then smell it. You are now smelling your own breath. The gums, well, I compare these to getting a splinter in your finger. Do you look at it, and say.. yeah, we'll pull it out in a week or so. No. Basically that is what you are doing when you ignore build-up in your gums. That splinter's going to feel horrible getting dug out in a month, as do your gums when they are now infected and sore from leaving all that in there even longer. But just like a finger, once that splinter is out, it feels fine almost immediately, gums are the same way. Clean out the infection, the irritating calculus, the blood leaves the area, and the gum swelling goes down. They shrink up tight against the teeth, laying flat like pale little gums are supposed to. Getting them cleaned on a regular basis helps prevent this scenario from happening again and again. So basically getting ones teeth cleaned leaves pearly white teeth, healthy, non-bleeding gums and fresh breath for those close encounters with friends and family. Now who wouldn't want that?