It’s important to keep your teeth clean if you want them to stick around for as long as possible. That means brushing and flossing every day, being careful about the amount of sweets and acids you eat and drink each day, and visiting your dentist at least twice each year for a teeth cleaning and a checkup.
But while you obviously can’t drill and fill your own cavities or do any of the other services a dentist offers, you may be wondering why you need your teeth professionally cleaned. It’s because there are several things a dental hygienist can do that you can’t do on your own:
1. Scrape Off Tartar
Plaque is the result of a kind of bacteria in your mouth eating away at the enamel of your teeth. When it’s mostly bacteria you can scrape plaque off with a toothbrush or even your fingernail, but over time the enamel in plaque can harden into something called tartar. Tartar is too much like enamel to remove with just a brush, and it offers plenty of places where bacteria can hide and thrive. The best way to remove it is to scrape it off with a metal pick, but to do that safely you need a trained dental hygienist to hold the pick.
2. Tooth Cleaning With Extra Abrasives
Every kind of toothpaste contains abrasives, tiny particles that scrape your teeth clean of plaque better than a brush could alone. The gritty toothpaste used by dental hygienists uses larger particles to clean your teeth more thoroughly and help get rid of tartar, but while this means it’s more useful it can also wear down your enamel if you use it more than twice every year.
3. Flossing The Right Way
You can always floss at home, but not everyone does and many people don’t floss as thoroughly as they should. Either way, every dental hygienist knows how to floss correctly and will use floss to clean the parts of your teeth and gums a toothbrush can’t reach.
4. Fluoride Treatment
While most cities in America add a little fluoride to the water and most toothpastes include it as well, a trip to the dentist includes a fluoride treatment that applies the chemical in a much higher concentration than normal. Like the gritty toothpaste, it’s good to have this treatment once in a while but not too often.
So to sum it all up, the reason visiting the dentist comes with a teeth cleaning is because a dental hygienist can clean your teeth much better than you could on your own. It might not be all that comfortable, but you can be sure your teeth are much cleaner after a dentist visit than they are for the next six months.