What You Didn’t Know About Your Dental Cleanings

After going to the dentist twice a year for as long as you can remember, you have the routine down by now. Cleaning, scraping, rinsing, spitting… see you in 6 months!

But here are a few things about your dental checkup that you may not have known.

The numbers in a pocket reading actually mean something

If you recently had a routine dental checkup, then you may have noticed the dentist (or periodontist) sticking a small probe with ruler lines between your teeth and gums and calling out seemingly random numbers. Well, these numbers actually are very important indicators of your overall oral health.

Where the gum and the tooth meet is not where they are actually attached – that is much further down. The space in between creates a small pocket, almost like a moat, that encircles the tooth. The pocket can grow in depth if the gum is inflamed or if the ligaments that hold the tooth and gum together are damaged. Neither situation is good for your health. A pocket reading measures the size of your pocket, usually on a scale of 1-4. Deeper pockets are indicators of disease.

Keeping gingivitis at bay is good for your heart

Numerous studies have shown a correlation between your oral hygiene and your overall health, especially when it comes to your heart.

Your gums are full of blood vessels and your mouth is full of bacteria. The first stage of gum disease, gingivitis, causes red, painful, and tender gums, but proper brushing and flossing can reverse these symptoms. If gingivitis develops into periodontitis, though, your heart may be at risk.

Periodontitis leads to infected pockets of germy pus that spreads bacteria and other toxins below the gum line and into the bloodstream. Studies have shown that the bacteria found in periodontal disease may play a role in strokes or increase the thickness of your carotid arteries, which can affect blood flow to your brain.

The dentist is not just being nice by giving you a new toothbrush

Ever wondered why your dentist gives you a brand-new toothbrush every time you go in for a dental cleaning? Dentists recommend that you change your toothbrush out every three months, so you should actually go through at least two toothbrushes before your next dental visit. Your dentist is giving you a new toothbrush because you actually need it.

Checking for oral cancer is part of the routine

When your dentist examines your teeth and gums as part of a routine dental cleaning, some of the things they look for are potential signs of oral cancer. If caught early, the chances of surviving oral cancer are good, but they rapidly decrease as time goes by. Early signs of oral cancer may include ulcers that don’t heal after 14 days, unexplained bleeding, and lumps or rough spots inside the mouth. Your dentist will be able to recognize the signs and get you started on a treatment plan as soon as possible.

Even though going in for a routine dental cleaning may not be your idea of a good time, it is a vital component to lifelong oral health. To find out more information on the thorough and professional dental cleanings from our expert dental team. Call Zen Dental in Seattle today!

Schedule your next dental cleaning by calling (206) 324-1100!

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