If you brush your teeth twice daily, you may not feel inclined to have them professionally cleaned as often as is recommended. In fact, if you’re like many people, visiting the dentist/hygienist may be one of those things that you avoid for as long as possible. But having a sparkling white smile is not the only reason for getting regular cleans performed by the hygienist. Below are four important reasons to visit your hygienist for professional teeth cleaning… and they may not be what you expect.
Regular cleaning prevents gum disease
Cleaning teeth is essential to preventing gum disease. While you probably think cavities are your biggest worry when it comes to your teeth, gum disease is actually an even bigger threat. It can lead to both loss of teeth and loss of bone in your jaw and is something that people can suffer from without even realizing. Regular brushing and flossing is your first line of defence, but a professional cleaning is much more thorough and removes disease-causing bacteria that you simply can’t remove yourself.
Screening for oral cancer
While it may not be as high profile as some other types of cancer, oral cancer does exist and is actually quite common. Like other cancers, the earlier it’s detected the better and your hygienist can look for early warning signs whilst cleaning teeth. Regularly visiting the dentist makes detection more likely.
Gum disease can lead to heart attack or stroke
There’s a strong link between heart disease and the health of your mouth. Although the relationship isn’t completely understood, it’s believed that the bacteria, which cause gum disease, migrate into the blood vessels and cause inflammation. This in turn can lead to cardiovascular disease. There is increasing evidence that indicates gum disease is a higher risk to cardiovascular disease than heavy smoking.
In fact, a growing body of research suggests that poor oral health may play a role in many chronic diseases. Science has shown that inflammation plays a role in both heart disease and diabetes and chronic inflammation is increasingly being tied to poor oral health. Even rheumatoid arthritis may have ties to your mouth. Cleaning teeth regularly could be the key to protecting your heart and preventing serious disease.
Gum disease can cause problems with your joints
As joint replacements have become more common, a link between gum disease and artificial joints is emerging. It appears that in those with gum disease, bacteria from the mouth can end up in the bloodstream—often thanks to gums that bleed during brushing or flossing—and take up residence in the artificial joint, causing an infection.
Although the link is still tentative, preventing gum disease by cleaning teeth may also help protect you from arthritis. The same studies which found oral bacteria in artificial joints also found them in some of the patients’ natural joints which were affected by arthritis.
So, while there are many reasons for professionally cleaning teeth regularly, they’re not all purely cosmetic. Not only will you have a sparkling smile, fewer cavities, and fresher breath — you will also have a healthier body.