Prophylaxis is not a commonly used term so if someone tells you that you need a prophylaxis, it means you need to visit the dentist for teeth cleaning. The prophylaxis is otherwise known as a dental cleaning or sometimes called a preventative treatment is a dental cleaning procedure that aims to remove plaque and prevent cavities.
In other words, prophylaxis is a teeth cleaning procedure that is carried out in an office and by a dentist. The thorough cleaning treatment ensures the removal of plaque and other food particles that may cause build up and tooth decay. Plaque and other food debris can build up and create cavities and bad breath odors. Bad breath develops after a day if you let food sit in your mouth for a certain number of hours. To avoid bad breath and to maintain white shining pearls, you need to brush and floss your teeth daily. If you fail to brush and floss you may develop an oral disease like gingivitis or a periodontal disease. On top of regular brushing and flossing a dental cleaning should be performed at least twice a year to maintain a good oral health.
Some dentists recommend that you have at least one or two yearly dental visits to prevent the build-up of plaque and tartar. Our teeth are like automobiles, if we fail to replace the oil, the timing band, or the wheels, or take other preventative measures to keep the car running smoothly, the problem will become bigger and costlier in the future. Same with teeth, if we take certain preventative measures like dental cleaning, we can prolong the life of our teeth and maintain healthy oral health. When we fail to take the appropriate preventative dental cleaning measures on time, our teeth can experience more serious damage.
To schedule a dental cleaning with the Downey Dentist you may visit our office or you may reach us at 562-746-0350.
Plaque develops on our teeth within 12 hours of our last brushing. Plaque is not the dark substance that comes to mind (that is called tartar) rather it is a white or yellowish sticky deposit that forms along with our teeth and gum line. When the bacteria are left to sit for a period of time, it begins to harden and it becomes tougher to remove. The deposit is mostly made of saliva, bacteria, and sugars (from food particles). To prevent plaque build-up and tooth decay, it is recommended to brush and floss daily. When the plaque develops into tartar, then you may consider a doctor visit; tartar can only be removed by a dentist. Tartar can lead to the loss of teeth and other periodontal diseases.
Plaque is made up of fermentable sugars that release acids that harm the enamel and can create cavities otherwise known as tooth decay. Tooth decay occurs when the fermentable sugar acids destroy the dental tissues and affect the tooth and gums. These acids have an impact on the gums causing an oral disease known as gingivitis. Gingivitis is identified as red swollen gums that appear as though they are about to burst.
Maintaining good oral health habits like flossing and brushing will prevent the plaque from hardening into tartar (also known as calculus). Unfortunately, tartar cannot be removed at home and it is urgent that you visit a dentist to have it removed. The good news is that if you maintain regular cleaning visits with your dentist the chances of developing tartar are significantly lower.
Some of the serious health concerns include:
- Cavities: small openings on the enamel that are caused by the acid released by the formation of plaque. Despite being one of the most preventable oral issues, cavities are a global health problem that is common in children and adults. When individuals fail to take the appropriate measures to remove the bacteria and close the cavity, the acids will penetrate further into the tooth. The tooth has three parts, the enamel (the outer portion of the tooth), the dentin (the middle part of the tooth), and the pulp (the center of the tooth). Tooth decay occurs when plaque breaks through the first layer of the tooth. At an early stage, cavities can be treated to prevent any further damage. However, a cavity that is left untreated will continue to dig through the dentin all the way through the pulp. The dentin is connected to the central nervous system of the tooth so when bacteria reaches this point, the individual may experience irritation. When the bacteria penetrate all the way through to the pulp, the only way to save the tooth is to clean the pulp through a root canal procedure. A root canal may be required to save the remaining part of the tooth. During this procedure, the pulp is removed and the tooth will no longer have the ability to sense heat, however, it will not take away from the essential function of the tooth.
- Gingivitis: is the inflation of the gums caused by an infection. Red swollen gums are easily irritated and are prone to bleeding. Additionally, an individual with gingivitis will notice that the gums are receding or may notice that their breath is off-putting. Some of the causes of gingivitis include plaque buildup that forms into tartar. Tartar can form in between the teeth and the acids it releases will cause irritation to the gumline. The best way to prevent gingivitis is to maintain a good oral hygiene. It is crucial to brush and floss on a daily basis. Failing to keep up with a regular cleaning will lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Furthermore, it is crucial to visit a dentist. If you are experiencing gingivitis then it is very likely that you have built up that has not been removed. Regular dental visits will ensure that tartar is removed from all areas of your mouth including the hard to reach places.
- Periodontitis: is a more serious form of gingivitis (gums disease) that attacks the structure of the bones and causes permanent damage to the gingiva. Some of the symptoms include swollen puffy gums that are ready to start bleeding, a spacing between the teeth and gums, bad breath, and loose teeth. When oral health is disregarded for a period of time, it may cause irreversible damage to the teeth and gum line. In some cases, individuals need reconstructive surgery in order to obtain a smile.
These health concerns are completely preventable. As mentioned above, to prevent cavities and gum disease all you have to do is remove the food particles in your mouth on a daily basis. It is important to remove foods between teeth and in other areas of the mouth before they are turned into acids that harm the outer shell of the tooth.
If you are in southern California, we invite you to visit our office for a free examination and digital x-rays. Our examination can help spot any signs of tooth decay and gum disease. After you are well informed of your condition, a dentist will guide you through the different options to address the problem. In most cases, if you are capable of maintaining a good oral hygiene, all you will need to worry about is scheduling a dental cleaning every six month. If you would like a free examination of your teeth and a deep cleaning, we invite you to schedule an appointment today. To reach the Downy Dentist, you may reach our offices at 562-746-0350. We are ready to assist you with any oral health concern you may have.
Maintaining Good Oral Health
To keep up with good oral health it is crucial to keep up with regular cleaning habits such as brushing and flossing. When we avoid these daily essential cleaning procedures, we allow food and plaque to develop which may cause cavities or an oral disease. Furthermore, after a prolonged period of time, you will begin to develop a smelly mouth due to the build-up and plaque. If you want to maintain a good oral hygiene you may want to follow the correct brushing and flossing procedures mentioned below.
When you brush your teeth, you get rid of the food particles that can build up and cause plaque. In addition, brushing can help remove some of the foods stains from your teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests the following to get the most out of your brushing:
- Keep the brush on a 45-degree angle
- Brush the outer and inner surface of every tooth
- Brush the chewing areas
- Brush the tongue to remove bad breath causing bacteria
The teeth brushing process should take about two minutes. During these two minutes, you should be targeting the gumline, the teeth in the back that are harder to reach, and the areas around the tooth. A successful brushing session will leave your teeth feeling fresh and smooth. In addition to brushing, to maintain good oral health you are encouraged to replace your toothbrush about every three months. In addition, you may want to consider a toothpaste that is ADA approved for fighting cavities, stains, plaque, and other odor-causing bacteria. If you regularly brush your teeth then you may also be aware of the benefits that come with flossing.
Flossing is a process that is as important as brushing. When you floss you remove some of the foods that cannot be removed with a toothbrush. Food that is locked between your teeth will be harder to remove with a toothbrush and will require some flossing. Individuals who avoid daily flossing will find plaque buildup around their teeth. Plaque buildup that is ignored for a certain amount of time will begin to smell, it will rot the tooth, and it will cause gum disease. Flossing is an essential part of maintaining a good oral health.
The American Dental Association suggest the following to get the most out of your flossing:
- Unroll about 18 inches of dental floss and wrap the majority of it around the middle fingers. There should be about two inches of floss to work with.
- Floss every single tooth including the back ones, rubbing the floss up and down every tooth.
- Use a clean section of floss for every tooth
To avoid tooth decay or other oral diseases, it is advised to floss at least one time a day. The flossing should occur before the brushing to ensure that the food particles are effectively removed. When flossing you may also want to consider the types of floss that are out there. There are two types of floss nylon which can either be waxed or unwaxed and polytetrafluorethylene floss (PTFE) otherwise known as the stronger of the two. Flossing and brushing can help you keep a white shining smile for a long period of time. Most importantly, it helps maintain a good oral hygiene which means you are less likely to experience a gum or dental infection or disease.
To maintain healthy gums and teeth, you are advised to maintain a regular brushing and flossing schedule. Regular removal of plaque will prevent build-up and will keep your breath feeling fresh. Furthermore, to ensure that your teeth and gums are at a good standing, you will want to schedule a regular visit with your dentist. A dentist with the help of a dental hygienist will clean and examine your teeth for any signs of disease, cancer, or cavities. During your visit to the dentist, the dental hygienist will remove all plaque from the surface and in between the teeth. After the cleaning is done, your teeth will be polished to make them resistant to bacteria.
If you are a new patient or a patient that has not had a cleaning in a while, The Downey Dentist invites you to take advantage of our free examination and digital x-rays so that you understand exactly what is going on in your mouth. To schedule a dentist appointment, you may reach us at 562-746-0350.