Brushing your teeth every day is a simple routine we are all more than happy to master to take care of ourselves. But going to the dentist can sometimes be like, well, like pulling teeth for some of us. Maybe it’s a not-so-pleasant childhood memory at the dentist or the sounds and scrapes of being in the chair that make you hesitant on booking those cleanings. All of that aside, the general guideline is to get your teeth cleaned by a dentist about every six months. For some people, it might need to be more often, but the good news is that people with healthy teeth and gums, a professional dental cleaning once a year may be enough.
You may wonder why you need to go to the dentist even if you have great brushing habits. It’s true - you do, and here’s why.
Let’s quickly review the basics the American Dental Association recommends for keeping your teeth clean on a daily basis:
- Brush twice a day, for a minimum of two minutes, with a soft-bristled brush.
- Floss in between your teeth at least once a day.
Brushing your teeth is not, by itself, enough to prevent gum disease and tooth decay. The plaque can remain in your mouth after you brush.
To help get more of that plaque, you also need to use floss to clean where the brush can’t reach. Some people floss after meals. Some people prefer to floss right before going to bed. The idea is to get in between your teeth to remove food and bacteria that brushing alone might not get.
At RADIUS, we designed our toothbrushes and flosses with these ADA® recommendations in mind. Each RADIUS® toothbrush is made from soft, vegetable-based bristles to gently invigorate gum tissue while providing an all-over clean. Our toothbrushes may reduce chronic bleeding, receding gums, enamel erosion and gum disease.
Bottom line is that brushing needs to be followed up by flossing on a daily basis. However, even with those great daily habits, it’s still necessary to get a professional dental cleaning for more thorough cleanings and care for many types of oral issues.
SIGNS THAT IT’S TIME FOR A CLEANING
A cleaning every 12 months may be sufficient for the most healthy and clean mouths, but more often than not adults need to head to the dentist more often. Here are some signs and reasons to go ahead and book that office visit.
Pain in your mouth is not something to ignore. If a specific tooth or area of your mouth hurts constantly, or if you feel pain when you eat or hear jaw popping, those are signs that a dentist should take a look.
Gums giving you a hard time.
If your bums bleed or get puffy when you brush and floss, it’s a good idea to let a dentist take a look.
A sore in your mouth that goes away after a few days is one thing, but if you have a cold sore or canker sore bothering you for a week or more, your dentist can investigate and find a treatment for you.
Being treated for other medical concerns.
Oral care is a partner to overall health. When you are being treated for heart disease or diabetes, for example, or if you are pregnant, your dentist should be in the know as part of your overall medical team.
Tobacco can cause harm to your oral health (and more). If you chew tobacco, some cigarette or vape, go to the dentist for regular care and cleanings.
Check in on implants, crowns, fillings.
When you’ve had work done on your teeth, it’s even more important that you keep your regular checkups. The dentist needs to look to make sure those crowns and fillings are holding up well.
You don’t have to have a problem to go to the dentist. The simple fact that you haven’t been for a professional cleaning in 6-12 months means it’s time to go. Even healthy mouths enjoy a good dental cleaning. At the dentist’s office, they can see more than you can at your home and help prevent issues before you even have them.
Speaking of dentists having the tools and knowledge to see more than you can at your own home, this brings up the question of using advanced tools to try to get a professional cleaning at home. There are some ways to mimic dental cleanings at home, yes. Ultrasonic scalers for at-home use are available, but are they safe and ideal? The ADA does not recommend them. Improper use of these types of tools can potentially lead to gum damage, gum recession, and infection. Remember that dental hygienists go through extensive training over years to properly use these tools. So you using it based on the instructions on a box is probably not going to cut it. The best rule of thumb is to take good care of your teeth at home with a toothbrush that gets both your teeth and gums, like the RADIUS Big Brush with Replaceable Head, and see your dentist twice a year.
RELAX, THE DENTIST IS YOUR FRIEND
It’s not uncommon to feel a little anxious (or straight up dread) going to the dentist. Try to relax the tension and remember they are there to help you. Mindfulness techniques, like breathing exercises, can make the mind and muscles relax. Squeeze a ball or listen to music during treatment to help distract your mind from the noises happening around you.
While you are at the dentist don’t be afraid to speak up and tell your dentist or dental hygienist what you are feeling. Tell them you are nervous or if you have had a bad experience, tell them about it so they can work with you to keep you comfortable.
Brushing and flossing habits at home make for a more pleasant experience in that dentist chair. Keep using your RADIUS toothbrush and floss for a clean, happy, fresh mouth every single day!