Are Regular Dental Exams and Dental Cleanings Really Important?

Posted Aug 20th, 2018

Are Regular Dental Exams and Dental Cleanings Really Important?

Is it important to have regular dental cleanings?  At Health Style Dental in Regina, we help our patients understand that a healthy mouth is vital to a person’s overall health!

Poor Oral Health has been linked to the following medical conditions:

  • Bone loss
  • Infection
  • Cardiovascular disease- Heart disease and stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Low birth weight of babies born to mothers with poor oral health and pre-term birth 

Diabetics are more prone to several oral health conditions, including tooth decay, periodontal (gum) disease, dry mouth and infection. According to “Oral Health in America: A Report of the Surgeon General,” the relationship between type I and type II diabetes and periodontal disease has often been referred to as the “sixth complication” of the disease.


Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth, and is caused by plaque-forming bacteria in your mouth. In diabetics, it is often linked to how well a person’s diabetes is under control. Diabetic patients should contact their dentist immediately if they observe any of the symptoms of periodontal disease, including red, swollen or sore gums or gums that bleed easily or are pulling away from the teeth; chronic bad breath; teeth that are loose or separating; pus appearing between the teeth and gums; or changes in the alignment of the teeth.


Diabetic patients often suffer from dry mouth, which greatly increases their risk of developing periodontal disease. If you suffer from dry mouth, talk to your dentist. He or she may recommend chewing sugarless gum or mints, drinking water, sucking on ice chips or the use of an artificial saliva or oral rinse.


Studies also have shown that periodontal disease may be linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, bacterial pneumonia, preterm births and low-birth weight babies. Research suggests that people with periodontal disease are nearly three times as likely to suffer from heart disease. Oral bacteria can affect the heart when it enters the blood stream, attaching itself to fatty plaques in the heart’s blood vessels and contributing to the formation of clots.

The oral cavity has been described as “the window to general health.”  According to researchers, statements such as “You cannot have good general health without good oral health” and “The mouth is part of the body” are now considered obvious.  The oral cavity or mouth is also the intersection of dentistry and medicine, semi-independent professions that share the same common goal of improving the health and quality of life of patients.

Here are Health Style Dental in Regina Favourite Dental Cleaning tips:

1. Proper Brushing

If you use a manual toothbrush angle it at 45 degrees towards the gumline.  You should almost feel like you are brushing your gums as well as the teeth!  Use a soft toothbrush, and replace it every 3 months.
If you are using a battery operated toothbrush, many models have timers which help you to brush well and “hit all the spots”.  Also, the smaller round head on these models are more effective to reaching the more difficult areas like the upper molars by the cheeks or lower molars inside by the tongue. These are the areas that our hygienists at Health Style Dental in Regina find that most people miss removing the bacterial plaque and food debris!
When this is left out of the routine, a build up of bacterial colonies form (called a biofilm) and hard deposits (tartar or calculus).  The only way to remove the hard deposits and biofilm in the pocket is by debridement or scaling and ultrasonic removal by our hygienists at Health Style Dental. 

 
2. Flossing or Waterpic 

Sometimes it is tempting to just fall into bed and skip the flossing. I know I feel the same way too sometimes! I found that if I get my flossing done while watching the late news (or truthfully NETFLIX!) then I don’t skip the routine of daily flossing. 
Alternatively you can use the Waterpic to clean in between the teeth.  It is a great tool but it is very IMPORTANT to use it correctly. It is not like a car wash wand that you just wave around your mouth. If you have a Waterpic and want to “brush” up on your technique, one of our Regina Health Style Dental hygienists or dental assistants would be happy to help you. I like to use the Waterpic as my morning treatment after brushing for a feeling of healthy clean teeth that lasts all day!

3. Limit Soda “soft drinks” and Acidic Drinks

Most soda, pop or “soft” drinks have a high sugar and acid content, with high fructose corn syrup, food dyes, flavouring and coloring agents. The high sugar and acid content combine with the bacteria that is in all of our mouths to form very harmful byproducts that cause tooth decay, gum disease and erode enamel to create dull stained looking teeth.
Health Authorities such as the American Academy of Pediatrics are warning that the increasing level of consumption of “soft” drinks, sodas and high sugar fruit drinks are harming the oral health of our young children and teens.   
 
How many children drink “soft” drinks?
 
Research estimates that 4 out 5 children consume at least one “soft” drink per day.  And larger serving sizes increases the problem.  How often do we see young people outside of 7-11 sipping those BIG GULPS!
In the 1950’s the average soda drink was 6.5 ounces.  The typical soft drink had grown up to 20 ounces by 1990.  Thats a lot of tooth enamel erosion in a Big Gulp!!

4. Stomp out Tobacco Use – Cigarettes, E-Cigarettes, Smokeless and Chewing Tobacco

The campaign to educate people about the harmful effects of cigarette smoking has been very successful. At Health Style Dental I encounter many people who have successfully conquered the Nicotine habit or have never started smoking.  But the alarming popularity of E-cigarettes and the heavy targeted marketing of this and smokeless tobacco to our youth is very concerning. E-cigarettes have been shown to have several adverse health effects and are not a safe and “healthy” alternative to regular cigarettes despite the marketing approach taken by manufacturers of this product. Smokeless tobacco has been aggressively marketed to young teens with images of  “cool athletes” and outdoor ruggedness. It has become popular with some young baseball and football players in Regina.
Using smokeless tobacco in the form of chewing tobacco or snuff is extremely harmful. Tucking the tobacco against the lower lip or under the tongue is placing a cancer causing agent directly on tissue which absorbs it quickly into the bloodstream and into the rest of the body. Tobacco damages the cells in the lining of the mouth and oropharynx (throat) causing cells to grow more quickly to repair the damage. Some of these cells undergo changes and DNA damage. Researchers believe that DNA damaging cancer causing chemicals in tobacco products (formaldehyde, cadmium, lead, Tobacco-specific Nitrosamines, polonium) are linked to the increased risk of oral cancer, according to the American Cancer Society.

5. Choose a Healthy Diet – Eat your VEGGIES!

A healthy well balanced diet with fresh fruit and vegetables supports a health body and mouth!  Try to limit high carbohydrate foods and overly processed baked goods. And of course no soft drinks (see tip #3).  A well balanced diet should provide the needed micro nutrients but if you are concerned about it a good multivitamin can be used to supplement.
We all seem to frequent restaurants and fast food places and sometimes brushing and flossing after meals just isn’t possible. Drink plenty of water to help remove loose food debris and when needed chewing sugarless gum will help too until you can do a proper brushing!

6. Maintain Routine Dental Checkups and Hygiene Visits at Regina’s Health Style Dental

Contact our team! We smile (and can deliver dental care) in English, French, Japanese, Punjabi, Hindi and Gujarati.
  

From Our Team | Health Style Dental

A message from our dentist

  • As your dentist, I am proud to be a part of your health care team. When medical and dental health care providers collaborate, we can contribute significantly to your overall health by ensuring it's the best it can be.
    - Dr. Loreen Larson