Its check up time!: The reasons behind seeing your dentist every 6 months

I brush my teeth every day, why do I have to have my teeth professionally cleaned every six months??

OK, here’s what I want you to do.  Rub your tongue along the back of your bottom front teeth.  Or around your back teeth.  Feel a little bumpy? Not shiny glass smooth like it was after your last dental cleaning?  What you are feeling is called calculus.  Or tarter for all you non-dental people out there.

Calculus is an accumulation of hardened plaque (fuzzy bacteria build-up) and calcified mineral deposits from saliva and food on your teeth (think barnacles slowly building up on a side of a boat).  Once the plaque hardens, no amount of brushing or flossing will get it off.  That’s why a trip to your dentist is essential!

Typically, when you come in for a cleaning, a dental hygienist will use tools to gently scrape the calculus off of your teeth.

Wait, why is it important to get the calculus off (besides the fact that it sounds disgusting?)

If you don’t get the calculus off of your teeth, it keeps accumulating and moving down the side of your tooth under the gums.  This can start to become a problem because you can only get down so far to clean.  Eventually, all that calculus can lead to periodontal disease, which can mean loosing your teeth.

Yikes!  All this from not getting my teeth cleaned regularly from a dentist?

You can help prevent a large build-up of calculus by doing things like brushing your teeth after meals and flossing at least 3 times a week.  It takes plaque about 48 hours to harden, so if you get floss in there around 3 times a week, you should be ok (of course every day is the safest bet!).

Is it time for your cleaning?  Has it been 6 months since we last saw you?  Give your West Seattle dentist Dr. Christine Kirchner a call today to get your appointment scheduled! Because really, do you want all of this on your teeth?:

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