Teeth cleaning is part of oral hygiene and involves the removal of dental plaque from teeth with the intention of preventing cavities (dental caries), gingivitis, and periodontal disease. People routinely clean their own teeth by brushing and interdental cleaning, and dental hygienists can remove hardened deposits not removed by routine cleaning. Those with dentures and natural teeth may supplement their cleaning with a denture cleaner.
Teeth cleaning (prophylaxis) by a dental hygienist removes tartar (mineralized plaque) that may develop even with careful brushing and flossing, especially in areas that are difficult to reach in routine toothbrushing. Professional cleaning includes tooth scaling and tooth polishing and debridement if too much tartar has accumulated. This involves the use of various dental instruments or devices to loosen and remove deposits from the teeth.
Most dental hygienists recommend having the teeth professionally cleaned every six months. Scholar search More frequent cleaning and examination may be necessary during treatment of dental and other oral disorders. Routine examination of the teeth is recommended at least every year. This may include yearly, select dental X-rays. See also dental plaque identification procedure and removal.
Between cleanings by a dental hygienist, good oral hygiene helps to prevent cavities, tartar build-up, and gum disease.
An Indiana University School of Dentistry researcher will study whether dental patients whose teeth are cleaned regularly may be getting far more than a sparkling white smile: they also may be reducing their chances of developing heart disease.
Leading a team of researchers from IU's schools of dentistry and medicine, Dr. Michael Kowolik will use a $1.3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study dental plaque accumulation as a risk factor for heart disease.
Kowolik's research comes at a time when chronic infections in the body are under increasing investigation for the role they may play in the development of a number of health problems, including heart disease.
This latest study will not prove definitively that neglecting oral hygiene leads to heart disease, but the body of evidence that dentistry plays an important role in a preventive health program for the rest of the body is getting stronger, Kowolik said.