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Partners for Better Oral Hygiene

Who are the partners?  Dental health begins with good oral hygiene. This requires professional care and guidance provided by your dentist or dental hygienist, combined with proper care at home by you. That's the partnership. When you follow a recommended home care routine and have regular professional care, you will be able to maintain healthier teeth and gums.

Why you need a prophylaxis (professional cleaning). Professional cleaning removes plaque, calculus (tartar), and stain from the teeth. The cleaning may be done by your dentist or dental hygienist, a licensed professional who performs prophylaxis (professional cleaning) in the dental office and provides education in proper care of the teeth and gums.

What is plaque? Plaque is a soft, sticky, colorless film of bacteria constantly forming on your teeth. It combines with sugar and other carbohydrates to form acids, which attack tooth enamel and can cause cavities. Plaque can also cause inflammation of the gums (gingivitis), which can be identified by swollen, bleeding gums. If not treated early, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis, a more serious condition that causes gums to recede and bone to deteriorate. As a result, the supporting structures are weakened and teeth become loose.

It's easy to see why brushing and flossing to remove plaque is essential to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

What is calculus (tartar)? Minerals in saliva combine with plaque at the tooth surface and harden into a rough, unsightly deposit called calculus (tartar). Calculus, which is mostly mineral, provides a rough surface to which more plaque can attach, and makes thorough plaque removal more difficult. Your toothbrush and floss cant remove calculus once it has formed. Calculus can only be removed during a regular dental prophylaxis.

What a prophylaxis (professional cleaning) does that YOU can't do for yourself. A prophylaxis is a professional cleaning procedure that can be done only by a dentist or hygienist. The prophylaxis not only helps prevent gum disease, but also improves the appearance of your teeth by making them look clean and bright. A prophylaxis is usually performed in two steps. Instruments called scalers are used to remove calculus from teeth above and below the gumline Then, polishing with a special paste by means of a motorized instrument removes remaining plaque and surface stains caused by various foods, beverages, and tobacco. Polished tooth surfaces make it more difficult for plaque and debris to accumulate.

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