Dental cleanings, also known as dental prophylaxis, is done by a dentist or a hygienist to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. During a dental prophylaxis, the dentist or hygienist removes plaque from the teeth. Plaque forms inside the mouth when foods containing carbohydrates are eaten and residue remains in the mouth. Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on this food and produce acids after ingesting it. If not removed, this acid destroys tooth enamel leading to tooth decay and gum disease. During a professional cleaning, your dentist will perform the following:
- Remove plaque on the teeth.
- Remove tartar/calculus found above the gum line. When plaque hardens on the tooth surface, it develops into calculus, which is quite difficult to remove.
- Remove stains and polish the teeth.