Healthy Smiles: Why is it so important to have a hygienist clean your teeth?

MANY PEOPLE often ask us why it is so important to have a hygienist clean your teeth at least every six months. Here are some answers that often help my patients understand the reasoning behind this healthy practice:

• To prevent bad breath: Persistent bad breath (halitosis) has oral causes such as poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, food stuck between teeth, unclean dentures, oral carcinomas or throat infections. Good oral hygiene is essential in preventing many of these conditions and can, in turn, prevent bad breath.

• To prevent gum disease: Gum (periodontal) disease is a bacterial infection caused by plaque — the sticky, colorless, bacteria-filled film that adheres to your teeth. As plaque builds up on teeth, it hardens and becomes tartar, which can be difficult to remove. The bacteria in plaque produce toxins that irritate the gums and cause inflammation and gingivitis. As the inflammation continues, the gum tissues can be destroyed and more advanced stages of gum disease may follow.

• To keep your teeth: Regular dental exams and cleanings and brushing and flossing in between visits are vital to keeping your teeth.

• To help maintain overall health: There is mounting evidence of a connection between a person’s oral and overall health. Recent studies have linked heart attacks and strokes to gum disease. A dental cleaning every six months to keep your teeth and gums healthy possibly could reduce your risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, if you have regular oral examinations, your dentist may be the first healthcare provider to diagnose a health problem in its early stages.

Healthy Smiles is sponsored by Professional Smiles.


column by DR. JOSE F. LOPEZ

BIO: After following a lifelong dream of dentistry, Dr. Jose F. Lopez graduated from the University of Puerto Rico Dental School in 2001. He established his Davenport, Florida, practice in 2008. He is a member of the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, and the Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Lopez is very dedicated to his profession. His number one priority is providing the highest level of patient care and dentistry in a relaxing and comfortable environment, while maintaining exceptional quality service. For more information or to make an appointment, call (863) 216-5702 or visit

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