What Happens at a Teeth Cleaning?

Regular dental cleanings, combined with brushing twice a day and flossing, help to prevent plaque build-up, which leads to tooth decay and gum disease. But what exactly happens at a teeth cleaning?

Like spraying off your car, a professional dental cleaning gets rid of large chunks of dirt and grime that your brushing and flossing can’t reach. This is called tartar. Contact Teeth Cleaning Las Vegas now!

Brushing teeth is a routine part of your oral hygiene that keeps your smile healthy. However, if you’re not brushing correctly or not for long enough, bacteria and food particles can build up on your teeth. Over time, the resulting sticky biofilm called plaque can cause tooth decay, gum disease, bad breath and other oral health problems.

A professional cleaning can remove the accumulated plaque and tartar on your teeth that you may miss while brushing. A dental hygienist is trained to remove the hardened deposits on your teeth with tools to prevent them from turning into gum disease or cavities.

During a regular or prophylaxis (preventative) cleaning, the first step involves taking vital signs and history, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Then a mouth and neck examination takes place to assess the condition of your teeth and gums. The dentist or hygienist may also perform an oral cancer screening and take X-rays.

The next step is a thorough tooth-by-tooth cleaning. Start by dispensing a pea-sized amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush and hold it at a 45 degree angle toward the gum line. Brush gently using small circular and back and forth motions. After the outer surfaces of your teeth, move on to the inner surfaces near the gums and finally the chewing surface of your teeth. Brushing just two or three teeth at a time helps you get better results and avoids missing any areas.

Once the hygienist has removed the accumulated plaque and tartar on your tooth surface, they will use a tool to smooth the root surface. This technique is also known as scaling and root planing, and it prevents bacteria, food particles and plaque from getting trapped in periodontal pockets.

To see how well you’re brushing, ask the hygienist for a revealing solution that highlights plaque and food that your toothbrush may have missed. You can also ask for a toothbrush with a smaller head to help you reach more surfaces of your teeth and use a fluoride rinse afterward to prevent tooth decay. Be sure to look for the ADA Seal on toothpaste, brushes and other dental products to ensure they are safe and effective.


Flossing cleans areas that a toothbrush can’t reach and helps to keep bacteria from building up between teeth. It also removes food particles that can cause bad breath, and it’s important to floss both before and after brushing each day.

The best time to do this is each night before you go to bed, but it’s good to floss at other times as well. This will prevent plaque from sitting on your teeth all through the night and can help to keep your gums healthy. You should always use a fresh section of floss when you’re cleaning between your teeth. This will keep it from getting contaminated with germs and bacteria that could lead to dental problems down the road.

There are many different types of floss available on the market and it’s up to you to decide which one is right for you. Traditional dental floss is typically sold in a long spool and can be waxed or unwaxed. There are also other types of flossing devices that may be easier for you to use, including dental/floss picks, pre-threaded flossers and even powered air or water flossers. Whichever type you choose, it’s important to learn how to properly use them so you don’t end up causing injury to your teeth or gums.

Using proper flossing technique is key to having a good oral health regimen. This is because improper flossing can lead to tooth decay, gum disease, infections and other serious dental health concerns. Flossing should be done gently and with the appropriate amount of pressure to avoid causing harm to your teeth and gum tissue.

Start by taking about 18 inches of dental floss and wind most of it around the middle finger of your other hand, leaving an inch or two to work with. Then, slide the floss between each of your teeth and around the contact point between them where the triangle of gum tissue meets the tooth. Be sure to slide the floss up and down on both sides of each tooth, being careful not to get it too tight between your teeth.

Baking Soda

It may be best known as that blaze orange box in the back of the fridge that zaps bad smells or as a pantry staple that helps baked goods rise, but baking soda (or sodium bicarbonate) has superpowers far beyond cooking. This inexpensive and incredibly versatile ingredient can also be used as a natural deodorizer, stain remover, natural mouthwash, insect bite reliever and more.

When baking soda interacts with an acid, it forms bubbles of carbon dioxide gas that make baked goods light and fluffy. It also has a mildly alkaline pH level, which makes it an effective antacid and a common ingredient in toothpaste.

Baking soda’s antibacterial properties reduce bacteria that contribute to tooth decay and gum disease, while its mildly abrasive nature can help remove light surface staining. It also has a reputation as an effective cleaning agent for kitchen and bathroom surfaces, countertops, floors, tiles and glass.

Although it can be abrasive, the low concentration of crystalline sodium bicarbonate in baking soda makes it safe for most surfaces in your home. However, because it can react with aluminum cookware and natural stone surfaces to discolor them, it’s best to avoid cleaning these items with baking soda.

For general household use, try mixing baking soda with water to create a paste and scrub away stains or as an ingredient in homemade vinegar cleaners. It’s also a good substitute for chemical-based oven cleaners and can be used to scrub down wood chopping boards that have become coated in garlicky flavors or pesticide residue.

Some people use baking soda in a mixture with water to temporarily relieve acid reflux or as an alternative to over-the-counter antacids. While this is a popular treatment, more research is needed on this approach to determine how safe and effective it is.

The Food and Drug Administration lists sodium bicarbonate as “generally recognized as safe” for use as a direct food additive and as an active ingredient in over-the-counter antacids. It’s also listed as an acceptable cosmetic ingredient by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR).

Cutting Back on Soda

Soda may be satisfying, but it is also loaded with empty calories and added sugar that can lead to weight gain, tooth decay and a variety of health issues. While quitting cold turkey is an option, a more effective approach is to cut back on soda gradually while introducing healthier beverage alternatives.

To begin, consider tracking how much soda you drink each day. You can then use this information to help you come up with a plan for cutting back on your intake. For example, if you drink 3 cans of soda a day, try to reduce your intake by 2 cans per week for two weeks. This will help you ease into a new routine and can avoid frustrating setbacks.

You can also start by eliminating soda from easy-to-access areas, such as your desk or the kitchen, where it is most likely to be found. Instead, fill your cup or reusable bottle with water or other healthy beverages that you enjoy. You can add lemon, lime, cucumber, fresh fruits or mint leaves to your water for a hint of flavor that will help curb cravings. Other options include unsweetened iced tea, herbal tea, sparkling water or kombucha.

When you do feel the urge to reach for a can of soda, think about what is driving the desire. Oftentimes, hunger can trigger a craving for sugary drinks. To prevent this, make sure you eat meals throughout the day and prepare snacks in advance.

Another way to combat cravings is to drink water first when you are hungry. This can help to curb your appetite and give you the energy you need to resist reaching for a soda.

Once you have a handle on your cravings, it’s a good idea to try and switch to lower-sugar beverages. Some of these include brewed black or green tea, coffee with milk, low-sugar fruit smoothies and naturally sweetened sparkling waters such as La Croix, Polar or Bubly. Some even contain a small amount of fruit juice for a bolder flavor that’s still low in calories.

While cutting back on soda can be challenging, it’s important to stick with your plan and reward yourself for your successes. It’s also important to remember that it is perfectly fine to have a soda occasionally as a treat and not to guilt yourself over your decisions.