I had my teeth cleaned last Saturday (after six months, which is too long for me) and the hygienist used an ultrasonic cleaning device, or scaler, to clean the plaque. It vibrates quite a bit and makes you think she's using a drill until you see it and realize it's just a vibrating piece of metal.
Anyway, my teeth feel incredibly clean now. She also gave me a fluoride rinse that I have to use every day for a month to strengthen my teeth so they won't be as sensitive to the cleaning. She told me that I should get my teeth cleaned every three months, and I believe her. She says bacteria start to do lots of nasty things once they've had three months to accumulate.
Also, my gums are receding. She thinks I brush too hard. But I use a Sonicare (ultrasonic being the theme here) and I think I just have recessionary gums. Especially in this economy. But the bacteria thing is true. Bacteria multiply exponentially, that is, they are doubling and doubling and doubling. Kind of like that math fact that if you took a penny and doubled it every day for a month you'd have over 5 million dollars (try it!)
In other words, if you don't get your teeth cleaned for a year instead of six months, you don't have twice as much bacteria accumulating, you have ten times or more. (Brushing keeps it from doubling every day, but it still accumulates.)
So that's it for me. Every three months from now on. It also goes a lot easier because she doesn't have to chisel hard plaque out. I'm ready for that. She also did a special test where she takes a sample of the bacteria around my gums and sends it to a lab to determine if I have harmful bacteria that could harm my heart, among other things. More about that in a later blog.