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What Is Prophylaxis and What Role It Plays in Dental Hygiene?

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What is Prophylaxis and What role it plays in Dental Hygiene?

Dr. Hosseini

If you have yet to visit your dental health professional, it's time for a prophylaxis appointment. Dental Prophylaxis works as a preventive measure in dental medicine. It involves cleaning your teeth and inspecting your mouth to look for potential issues. In doing so, it helps prevent the onset of diseases and plays a significant role in maintaining dental hygiene. 

You might be wondering what precisely dental Prophylaxis is, and this is what we'll discuss in today's article. Continue reading to know the services included in a dental prophylaxis appointment, and remember to share them with your loved ones. Let's get started. 

Dental Prophylaxis: What Is It and What are the Benefits? 

No matter how often you brush or floss your teeth, a professional dental procedure is required to stop or prevent decay. Global statistics about tooth decay show that around 2.3 billion people are affected by it. Untreated tooth decay can cause various dental illnesses, such as tooth infections, dental pain, gum disease, etc. Prophylaxis helps to identify early signs of tooth decay and stops their progression. Recent statistics show that over 80% of the US population gets a cavity by age 34. Untreated cavities and other dental problems can impact the overall health of individuals.

Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are only two examples of the numerous chronic diseases that play their part in poor oral health. Practicing good oral hygiene practices with Prophylaxis can positively impact your overall health. Moreover, it saves the mouth from having gum disease or other dental problems that are initially hard to identify. Current statistics reveal that nearly half of the adult population (46%) show some signs of gum disease. In contrast, 9% of adults suffer from severe gum disease, i.e., periodontitis.   

Oral Prophylaxis looks after the individual's teeth and helps prevent oral health diseases. It is one of the most valuable advantages of Prophylaxis. Some other notable advantages include the following: 

  • Prevents terrible breath 
  • Stops the progression of gum disease or tooth decay 
  • Lowers the risk of oral health diseases 
  • It helps detect the disease in its early phase 
  • Removes extrinsic stains on the teeth and gives a fresh look 
  • Eliminates the effect of tartar or plaque buildup 
  • Financial savings in the long run 

Prophylaxis is a dental procedure that cleans your teeth and eliminates the buildup of tartar or plaque. This treatment is gaining immense popularity worldwide because it uses high-tech devices for teeth cleaning. In this procedure, the dentist removes the plaque and tartar from the teeth' surface by polishing and scaling. For many, this procedure resembles dental cleaning with coronal polishing or teeth whitening material. However, the primary purpose of Prophylaxis is to prevent oral health diseases rather than improve aesthetics.


Dental Prophylaxis is regarded as a preventive procedure to prevent oral health issues that keep on emerging. Plaque and tartar can even accumulate if one maintains good oral hygiene. These irritants on teeth contribute to problems such as tooth decay, infections, cavity formation, disruption of the tooth enamel, etc. Oral Prophylaxis uses motivational activities and procedures to prevent the development of oral pathogens and reduce their risk factors.  

Role of Prophylaxis in Dental Hygiene and How Does It Prevent Disease? 

Brushing and flossing are two leading practices for maintaining good oral hygiene and helping minimize plaque development. One aspect of dental Prophylaxis is teaching patients the proper techniques for regular flossing and brushing. Moreover, it helps reduce the likelihood of getting gum disease and other dental problems, such as cavity formation or tooth decay. 

Prophylaxis uses advanced tools and specialized instruments to perform the procedure. As a result, it may swiftly pinpoint the person's underlying problems, to which they may be completely oblivious. Moreover, it helps diagnose a specific dental problem in its initial phase and treat it accordingly. After you have undergone a prophylaxis procedure, it is imperative to maintain your oral health hygiene. Some of the wise tips in this regard are as under: 

  • Brush your teeth after every meal, and do it for at least 2 minutes. During a prophylaxis procedure, your dentist might teach you how to brush your teeth correctly. Otherwise, you can ask yourself. 
  • Use a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. Also, buy a mouthwash to rinse your mouth thoroughly after flossing. Take your dentist's opinion about the right toothpaste and mouthwash for the best results. 
  • Floss your teeth daily at least once; it helps remove bacteria and food particles between the teeth. Learn the correct flossing technique and say goodbye to plaque. 
  • Limit or avoid acidic foods as much as possible because they disrupt the tooth enamel. Some of these are sugary foods, carbonated drinks, sports drinks, tea, coffee, etc. 
  • Be cautious if you use hard foods such as bony foods, seeds, candies, etc. They could chip or damage your teeth. 
  • Do not use tobacco products because they lead to cancer and brown smile. Also, avoid smoking. 

Dental Services Included in Prophylaxis

Prophylaxis includes various services that eliminate tartar and plaque from the teeth. Also, they help to prevent the onset of some dental issues. Each service in oral Prophylaxis serves a different purpose. Let's get to know these.

  • Polishing and flossing 

Flossing helps remove plaque accumulation and food particles that reside between teeth. At the same time, polishing uses a special paste that removes teeth stains and any plaque left on the teeth' surface.

  • Dental exams

Dental exams aim to identify or examine the mouth for gum disease, oral cancer, cavities, etc. It mainly acts as a routine check of your mouth to gain insight into the overall mouth condition. 

  • X-rays 

X-rays are there to check signs of tooth decay. It helps the dentist to know which areas of the mouth need future attention. Also, they reveal the extent of bone and gum recession and help make the treatment plan. 

  • Dental cleaning 

Dental cleaning aims at removing tartar and plaque from the patient's teeth. Professionals divide it into two forms of cleaning, i.e., supragingival cleaning and subgingival cleaning. 

The former is a procedure that cleans the area above the gum line to get rid of plaque and tartar. The latter helps remove toxic elements from beneath the patient's gum line and the gum pockets. 

  • Scaling and root planing 

Scaling and root planing serve the function of deep teeth cleaning. It helps the dentist to remove tartar, plaque, and other such deposits from the teeth. Also, it aims to remove any bacteria that might otherwise irritate the teeth or the gums in the future. 

Scaling and root planing use the scraping method to remove deposits from the teeth and help clean the mouth efficiently.  

  • Sealants or fluoride treatment 

Fluoride treatments or dental sealants are primarily beneficial to children's teeth. It helps to build a strong tooth enamel and reduce the likelihood of tooth decay. 

When Often Is Dental Prophylaxis Required? 


The American Dental Association recommends that people with healthy teeth and gums consider this prophylactic measure once every six months. 


Whereas, if you often undergo dental problems or have mild gum disease, go for the procedure after every 3-4 months. 

However, a regular visit to your dentist will reveal how often you need this treatment. Adopt a safe approach and visit your dentist at least after every 6 months for a routine checkup. Then, discuss preventative procedures or fluoride treatment to maintain oral hygiene. 

Can Prophylaxis be Applied to Children? 

Poor oral health is one of the most common health conditions in the US. Pediatric Dentists recommend that children aged 12 months should have their first dental examination. It's good to get them accustomed to seeing the dentist from an early age. Moreover, it will help prevent tooth decay or stop its progression. 

Pediatric dentists ensure that kids feel comfortable during a dental checkup. They aid them in feeling relaxed during prophylaxis procedures and apply fluoride treatment or dental sealants whenever necessary. Such preventative procedures help maintain the good oral health of the child and aid in maintaining better hygiene. 

Final Words

A dental prophylaxis is a preventative procedure essential to keep your mouth healthy. Not only it profoundly cleanses your teeth, but it also helps you prevent many dental problems. Besides regular brushing and flossing, prevention is necessary to do cleanings beneath the gum line. So, even if you have healthy teeth and gums, it is recommended to see your dentist know how often you need Prophylaxis.

Contact your Pinole dentist, Dr. Azadeh Hosseini, and Dr. Ghazal Hosseini at Top Pinole Dental to learn more about Prophylaxis.


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*This media/content or any other on this website does not prescribe, recommend, or prevent any treatment or procedure. Therefore, we highly recommend that you get the advice of a qualified dentist or other medical practitioners regarding your specific dental condition*