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Is Polishing Bad for Your Teeth?

Posted on 6/20/2016 by Dr. Kelsey Ullsmith
A patient having his teeth polished.At the end of your dental visit - after your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned and examined - your hygienist will follow up by polishing your teeth. This process involves the use of a gritty paste applied by a rotating polisher. Some people opt out of this process, so it poses an important question - is polishing bad for your teeth?

According to the International Journal of Evidence-Based Practice for the Dental Hygienist, while polishing might make your teeth feel smooth and clean, the procedure isn't exactly necessary.

There isn't any health benefit associated with polishing your teeth, as it isn't going to have any effect on decay, oral cancer, or gum disease.

Other organizations of authority when it comes to dental health have also stated that polishing isn't a necessity. The American Dental Hygienists' Association advises that polishing shouldn't be considered routine in a dental cleaning, so you can feel free to skip it.

Additionally, dental professionals from the University of Bridgeport warn against using polishing as the only mechanism for stain removal, as to completely rid a tooth of stains, hygienists also need to be scaling to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth.

Most dentist offices recommend selective polishing. This means that your dental hygienist should only be shining the stained portions of your teeth and not the entire set. That's because some research has shown that regularly polishing all of your teeth could result in enamel removal.

However, if you do opt to have your teeth polished at your dental appointments, you should know that biannual polishing isn't a concern, as even using the harshest of pastes, polishing twice per year isn't often enough to cause any significant enamel damage.

If you have questions about whether or not to polish your teeth at your upcoming dental appointment, be sure to contact our office today.
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