We all want to show off healthy, attractive smiles as we age. But how do we achieve this goal?

Well, research continues to show that one of the absolute best things that you can do is to diligently follow your dentist-recommended schedule of professional cleanings. This short article is all about what our Santa Monica dental team does during these appointments. We hope that this helps you get a better idea of why professional care is so important!

Once you are in the dentist’s chair, our dental team will complete a number of assessments to get an idea of your current oral health status. We are looking for…

  • Dental cavities—these may be visible spots, or they may simply be portions of the enamel that are soft and de-mineralized
  • Signs of periodontal disease (gum tissue infection)
  • Cancerous or pre-cancerous tissues
  • Old, structurally unsound restorations

Once we’ve checked your teeth and gums, we’ll know whether any further restorative treatment is necessary to bring your smile back to health.

The next thing that we do at your semi-annual appointment is to clean your smile of plaque and tartar. As you probably already know, plaque is the sticky bacterial film that develops in your mouth throughout the day. Tartar is what we call plaque that has hardened and calcified to the tooth structure; this requires professional treatment to remove.

Finally, we polish your smile, and talk to you about your current oral hygiene routine. We’ll make recommendations to help you get the most out of your daily dental routine. We can help you pick the right kind of toothpaste, mouth rinse, and even toothbrush for your unique needs.

If you want to learn more professional dental care, or schedule your own personal consultation, you can always call our Santa Monica dentists for assistance! You can also reach out through the Contact Us page on our website.


When you aren’t feeling well you might notice some changes your smile, and your energy levels are also generally depleted. This is totally normal, but lack of adequate dental care may actually prolong your suffering, and create secondary oral health issues that you have to deal with down the road.

So, with that in mind, our Santa Monica dentists have made note of some simple steps that you can take to maintain oral health when you’re ill. Let’s get started!   

Here are some of the simple things that you can do to prioritize your smile:

  • Brush strategically

Make sure to stick to your dentist’s recommendations when it comes to brushing your smile. The general recommendation is to brush morning and night, but people dealing with health issues may benefit from also brushing after lunch. Another thing to consider is whether it is time to swap your old toothbrush for a fresh one—old bristles can harbor viruses and bacteria.

  • Stay hydrated

It is so common for people to become dehydrated when they are ill, especially if they are vomiting. Plus, many of the medications we use to treat congestion create dry mouth as a side effect. Keep a water bottle within reach and set timers to remind you to drink throughout the day. If you are under the weather, make a concerted effort to minimize your consumption of soft drinks and juices, in favor of water.

  • Use products with Xylitol

Xylitol is a sugar substitute, which is less appealing to oral bacteria than sugar. So, when you are choosing your mouth rinses and cough drops, try to pick formulations that use Xylitol rather than sugar. The goal is to starve out the harmful bacteria that cause dental cavities, bad breath, and gum disease!

Periodic and even chronic illness doesn’t have to derail your smile too. Give our Santa Monica dentists a call to learn more and to schedule a personal consultation—we look forward to speaking with you!