Dental cleanings, otherwise known as prophylaxis or prophys for short, are a very important part of a dental care regimen. The work prophylaxis means “preventive” and prophys are a well-proven method of preventing both gum disease and cavities. When we eat, bacteria in our mouths take the sugars from our food and use it to produce a sticky film on our teeth called plaque. Normal brushing and flossing removes most plaque from our teeth, but if we miss some plaque it then it hardens to form tartar, otherwise known as calculus. Once calculus is formed it cannot be removed with brushing and flossing alone. It must be removed by a professional. If calculus is not removed, it can lead to gum disease, bad breath and cavities.