It’s the same song and dance every year – you go to the dentist for teeth cleaning, they announce if you have any new cavities or other concerns regarding your teeth, and then they schedule you to come back in six months. If you’re like most people, you might ask not to schedule the appointment yet, or cancel the week before the scheduled appointment. It’s more common than you might think, so why do dentists request you see them every six months? Do you really need to go back that often?
Why You Should Stop Putting Off the Dentist
After a dental cleaning, you’ll notice that your teeth feel smoother and are often whiter. That’s because dentists use special tools to remove plaque and tartar buildup that can’t be removed with at-home toothbrushes and floss. While that feeling may last for days and even months, the truth is that bacteria, which turns into plaque, begins coming back as soon as 30 minutes after your cleaning appointment. During the next 24-48 hours, it becomes fully colonized as tartar.
The longer you wait between dentist visits, the more likely plaque will turn into hardened tartar and cause damage to your healthy smile. Tartar — also known as calculus — if left alone can cause:
- Bad breath
- Gum disease
How Often Should You Go to the Dentist for Teeth Cleanings?
The average person should get teeth cleanings every six months, but there are certain scenarios that can impact this timeline. If you are diligent with their teeth health, brush two to three times a day, floss regularly, and brush at an angle, your dentist may determine that you only need to get your teeth cleaned once a year.
Some people have better genes when it comes to mouth health, and on the opposite spectrum of that, some people genetically have poorer mouth health. So, even when they take proper care of their teeth, they’re more susceptible to cavities and gum inflammation. If that’s the case, your dentist will suggest every six months or — in some rare cases — sooner.
Ultimately, the decision of how often you should get your teeth cleaned is up to you and your dentist. If you rarely have cavities or problems with your teeth, talk to your dentist to see if a yearly visit is a viable option.
Other Factors that Impact Appointment Timelines
While genetics and oral care play a significant role in how often you should visit a dentist, there are other scenarios that can impact the timeline – including gum disease and dental implants. If you’ve been diagnosed with gum disease, you may be required to attend dental check-ups every three months. If gum disease is prevalent in your family, you’ll be at a higher risk to get it yourself. Make sure you’re attending your dental check-ups every six months to ensure you avoid health complications.
If you have dentures, dental implants, veneers, or any other tooth-replacement solutions, you’ll need to abide by a six-month checkup. These types of solutions may involve routine maintenance that can only be accomplished by a dentist or dental instruments.
Benefits of Getting Your Teeth Cleaned More Often
While your instinct may be to figure out ways to get out of bi-annually or annually dental appointments, there are several benefits to getting your teeth cleaned more often. Not only will your mouth feel and look cleaner, but sometimes your gums provide signs of other health issues. Teeth cleaning appointments include the opportunity to identify symptoms of cancer, anemia, cardiovascular diseases, and other medical problems. By attending cleanings more often, you can prevent or fix gum problems sooner, minimize tartar buildup, and enjoy a healthier smile.
If You Need a Teeth Cleaning, Let Us Help You.
At North River Dental, we have over 30 years of experience in cosmetic dentistry. Whether you need to schedule regular dental cleanings or would like to learn about options to improve your oral health, our skilled doctors will ensure you have the brightest, healthiest smile possible.