Why Get Your Teeth Cleaned?
On the whole, dentists usually recommend getting your teeth professionally cleaned every six months. Remember: dental cleanings are different from brushing your own teeth. Dentists and hygienists can remove plaque, tartar, and stains that you can’t get rid of with your own brushing and flossing routine. At these dental cleaning appointments, dentists can look for signs of oral cancer, gingivitis, and gum disease. You might not be able to spot the early warnings of these issues yourself, so make sure to visit dental cleaning professionals who know what to look for.
If you need more evidence, a study published in the Journal of Dental Research found that participants who regularly visited the dentist had overall better oral health and less tooth loss than participants who did not routinely get their teeth cleaned. The longer participants maintained their routine of visiting the dentist, the better their oral health was. Here are a few factors that may affect how often you need to go in for dental cleanings.
Oral Hygiene Practices
Many people who brush regularly and use mouthwash regularly may think they don’t have to come in for their bi-annual dental cleanings. Even if you have good oral hygiene, you should still come in for your regular cleaning. You can only clean your mouth and evaluate your oral health to a certain extent without the tools and expertise of dental professionals. And if you know you don’t have the best oral hygiene, you especially need to come in regularly.
Cavities and Periodontal Disease
If you have previously developed one or more cavities, your dentist may recommend that you come in more often for regular cleanings. Taking a proactive approach to dealing with cavities can save patients a lot of pain in the long run. Since your at-home dental tools usually cannot remove hardened plaque that settles over teeth, you might not be able to spot growing cavities. So, if you have a history of cavities and severe tartar buildup, you will likely need to visit the office for a dental cleaning more often than you think. Additionally, if you have a history of gum disease or oral cancer, your dentist will likely ask you to come more often than every six months to check your gum health.
Children and adults may not need to get dental cleanings at the same frequency. Dentists may recommend that children come in more often to make sure they are taking care of their oral hygiene properly. While dentists can rely on adults having a more established oral care routine, children must learn how often to brush and floss in those hard-to-reach places. Dental cleanings for children include checking for gum disease and removing plaque and tartar just like at adult dental cleanings, but dentists often add an education component to appointments with children. If an adult sees that kids do not brush and floss properly, they can show kids how to do it and give their parents or caregivers a demonstration of how to encourage dental care.
Dentists often serve as a first step in recognizing that patients need orthodontic work. With the regular x-rays that often accompany dental cleanings, dentists can see if all the adult teeth have grown in properly. If not, they may refer a family to an orthodontist if they do not do in-house orthodontic work. If you want to keep your family all seeing the same dental professional, you may want to find a family dentist such as Eriks Dental Group, which provides orthodontic and dental hygiene care for the whole family. Braces, retainers, and other orthodontic implants require special care to make sure they do not lead to teeth staining of inflammation, so dentists may ask those patients to come in more often.