Did you know that 42 percent of Americans do not visit the dentist as often as they should? This number is quite high, and there are many reasons people skip their visits. The problem with skipping dental cleanings is that it puts your teeth and mouth at risk for problems.
Dental cleanings are essential for the health of your teeth and gums, but you might be wondering, “how often should you get your teeth cleaned?” If so, here is a guide to help you know how often you should get your teeth cleaned at a dental clinic.
Minimum of Once a Year
Teeth cleaning services protect your teeth and gums in several ways. The main step of this service is scraping off the bacteria, plaque, and tartar from your teeth. These are the things that damage tooth structure and lead to other problems. When you do not remove the bacteria and plaque, you place your teeth at risk for many issues. You can reduce the chances of problems forming by going to a dental clinic for teeth cleaning services at least once per year.
Going once a year is the minimum frequency necessary for healthy teeth. If you go at least once a year, it will help you avoid problems, but it might leave your teeth with some risks. Routine cleanings can help reduce the risks of the following issues:
- Gum disease
- Bad breath
- tooth loss
Each of these issues starts with bacteria on your teeth. Routine daily brushing helps remove this material, but it might not remove all of it. You need dental cleanings from a dental office to remove the hardened areas. Every time you get a professional cleaning, you decrease your risks of developing these issues. The problem is that if you do not go often enough, your risks can significantly increase. While it is better to visit a dentist once a year than never, a year is a long time to wait to have a professional clean your teeth.
Twice a Year for People With Healthy Teeth
While going once a year is the minimum, the most highly recommended frequency for cleanings is twice a year. Scheduling an appointment every six months for dental cleaning is sufficient for most ordinary people. A lot of plaque can form on the teeth within six months. If you wait for a year to have a dentist remove it, they might not be able to remove all of it.
You see, plaque on teeth hardens as it remains there. When it hardens, it turns into tartar, and tartar is much harder to remove from teeth. Teeth covered in tartar become discolored and subject to decay. Plaque and tartar both contain bacteria. The bacteria found in these substances can work into the gums, leaving your mouth with even bigger problems.
Getting a dental cleaning every six months is the best option you can choose if you want healthy teeth. One benefit of getting this completed every six months is that your dentist can keep an eye on your teeth. If a problem forms, your dentist can quickly catch it and fix it before it becomes a major issue.
More Visits for High-Risk Individuals
While most people can get by with one to two cleanings per year, people with high risks of oral problems need more frequent cleanings. A high-risk individual is a person that is prone to oral problems. Here are some examples of things that can place a person in this category:
Smoking is a habit that many people have, and it is harmful to the body and teeth. People who smoke have a higher risk of cavities, gum disease, and tooth loss. Smoking restricts blood and oxygen flow to the mouth, making it harder for the mouth to heal and fight infections. If you smoke, you should consider stopping. Once you stop, your teeth might be healthier, and you will likely see an improvement in your overall physical health.
History of Gum Disease
Anyone who has a history of gum disease might need more frequent teeth cleaning services. Gum disease is an infection of the gums that causes them to recede. If left untreated, it can damage the jawbone and cause a person to lose teeth. If you have gum disease or had it in the past, your dentist might recommend teeth cleaning services every few months.
People with certain health problems might also need teeth cleanings more frequently. For example, if you suffer from heart disease or diabetes, your dentist might suggest cleanings every couple of months. These health issues affect a person’s oral health. They can make it harder for a person to fight bacteria and plaque, and they can restrict blood flow to the mouth.
If you have any major health problems, you should tell your dentist. Many people do not realize the connection between oral health and physical health, so they do not say anything to their dentists. You should tell your dentist, though. People who fall into the high-risk category might need dental cleanings every two to four months. If you are at a high-risk for oral problems, you can talk to your dentist to find out how often you should get your teeth cleaned. Dentists make recommendations based on each person’s unique circumstances.
Hopefully, this information answers your question, “how often should you get your teeth cleaned?” Most people can get by with one or two cleanings per year, but others may need more frequent cleanings.