Professional teeth cleanings are important for dental and oral health. Brushing and flossing your teeth at home goes a long way toward keeping your teeth clean and free of plaque. But spots can get missed and plaque can accumulate, leading to tooth decay and gum disease. Regular dental cleanings and exams allow your dentist to remove plaque and address any oral health concerns that may be present.
How often should you get your teeth cleaned and examined? Here’s what dentists and dental experts recommend.
Have a Dental Cleaning Every 6 Months
The ideal timeframe for the average patient to have their teeth professionally cleaned is every 6 months. This allows your dentist to easily remove any plaque that develops on your teeth since your last dental visit. If more than 6 months pass with unremoved plaque, it can harden into calculus, which is much more difficult to remove and more likely to cause tooth decay and gum disease.
An Oral Exam Should Be Part of Each Visit
In addition to cleaning your teeth, your dentist will perform a thorough oral examination to look for any abnormalities or health concerns. An oral cancer screening is part of the oral examination, which includes an inspection of the soft tissues of the mouth, as well as the jaw and neck.
Benefits of Twice Yearly Dental Cleanings and Exams
There are many benefits of this dental cleaning schedule:
- Prevent cavities. Professional teeth cleanings will detect and remove plaque that gets left behind after brushing and flossing. This can help prevent cavities from developing in between cleanings.
- Prevent gum disease. Another benefit of having your teeth cleaned regularly is to prevent gum disease. When plaque is not removed from the teeth, the bacteria it contains can infect the gum tissue. The longer plaque stays on the teeth, the greater the chance of developing gum disease.
- Early detection of oral health concerns. An oral exam will accompany each dental cleaning, which includes an oral cancer screening. If the exam detects any abnormalities or concerns, they can be addressed promptly for a better outcome.
- Dental insurance covers it. Most dental insurance plans cover two dental cleanings each year, 6 months apart. If your insurance is picking up the bill, why not take advantage of it?
- Save money. Preventive dental care can reduce your overall dental care costs by preventing dental problems instead of treating them. Restorative dental procedures like cavity fillings may be covered by your insurance, but only a portion or percentage. The rest you pay out of pocket. The more your teeth decay, the more complex the restorative procedures get, and the more expensive they are. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- Improve your overall health and wellness. Numerous studies have shown a direct correlation between oral health and overall health. Tooth decay and gum disease have been linked to heart disease and diabetes. But when your mouth is healthy, the rest of your body will likely follow suit.
When Are More Frequent Cleanings Recommended?
In certain situations, for some patients, more frequent dental cleanings may be recommended. Your dentist may recommend coming in for professional cleanings every 3 months or even monthly. Why? If you have chronic gum disease, it could be that you have an increased tendency to develop plaque on your teeth. It could also be that you have another health condition, such as diabetes, that increases your risk of developing gum disease. Whatever the reason, more frequent dental cleanings could keep your teeth and mouth healthy and prevent the need for more complex dental procedures.
Oak Road Dentistry Provides Preventive Dental Care
Preventive care is a fundamental part of our general dentistry services. At Oak Road Dentistry, we provide a full range of dental services to restore and maintain your dental and oral health. We hope to see you every 6 months for regular dental cleanings and exams.