Is it really important to have your teeth cleaned every 6 months? What is it about that length of time that makes dentists and hygienists recommend coming in for a preventive teeth cleaning? Is there ever a point where good brushing and flossing is enough?
Even with excellent brushing and flossing, our mouths develop small areas of plaque or tartar accumulation under the gumlines and on specific surfaces of the teeth, especially around saliva glands. Once plaque calcifies into tartar it can’t be removed with a toothbrush or floss, so it accumulates and harbors bacteria that causes gum disease and bone loss. For people with good oral hygiene, a cleaning every 6 months is typically enough to keep moderate levels of tartar at bay, and prevent serious gum infections.
Occasionally some people will need to have dental cleanings more frequently, because of active gum disease or heavy tartar buildup. This is usually re-evaluated at each cleaning appointment until an ideal recall schedule is found for that individual patient. Sometimes it’s necessary to do a deep cleaning (also called a scaling and root planing) to catch up on tartar removal before a routine cleaning can ever be performed.
Don’t wait until tartar is visible before you schedule a dental cleaning. By that point there is likely to be evidence of bone loss, gum bleeding, and possibly even tooth mobility. If it’s been a while since your last cleaning, that’s ok. Everyone has to play catchup sometimes. Schedule your dental cleaning today, and get control over your oral health!
Posted on behalf of Patrick O’Brien DMD, Carolina Comfort Dental
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