Maintaining good oral health involves more than just brushing and flossing daily. Getting your teeth professionally cleaned by a dentist or hygienist is an essential part of caring for your smile. But how often should I get my teeth cleaned?
The general rule of thumb is every 6 months, but that can vary based on several factors related to your individual oral health situation.
Finding the right balance is key to keeping your teeth and gums healthy without overdoing treatments and costs.
What is Deep Cleaning for Teeth vs. Regular Cleaning
There are two main types of cleanings to understand – regular and deep cleanings. Regular cleanings, also called prophylaxis cleanings, involve scaling and polishing above the gum line to remove built-up plaque and tartar.
Deep cleanings, also referred to as scaling and root planing, go below the gum line to treat more severe gum disease by cleaning plaque and tartar off teeth roots and removing infected gum tissue.
So, how often is teeth cleaning necessary if you have some of these issues. It really depends on the severity of gum disease and how you respond to treatment.
Remember, just because your teeth and gums look healthy, it doesn’t always mean that they are.
For most people with generally healthy gums, regular cleanings are sufficient for maintaining good oral hygiene.
Exams vs. Cleanings
In addition to professional teeth cleanings, you should also see a dentist periodically for an oral exam. Exams allow dentists to check for early signs of decay, gum disease, and other issues that may require treatment down the line.
Keeping tabs on your teeth and staying up on potential issues is an important step in strengthing your oral health.
During exams, the dentist visually inspects your teeth and gums, checks for changes since your last visit, and screens for oral cancer. Cleanings, on the other hand, involve physically removing built-up plaque and tartar from teeth to prevent cavities and gum disease. Both exams and cleanings are essential components of routine dental care.
Determining How Often to Get Teeth Cleaned
For people with relatively good oral health, most dentists recommend getting your teeth professionally cleaned every 4 to 5 months. However, some people may need cleanings as frequently as every 3 months or less frequently than every 6 months. Factors influencing ideal cleaning frequency include:
- Gum health: Signs of gum disease like red, swollen, or bleeding gums when flossing indicates a need for more frequent teeth cleanings.
- High plaque buildup: Some people naturally accumulate more plaque and would benefit from 3 to 4 cleanings per year.
- Medical conditions: Conditions like pregnancy, diabetes, and low immunity may increase gum vulnerability.
- Medications: Some prescription drugs reduce saliva flow, raising infection risk.
- Poor diet: Frequent snacking boosts plaque acid, while smoking triggers gum disease.
Oral Health Habits and Dental Visits
Educating yourself on the structure of your teeth and what steps you can take to maximize your oral health is most important. Good habits like brushing twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, consistently flossing, using antibacterial mouthwash, and rinsing with water after sugary drinks or acidic foods will keep your teeth cleaner between visits.
While it’s obvious that too much sugar, smoking, and chewing tobacco are bad for you – they can lead to more serious issues that will result in your needing to get cleanings more often. Be honest with your dentist about these habits because they can educate you on the extra steps you may want to take.
Insurance Coverage and Costs
Without any dental benefits, you can expect to spend around $75 to $200 out of pocket for a regular teeth cleaning from a general dentist. Deep cleanings typically range from $150 to $300 per quadrant. Shopping around within your coverage network and asking whether discounted cash rates are available can help minimize costs.
So, how often should you have your teeth cleaned? Every 6 months is standard but it can vary based on your oral and dietary habits.
Discuss any symptoms or concerns with your dentist and stay adaptable if more intensive habits create the need for increased frequency down the line. With the right prevention regimen tailored to your unique oral health, you can confidently maintain your brightest smile for years to come.
Learn more about the connection between oral and overall health in Dr. Kami Hoss’s book, “If Your Mouth Could Talk”!