Dental Cleanings — How Often & What to do When it’s Been Awhile

Oral hygiene in the form of professional cleanings is a key step in maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Good oral health also supports overall body health, as bacteria in the mouth gets into the bloodstream and can affect your entire body. Regular cleanings can lower your risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart disease.

The frequency of your cleanings will be determined by your dentist. The doctor and hygienist will base how often you should come in for professional cleanings on your current oral health and overall health history. The American Dental Association recommends visits to your dentist regularly for oral exams and professional cleanings to avoid gum disease, tooth decay and related health issues.

If you are in excellent health, maintain a healthy diet and have no signs of tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, heart disease or other issues related to an unhealthy oral environment, a professional cleaning every four to six months may be adequate. However, each person is different, so your dentist and hygienist will figure this out.

A periodontist and consumer advisor for the American Dental Association recommends getting your teeth cleaned more than once a year. She has seen many patients who want to stretch their cleanings to just once a year, many times due to the expense. However, it is much more cost effective (and much less stressful) to receive regular cleanings than to let your oral health go and have to pay for crowns, implants and gum disease surgery later on.

If it’s been awhile since you’ve had a thorough cleaning (as little as nine months is too long), make an appointment as soon as possible to get your teeth cleaned and your gums and other tissues examined. In the time leading up to your appointment, follow this guide to help minimize the risk of problems either developing, or getting worse.

  • Brush and floss after every meal.
  • Start off with a new, or relatively new, toothbrush. If the bristles are bent or discolored throw that one away and get a couple of new ones.
  • Make sure you’re using a good, plaque-fighting toothpaste. Professional strength toothpaste from a dental office is best.
  • Stop eating those starchy, sugar-filled foods (includes any refined flour), as well as drinks with high sugar content. Good nutrition can have an immediate effect on your oral health!
  • Professional strength mouthwash is also very helpful to knock out some bacteria. It can also help to make your mouth an unwelcome environment for more bacteria.

Dr. Hoos and his hygienists have been helping patients fight tooth decay and gum disease with thorough oral examinations and gentle, effective cleanings. Our hygienists continue to receive education and training regarding the most up-to-date hygiene technology and procedures. In this way, they can give you the best hygiene treatments to keep tooth decay and gum disease at bay.

We also educate you on the best way to maintain good oral health at home. We recommend the most effective products that work the best at keeping your teeth and gums healthy. Give us a call to set up your exam and cleaning appointment. We look forward to getting you on the road to a healthy smile!