All dentists recommend brushing twice a day and flossing once a day. However, even if you follow a strict oral health regime at home, it is always advisable to get your teeth professionally cleaned at a dentist.
According to oral health professionals, you need to get your teeth cleaned by a dentist at least every six months. However, this is not a strict rule because it depends on your needs and the state of your teeth. People with gum disease may need to visit their dentist once every three months while those with excellent oral health may postpone their visit later than six months. The six-month recommendation is only a guide, and you need to check your schedule with your dentist.
Why do you need your teeth cleaned professionally?
Professional teeth cleaning is a procedure aimed at preventing tooth decay and gum disease. During your appointment, your dentist will conduct a comprehensive dental exam along with cleaning your plaque and scaling your teeth. Calculus cannot be removed by a toothbrush and very often it builds up behind the lower teeth and requires removal by your dentist.
A regular professional clean will reduce your chances of getting cavities. Research shows a link between gum disease and systemic diseases like heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and others which means that maintaining good oral health is crucial for maintaining overall health.
How often should you get your teeth cleaned?
Patients regularly ask the frequency they need to visit the dentist which can range from 3 months to 6 months. As stated above, 6 months should be taken as a guide but how often you visit your dentist depends on the state of your teeth and the advice of your dentist.
With a 6 months visit, your dentist will get a chance to have a comprehensive examination of your teeth and warn you of anything serious that needs to be addressed, such as tooth decay, cavities or gingivitis.
There is a school of thought that patients should get their teeth cleaned professionally every three months because of the plaque development and maturation cycle. Plaque development and maturation cycle occurs in stages from the initial formation of an Acellular Layer Stage to the final Dispersion Stage. Getting a professional clean every 3 months can disrupt the maturation cycle and prevent bacteria evolving into the periodontal pathogenic bacteria.
A research based on information collected in a National Dental Telephone Interview Survey which canvassed people of all ages in 2010 (Australian Health Policy Collaboration and the Australian Dental Association. Australia’s Oral Health Tracker – Technical Paper [Online] 2018 [Accessed June 2018] Available from: www.ada.org.au) revealed that just over half of adults (55.5%) had visited a dentist in the preceding 12 months, increasing to 73.9% for children aged 5-11 and 78.4% for young people aged 12-17. Children and older adults tended to visit the dentist more often, as did people in higher income families.
You should visit your dentist once every 3 months if you:
- Have diabetes.
- Have a family history of gum disease.
What is involved in teeth cleaning?
Teeth cleaning can vary from dentist to dentist. However, the basic steps of scaling, x-raying and polishing are done by all dentists. Teeth cleaning is usually a quick procedure which in most cases is done within an hour.
Cleaning involves removal of the plaque which is called scaling. The dentist or dental hygienist will use cleaning tools to access the difficult areas to reach which are often neglected while brushing. They will also use special floss to clean in between your teeth.
Most dentists or hygienists will use a water jet to remove plaque, soft debris, and stains. They will also rinse out your mouth at the end.
Polishing involves using a rotating head with a dental paste to shine up teeth and polish them to look their best.
Sometimes, a dentist or a hygienist may apply fluoride treatment to your teeth to prevent decay and to strengthen them. The fluoride treatment could be a paste, a gel, or a varnish.
After the clean, your dentist will advise you on proper dental hygiene at home and recommend you a time frame and recommend a time frame for your next visit.
Want to clean your teeth?