It is often recommended that you visit your oral hygienist at least twice a year, every six months. There is a good reason for this twice annual visit and care recommendation.
The professional teeth cleaning you receive twice a year helps to prevent cavities and gum disease. This will help you keep your teeth healthy throughout your life and make sure that you have most, if not all, your real teeth when you are in your elderly years.
But the question is, does twice a year really help that much? Or should you consider going more often?
Many dental insurances only cover two visits a year. Any more than that will require you to pay for the visit out of pocket, unless you have dual coverage. There is no need to go more than twice a year if you follow the advice of brushing your teeth in the morning and evening, and after every meal, as well as flossing after every meal. There are reasons to go more often though.
You may need to see the dentist more often if you produce a high amount of saliva that can actually work against your oral health as opposed to helping. Usually the flow of saliva helps to clean sugars and food away from your teeth, preventing tooth decay and cavities. But if you produce too much saliva, your mouth may create more tartar or plaque. Cleanings more than twice a year can help keep your teeth free of these issues, but again, only if you have dual coverage.
The purpose of a teeth cleaning is to remove the bacteria left in your mouth from the food and beverages you eat and drink every day. The deeper cleaning will remove the bacteria at the base of your teeth, close to the gums, and between the teeth.
Your oral hygienist will use special tools specifically designed to remove tartar and plaque from your teeth. The older tools would scrape tartar and plaque from the teeth. Newer tools use an appropriately high pressure water stream to remove the bacteria. They will review the proper technique for flossing and brushing and answer any questions you may have regarding your oral health.
After your cleaning and x-rays, you will most likely speak to your dentist who will review the x-rays with you and advise you of any concerns he may have regarding your oral health.
Though you have just had your teeth cleaned, within 24 to 48 hours plaque begins forming again. By the time your next appointment comes around, despite the attention you give your oral health, some plaque will have turned into tartar. As long as you maintain the routine of brushing your teeth often and flossing, you may find that your next cleaning will be easier and there won’t be as much work done by your hygienist.
Maintaining good oral health is important to keep your teeth healthy and your breath smelling good. Your hygienist will most likely also recommend that you brush your tongue and the roof of your mouth to remove additional bacteria from those areas that will cause bad breath.
Another benefit of having bi-annual cleanings is reducing your chances of heart attack and stroke. Gum disease has been connected to cardiovascular disease. Catching it early gives you a healthier body overall. Oral health has been linked to your body health.
Make sure to visit your oral hygienist and dentist at least twice a year to maintain your oral health and prevent issues in the future. They will both be happy to answer any questions you may have and suggest actions for you to take that will improve your health.