Teeth Cleanings: How Often?

Jamie J. Alexander on August 2, 2016

How long in-between teeth cleanings should I wait?

Dr. Jamie J. Alexander of Boynton Beach, Florida says that most patients can expect to have us clean their teeth every six months, because that’s the longest time the average patient can go without the buildup of plaque on their teeth. We will recommend more frequent teeth cleanings if you need them to keep plaque development under control or if you have a history of chronic gum inflammation. Certain circumstances speed up plaque development, including incomplete brushing and flossing, unbalanced nutrition such as diet high in sugar, and smoking. Certain circumstances increase your risk of gum disease and make it more difficult to treat once it starts. These include inadequate oral hygiene, smoking, a lot of sugar and other complex carbohydrates in the diet, diabetes, and other inflammatory and immune deficiency diseases that make it more difficult for your body to fight infection.

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If you have a history of gum disease, or if we see the onset of gum pocket formation, gum inflammation, and/or bleeding when we clean your teeth and examine your mouth, we will recommend more frequent professional cleanings until the inflammatory process is under control. If you need a deeper kind of dental cleaning than the routine healthy mouth cleaning, we will recommend you schedule it as soon as possible.

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“Some adults in their 20s and 30s, who conscientiously brush at least twice daily and floss daily—and who are physically fit and eat a low-sugar, well-balanced diet, may be able to get away with going longer than six months, but I don’t recommend this,” says Dr. Alexander. “When your teeth are cleaned, we will examine your mouth for signs and symptoms of any oral health issues. Doing this at intervals of six months means that I can diagnose the root cause of any problem before it advances and offer treatment to solve the problem before you need a large filling, crown, deep dental cleaning, or other treatment. Some patients with healthy mouths prefer to have their teeth cleaned every three months or every six months, and that’s okay. We are happy to do this. They love the smoothness and brightness of their teeth when we do.”