If you’re looking for an easy way to keep your smile bright and your breath fresh while also improving and supporting the overall health of your body, regular teeth cleanings are an important but often overlooked way to accomplish this.
At Smile Design Manhattan in New York City’s Midtown West neighborhood, we put your health at the top of our priority list in designing your treatment plan. While general principles apply to everyone, every patient is unique and may require a little different treatment.
Here’s our best advice on how often you should have your teeth cleaned, and what those cleanings should entail.
Why do you need dental cleanings?
We know all of you follow the American Dental Association’s recommendations to brush your teeth twice a day, floss at least once a day, and avoid too many sugary foods, right?
Here’s the thing: Even if you follow these recommendations to the letter (and let’s be honest, even the best among us have off days), you still need professional dental cleanings.
Even with the healthiest of diets, plaque and tartar naturally begin to build up on your teeth. Plaque is soft for a few hours, but once it begins to harden into tartar, it’s much more difficult to remove from your teeth. That’s why it’s so important to brush at least twice a day.
Some of this plaque and tartar builds up no matter what you do, so you need professional dental hygienists with advanced tools and techniques to remove it before it causes gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis.
Regular cleanings and exams also give your dentist a chance to spot any problems that may be developing — such as tooth decay, the gum diseases we just mentioned, or oral cancer — while they’re small and easy to head off.
If you don’t catch these problems early, the solutions to fix them when they’re big can be expensive and time-consuming. And the health consequences can be devastating as well.
What is involved in a cleaning?
At Smile Design Manhattan, we examine your teeth and gums for any signs of decay or disease. We also take digital X-rays to look for any additional problems.
One of our hygienists then removes any plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth before cleaning, polishing, and flossing. We also apply fluoride to your teeth to prevent decay and to strengthen your teeth.
Your dentist also evaluates you and recommends a time frame for your next cleaning.
How often should you get a cleaning?
Dentists generally recommend you have your teeth cleaned every six months (twice a year). Research has found, though, that in some cases more frequent cleanings can positively benefit your oral health.
If you’re at risk for or have had periodontal disease, for example, dental visits every 3-4 months may better help maintain your dental health and prevent the disease from recurring.
If you suffer from a chronic disease with a link to dental health, such as diabetes or heart disease, you may need cleanings more often as well.
If you’re due (or overdue!) for a cleaning, call the Smile Design Manhattan office to get set up with an appointment right away.