How Often Should You See Your Dentist?
Over the years Dentists and Hygienists have recommended a professional cleaning every six months, but the times “they are a changing.”
More and more patients are being scheduled on a 3 or 4 month recall for hygiene maintenance. The changes that can occur in a patient’s mouth can start within 3 months of their last cleaning. Science has shown that oral bacteria colonize about every 3 months and more frequent cleanings break up these colonies and do not allow them to establish on the teeth and gums.
Patients who are older and have certain health conditions will also benefit from more frequent cleanings. Medications and dietary changes can cause dry mouth (lack of saliva) which can increase the risk of decay and bacterial growth. Younger patients who are in orthodontic treatment will benefit from more frequent cleanings, since the orthodontic bands and wires make cleaning at home very difficult. Patients who are pregnant or going through any hormonal changes are especially at risk for gingivitis (gum inflammation).
Cleanings scheduled every 3 or 4 months are advised for the optimal health of the body.
Some individuals, (about 10% if the population) who are resistant to bacteria, a 6 month cleaning schedule may be adequate. The more typical dental patient has medical considerations, physical limitations which can interfere with a daily routine and a more susceptible immune system.
When your Dentist or Hygienist recommend additional cleanings every year, they are taking a preventative approach to keeping your teeth and gums as healthy as possible and avoid tooth loss.